Bryant Avenue Bridge after a snowstorm

Sunday Summary – January 17, 2016

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Another cold, cold Sunday in Minnesota this week which is perfect for staying inside a bit longer to catch up on all the content on this week before covering all exposed skin and going out for a walk or a ski or a skate (yes, we’re tough here).

Walking, bikes and getting outside

The Midtown Greenway has been a big success, offering a protected, pleasant east-west route for bikes and pedestrians; now Alex Tsatsoulis reports on planning for a north-south counterpart in  Southside Greenway Inches Closer to Reality.  The Southside “Greenway has the potential to connect 12 parks and trails from Downtown to South Minneapolis…The proposed route would begin as far north as Gold Medal Park in downtown Minneapolis and travel south all the way to Highway 62. While there is no single planned design for the entire length of the Greenway, all sections will include some sort of traffic calming and greening, dependent on community preferences. Some sections could also include protected bike lanes or undergo complete street-to-park conversion.” Read the post for the link to the planning report and how to get involved.

Janelle Nivens makes Bill Lindeke’s New Year’s Resolution to walk more more do-able by recommending a strategy for walking: Choose Your Daily Walking Destination “that you commit to visiting on foot every day” and suggesting documenting your daily journey in some way to help reinforce the habit, but also create your own journal of your places over time.

Dana DeMaster says Thanks to Theodore Wirth for My Skating Rink! as part of a short history of parks and policy in Minneapolis and Saint Paul. “Wirth’s influence is still seen in Minneapolis through its provision of amenities at nearly all of its neighborhood parks. Playgrounds, small park buildings with basic programming, ice rinks, splash pads, and baseball diamonds are plentiful, but not fancy” while “[Horace W. S.] Cleveland’ influence, his focus on grand parks that serve as connection points, is still seen in Saint Paul. There are many neighborhood parks, but they mostly lack the amenities of Minneapolis’ neighborhood parks. Saint Paul focuses on large, regional amenities.” So, now living in Saint Paul, Demaster has built her own rink and very local community.

Backyard rink.

Backyard rink.

Looking back and looking ahead

Scott Shaffer shows us The Lee House: Preserving a Relic of Racism, a “modest, white house at the corner of 46th Street East and Columbus Avenue South in Minneapolis’s Field neighborhood” which, despite no obvious visual importance, was added to the National Register of Historic Places” for the story it can tell: “In June 1931, Arthur and Edith Lee moved into the home with their six-year-old daughter. Arthur was a World War I veteran and a U.S. Postal Service worker. The Lees were also black.”  The Lees faced discrimination, intimidation and violence from their white neighbors intent on making them leave and the official designation highlights an uncomfortable part of our culture and prompting an important question: “How would the preservation community look if it reflected more diverse perspectives, both at the grassroots level and on decision-making bodies like the Heritage Preservation Commission?”

10 Redevelopment Projects Transforming MSP in 2016 is another cross-post from The Line which makes a list of 10 projects ranging from small business development (The Herbivorous Butcher vegan “meat” and “cheese” Kickstarter-funded grand opening in Northeast Minneapolis) to repurposing historic buildings (Custom House) to new residential development (OXBO at Saint Paul’s Seven Corners) and, of course, Nicollet Mall’s much discussed redesign.

Arthur and Edith Lee house. Photo by Scott Shaffer.

Arthur and Edith Lee house. Photo by Scott Shaffer.

Stadium sports

Sam Newberg bundles up and brings us Civic Pride and Outdoor Football! from last Sunday’s Vikings-Seahawks playoff game at TCF Bank Stadium in subzero temps. More than the result of the game, the outdoor environment brings camaraderie, community and civic pride which will not be the same once the Vikings big, new enclosed stadium is complete.

The other stadium in development for the other kind of football is previewed by Brian Quarstad in Bill McGuire and R.K. Midway Preview New Soccer Stadium. Bill McGuire, owner of the Minnesota United soccer team, presented plans to St. Paul’s Snelling-Midway Community Advisory Council (CAC) for the 34.5 acre Midway Center/Metro Transit bus barn site with a vision of the “stadium and the surrounding areas will look more like an urban village when the project is completed.” The stadium location and development has been discussed before on, most recently here.

soccer stadium site plan

Soccer stadium site plan


Free Parking Still Not a Transit Investment is Matt Steele’s latest post(here’s his post from last year) arguing free parking is not the way to encourage transit use saying the region “still spend[s] our transit dollars subsidizing the car storage habits of transit users. While we spend millions of dollars to “buy” hundreds of riders a day, existing transit users lack places to safely wait, meaningful signage, reliable service, and so on.” This time, the Apple Valley Transit Station park and ride facility expansion is the spark to demand “Let’s get our transit dollars off the track of subsidizing car storage and onto the track of providing transit service.” The many commenters provide some challenge as to whether the model is correct, whether there are other benefits to the park and ride system (improved air quality, less congestion), and distinguishing capital funding from operating funds.

Straightening your route is David Levinson’s sketch of how to reroute Metro Transit’s number 2 bus saying “It offends my sensibilities as a transportation planner. It runs along Franklin Avenue from near Hennepin Avenue S to the University of Minnesota and then runs along 8th St SE to Hennepin Avenue SE. Each of the tails is sensible enough, no one really rides from one end to the other. The problem is the zig-zag in the middle.” This proposal is met in the comments with some differences of opinion about whether the zigzag serves important locations (without the need to transfer) near the University.

Mike Hicks believes the Gold Line Needs a Change of Direction, Literally and uses the “rejection by Lake Elmo as an opportunity to restore some sanity to a project that has literally gone off in the wrong direction.” Rather than continuing current Gold Line planning, it would “be far better to get existing suburbs to build up their missing downtowns and connect into regional public transportation networks than it would be to abandon them in favor of magical new greenfield plans. Our transit plans need to reach the hearts of these communities rather than bypassing them for green pastures.” The comment section has some tangential discussions worth reading – Green Line routing through downtown is discussed, as well as a lengthy comparison of Metro Transit networks with Pacific Northwest cities.

The preferred alignment of the Gold Line/Gateway Corridor running eastward along I-94 from downtown Saint Paul overlaid on a map showing population and employment density as well as other transit routes.

The preferred alignment of the Gold Line/Gateway Corridor running eastward along I-94 from downtown Saint Paul overlaid on a map showing population and employment density as well as other transit routes.

Quick looks

Only two quick takes this week: Chart of the Day: Commuting by Automobile 1960 – 2013 and Chart of the Day: Household Appliances V. Household Work.

There’s still time for New Year’s Resolutions – while you’re walking to your daily destination or any other time, think about writing for us or becoming a member. We’d especially like to encourage different perspectives on topics you see here or new issues which haven’t yet been discussed to help us carry our our mission to expand the conversation on land use and transportation. Stay warm and have a great week!



Betsey Buckheit

About Betsey Buckheit

Betsey rides her pretty blue city bike, walks her energetic black dogs, and agitates for more thoughtful, long-range decision-making in Northfield, MN. You can follow her blog at