Sunday Summary – January 31, 2016

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Current events

A recent UCLA study on Exclusionary Land Use Regulations and Income Segregation is the entry point to considering the current neighborhood opposition to a 6 story hotel in Uptown/Lyn-Lake Minneapolis (see more criticism of neighborhood associations). Anton Schieffer urges “In order to create a more equitable city, Minneapolis must realize that neighborhood groups in desirable areas may not have the entire city’s best interests in mind. No city would have infrastructure projects, such as light rail or an airport, if they let local opposition thwart large-scale projects. Minneapolis should stay focused on the larger picture and lay the foundation and infrastructure which will make more of our city a desirable place to live.” The comment section is particularly lively including defense of neighborhood associations; it would be great if some of the commenters would write posts and air these issues more prominently.

Redesigning the Franklin/Cedar/Minnehaha Intersection highlights Hennepin County listening sessions for this project as Alex Tsatsoulis walks through specific proposed changes noting “There is a realization that this intersection project has the potential to better connect bikes and pedestrians, but that scope must be limited to fit budgeted time and money. The best this process can do, short of finding more money and making the connections now, is to make sure what is being built now does not limit future connections.”

One option for Franklin-Cedar-Minnehaha intersection

One option for Franklin-Cedar-Minnehaha intersection

Other interesting stuff

Preparing for the Zero-Carbon Highway…and Parking Lot is really a short history electric vehicles, catalog of different charging systems available and forecast of what must change to make electric vehicles really work. Mike Hicks’ prognosis: “For places that have seen traditional town centers depleted of commercial and retail activity in favor of areas around off-ramps and frontage roads, thoughtful placement of charging stations is also potentially useful tool for restoring more walkable alternatives.”

Multimodal Transportation: Boating and Walking in Stillwater is Sam Newberg’s review of his boat trip on the Saint Croix River last summer before arriving in an “Old Urbanist” place where “it wasn’t hipster architects and planners who created “walkable urbanism” in Stillwater in the late 1800s” but the incremental development of a town center at a time when walking was how people got around. Walk-up ice cream is available, too.

The Re-Rise of the Local Grocery in Shoreview starts with the demise of a Rainbow grocery store and the plan to replace it with a smaller Kowalski’s retail store plus bakery operation, then Walker Angell dreams of what else could make a suburban intersection really wonderful.

Walkable ice cream in Stillwater

Walkable ice cream in Stillwater


Thatcher Imboden writes Changes May Be Coming to SWLRT Station Names “to clarify location or remove potential duplication of station names. Those stations include Van White, Penn, Shady Oak, City West, and Golden Triangle.” The list gets reviewed and compared to other transit system naming conventions and the conclusion is that renaming is premature; commenters share the skepticism.

Three posts this week look cover the Riverview Corridor with very different perspectives.  First is Erik Hare’s highly critical post The Riverview Corridor and Transit in the Twin Cities stating “The process that we are moving through seems so deeply flawed that jumping to a “solution” is simply not what is needed. Whatever comes out of this is likely to be inadequate and jumbled.” On the more positive side, Bill Lindeke lists Five Light Rail Lessons for the Riverview Corridor which he calls “the best remaining urban transit project in Saint Paul is the so-called “Riverview corridor” running from downtown along West 7th street down to the airport.” In these posts and the many comments on each one, writers and readers consider cost (of LRT compared to other modes), allocating right of way, alignment (what needs to be connected) and more. Finally, Joseph Totten, having read the earlier posts, writes Route 54 Ridership and Why We Cannot Skip the Route to the Airport because serving airline passengers is not the main issue, but (as the Route 54 bus ridership shows) the people who work in and near the airport:  “when all is said and done, the line MUST continue south to serve the riders who already rely on the 54. Let’s amplify their service, not go chasing other markets. Let’s serve those who actually need transit.”

Riverview Corridor proposal

Riverview Corridor proposal


Quick looks

Charts of the Day of the Week: One Man’s Carbon Footprint shows how that footprint expands dramatically with air travel, Renting and Ethnicity in Minnesota gives a quick look at the unequal distribution of home ownership across ethnic groups, and State Transportation Spending Comparisons is map of Minnesota’s state agency transportation spending as part of a project allowing state-by-state comparisons broken down into several categories.

Map: Map Monday: Duluth c. 1887 showing Duluth during one of its boom periods.

Duluth 1887

Duluth 1887

And that’s the week (and the month) on The Iowa caucus is tomorrow with the Minnesota caucuses and Super Tuesday, but a month away on March 1; maybe someone will write about what might happen in transportation or housing under various electoral scenarios? Vote and before you vote, read for important discussions on roads, transit, housing, and funding all of them. 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