It has been a very light week here at streets.mn, but a very busy one in the Twin Cities. Indeed, it has been a spectacular winter week here in Minnesota: streets.mn writers were involved with the international Winter Cycling Congress (and other readers and writers attended, I’m sure) held in Minneapolis February 2-4, there was a wonderful snowstorm in the middle of the conference and (after last year’s low-snow shortened courses and truncated events) the City of Lakes Loppet is going full blast on Lake Calhoun and Wirth Park today.
We do have snow-related posts this week, appropriately enough. The Value of Snow Emergencies is “these complexities may be a pain a handful of times a year they apply, but they allow for better cities all year long.” Matt Steele argues Minneapolis and Saint Paul staggered snow emergency rules are indicative of larger land use patterns which make the cities work better year-round like less land devoted to off-street parking, greater density and greater equity. The comment section has some detailed consideration of how the all or nothing rules work in Minneapolis suburbs and how alternate side parking can work better.
And, for fun, a short video of the Ninth Annual Art Sled Rally in South Minneapolis in Powderhorn Park last weekend with many structures sliding on snow including a bathtub, a pair of high-heeled shoes, and a pirate ship.
Adam Miller continues his theme of short titles directing action and correspondingly simple advice for urban living with Don’t Go to the Gym because “Part of what’s great about living in at least somewhat urban place is that movement and activity can be built into your daily goings on. If you live closer to stuff, you don’t need a car to get to it, especially if you also shop closer to home. You might even find don’t you don’t need to go to the gym.” Commenters find some value in going to the gym in addition to getting real life exercise, but also throw in some suggestions for adding a few extra steps for transit trips and considering the time saved in not working out as helping to reduce the overall pedestrian/transit commuting time complaint.
The Diminutive and the Colossal is another Wolfie Browender bike trip from last summer through Saint Paul’s Highland Park and Summit-University neighborhoods which looks at houses both tiny and huge (like the Governor’s Mansion). As always, Wolfie shows us details we would likely miss on our own and introduces us to the people along the way for another great armchair ride.
Planning and/or fixing places
How to Really Fix Cedar/Franklin/Minnehaha follows last week’s Redesigning the Franklin/Cedar/Minnehaha Intersection post (which centered on current planning efforts and proposals) to really reimagine the area. Joe Scott boldly erases the highways from the neighborhood to recreate a street network connecting nearby places as well as making a strong statement about government and advocating a return to grassroots, incremental urbanism: “the good parts of the city were mostly built in an era when the government played a more minimal role in development – recording plats, providing basic services, etc. The state and county DOT didn’t exist. Good urbanism didn’t come about through political consensus or federal matching funds, it was just a bunch of people doing what made sense at the time.” Commenters critique both the proposed solution and the philosophy with lengthy replies by Joe; don’t stop reading until the end of the comments.
Introducing the Twin Cities Metro Area Future Highway Map by proposed “one idea of what the state trunk highway system could look like in the future, perhaps 30 years out. I’ve pointedly avoided calling it a “fantasy” map, since it’s based mostly on official planning documents, not me drawing lines wherever I think a new freeway would be cool.”
John Edwards starts with a particular situation in front of a local pizza place where the sidewalk dining has overtaken the public right of way to ask for some Crowdsourcing the Battle Against Sidewalk Hogs. The small crowd of commenters does consider what could happen to the tables and the bus stop to make this sidewalk passable.
And that’s it for the week – we’d love to post stories about the Winter Cycling Congress, the City of Lakes Loppet or whatever else you want to write to help expand the conversation about transportation and land use.