Sunday Summary – February 28, 2016

Vote zapAlmost Leap Day!  More important – almost March 1 and Caucus Day (find your caucus here)!  Why caucus? Engaged, knowledgeable people like readers can help build party platforms and elect candidates who will do good things for transportation and land use from the local level on up. Caucuses are also a great place to meet your neighbors and talk to them about streets and why they matter. Here at, we try to do our part to educate the electorate and now we’re nudging you to take the next step and caucus on March 1.

The 2nd Annual Writer  Writers’ Workshop happened yesterday with a good crowd of people including active writers, new-ish writers and people who have yet to write that first post. We tried to demystify and how posts get to this page, learned what writers need to be able to get writing, and had a chance to exchange ideas on many subjects related to writing, land use and transportation and more. The strongest message from the afternoon is, I think, that you do not need to have graduate degrees or write data-driven posts to write for, but every person at the gathering (and you readers) is an experts about some slice of the transportation and land use subject whether that’s your neighborhood, your first-person experience on the streets, or your understanding of an issue from whatever perspective you have. If you wished you could have been there, you can still contact us and we’ll be happy to chat about how you can contribute.

2016 Writers' Workshop (Photo: Bill Lindeke)

2016 Writers’ Workshop (Photo: Bill Lindeke)

Soccer stadium updates

As the new Saint Paul soccer stadium begins to take shape on paper (here’s a recent post about the stadium design), there are two posts this week on different aspects of the stadium. Retired transit planner Aaron Isaacs reviews Transit to the Soccer Stadium – by looking at current transit ridership to Target Field for Twins games, existing transit routes which will serve the new stadium and concludes, “Suburban soccer transit ridership is really dependent on the light rail lines yet to be built.” On the ground in the stadium neighborhood, More Livable Streets at Snelling Midway is Mike Sonn’s call to use the wide streets in the proposed stadium-area street layout for building in more transportation options from the start since “We are starting with a blank slate so let’s raise the bar and make cycling and walking the safest it can be.” There are multiple StreetMix diagrams to show what’s proposed and what could be built; in addition to transit, considering the other non-car ways to reach the stadium is a good addition to the conversation.

How space could be allocated near the MN United stadium

How space could be allocated near the MN United stadium

Building or moving to places

Transit Oriented Sprawl in Sherburne County is writer Alex Rowland’s first post; Alex (who lives in Becker) takes us out to the  Northstar commuter rail line neighborhood for “a closer look at the development and location of the stations reveals how they actually seem to support the suburban lifestyle, rather than development of transit-oriented communities.” Many images show the type of developments planned as well as the impact on the natural environment.

Scott Shaffer asks about moving in Charting Residential Stability and Race. Since frequent moves have a negative impact on children and families, Scott looked at who moves frequently in the Twin Cities area and found white residents move less frequently (and own homes more frequently) than other ethnicities and urges us “to see “transience” neither as a person’s moral failing nor as a threat to property values, but instead as the failure of a system to provide stable, decent, and affordable housing” (and take a look at this recent post about systemic rather than individual issues with poverty, too).

Olson Memorial Highway

Bill Lindeke has two posts this week about the Olson Memorial Highway. Reacting to a recent Minneapolis City Council action to give municipal consent to MnDOT’s plans for the proposed Bottineau light rail transit (LRT) line through North Minneapolis, Floyd B. Olson is Spinning in His Grave because it appears “nobody’s learned anything from the decade of living with the Blue Line and Hiawatha. To me, it’s a real shame because MnDOT has a chance to begin making up for years of infrastructural injustice in this part of “near North” Minneapolis. Instead, Minneapolis is going to miss its chance to add walkable transit in a part of the city that could really use it.” Bill looks at safety dynamics, transit-oriented development and what do you really need for cars in detail as well as providing the history of the Olson Memorial Highway and surrounding area saying “No agency has done more to demolish this neighborhood than MnDOT, and it all began with Olson Memorial Highway in the late 30s” and the latest decision is a missed golden opportunity to right past wrongs. The many comments chew over details, compare other places in the metro area and more.

Then & Now: Near North Minneapolis is a follow-up post with many more images of the area when Olson Memorial Highway was built and documentation of the housing and other buildings demolished to build the highway and well worth a look to see what was displaced.

Store condemned and demolished to build Olson Memorial Highway

Store condemned and demolished to build Olson Memorial Highway

Highly visual

Maps: Map of the Day: Duluth’s Canal Parking highlights the proportion of surface parking to buildings and other land uses in the highly desirable Canal Park area of Duluth.  Our regular Monday feature is Map Monday: Downtown Minneapolis Neighborhoods helps those of us who do not live there distinguish North Loop from Cedar-Riverside from plain old Downtown.

Chart: Only one chart this week with the Chart of the Day: Time Spent Shopping per Day shows a decline but also to a Strib republication of an eye-catching NY Times story about waste from online shopping.

Photo-travel: Painted Ladies, a Maiden and Bruce is another Wolfie Browender photo bike tour from last summer past lovely Queen Anne-style homes on Summit Avenue, Maiden Lane, into Lowertown and CHS Field. As always, you’ll meet interesting people along the way as well as see details of Saint Paul not often highlighted.

Canal Park and its parking lots

Canal Park and its parking lots

We’re looking forward to seeing some new writers featured here in the very near future (maybe that new writer is YOU). The heady taste of Spring yesterday will probably be dashed by sleet, but readers are resilient types and will go caucus and have a great week regardless of the weather!

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