Sunday Summary – March 6, 2016

Image of Sunday Summary logoWe’re still thinking about our 2nd Annual Writers’ Workshop and eagerly awaiting good stuff from new writers (two new writers’ posts are summarized below). Janelle Nivens’ post, A Spring-Like Walk to a Writers’ Workshop, captures both the journey to the workshop on the University of Minnesota’s West Bank Campus, and one person’s perspective on what happened there. Janelle comments on what we hoped to highlight “the board genuinely wants to grow the community and welcome new voices to the table.” Yes, we do!

New on starting last Sunday is a week roundup of city-related links from The Direct Transfer (check it out!) which “are national links, sometimes entertaining and sometimes absurd, but hopefully useful.” Last week’s linkfest is National Links! Boulevards, Dive Bars, and Moratoriums; this week we’ve got Olympic Links — Greyhound Makeover, Healthy Towns, and More!

Gold Medal Flour sign on the Mill City Museum

On the way to the Writers’ Workshop: Gold Medal Flour sign on the Mill City Museum

Equity issues

The Affordable Housing Income Conundrum in the Twin Cities is Benjamin McDaniel‘s debut post which examines affordable housing definitions, looks at supply-side issues and provides many great references for those interested in deep detail before concluding “As an outsider looking in, and as a temporary participant in the affordable housing merry-go-round, the Twin Cities seems to have an income problem. In my opinion, the problem with affordable housing is just too big for it to be a supply-side problem. For all of its general income prosperity, especially compared to other places in the country, the Twin Cities region still has a mismatch between the enormous amount of residential property that has been created, and the ability of its people to pay for it.”

Evan Roberts uses current initiatives to study inclusionary zoning in Minnesota to review some of the problems in Inclusionary Zoning: Understandable Politics, Terrible Policy. Calling out inclusionary zoning as less a zoning problem than a social  policy, the post reviews how inclusionary zoning works, who pays for it and some of the unintended consequences to argue inclusionary zoning is not the way to solve affordable housing problems. The comment section is quite lively with some questions, a few challenges and some additional references to other sources of information about inclusionary zoning.

Building more housing is another policy to expand supply and provide housing. (Glendale Townhomes, Minneapolis)

Building more housing is another policy to expand supply and provide housing. (Glendale Townhomes, Minneapolis)

Midway – stadium and more

Your MN United Midway Stadium Parking Explainer is a question and answer format post responding to the social media concerns about parking at the stadium. Brian Quarstad and Alex Schieferdecker take a look at where soccer fans will park, what the costs are, and why the Midway redevelopment site plan doesn’t seem to provide parking (but really does).

Gridding West Midway looks at the area to the west of the proposed stadium. David Levinson looks ahead to when this area changes from its current large-scale distribution center uses to consider “When this neighborhood changes, it might be wise to break up the large industrially-optimal superblocks for a more residentially-optimal fine grained grid.”

Midway West District Current and Future Roads sketch

Midway West District Current and Future Roads sketch


In the take action now department, Want a Car2Go “Station”? Let them know! Car2Go shrank their service area, but new writer Hannah Pritchard identifies some of the problems with this decision, but also provides information for how to have some input on the new Car2Go “Stations” which will extend service outside the smaller home area. Commenters are interested in more data about Car2Go usage and provide some boots on the ground perspective on how they use Car2Go, plus a Car2Go representative weighs in with a little more information.

Getting ready for the new legislative session and the new advocacy season, Advocacy Maxims for 2016 is a sort of Spring Training post by Daniel Choma to get us all in a positive frame of mind for getting things done through many meetings. The maxims are down to earth, common sense and aimed at persuasion and consensus building.

On the other end of the spectrum, Andy Singer tells us Why I Will Never Attend Another MnDOT Meeting. Starting back in 2011, community meetings to discuss improving Snelling Avenue were held to influence MnDOT’s plans for repaving Snelling. After more meetings, a 2012 multimodal plan, and more community engagement, MnDOT built the project without the features promised.  The post details the improvements called for in the plan and captures the frustration of working hard to provide input, only to have it ignored or dismissed: “By throwing out large portions of it, MnDOT wasted our time, betrayed our trust, and wasted public money.” Commenters share the frustration, but also bring up other possible mitigating factors (such as turning back Snelling to Ramsay County and jurisdictional disputes) plus offer some comparison with Germany for how a busy street could work.

This Bicyclist welcomes spring and the upcoming advocacy season.

This Bicyclist welcomes spring and the upcoming advocacy season.

Quick looks

Charts of the week: Operating Subsidies for Boston Area Transit was part of a discussion of “social stratification in transit” on the Itinerant Urbanist.  Sustainable Transportation in the USA vs. Germany compares the two countries on auto-dependence, safety and health, cost, and the environment.

Map: Map Monday: Minneapolis 1932 Presidential Election Results is an offering for election season mapping precinct-level results in FDR’s landslide win over Hoover.

That’s the week on as Spring continues to creep up on us. Go outside and play!


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