Archive | April, 2016

St Paul’s Priorities: Short Sighted and All Out Of Sorts

St Paul and Highland District Council are proposing to add left turn lanes and a 10’ median to Snelling Avenue between Randolph and Ford Pkwy. The stated purpose is to slow traffic, reduce left turns, and improve safety for pedestrians. Unfortunately, this project will make this neighborhood less pleasant, with increased and faster traffic, and […]

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The Dirty Words of Urban Design

Previously I have described the inherent qualities of urbanity.  So if you are trying to reinforce or perhaps create from scratch that essence of being urban–determining what typifies the essence of a livable city–where should you begin? I believe that to truly begin to embrace urban is to accept two rudimentary principles.  Two vilified, egregious, […]

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As Easy as Riding a Bike

I have recently had the pleasure of watching two people learn to ride a bicycle. I have vague memories of learning to ride a bike around age five. Like many people I rode as a child and stopped as a teenager. I took it up again in my late 20s and have now been riding […]

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Caption Contest: What are These Things at Washington and Portland?

Not sure what these are. They appear to be street furniture. In moments like this, it’s best to turn to the knowledgable streets.mn community for expert guidance. Thank you in advance for your invaluable contribution to streetscape awareness. [Official location, in front of Zen Box Ikazaya.]

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Getting Around the Block: City vs. Suburb

In my last two posts, I looked at the city block structures in Minneapolis and Saint Paul, first zooming in to the respective downtowns, then pulling out to look all the way to the cities’ borders and slightly beyond. Now I’d like to turn to a few suburbs and see how they compare. First, let’s […]

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Chart / Map of the Day: US Cities Ranked by Storefront Index

Here’s an important chart for you, showing something that the City Observatory cooked up called the “storefront index.” It measures the number of “customer-facing businesses” along city streets. Here’s the ranking [in absolute, not per capita, terms]: It looks like Minneapolis is punching a bit below its weight, though that might be accounted for by the […]

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When Single-Family Housing Becomes Luxury Housing

Property values in Minneapolis and the surrounding metro area have been rising rapidly for the past several years, and there’s little evidence that the trend will stop anytime soon. Properties are on the market now for a matter of days (or even hours). Multiple buyers often end up in bidding wars at prices which far […]

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Can We Hit the Pause Button on the Macy’s Site?

It is easy to look at the former Macy’s store in St. Paul and see an irredeemable wreck. It is large and hostile to pedestrians. Its few windows and huge floorplates were ideal for the retail environment of the 1960’s, but are stubbornly resistant to redevelopment. It is too expensive to tear down, and besides, developers aren’t […]

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National Links: MTA Leaving APTA, Riding the Pyongyang Metro, and More!

Every day at The Direct Transfer we collect news about cities and send the links to our email list.  At the end of the week we take some of the most popular stories and post them to Greater Greater Washington, a group blog similar to streets.mn that focuses on urban issues in the DC region.  […]

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Sunday Summary – April 24, 2016

We’ve just passed Earth Day on Friday, April 22. The idea for a national day for the environment was the brainchild of Senator Gaylord Nelson who hoped the attention and awareness of the environment would elevate environmental protection on the national political agenda. Senator Nelson. And Prince died.   Beyond the Metro What it Means to be […]

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