Sunday Summary – May 29, 2016

Image of Sunday Summary logoOn this Memorial Day weekend, we remember the women and men who have died serving the United States (even while we criticize policy), observe the end of the legislative session (even while we criticize policy) and celebrate summer (even if we debate policy on picnics). It’s been a busy week here on, and here is all is:

Current events

Taking the “Transit” Sales Tax Statewide was posted in advance of the end of the legislative session which saw the failure of the “transit” sales tax for the metro, but Mike Hicks’ analysis might guide the special session or the next legislature. Imposing the 1/2 cent sales tax proposed for the metro statewide would begin to balance spending among different modes and assist in “changing the conversation pitting transit operational costs against highway capital spending noting “MnDOT doesn’t actually move anyone—they just provide the infrastructure that allows people to move themselves, mostly in cars that are privately owned. Capital spending by transit agencies tends to be fairly low, and it’s often dominated by the cost of vehicles and maintenance facilities, with little left over for any actual infrastructure in the ground.”

At the micro-level of current events, now that summer and food truck season are upon us, Bill Lindeke asks Can We Have Quieter Food Trucks Please?. While food trucks provide a tasty reason for people to flock to public spaces, the generators powering the mobile kitchens can drown out much of the delight. A plug for smartphone decibel readers is included and you can listen to the din quickly on Instagram, too.

Food truck generator

Food truck generator


Saint Paul

Mike Sonn is encouraging some Rethinking the Status Quo on Summit Avenue prompted by “the annual repainting of the door zone lane.” The post shows the status quo plus several levels of possible improvements and the hope that this iconic street can be improved. “Since the road was recently painted, the added buffer would be easy and quick to add. It could spur a conversation about an even safer Summit Avenue.”

St. Paul Bike Lane Trilogy is set of three short videos excerpting public comments from people and elected officials speaking against bike lanes in Saint Paul about which John Edwards said “I didn’t set out to make movies about St. Paul, but people kept Tweeting me links to weird videos. So I was compelled to create what critics will soon be calling the definitive three-part series about the people and culture of St. Paul.” Commenters call out these videos as demonizing opponents rather than engaging in more thoughtful criticism.


Hennepin Avenue Survey Results: Part 1 reports on the survey posted last month by Galen Murray to gather information about Hennepin Avenue now and about future possibilities. The survey was posted on plus the Minneapolis Bicycle Coalition, The Downtown Neighborhoods Association (DMNA), and the Minneapolis Pedestrian Alliance and this post is packed with graphics showing the responses from more than 400 people. Hennepin Avenue has received a lot of attention on recently; also check out this critique of the redesign and this larger picture look at making Hennepin lovable.

One Block, 32 Apartments Too Many continues a conversation (see last week’s post on upzoning and affordable housing and this 2015 post on the same topic) about upzoning in Minneapolis. John Edwards took the idea from a recent New York Times analysis showing buildings that would not be legal under current zoning and brought it home to one block of Minneapolis’ Wedge neighborhood and found under “today’s zoning standards, on this one block, there are 32 apartments too many. Seven out of 23 buildings have too many dwelling units; these nonconforming buildings range from triplexes to a 23-unit apartment building. This is largely the result of the neighborhood’s 1975 downzoning.” The post points ahead to the update of the Minneapolis Comprehensive Plan as an opportunity to shift the policy.

Word cloud for Hennepin Avenue's future

Word cloud for Hennepin Avenue’s future


Covering both Minneapolis and Saint Paul, 40 Miles: A Birthday Walk is a photo essay of an epic walk Janelle Nivens took to celebrate her 40th birthday: Forty miles, almost 12 hours, 90,000+ FitBit steps, Little Free Libraries, neighborhoods, and much more.

In Transit In Third Ring Suburbs, Lakeville native Alex Cecchini states boldly “Lakeville, like many outer suburbs, should operate a transit network that links neighborhoods and job centers within its borders while connecting to the larger region.”  The post outlines a plan which tries to connect major population, shopping, job, and school destinations. This post is really part 3 of a series begun on Alex’s own blog; you can read the first two parts (on the problems) and land use, walking, and biking recommendations).

In Urban Endosymbiosis, David Levinson uses a biological metaphor to explain how the once independent communities in the 7-county metro area became the Twin Cities metro  “At some point after the construction of intercity railroads (beginning in the 1850s) streetcars (beginning in the late 1880s) and paved state highways (from the 1920s), these semi-independent outposts, firmly attached to their location in the ground, became more and more mutually inter-dependent. Today development is contiguous and people are as likely to identify with the metropolitan area (or state) as they are with their most local level of government.”

Transit in Lakeville: connecting homes with works

Transit in Lakeville: connecting homes with works

Quick looks

Housing Permit Links: Transit Map Tech, Dive Bars Disappear, and More! is our weekly roundup of national links from The Direct Transfer. 

Have a wonderful holiday weekend, drive carefully, and enjoy your 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