Sunday Summary – October 2, 2016

Image of Sunday Summary logoHappy October! Summer is really over now, leaves are turning (see the DNR guide to where the best color is right now), pumpkins are in the farmers markets, weather is cooler and we’re cruising for Halloween, the Sidewalk Holiday. We also hope you’ve noticed the return of the Events listing in the right-hand sidebar and linked to our calendar (if not, take a look now). New events editor Heidi Schallberg is working to gather events of interest to readers and you can help – if you or your organization is staging a public event which fits our mission to expand the conversation on transportation and land use, please send the relevant information to Here’s the last week of September on

National News

Obama To Cities: Build Some Housing Already covers this past week’s release by the Obama administration of “the Housing Development Toolkit, signalling to the country that they are on Team YIMBY (that’s “Yes In My BackYard”). The document outlines the barriers for housing growth that many cities, including Minneapolis and Saint Paul, have been experiencing in recent years.” Anton Schieffer reviews the key finding that housing supply has not kept up with demand and looks at the Minneapolis area numbers and some of the local obstacles to building more and more affordable housing.

Median Rents v. Median Income

Bike and pedestrian routes

Eric Saathoff tells us My Saint Paul Greenway is the Bruce Vento Trail and itemizes the places and events he and his family can reach using it. Although he admits “No, the Bruce Vento Trail is not the Midtown Greenway in many ways. However, I am so thankful when I begin to count the ways that this trail makes it easier for my family to get around without our car. If only more people in St. Paul had access to low-stress bikeways like this!”

Janelle Nivens walks over the bridge regularly and her post Washington Avenue Pedestrian Bridge Gets a Facelift showcases a short video about an interim solution from the University of Minnesota Facilities Management team to reclad and repaint the enclosure on the bridge until the funding for a permanent upgrade can be secured (the projected pricetag is $10 million).

Wolfie Browender takes us on another of his bike rides in Saint Paul from 2015 with Between Shepard and West 7th. Part photo essay, part local history and always finding people and details most of us would miss in Highland Park, West 7th Street and Merriam Park.

Chris Thompson (left) and Gretchen Seichrist (right) sit on their mobile art gallery van, which was parked on West 7th Street.

Chris Thompson (left) and Gretchen Seichrist (right) sit on their mobile art gallery van, which was parked on West 7th Street.

Particular places

Can We Save the Electric Steel Elevator Site in Prospect Park? was a post in advance of the closing date for comments to the University of Minnesota on September 23, 2016: “The slightly rusty and unornamented round steel sides of the Electric Steel Elevator complex in Prospect Park, part of a large complex of tall concrete cylindrical grain silos, may face demolition. The University of Minnesota’s Board of Regents may decide to purchase this site to expand its recreational programs with what has been called a “sports bubble” unless the coalition of interested community members succeed in convincing the Board of Regents to preserve this bit of industrial history, says (new writer!) Robert Roscoe.

Ghost sign enthusiast Adam Miller goes to Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin and finds a cool sign and much local history in Where’s the Beef?  “[T]he sign above which, as you can see, is nearly at the corner of Birch and Bridge streets (but for the convenient parking lot). At first I thought maybe it wasn’t a “ghost” because, well, it’s pretty darn clear, and there could still be a meat market there. But there isn’t and I assumed that this one was touched up at some point as a bit of public art.” Commenters provide some additional detail about the past and present in Chippewa Falls.

Ghost sign in Chippewa Falls

Quick Looks

Only one chart, map or other quick take this week with Chart of the Day: Projected Statewide Pedestrian Fatalities giving the bad news from the Star Tribune that pedestrian fatalities are projected to rise in 2016.

And that’s the week on We welcome new writers to continue conversations already begun here on or to voice ideas and issues not yet seen on the site. And we also like to hear comments or suggestions from readers via our contact form. Have a great week!

Riding the Bruce Vento trail

Riding the Bruce Vento trail



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