Archive | November, 2016

Podcast #92 – Beyond Richfield with County Commission Candidate Debbie Goettel

This week’s podcast is a conversation with Debbie Goettel, the mayor of Richfield and a candidate for the Hennepin County Commissioner in the 5th District, which encompasses Richfield, Bloomington, and a big chuck of Eden Prairie. We sat down at the Southdale Library this week, right on the Edina border, to talk about the role […]

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Many Prospects for Passenger Rail in Wisconsin

  In my most recent two posts I looked first at the opportunities I see for passenger rail in Minnesota, followed by an entry examining Norway’s passenger rail network to make some comparisons. There are similarities between the two such as the fact that Minnesota and Norway have about the same population and have been growing […]

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Seven Ways Automobility Undermines a City’s Bottom Line, from Least to Most Direct

Earlier this month, both Minneapolis and Saint Paul released their property tax levy numbers, and for both cash-strapped core cities, they went up quite a bit. Despite the recent development booms in both downtowns, the fiscal facts on the ground remain stubborn. Saint Paul and Minneapolis have a lot of needs, and funding them is […]

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Pedestrianizing Big Box Stores – Midway Super Target

Like many parts of Minneapolis and Saint Paul, the Midway in Saint Paul is a slightly strange hybrid between urban and suburban built forms.  Houses and apartments on narrow lots and streetcar-era retail buildings with zero setbacks coexist (oftentimes uneasily) with suburban-style big-box stores that have giant parking lots.  The Green Line provides frequent transit service to places that have […]

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Why West Saint Paul Created a Permit Parking Zone for Two Homeowners

“Parking is a really personal and passionate issue.” That was Gil Gustafson’s admonition to the West Saint Paul City Council last week as he and a neighbor made their case for an arguably very personal residents-only permit parking zone on his block of Livingston Avenue, a block away from an apartment complex on Robert Street. […]

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The Commons – Some Observations

Since The Commons opened this summer, I’ve visited a few times and passed by several times, making a point of counting patrons and observing how people use this new public green downtown space. After all, how people use a new park is the best indicator of success, right? Here is a collection of observations so […]

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Podcast #91 – Talking about Newport with Mayoral Candidate Dan Lund

This week’s podcast is a conversation with Dan Lund, a patent lawyer and City Council member in Newport, Minnesota (population 3,500). Lund is one of the two candidates running for Mayor in the small Washington County suburb, located Just south of the Saint Paul border on the Mississippi River. We chatted about Newport, zoning, and […]

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National Links: Scary Buildings, Sinking Buildings, 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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A Zoning Code That Matches Our Values

In commenting on the city’s current plan to downzone the Wedge neighborhood, former Minneapolis city planner Perry Thorvig has given us some historical perspective. He starts off by celebrating the results of the 1975 downzoning: The zoning scheme adopted in 1975 must have worked. It was gratifying to me and I’m sure many neighborhood residents, […]

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