Welcome to February! First, the streets.mn board is extending an invitation to all our readers to consider nominating themselves to Join the streets.mn Board. For the first time, the board decided to move beyond tapping its own networks to asking the people who read our site to volunteer to help run the organization, too. In this all volunteer organization, the streets.mn board is a working board (of fun, passionate people) meeting eight times per year plus committee meetings and other efforts as needed. The board is particularly interested in applicants who can help the board (1) increase representation from suburbs and greater Minnesota; (2) improve racial, ethnic, gender, sexual orientation, and sexual identities to more accurately represent Minnesota; and (3) strengthen the relationship between the streets.mn blog and forum. Interested? Click through for the application (due February 17, 2017) or send questions to firstname.lastname@example.org. As always, there are other ways to help streets.mn, too – by writing, volunteering your time, or becoming a member.
From around the Twin Cities
Hennepin Avenue: A Case Study for Minneapolis’ Complete Streets Policy takes the upcoming 2018 Hennepin Avenue reconstruct project (from Lake Street to West 36th Street) as an opportunity to see how the new Complete Streets policy could and should guide the planning. Alex Cecchini lives near and uses this street every day and participated in drafting the Complete Streets policy, so he’s in a fine position to consider the policy (which he admits is underdetermined) can work in real life. There are some good questions, plus a series of possible design suggestions (and some additional questions in the comments).
Winter Playground in the Realm of Boreas is also about streets for people, here as a place to gather for the wonderful, surprising winter event which is Saint Paul’s Winter Carnival which “started in 1886 after reporters from the East Coast visited Saint Paul and called it ‘another Siberia, unfit for human habitation.’ Local business owners created the Winter Carnival in retaliation.” Dana DeMaster gives a tour of the interesting (and unexpected) spaces, places and people along the Torchlight Parade route. By the time this is posted, the parade will be over, but there are still multiple events today.
Sam Newberg finds Simple Urbanism – So Elusive as he reviews Harriet’s Inn at 40th Street and Lyndale Avenue. While it looks pretty urban at a glance, Sam finds it “is really just a suburban boilerplate for a restaurant retrofitted to the city. This is simple urbanism, people, and it floors me to see us get it so wrong, particularly when we think we’re getting it so right.” Commenters are less convinced and think Harriet’s Inn while not perfect, is pretty good for its not very dense neighborhood, but there’s some detailed discussion to consider there.
It’s Crossing the Street, Stupid writes Bill Lindeke observing, “It’s amazing to me how easily we forget this little fact. Facilitating safe easy street crossings should be “job one” for any urban street design, and yet so many of our streets are effectively uncrossable for many people. This brute fact not only hurts our businesses and our public health, every once in a while it literally kills.” While considering Saint Paul’s West 7th, Bill notes designing streets to be easy to cross is good for local business and fixing the problem can be done with small changes. Commenters identify some crossing failures (Hopkins) and some additional small changes which can help.
Continuing Max Hailperin’s posts about his alphabetical walks around Minneapolis with more A’s are My Penn-Ultimate Day in Armatage and The Audubon Park Neighborhood: A First Pass. Both posts have maps of the route, many images, and lots of detail about what happened along the way.
On the policy level, Minneapolis: A City for Walkers, Janelle Nivens and Sarah Tschida attended the recent “Minneapolis, a City for Walkers? A Conversation About Prioritizing Pedestrians” hosted by Minneapolis Council Member Elizabeth Glidden with guest speakers Robin Hutcheson, Minneapolis Public Works Director; Mary McGovern, Chair of the resident High Rise Council of the Minneapolis Public Housing Authority; and Kenya McKnight, transportation activist and thought leader on the Transportation Advisory Board to the Metropolitan Council. Each speaker identified issues to address for Minneapolis to become a city for walkers plus there’s a summary of audience questions and comments. The authors suggest five ways to get involved in this conversation by joining the Minneapolis Bicycle Coalition’s Pedestrian Task Force and/or Minneapolis Pedestrian Alliance Facebook group; attending Pedestrian Advisory Committee meetings; contacting City Council members and candidates for Council; and you can write for streets.mn (yes!).