Sunday Summary – February 26, 2017

sunday-summary-logoThe board held its regular meeting yesterday, February 25, 2017. On the agenda: electing new board members (we’ll announce their names very soon), discussing how to change our policy and practice at to make the comment section a place where you all help carry out our mission to expand the conversation on transportation and land use  (of course, you can use the comments section here to add your input on this subject), and continuing to think how to support our writers better. Also coming soon is a section on this site where we’ll post the board agendas and minutes and other documents to make more transparent and more accountable.

Getting around Minneapolis

More walks from Max Hailperin’s systematic coverage of Minneapolis’ 87 neighborhoods with Beltrami  and Eastern Bottineau: Prayer After the Storm, both with many photos of the buildings, details, and other sights (and sites) to appreciate at walking pace.

A very different sort of trip is new writer ‘s run to the Northeast Minneapolis Big Box pharmacy resulting in Tripping all the way to Target. On a short run of 1.5 miles, she found 115 tripping hazards and concludes “It’s beyond time for the City to take our pedestrian transportation network seriously. Not only because people should have a safe way to get around on foot, but also because walking and running should be joyful experiences. At human speed, you can take in your surroundings on an intimate level, admiring the sunset and the trees and the architecture and the gardens and, if you’re in Northeast, the weird sculptures in your neighbors’ yards. Until our City makes a serious commitment to maintaining our sidewalks, we’ll be forced to look only at the decaying ground beneath our feet.”

Adam Miller urges us Expand Your Transportation Toolbox. Looking beyond driving as the default, he describes his own efforts “to use the right transportation tool for the task in front of me. If I’m only going a few blocks, I walk. If I’m by myself, the weather is good and the destination is within a few miles (or more miles if I have time to be leisurely), I ride my bike. If it’s too cold or snowing, I take the bus or train. If I have to cover longer distances or need to haul more people or stuff or it’s raining, I drive a car. I use different tools for different jobs, which helps me stay active and maybe even do some good.”

Picture of an uneven sidewalk panel with pill bottle showing that the gap in height between the two sidewalk panels is about 2 inches

Tripping All the Way to Target: The prescription bottle is there to show scale

Important ideas

The Case Against “Neighborhood Character” is not really against neighborhood character, but  criticizes invoking the character of place to justify action (or prevent it): “’Character’ can be used in defense of the status quo, because any development or change can be labelled as harmful to the neighborhood’s current charm.  It can also be used to aggressively push through a poorly thought out development to improve an area’s ‘character.’ Don’t be surprised if it’s used it both ways at the same time, for example, by pushing bad development to restore a neighborhood’s supposedly lost virtue.” The short post generated many comments which give some examples of neighborhood character being used inappropriately, agreeing and disagreeing about the assertions of the post, and some more principled analysis of character and what it is.

Protests and the Political Importance of Public Places is partly a response to recently introduced Minnesota legislation which would expand the punishment for peaceful demonstrations – HF 322 allows governmental units “to sue to recover costs related to unlawful assemblies and public nuisances” and partly Hannah Pritchard thinking aloud about our public spaces, our private spaces, and how they can enable or discourage civic engagement.


Womens’ March, Saint Paul

Quick looks and longer listens

Podcast #97: Cities, Welfare, and Block Grants with Dana DeMaster has Bill Lindeke talking to Dana DeMaster, a program evaluator focusing on poverty and public health programs discussing “how cities and counties deliver welfare and financial assistance for poor families in Minnesota, and how those programs might change in the future.”

National Links: Beg Buttons, Seattle Transit Share and More! is the latest roundup of links from The Direct Transfer.

And that’s the week on Join us this week by writing for us, becoming a member or volunteering on one of our committees and have a great week!

Bottineau: Tree House

Bottineau: Tree House


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