Minneapolis DFL Mayoral and City Council caucuses were held last week and the local elections are heating up. streets.mn’s 2017 Voter Guide is up and beginning to be populated with posts related to the Minneapolis and Saint Paul municipal elections (two podcasts with Minneapolis candidates this week). streets.mn will be circulating a questionnaire to candidates and posting the responses in the Voter Guide as they come in.
This week’s posts
State Employees Lead the Way With Sustainable Transportation Initiatives publicizes an extensive calendar of events in Saint Paul hosted by state agencies for Earth Day (April 22) and Bike Month in May including community fairs, bike rides, and transit initiatives. Melissa Wenzel‘s post highlights some good stuff happening in state government (and see her earlier post on encouraging winter bike commuting by state workers, too)
Minneapolis Residents Opposed Housing for WWII Veterans immediately after World War II. Ryan Johnson uses this short post to remind us of earlier issues in providing affordable housing in Minneapolis. In parallel with opposition to current efforts to increase density and add more affordable units, Minneapolis residents in the 1940s voted against housing projects for the many veterans and state-level action was needed to do more; history might be able to help current policymakers do more.
Mainstreet Hopkins is Almost Perfect with a variety of businesses and attractive storefronts; it’s the sort of place which should be a good place to walk. Sam Newberg took a four block walk which “involved 11 street crossings, and between my refusal to press the beg button and a couple instances of jaywalking, all of them were illegal. How can this be? Simple, really.” Rebuilding Mainstreet involved so “every cross street has a traffic signal, and as is the case in too many instances with new pedestrian facilities, there are push button actuators at every corner for pedestrians to apply to cross the street. This would get old really fast if I had bothered to use them, and taken significantly longer to get where I was going. Moreover, I’m willing to bet this situation causes more than its share of confusion. I guarantee if you venture out on Mainstreet at a busy pedestrian time, you will see many people wait at the corner, see the light turn green but the Don’t Walk signal remain illuminated, uncertain what to do.”
In Community Survey for Phalen Golf Course Reuse, Eric Saathoff provides much information about Phalen Golf Course in addition to the extensive results of a survey about how the space might be reused and concludes “Regardless of the money question for me it all comes down to space. None of the other public goods (aside from parking) take up so much space but serve so few people. Even if these golf courses were profitable it wouldn’t mean they were any more accessible for the majority of residents. Do we want green space for the sake of green space even if we’re not able to use it? Personally I’ve never considered the golf course to be part of the park. In warm weather it’s closed off to me and people like me (non-golfing & non-paying).”
The Lost Right-Of-Way Fee Found at Ford of the post title refers to the Minnesota Supreme Court decision in 2016 finding right-of-way fees used to fund Saint Paul roads were not a fee, but a tax, so tax-exempt properties no longer had to pay this assessment resulting in $30 million in street funding vanishing from the budget. One part of the solution for Tom Basgen is to develop the Ford site more densely: “There is of course no silver bullet for the new hole in our budget, and a dense Ford Site wouldn’t solve any of our immediate woes, but as Saint Paul enters the next decade, we can plan and grow in a way that will ease the burdens of mistakes made in this decade.”
Let’s Make Arcade Street a Walkable Neighborhood Center is another post from Eric Saathoff this week. The post advocates reallocating some of the car space to make Arcade Street a really walkable, bikeable corridor with information about what makes a street walkable, benefits of a walkable neighborhood center, plus a rich collection of information about the street as it is now, plus some sketches of what it could be.
Map: Map Monday: Noise Maps of Minnesota and the Twin Cities is really a couple of different noise maps both with and without airport noise.
Podcast: Two election-related podcasts this week with Bill Lindeke’s conversations Podcast #98: Minneapolis Ward 11 with City Council Candidate Jeremy Schroeder, currently a director of a non-profit focused on affordable housing and Podcast #99: Minneapolis Ward 1 with City Council Candidate Jillia Pessenda, a community organizer.
Links: More National Links: Don’t Forget the Bus! from The Direct Transfer.