Sunday Summary – May 7, 2017

A busy first week of May here on streets.mn with multiple opportunities to get involved (see Public service announcements), consideration of particular places, and longer posts thinking about bigger issues. We’d like you to get involved, too, by writing for us, volunteering, or supporting streets.mn financially – streets.mn is 100% volunteer and member-supported, so we really do need you.

Public service announcements

This week, several posts announce meetings or events of interest to streets.mn readers, as well as Board Here with Bikes by Heidi Schallberg highlighting Blue Line improvements with “platform decals that show riders with bikes where the light rail doors will be closest to the bike racks inside the train.”

Jane’s Walk Festival Starts this Weekend from Carol Swenson highlights a series of walks “to celebrate their communities and the legacy of Jane Jacobs. These free walks led by community members are meant to spark a conversation about a place, issue, idea, or all of the above. Walks are a chance to learn, tell stories, ask questions, and start a dialogue.”

The deadline is May 12 to Apply for the Minneapolis Pedestrian Advisory Committee!  Julia Curran’s post tells about the committee, what it does, why it’s important plus her own pathway to the PAC

Nathan Van Wylen tells us Why I Support Bicycle and Pedestrian Safety on 38th Street East to highlight the May 9, 2017 community meeting for the 38th Street bikeway project and provide links to a petition supporting bike lanes and additional project information.

A birds-eye illustration of a busy crosswalk and bump out with many people in bright colors crossing and walking to and fro. Text on the image reads: you walk in mpls? you care about walking? you’re a mpls walking expert! Apply to serve on the Minneapolis Pedestrian Advisory Committee! With other community members, advise our Mayor and City Council to improve walking safety, mobility, accessibility, and comfort; to promote walking for transportation, recreation, community-building, and health; and to strengthen the link between our streets and public transportation. No previous experience necessary! This is a volunteer position, but you’ll learn about the city and have a real impact on projects and policy. Apply by May 12: http://tiny.cc/iwalkmpls

Wonderful walks

Western Central continues Max Hailperin’s Minneapolis neighborhood walks; this one hugs the side of I-35W and offers us another serving of architecture, history, and interesting walk-level details.

April 29 was Independent Bookstore Day and Janelle Nivens took a walk, an Independent Bookstore Day Walk which documents her 20 mile walk and reviews the bookstores visited along the way (plus a list of books purchased for some reading inspiration, too).

Janelle and the books purchased at Moon Palace Books - How to Walk by Thich Nhat Hanh and Flâneuse: Women Walk the City in Paris, New York, Tokyo, Venice and London by Lauren Elkin

The books I purchased at Moon Palace Books – How to Walk by Thich Nhat Hanh and Flâneuse: Women Walk the City in Paris, New York, Tokyo, Venice and London by Lauren Elkin

Streets

Tom Basgen reviews The Reclamation of Snelling Avenue with an assessment of where this important corridor is now, planned projects and possibilities: “Snelling Avenue is a wound on Saint Paul.  A north/south gash bisecting the city’s west side.  It’s a road that fails to serve anyone outside of a car in any meaningful way, but at most times fails the driving public it has been built to cater to.  Snelling has a grim record. Pedestrians crossing anywhere but signaled lights, spaced a half mile apart, require strong legs and good cardio.  Cyclists laugh and roll their eyes when asked if they ride there.  Motorists bemoan the tangled snarl as Snelling passes 94 and University.  Nearly every Minnesotan has a story of woe involving Snelling and the end of a long day at the State Fair, but times change and there are people hard at work transforming Snelling from a misplaced freeway into an avenue that serves the communities it runs through instead of the vehicle traffic trying to run through the community.”

Safer Mississippi River Roads are Long Overdue says Bill Lindeke: “And whenever I ride along the River Road, I’m struck by how dangerous many of the intersections remain, despite the low design speeds and high bike/ped counts. Tragic situations like Spoo’s death seem all too easy, and people — especially bikers — seem to be dodging speeding cars by the minute.” The post catalogs some of the worst trouble spots, brainstorms some solutions, and advocates for putting safety for people outside of cars first.

MN Roads: Expansion, Improvement, Dead People considers how Minnesota road projects could improve safety. Walker Angell thinks out loud: “Here’s a thought. No road expansion projects, no new roads or added lanes, until traffic engineers reduce the number of people killed on the roads they design to some reasonable number” Continuing “My proposal for a reasonable number then is the OECD average of 51 fatalities per million people. That should be achievable. And then three years after attaining that the target increases to 90% of the OECD average, which today would be 46 fatalities per million people or 248 people killed on Minnesota roads. And yes I just suggested that killing 248 innocent people is reasonable. Think about that for a moment.”

Minneapolis River Road 1910

History and politics

We Should Have a State Parliament says Joe Scott. Considering the problem of progressive cities having less influence at the state level because of the current system of representation, he suggests “The best and probably the only way to ensure self determination for cities is to make significant changes to the structure of state government. Fortunately, this is perfectly doable, and the mechanisms are already in place” and proposed abolishing the current legislature and instituting a state parliament with proportional representation. The comments consider some of the pluses and minuses of this proposal, while agreeing the current system is deeply flawed.

Victoria Park: A Short History of Intentions  by Dana DeMaster is self-summarizing: The vigorous and spirited debate about the future of the Ford Plant site in Highland Park got me thinking about another large, polluted, previously industrial site in Saint Paul. The history of development of Victoria Park, which is bounded by West 7th Street, Otto Avenue, and Shepard Road, offers a lesson in plans changing over time. This is a short history of the 65-acre site and the changes that occurred from plans that had original goals of a “mixed-use urban village” that would be “pedestrian-friendly, transit-oriented community that provides a range of housing choices and prices” that would “reweave’ the urban fabric.[1]” The post reviews what was planned, what obstacles appeared, and what has been built in the 20+ years since this area began to be redeveloped.

Page 16 from the Victoria Park Plan

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