Sunday Summary – May 21, 2017

Looking ahead to the Minneapolis DFL conventions this summer and on to the general election in November, is starting to compile its 2017 Voter Guide. There are already several podcasts with candidates posted and this week we publish the first Minneapolis mayoral candidate to respond to our questions, Captain Jack Sparrow. Our 2013 Voter Guide is also available, if you’d like to check up on what Minneapolis candidates said in the last election and compare to their performance in office or current campaign promises or survey responses. We’ll be posting responses from candidates as they are received.

Hot topics

The proposed bike lanes and/or parking on 38th Street have been discussed here several times in the last few weeks (parking, supporting bike lanes). In Dr. 38th Street Or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Let People Park In the Bike Lane Daniel Choma considers the pluses and minuses of points made by each of the groups discussing the project including local businesses, neighborhood association, and bike advocates but ultimately advocates for neighborhood self-determination over top-down policy: “I believe people have a right to govern themselves, to make their own mistakes, and to build their own neighborhoods.  That’s kind of a beautiful chaotic thing when you think about it, like watching a murder of crows fly or seeing millions of snowflakes fall seemingly in lock step.” But keep reading the comments for an extended conversation about local control and the need for policies to help change the status quo.

Empirically Speaking: There is plenty of parking. Or as it has been interpreted by local businesses: Hey Look! Blue Pac Man!

Walker Angell flags A Relatively Good Bicycle Plan For Snelling From MnDOT & St Paul as part one of three; he reviews plans for Snelling concluding the project is “better than I expected and actually quite good compared to much of what we’ve seen previously. This should result in one of the better bikeways in Saint Paul.” The good bits include floating bus stops, protected bike lanes, and tighter radius junctions, while a critique of what might be needed is promised in part 2.

Proposed Floating Bus Stops on Snelling Ave.

So Much Depends on the Next Six Weeks on Maryland Avenue as Ramsey County is doing a “field test” of a 4-3 lane conversion (a so-called road diet) on Maryland Avenue in Saint Paul for 6 weeks (and an additional six weeks if the test is successful). Bill Lindeke has written much about road safety (just click his name and find all his posts). While celebrating this safety improvement on a street where people walking have been killed, Bill also troubleshoots how test projects have not gone well and suggests some ways to set this project up for success.

Maryland Avenue test configuration


Michael Daigh takes us on a photo-packed Highland Character Quest bike tour which humorously and thoughtfully considers the current neighborhood, the prospect of the Ford Plant redevelopment, and shows us challenges of getting around the area outside of a car. After moving to Highland, he says, “I learned that there are residents of Highland Park, the neighborhood that houses this industrial dump, that are gravely concerned that turning this veritable superfund site into a mixed-use and multi-density development will destroy the “character” of Highland” so he sets on his bike “to discover Highland’s character, and to figure out how it might be in danger.”

Where the sidewalk ends in Highland


Quick looks

Chart of the Day: Minneapolis and Saint Paul Populations as Percent of their Peak shows just that, but the accompanying post and comments consider why Minneapolis lost a much higher percentage of its population than Saint Paul, plus some consideration of other changing demographics.

Map Monday: Duluth as the Center of Half the Country is “a funny map from a civic booster-era advertisement touting the centrality of Duluth in 1888. The cartographer drew a line separating the country into two geographic catchments, the Chicago half and the Duluth half of the USA.”


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