Last week, we received the first Saint Paul mayoral candidate response from Green Party candidate Elizabeth Dickinson; stay tuned for more candidates from the local elections in both Minneapolis and Saint Paul as the weeks go by. All our election-related content will be collected in our 2017 Voter Guide: candidate questionnaire responses, podcasts with candidates and more. If there are transportation and land use issues you think should be discussed in these elections, think about writing about them for us – we welcome your perspectives. Plus don’t forget the annual streets.mn picnic on July 15; we’d love to see you there.
New streets.mn board member Angelina McDowell writes her first post and asks for some NoMi Love for her North Minneapolis neighborhood and tells us about good stuff happening there: “My goal of writing for streets.mn is to help change the narrative of what is being portrayed about the Northside. I want to highlight stories about the work being done here – that has always been going on. I want to feature stories in a day in the life of my neighbors, and that feature the livability of North. We are more than gangs and gun violence. Like an individual person, we are a complex and diverse community, just like the rest of Minneapolis. We work hard, we are people who care and actively strive to create a safe place for ourselves and families, and we show each other love – NoMi Love.”
My Front Porch and Why I Love It – Volume 1 is a perfect summer post and we can look forward to more. Hannah Pritchard takes us to her front porch, its shade, conversation, sights and sounds. Read the post and enjoy the view:
The City That Made Me an Urbanist is York, England for Ben Surma. A study abroad opportunity brought an epiphany about urban design: “Within York, the mobility culture defaults to a hierarchy where walking, biking, and transit come first while cars come afterward. While a student, I interned for the City of York at their head offices. One of my favorite observations to share back here in the States is about how the city office building I worked in had 1,200 employees and zero employee parking. Employees relied entirely on non-automobile options to commute. The building had a bicycle “garage” for employees with space for 250 bikes, along with lockers and shower facilities for those biking to work. People-oriented mobility is simply the default mindset. Just imagine that in the Twin Cities!”
Closer to home, Wyoming is Asking the Right Questions About Job Creation for James Warden. In Wyoming, some “lawmakers concluded that new jobs a business wants the state to subsidize would actually hurt the budget. Their conclusions came after seeing eye-popping numbers about taxes paid compared to government services used.” In Minnesota, we’ve seen public subsidy programs to create jobs, but little analysis of the cost of doing this; “there’s a big difference between supporting our state’s vulnerable and actively competing to attract jobs whose costs outweigh their benefits. Unsustainable job creation only makes it harder to help those in need by further stressing Minnesota’s limited resources.”
Ride your bike near and far
Local biking artist Ken Avidor (and riding and sketching spouse Roberta) took their folding bikes on the train to try Biking the Indianapolis Cultural Trail: “The Cultural Trail is an 8-mile urban bike and pedestrian path in downtown Indianapolis. Besides serving as a connector for neighborhoods, museums, parks, and greenways, the Cultural Trail is designed to be an attraction itself with gardens, public art, and public places. The Indy Cultural Trail serves as an example of what could be done to revitalize our own capital city. Saint Paul has started work on the Capital City Bikeway (CCB), but it has stalled for lack of funding and political will. The Indy Cultural Trail is an example of what the CCB could be.” Lots of photos of the trail and surrounding attractions, too, while commenters pick up on the possibilities for Saint Paul and discuss planned improvements.
Amy Gage tries Cycling to the Symphony: A Noteworthy Experience. A bit of background: The Minnesota Orchestra reached out to streets.mn offering free tickets to any of our bloggers to bike to Orchestra Hall and write about it; the goal was to help publicize the Bike to Orchestra Hall program and gather some stories about the experience (you can also bike to a concert, show your bike gear, and get 50% off tickets to a future concert – see the link). Amy’s post describes her ride plus gives a handy how-to guide for others who might be thinking about riding to a concert including clothing, taking advantage of lockers at Orchestra Hall, refreshments, transit connections, and more. A few more writers will be telling their stories in weeks to come.
If the Center of the American Experiment Wants to Fix Congestion, They Should Fight for Telecommuting addresses the conservative Center of the American Experiment report calling for adding lanes to Twin Cities highways to relieve traffic congestion rather than spending money on transit. Matt Eckholm gives a different response which “actually checks a number of boxes on a conservative priority list:” promoting telecommuting. Telecommuting initiatives could include tax breaks to companies encouraging telecommuting, allows cities to use current resources widely, and let people choose where they want to live along with appealing to millenials. Comments include a response from the Center of the American Experiment emphasizing their plan focuses on road pricing to fund expansion and doubting whether telecommuting could reduce driving significantly. Other readers pick up on transit issues and asking for congestion pricing.
Look, Link & Listen
Listen: Here to There Podcast Episode 4: LIVABILITY | aging in place is the next podcast from Here to There on the human impacts of commuting (earlier episodes are here); this time the focus is on older adults and helping them get around in the places they already live.
Links: National Links: McMansions, Congestion Pricing and Air Quality gives you more interesting links from the Direct Transfer.