Sunday Summary – July 9, 2017

Image of Sunday Summary logoBy the next Sunday Summary, the annual picnic will be over and I can summarize what you missed. Wouldn’t it be more fun to join us at The Summer Picnic is July 15! (and the short, informal meeting with the board beforehand) than just read about it later?  A short holiday week means a smaller haul of good content on, but we’ve got this good stuff:

Take a walk

Keep walking with Max Hailperin through Minneapolis neighborhoods; this time through Southeastern Columbia Park: Golf Course, Rail Yards, Cemetery, etc..  Somewhat different from earlier walks, this one doesn’t weave back and forth along a grid of streets, but traces the perimeter of Columbia Park to show us green space and more industrial landscapes.

Planning and public engagement

Should City Planners Let People Kill Themselves? asks Jason Brisson.   He uses this example: “To determine the final design of the roadway, the bottom-up planning process (where the entire community is engaged in the planning process and a consensus is reached of how to proceed) is utilized. The resulting community consensus is to reject the proposed new safety elements and rebuild the roadway in the exact same manner as before the rebuild.” What duty do planners have to intervene? The post ends with a list of additional questions about improving community input, considering whether planners should do more to educate their communities, and more.

In response, Dana DeMaster advocates for Real Public Engagement with a catalog of issues and concrete solutions for making community input more equitable, more complete, and more meaningful: “Whether it is an event my organization is holding or an event I am attending, there are two big failures that we need to address if we are to get authentic community engagement. First, most meetings are exclusionary. Second, the sponsoring organization must recognize that they are taking from the community. Authentic engagement requires reciprocity.” This post is one of those which should be shared with city staff, community advocates, and anyone else trying to improve the process.

Children have important feedback, too.

Public policy

Walker Angell thinks Trump Infrastructure Plan Needs A Better Funding Source. “Rather than our current tax and spend system, Trump’s plan hides the costs of infrastructure in ‘privatization’. On the plus side, it does do it in a way that those costs will eventually be aligned with usage decisions through tolls. That’s good, but tolls are a complicated, sporadic, and very limited system. It will only work with roads used enough to be effectively tolled, it won’t eliminate rat runs through non-tolled bits (cities, neighborhoods and quiet backroads) to avoid toll charges, and makes planning difficult for businesses who won’t know when and where tolls will or won’t be. It’s a 1960’s solution.” Instead, finding a way to link usage with payment for doing so is the key including wheelage taxes, congestion pricing, etc.

DHL Cubecycle for urban deliveries

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