Sunday Summary – August 20, 2017

Coming up this week is the much anticipated solar eclipse. Unfortunately, Minnesota is not in the path of totality for the eclipse, but fortunately the Federal Highway Administration has provided helpful travel and road information for those planning to go find the best viewing location. Also fortunately, you’ll be able to see the eclipse and get back in time for the start of the Minnesota State Fair (get in the spirit and read some posts about the Fair here).


Al Davison continues his coverage of how to get around Little Canada with Little Canada’s “Other” Transportation Infrastructure: Bicycling (See Transit: Parts One and Two, and Walking). “Biking can be rather difficult in Little Canada, depending on where you are. We have one route with bike lanes, which is Edgerton Street near Lake Gervais. Other routes have “bike area” lanes or “bikeable shoulders”, such as Rice Street and Little Canada Road. The few trails that currently exist in Little Canada tend to be disjointed.” But, there’s more detail in the post, plus maps and suggestions including the first-person story of biking to Saint Paul from Little Canada.

Farther north to another suburb, Adventures in Suburbia: Building Affordable Housing in Blaine by Julie Kosbab critiques a recently approved high density development in Blaine (after avoiding greater density for years) and its location next to a Gun Club, with affordable units only for seniors, and other limitations.

Much farther north, Bemidji: A Town After my Heart takes us way out of the Metro. Dana DeMaster says “I realize that New Ulm is the urbanist’s dream and I truly do enjoy New Ulm (Herman the German – great!). However, Bemidji is giving New Ulm a run for its money. I adore Bemidji. Work travel used to take me there once or twice a year and now vacations do. Take note, urbanists! Over the last few years Bemidji has made some simple, but effective improvements to their downtown that have improved the walking and biking experience.” The post details improvements, gives some context, and suggests a few more changes. There’s probably still time for a road trip before school starts.


Cool mural with a northern theme in Bemidji


Saint Paul

The Ford Site Debate is Also About Equity says Bill Lindeke. Recently, the Saint Paul Planning Commission approved plans for the Ford site after many meetings, multiple studies, and hundreds of comments. Those who oppose the development cite parking and traffic congestion, but also the possible TIF financing. “Here’s the key point. When people in Highland are asking for “reduced density” on the Ford site, they are, in a sense, asking the rest of Saint Paul to subsidize Highland, one of the wealthiest parts of the city. A “low density” Ford Site with more parks and “reduced congestion” would amount to taking tax money from the rest of Saint Paul” rather than working to create a Saint Paul which works for all its residents, not just the rich and privileged. Also read Bill’s earlier post looking at some details of the plans for the Ford Site.

A New Vision Zero for St. Paul: Part 2 – Evaluation continues Michael Daigh’s review of Vision Zero in Saint Paul. Part one “outlined “five Es” of implementing the plan: Evaluation, Engineering, Enforcement, Education, and Encouragement.” This post looks at Evaluation with Engineering to follow in a subsequent post. “Saint Paul has taken important first steps in the Evaluation component of Vision Zero, with the inclusion of pedestrian and bicycle planners in City Hall, as well as the corresponding plans. The draft of the new pedestrian plan can be found online, and Fay Simer, the new pedestrian advocate, is getting underway with public outreach, as well as securing a contractor for a comprehensive pedestrian study.” 

Other ideas

Aaron Isaacs reports first that Metro Transit Gets Greener with charts detailing the increase in miles per gallon and the decrease in tailpipe emissions for Metro Transit buses. Then, The Quarterly Transit Report–August 2017 details many cuts in service, reviews West End and Route 9 changes in Saint Louis Park, and describes a trip from Shakopee to Minneapolis for a first person look at transit to/from the suburbs.

Seems Worth Thinking About This Expo 2023 Thing says Alex Schieferdecker.  Expo 2023 is a World’s Fair to showcase social, technological and scientific advances and it could be held in Minneapolis if the City’s bid is successful. “One thing that has been decided is the Expo’s theme. Minnesota has pitched a theme of “Healthy People, Healthy Planet,” which seems a fitting way to stroke the state’s ego as a health and environmental leader. But there’s a lot we don’t know, especially about the event’s staging.” This post looks at questions of how to site such an event and “This is just spitballing, but the potential of this event to create something great, or to instead create a useless park, seems strong incentive for the community and others of similar persuasion to get more deeply involved if Minnesota wins the bid.”

Quick looks and longer listens

Map: Map Monday: US Supercommuting Trends looks at where the super-long commutes of 90 minutes or more happen.

Charts: Three Charts of the Day this week with US Speeding-related Fatalities by Speed Limit and Land UseUS Pedestrian Deaths by Race/Ethnicity and Poverty versus Distance from City Center.

Listen: Podcast #104: Redesigning Maryland Avenue with Jim McDonough is a conversation with Bill Lindeke and Ramsey County Commissioner McDonough about the 4-3 conversion trial on Maryland Avenue in Saint Paul.



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