Sunday Summary – December 3, 2017

Welcome to December on Here’s the week’s haul:

Join us!

Join December 9 for a Holiday Train Northstar trip! and Join December 12 for Winter Festivities – a fun evening with The Theater for Public Policy, special guests Eric Roper of the Strib and Fred Melo of the Pioneer Press, food, drink, and chance to support


New writers!

This week we have 3 first posts by new writers – welcome to! Photo-blogger Kendra Sundvall shows us New Nicollet Avenue South while remembering pho from the past (and a commenter supplied a photo documenting what used to be).

An Everyday Story of a Burley and a 3-Year-Old is Jeremy Hop’s narrative about a typical morning with his daughter on their way to daycare and work and the simple delights this brings: “Dad and Daughter head out the back door to the garage, where their commuter bicycle and Burley trailer await them.  All strapped up in the trailer with her princess helmet, ready to go. Dad has his GoPro set to record the trip, accompanied by music on a Bluetooth speaker, as requested by Daughter.”

Reconstruct 4th Street the Right Way is a letter from Philip Schwartz asking advocates to contact members of the Minneapolis Transportation and Public Works Committee in advance of a meeting last week about 4th Street: “While I understand the desire to maintain one way traffic for efficiency, one way travel does not make sense for human scaled transportation, especially in dense, destination rich areas like downtown. Surely, despite designing exclusively for eastbound travel, people will continue to ride westbound on 4th St for short jaunts to connect with another downtown bikeway or make a quick trip to another destination on the same street. Only now, it will be done either on the sidewalk or the wrong way in the bike lane.”

Nicollet Avenue (photo Kendra Sundvall)

Bigger reads

Twenty Urbanist Observations From a Trip to Winnipeg Bill Lindeke took recently. Winnipeg is flatter and has smaller trees, among other things, but also longer blocks, no freeways through the center, and much more. With many pictures, take this tour of Winnipeg with an urbanist eye.

Three Short-Term Projects to Make Downtown Saint Paul Safer on Bike is Ethan Osten’s response to Saint Paul Mayor-Elect Melvin Carter III’s statements about bicycle improvements: As I read it, Carter’s suggestion is this: until we have the money to build the Capital City Bikeway to the standard of Jackson St, we should explore opportunities to restripe our streets in less expensive ways to create access in the meantime. In that spirit, I’d like to suggest three projects of just that type for downtown Saint Paul:” (1) making Cedar and Minnesota Streets safer by restriping to allow a buffered bike lane, (2) interim unprotected bike lanes on 10th Street, and (3) another connection on Saint Peter between 10th and John Ireland Boulevard. 

Three Key Concepts in Urban Planning by Tom Basgen is a great little intro to concepts underlying some of the talk about planning in the popular press: “I have also discovered that nearly every citizen is an armchair urban planner, and if we’re going to talk about this anyways, I want to clarify a few jargon terms that have been popping up that aren’t the most intuitive concepts to understand right away. I wanted to have this article on hand so the next time we’re all stuck in the Star Tribune comment section and someone says something stupid, we can link them to this article which they can ignore before unleashing an epithet.” Find out about negative externalities, induced demand, and artificial scarcity with easy to understand examples with an edge.


Quick looks

Map: Map Monday: Minneapolis / Saint Paul Neighborhood #cityburb Demographic “Comps” which is “a pair of fascinating maps from journalistic gadfly, David Brauer, who has been working on a project that pairs urban neighborhoods with their closest demographic equivalents in the suburbs (or Greater Minnesota).”

Charts: Chart of the Day: Deaths per Billion Miles Travelled, US vs Others which shows: “Long story short, we have not made much progress in the last 20 years about improving our road safety.”  And, Chart of the Day: The Consolidation of Dayton’s: “a cool chart from Bloomberg that shows the national consolidation of department stores into just two main brands, Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s.”



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