Mid-February, the time we Minnesotans settle in for the rest of winter while dreaming of Spring. But let’s celebrate where we are in the year. Since Valentines Day happened last week, consider what Valentine to Your City you might send. Heidi Schallberg composed a little Valentine to Minneapolis (drawing inspiration from Wausau, Wisconsin): “If I wrote a valentine to my neighbor Minneapolis this week, I would say that I love how it gives me beautiful reasons to walk on frozen lakes in the middle of winter, like the Luminary Loppet and Art Shanties.”
Or, perhaps, follow in Melissa Wenzel’s tracks and challenge yourself to 30 days of Winter Biking. A self-described winter hater as well as someone who was not enjoying the daily commute, she decided to address problems by jumping in with both boots and came to enjoy the ride: “So yes, mid-January, there was one day I didn’t bike. But there were 30 days that I did bike, and I’ve NEVER done anything like that before. Yes, it was cold, yes it was snowy, yes it was nearly 50 one day, yes it was miserable (to start with) and yes it was beautiful. I biked to the doctor, dentist, work, to Costco, to a happy hour, to the St Paul Super Slide at the Saints Ballpark, to Target, to pick up Chinese food take-out, to the liquor store, to a bike advocacy meeting with St. Paul Women on Bikes, to donate blood, to get my hair cut, to get a massage, to door-knock for a state representative candidate, to the pharmacist, to Candyland, to the Como Conservatory, and probably a few other places I can’t remember. I biked over 360 miles in those 30 days. If I averaged 12 miles per hour (I have an electric-assist bike and yes you can use them in the winter), then that means I biked for 30 hours. Outside. In the winter. In the cold, snow, ice, and beauty that is winter.”
It Should Be Easier to Take the Bus says Adam Miller. Having moved from downtown to south Minneapolis after researching transit routes to get downtown to work, he learned some of the nuances the Route 5 bus and its several variants. After finally finding a useful map – the new maps at transit stops – he says “The problem is, aside from happening to encounter one at a stop, or happening to search the route name, I don’t know how you get to this map on the Metro Transit website. Certainly, the page for the 5 doesn’t direct you to it in any obvious way.” Commenters commiserate, but also provide a few suggestions for improvement.
Lou Miranda asks How Do You Create Senior-Focused Transit in a Suburb? and gives us the solution-in-progress now taking shape in Edina. The Edina Transportation Commission, in conjunction with DARTS, is planning a one day a week transit service to serve seniors; all that’s left is working out the details, of which there are many: “With the groundwork done, the ETC circulator subcommittee is now looking to launch a Circulator Task Force, comprising members from the ETC, DARTS, local senior residences, & businesses that seniors frequent. This task force will meet monthly to define the stops, route order, pricing, day of the week, and hours of service. It will also recruit corporate sponsors for the service. DARTS will handle the dispatching & operational side of things.”
You (Should) Have the Right to (A Housing) Attorney says Zachary Wefel. If the Supreme Court has established the court must provide an attorney in criminal prosecutions to defendants who cannot afford one, is providing an attorney for housing disputes less essential? “In cities like New York, San Francisco, Boston, Philadelphia, Washington D.C., the answer is increasingly no. These cities are working to make sure everyone has an attorney for housing issues for people that can’t otherwise afford one. Housing, if we really believe it to be a right, requires that we fund legal representation for all those who need it in housing court.” Minneapolis should do the same with a ballpark figure of $1.5 needed to hire staff to manage the workload.
Just one, this Chart of the Day: Rent Gap Theory “which attempts to explain some of the real estate forces behind gentrification and disinvestment.”