Sunday Summary – February 25, 2018

The 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea ended today with Afton, MN native Jessie Diggins carrying the American flag in the closing ceremonies. Earlier in the week, Jessie and teammate Kikkan Randall (she’s from Alaska) won the first ever gold medal in cross country skiing for the US (and only the second medal of any color after Bill Koch’s silver back in 1976). While this story is at best tangentially related to, it’s still a good one and a positive one in the face of a lot more bad news. Meanwhile, here’s the week:

A little Minneapolis and more Saint Paul

Paul Jahn finds Late Winter Beauty in Form and Function at the U of M in some of the less obvious places. Beautiful buildings, streets that work well, and noticing beauty in having bike lanes (and hoping for better).

Alas, the Minnesota State Capitol is the Anti-Madison says Bill Lindeke. Contrasting the Minnesota and Wisconsin Capitol areas, looking at the Saint Paul complex, :From an urbanist perspective, the area resembles the capitol of a 1970s Soviet republic, windswept and barren. The closest thing to a “civic building” along the mall is the History Center, and even it turns its back to John Ireland Boulevard and is perched awkwardly along some freeway on-ramps and deadly Kellogg Boulevard. The other post-war capitol complex buildings are featureless modernism lacking any engaging detail along the street frontage.” Madison, meanwhile is walkable, surrounded by a rich urban landscape, and deeply embedded in its city, rather than isolated from it.

Saint Paul’s History vs. Saint Paul’s Future by Tom Basgen laments “historically based denial advocacy” as a trending tactic in opposing denser development in older neighborhoods saying, ” As we enter 2018 and work to address the housing needs in the Twin Cities, I urge you to watch the discussions around development with a critical eye. Density will remain the core point of contention. Our willingness to share, be it space or resources, is the root from which all other arguments arise, but history in this moment is primed to become the context in which we argue about density going forward in Saint Paul.” Commenters are largely (but not entirely) not sympathetic and criticize the proposed 1973 Marshall project as ugly.

Capitol temporary parking lot

Quick looks and a long walk

Links: More links from The Overhead Wire this week National Links: National Housing Movement Heats Up.

Map: Map Monday: Minneapolis Transit Gap Map highlights a new mapping tool which identifies transit gaps using “a combination of population data and transit service data to figure out where the biggest mismatches between density / population and transit service exist.”

Walk: East Calhoun (ECCO) is another walk with Max Hailperin, this time along the eastern shore of Bde Maka Ska. At this time of year, it is visually refreshing to see the pictures of flowers and think of walking past interesting buildings and places in warmer weather.

Transit Gap map

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