Flooded sidewalk

Sunday Summary – March 4, 2018

Welcome to March and its basketball and meteorological madness. In news from streets.mn, check out this RFP: streets.mn Seeks Proposals for a Volunteer Support Consultant. Yes, streets.mn is hiring a part-time volunteer coordinator on contract for a six-month pilot to support the organization’s writers. The ultimate goal is to increase the number of volunteer-written posts, learn what support writers request, and assess what support is effective. Click the link and see if this might be a contract position right for you. Or perhaps you are (or have thought about being) a streets.mn writer – please come to our annual Writers Workshop on March 24 to get ideas for writing as well as giving us your feedback.

2016 Writers’ Workshop (Photo: Bill Lindeke)

Seasonal posts

Jeremy Hop laments Navigating the Streams of Sidewalks where the snow cleared from the vehicle travel lanes sits, melts, pools, freezes for transit users and walkers to slog through and makes the simple but powerful observation that “Life as a pedestrian and transit user could be much better if we engineered our pedestrian realm to the same degree we do for automobiles.”

Jennifer Cannon tackles a related Slippery Subject of clearing sidewalks. After a delightful visit to Camp DuNord, where paths were cleared promptly and walking was easy, she returns to her own Saint Paul neighborhood where it is not such easy-going. Building on a City Pages article, she wonders if Saint Paul could clear sidewalks to ensure consistent walkability through the winter. A commenter notes the city of Burlington, VT clears its sidewalks and the result is wonderful, but others have examples of private snow clearing disasters and the obstacles this creates.

Flooded sidewalk

Flooded sidewalk

You Should Ride the Bus says Adam Miller (after having some things to say about transit difficulties last week) noting “I think a lot of Minnesotans from the suburbs, taking the bus is not something that a person who can afford otherwise does. But it should be. For lots of reasons.” The reasons include reducing the environmental impact, avoiding the hassle and cost of parking, getting a little exercise, and having the chance to do things other than watching the road. Commenters agree in principle, but many point out how trying to take transit from one suburb to another would take hours rather than minutes for their commutes or have some analysis of how Metro Transit might connect places better.

In The Original Dan Patch Line: LRT Potential, Eric Ecklund considers the “original Dan Patch Line, known as the High Line, was built in 1910 between South Minneapolis and Northfield. Before the Dan Patch Line (later Minneapolis Northfield & Southern Railway or MN&S) had direct access to Downtown Minneapolis, trains went through Bloomington, Richfield, and terminated in South Minneapolis (just north of present-day Highway 62).” Citing significant advantages, this post imagines several light rail alternatives (including linking with subway or streetcar lines). Commenters have some refinements, questions about costs, and suggestions about bus rapid transit.

Doesn’t this look like a bus you’d like to ride?

Special election season kickoff

Russ Stark resigned from his Saint Paul Ward 4 City Council seat to take a position in new Mayor Melvin Carter’s administration; a special election will be held August 14, 2018 to elect a replacement. Monica Millsap Rasmussen, a Ward 4 resident, wrote to candidates to ask specific questions about the neighborhood. In person conversations followed and here is a report on the first of those with Amy Ireland: Candidates for Saint Paul Ward 4: Amy Ireland on Development Surrounding the Soccer Stadium. Read the post for more of how Ireland believes that “solutions come from the bottom up. I want to start working with those who are already here.”

Amy Ireland, Ward 4 Saint Paul City Council candidate

Quick looks, links and longer listens

Listen: In the latest Podcast #109: Walking Every Street in Minneapolis with Max Hailperin, Bill Lindeke talks to Max Hailperin, the man behind the posts detailing his walks through Minneapolis: “Hailperin maps neighborhoods, figures out the most mathematically efficient route through the neighborhoods, walks every street, and then writes about it on his website” and we have been cross-posting the picture and story filled accounts of each neighborhood.

Look: Two charts this week with Chart of the Day: Hamline-Midway vs. Dayton, Ohio vs. Williamsburg, Brooklyn charts a comparison of Hamline Midway. Scott Schafer, the source of the chart says: “Hamline Midway in St. Paul (which CURA designates as gentrifying) looks more like a declining rust belt town than a hot urban neighborhood.” Chart of the Day: Revenue Projections from MnDOT Freeway Tolls charts MnDOT’s estimated revenues “from a hypothetical freeway tolling program that might place tolls on key freeways like Interstates 94 and 35(W) and US highways 169, 610, and 52.”

Look again: Map Monday: US Economic Impacts of Climate Change released by the Federal Government Accountability Office.

Links: From The Overhead Wire, here are more National Links: AI Zoning and Taxing Uber.

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 BetseyBuckheit.com.