If you haven’t already, mark your calendar to attend the annual Writers Workshop on March 24. Not sure you want to be a writer? Consider the impact of writing for streets.mn: Heidi Schallberg wrote a post about the chilling effect of requiring people to state their full name and address at Saint Paul public meetings; this week Saint Paul’s Public Engagement Tweak is a Small Step Toward Equity and Democracy is Bill Lindeke’s report on changes made: now those who speak must sign in, but not state their address in their testimony.
Getting around on foot, road and rail
Monte Castleman continues his series on state highways in A History of Minnesota’s Highways Part Two (Part 1 is here): “Now it’s time to cover the involvement of the state. As early as 1890 there was state involvement in highways, with the state contributing funds towards the Old Cedar and Bloomington Ferry Bridges. A 1898 constitutional amendment allowed the state to directly be involved in road and bridge construction, which started with the establishment of the State Highway Commission in 1905. By the 1910s it was obvious the auto was the wave of the future for personal travel and trucks for commerce was imminent, so demand for more and better roads continued. The Good Roads Movement, initially formed by bicyclists in the 1870s, turned towards lobbying for roads for automobiles in the early part of the last century.” The post has deep detail about routes, includes maps, and more.
Returning to the Rails in South Dakota by Mike Hicks continues his periodic looks at passenger rail around the region (see previous posts here): “The current status for passenger rail in South Dakota is simple to convey: There isn’t any. There is at least one heritage railroad operation (the Black Hills Central Railroad in the southwest is most well-known), but there aren’t any true intercity train routes, making South Dakota unique among the states.” But, looking back to earlier routes, the post constructs a network map connecting all cities larger than 5,000 people in South Dakota.
The Park Board is Failing Pedestrians along Minnehaha Parkway says Adam Miller. He wrote about the Minnehaha Parkway and Cedar Avenue intersection a few years ago and that particular place hasn’t improved for people walking or rolling and expanding the scope to Minnehaha Parkway shows the Park Board does not make it easy for people walking or rolling along. Many images show the problem in both winter and summer and the post asks readers for more input about how the Park Board is doing and there are a few more examples there of places which need help.
Following an earlier post opposing rent control, Tom Basgen asks some bigger questions in On Rent Control like: “The question we should be asking is: what kind of protection can we offer people without dealing damaging results to others?” Rather than complaining about rent control by itself, the post considers supply, assistance to vulnerable people, and better ways to help people afford a place to live.
On the supply side of the housing issue, Anton Schieffer reports on the New Housing Coming to Sons of Norway Site. After summarizing the opposition to the Uptown project, the post looks at how unaffordable the neighborhood is right now, and how the new housing would provide a more affordable choice for people looking to live close to transit, shopping, and more.
Eric Saathoff asks for Winter Bikeway Priorities in St. Paul. Highlighting “the city’s stated priority for snow plowing: “Our first focus is on safe and passable main streets.” This needs to apply equally to our bicycle “main streets.” While the city is doing a great job on off-street bikeways, we need to refocus efforts on “major bikeways” that have in-street lanes.” Commenters provide some specific examples, both positive and negative, as well as some process solutions.
Quick looks and a long walk
Map: Map Monday: US Economic Indices from Brookings includes two maps from their Metro Monitor report, the growth index and the inclusion index (“inclusion”, a combination of overall wages, “relative earnings poverty”, and employment rate) where MSP metro ranks 13th.
Chart: Chart of the Day: Metro Restaurant Trends, Chains versus Locals charts Yelp reviews showing “broad trends over time that show online reviewers are more and more likely to be critical of chain restaurants and positive about local or independent restaurants.”