Sunday Summary – March 18, 2018

March continues and Spring will officially be here before the next Sunday Summary. Also before the next Summary is the annual Writers Workshop (here’s the Facebook event)and you’re invited. What, you don’t write for us? If you already write, have thought about writing for us, or even just think about your Minnesota city or town and how it works, you should come and meet our editors, find out more about writing, talk to fellow writers or people who are thinking about writing. Then, join us for food and drink, too.

2016 Writers’ Workshop (Photo: Bill Lindeke)


The Quarterly Transit Report–March 2018 reviews what’s happened at Metro Transit in the last 3 months. Aaron Isaacs says there are no major changes to report this time, but several important updates on Park and Ride usage, transit use (“Light rail is up by 4% and Northstar commuter rail by 12%. Local buses are down 4% and express buses by 2%.”), and pedestrian access to transit issue (as Fall into the (Sidewalk) Gap, below, considers, too).

The Laundry List of Rapid Transit Routes is a future transit system designed by Eric Ecklund which tries to plan for “a few simple facts. 1) Not everyone wants to live in the city. 2) Not everyone wants to live in the suburbs. 3) Not all of the jobs are in downtown. 4) Not all of the jobs are in the suburbs. What I’m trying to say is that we should have a transit system built for urban and suburban residents, and balancing priority as we invest in rapid transit routes.”

Landon Biehl advises you to Ditch Your Car Keys for Rideshare. After finally trying Uber, he hits some reasons why it is not only personally convenient, but has positive impacts on cities, too.



Fall into the (Sidewalk) Gap between cities, Jeremy Hop looks at a particular gap in the sidewalk network in “a “dead zone” between adjoining municipalities. Anoka to the northwest and Coon Rapids to the southeast, along East River Rd / Coon Rapids Blvd.” The post asks why the pedestrian infrastructure in this busy, transit-served corridor can’t be completed along with the other development.

In Walkington, D.C., Jennifer Cannon compares walking around the US Capitol, Georgetown and and Washington, DC with its mixed use, pleasant to walk pattern to Saint Paul in light of the “anti-Madison” Minnesota State Capitol: “in the half mile walk from the hotel to George Washington University, where our meetings were held, were several restaurants, a Whole Foods, a plethora of Starbucks, and a Metro stop. I couldn’t have really asked for more. (Cherry blossoms would have been too much to ask in early March.)”

Sidewalk Gaps


Introducing a new partnership this week with two podcasts from . The first, Introducing Deep North Podcast, does just that to kick off the series which tells “stories from the food scene, the art scene, and the sidewalk scene of MSP, reimagining the city’s potential to enhance the lives of those who call it home.” The second, Why Minneapolis St. Paul? features Jay Walljasper and Alexandra Connett discussing the image of MSP.


In Fourplexes Everywhere? Bold Reform Proposed in MinneapolisJohn Edwards explains and celebrates the recent news that Minneapolis is considering changing zoning to permit fourplexes in most neighborhoods: “It’s one part of a larger draft comprehensive plan that hasn’t yet been made public. If implemented, it would be the boldest land-use reform in the country, reversing a decades-long trend of restrictions that have contributed to higher housing costs and racial/economic segregation.” Reasons this proposal is good include helping relieve the housing shortage, providing more affordable housing, responding to resident concerns about building large multi-family buildings, and helping remove exclusionary zoning barriers and more.

Living in Union Depot is only partly about housing. Wolfie Browender gets off his bike and tells us the history of Saint Paul’s Union Depot, looks at its renovated features, and introduces us to some of the people who live in the condos which now occupy part of the depot plus a bonus story about window washing (and the people who do it).

The view from Union Depot



A Tale of Two Development Proposals by Matt Eckholm describes renderings of two projects presented recently at Downtown Minneapolis Neighborhood Association. One project is the new Thrivent headquarters, a large boxy building designed by Minneapolis architecture firm HGA; the other is Eleven, a distinctive luxury condo building, designed by Robert A.M. Stern architecture: “Ultimately, both towers will add to the Downtown Minneapolis population, adding to the vibrancy of the city. But only one of them is a truly exciting project.”

Eleven: Wow.


Continuing the series of interviews with Ward 4 Special election candidates by Monica Milsap Rasmussen, this week meet  Mitra Jalali Nelson on Developing Ward 4’s Vacant Areas and read the background on candidates plus responses to questions about development in the neighborhood around the new soccer stadium.

Quick looks

Chart: Chart of the Day: Transit Use per capita for Global Metros does not include MSP, but has some interesting observations about why US transit use is lower than other metro areas around the world.

Map: Map Monday: US Black Homeownership Inequality “shows the size and scale of the gap in homeownership rates between African-Americans and whites in the US.” Minneapolis and Saint Paul has the widest gap.

Links: More links from the Overhead Wire with National Links: Urban Emissions Higher Than We Thought

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