Sunday Summary – April 1, 2018

Welcome to April! This is not the April Fool’s edition of the Sunday Summary, but a quick guide to what was really published on last week.

Saint Paul

Candidates for Ward 4: Shirley Erstad on Development in Ward 4 and Community Engagement continues Monica Milsap Rasmussen’s interviews with Ward 4 candidates in advance of the special election. This week Monica talks to Shirley Erstad, Executive Director for Friends of the Parks and Trails of Saint Paul and Ramsey County about development, diversity, and district councils.

Ayd Mill Road: Pothole’d Saint Paul’s Impending Money Pit takes a look at the (poor) condition of Saint Paul streets and the (small) budget for fixing them in the city’s 5-year capital projects plan. The worse news, says Bill Lindeke, is that “for the first time in my career as a Planning Commissioner, the 5-year budget plan included a line item for Ayd Mill Road (AMR). An Ayd Mill Road extension to I-94 also appears in the city’s draft Comprehensive Plan, on the “freeway expansion” map. These items are a terrible waste of money.”

Or, just take a little tour of Saint Paul alleys with Tom Basgen in Saint Paul Alley Cat and fine some quirky and interesting things along the way.

Saint Paul alley


Getting around

Would It Make Financial Sense to Drop A Car? asks Leslie MacKenzie in this piece cross-posted from her blog Think Of It As An Adventure. She works out the numbers using NerdWallet’s Car Cost Calculator and then figuring in her other transportation costs (parking, transit, etc.). Commenters add some thoughts about the calculations, as well as offering some perspective from their own experiences.

Please Share Your Thoughts about the Lyndale and Lake Intersection links to a survey for you to register your opinions about walking and rolling through and near the Lyndale and Lake intersection in Uptown. Janelle Nivens explains “In response to the City of Minneapolis Pedestrian Crash Study, the Pedestrian Work Group for Our Streets Mpls is profiling some of the most dangerous intersections.”

Lyndale and Lake Street intersection

Minneapolis fourplexes

Not So Tall After All is a comment by Adam Miller on the “Four-plexes everywhere” proposal trying to tamp down the panicky rhetoric that allowing fourplexes would be neighborhood scale and “With this reform, those structures could be two, three or four units, instead of the current large single family homes. That means more people can live in the neighborhood, meaning more customers for local businesses like Hot Plate around the corner. It means more potential riders to join me to commute downtown on the 14 one block over on Bloomington. It means more people who can enjoy the parks and Lake Nokomis, just blocks away. It means more people who can walk to stuff. It means a broader tax base to help maintain all of those resources.”

Following up on Not So Tall, John Edwards writes that not only would buildings be not so tall, but changes under the proposed new zoning would be not so fast in Zoning Reform and the Pace of Neighborhood Change saying, “Small changes over an entire city can add up.  But allowing two-, three-, and four-family homes in formerly single family neighborhoods will not radically transform individual neighborhoods overnight, or even over the course of 40 years. Just because something is allowed, doesn’t mean it becomes mandatory. But it does mean small changes would be possible, creating more housing choice across every neighborhood in the city.”

housing zoning

Interior 1 zoning illustration from Minneapolis 2040 draft plan

Quick looks, longer listens

Explore: Follow National Links: Suburban Poverty, Opportunity Zones, and Sustainability to more information from The Overhead Wire.

Chart: Chart of the Day: Saint Paul Housing Cost vs. Income for Renters and Homeowners from “a wonderful new draft of a document called the “Housing Conditions and Trends Inventor, Needs Assessment, and Implementation Strategy” from the Saint Paul Planning and Economic Department that was released last week in conjunction with the draft Comprehensive Plan. It is chock full of housing data, including lots of information about the current state of affairs and trends around affordable housing in Saint Paul.”

Map: Map Monday: Future Land Use Draft Maps for Minneapolis and Saint Paul show the proposed future land uses for both Minneapolis and Saint Paul as the cities update their Comprehensive Plans. After you look at these maps, you can review the draft Minneapolis plan here, and Saint Paul here.

Listen: Keep listening to another installment of the Deep North podcast with Skyway Schism: Beyond the Binary.


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