Sunday Summary – April 8, 2018

Of course, last week was April Fools’ Day, but the Summary preceded the joke. Here’s the Foolish offering from Bill Lindeke adding yet another hazard to the SWLRT process: Endangered Kenilworth Shark Another Hurdle for Light Rail Planners.



How Many Homes Does Minneapolis Need? asks Anton Schieffer. Looking beyond the discussions of building affordable housing, housing finance, and similar questions this posts asks how many homes are needed for the people who are already here, the people who will arrive, and a vacancy allowance: “So if we start from the premise that every person in our city and region should have a secure place to live, what does that look like? It requires a whole lot more homes. Today, I’m going to talk about how many we need in Minneapolis. Let’s set aside how we finance all of them (some mix of public subsidy, the market, and other creative ideas too) for another time.” Short answer: 20,000 in the next 5 years.

The Last Temptation of the YIMBY is a very real-world, must-read post of the struggle between progressive intentions and one’s own neighborhood. Aaron Berger asks, “Does it make me a NIMBY if I support comprehensive plan upzoning to fourplexes, but balk at permitting multiple parcels to be combined to build larger apartment buildings?” The post goes on to think about the fear of change in a neighborhood and managing the gut-level reaction with more rational consideration.

Neighbors for More Neighbors

Getting around

Winter is When We Need Alternative Transit the Most says Ian Young, because “Winter is when the negative externalities of driving are highest. If we can take one car off the road on a winter day, we’ll do much more good than taking that same car off the road on a summer day. Strong alternative transportation options are a key piece of the puzzle if we expect to achieve a safe, happy, and economically prosperous society.” The fact that Minnesota is cold is a plus for more bike lanes, transit, and other non-single occupancy vehicle transportation, rather than an excuse for not building them.

The Privilege of the Minneapolis Comprehensive Plan is a post by Carol Becker, member of the Board of Estimate and Taxation for Minneapolis, which some readers wondered if it should have appeared on at all because it takes a pro-car position not usually found here. The post rejects the Comprehensive Plan draft calling for streets designed for people walking, biking, rolling, and busing as well as driving by calling for a system prioritizing the convenience and necessity of cars saying, “We need to stop pretending that everyone is young, childless, physically able, male, white and privileged enough to give up job opportunities. We need to work to reduce travel time so people can be with their families. We need to ensure that people can park near their homes and at the end of their trips.  We need policies that make people’s lives easier, not harder.  We need a balanced transportation system that works for everyone.” The nearly 200 comments reflect some of the tension in this issue and in how we talk about it.

Snowbound parked cars

When alternative transportation is needed most

Parks for all?

Racism’s Effects on Minneapolis’s Parks by Maya Swope pokes the usual statement that Minneapolis has a great park system, but asking great for whom? “Measuring park access and other factors all depend how we frame the question. If we ask, are parks evenly spread throughout the city? the answer is more or less, yes. If we ask, Does everyone feel comfortable in these spaces? Who created them? Who controls them? How are they funded? Then we find a deeper understanding of the problems we face.”

A volunteer helps to clean up Mill Ruins Park in Downtown Minneapolis

Quick looks, long walks, national links, significant views, and a regional podcast

Map: Map Monday: Hennepin County Sidewalks & ADA “itemizes every non-ADA-compliant spot on Hennepin County Sidewalks. Every green dot is a spot that was an ADA barrier (curb ramps, spots lacking accessible pedestrian signals (APS), or other), and every grey dot is a barrier that needs to be addressed. The APS images are standard, but the sidewalk obstructions are of the spot on the map.”

Listen: Winter Markets: How we gather – April 6, 2018 – 0 comments

Look: Saint Paul Alley Cat #2: Ranking “Significant Public Views” continues Tom Basgen’s looks around Saint Paul (see last week’s post here). This one notices a slide in a Saint Paul Comprehensive Plan presentation identifying “significant views” and goes to take a look at them.

Walk: East Phillips continues the walks around all the streets in Minneapolis neighborhoods. Max Hailperin changes his view in this post saying, “My encounter with East Phillips made me think harder than usual about the kind of attention I pay” and providing a detailed explanation before his usual pictures and highlights from his walk.

Charts: MN-DOT Spending by Type such as road construction, maintenance and operations, state aid for local transportation, etc., “The point is that the vast majority of state transportation spending is on roads for cars. A lot of money each year is spent this way.” And, 2016 US Median Net Worth by Race which is “a sobering chart that shows the true depth of inequality in this country. Often you see inequality measured by income, and by that accounting, our racial gaps are very large.”

Links: National Links: Radical Real Estate and Strained Corporate Cities from The Overhead Wire.

A significant view: Pedestrian bridge between Highland Park Picnic Shelter and Circus Juventas


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