Sunday Summary – June 17, 2018

This week, We Read Carmageddon Articles & Comments So You Don’t Have To and continue to provide this valuable public service – this time for media coverage of the 35W construction project.  Julie Kosbab says, “Perhaps you have heard it is road construction season in Minnesota? Exits from I-35W northbound into downtown Minneapolis are closing for important bridge work. Local media has been hyperventilating about the project for days. We are getting regular Star-Tribune coverage of “how today’s commute was.” And there are comments, of course!” Curiously, more than one commenter manages to find a way to make 35W about bike lanes.  Of course, we welcome stories of your commutes (several are included in the comment section to this post) and as well as your comments.

Development concerns and confessions

I Find Your Appeal Most Unappealing says Brian C. Martinson. The post critiques at the arguments presented by Neighbors for Responsible Development including traffic, pedestrian safety, and negative property value impact. The group has appealed a conditional use permit for a development on Snelling in Saint Paul and bcmartinson reports, “This group has repeatedly claimed that their voice is not being heard by the City, and that they are only doing this because they care so much about their neighborhood. I’m inclined to judge the veracity of such claims on the basis of what sorts of arguments a group brings to the table to express their concerns. In this case, the specific concerns are all largely specious, which makes their claims of concern appear disingenuous.”

Al Davison provides some additional consideration of concerns about neighborhood change in Confessions of a Former NIMBY. This post looks at the demonization of renting, demographics and density, focusing on the NIMBY-effect of limiting the supply of new housing (and who that impacts) . While multi-family housing once seemed undesirable, as a current renter, Al notes: “There is more to life than property values. Our fixation on home ownership being the primary investment asset for middle-income households to increase their net worth came at a great cost to low-income households, especially from a racial standpoint. People who had the ability to afford to own have more social and economic power than the ones who don’t. Regardless of someone’s net worth, renting does not make a person any less of a resident and neighbor of a community than a homeowner.”


Getting around

By e-bike: E-bike owner/lover Melissa Wenzel interviews three more enthusiasts in Electric-assist Bicycle Owners Share Their Story, Adventures. James owns two, a commuter e-bike and a fat e-bike; Karen credits better bike infrastructure after a move to the western edge of Saint Paul as giving her the idea to bike – first on NiceRide, then her own bike, then an e-bike (to make cycling here as easy as flat Amsterdam); and Jenny replaced her car (and many expenses) with an e-bike for environmental reasons. The post also has helpful practical advice about bike loans, batteries, and more; all are having fun and e-bikes help remove obstacles to more active, more environmentally friendly transportation.

Or by transit: Can Suburb-to-Suburb Express Service Work in the Twin Cities? asks Eric Ecklund. Although he answers that express service is unlikely, “it’s best to focus on expanding and improving the hub-and-spoke routes first. However a limited-stop suburb-to-suburb service could work. This is already done on hub-and-spoke routes including Route 535 along the I-35W Corridor (to be replaced by the Orange Line in the near future) and Route 645 along the I-394 Corridor. Instead of only serving park & rides a limited-stop service along the Highway 169 Corridor could provide an option for suburban residents who are traveling short distances to other suburbs, people (particularly su burbanites) who depend on transit, and bridge the gap between suburban transit operators’ territories (something that is long overdue).”

Or by multiple modes: Please Color Outside the Lines begs Chris Steller after realizing his “complaints about three new urban improvements boiled down to the same thing: Careful thought and design work seemed to stop at the edge of the project. Something just outside the lines had screwed it up.” From a lack of a transit shelter a few feet from a stop or lack of signage creating confusion, the details make a difference. The post is also an illustration in advocacy by Twitter with (sometimes multiple) tweets to the relevant organization asking for change and getting it.

James and his ebike at Como Lake

Link, listen, walk

Listen: Podcast #113: Extreme Victorian Restoration with Matt Mazanec and hear about how Bill Lindeke “chatted about his house, his work with the historic preservation commission, and his attempts to get some traffic calming on the East Side. I think you’ll enjoy the conversation, because I sure did.”

Walk: Walking All the Streets Of Fulton from Farmers to France with Max Hailperin.

Link: National Links: Horizontal Skyscrapers on the Way are more links from The Overhead Wire.

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