Sunday Summary – July 22, 2018

Announcing the Annual Summer Picnic! It’s coming up next weekend, July 28, 2018, in the outdoor area of Lake Monster Brewing in St. Paul from 2-6pm. As always, there will be food, fun and conversation with board members, writers, volunteers, and other interested/interesting folks. This year, the picnic will be better than ever (click for details) and we’re rolling out our new membership program, telling you about our mission development progress, and there’s swag. RSVP here to give us a rough idea of numbers and food preferences.

Minneapolis 2040

The comment period for the revision of Minneapolis’ Comprehensive Plan ends today. Getting in before the deadline are more posts about the plan this week; click here for earlier posts and discussion.

Fourplexes, Freeways, and Fearmongering by Pine Salica is a very short post with a very long comment section. The post links to a map which overlays redlining maps on present day Minneapolis highlighting the underlying racism in the development pattern and the fearmongering is from some of the pushback to the Minneapolis 2040 plan which misrepresents some of its policies, “I hadn’t seen the redlining maps overlaid on the current-day city, or maybe just not in this way. There’s a pattern that holds through the entire city, corner to corner to downtown. Take a look at David Cook’s map that pulls data from the Mapping Inequality Project and the Minneapolis 2040 site, and it’s plain as day.”  Look at the map and then read the comments for both some discussion of the 2040 Plan and development issues, plus consideration of how the post and how we could all discuss issues like these.

Minneapolis 2040 Charts and Maps is just that. John Edwards has collected charts and maps intended to show the negative effects of exclusionary zoning which the Minneapolis 2040 plan attempts to begin to correct. In addition to the graphics, there’s also a video made up of clips of people speaking in favor of single family housing from public hearings about housing.

Positively 4th St: One Block Shows Us the Way in Minneapolis 2040 by Evan Roberts writes, “Most of the future built form map merely legalizes what is already in place. If we are thinking 20 years into the future, we should be allowing gradual increases in density everywhere. Since we are dealing with a system of private property, in which assembling multiple properties for larger developments is difficult, this means making 6 stories legal everywhere. It won’t be built everywhere, but at least it would be possible.” One of those places which could show Minneapolis the future is in the 3100-3200 block of 4th Street SE .

Minneapolis Comp Plan Review: Access to Housing by Ryan Johnson is the first in a series originally posted by Neighbors for More Neighbors looking at elements of the Minneapolis 2040 plan in greater detail. The post critiques Policy 1: Access to Housing along with its action steps. Neighbors for More Neighbors advocates for ending single family zoning (currently 60% of the city) and “In addition to ending single family exclusionary zoning, we would like to see the City develop criteria to evaluate and balance of housing types and ownership/rental models within neighborhoods to better identify local housing needs and ensure housing diversity is available.”

Shaded areas presently only allow the construction of new single family homes.

More 2040 Plans

Julie Kosbab has compiled A Random List of Things I Learned Reading 2040 Comp Plans which are not from Minneapolis (since all cities in the 7 county Metro area much update their comprehensive plans every 10 years. Fun fact: Northfield, my city, removes Dakota County land from Metro Council jurisdiction when it annexes it thus we are not embroiled in the comp plan update process although we enjoy watching). The things learned are a random list about housing in other plans – take a look and then take a look at your city’s draft plan since “every community has its own set of problems. Do you know what your community thinks its problems are? Do you agree? Dive in and find out.”

2040 Comp Plans

More Minneapolis

Exactly Where Does The Song “Skyway” Take Place? asks Chris Steller, saying, “Here’s a question left hanging downtown for more than 30 years: If Paul Westerberg was singing about a particular skyway in the 1987 Replacements song, “Skyway,” which skyway was it?” Listen to the song and analyze the lyrics to see if you arrive in the same place as Chris.

Hennepin Avenue at left and the skyway over 5th Street S., between Hennepin and Nicollet, 1983. Source: Minnesota Historical Aerial Photographs Online from the John R. Borchert Map Library.

Saint Paul

Michael Daigh finishes his series on Vision Zerio in Saint Paul with A New Vision Zero for St. Paul: Part 6 – Encouragement (you can find the others here). After looking at Saint Paul efforts so far, the post turns to Bolivia  where a “demonstrably viable, effective, and community enriching approach would be for St. Paul to adopt a program exactly like, or very similar to, the “Traffic Zebra” program pioneered in La Paz, Bolivia from 2001 to the present.”

Some Thoughts on Permit Parking in Saint Paul from Bill Lindeke look at the trade-offs permit parking zones entail: “In general, it is not good policy to restrict, underuse, or essentially “give away” on-street parking space that the city pays to create and maintain. While it might seem “free”, it is not; as the Public Works budget will show. On top of this, the city “pays” the cost by passing the expense of parking onto institutions and businesses, essentially a hidden tax. It also makes parking in Saint Paul into more of a hassle, reducing the likelihood that people will visit and increasing demand for expensive alternatives like large ramps built at city or institutional expense.”

La Paz, Bolivia Traffic Zebra

Rethinking the city

Christa Moseng imagines A Modern City for People Would Devote Less Space to Cars in a post with “a lot of rough calculations that can be quibbled with, refined, and extrapolated with better information, but let’s just explore how much space we’re dealing with, and what dedicating all that space to cars does to a city.” The comments offer some debate about driving and parking as well as how we value urban space more generally.

Minneapolis Skyline View from 24th Street Pedestrian Bridge (by Tony Webster

Minneapolis Skyline View from 24th Street Pedestrian Bridge (by Tony Webster under CC-BY-2.0 license)

Outside the city

How Accessible are Minnesota State Parks for Non-motorists? asks Tim Brackett. Not very or not easily is the short answer, since “There are only 13 (out of 75) Minnesota State Parks or Recreation Areas within 10 miles (half-day hike or less) of a Jefferson Lines bus stop,” but read the post for specifics of how you could try to get from the Twin Cities to a few of Minnesota’s State Parks.

Quick looks, longer listen, national links, long walk

Listen: Bill Lindeke’s latest podcast, Podcast #116: Saint Paul 1978 with George Latimer, David Lanagren, and Jerry Mathiason, features, “The chat [that] took place between former Saint Paul mayor George Latimer, photographer Jerry Mathiason, and Macalester Geography professor David Lanagren that took place at the Landmark Center as part of an exhibition of Mathaison’s photographs from downtown Saint Paul in 1978.”

Chart ‘n’ Map: Chart of the Day: Twin Cities Rents Versus Vacancy from the MPR News article on the difficulties of finding housing for Section 8 voucher holders. More lightheartedly, Map Monday: USA Geography Weirdness Including Minneapolis Equals Venice (at least in latitude).

Links: More links from The Overhead Wire from around the country National Links: Regulating Bike Share and Future Footpaths – July 18, 2018 – 0 comments

Walk: Max Hailperin continues his alphabetical adventures in Minneapolis by Walking All the Streets of Southern Hale.

Skyways and flooded streets with gondolas

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