Sunday Summary – July 29, 2018

Did you miss the picnic yesterday? Too bad! We had a lot of fun at Lake Monster Brewing. Our Events Committee did a fabulous job and there will be other chances to get together before next summer – take a look at our calendar to know what we’re planning (or help plan, too, by joining the committee).


Bill Lindeke says Saint Louis Park Still Getting it Backwards at Beltway and Cedar Lake. A friend’s bicycling ticket for failing to come to a complete stop before crossing Beltway Boulevard on the Cedar Lake trail is used to illustrate the problem with the design, “One key takeaway here is that, by launching a legally dubious and dangerous campaign to claim that this crossing is not a crosswalk, Saint Louis Park is making a bad situation worse. And by adding bicycle tickets to the mix, the unenforceable and counter-intuitive “solution” that Saint Louis Park seems to be adopting is only going to discourage and depress bicycling in the city. Given the public health and environmental health needs we face, that is a shame.”

Streets Without Trees are Dangerous observes Ben Shardlow writing from London, “Specifically, we should understand that urban streets without trees are very bad for us. Not “get hit by a truck” bad, but “slowly and certainly damaging your heart and lungs” bad, so – you know – not great! And the good news is that it’s not hopeless – recent research that I share below makes the case that growing trees in the specific places where we spend most of our time in the city makes a big, measurable difference.”

Stephanie Rouse looks at Planning Plazas for Safe Protest after Minnesota passed a law increasing penalties for protesters who block highways, transit lines, and airports, “Instead of turning to planners to help solve this issue, Minnesota and other states are looking to legislation to fine protesters for blocking traffic. This is counterproductive to encouraging an engaged citizen base — and it treats people unequally. Many citizens are frequently without free, unrestricted access to spaces to assemble. Minneapolis, for example, does not have a public space owned by the city to hold demonstrations; property is held by the park board, regional government agencies, or private companies.”

Saint Louis Park: Not a crosswalk


Everyone Loves Ice Cream: A Case for Land Co Ops is Daniel Choma’s call for finding new (or reviving old) ways of considering property ownership beyond private ownership – like co-ops saying “This idea is more ice cream social than socialist: a party where we can all be invited and enjoy the company of our community. Everyone loves ice cream.”

St. Paul Housing: A Modern Historical Tragic Comedy byMichael Daigh details his house hunting adventure in Saint Paul where (he found many expensive, but not high quality old homes) to illustrate some issues with the city’s approach to historic preservation, “But if St. Paul thinks that prohibiting development and passing various historic ordinances will preserve these properties, the city is sorely mistaken. Yes, artificially restricting supply and development will cause the “value” of these old homes to continue to rise, and will keep them in place, but it is an illusory and temporary form of civic vitality. The young families and working professionals the city needs will move elsewhere. Elderly neighbors will walk the streets by the old buildings, well satisfied with their efforts at preserving their carefully curated museum, while the houses go unsold, and the maintenance problems mount.”

Developers are eyeing homes at 1911, right, and 1905 Iglehart Ave. W., in St. Paul’s Merriam Park neighborhood, seen on April 12, 2018, for three or even four new homes. The owners’ family wants their elderly parents to be able to sell the two stately houses, which date to 1885 and 1900, respectively. (Lisa Legge / Pioneer Press)

Minneapolis 2040

Two ways to respond to critics of the Minneapolis draft Comprehensive Plan were published this week. First, humor: I Was Radicalized By Minneapolis 2040 says Kristopher Kapphahn writing as a threatened single-family home owner driving down Bryant Avenue:  “As I drove from 50th to Lake Street I was subjected to the type of pure urban obscenity that occurs when single family houses mix with apartment buildings. There were duplexes, triplexes, plexplexes. They were all just nestled right in among innocent single-family homes. And it was awful. Anyone who has taken Bryant through South Minneapolis knows what I now newly knew: it’s the very definition of urban hellscape. It’s like if Kowloon and Cidade de Deus had a baby and fed it nothing but super-salty pork rinds from Revival so that it was very bloated and full of regret and wondering why this is even an appetizer they’d serve people. This is what happens when developers are allowed to work their evil, corrupt developer magic among that most important and sacred type of property, the single-family home.”

Or, Christa Moseng tries rational Arguments Against Minneapolis’s Draft Comprehensive Plan, Addressed (Part III) with this part asking about North Minneapolis, disputing the claim of trickle-down Reagonomics in housing, and pointing out shortcomings in advocating for preserving the “suburb in the city” land use pattern, “But it is time to stop expecting the city continue to subsidize and preserve car dependency through maximally restrictive land-use regulations that hurt the city’s ability to house everyone who wants to live here. We need to build a sustainable city for people that doesn’t promote car dependency. ”

And, to round things out as the comment period has expired, Ed Kohler gives us Ten Thoughts on Minneapolis 2040 which neatly sums up what other writers have been discussing: the opposition to Minneapolis 2040 is concentrated among older, whiter homeowners and there are other values which need emphasizing at this time.

Quick looks, long walks

Map: Map Monday: Parking per Acre in Des Moines shows there’s rather a lot of it.

Charts: Chart of the Day: Key Transportation Statistics, US vs. Peer Countries which shows how the US compares on such things as gas prices, percentage of car ownership, biking and walking rates, etc.; “The United States consumes nearly five times as much gasoline and drives nearly twice as far as other advanced democracies while charging the least amount for gasoline.” And Chart of the Day: Share of New Homes with Central Air Conditioning, 1970 – Present showing central A/C has become the norm.

Walk: Max Hailperin is Walking All the Streets of Western Harrison this week. Tag along for architecture, history, and interesting details.




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