The Great Minnesota Get-Together started August 23, so what better than Robert Roscoe’s My Annual Minnesota State Fair Experience. Of course, we’d like more stories, your stories about the Fair, too; here are some past posts for better than fair reading.
The week on streets.mn
Chris Steller continues his investigation of pedestrians in history with In 1923, You Could Buy Pedestrian Insurance for 75 Cents. Back then, “If you subscribed to the Minneapolis Daily Star in 1923, you could get a year’s worth of pedestrian insurance for an extra 75 cents.The add-on deal was just what it sounds like: insurance coverage for injuries (including fatal injuries) you might incur while walking across the street.” And your life was worth exactly $250.00 (which one inflation calculator puts at $3646.80 in 2018 dollars).
Grocery Shopping by Bike is not so hard, says Adam Miller, and “Rule number one is you don’t want to try to get around with shopping bags hanging from your handle bars. You’re going to need a place to put stuff. A basket out front. A cargo rack and panniers in the back. Or go really crazy and get yourself a cargo bike. Get the right tool for the job.” Other practical hints include shopping more often, having bulky items delivered, and sometimes using a car; commenters also throw in some additional suggestions from their experience.
The Abandonment and Rescue of Landmark Center in Saint Paul is an excerpt from Robert Roscoe’s forthcoming book, Rice Park– An Intimate Enclosure Gives Grace to a City, and we learn”In 1969, demolition of one of the most elegant Richardson Romanesque-Chateauesque-Style public buildings in the Upper Midwest seemed imminent. The federal government had declared the nearly vacant Federal Courts and Post Office Building (later named Landmark Center) in downtown St. Paul to be surplus property. Many public officials and business leaders in the city saw no means of rescue.” Fortunately, local leaders and concerned citizens stopped the destruction and started the renovation. The post includes history of the building and the message that we don’t build public buildings like we used to, “Lesser regard exists these days for architectural design expressing those features crafted by hand that speak to us and remind us who we are today. With some irony, those qualities possessed by Landmarks now serve also to instruct us of who we once were.”
John Edwards continues the discussion of housing issues sparked by the Minneapolis 2040 Plan with The Shape of the Minneapolis Inclusionary Zoning Debate. Minneapolis has commissioned a study of inclusionary zoning, “an umbrella term for a wide range of policies designed to encourage or require the inclusion of affordable units in new housing construction.” The soon to be released report settles on requiring 10% of a new building’s units be affordable to households at 60% AMI and “The experts explained why a mandatory, not voluntary, system was the right path for Minneapolis. Offering developers density bonuses or parking reductions in exchange for affordability doesn’t work because the city has already implemented relatively aggressive parking reforms and has virtually no density restrictions downtown (an area that in recent years has added a lot of units — making it the kind of place where inclusionary zoning could make a big impact).”
Quick looks; long walk
Charts: Two charts about housing supply (low) and prices (high) with Chart of the Day: Minneapolis Home Prices vs Inventory 2008 – 18 (from the 72-page final report of the Governor’s Task Force on Housing) and Chart of the Day: Twin Cities Rental Vacancy versus Average Rents (from the Met Council’s latest report on housing trends).
Map: Map Monday: Duluth & Winnipeg Railroad Map, c. 1881 shows rail routes from Duluth to Winnipeg and also from Duluth to Wisconsin.
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