Sunday Summary – October 7, 2018

An exciting/appalling week in national politics last week complete with a visit to Rochester by President Trump. Back home in Minneapolis, the next draft of the Minneapolis 2040 Plan was released and you can read more about that below plus everything else from last week on streets.mn:

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Minneapolis 2040

Minneapolis Inclusionary Zoning Debate Kicks off at City Hall at a Planning Commission meeting last week. John Edwards reports on proposed changes such as “City staff said the interim policy would be triggered at a 60 percent increase in development capacity, related to “rezoning, variance, density bonus, or other application or combination of applications.” The policy would likely exempt small-scale rezoning that allows for things like triplexes and fourplexes.” There are concerns about the numbers and commenters continue to ask questions about how inclusionary zoning will accomplish its goals or impact housing prices.

The Triplex Revision to the Minneapolis Comprehensive Plan Accomplishes Nothing by Aaron Person argues, changing the fourplex proposal to a triplexes does not prevent demolition of homes resulting in a loss of significant architectural resources and creating more waste destined for landfills, “Replacing the fourplex proposal with the triplex proposal does nothing to address these consequences. All it does is reduce the allowable mix of density so that new buildings can better fit within the proposed height limits, which should be thought of separately from density. It also makes the prospect of adding density slightly less attractive to developers. Yes, it might be a bigger design challenge to build four dwelling units within those constraints, but why should it not be allowed if there’s still a possibility it can be accomplished?” The many commenters debate whether families with kids prefer single family homes, how many homes would be demolished under either proposal, and other ways to allow denser housing.

cover photo on minneapolis inclusionary zoning report

Housing

Yes to Homes, But I’m No “YIMBY” says Janne Flisrand after returning from the YIMBYtown conference recently: “Optics are important. Using YIMBY boxes the movement into someone else’s polarizing, yes-no framing. There’s no option for a third, win-win solution, even in this most complex and three-dimensional place of our communities. In accepting “the other side’s” framing without questioning, the movement loses control of the story. It lets the “no” folks define the terms of the debate. It leaves no space for pro-housing folks to write our own story.” Back in Minneapolis, the post highlights the Neighbors for More Neighbors group for its more inclusive, privilege dismantling name and its piece of the work in ensuring everyone has a place to live.

Neighbors for More Neighbors yardsign

Neighbors for More Neighbors yard sign in Minneapolis

Saint Paul

Lexington Parkway Crosswalks are Unanticipated Pedestrian Plan Collateral by Amy Gundermann documents how pedestrian planning in Saint Paul lead to fewer crosswalks saying “There are many indicators that our City leadership wants our streets to be more walkable and safe for pedestrians, but reducing marked crosswalks seems to send the opposite message.”

Saint Paul and the Incredible Shrinking Downtown from Bill Lindeke uses maps and historic photos to argue that the usual limits of Downtown Saint Paul showing the bit along the river bounded by freeways is too small. Casting a wider net, Bill proposed a list of steps and projects which could grow downtown back toward its former size, “I believe the key to expanding the scope of downtown Saint Paul lies in growing the walkable fabric of downtown. If people can easily walk to and from the downtown core, they might live, work, eat, or shop in the areas around downtown. If they can’t, they won’t.”

Stp Cathedral Hill 1905

Saint Paul Cathedral Hill, 1905

Trains

Trip Report: Amtrak Empire Builder Chicago-St. Paul is Eric Ecklund’s detailed account of his good trip from Chicago to Saint Paul with comparisons to European trains, descriptions of train facilities, and notes of train speed: “The success of my Empire Builder trip from Chicago to St. Paul showed me that it can be a much better experience than flying, driving, or taking the bus. It deserves to be made even better with more trips along certain segments of the route, upgraded track for higher speeds, more track capacity to reduce waiting for other trains to pass, and new locomotives and coaches. If it can be a great experience in the present like I had, imagine how great it could be if we invested more in it.”

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Amtrak Empire Builder

Look, link, walk

Look: Two quick looks at data this week with Map Monday: Hennepin Minus Minneapolis: Age 60+ Years is the third map in a series from the Three Rivers Park District which show “how Hennepin County’s demographic patterns are changing without getting distracted by changes happening in Minneapolis.” And Chart of the Day: Student Loan Debt in America, By Congressional District is a chart from “Freedom to Prosper, an organization in favor of educational finance reform, today’s chart shows the student loan burden in America by Congressional district.”

Link: National Links: Thinking About Neighborhoods with more “sometimes entertaining and sometimes absurd, but hopefully useful”links from around the country from The Overhead Wire.

Walk: Keep waking with Max Hailperin as he’s Walking All the Streets of Eastern Holland.

Student Loan Debt in America

Student Loan Debt in America by Congressional District (Map from Freedom to Prosper)

 

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