Thank you all who Gave to the Max for streets.mn and to those who applied to join our board. streets.mn depends on its members, event volunteers, writers, board members, and donors to support its work. Yay! And here’s last week on streets.mn:
To the Gulf of Minneapolis by bike with Wolfie Browender. To get to the Gulf of Minneapolis in Saint Paul (not on official maps, but labeled on Google maps), Wolfie takes us through downtown Saint Paul (look at riverfront redevelopment) and West Side neighborhoods with all the the West Publishing neighborhoods and industrial areas. But Wolfie “still had questions about the Gulf of Minneapolis, so I emailed the Saint Paul Port Authority, the entity that owns and operates Southport and three other ports within the city. “We do not recognize our Southport Terminal as the ‘Gulf of Minneapolis’ as shown on Google,” said Kathryn Sarnecki, Vice President of Redevelopment and Harbor Management. She continued, “We are uncertain who/how that name became associated with the Southport Shipping Terminal.” Maybe a Google joke?
Henry Pan rides Metro Transit After Dark and writes about both Metro Transit’s Owl service and its limitations, but also a detailed narrative of his nighttime journeys, saying “It’s the bus of last resort, used mainly by workers working late or starting early, as well as those who have nowhere to go. There is potential for overnight transit service in the cities. If it operated all night at consistent intervals, people wouldn’t have to drive home drunk, sleepy, or unlicensed, for example. People who need to work but can’t or don’t want a car can get to and from work. Concertgoers and sport watchers could stay out late or attend venues farther out from the cities, or both. Photographers like me could ride to different parts of the cities to practice our hobbies. The possibilities are endless, but only if there were more consistent transit service that covered more ground.”
Along Old Highway 61 to Duluth: A Phototour, Part One from Monte Castleman is partly a photo tour of the route to Duluth today, but also includes historic maps and images (see Monte’s extensive series A History of Minnesota’s Trunk Highways for much more). Part One takes us from Saint Paul, through White Bear Lake, to Forest Lake.
Interesting sights and sounds
St. Andrew’s Church and the American Landscape by Robert Roscoe considers churches and their durability as buildings as well as gathering places in our communities. While many churches help tell the story of our communities, they are not entirely exempt from changing times. Saint Andrew’s on Como Avenue in Saint Paul is one of those. Although the Saint Paul Heritage Preservation Commission recommended it for heritage designation to the City Council, “the former Saint Andrews Catholic Church, was designed by notable Saint Paul architect Charles Hausler. Saint Andrews has been regarded as one of the most beautiful places of worship in the Twin Cities. However, its owner, the Twin Cities German Immersion School, has proposed to demolish the building, due their estimate of maintenance costs and proposed replacement for a gymnasium.”
A smaller piece of the urban landscape, Pianos Contribute to the Sidewalk Ballet in Downtown Minneapolis says Sam Newberg in a short appreciation of the Nicollet Mall pianos this past summer, “I was struck by the talent of seemingly random players and the joy it gave passers-by. Any given morning on my walk from the train to the office I’d pass the piano in the City Center doorway to hear someone pounding out some excellent blues.”
Single Family Housing – A Waste of Space says Kathleen McGee in another, different, commentary on the Minneapolis 2040 debate over more housing, especially in SW Minneapolis. Single family homes no longer meet the needs of smaller families, but Uptown-style apartments may not be right either: “If city leaders and developers have a vision they can create housing for more people without taking away from the community but adding to it. What if they add a different model into the mix, one that reduces the costs of new construction by creating housing with more shared space? Intentional communities aren’t entirely new, but they haven’t yet caught on in a big way. What if the city decided to consider this model as one of the solutions, in addition to traditional multiple-family housing?” Commenters seize on the idea that more housing choices are needed, not just intentional communities.
Bill Lindeke thinks Minneapolis Should Embrace Entropy, Dockless Bikes. Saint Paul has allowed a certain number of dockless bikes which can be left anywhere (except parks and blocking public right of way), but Minneapolis’ foray into dockless bikes aims for “dockless docs” where there are painted boxes to park in rather than a rack-like dock and a penalty for failure to “dock.” In addition to a fun comparison of Minneapolis and Saint Paul history (and the distinct styles of regulation of each: “if Minneapolis can come up with an organized and/or detailed solution to a problem using a municipal political mechanism, they will probably do so.”). So “Minneapolis needs more activity on its sidewalks and more opportunities for people to use our streets and sidewalks in new and creative ways. To create a diverse, dynamic, exciting city, decision makers should be erring on the side of fewer rules, placing fewer obstacles in the way of things like street performers, food trucks, street vendors, skateboards, cafés, bike racks, and (yes) dockless bikes and scooters.”
Link, look, walk
Map: Map Monday: Transit Oriented Development Public Parcels Map via the Met Council is an interactive map of public parcels available for development.