Groundhog Day in Minnesota is ridiculous. Of course whether or not any groundhog saw its shadow yesterday, we’re going to have six more weeks of winter. Given the whipsawing of temperatures, we may have spring-like interludes, but I’m quite confident we’re not going to be seeing green leaves in mid-March.
February is a great time to join us this week for streets.mn Happy Hour — Our First of 2019! (yes, that means we’re planning for more than one) on Thursday, February 7, 2019 at downtown St. Paul’s newest brewery, Stacked Deck Brewing, from 5:30 p.m. onward. Some combination of board members, contributors, readers, and other folks interested in fostering positive connections and inclusive conversations about better places in Minnesota.
Ryan Ricard says The Gas Tax is Too Damn Low noting “Cheap gas is a short-term benefit to people who drive cars, but is horrible for just about everyone in the long term. Cheap gas incentivizes people to drive more miles, make more solo trips instead of carpooling or using transit, and buy less efficient vehicles. When the price of fuel is low, thousands of small decisions are made that all move us a little closer to the coming climate disaster.” The post looks at how additional gas revenue could be used to finance transit. There’s come pushback in the comments with some readers wanting to keep gas tax funds for roads and bridges, but others looking to how transit funding could be increased.
Ship Shape is the latest Saint Paul bike ride from Wolfie Browender through the West End, Downtown, and Lowertown. As the title hints, one destination is floating, the M/V (Motor Vessel) Mississippi, where we see the ship and meet its crew. On the way home, see a variety of churches.
Henry Pan is Walking Crookston where he visited to see where San Francisco’s new trolley buses are built. Although the Sugar Beet Museum was closed for his visit, on the way to the New Flyer plant to see the trolley buses, we get a thoughtful tour of downtown and suburban Crookston, “If you don’t plan on visiting Crookston anytime soon, you will probably find a Crookston-produced product near you. Look for a bag of American Crystal Sugar at your local market, and if you live in or have visited San Francisco, Honolulu, Seattle, Salt Lake City, DC, Surrey, Winnipeg, Edmonton, or both Vancouvers, you may very well be driving or riding a Crookston-built bus on your next trip.” Instructions for your own car-free trip to Crookston are included.
Get to Know a Four-Lane Death Road: Broadway Street, NE Minneapolis with Jeffrey Klein. Broadway is scheduled for a mill-and-overlay within the next two years which should be a golden opportunity to improve the walking, biking, safety, and climate impact of this road by using the construction for a 4-3 lane conversion. Unfortunately, the plan is to resurface the road to keep it just the way it is, where “a recent community survey by area neighborhood groups found that the st
atus quo is not working for residents, with 61% of pedestrians and 91% of cyclists feeling the street to be “unsafe”. Broadway St. NE already contains a narrow railroad bridge that doesn’t safely allow two cars to fit side-by-side, and functions as some kind of macabre car-and-cyclist-smashing machine.”
Saint Paul, continuing stories
Mattocks Park: A Contradiction of Sorts is another post from the Saint Paul Field Guide to Public Spaces created by a Geography class at Macalester College in fall 2018 (See introduction here). This post is by Julia Bayer who observes and analyzes how public Mattocks Park in the Mac-Groveland neighborhood is. While the park is highly public in some ways – no barriers like fences, no security cameras, but “there is a sense of privateness that pervades the space and creates a sense of exclusion to those who do not live in the immediate area, have connections with neighbors or conform to the perceived “code of conduct”. Thus, if the design were to be replicated measures should be taken to increase the sense of inclusivity with the larger community, this could be as simple as adding bathroom facilities or more complex such as having cultural or community events with a high degree of visibility.”
Sustainable To-Go Packaging: Still a Push in St. Paul says Melissa Wenzel who posted two earlier pieces about this issue late last year (see Part 1 and Part 2). This update is in advance of action by the St. Paul City Council on February 20, 2019; before that date, Zero Waste Saint Paul is working “directly with restaurants and other establishments — especially small businesses and minority- and immigrant-owned businesses — to discuss this possible ordinance change, inform them of their buying options and address any additional concerns.” You’re invited to participate.
Link: National Links: Interaction Planning and the Planning Room from Jeff Wood and The Overhead Wire.