The usual joke is that Minnesota has four seasons: almost winter, winter, still winter, and construction season. Clearly the joker was a cat person; the proper seasonal lineup is Summer, Fall, Winter, and Muddy Dog season where we find ourselves now (yesterday was also National Puppy Day!). Muddy Dog season does mean easier biking and walking are beginning and winter bus stops will clear, but also flooding (one of our biggest climate change risks around here).
Hopkins Happy Hour and Bus Trip: Saturday, March 30th is another transit-riding event; this one on the 612 route from Uptown to Hopkins to see somewhere new, think about transit service while riding, and enjoying social time and refreshment at the suburban end before riding back.
It is also almost time for the Spring 2019 Writers Workshop on April 6, 2019 being held in Saint Paul for the first time. Click over to the post for more information and to tell us if there are any topics you’d like to discuss. This workshop is for all current writers, past writers who would like to reconnect, and anyone interested in writing for streets.mn. Come and meet other writers, discuss ideas, get how-to information, and let us get to know you.
Construction season (1)
Aaron Isaacs usually writes about transit for us, but this time he introduces us to his The New Neighbors – nest building bald eagles, “One of the pair brings in sticks. The other stands in the nest and arranges the new materials. Eventually they’ll line it with feathers and other soft materials. It’s currently about three feet across but should get much bigger.”
Construction season (2) – North Loop
Conrad Zbikowski brings two North Loop projects to our attention this week. Another Surface Parking Lot Bites the Dust as “the Archive project started construction on a surface parking lot near the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. The surface parking lot is one of the last in the area, with several being redeveloped in the last ten years into mixed-use properties,” and New North Loop Six-Story Rises Up with the mixed use Solaris Redevelopment/Weiss Builders project, “The project broke ground on a set of large surface parking lots in July 2018. When complete, the property will house 156 residential units and approximately 22,670 square feet of commercial space. For parking, the developer is building 186 stalls for residents, 3 stalls for resident guests, and no stalls for the commercial space. The parking maximums for the development were a combined 295-363 stalls.”
Bus Stops May Be Greatest Hindrance to Winter Bus Riding says John Abraham. “As a longtime reader of and new contributor to streets.mn [thanks for writing, John!], I am familiar with the best arguments about the importance of public transportation. But nothing has made me experience that more than having to rely on the bus to get to work during a winter that has stymied city road crews and state agencies.” The post details attempts to contact relevant agencies and property owners to try to improve the situation shown below. Check out some of our other posts about winter mobility and access here (how snow removal practice shows cars are still king) and here (challenges when a bike commuter tries transit in the winter).
Eric Anondson tells us A Bus Stop Disappointment Story: Excelsior Boulevard and Meadowbrook Road in which, “Over the years as I’ve dwelled on this bus stop I’ve passed by I’ve been considering many of the ways the experience of bus stop could be improved, from the stop itself, to the intersection it’s located near, and access from the neighborhoods and jobs this stop is near.” Like the post above, winter shows a disappointing bus stop at its worst, but even in summer there are sidewalk gaps and lack of maintenance.
West St. Paul Could Have Fixed this Lousy Intersection for Free — Why Didn’t They? asks Ken Paulman. when the city repaved the street and replaced curbs at Smith Avenue and Dodd Road to make crossing on foot safer, but instead replaced everything where it had been before. Thanks to the snowy winter we can see a demonstration of how change could happen, since “the sneckdown “that formed on the southwest corner of Smith and Dodd, however, was fairly spectacular. By early March, the snow extended far enough into the intersection that the crosswalks were shortened by roughly 10-12 feet — which would provide a dual benefit of allowing people to cross more quickly as well as encouraging turning drivers to slow down. The pile didn’t seem to disrupt car traffic at all — few people make right turns at that corner, and those that do managed to navigate it just fine.”
Temporary Park, Permanent Impact: An Experiment of Public Space in Downtown St. Paul is another post in the series from Macalester students in the Guide to Public Spaces; this one is by Ellie Hohulin. The temporary Urban Flower Field on the site of Pedro Park, “typifies what it means to create urban spaces that are impermanent in today’s society, becoming a means for civic engagement and community building for a developing urban center. Urban Flower Field and sites like it are critical to reimagining public spaces and building more inclusive cities.” Check the post for park features, input from park visitors, and analysis of the space.
Links: National Links: Ending Homelessness and AV Lessons from Planes from Jeff Wood at The Overhead Wire including a link to a podcast conversation between Jeff Wood and Minneapolis Council President Lisa Bender.
Look: Map Monday: River Basins of America plus a bonus map with elevations which might suggest how much land can flood/disappear under water with more extreme weather from climate change.