Gray-green and wine-colored flower pattern on white background, red chain border

Sunday Summary – April 28, 2019

First, don’t miss a couple of events. Next weekend, come to the Midtown Greenway Cleanup – May 4, 2019 which is just what it sounds like, plus a chance to socialize over food and drink afterwards. Beyond, there are a A Few More Opportunities for Public Input on the Minneapolis Transportation Action Plan (and also on-line opportunities, too).

Enjoying the stories

The Basketball Hoop by Tamara Jorell is about growing a community saying, “we bought a basketball hoop on Craig’s List. It was sturdy with adjustable height. People warned us about having a basketball hoop in the neighborhood. “You won’t be able to control who uses it,” one well-meaning friend cautioned.  Good, I thought,” for it was intended to draw people and welcome them.

Tile Entries from Pat Thompson notes, “One of the things you get to see when you walk instead of drive is tile entryways to commercial (and sometimes residential) buildings. I’ve been collecting photos of tile for a while, mostly from somewhere other than the Twin Cities.”  Like this one (and many more photos):

Metallic gold tile tree with red and green letters, Arenz All Leather Shoes Quality to the Roots, white background, green edges

La Crosse, Wisconsin.


Getting around

What if Hennepin Ave Had a Roundabout? is a thought experiment (illustrated!) by Conrad Zbikowski sparked by his experience “waiting for the number 6 bus at Hennepin Ave and S 1st St, near where I live, and I was watching the vehicle traffic. I noticed that the semaphore intersection was not very efficient at handling left turn vehicles. There was a part of the cycle when left turns in both directions on Hennepin Ave would go, and I saw a trickle of 2-5 cars make their turns as traffic backed up in all directions. There also was the flashing yellow arrow left turn, which worked like a regular green light, having left turners yield to oncoming traffic. The time was just before 5:00 PM, so there was heavy traffic in both directions.” The draws up a shared space roundabout (think Poynton Regenerated).

Lime, Bird, and Spin Set to Ride in St. Paul is just a quick quick update from Conrad Zbikowski on scooters in Saint Paul this season, “According to the contract that each vendor signed, they will be limited to 500 scooters at first, but may be approved for more based on several factors, including the number of other vendors. With an overall cap of 2,000 scooters, that could calculate to over 650 scooters per vendor.”

We Don’t Need Police to Keep Our Transit System Safe writes Henry Pan and focusing on law enforcement brings difficulties with racism and power differentials. Other models exist which focus on assistance, rather than enforcement, “San Francisco Muni is the only transit agency I know of in the nation that has a program to keep everyone safe, regardless of who they are. The Transit Assistance Program (MTAP) was started in the 1990s in response to unsafe conditions on the bus. Ambassadors are unarmed, trained in conflict resolution techniques and from the communities they serve, according to the San Francisco Examiner.” The program is also a job training program for the MTAP Ambassadors.

Hennepin Roundabout

Hennepin and 1st roundabout idea


Learning stuff

FAQ: Tax Increment Financing from Janne Flisrand explains some of the details of Tax Increment Financing, a much used, but maybe not so well understood tool for redevelopment. This post looks at the state law, how it works in practice in Minneapolis, and considers how Minneapolis should use TIF going forward “TIF is being considered as one of the key tools to get the benefits from a citywide Inclusionary Zoning policy without bringing much-needed housing production to a standstill. The Inclusionary Zoning policy just adopted by the Council will give developers a choice: build 10% of their units at a level of affordability of 60% of Area Median Income on their own, or get city financing to build 20% of the new units at an even more affordable 50% of AMI. TIF could a seamless rent subsidy for people of limited means to live in newly-built buildings where there are few alternatives.”

Bill Lindeke provides Five Reasons Saint Paul Should Not Spend $3,569,917 to Repave Ayd Mill Road because doing so “runs counter to Saint Paul’s stated transportation, environmental, and equity goals, and represents literally entrenched, out-of-date thinking, a sunk cost sinking farther, good money thrown after bad.”  The post has lots of links to the history and controversies of Ayd Mill Road and should be read in detail, but Here’s the quick version of the five reasons: (1) it’s a short term fix; (2) it’s a short term fix which will suck money from long term reconstructions; (3) induced demand means it will not reduce traffic on Snelling, Lexington and Randolph; (4) it won’t help reduce driving as required in the city’s climate action plan; and (5) it’s inequitable. Plus, there are other solutions like closing it for a year.

Ayd Mill Road Trucks 1965

Ayd Mill Road in 1965

Biking in Saint Paul

Biking to Allianz Field on Game Day – Part 1 by James Kohls tested the Bicycle Routing Plan for reaching Allianz Field by bike from the north.  In a block by block review, the assessment is mixed, for example, “The bike racks at St. Anthony are right next to the street at both of these locations, but with heavier traffic heading to the field, University Ave, and the mall; you probably aren’t looking that way. Permanent bike parking signage next to the racks and signs would go a long way towards helping cyclists prepare for when to turn.”

St. Paul By Bike: The Northeast Corner is Wolfie Browender’s longest ride so far (30+ miles) prompted by the urge to see the Hillcrest Golf Course before it closed. As always, the ride itself is part of the destination with many photos and stories along the way.


Continuing stories

Brit Builds an ADU: Spring (and the Home Tour) Is Here! continues the story of Brit Anbacht’s planning for an ADU. This post has a couple of linked resources as well as noting the Home Tour features a couple of ADUs.

Whole Foods Just Lowered Prices, Just a Little from Conrad Zbikowski follows his recent post about grocery prices and rents in neighborhoods nearby. Although Whole Foods reduced prices slightly, the larger story is about what sort of neighborhoods Whole Foods creates or chooses, “Recently, I shared research on the weak correlation between grocery prices and apartment rents for different store brands like Aldi and Whole Foods. While it is unclear what are the independent and the dependent variables in the relationship, it is clear that living near a Whole Foods is expensive. On average, renting a 1-bedroom apartment near a Whole Foods is $201 more per month, or 20.8% more.”

Betsey Buckheit

About Betsey Buckheit

Betsey rides her pretty blue city bike, walks her energetic black dogs, and agitates for more thoughtful, long-range decision-making in Northfield, MN. You can follow her blog at