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Sunday Summary – May 5, 2019

Welcome to May!  Go outside!  Go to what might be the last Heart of the Beast Puppet Theater May Day Parade in Powderhorn Park. Ride your bike (it’s Bike Month!)!

Policy problems and solutions

Janne Flisrand follows her TIF explainer post last week with How TIF Can Solve a Market Failure in Minneapolis.  This defense of TIF shows how Minneapolis has used this financing tool to kickstart investment noting, “The fastest-growing neighborhoods in Minneapolis were sparked by TIF investments. The new development in these neighborhoods since 2003 pays millions in real estate taxes every year, and that reduces the amount of the City’s budget that must be covered by folks who live elsewhere in Minneapolis.”

John Edwards reported on the Richfield Planning Commission discussion of parking in Richfield Considers Lowering Parking Minimums.  The change was recommended by city planning staff, but “On Monday April 22, the Richfield Planning Commission split 3-3 on a recommendation by planning staff to reduce parking minimums in mixed use zoning districts. In areas near transit, the plan would reduce minimum requirements from 1.5 to one space per unit. Outside of areas with high frequency transit, parking minimums would be made consistent with existing rules in high-density zoning districts — 1.25 spaces per unit.” The discussion among planning commissioners is predictable for readers.

The St. Paul Skyway: Public Space or Scrutinized Lobby? is another post from the Saint Paul Field Guide to Public Spaces from Macalester College geography students in Fall 2018 (See introduction here); this post was written by Luke Sageser. Contrasting the commuting and lunch time activity with the after hours emptiness and perceived security risks, “Making the skyway a more consistently animated and vibrant place would be good for its health as a public space. There is also local interest for it, too. The apartment residents I spoke with formed their defense group did so in part because they refused to give up their ability to safely use the space after hours.”

Getting around

Matt Eckholm makes A Tree Proposal Kenilworth Should Love. The Southwest LRT is planned to go through Kenilworth and take out 1300 trees, but rather than choosing trees or trains, “I think we can have our cake and eat it too. In order to replace the loss of the sanctity of the Kenilworth wooded area and the trees that called the corridor home, let’s close Cedar Lake Parkway to vehicle traffic, rip up the road, and start planting trees for a future natural respite from our city. Without the automobile traffic spoiling the corridor in order to save a few minutes on their commute, I think we could set the stage for a wonderful new Minneapolis amenity in the next few decades, and provide a way for Kenilworth to productively promote rewilding in their area without it coming at the cost of regional transit improvements.”

Conrad Zbikowski has two posts this week which look at two different sorts of getting around. First, he looks at the IPOs of Lyft and Uber to write As Lyft and Uber Go Public, the Future of Mobility Remains Up for Grabs. Both companies are currently running big losses as they expand quickly with cheap prices, “Will the discounts continue, or will one operator take control and become profitable? Billions of dollars in investment is riding on the answer to that question. It will hinge on whether companies like Uber can continue to burn billions of dollars in investor money to tick up their market share quarter by quarter. If the money runs out, we could be set for a competitive marketplace among huge devaluations.”  In his second post, he considers The Future of West River Parkway with interviews with Park Board Commissioners and highlights of problem areas and possible improvements (with input from Twitter followers).

Cedar Lake Parkway Tomorrow

Proposed corridor usage on a wide section of Cedar Lake Parkway

Regular features

Walk: Walking All the Streets of Northern Linden Hills with Max Hailperin.

Look: Chart of the Day: Minnesotans Behind Bars and Map Monday: Twin Cities Diversity Trends by Neighborhood, 2000 – 2017

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Go outside and play!

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