Author Archive | Mike Sonn

Summit Avenue Bridge Construction Detouring

The bridge over Summit Avenue will be rebuilt during the 2019 construction season. This is an exciting opportunity for the City of Saint Paul to start making Summit Avenue, the premier bike route in the city, safe and comfortable for all riders. Details about the project can be found on the project website as I […]

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The Need for #HousingnotBillboards in Saint Paul

Saint Paul is not lacking for one or two story commercial buildings topped with billboards. This is frustrating on many levels – they are designed for drivers, not pedestrians; there are no design standards; and they are often ignored in “neighborhood character” discussions. The first two of those frustrations, driver-focused design and lack of design standards, are […]

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Neighborhood Character is Not Just the Built Environment

Since I advocate for change in St Paul, an often Sisyphean task against the forces of KSPB, I often think about neighborhood character and what it means – especially what it means to different people. I have also struggled to find empathy and understanding for views that don’t exactly align with my own, and I […]

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Rethinking the Status Quo on Summit Avenue

Perpetuating the status quo is sadly the way things are done in Saint Paul. The inertia of what has always been carries a lot of weight here. The latest example can be found on Summit Avenue in the form of the annual repainting of the door zone lane. Below is the current Summit lane sizing:   […]

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More Livable Streets at Snelling Midway

I want express my excitement surrounding the site plan for the Snelling-Midway Redevelopment. The density, return of the street grid, and mixed-use will be an asset to St. Paul for years to come. However, I need to express some concerns about the right-of-way widths at the proposed development. As shown above, the proposed rights-of-way for internal […]

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Snarking Violations

Snow can expose things about our car-dominated landscape that wouldn’t normally be so obvious. Much like a sneckdown, a “snarking violation” is when one can clearly observe that a vehicle hasn’t been moved and has violated posted parking ordinances. Over the course of Monday night, the Twin Cities received their first snow storm. I took the opportunity, […]

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Parking meter in Uptown

Parking Meters Will Work for Grand Avenue

When my wife and I moved back to the Midwest after nearly a decade on the West Coast, we chose Grand Avenue. We chose it for a number of reasons, but first and foremost was the walkability. We didn’t own a car during our eight years in San Francisco, and we became accustomed to the […]

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Cleveland Avenue Shows St. Paul’s Need for Parking Creativity

I wanted to piggy-back off of Bill’s great piece on Lowertown’s perceived parking problem, where he notes that people walked nearly a mile from their parking spot on Energy Park Drive to Midway Stadium and were completely okay with that but parking a couple blocks away from CHS Field and walking through a vibrant downtown is somehow asking too […]

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Suggestions for a safer Jefferson Bicycle Boulevard

Here is my open letter to Saint Paul Public Works and Mayor Coleman. As a new resident to Saint Paul, I wasn’t present for the leg work and public meetings that went into creating the bicycle boulevards. I have, however, been using them extensively over the last 9 months since moving here. I’m a daily bicycle commuter […]

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Ford Parkway Reconstruction – Close but Not Quite

Here is my open letter to Ramsey County Public Works. I know I’m late to this process and honestly don’t expect them to change their plans (which can be seen here [large PDF]). I will preface this by thanking Ramsey County for putting in any bike lanes, but if no one demands better then we […]

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