Author Archive | Scott Shaffer

yimby swag

What I learned at YIMBYtown 2017

Last week Anton Schieffer and I formed the Minnesota delegation at YIMBYtown 2017 in Oakland, Calif. YIMBY stands for “yes in my backyard,” which is in opposition to NIMBY, “not in my backyard,” which is a name you can call someone who opposes a thing you like, if you’ve given up on being persuasive or […]

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Where the Minneapolis DFL Candidates Stand on Housing

It’s election season in the Twin Cities, and Minneapolis, among other cities, will elect City Council Members and a Mayor this year. While the general election isn’t until November, the city’s dominant Democratic Farmer-Labor party will begin its endorsement process next week. The party endorses through a caucus process, and their website has information on the location and […]

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Exclusionary Zoning: the New Redlining

In the 1930s, Hennepin Avenue in Uptown Minneapolis was a redlining boundary. Banks were instructed to give loans to people who wanted to live west of Hennepin, but the neighborhoods just east of Hennepin were labeled “definitely declining” and people who wanted to buy a home or renovate one were systematically denied loans. The redlining categories […]

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Map Monday: Minneapolis Low-density Neighborhoods with Good Transit Service

Alex Cecchini recently argued that we should allow multifamily buildings along leafy, quiet streets. One of the points he used to support his argument was that transit service in many Minneapolis neighborhoods is flexible. This point seemed particularly ripe for further analysis and visualization. How good is transit in low-density neighborhoods in Minneapolis? Is our zoning code preventing […]

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Route 2.

Metro Transit Upgrades Route 2

Metro Transit recently announced upgraded service for Route 2 in Minneapolis, effective this week. There are about 25% more daytime buses per hour versus last week. This means that the average wait time for the 2 fell from 7.5 minutes to about 5 minutes. Zig-zagging to success The 2 is a pretty weird route, for three […]

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moving boxes

Charting Residential Stability and Race

I hate moving. It takes physical, mental, and emotional energy. It’s expensive to pay for security deposits, non-refundable pet deposits, first month’s rent and last month’s rent, and professional movers. From 2004 to 2012, I probably lived at 12 different addresses in Minnesota, California, and Scotland. I’m not sure if that qualified me as a […]

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Arthur and Edith Lee house. Photo by Scott Shaffer.

The Lee House: Preserving a Relic of Racism

There is a modest, white house at the corner of 46th Street East and Columbus Avenue South in Minneapolis’s Field neighborhood. The architecture of the 1923 home eludes classification — its low-pitched rooflines hint at the craftsman style, but the white exterior, columns, and pediment seem neoclassical. The house lacks the charming stone work and […]

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Planned Light Rail Extensions Dodge Car-Free Workers

We’re planning extensions to our light rail transit system in the Twin Cities! The Southwest Extension will bring the Green Line down to Eden Prairie, and the Bottineau Extension will send Blue Line service up to a Target corporate headquarters and a greenfield in Brooklyn Park. The price of the two projects was projected to be $2.5 billion last […]

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A Year as a Bike Delivery Guy

For a year, I was a bike delivery driver for a popular sandwich restaurant. The terms “courier” and “messenger” didn’t really apply because they imply a greater variety of work and a higher status in bicycling subculture than I actually had. I just delivered sandwiches. It turns out that it’s a lot of fun to get paid to ride […]

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Let’s Legalize Slow Streets

Every month or two, my wife and I visit her parents in Appleton, Wisconsin. It’s a nice college town with a strong bar scene set on the beautiful Fox River. Their downtown shares many characteristics of the busier stretches of Grand Avenue in St. Paul, except for the speed limit: in downtown Appleton, it’s 25 […]

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