Author Archive | Tom Basgen

Saint Paul Alley Cat #2: Ranking “Significant Public Views”

  The draft of Saint Paul’s comprehensive plan has been released.  It is not as exciting as Minneapolis, or as ambitious as Red Wing’s.  Deep within lies the above slide, noting ‘significant public views’.  I had doubts so I went and looked myself.   Cap Wigington’s iconic water tower is there, but to get an […]

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Saint Paul Alley Cat

At streets.mn we spend a lot of time talking about roads, rails, sidewalks, and bike lanes.  We spend a lot of time talking about cities that aren’t Saint Paul. Instead let’s talk about weird stuff in Saint Paul and its alleys. There’s a lot to appreciate on this back drive. How old are the advertised […]

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On Rent Control

After 2017’s City Council races in Minneapolis and Ginger Jentzen’s strong showing, rent control has re-entered the housing discourse in the Twin Cities again, despite the fact that it is preempted at the state level. It’s my belief that the preemption and much of the opposition to rent control is based in a certain inflexibility […]

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Saint Paul’s History vs. Saint Paul’s Future

In the Fall of 2017 Saint Paul City Council enacted a development moratorium along Marshall Avenue, a residential transit corridor on the west side (not the West Side) of the Capitol City.  The moratorium was in reaction to two development proposals that had surfaced over the summer.  Legally speaking, the city was not trying to […]

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Saint Kate’s Parking Lot Wants to Pave the Trees

A friend, who happens to be a Saint Catherine’s alum, told me a tale about the not too distant past. The city of Saint Paul was looking to run Prior Avenue straight through Saint Kate’s campus. Things like that take time and as soon as the nuns at the school heard the city’s plan they worked […]

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Three Key Concepts in Urban Planning

There’s been a lot of talk about transportation and housing development in the news recently. For example, I have discovered a deep love of hate-reading “Cars v. Bikes” and “Density v. Character” articles. I have also discovered that nearly every citizen is an armchair urban planner, and if we’re going to talk about this anyways, […]

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In the Fabled Land of Big Developer™ Giants

It seems like every time someone wants to build a multifamily residential building, there has to be a public brawl about density and character in front of the City Council first. It’s completely unnecessary, but you get used it.   This week I wasted another perfectly good Wednesday night of my quickly evaporating twenties in […]

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I went to Korea and all I got was a Fuller Understanding of Successful Transit Systems

I just got back from Seoul, South Korea. I had a great time thanks for asking. Seoul is arguably the biggest, densest city in the world. Seoul and its closest neighboring city, Inchon, have grown into each other blurring the lines where one metro ends and another begins, so much so that their independent subway […]

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I Got Kicked Out of My House — You Won’t Believe What Happened Next!

I got kicked out of my house a month ago.  I was renting a little three bedroom house tucked into the armpit of a highway in southwest Saint Paul. I paid my rent on time and did all the repairs the house needed myself as things broke. I’d bill for the repair out of my […]

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A Tale of Zoning Manipulation in Saint Paul’s Tangletown

Our town is filled with gates and walls invisible to the eye. Regulars at streets.mn know how the physical reality around is affected by zoning policy and staid old traffic development manuals, and it’s not my intention to bore you by banging that drum again. But when examples of bad practice come up, it’s important […]

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