Author Archive | Tom Basgen

The Reclamation of Snelling Avenue

Snelling Avenue is a wound on Saint Paul.  A north/south gash bisecting the city’s west side.  It’s a road that fails to serve anyone outside of a car in any meaningful way, but at most times fails the driving public it has been built to cater to.  Snelling has a grim record. Pedestrians crossing anywhere […]

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Are District Councils Really Just Homeowner’s Associations?

Recently my neighborhood had its yearly district council election here in Highland Park. I couldn’t help but notice as the newly elected grid representatives received the applause of their neighbors, who they were: five white home-owning men, three out of the five sporting white hair. Out of the seven seats in contention that night, only one seat […]

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Lost Right-Of-Way Fee Found at Ford

In August 2016, the city of Saint Paul lost a court case in the Minnesota Supreme Court.  It was about right-of-way fees, a primary funding source for the city’s roads.  To make a long story short, the court found that the fee was not a fee but a tax, meaning that every non-profit and government property […]

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The Case Against “Neighborhood Character”

If you are involved in your community’s discussions about roads, development, or zoning, you have undoubtedly heard one of the most ubiquitous and troubling phrases to populate those discussions: “neighborhood character.” To me, “neighborhood character” is a nothing phrase.  It is a flowery facade to hide ugly or undeveloped opinions behind.  When I say that […]

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Night Owls and Early Birds

Every day in the Twin Cities there’s a gap in Metro Transit service.  Most routes typically go offline from 1 a.m. to 5 a.m., but not all.  Those lines that continue to run 24 hours are classified as “Night Owl” routes by Metro Transit.  Considering, though, that there are only six of these routes out […]

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