Author Archive | Tom Basgen

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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I Love the Traveling Tap, and You Should Too

I rode the Traveling Tap and it was incredible. The Traveling Tap is one of those beer bikes that Minnesotans love to hate. I myself was a card carrying member of the “I hate the Pedal Pub” Facebook group for some time.  No longer. Never has a finer vehicle been created than the Bar Bicycle. […]

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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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