Archive | Public Policy

It’s Not Density That’s Driving the American Pandemic

Well, to begin, please stay home when and if you can and avoid close contact with people for a while. Preventing a huge outbreak that would overwhelm our healthcare system is critical right now. But with that out of the way, here’s something I’ve been thinking about. This spring, I’ve been teaching a urban geography […]

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Local Reactions to the Coronavirus Pandemic at the Urban-Suburban Edge

How has Coronavirus affected your neighborhood? There are several components to the way neighborhoods react: people, business, transportation, etc. Some reactions are common, some unique to each neighborhood. So yesterday I decided to document the most public & specific of these reactions: businesses. Everyone needs to shop & run errands, so how does the pandemic […]

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A Climate Emergency Means it’s Time to Stop, Drop and Roll

The City of Minneapolis has declared a climate emergency. What does it mean to be in a state of emergency? If you’re having a health emergency, you ride in an ambulance with sirens blaring. The normal rules of the road are suspended as drivers get out of the way. When your house is on fire, […]

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It Only Takes Seven Riders for an Electric Bus to be More CO2e-Efficient Than Hybrid Cars

As I have shared before, I drive a hybrid hatchback, a 2015 Toyota Prius. To reduce my carbon footprint, I try to walk or scoot for many of my shorter trips, and I also check bus schedules for medium trips, like to a coffee shop in another neighborhood. It can be very frustrating, even living […]

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Car Subsidy as a Cost-Recovery Measure for St. Paul: Time to CARPe Diem

The Climate Action and Resilience Plan (CARP) recently passed by the St. Paul City Council is an excellent, and necessary, first step to move St. Paul toward a sustainable future. You can read the plan here. Making the plan’s vision a reality will require developing many specifics that the plan does not flesh out. It’s […]

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Neighborhood Character and Redlining’s Legacy

“Neighborhood character,” it turns out, can be legally defined and covenanted, as I learned recently when I spent a morning conducting research at the Ramsey County records division. I found the warranty deed abstract for the multi-block plot of land that includes my lot and house, and a significant swath of Highland District Council (HDC) […]

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Camera Enforcement Questions & Answers

The ongoing conversation over the role of enforcement in creating safe streets and cities has raised a number of important points, both on streets.mn and elsewhere.  I believe camera enforcement is a key component in creating safe streets and can be done without sacrificing our commitments to equity, privacy, and safety through better design.  To […]

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Minneapolis Needs Better Street Design, but Minnesota Needs Better Enforcement

A few weeks ago Our Streets Minneapolis published a statement of their position on the Minneapolis Transportation Action Plan, drawing attention for their view that they did not support greater enforcement of traffic laws. Meanwhile, Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey’s 2020 proposed budget includes funding for a reconstituted traffic enforcement unit with three additional officers, a […]

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Reform Security Deposits on Tenants’ Behalf

Any tenant who has had a landlord illegally withhold their security deposit or whose landlord has refused to make required repairs can tell you there is a lot more to the legal system than what is written in the state statutes or city ordinances. A law may say you have certain rights. But it’s another […]

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A Few Streets St. Paul Would Be Better Off Without

New streets are being built every day, mostly in the exurbs, where forests and farmland continue to give way to new subdivisions. Here in Saint Paul we pretty much stopped building new roads half a century ago. The problem is, there seems to be a law of nature that once those roads are built, they […]

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