Archive | Public Policy

Scooter on a Bridge

Sharing Streets with Scooters

One hot day last August I set out to walk a marathon around the Twin Cities, starting with a jaunt over to St Paul for a streets.mn board meeting, a tour of the sewer covers of Rondo (they’re amazing!), and a nice brunch before meandering back to Minneapolis to wander around more. Midday, I headed […]

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The Planned Failure of the Ford Site

On January 25, 2019, Ryan Companies presented its plan for the Ford Site redevelopment to the St. Paul Planning Commission. One third of the way through the presentation, Ryan officials finished talking about themselves and turned to the city’s (supposed) vision for the Ford Site, That vision includes environmental sustainability, vibrant urban infill and a transit-oriented […]

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“Curtilage” And The Constitutional Right You May Not Even Know You Had (And Possibly Just Lost)

The lengthy list of ways that our laws and policies favor single-family residences (and their occupants) over apartments (and tenants) is long and well-known to streets.mn readers. But that list has a significant new entry that has received far less attention. Unless the U.S. Supreme Court intervenes, many Minnesota tenants will enjoy less protection from […]

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How a Hub-and-Spoke Model Could Improve Metro Rail Transit

Airlines utilize hub-and-spoke models of route mapping. For Delta, the Twin Cities’ local dominant airline, Atlanta (ATL) is a major hub of that map, along with Minneapolis-St. Paul (MSP), Salt Lake City (STL) and other airports. Remember the refrain that the path to hell passes through Atlanta? Whatever your destination in the Southeast, chances are […]

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A Charming Third, or Tilting At Windmills

Welcome to Winter! In addition to the cold and snow, we are in the early parts of the the 2019-2020 Minnesota Legislative Session. Among the many hundreds of bills that have been introduced so far, bicycle-related legislation has been introduced in the House (HF 462) and the Senate (SF 1014). This proposed legislation, which seems […]

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St. Paul 2040 Could Learn Something from St. Paul 1922

As Saint Paul debates its 2040 plan, it is revealing to look back at one of the city’s first zoning maps from the early 1920s. A little inspection of the map reveals some of the origins of the city’s current social geography and social divides, but also some elements worthy of resurrection. The dominance of […]

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The Gas Tax is Too Damn Low

The price of gasoline in the Twin Cities is very low right now, averaging $2.22 a gallon across the metro. Cheap gas is a short-term benefit to people who drive cars, but is horrible for just about everyone in the long term. Cheap gas incentivizes people to drive more miles, make more solo trips instead […]

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Free Transit or Better Service?

Recently, Vancouver-based planning rockstar Brent Toderian started a conversation on Twitter about two approaches to increasing public transit use: free fares or better service and connections. I’m a long-time fan of free public transit, so it pained me to see many people siding with better service/connections. Obviously, I’m in favor of better service, too, but […]

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Map Monday: Designated Opportunity Zones of the Twin Cities

This past weekend Star Tribune metro reporter Eric Roper wrote about the census tract that includes the Mall of America and Bloomington’s South Loop being classified as Opportunity Zones. He notes that in the 2017 tax code overhaul, Congress created Opportunity Zones to offer tax advantages for investments made in designated distressed areas. The designations stay in […]

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A Back-Of-The-Napkin Proposal For State Transit Funding

After a midterm election that saw DFL candidates sweep the statewide offices and make massive gains in the suburbs, transportation funding is in the air once again in St. Paul. To mark the occasion, a coalition consisting mainly of business groups has assembled to push for more money to go to transit. The group, which […]

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