Archive | Public Realm

A birds-eye illustration of a busy crosswalk and bump out with many people in bright colors crossing and walking to and fro. Text on the image reads: you walk in mpls? you care about walking? you’re a mpls walking expert! Apply to serve on the Minneapolis Pedestrian Advisory Committee! With other community members, advise our Mayor and City Council to improve walking safety, mobility, accessibility, and comfort; to promote walking for transportation, recreation, community-building, and health; and to strengthen the link between our streets and public transportation. No previous experience necessary! This is a volunteer position, but you’ll learn about the city and have a real impact on projects and policy. Apply by May 12: http://tiny.cc/iwalkmpls

Apply for the Minneapolis Pedestrian Advisory Committee!

After a friend first told me about the Minneapolis Pedestrian Advisory Committee (PAC) a few years ago, it took another two or three gentle suggestions before I was willing to seriously consider applying. Despite being car-free by choice and a Minneapolitan for my entire adult life, I saw myself as neither a pedestrian nor someone […]

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Downtown Needs Bathrooms

Everyone needs to pee. This is an observation so obvious that it shouldn’t need to be stated. Yet it seems it’s not an observation that has made its way into our urban planning. It’s really a simple equation. People need to pee – no public bathrooms = peeing in public (or worse). Much of the […]

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Pedestrianizing Big Box Stores – Midway Super Target

Like many parts of Minneapolis and Saint Paul, the Midway in Saint Paul is a slightly strange hybrid between urban and suburban built forms.  Houses and apartments on narrow lots and streetcar-era retail buildings with zero setbacks coexist (oftentimes uneasily) with suburban-style big-box stores that have giant parking lots.  The Green Line provides frequent transit service to places that have […]

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Street Connections

How important are connections between inside and out? Panino’s, a place my wife and I enjoy eating at fairly often, recently expanded into the space next door. The original space was kind of a quirky collection of areas but it worked and felt comfortable. Unfortunately the new space is a giant windowless sterile echo chamber […]

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When a Transit Shelter is Not a Transit Shelter

Last week Metro Transit unveiled a collaboration with the Downtown Improvement District to place a new bus shelter at 3rd Avenue S and S 7th Street downtown which is a very busy stop. This new shelter doubles as an herb greenhouse to better blah blah blah I can’t believe I’m writing this. Look. I can’t believe I have […]

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Detroit Still Exists

I spent a few days last month in downtown Detroit at CNU 24. CNU is smart enough to host their annual “congress” in and around the city. We spent not a single moment in a conference center, but rather in beautiful old theaters, bars, parks, pop-up event spaces with food trucks, tables, vendors and Ping-Pong, and informal gathering spots. In […]

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The Surprising Urban Geography of Pokemon Go

You see them chasing digital dreams,  shadows of their childhood. Young people ambling slowly with faces pressed to their phones, clumps plotting on benches. It’s Pokemon Go,  the new game! Half digital, half material, and a sign of things to come. I don’t have to explain it to you, because a hundred hot takes have done […]

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Pokemon GO

Pokemon GO: 10 Streets Etiquette Tips for Pokemon Trainers

Perhaps you have seen people wandering around with their face in a phone, more than usual? Perhaps you have heard them exclaim that they have found a “Pokestop!” or a “wild Charmander?” Perhaps you have even heard of the new craze, which is a mobile game called Pokemon GO. In it, mobile phone users become […]

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Shopping Centers vs. Transit Users

The Star Tribune recently ran a story about a Coon Rapids strip mall owner who is trying to evict a public transit bus stop from its property, saying this violates its property rights. This private property versus transit controversy has surfaced several times before in this metro area and across the nation. It falls in a […]

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