Archive | Urban Design

Brit Builds an ADU: Infill and Transportation

So, as I mentioned in the first installment I sometimes take the bus for errands and to get to meetings. As part of the city’s desire to reduce congestion by encouraging public transit Accessory Dwelling Units are not required to have additional parking space of their own. We are likely to either replace our current two […]

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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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Best and Worst Pedestrian Bridges in MSP–an Unscientific Sampling

Last week’s article calling for a ban on slip lanes in Saint Paul is spot on. Too many of our city streets are built like highways, endangering pedestrians and bicyclists by design. The comments on the article, however, turned toward pedestrian bridges, in particular the bridge at Aldine over I-94, as an alternative to walking […]

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Improved Yielding to Cyclists in St. Paul

Most days I commute to work using the Margaret Street Bicycle Boulevard. This east/west street has been a designated bikeway for a while. St. Paul recently received federal funds for some major improvements: The intersection with Johnson Parkway was closed to cars. The intersection with White Bear Avenue got a flashing HAWK light. The intersection […]

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Brit Builds an ADU: Who Would Want an Accessory Dwelling Unit?

Two years ago my family of three adults, a polyamorous family with my wife and husband, bought a three bedroom, two bathroom house in south Minneapolis. It’s charming and has fantastic 1940s details like coved ceilings, stucco exterior, and a smallish footprint at about 1600 sq ft. I work from home full-time and we have […]

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Lexington Parkway Crosswalks are Unanticipated Pedestrian Plan Collateral

Who would have guessed that a new, more intentional approach to pedestrian safety in Saint Paul would lead to fewer marked crosswalks? Sounds counterintuitive, right? When Ramsey County repaved the stretch of Lexington Parkway that serves as one bookend for the Lex-Ham neighborhood, they used the city’s evolving draft Pedestrian Plan to guide their treatment for […]

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Car-Free Day Car-toons

Saturday, September 22 is World Car-Free Day! OurStreets Minneapolis, The Minneapolis Downtown Council and a few local groups are celebrating it on Friday, September 21st. In honor of this blessed event, I’m posting a few car-toons. The U.S.A. (including Minnesota) remain “The Land of the Cars!” Here’s a new American flag proposal so outsiders will […]

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For Urban Vehicles, Let’s Use the Right Tool For the Job

At streets.mn, contributors talk a lot about how to create cities where personal automobiles take on a less primary presence, and the needs of other street uses – pedestrians, cyclists, and transit-users – can rise to the forefront. However, today I’d like to take an opportunity to discuss the vehicles that we do have, and […]

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Please Color Outside the Lines

Recently I realized my complaints about three new urban improvements boiled down to the same thing: Careful thought and design work seemed to stop at the edge of the project. Something just outside the lines had screwed it up. My first and longest-standing complaint like this concerned the lack of a bus shelter on University […]

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It’s a Plan, Not a Code

“[S]mall-scale residential structures.” These are the words the draft Minneapolis 2040 comprehensive plan uses to describe the massing of buildings to be allowed in the Interior 1 category, most of which is currently zoned R1 or “single family.” Carol Becker knows this, because I’ve told her (also here). When asked last week at a Longfellow […]

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