Archive | Urban Design

Lexington Crosswalk, St. Paul

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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Summit Avenue Fatality: No Charges, No Change?

(most of this post previously appeared on Ride Boldly) On Friday, the Ramsey County attorney’s office announced that no charges will be filed against the school bus driver involved in May’s fatal Summit Avenue crash. Initial gut response: WTF, with a side helping of “you announced this on the Friday before a holiday weekend for reasons, […]

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Five Keys to Rochester’s North Broadway Debate

A lot has happened during Rochester’s North Broadway discussions, but I feel that much of the consternation is not about the project itself. Rather, people in Rochester are debating about which direction the city is heading. There is a group of people, both elected and not, who are clinging to the last strands of what […]

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Podcast #111: A Vision for Duluth’s Superior Street with Ben Garland

The podcast this week is a conversation with Ben Garland, a Duluth resident who runs a small business in the hillside neighborhood. Over the last year or so, Garland has been organizing to try and change the design for a street reconstruction project on Superior Street in downtown Duluth. Superior Street is Duluth’s main street, […]

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The Last Temptation of the YIMBY

When I heard that Minneapolis’s comprehensive plan would remove restrictions on building two- to four-unit homes in areas previously zoned R1 or R1A (including my neighborhood, Longfellow) I was thrilled. I consider the restrictions on these types of “missing middle” housing a nearly insurmountable threat to achieving Minneapolis’s population growth and sustainability goals. In addition, […]

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Safe Streets: Narratives of Pedestrian Advocacy

On February 8, streets.mn, in partnership with Nexus Community Partners’ Boards and Commissions Leadership Institute, is hosting a free event — Safe Streets: Narratives of Pedestrian Advocacy. This is an evening of education, and sharing experiences of being a pedestrian. Come hear examples from local advocates and government about how we have or could incorporate the voices and […]

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