Archive | Urban Design

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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Are Roundabouts Safer for Pedestrians?

Urban planners and some bicycle and pedestrian advocates tell me that “roundabouts are safer than traditional signalized intersections.” It comes up in the context of conversations about pedestrian-friendly urban street design. I hear this line a lot and see it on websites and in social media posts. In most cases, folks are parroting various viral […]

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Little Canada’s “Other” Transportation Infrastructure: Conclusion

This is the final part of a series of posts about a study on Little Canada’s transportation infrastructure for people who take transit, walk, and/or bike. Final Thoughts As I finished up the last part last month, I have some final thoughts based off my experiences. I also discuss my biases and how they influence […]

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The Positive Power of Walking 

National Summit Showcases Health, Economic and Social Justice Benefits of Walkable Communities Many things leap to mind when someone mentions walking: fitness, fun, fresh air, relaxation, friends and maybe your most comfortable pair of shoes. But a word that rarely arises is “power”. That will begin to change after the 2017 National Walking Summit (held […]

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