(Greater) Minnesota Transit Index

From the Minnesota Legislature’s Session Weekly, an index of Minnesota transit statistics.  Here is a sample: 62% of Greater Minnesota transit users have household incomes of $20,000 or less. 51% of Greater Minnesota transit users do not have a driver’s license 86% of Greater Minnesota transit users ride at least twice a week 50% of […]

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Lake Elmo and the Misconceptions of “Growth”

Critics say Lake Elmo’s anti-growth bias is obvious when you look at what’s happened in neighboring cities. Those neighbors have eagerly welcomed malls, factories, offices. – from the Pioneer Press, Jan. 29, 2012, Lake Elmo: Small, and shrinking To those unfamiliar, Lake Elmo is a quaint, little town east of St. Paul. Lake Elmo provides […]

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1/17/12 Minneapolis Transportation & Public Works Committee

I know you all have been anxiously awaiting a report on the Minneapolis Transportation and Public Works Committee meeting of Jan. 17th.  Which rough and crumbly streets will finally receive a smooth new layer of asphalt?  Which ancient combined sewers will finally be separated, sparing our rivers the pollution from our societal effluent?  I apologize […]

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Shared Space

The concept of building shared space within the public realm is a radical one here in the United States, where automobiles are not only given priority, but completely dominate most public spaces. With the financial insolvency inherent in our current approach becoming more and more apparent each day, there is a need to study alternatives. […]

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Those Skyways Won’t Go Down Without a Fight

While my post on this website suggesting that we gradually remove the skyways from downtown Minneapolis over a 50-year timeline got a couple compliments and a rebuke by our own David Levinson, it was also picked up by the Star Tribune. In that piece, Minneapolis mayor R.T. Rybak was quoted as saying “I don’t think […]

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The (re-)allocation of roadspace

The urban public right-of-way (roadspace) is a scarce resource that is now publicly allocated. Typically at the outside is a sidewalk (this might actually be on private property, but there is a right-of-passage there). Between the sidewalk and the street there is often a “boulevard”, a planted strip with occasional street trees and the frequent […]

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The End of Golf Course Urbanism?

[The 12th Hole on Edina’s Braemar Golf Course.]   It was a seemingly trivial bit of news last month. The Star Tribune had a short article on the closing down of a new golf course in the exurban town of Independence, Minnesota (population 3,622). The closing of the high-end golf course joins a list of […]

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Urban Highway Removal in Minneapolis?

What are your thoughts? Is urban highway removal possible in the Twin Cities? If so, where? In the Twin Cities, skyways have worked their way into the cultural vernacular probably more than was intended by their original designers. A few connections quickly turned into a culture of second level retail that eventually pulled retail away […]

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Minnesota’s Canadian tailpipe

Here in Minnesota, we don’t have any fossil fuel resources of our own.  There are no oil wells, fields of natural gas, or coal mines anywhere in the state.  While the state has committed to using more and more renewables over time, we have to import most of our energy from elsewhere—and that mostly means […]

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Should the City of St. Paul act as a property developer?

“The St. Paul City Council, acting as the Housing and Redevelopment Authority Board, voted 4-3 on December 22 to support a complex financing package for the Penfield housing and retail development on the former Public Safety Building block at 10th and Minnesota streets.” [The Highland Villager, Jan. 11-24, 2012, p.1] [The Penfield as viewed from […]

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Three surprising things about Automobility

The recent debate over the ban on cell phones in cars points to the intractable pull that automobiles have on our everyday lives. On this site, and in urbanism cirlces more generally, the car is (justifiably) the target of a lot of criticism. As we think about how to redesign cities, and what we can […]

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In defense of skyways

Crossposted at streets.mn and transportationist.org Photos of skyways by author from Sydney (2), Portland (2), Minneapolis (3), Tokyo (1), and Harrogate (1) respectively. Everyone seems to be hating on Minneapolis’s world-beating skyway network. Sam Newberg is the latest in a recent post at streets.mn: Is it Time to Remove Those Pesky Skyways? : “The following […]

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