October 2011

Trick or Treaters = Walkability

Trick or treaters

Halloween is a very urban holiday. Sugar-craving kids demand walkable streets with sidewalks and complete streets.

According to a recent "study" done by a realty website, Minneapolis ranks as the #11  best trick or treating city. (The "study" measured home value, walk score, density, and crime rates.) Likewise, Richard Florda has said MSP ranks #7 on its  "trick or treat index", which he uses as a proxy of urban vitality. All I know is that it's really hard to trick or treat without sidewalks and nice neighborhoods, and Minneapolis and St Paul have them spades. Read more >

Plus O' The Day: October 28, 2011

Re-painting faded bike lanes
Re-painting the bike lane at Summit and Dale in St Paul

I'm not sure why they're doing it right *before* the harsh winter season, but I'm glad they're doing it. (Especially at busy intersections!) 

Why new buildings ignore the street

A new(ish) project in St. Paul's Highland Park

The apartment building abuts a drive-thru Taco Bell, BP gas station, an abandoned gas station, a strip mall and a large “park-n-ride” for the airport [on the upside,Buca's is within walking distance]. The complex is an island, and I can’t blame the developers for taking that route. Would you want to open your front door and walk out towards a “park-n-ride” across the steet? 

  Read more >

Connecting the dots ...

It’s like we’re starting to connect the dots, but we aren’t quite there yet. I wonder if parents in Eagan were reading the Strong Towns blog last week? KSTP reported yesterday that they were contact by concerned parents in Eagan about pedestrian safety at a local school [Walk Score: 29].

[NOTE: I can't embed this video, so you'll have to make due with this: http://www.kstp.com/article/12303/?vid=2948385&v=1]

Read more >

Confessions of a so-called urbanist

Transitional urbanist. That’s me.

First of all - I am a hypocrite. While advocating almost all things urban, I live in a single-family house in a neighborhood of mostly single-family houses. My surroundings were built at various times between the 1880s to the 1950s and range from historic Victorian farm houses to run-of-the-mill ramblers. The intermingled housing styles look vastly different, but have one connection; their function as a single-family house. Read more >

Plus O' The Day: October 10, 2011

Acoustically Enhanced Sidewalks
A couple making a lovely crunching noise walking down a St Paul sidewalk.

For Your Information: This time of year, your strolls may become more musical as leaves crunch and rustle underfoot.

The Long Walk to School

Woodbury's unwalkable school

Children don’t walk to school because they lack sidewalks and safe street crossings. This claim by the experts is true, but doesn’t tell the whole story. Suburban neighborhoods often have no sidewalks besides the occasional winding pathway that connects one edge of the subdivision through a poorly defined park towards the other end in a curvy, non-direct way and large suburban road crossings can be scary. The crossing near Bailey Elementary in Woodbury has a crosswalk, but no stop lights to halt the 55 mph traffic. Read more >

Plus O' The Day: October 7, 2011

A Cycling Critical Mass
Cyclists backed up on Pleasant Street at the U of MN

Riding around the University of Minnesota in the morning these days, you find yourself experiencing actual traffic jams of bicycles, when dozens of cyclists back up at Pleasant Street before the traffic cop waves the bikes through.

It's a delightful experience to be riding a bike and not to feel alone, but part of a much larger movement. You almost feel normal!

Public History and the Streets

Fort Snelling LRT station reflects the many layers of history along the corridor including the significant Native history. Photo courtesy of Pete Sieger on flickr.

On a daily basis we interact with the living history of urban renewal through our local roads. Roads, streets, corridors, highways, and interstates are a great example of the many faces of history that shape the story of our communities. Read more >

Open space as wasted space?

This is open space?

This is “open space”- between the rear of the Super Target and the parking lot for the pancake house. It has a bike path that connects virtually no one to no where. It’s convenient if you want to bike from the Original Pancake House, behind the Target, down a quarter of a mile of big box loading docks, past the Chucky Cheese to the Office Max. Read more >