23.6.06

*** News Flash ***

I've got a lot of news bits that have piled up in the past few weeks . . . and I'm gonna round them up for you.

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I just spent two weeks on the East Coast, mostly in New York and Boston. It was fun to be in places with a great deal of history and street life, and when I got back to the Twin Cities, I spent my first day trying to relive the city life in downtown Minneapolis. I took the LRT to the new library, walked down Nicollet Mall and across the Stone Arch Bridge, I went over to Dinkytown and walked through the U of MN campus.

My conclusion: The Twin Cities has a lot of trees!

Though, according to this story in the Minnesota Daily, that might be changing. It's another in the long line of the town v. gown conflicts in the Marcy-Holmes and Prospect Park neighborhoods.

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While I was walking down Hennepin Avenue, I saw two cops on Segways. I just about wet myself! This story in the Strib has the scoop on what is a pilot project. Personally, I can't figure out the real reason I like Segways. Is it: A) They're incredibly pedestrian friendly? B) They're totally high-tech? or C) They make the MPD looks like geeks?

Do the cops really need to be wearing helmets?! Of course, my city-planner friend thinks Segways are a boondoggle . . .

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There's some breaking news about the Central Corridor LRT project. Apparently, there's some sort of economic force called "inflation" that keeps making construction projects more expensive. What's going on?!

The PiPress has the complete rundown, along with possible fixes for this "inflation" thing. It's nice to see that Peter Bell is earning his salary by bashing Twin City transit projects.

According the the report, Metro Transit could cut the project's costs by eliminating streetscaping, the U of MN tunnel, or the last leg leading to the Union Depot in Downtown Saint Paul.

I guess I'd favor that last choice, though I wonder if they can't just do this thing in two-parts. Why not build most of it with Federal dollars, and the last part of it with state and local dollars? Or is that too un-ethical for the DeLay/Abramhoff US Congress?

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There's yet another budding rival city competition between the Pioneer Press and the Star Tribune. What's it about this time? Who can provide more "street corner" coverage of Saint Paul neighborhoods.

FYI, the Pioneer Press for a few months has been running a series they call "Four Corners," where a reporter picks an intersection does some vox pop. I've actually enjoyed the pieces.

And, so, apparently, have the editors at the Star Tribune. They've started a very similar profile series of Saint Paul. You can read the latest one which features Newell Park, along the PBR. It talks about some of the difficulty of living right next to one of the busiest rail yards in the Cities.

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Likewise, the Minneapolis Heritage Preservation Comission has rethought their earlier verdict on the Pillsbury A Mill loft projects. Now that the architects have added more masonry, instead of glass, they've given them their overwhelming approval. (For those of you new to this story, the HPC rejected the projects earler, despite their support from two neighborhood NRP groups and a large part of the Mpls City Council, which over-rode their veto.)

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And, finally, I read in the Financial Times that over half the world's population is going to be living in cities by the end of the year. Of course, many of these cities are mega-slums like Lagos, Bombay, and Lima. Good news if you're an urbanist, I suppose.

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