28.2.08

<<< News Flash! >>>

The Met Council approved the "Plan B" compromise proposal for the Central Corridor Light Rail, which runs at grade through the U of MN, includes room for stops along University Avenue, and connects to the downtown Saint Paul train station. See the Star Tribune or the Pioneer Press articles. For example, the Strib quotes U of M V-P Kathleen O'Brien:
The university had hoped for a tunnel through campus but endorsed the plan "with reservations," said Kathleen O'Brien, a vice president at the U. Specific concerns include traffic congestion and patient access to health services on campus.

I think the U is more likely concerned about how to get people to and from the new stadium complexes they're building along the North end of campus. What good is a new stadium, and all its parking lots, if the roads don't connect.
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Anne Geske at the Minneapolis Observer, which despite Craig Cox's best efforts has long since stopped being relevant, has a kind of an interestingly pointless report on psychogeography and the Conflux festival held yearly in New York City. It's a really great way to experience the city, kind of flaneur meets Wheel of Fortune .

In related news, I saw this book at Micawber's bookstore a while back, and it looks great.

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WCCO reports that Edina apparently finally decided to place some zoning restrictions on teardowns and "McMansions" , the giant homes that homebuyers like putting up after they clear lots in the TC's "nicest" neighborhoods.

I think the possible zoning patterns have something to do with floor area-to-lot size ratio . . . but regardless, its great to see a city doing something to prevent unrestrained growth, rather than encourage it.

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A house built from an old streetcar in San Francisco

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Friend of TC Sidewalks, Steven Gross, penned a piece on surface lots in cities . . . pointing out what a big waste of space they are.

I couldn't agree more! I cannot think of a worse use for valuable city space than a surface parking lot. In some ways, I'd rather see the land devoted to drug dealers (if it didn't send property values crashing, that is).

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An interesting story on L.A. transit troubles, for those of you who might start getting frustrated with how frustrating the transit funding situation is in the Twin Cities.

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The Atlantic Monthly had a feature story on how certain speculative suburbs may be becoming the next American "slums" thanks to subprime lending problems . . . i.e. that these giant conspicuous consumption homes cannot find buyers, and their planned obsolescence starts to bite them in the ass after a while, leaving entire brand now neighborhoods vacant and derilict.

Fun!

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And MPR had a Myron Orfield-inspired article on how suburbia relates to ideology, pointing out how neatly the red-blue divide maps onto the metro area 'donut' map.

That said, there's no exurb that is as monolithically conservative as the 'inner city' is monolitically liberal. That's the benefit of concentrated poverty, I guess . . .

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I'll have a full report on the State Transportation bill debate in the next few days, I promise.

Unitl then, here's a picture of the wall they built in Detroit, Michigan to separate the black suburbs from the white suburbs. (h/t DetriotYes.com)



[Today it basks in sunshine, covered in murals. Detroit has become a utopic vision of inter-racial harmony!]

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