<<< Sidewalk Friday >>> #19

Humidity and sidewalks don't get along. Just walk for a few blocks in this weather and you'll be dripping with excitement. It makes you really appreciate shade trees. Places like University Avenue or Lake Street are almost unbearable.

The problem was even worse in the South. So much hot sunshine, so few shade trees along the sidewalks. Frankly, I don't get it.


Here's a youtube of Jelly Roll Morton and his boys playing "The Sidewalk Blues".

It's a Victor recording from 1926.


A friend of mine is involved with the Walldogs project going on now in South Minneapolis along Lyndale Avenue.

Sounds like fun!


The Post-Carbon Institute's 10-point plan to acheive Al Gore's goal of 100% renewable electricity in 10 years includes this:

10. Remobilize: our transportation system needs to run on renewable electricity and human power. This means developing and deploying electric automobiles with related renewable generation and charging infrastructures, reviving and re-investing in electric trolley buses, streetcars, and electric rail - both light and heavy. We also need to revive and re-invest in pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure, and bring in light neighborhood electric vehicles (NEVs) for both personal and shared use. These measures all have the aim of replacing the petroleum-powered car as quickly as possible in order to produce a transport system designed for the 21st century.

This will require nothing short of a fossil-free transportation revolution, including an electric rail revolution. Cities redesigned for human muscles and electric motors will thrive long after we have run out of fossil fuels.

I think the point about light vehicles is interesting. I'm seeing way more scooters on the streets these days. Are golf cart-esque cars far behind?


Five links to elsewhere:


A friend of mine is a cartoonist:

[Click image to em-biggen]


Here's a graph of overall Vehicle Miles Travelled in the USA:

It's amazing how the ups and downs look like the overall seasonal carbon graph (the Al Gore one).

Also worth checking out: a report that connects climate change with reducing overall VMT. The 5 second version: We really can dramatically reduce overall VMT through redesigning how our cities are built. Perhaps an overall reduction of 15% through this one move?

Depending on several factors, from mix of land uses to pedestrian-friendly design, compact development reduces driving from 20 to 40 percent, and more in some instances, according to the forthcoming book Growing Cooler: The Evidence on Urban Development and Climate Change. Typically, Americans living in compact urban neighborhoods where cars are not the only transportation option drive a third fewer miles than those in automobile-oriented suburbs, the researchers found.


The Urbanophile: an interesting website out of Indiana that looks at sidewalks, esp. in the Midwest.


[Img of Afton Parade fm. TC Daily Photo]

I marched in the Rice Street Parade this week in support of Instant Runoff Voting in Saint Paul. It was fun, and I've never experienced a parade from the "inside" before.

Things I learned:

  • Parades are the only time that the whole neighborhood really gets together
  • Kids love candy, but they also live it when you give them stickers (no matter what they say)
  • It's difficult to explain Ranked Choice Voting in 5 seconds
  • When you're walking in a parade, and you walk a over a mile, it really doesn't seem very far at all
  • Saint Paul has a ton of clowns, princesses, marching bands, judo clubs, people who dress up for the Winter Carnival, and people who drink beer

I wish I could have been there for the Edina Parade to see how it compared to hardscrabble Rice Street. More differences, or more similarities? (I'm guessing more similarities.)


1) A "patio" at the U of MN's brutalist Moos Tower [h/t Bldg Minnesota]

2) What the air can look like in Beijing, China. Mmm.... Olympic-licious! [h/t BLDGBLOG]

3) The Thauwald Building on St. Paul's W 7th St. [h/t St. Paul Phototour]

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