18.9.09

*** Sidewalk Weekend ***

Sidewalk Rating: Indian summer

OK, this is the last weekend of summer, the end of the halcyon spree. This is it. I promise. I'm headed to Chicago, and have been biking around town despite the humidity, through the gangs of campus'd undergrads.


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In case you haven't seen this awesome music video...

WHERE WE'RE FROM


... giving mad props to Saint Paul, my hometown. (Via EastLake.)


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Apparently this blog is tied at #70 on the list of "Top 100 Minnesota Blogs". While I'm sure that this list is on logarithmic scale, nobody is more surprised than I am.


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I found a new blog that claims that sidewalks were first created in 18th century London.

In a way, that might be true. Sidewalks, per se, arrive about the same time as rapid transportation that is moving fast enough to kill pedestrians (in this case, horse-drawn carriages, which frequently struck and killed 18th c. Londoners). On the other hand, there were sidewalks, of sorts, in places like Pompeii, used primarily to allow people to walk down the street without stepping in puddles of shit and piss.


[The streets and sidewalks of Pompeii. Img. fm. Photobucket.]


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The aforementioned Wisconsin state house member who was the driver in this terrible accident in Madison, WI was fined $88 for his negligence.

Seems rather low to me? Why do you get a larger fine for blocking a snow emergency route, than for running a red light and T-boning a cyclist head-on in the middle of the day?


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There's a new non-profit that's going to form co-ops for subsidized taxi rides in California. I doubt it will make money, but the idea is a lot like MetroTransit's 'Guaranteed Ride Home' program, which grants me about $100 worth of free cab rides each year. Needless to say, I love this program. It's little things like this that allow one to go without a car. Most of the time you don't really need one, but in those rare cases that you really want a car, a subsidized taxi cab comes in really handy.


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Here's a new blog post (and very long comment thread) about how freeways built through the middles of cities caused, on average, an 18% decline in that city's population (as people moved into the suburbs). That's one of the reasons why I don't understand why city governments (Minneapolis, Saint Paul) still go out of their way to encourage the fast (highway-like) movement of cars through the city. (See Minneapolis's one-way street pairings.)


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I read somewhere a little bit ago about how the post-industrial economy changes the dynamics of local politics as businesses become more and more centralized in the few global cities (NYC, LA) leaving middle-sized cities dependent on local banks, developers, and construction compaines. This kind of thing reinforces the way that cities become dependent on sprawl, development, growth, and big ticket construction projects, which, unsurprisingly, then become the focus of local governments and business lobbying. Well, it turns out that Minneapolis is somewhere in the middle of the pack when it comes to having its local economy dependent on housing construction and real estate development.



(I should add that this seems like a wasteful thing to have at the heart of your national or local economy, which literally becomes something like a house of cards.)


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Three photos for you!

1) The beauty of a Minnesota parking lot in a screenshot from the movie Fargo. (Img. fm. Sutpen.)


2) Awesome LRT heatlamp button modification. (Img. via Metblogs.)

3) I've been spending all my days at the Minneapolis Central Library, looking out the window at the former site of Gateway Park while I study. (Img via Lileks.)

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