30.12.15

The Top 15 Twin City Sidewalks Posts of 2015

["SUV of Progress" looks like this.]
The time has come once again for a reflection, to pause and look back at the year-gone-by, for 2015 lies behind us like roadkill in the rear-view mirror of the SUV of progress.

Here's what you may have missed or forgotten about on this august sidewalk blog since the last solstice. There's kind of a negative parking/bike lanes theme emerging here, which I suppose I should find troublesome.

Anyway, these are my favorite ones, listed in order of narcissistic delight. Apologies in advance.


#15. Saint Paul's Big Day Shows Fundamental Problem with Cars in Cities -- I really like this. I was inspired by a particularly wonderful urban day in Saint Paul, the kind of magical day where cool interesting things just keep on happening. I was struck, though, by how miserable I might have been if I'd had a car the whole time. Plus I made a "graphic", which for me is pretty amazing, though it failed to go "viral."

#14. Vehicular Violence and the War on Buildings -- Read the post that spawned a movement, launched a website, and finally ended once and for all the horrifying habit that drivers have of driving their cars into buildings. Plus this is the post that compares Red's Savoy Pizza to Gibraltar, so...

#13. GOP War on Cities Begins and Ends with Hypocrisy -- A anti-right-wing political rant like I used to put up on here during the reign of Pothole Pawlenty. The only thing I miss about those days was how easy it was to write vitriolic blog posts. Plus I got to make fun of Rogers, which is always pure pleasure.

#12. Motivational Poster #1 -- I just really really really really really like this. Plus I made it myself. I'm a huge fan of Lucian Freud's painting, so... Best non-viral meme ever.

#11. Crap Public Process Irresponsibly Inciting Bikelash -- This was the summer of the bike wars, an election year where parking barking rose to deafening levels (before every candidate I liked got elected after all). The second- or third-worst moment (it's hard to be sure) was the attempt to scuttle the "no-brainer" Front Avenue bike lanes in my old neighborhood. I actually walked in on a campaign organizer spreading fear and misinformation about bikes in one of my favorite bars. It, and Commissioner Janice Rettman's last-minute public meeting, made me mad. I usually don't blog when I'm mad, but I did this time.

#10. Saint Paul Needs More Women in Office -- Another post I'd been meaning to write for a few years, about the huge gap in elected gender ratio between Minneapolis and Saint Paul. We don't want Saint Paul to be seen as the "old boys" city, do we? (No offense, gentlemen.) Article includes fabulous home-made chart!

#9. Little Free Library Neighborhood Quiz -- A post years in the making, a collection of pictures of "little free libraries" from around the Twin Cities, in half-assed quiz form. Can you tell your Edina from your Longfellow just by looking at the books?

#8. Six Outdoor Pop Machines -- Just what it says. Can't beat that. (Stay tuned for "Eleven World-Weary Lampposts".)

#7. The Best of the Mayor's Forum on Parking Meters -- A literal transcript of the lynch-mob Grand Avenue parking meter meeting, so that people who weren't there could get a sense of what was actually said beyond the less helpful reports in other media. If you actually read what people said -- i.e. the Mayor pleading with people to take seriously the connection between climate change and driving -- the whole protest movement looks terrifyingly selfish.

#6. Sidewalk Mailbox #6: High-speed one-ways are like watering your garden with a firehose -- It's actually surprising that I don't get more emails from readers, at least until you think about how few people read sidewalk blogs. Anyway, I got one thought-provoking question about Minneapolis' recent changes adding bike lanes to 26th and 28th Streets (which have long been a pet peeve streets for me). The gardening metaphor just came to me, and it works. (Also, the second-most-widely-read post of 2015.)

#5. In Saint Paul, Bike Lanes are the new Smoking Ban -- Actually, this is my favorite. This is an argument connecting public health to street design, and I'm going to keep saying this over and over and over again until people pull their heads out of their tailpipes and design more walkable streets. Plus I made another "graphic."

#4. The "Signs of the Times" (best of edition) -- For the 100th slapdash collection of sidewalk-oriented signage, a noteworthy occasion, I curated my all-time favorite handwritten-or-otherwise-noticable signage and added a few comments and some semblance of categorization. This makes for excellent, undemanding skimmage, and there are some funny ones.

#3. Bicycling Debate is Rooted in a Generation Gap -- The most personal blogpost I've ever put on here, including my father and my nephew and the true story of the traffic circle at the end of the block where I grew up. This basically sums up the root causes of bicycle vs. automobile tension, which to me is very much about historical epochs and generational change. Not to make too big a deal of one's age, but it's a big deal.

#2. Please Stop for Me, a Children's Book Mash-Up -- This is my favorite thing, TBH, two of my favorite kids books turned into a driver/pedestrian civility lesson. I couldn't get this out of my head for days. The graphics from Go Dog Go work so well with the words from Green Eggs and Ham.

#1. Fascinating Political Moment in Minneapolis Might Actually Change Things -- The most-read TC Sidewalks article of all time! I woke up one morning, after the shootings by the white supremacist thugs who came down to Plymouth Avenue in their masks,  with a head full of thoughts and a spleen full of ventables. I don't know enough about what's happening over North these days, but this was my attempt to tell a compelling story about it. (Article should have made it more clear that, then again, things might not change.)

[There you go 2015.]


[See also: Top 12 TCSidewalks posts of 2014, The Top 23 Twin City Sidewalks Posts of 2013, The 19 Best Twin City Sidewalks Posts of 2012, The Year in Twin City Sidewalks: My 2011 "Heavy Eleven" Report, Best of Twin City Sidewalks 2010.]

22.12.15

Twin Cities Neon #14

[Lowertown, Saint Paul.]

[Dinkytown (hallway), Minneapolis.]

[West 7th Street, Saint Paul.]

[Lyndale Avenue, Minneapolis.]

[Lyndale Avenue, Minneapolis.]

 [Lyndale Avenue, Minneapolis.]

[Nicollet Avenue, Minneapolis.]

[Nicollet Avenue, Minneapolis.]

21.12.15

Old Joe Soucheray Reads "How to Repair Your 10-Speed Bike" by Young Joe Soucheray

[This is a real book.]
I spend as little time as possible thinking about Joe Soucheray, for the same reason that I dislike cleaning my toilet. But when someone told me that the famously-automobile-centric anti-everything grouch had written a book about bike repair, I was floored. It turns out, Soucheray's first career, before becoming Saint Paul's version of Jabba the Hut, was to write pre-teen books about sports and bikes.

So I ordered myself a copy of the 1979 Creative Education Soucheray classic, and here it is, as I imagine it being read by the current ridiculously ornery version of its author.



Young Joe Soucheray: You must frequently use tools or your father wouldn't always be asking you where they are. And you have to admit you did leave the pliers and wrench down at Dave's house where you were trying to fix HIS bike.

Old Joe Soucheray: Kids today! They steal stuff all the time. If any kid gets near my garage, they know which end of the shotgun I'll be holding.

And these bicyclists are the worst of all. You see these bicycle gangs running around Saint Paul, stealing things from garages, terrorizing the minivan-driving moms just trying to bring their bike-free kids to school. Not on my watch. Next time I see a biker gang stealing things from innocent garage owners, my SUV bumper is going to have a thing or two to say about that.



Young Joe Soucheray: Actually, 10-speeds are perfect examples of form following function. They combine the economy of lightweight and selective gear ratios to give the rider the most efficient use of his pedaling power regardless of terrain -- from city streets to dirt country lanes.

Old Joe Soucheray: The bicycle is a menace to the innocent taxpaying driver. If bicycles are so great, why do these spandex hypocrites with their Italian leotards that look like the labels on olive jars keep breaking the law, taking over the road, and preventing innocent minivan moms from bringing their disabled nephews to the hospital? Bicycles are a relic of history, like elevator operators. Just the other day a mom that I know had to hit the brakes because a bicyclist who looked like a tangerine tried to turn. When will the city listen?



Young Joe Soucheray: And the derailleur! Derailleur is French word that means "Don't you dare come near me with a tool." The derailleur, of course, is all that gobbledy-gook at the rear wheel hub, where the small sprocket connects to the big sprocket and the big sprocket connects to the chain.

Old Joe Soucheray: Speaking of gobbledy-gook! What have the French ever done for anybody? They're a bunch of lazy snobs living off the government, they don't even have a word for "entrepreneur." Anything French needs to be voted off the island, beginning with these fancy Italian bicycles with their clown hypocrite riders, who are all lawyers with two cars waiting for them in the garage. If I had to describe this weenie little bike part, I'd called it a "Freedom gear," because the last thing you'll find coming out of my mouth is French.



Young Joe Soucheray: Now that you have your tools, don't get excited. Always remember never to fix anything unless it barks, screeches or goes clank in the night.

Old Joe Soucheray: If you want to hear some barking and screeching, just stop for a second and listen to the roar of the people when the big government at City Hall proposes another "traffic calming" bike lane!

Traffic calming? More like traffic enraging. Destroying small businesses and minivan-moms with six kids just trying to survive while City Hall is taking their taxes, and ruining the streets with more bikes. If you hear something going clank in the night, it'll be me hitting the next Italian jersey wearing hypocrite bicyclist I see with my car.



Young Joe Soucheray: However, it still goes flat. Don't worry, though; you can fix it. Start by looking for a nail or a sword or a tree trunk which might be causing the flat.

Old Joe Soucheray: A sword? Why didn't I think of that. I've been slashing bike tires with my trusty pocket knife, but a sword would be a lot quicker.



Young Joe Soucheray: Once you have changed and repaired a flat tire properly tell your father you want to go to college at M.I.T. He'll know what you mean.

Old Joe Soucheray: M.I.T.? Liberal elites. Over my dead body.



Young Joe Soucheray: Now for the understatement of the year, or at least the understatement of this book. Brakes are important. They are so important that you must check them carefully and often -- before every major ride.

Old Joe Soucheray: If bicycles have brakes, it's news to me. I've never seen any of those Italian racing suit tax-dodging hypocrites with two cars back home in the garage use them. It's the poor minivan-moms with seven kids who have to brake for these biker gangs destroying small businesses one bike lane waste of money at a time. Next time you have a biker in your sights, if you forget to hit the brakes, I forgive you.



Young Joe Soucheray: Cycling is a unique sport. Every time you cycle you are getting the same benefits that walkers and joggers receive, but you are traveling at your own pace, seeing more and hearing more. Any machine that can provide that for you is worth taking care of.

Old Joe Soucheray: These hypocrite bicycle people believe in nothing but their own egos, and in wasting your precious tax money by destroying everything we love about Saint Paul. Don't get me started on these joggers. Get the hell out of my way. How loudly do we have to yell?

Who wrote this socialist propaganda anyway?

17.12.15

Signs of the Times #107

 BAGELS

[Lowertown, Saint Paul.]

NO

[Raymond Avenue, Saint Paul.]


MUSIC
AT
88.1 fm

[Pole. Snelling Avenue, Saint Paul.]


open mi
COMEDY
AT
7:30

[Sandwich board. Hennepin Avenue NE, Minneapolis.] 


NO
PUKING
ANY
TIME

[Tree. Location forgotten.]


DRIVE
LIKE YOUR
KIDS
LIVE HERE

[Pole. Lexington Avenue, Saint Paul.]


Ned Stark
Says

"Winter
is
Coming."

[Sandwich board. West 7th Street, Saint Paul.]



I don't remember voting for this

[Parking meter box. Downtown, Saint Paul.]

16.12.15

Don’t Over-React to Saint Paul’s car2go Shrinkage

There’s a hearing today at Saint Paul City Hall about popular car sharing company car2go’s plans to shrink its service area, cutting out cars in large parts of the city, including the richest and poorest parts of town.

(Note: I’ve never used the service, but it also eliminates service where I live.)

It’s tempting to over-react to the service cuts, particularly if you live in (or represent) one of the affected areas. But I think we shouldn’t insist on an all-or-nothing approach to car sharing in the Twin Cities. We should demand some basic social equity, but the beauty of car2go lies in its flexibility. Much like bike sharing, car2go is a very specific tool that reflects its built environment.  If we want more car sharing, we have to “earn it” by building car-lite urban design.

Here are a few key things to remember about how car2go works and doesn’t work.

[The proposed shrinkage.]


car2go is flexible but tricky to balance 

[car2go usage in Minneapolis, 2014.]
I haven’t seen the car2go data beyond what’s in their quarterly report (and only for Minneapolis). I don’t know their business model, but if it’s anything like Nice Ride’s, there’s a trade-off between coverage area and usage. Dense parts of the city (downtown, uptown, etc.) are going to have high usage, and less dense parts of the city (everywhere else) are going to have low usage. Sometimes, very low usage.

That makes it tricky to plan car sharing, because one of the main costs is “rebalancing.” The genius of car2go’s business model is that, if done right, it requires no costs at all. In theory, because anyone can drive any car at any time, they could simply circulate all by themselves like fish in a pond.

But in real world Twin Cities, if someone parks a car out at an edge, it’s probably going to sit there for a long time before someone else comes along to use it. And the business model (which I haven’t seen, by the way) depends on circulation. A car that’s moving is making money, one that’s parked is not. So the company (most likely) has to spend a lot of time “rebalancing” the cars from edges into centers, back into the high circulation parts of the city.

Where you draw that line reveals the trade-off between geographic and economic equity.


Not a silver bullet for going car-lite

[Bike + Nice Ride + bus pass + car2go app.]
The other key thing to remember is that people don’t replace their cars with car2go on a one-to-one basis. Instead, people replace their (second or only) cars with a suite of affordable options, most especially bicycling, walking, and transit. Car sharing, taxis, or Uber (the most expensive private car alternatives) are more of a safety net for the cheap options. For those without cars, you take a car2go when you have to go somewhere out of the ordinary, at inconvenient times, or if the weather is uncooperative.

But that car share safety net is hugely important. For many of my friends, car2go plays a big part in their ability to live car-free. There are lots of stories.

But because it’s not a one-to-one replacement, you need to rely on places in the city that offer the other alternatives. Car2go only makes sense in places with good transit, mixed-use density, and bike infrastructure. So, that’s pretty much where you see the new lines drawn.

That’s why the proposed Saint Paul map is so interesting. Unlike many of the city’s more economically driven “coverage area” limits, this map eliminates Highland Park but keeps Frogtown. And it makes sense given that the Green Line area is where the quality transit is located, if not the money.

(Maybe if Saint Paul builds the Riverview line through a new dense development at the Ford site, the coverage will expand back into the Southwest of the city.)



A flexible parking solution


[A "car2go Yahtzee" =  five-in-a-row; this one in downtown Minneapolis.]
The other big benefit of car2go is that it offers a flexible solution to consistent parking complaints. At no cost (other than the “opportunity cost of another car being parked in a spot”), car2go provides an alternative to the private car that is especially useful in places where parking costs money. In other words, if you’re spending $5 to park downtown anyway, that’s half of the cost of a car2go trip. Market-driven parking policy makes car sharing (or other car alternatives) much more sensible.

The Grand Avenue example springs to mind. If the city had gone forward with parking meters on Grand Avenue, I’d be willing to bet that car2go might be more willing to expand service in Saint Paul. The tiny cars (two of which can fit into one parking space) make perfect sense for places with meters. They make a bit less sense when you have to drive around (paying by the minute) to find a free spot.

Plus, providing free parking is often expensive for cities. Right now, Saint Paul is debating spending millions on expanding parking lots in Como Park, and contemplating how many parking ramps its going to need at the (aforementioned) Ford site and the new soccer stadium at Snelling and University. Parking ramps cost millions of dollars, last for decades, and are all but impossible to retrofit for different uses. Every parking ramp we build “locks” the city into the private-car transportation model for another generation.

On the other hand, as this proposal shows, car2go can be changed almost instantly. Every time a car2go “turns over” when its used for another trip, that’s a couple of parking spaces that we don’t have to build. And every parking ramp we don’t build gives the city a generation of fiscal and architectural flexibility. Twenty years ago, according to some trends or predictions, many of today’s parking ramps and lots might not be needed, and it’s really nice to be able to roll with the cultural preference punches. The more we have car2go, or other car sharing options, the better for the long term.

Data would be nice, some shrinkage is natural

To continue with the inappropriate metaphor, some shrinkage is natural. Saint Paul and Minneapolis are just getting out of the “cold water” of incessant parking subsidies. As George Costanza illustrates in the Hamptons episode, explaining shrinkage is difficult. “It just does… like a frightened turtle.” 

My one complaint about car2go is that they keep most of their data proprietary. Unlike Nice Ride, which offers as much data as they possibly can (without promoting stalking), car2go is a private company that is worried about competition.  How and when and where they rebalance is something they’d like to keep to themselves, and so they do.

It’d be nice to be able to see exactly where the cars2go go (“cars2went”?), and I’d like to see cities like Saint Paul and Minneapolis push for reports about which places have the most trips, where these trips are clustered, etc., to help guide development. The more that decision makers can see the specifics of the relationship between transportation and land use, on the local scale, the more easily folks can make convincing arguments about development or design decisions.

That said, I really like Council Member Amy Brendmoen’s response to the car2go announcement, posted on her Facebook site earlier this week. (Note: Service was cut in all of Brendmoen's ward.)  She writes:

[...] After lots of thought I am supportive of this shrink down because I want to keep them here. If you look at the modest list of the cities that they serve (such as Copenhagen, Seattle, Austin, Frankfort, Rome, Miami) its pretty clear that Saint Paul is not even close to a large enough city for car2go to naturally be in the market. We don't have the density or transit infrastructure of any of those cities.
[...]
 I for one really liked getting off a plane in Austin and finding that my little Saint Paul Car2Go membership works in other major cities. Adds to our cool factor. I think if we get too prescriptive we will lose out to Minneapolis and have nothing. So, long way of saying I am supportive of this change, as disappointed as I am.
AND if we (we meaning all saint paul residents) want them to stay here, we have to use the cars and talk to people about how to use them. They have greatly reduced their rates to spur activity and they need to know we want them here. Actions speak loudly.

There’s a public hearing on accepting the new car2go limits in Saint Paul this afternoon. If you live in the city, or even in Minneapolis (and use car2go), drop the council an email. Some car sharing is better than none. It's not the size that counts.

[A car2go in the Lex-Ham neighborhood.]

15.12.15

Reading the Highland Villager #144

[Window villager.]
[Basically the problem is that the best source of Saint Paul streets & sidewalks news is the Highland Villager, a very fine and historical newspaper. This wouldn't be a problem, except that its not available online. You basically have to live in or frequent Saint Paul to read it. Until this newspaper goes online, sidewalk information must be set free. See also: Three Reasons Why I Re-Blog the Highland Villager.] 


Headline: Ford's report on the extent of pollution at plant is expected; study will weigh heavily in plans for redevelopment
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: The automobile/truck factory that was there for almost a century probably polluted the hell out of the land in Highland that the city and Ford now want to redevelop. Nobody knows much much pollution is there but they've been testing it for a long time. [You can't build residential on really polluted land for liability reasons.] Article includes lots of boring detail. [Get it? Soil borings.] Article includes some redevelopment planning info, such as the desire not to have big box retail on the site. A consulting firm is dong a traffic study, which might be affected by Riverview corridor planning. [These two things are deeply linked. If we put transit to the Ford site we could redevelop the site with almost minimal growth in traffic, like they do in other cities.]


Headline: Soccer stadium planning kicks into high gear; Coleman aims to have plans in place by March
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: A public meeting about the new stadium was held. It will be 10 acres, but the larger block is also slated for redevelopment, which is much larger.  Architects have been hired. [Just like with the Ford site] the city really wants to encourage transit here instead of driving. [Good thing there's a light rail and aBRT stop on the corner.] There's a committee of interested citizens. Also people want job opportunities for neighborhood kids and other people. Ayd Mill Road is mentioned by someone who does not want it turned into a freeway. Actual quote: "Coleman said the new stadium does raise the profile of any traffic problems associated with Ayd Mill Road. However, he added, that issue needed to be addressed anyway because of the new developments at Snelling and Selby avenues." [Because it's a city "freeway", AMR is a hugely expensive proposition with very little benefit for Saint Paul. If the city wants the road to actually benefit the city itself, economically-speaking, they should design the street so that it's a benefit for residents nearby rather than commuters outside of city boundaries. It's a pretty clear trade-off right now. Currently Saint Paul is subsidizing people to live in the burbs and travel right through Saint Paul without stopping at all. Stay tuned.]


Headline: Neighbors, city staff oppose plan for new CVS on Grand; Proposed pharmacy's drive-through service is the sticking point for staff
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: Someone wants to turn an old Whole Foods on Grand Avenue into a CVS Pharmacy store. Drive-thru lanes [and this one would be directly on Grand Avenue, next to the sidewalk] require a conditional use permit. [Curb cuts, ladies and gentlemen. Not just a lack of transparency along the sidewalk, but actual idling cars.] Article includes quote from developer saying that "site plan would improve traffic safety by re-configuring the existing curb cuts." [Ummmm, no. Not really.] Article includes quote from neighborhood guy: "CVS is trying to 'cram a suburban-looking drugstore' into the grocery store space." [Of course, they've done that before, in worse place in Saint Paul. Also note: I wrote about curb cuts on Grand Avenue before.] It seems like CVS does not need a CUP or variance for anything other than the drive-thru.


Headline: Riverview transit options narrow: Favored routes are West 7th St., Canadian Pacific tracks
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: The [long-winded] transit study for the area between downtown and the airport has finally chosen a route, though not a mode. Neighbors are concerned about traffic and parking. 20 years ago many people got upset about parking and construction and so they likely still would again. Quote from guy on committee: "If light rail is picked, you can forget about parking, you can forget about left-turn lanes." Another quote: "if you go through our  neighborhood, you need to pay attention to us. West 7th is a walking and biking neighborhood." [Both these comments seem to understand that there's a distinction between "modern streetcar" and light rail, which is nuanced and correct and kind of forward-thinking for a situation and conversation that so  often seems stuck in the past.] Sometime next year planners will pick a mode and route combination of West 7th and/or the CP Ford spur. [This is, of course, a huge decision, and a pretty obvious one to me, if folks can wrap their heads around some kind of street-car that would act like a LRT once it reaches the Ford spur by the Schmidt brewery. It could turn off of 7th right past the brewery, perhaps on Drake Street, and then have a dedicated ROW from that point through the neighborhood to the Ford site, perhaps stopping at Victoria Park, the public housing complex, Sibley Plaza, as close as possible to Cleveland/Ford parkway, and then over to the Blue Line. It would be able to go pretty quickly through here and have excellent TOD prospects. See? That didn't take long.] 


Headline: Grassroots Solutions cofounder strives to give more people a chance to be heard
Author: Melanie Soucheray

Short short version: Guy wants to improve community engagement processes. [How can you improve on Villager LTEs?]


Headline: Full liquor service may be coming to a restaurant near you
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: The city has for a long time limited the number of liquor licenses in the city according to an [obscure ward-based system] set of [arbitrary?] limits. Some folks want to exempt restaurants from this so free up space for more bars. [And because it just makes sense?] St. Paul S.T.[W.]R.O.N.G. opposes the effort along with the owner of a squash club because of "alleged lack of public comment." Neighbors are concerned about traffic and parking. [Don't worry, Dan Bostrom is putting the kibosh on this change.] Restaurant owners really seem to like the idea. CM Stark claims there is "overwhelming support for the change." Article includes a lot of other details about restaurant regulation [which all seem a bit petty to me].

Headline: Study could lead to decision on Getten's move to Highland
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: [I just don't understand this story.] Something about a weird credit bank and zoning and an old building. CM Bostrom is involved.


Headline: St. Paul grants licenses for new Italian restaurant on Randolph
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: There will be a new Italian restaurant near the Schmidt brewery. [I have demanded a patio with a view of the river valley.]


Headline: Council sets limit on campers and trailers parked on streets
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: You can't keep parking there any more for more than two days or you'll get a ticket. [There's one of these on my block by the way, with an electric cord running out of the house, across the sidewalk, and plugging into the mobile home trailer, which has light on inside. The folks who live there are a bit weird in the old-school Saint Paul kind of way, always fixing things and selling snowblowers and bicycles from their yard. But you know, whatever.]


Headline: Old Garden Theater building may not have seen its final act; City stays demolition so potential new owners can submit plans to reuse site
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: An old movie theater on 7th Street that has been vacant for a long time might not be torn down after all. [We will see. I am skeptical. It's in really rough shape.] Article includes history of various rehab attempts. [This is the talk of the neighborhood, believe me.]


Headline: High price of homeowenrship; property owners may take a hit with rise in local tax levies and home market values
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: [Real estate, government, capitalism.] Article includes chart.


Headline: City officials express frustration with owners of condemned Grand building
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: "What is believed to be Grand Avenue's oldest remaining mixed-use building" [that's a nut right there] might be torn down because it has been allowed to deteriorate and was condemned. They have been vacant since a pub was removed from inside it citing city inspection. Nothing has been fixed. Article includes the terms "questionable supports", emergency evacuation," and the following quote: "there are holes in the ceiling where you can see straight up to the sky." [I lived in a house like that for years.] There is some debate as the neighborhood group simply wants them torn down. Some would like a "six-month stay" [of execution], others would not.


Headline: St. Paul eyes changes to street maintenance fees; Rates culd drop for corner properties and increase for colleges
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: [Fixing roads is expensive.]

7.12.15

Sidewalk Poetry #49: Our Lady of Guadalupe

Our Lady of Guadalupe,
leaning in the mercado window,
make intercession for the West Side.
Mystical rose of yellow, red, and blue,
protect those who journey through
the corners of George, State, and Chavez streets —
New Tepeyac, District del Sol.
We are the least of your children,
a thousand blessed Juan Diegos
from the mountains of Southeast Asia and Central America,
the deserts of Mexico and Somalia,
the far-off foreign districts of Lebanon, Chicago, and the suburbs.
Our faith shines bright as apparitions
on our winter cloaks,
a testament to the possibilities
that lie in the shadow of your love.
O Virgin of Guadalupe, Mother of the Americas,
smile on your children who toil at the clinic across the street
to heal the broken and the broken system.
Show pity to the neighbors in back,
who teach citizenship and keep the food shelf stocked.
Bless the smell of roasting corn
and the rhythm of Aztec dancers.
Watch over the homeless and the drunken
sleeping in Parque Castillo.
Grant comfort to your children
eating soul food at Cora's
Remember especially the women in hijab and winter coats,
making their way to Salam Halal Market.
Touch the hearts of those who venture through for good food
and those who speak languages to accommodate them.
Dear Lady of Guadalupe,
ringing in the bells of the parish that bears your name,
we proclaim you and the miracle of your appearance,
mystical rose of yellow, red, and blue,
leaning in the mercado window on the West Side.
Nowhere are we without you,
not even in the dead of winter in Saint Paul.
Amen

4.12.15

*** Sidewalk Weekend ***

Sidewalk Rating: Solid
I once brought the conversation at a dinner party to a halt by saying that if everyone I knew died tomorrow, I wouldn’t be undone, because I’d still have the streets of New York, where, sooner or later, almost every form of human expressiveness is on display and I am free to look it right in the face, or avert my eyes if I wish, let my jaw drop, offer it an ice cream, or call the cops—as the mood takes me. Here, alone in the street, I feel free as I do nowhere else, except perhaps at my desk. There is no one to bore, embarrass, or threaten me. No one to whom I owe attention or from whom I need attention. I am free to stop, dawdle, or move on as I will, respond or recede, observe or participate. If I were not alone, I’d be in conversation with my companion. The street would then become context—the situation, if you will—our exchange the story. Alone, the world around me is both the situation and the story.



[A really icy sidewalk in front of Associated Bank at Cedar and Riverside.]




*** CLICK ON IMAGES FOR LINKS, FRIEND! ***

http://www.collectorsweekly.com/articles/how-america-bought-and-sold-racism/


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http://historyapolis.com/a-disturbance-born-of-disillusionment-50-years-of-black-lives-matter-on-plymouth-avenue/


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http://sfist.com/2015/11/27/bizarre_weaponized_baseball_bats_fo.php




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http://curbed.com/archives/2015/11/17/longest-bike-world-guinness.php

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http://bldgblog.blogspot.com/2015/11/computational-romanticism-and-dream.html


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http://curbed.com/archives/2015/11/16/map-fake-cities.php


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https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2015/11/18/ben-carsons-campaign-made-a-u-s-map-and-put-a-bunch-of-states-in-the-wrong-place/?tid=sm_tw


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http://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/utah-dots-get-your-head-out-your-apps-signs-get-n460806


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http://curbed.com/archives/2015/11/18/detroit-real-estate-architecture-fisher-building-art-deco-ruin-renovation-reinvention.php

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http://www.brooklynchanging.com/brooklyn-flux/


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http://www.citylab.com/navigator/2015/11/mapping-calories-burned-walking-around-new-york/417381/?utm_content=bufferaf84a&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer


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http://sornmagazine.com/sans-nom-jean-de-pomereu/


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https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mark_Tansey


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http://www.vox.com/2015/8/17/9164499/el-nino-2015


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http://www.ritholtz.com/blog/2015/11/thanksgiving-flight-patterns/


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http://www.theverge.com/2015/11/9/9693606/fallout-4-release-boston-gameplay-photos/in/9464307


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http://catandgirl.com/?p=4985


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http://www.atlasobscura.com/articles/see-aerial-reconnaissance-photos-of-wwi-battlefields


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Several people tried in vain to reach the baby from the edge, but thankfully, 54-year-old East Harlem resident Herman McGarrah sprung into action, slipping through the "fattest end" of the gap and crawling to the screaming baby. "When I got down there, it was dirty, I was scared, I was kind of shaking," McGarrah told the Daily News. "Once I got down there, I said 'Please God, don’t let the train move.'"

[this]

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Host:  “Oh my God – super cute!  So the three of them are standing there and this [6’ tall, 180 lb.] guy starts convulsing and eventually falls off the platform and onto the tracks right as a training is coming.  Autrey’s choice is pretty stark:  In order to save this complete stranger, he’s got to leave his daughters behind – potentially without a dad.”

[this]



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http://progressivegeographies.com/2015/11/24/the-frontiers-of-cormac-mccarthy-adam-david-morton/


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http://stuffaboutminneapolis.tumblr.com/post/132827880809/if-you-search-for-minnesota-autumn-on-the.


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http://curbed.com/archives/2015/11/20/late-70s-tourism-film-showcases-the-attractions-of-chicago.php


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http://www.atlasobscura.com/articles/fleeting-wonders-new-world-records-for-parallel-parking-and-roundabouts


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https://twitter.com/grescoe/status/666732607833509888


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http://bldgblog.blogspot.com/2015/12/five-parises-of-emptiness.html


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http://www.strongtowns.org/journal/2015/11/18/mapping-the-effects-of-parking-minimums


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"LEDs, for example, look white or blue-white to the naked eye. But they often drop the blues or reds at either end of the spectrum. Things that would look yellowish under full-spectrum sun or incandescent light may look white under LEDs. Skin tones look unnatural, even dead."

[this]

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http://bldgblog.blogspot.com/2015/12/comparative-astral-isochrones.html


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http://kottke.org/15/11/ed-fairburns-map-portraits

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https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10101226294797300&set=a.760784255200.2259580.10907711&type=3&theater



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http://guff.com/this-guy-asked-the-internet-for-photoshop-help-he-instantly-regretted-it/literal-troll


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http://la.curbed.com/archives/2015/11/old_amusement_theme_parks_los_angeles_defunct_map.php

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http://www.slate.com/blogs/atlas_obscura/2013/10/18/wunderland_kalkar_the_nuclear_reactor_turned_family_fun_park.html


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http://curbed.com/archives/2015/12/01/sustainable-theme-park.php



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http://www.ritholtz.com/blog/2015/12/the-race-for-arctic-domination/

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http://thefunambulist.net/2015/12/03/the-city-of-the-global-south-and-its-insurrections-algiers-cairo-gaza-chandigarh-and-kowloon/




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http://www.ritholtz.com/blog/2015/11/the-world-map-of-debt/


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http://www.ritholtz.com/blog/2015/11/collapse-of-commodities-in-one-simple-chart/


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http://janejacobsjapan.com/2015/11/13/sapporo-photo-tour-raccoon-lane-arcade-%E7%8B%B8%E5%B0%8F%E8%B7%AF-%E5%95%86%E5%BA%97%E8%A1%97/


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http://www.strongtowns.org/journal/2015/11/19/if-you-need-a-giant-cat-to-tell-people-to-slow-down


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http://www.streetsblog.org/2015/12/03/to-make-nyc-streets-safer-focus-on-the-cause-of-98-percent-of-deaths/


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http://curbed.com/archives/2015/11/23/biesbosch-museum-renovations-marco-vermeulen.php

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http://curbed.com/archives/2015/08/24/minecraft-blockworks-brutalism.php


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http://bldgblog.blogspot.com/2015/11/shell.html
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http://www.atlasobscura.com/places/abandoned-longhorn-grill


*** ***
http://www.meganix.net/pavement/2015/02/17/roadworks-retrospective/


*** ***

http://www.atlasobscura.com/places/verdenskortet


*** ***
http://curbed.com/archives/2015/11/16/map-fake-cities.php


*** ***
http://www.atlasobscura.com/articles/photorealistic-paintings-of-disappearing-americana


*** ***
http://www.atlasobscura.com/places/man-hanging-out


*** ***

http://www.strongtowns.org/journal/2015/11/22/my-car-pays-cheaper-rent-than-me


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http://stuffaboutminneapolis.tumblr.com/post/134438289739/minneapolisatnight-minneapolis-night