<<< News Flash! >>> #9

Careful out there Twin Cities! Just when you think the sidewalks are finally free of snow, and you can move along to mudpuddles and earthworms, along comes more drifting slush.

But it will soon vanish, and flowers will spring from the cracks in the pavement. The equinox don't lie! Prepare for daffodils!


This is an amusing sidewalk video from the UK. Apparently they have sidewalks there, too.

Q: Do they walk on the same side of the street?


The local group, Transit for Liveable Communities has a new newsletter out praising recent funding victories, claiming that the annual revenue stream from the quarter-point sales tax will be "over $117 million to be exact".

(That's not exact enough for me! I want decimals.)
Finally, they outline three challenges for transit in the coming year...

Still, there are several challenges ahead. First, we need to get the counties to join the JPA. Second, we need to move the Central Corridor light rail transit line forward with $70 million in General Obligation bonds this year and another $30 million in the 2009 legislative session. Third, we need to protect the current general fund allocations to transit.

#3 is the sticky point. Does a new income stream for transit funding mean that the Metro Transit budget is ripe for the cutting?

One bus driver seems to think so.


I missed this fun PiPress story (only the Cached version is active now, unfortunately)...

It finds PiPress reporter Richard Chin wandering around with my favorite Anti-car cartoonist Andy Singer (and another anti-car cartoonist, Ken Avidor) as they wear bike helmets and talk about how cars are terrible ideas.

"Mainly, I hate being in a car," Avidor said. "It's a canned experience."

"All this space, and there's no bike stand," he muttered as he and Singer wheeled away from the front doors of the convention center to look for a pole to lock their bikes.

"The formaldehyde new car smell," said Singer as we walked into the convention center's biggest event, a half-million square feet of exhibit space covered with gleaming sheet metal.

I have fond auto show memories, too, mostly of swiping the leatherbound owner's manual for a 1998 Porsche 911 from its glovebox when nobody was looking.

[Car-toon by Andy Singer]


The Strib had a piece on the slowing pace of growth in Twin Cities' suburban and exurban counties.

People in city halls who have been processing thousands of building permits are losing their jobs. Cities such as Woodbury and Cottage Grove are reassigning staffers from approving developments and inspecting new homes to keeping an eye on those abandoned in mid-construction -- watching for graffiti or burst pipes.

Don't get your hopes up, folks. It doesn't mean people don't want to move to the exurbs. It only means that the TC economy is terrible! Must be all the potholes.


The Strib's Roadguy blog column is pretty entertaining, and is starting to make me worried that sidewalk blogging is becoming a trend. For example, Jim Foti posted this story recently:

On Sunday, Roadguy was walking along this stretch of bombed-out asphalt, and near the intersection with Aldrich, he spied something green amid all the broken gray: a 10-dollar bill.

I looked around, picked it up and contemplated my next move. Leave the money in the road in the hope that the owner might return for it? Put it back so another random person could have it, or so it could blow into a puddle and/or get run over?

As I ruminated, the friend I was with spied a one-dollar bill nearby. It was folded similarly, and it came with a clue: A receipt from Target.

See? Sidewalks are exciting!

But now that a curling reality show is coming to Prime Time TV, and sidewalk stories make the paper, I'm very concerned about becoming too popular.

Perhaps I can change this blog's focus to lint art? Shuffleboard tactics? Mailbox repair?


Sometimes, you meet someone just a moment too late to become friends. Sometimes, you're just a moment too late to become enemies.

For example, I happened across another sidewalk blog the other day . . .


I mean, listen to this crap!

Watch your footing out there - the sidewalks are nothing but ice. At least in the neighborhoods. But instead of condemning people for not shoveling the public sidewalks in front of their houses, I urge everyone to enjoy this early December icing. Because if we are all lucky enough to reproduce and then have offspring able and willing to do the same, we can tell our grandkids these great stories like:

"I remember back in aught-seven when we got four inches of snow December - early December! And you know there was ice all over the place - frozen water, I tells ya!"[...]

(Compare with really fine sidewalk prose...)

Apparently, some schmuck wants to write about sidewalks, complete with a "haiku of the week" and pictures of sidewalks with the shadow of the photographer in them. Well, friend, there ain't room enough in this fine nation for two sidewalk blogs, especially when separated by a single letter.

That's why I was all set to forthwith declare DC Sidewalks the Official Sidewalk Blog Nemesis (OSBN) of TC Sidewalks, only it turns out the blog's author is taking his sidewalk blog on hiatus for the time being.

Oh well. Maybe we can be sidewalk blog nemeses some other time?


The strib is apparently gearing up for a big sidewalk feature story about the city of Minneapolis' pedestrian and sidewalk open house this week!

Wednesday, March 26
5:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the Minneapolis Central Library
300 Nicollet Mall.
Sidewalk Presentation at 6 p.m.

Apparently the focus is on "pedestrian challenges".

My list:
  • Cars

So there you have it.
Be there, or be in a car.
Sidewalk users of Minneapolis, represent!


Speaking of which, there was much ado about little during the recent bout of snowstorms that swept through the cities this last week.

Weathermen are willing to stoop to anything to fetch a headline, including warning of "heart attack snow".

You want snow? Madison, Wisconsin has been getting snow.

If a little snow shoveling is going to give you a coronary, chances are you're not off your couch
for more than an hour each day.

Snow shoveling is the best kind of exercise! We should all cherish the opportunity to combine physical endeavor with civic betterment!


I was sad to discover an awesome website, only too late. While up on Central Avenue recently, I saw the new NorthEast location of Porky's Diner, the famous University Avenue car 'n' pork joint, which is apparently hedging its bets before the impending Light Rail train for better, more auto-oriented climes to the West.

Well, the move hasn't come without much sidewalk concern (and a dash of NIMBY-ism) on the part of the aptly-named Neighbors Against Porky's (NAP) blog.

These are the main concerns of NAP:

1. St. Paul Porky's had high levels of police calls, crime, and nuisance issues compared to comparable businesses. St. Paul police: "(Porky's) proved to be undependable."

2. Land use: the new Porky's neighbors single family homes and the drive thru exits 40 feet from the front door of the adjacent home.
Consider where new fast food restaurants are being built; typically, new fast food restaurants are situated away from homes to minimize the effects of high traffic level and loudspeakers.

3. Land use: the lot of the new Porky's is too small: 1/3 acre. The St. Paul Porky's has about an acre and most other fast food restaurants lots that are .75-1.25 acres.

4. Land use: The Porky's lot and neighboring public land needed to be rezoned to allow Porky's to develop. The zoning code is a contract between residents and the city, so both sides know what kind of development can occur. If a parcel of land is rezoned, it is normally agreed to by the residents and city. In this instance, the adjacent neighbors views were ignored. Who will be ignored next?

5. Inconsistent development principles: other businesses proposed uses for the site that required rezoning, but the city and council member quietly rebuffed the proposals. For the Porky's proposal, the city rezoned the adjacent public property to allow Porky's to build.

6. Near another problem fast food restaurant: neighbors regularly complain to the city regarding the Burger King 1 block south. Yet, the city has not adequately monitored that site. Can the city manager to monitor another fast food restaurant?
Why is there a big difference in my mind between Burger King and Porky's? Hell, I like Porky's! And, if these folks think they have it bad, imagine being a resident of the nursing home that is next to the Saint Paul Porky's? (I've always thought that was strange, even though the pig joint came first.)

My big problem with Porky's is that it encourages people to eat in their cars. How barbaric!

Oh well, probably all water under the bridge now, eh? Eat up.


Here are three national transportation headlines:

Federal Gov't Committed to let the Market Drive Transportation (Mpls cited as example)
City-based Wireless Internet proving to be almost impossible

Maryland approves photocop-style speed cameras


Here's a new blog about "exploring sustainable solutions to the problem of urban mobility".

That sounds to me like it should be a blog about sidewalks, but it turns out to be more about buses and stuff, from a global perspective.


Photos of paths made by people who don't walk on the sidewalk.

Are these sidewalks? What if nobody walks on the sidewalk proper, and everyone walks on the "desire path"?

And here is an old, defunct blog featuring sidewalks that don't lead anywhere, appropriately titled Sidewalks to Nowhere.

Has the world gone topsy-turvy? What are we coming to???


Speaking of which, here's a wonderful old City Pages story on a guy who had to build his own sidewalk to nowhere.
Keith Koch just went ahead and paid out-of-pocket for the new public patch of sidewalk in front of 926. No threatening to leave town. No referendum. But then Keith didn't have much choice. A while back the city ordered him to pull a permit within 15 days and hire a licensed and bonded contractor or it would bid the job out, add a 10-percent fee on top of estimated costs of $500, and put the tab on Keith's property taxes to be paid over five years at 6 percent.

This isn't just any sidewalk. It's the last section of public walkway on the eastern shore. Five feet further on is an 8-foot chain link fence. Beyond the fence, southbound 35W splits into three lanes heading for 94 East, 94 West, and the 11th Avenue exit; four lanes of 94 head east with one lane peeling away to 55 South; four more lanes of 94 head west with two unopened lanes coming in from northbound 55; three lanes of 35W head north with one lane splitting off for the Third Street exit; the Fifth Street exit comes in from 94 West; and the Sixth Street ramp heads out for 94 East. Altogether you need to leap the fence, sprint across 16 lanes of freeway, climb a hill, leap another chain-link fence, and cross a street before you land on the next section of sidewalk on 13th Avenue.

Perhaps he could have used the Sidewalks to Nowhere blog as a reference? A support group?


Sidewalk counseling is not what I thought It'd be.


1 comment:

Viagra Online said...

It was perfect I watched the video and I saw people sliding on the side walks, that was so nice, I'd like to do something like that it could be funny.