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Sidewalk Rating: Sandpaper

The sidewalks right now are in a funny way. On the one hand, it feels like spring much of the time. On the other hand, skies are grey and the wind really blows! (Just try biking into it...)

Plus, a close examination of the sidewalks will reveal a fine particulate matter... Sand that has emerged from melting snow, and coats most sidewalks with a thing layer of frictive matter, sand and bits of sand everywhere, blowing around and scraping under your shoes.

I am worried about some sort of perfect storm of wind and sand and sidewalks, dervishes emerging, sidewalk cyclones, absolute abrasions. The sidewalks are like sandpaper, and if you, like the UPS man I saw the other day, are going to "break out the shorts," please be wary of the potentiality of the scraped knee. This wind could knock the breath from a rhinoceros!

[The lil' blue flowers that are popped up in my yard. I know they have a Russian name, but I forget what it is.]


This film of a sidewalk libertarian is charming and creepy in equal measure ...

... "no leaves pass my shoulder, only thorns of statism."


The Roadguy apparently attended Tuesday's meeting on the U of MN and the LRT options.

He's gracious enough to provide the MetCouncil powerpoint on the so-called "Northern Route", which apparently would mean delaying the train by a year, the removal of Bridge #17, and possibly jeopardizing our federal funding

As I extensively detailed, the U of MN has been disingenuous throughout this whole fiasco. Here's the relevant part of Foti's piece:

A consultant for the U talked about how the northern alignment might work and how it would cost about $15 million less than the current plan. Then Fuhrmann listed the northern alignment's unresolved issues, such as railroad right-of-way negotiations and removing four units of low-income housing in the line's path.

Rybak wondered whether either party was giving him the full story. The engineers, he said, are "working for two different groups who, I believe, are not in neutral. ... We really need to get real with each other before this next meeting."

Kathleen O'Brien, vice president for university services, defended the consultant's work and the U's intentions. "From the get-go, I have asked for this study to not be sugar-coated, to be legitimate and objective," she said.

The U has a big stake in this, in my opinion, because of 1) their penchant for micro-managing their environment at the expense of streetlife and surrounding communities, 2) a climate of modernist auto-dependence, and 3) their stake in the new football stadium. At least, that's what I've convinced myself.

There's no other way to explain the ridiculousness of their recent letter to the MetCouncil. The only argument that holds any water is the notion that some "sensitive research equipment" may have to be relocated or adjusted because of the electromagnetic fields ... and, you know, big whoop? People move their labs all the time.

The Central Corridor should go down Washington Avenue, and an at-grade option would immeasurably improve the walkability and usability of the entire campus, excepting increased traffic flow on already congested roads. (But I'm the kind of guy that likes traffic congestion. Most anything that evens out the scales between cars and other alternatives is good in my book.)

At the very least, the U of MN has done a terrible job of integrating architecturally with the community, especially on the West Bank. For example, the new Carson building doesn't front Riverside Avenue, and goes against Minneapolis's long-term plans for creating more economic connectivity in the West Bank. A city planner told me it was an example of what Minneapolis doesn't want to see. Screwing up the LRT would be far more egregious example of institutional arrogance.

(And Adam Platt thinks the LRT is gonna be the victim of the U's driveby.)


Jeff Fecke breaks the news that Pawlenty's newly appointed MN-DOT director's first move was to develop a new logo for the agency:

Stop! the Pothole madness!


Five stories from elsewhere:


The Downtown Journal has a story this week on the showdown between the city of Minneapolis and the Sharing and Caring hands homeless shelter, located in the SouthWest corner of Downtown. According to the piece, the city had threatened to pull the shelter’s restaurant license because of problems with drug use, but opted not to go forward with the reprimand. Shelter director Mary Jo Copeland suggest in the piece that the city is trying to move homeless people out of the neighborhood because of the new Pohlad Company building, which was heavily subsidized by the city and county governments.

Meanwhile, the Strib reports the unsurprising news that Pohlad's Entertainment Business is likely to receive as much as $1.5 Billion in additional business revenue over the lifetime of the new stadium.

Meanwhile, will Saint Paul have an "Uncle Ben’s Rice Park" in its future?

[This is a five-minute park -- image from Art at Metroblogs]


Here's another sidewalk blog called Sidewalks Are Runways (subtitle: A DAILY FASHION BLOG. BEWARE: THIS IS A HIGH-STYLE, HIGH-MAINTENANCE, HIGH- FASHION ZONE.).

This is some sort of blog genre where people take photos of themselves as they dress up and then list where they got each of the things they're wearing.

Works for me.

My only complaint is that there are very few pictures of actual sidewalks in these photos. Standing outside your bedroom closet is not a sidewalk, even if you are sharing those moments with the internets.


Yet another reason to dislike Daylight Savings Time.

Perhaps cars aren't the problem after all? Or are they?


This fabulous neon sign is near my house. I will be sad to see it go.

I suppose another of the many benefits of neon signage is its ability to omit and juxtapose.

I wonder if St Paul is cracking down on this b/c of the impending RNC convention? Will Larry Craig be attending? Sure he knows his way around the Lindbergh Terminal, but you wouldn't want to confuse him on the crazy streets of Saint Paul...

On the other hand, at least something good's coming out of the RNC...


The New York Times(!) reports on the Mill/Guthrie/Washington Avenue area.


Three photos:

1) Courtesy of ffffound.

2) A closeup of a Portland, OR telephone pole -- courtesy of Gregory Siff.

3) Beautiful sidewalk photo -- courtesy of Uptown Minneapolis Blog.

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