The Top 23 Twin City Sidewalks Posts of 2013

A personal list of highlights from the following calendar year, presented in chronological order, include the following.

November 2013 set a new all-time monthly record for Twin City Sidewalks readership, with a confluence of popular stories that surpassed even my Kottke moment. It's a record not likely to be broken anytime soon...

[see last year's list: The 19 Best Twin City Sidewalks Posts of 2012 here.]

1. On Windchimes

An ode to windchimes, and how they make you feel when listened to late in the night or through a window, especially in winter, especially in the dark, but other times too. After I wrote this, someone left a windchime under my porch staircase. (No lie! Thanks Mom.)

2. All I Really Needed to Know about Dinkytown, I Learned at Al's Breakfast

The Dinkytown density debate was one of the top stories of 2013, and this was a commentary on the situation (the change of which, in retrospect, seems to be only accelerating into 2014). That said, I'm obsessed with Al's Breakfast, not because of their food (which is good), but because of the social and spatial dynamics of the place. This was an attempt to use Al's as a metaphor for urban spaces in general. Probably not the last time I'll try to use Al's Breakfast as a Minneapolis synechdoche.

3. Using Psychobabble to Justify Anti-Bicycle Rage is Dangerous

A diatribe reaction to one of those Malcolm Gladwell-esque pseudoscience columns (this one from the BBC, called "neurohacks") that attempted to defend anti-bike road rage (good example of this here). Article includes history of jaywalking, vented spleen.

4. If Cars Are the New Tobacco...

This is the trend piece to watch in coming years. Cars are just as bad for individual and public health as smoking used to be, and have some of the same structural and economic social defense mechanisms. Here's an attempt to make that connection more explicit. Maybe someday we'll have non-car sections of our cities, and people will feel silently guilty for driving because they realize they're ruining the health of those around them...

5. In Defense of the Pedal Pub

The title speaks for itself. Sometimes one has to jump on the grenade and take one for the team. In spite of everything, I like the pedal pub, albeit in an admittedly condescending way.

6. Notes from the Empire Builder II

The train makes me want to write. Gamers, graffiti, long list of objects seen from windows... My ride to and from Boston last Spring was eventful, and feels like only yesterday.

7. Rough Sketch of a Solution to Downtown Saint Paul's Parking Problem

An attempt at wonkery, this time in reaction to the parking barking in Lowertown following a few development proposals. Four easy steps to a Shoupian solution... The neat thing is that Saint Paul policymakers almost kidna tried to implement this 'parking benefit district'-style plan in the Snelby area, but failed to adequately follow through with the details or incentives.

8. Sidewalk of the Week: 27th Avenue South

One of the my two favorite SOTW features from the past year. Confronting the abyss. A mysterious part of the city indeed!

9. Details Uncovered from 1906 Minneapolis

Someone tweeted this amazing photo this year, taken from the top of the newly completed City Hall in 1906. Sometimes you can get lost in a single photograph, and I did.

10. Minneapolis/St Paul Taprooms As If They Were Characters from a High School Movie

Fun followup to the Streets.mn taproom bike tour last Spring. It's always fun to anthropomorphize beer.

11. Four Suggested Skyway Improvements

Fun with photoshop, displaying some mad skillz here. I still want to follow through with Improvement #3, guerrilla style. Any artists out there?

12. Palmer's PROTIPS for Wall Street Journal Readers

Um, the WSJ recommending Palmer's has to be one of the best moments from last year. Many of my ideas come from my highly snide friends, and this is no exception.

13. TCS Interviews Avidor on the Block E Free Speech Mall

In retrospect, this will be the one that got away. Imagine what coulda been! Avidor is great, and here's another piece of evidence that proves it.

14. The Best and Worst Saint Paul Intersection Neologisms

Sometimes you're stuck in a three-hour long meeting with MNDOT where they pretend to care about (slash fund) pedestrian and bicycle safety programs. What else are you going to do but jot down all possible combinations of Saint Paul street names?

15. Sidewalk of the Week: Lauderdale

This is my favorite SOTW column from last year. Lauderdale is a special place.

16. Nine Thoughts You Have While Doing a Bike/Walk Traffic Count in a Vacant Lot for Two Hours

This is the single post that took the most out of me. I was depressed for days after writing this down. But it's probably my favorite post of the year.

Incidentally, a follow-up to this situation: I never actually submitted my traffic count results for some reason. (Nobody told me how or when?) Instead, in a panic, I emailed them to the city bike/ped guy just as the report was being collated, at the very last minute.

17. Minneapolis Voters Reject Disturbing Hair Trend

I'm starting to get more interested in making graphs and charts. This is one of the best so far... Side note: I'm really sorry for what happened to Mark Andrew at the mall!

18. Together We Can Re-Name Lake Calhoun

I am serious about this, people! 121 votes so far. Voting is still open for the re-Calhouning of Minneapolis for another 22 days.

19. Four Things Everyone Should Know About Block E

This is probably the best post I wrote all year, in terms of research, original content, and writing quality. It also was very timely! This was the #4 most popular post of the year.

20. Seven Reasons Conservatives Should Embrace Bikes

Actually, following even more discussions with my conservative cousins over the holiday season, I may have to write a few more like this very popular post (went viral) on bikes and libertarian values. This was the #1 most widely read post of the year.

21. The Gentrification Paradox

A follow-up to a conference on art and gentrification I attended in October. Turned out to be very popular with a national audience (#2 most read post of 2013), which came as a complete surprise. I intended to write a few more posts on the same topic. Here's hoping!

22. Q: Why Don't Bikers Stop at Stop Signs?

This just came out of trying to answer a question that I am routinely asked. It turned out to be the #2 post of the year. Maybe I'll try to answer a few more questions about bicycling... Does anyone have any? The more blunt and honest, the better. (E.g. Why are bicyclists so smug? Do bicyclists realize that they literally stink? Etc.)

23. The Last Holidazzle

I dunno. I have a soft spot in my heart for the snowman + C.D. Friedrich image. It's so sad and beautiful.

[Despite everything, still shoveling sidewalks...]


Janne said...

I've been thinking about gentrification a lot lately. Enough that this morning, I dreamed I was sitting down to play poker with Betsy Hodges and talking to her about gentrification policy.

Ander Pander said...

Great job this year - your blog inspires me! "...Pedal Pubs" is still my favorite.

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