Twin City Doorways #41

 [Boston, MA.]

 [West 7th Street, Saint Paul.]

 [North Saint Paul.]

 [Nicollet Avenue, Minneapolis.]

 [Selby Avenue, Saint Paul.]

 [Rondo, Saint Paul.]

 [Grand Avenue, Saint Paul.]

[Western Avenue, Saint Paul.]


Maps of Colloquial Terms for Where You Park Your Car

[WTH is a "parkade"?]
If you leave the bubble of Minnesota, you quickly come to realize that not everyone calls a multi-story building where empty cars are parked by the same name. Sure, these grey concrete buildings are a ubiquitous part of our landscape. And yes, here in Minnesota, these things are called "parking ramps."

But not so elsewhere in these United States. In fact, much like the great "pop / soda / coke" divide or the Minnesotan "duck duck grey duck" exception, one quickly finds that the term "parking ramp" is rather unique to the Upper Midwest and that elsewhere in the United States people will park their cars on second stories in other kinds of buildings!

Let me break it down for you, using Google Trends maps.

The first key point is that the term "parking ramp" is a geographically specific regionalism...

Minnesota is the center of the "parking ramp", and once you leave the state, the term starts to disappear quickly.

Instead, by far the most common term for these buildings is "parking garage"...

All across the country, except in Minnesota, that 's the #1 name for these buildings.

But wait, there's more...

In the south, a multi-story building full of empty cars is often called a "parking deck"...

And in the west, such a building is repeatedly called a "parking structure"...

Meanwhile, our neighbors to the north have a whole different term for such a building full of temporarily-stored empty automobiles, particularly in the western provinces: the odious term "parkade."

So there you have it. Parking decks. Parking ramps. Parking structures. Parking garages. Parkades. Sadly, a multiple-story place for empty cars might be one of the most distinctive parts of the North American linguistic vernacular.


Interview with Pete McGough-Pose of the Everything Apple Food Truck, Which Can Run on Electricity

One of my pet peeves is a loud food truck. I love public space, sidewalks, parks, eating on benches, and street life, so I also love food trucks. That's why it's so frustrating when you are near one with a loud generator, where the guttural cranking sound of a diesel motor drowns out everything within a 50' radius and turns the food truck-proximate sidewalks, parks, or patios into a setting that resembles a metal stamping factory. 

Years ago, visiting Portland, Oregon, I was struck by the food truck plazas that seemed to have grown like moss in every parking lot. They were quiet havens, places where you could whisper and enjoy the sounds of birds, small pop-up plazas where the food trucks seemed at home. It was wonderfully organic and made for great public space.

[Pete McGough-Pose.]
And yet, even now in Minnesota, it's rare to see a food truck using electricity. That's why when I saw one the other day at Saint Paul's Bang Brewing, I had to stop and chat with the purveyor. The truck was called Everything Apple, and here's their story.

Pete: My. Name is Pete McGough-Pose, and me and my brother Keegan, we own this food truck. Everything Apple. 
We currently now... it was started by my brother and our grandfather. He unfortunately just passed away about a month ago. In that time a couple months ago, we’ve been refurbishing it getting it out to tap rooms and things like that. Polishing it up, getting the equipment up to date. It’s been going really well so far. 
Right now we’re at Bang [Brewing], like I was saying, we are all electric, so we are able to just plug into these guys through a couple of cords and run it nice and quiet. 
Normally we’ve got a couple of real new Honda generators. 
Keegan: A Honda EU 7000 and a Honda EU 3000 
Pete: Yeah those are really nice generators they’re pretty much brand new, and they’ve got a nice eco drive and everything. They can run us pretty efficiently and nice like that, but it’s pretty nice to just be able to plug in here. 
Twin City Sidewalks: It’s pretty quiet! That's one of the things that I care about. 
Pete: That’s what really nice about the really new Hondas that we have, they’re incredibly quiet. We even had a couple customers come up to us while we were serving and they asked us if our generators were running. And I took a second to just check and make sure that yeah they are. So that’s nice.  
Twin City Sidewalks: I was in Portland almost ten years ago, and saw lots of food truck parks with the plug-ins. It's nice because you can sit around with the tables and you can hear each other and enjoy being in the city while you hang out. 
Pete: I think that would be really cool too. I was talking to the owners [Sandy and Jay, of Bang Brewing] and they had mentioned how they were thinking that they were going to put in a plug-in right down here [by the curb] so that when we pull in, they can just plug in right there. 
Right now we have it worked out well where its low voltage what we’ve got going on. We don’t have  a fryer in here right now so we’ve been able to work our way around  
Twin City Sidewalks: How do you get the brats to taste so good? 
Pete: We hand case them. We grind them fresh. We have our grandfather’s spice recipe, and we mix them with small chunks of Granny Smith apple. Then we hand case them, and cook them in our professional kitchen and get them nice and fresh for you here. 
Twin City Sidewalks: Is there anything else folks need to know about Everything Apple? 
Pete: I guess we’re really new to this, I’m really new to this, so I’m not really too sure what I should put out there but I really appreciate the interest.

According to Sandy Boss Febbo, the co-owner of Bang, she prefers food trucks that can run on electricity and makes a point to book trucks that can do this.

A Honda EU 7000 runs about $4,000, which is a lot of money, so there's an equity aspect to quiet food trucks. That's exactly why I really want to see more electric options, which would be easier for entrepreneurs of all backgrounds to use.

Anyway, I hope plug-ins for food trucks catch on. It might seem petty to complain about generator noise, but as is often the case with good urbanism, the devil is in the details. Sometimes, as with Bang Brewing and Everything Apple, the little things like noise, texture, seating, shade, and street design come together to great a perfect urban experience.

Oh, and the apple brat is really good too.


Susan Henderson, Zoning Code Expert, on Form-Based Codes in Hennepin County

[West Broadway in Robbinsdale.]
Here's a transcript from an interview with Susan Henderson of Placemakers, taken from the wonderful Talking Headways podcast put together by Jeff Wood.

Henderson's firm did some work on the Bottineau station area planning and she mentions it in the podcast.

Here are the locally relevant highlights:

We have a fascinating [project] going on right now… Right now we have this amazing process in Hennepin County which is where Minneapolis is. They’re extnenidng their blue light rail northwest, there's an FTA grant, and the county is the fiscal agent for four municipalities.  
[My] contract is for doing the form-based codes. They’re not even all form-based. There’s some early stage interventions.  
One problem we’ve discovered has to do with capacity both at the staff level and politically. What are people actually able to do? And if we are doing our professional duty, then we’re crafting a code that fits the capacity to ensure successful implementation.  

Across these four municipalities, we have one that’s a "full stop' form-based code. And then we have one that’s basically a simple text amendment that requires good urbanism within a quarter mile of the station, and than just enables it as an option within a half mile.  
There are all sorts of tools that you have to use to make sure you’re giving the local government what they need. The thing I love about this one is that you’re working with these four groups simultaneously, and so it keeps us really really nimble because they all have different issues. [There are] different degrees of urbanity, from great little main streets to only suburbia, and by finding the right solution for each one expands the way we think about coding.
[Q: That’s the Bottineau line. Is that still going forward?] 
Well they’re all hopeful. I can’t speak to the nuances of it all but it’;s in engineering. A lot depends on whether the federal funding happens. 
But also Hennepin County and the Metro area, they’re very progressive and committed to transit. And my understanding is that they’re going to try and find a way, regardless of federal resources.

Of course, the real problem with Bottineau hasn't been federal funding, but rather agreements with the railroad. So all of Henderson's work might be for naught.


People Sitting on Things that Aren't Chairs #7

 [Looks like Seattle, WA.]

[West 7th, Saint Paul.]
[Loring Park, Minneapolis.]

[Nicollet Avenue, Minneapolis.]

[Location forgotten. Looks like Franklin Avenue or something. North Loop, Minneapolis.]

[Niagara Falls, ON.]

[Longfellow, Minneapolis.]

[State Fair.]


Signs of the Times #144

 Please do
not park
in front of the

[Yard. Minnehaha Avenue,  Minneapolis.]

Sorry, at a
Back tomorrow

[Chalk board. Cedar-Riverside, Minneapolis.]

Dog Walker
For Hire

[Pole. Location forgotten.]

We'll Help Move You

[Truck. Rondo, Saint Paul.]


[Yard. North End, Saint Paul.]


[Window. West Saint Paul.]

leave the Walk

[Yard. Location forgotten.]

China Jidezhen Ceramics Exhibition

[Fence. Nicollet Avenue, Minneapolis.]

Saint Clair Avenue Factory Tour Moved to Tuesday 10/2

It's raining today all day long, so I'm moving the Saint Clair Avenue Factory Tour to a week from Tuesday.


I've only ever delayed one tour before, the Bowling Alley Bike Ride. That was four years ago, so this is a rare event.

Hope to see you on Tuesday!


Join me for a Book Talk in Roseville next Thursday 9/27

I'm excited to announce my first book talk, a reading of my new book Minneapolis-Saint Paul: Then and Now,  part of the "History Revealed" series in partnership with the Ramsey County Historical Society.

It'll take place at one of my favorite places in Roseville (well, it's in the top 20 anyway), the Roseville Library! In case you're wondering, they do have a coffee drive-thru.

While Roseville is not in the book, that's OK because I'll be sharing a bunch of photos that did NOT make the cut, and one of those might be of Roseville.

I'll also be taking about my favorite photos that are in the book, about putting it together, what I learned about looking at old photographs, and what I think are the most interesting and revealing of the images in my new book (now available in bulk at Costco). I do have a lot to say on this topic!

I'll also be on hand to sell and sign copies of the book to anyone who wants, so come on down to the Roseville Library next Thursday and hear me blab about local history. I'm super excited about it.

Here's the blurb:
Join RCHS for History Revealed, our program series featuring presentations and tours from the best of local historians, authors and archaeologists, with a wide range of topics drawn from the heritage and traditions of Ramsey County. 
Locked together in an affectionate sibling rivalry, Minneapolis and its twin city St. Paul are constantly growing and changing. Geographer & author Bill Lindeke will discuss how the Twin Cities have developed from simple trading posts on the banks of the Mississippi in “the land of 10,000 lakes,” and will show photos from his new coffee table book, “Minneapolis-St. Paul: Then and Now” (Pavilion Press) 
Bill will highlight the most interesting places in Saint Paul and the Twin Cities that show the most change from the 19th century to current times with historic and current photographs and offer in-depth descriptions of the sites. The “then” photos are historic images which range from the 1870s to the 1950s. The “now” photos were taken in the summer of 2017 by Karl Mondon of San Francisco, California. Bill will also show sites that “didn’t make the cut” into the book 
“Minneapolis-St. Paul Then and Now” has historic and current photos with historical narrative captions for over one hundred historic sites in Minneapolis, Saint Paul, South Saint Paul, Edina, and the Fort Snelling Unorganized Territory.
Hope to see you there!


Reading the Highland Villager #217

[The cat helping me with the latest Villager re-cap.]
[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: City considers eliminating fines for all overdue library materials
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: Mayor Carter is floating the idea of getting rid of overdue fines at libraries. [Seems fine to me. Getting kids to read more is a no-brainer and the people that use libraries -- i.e. mostly poor people -- really do not need more fines in their lives.] 34% of the library cards at the Rondo library are unusable due to fines. [I would sure loved to have fines removed at the UMN library when I was in grad school. I must have paid hundreds of dollars to the library over the years.] CM Bostrom is quoted expressing dismay. Article quotes experts on the subject who say fines are no big deal.

Headline: Memorial bike tour is fueled by love; Mom celebrates son's life with river ride
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: A woman is biking down the river to Louisiana to honor her son who died in the river in Minneapolis last year.

Headline: Council reviews study of $15 minimum wage
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: The City Council will soon decided what they think about the $15 minimum wage and whether or not to have a tip credit and/or index it to inflation or what. There is a big report from a group who studyed the issue, narrowed down th three scnearios.

Headline: Lawsuit claims city broke promise regarding its plans for Pedro Park
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: A group of people who's family donated an abandoned luggage store to the city for a park are suing the city because the plan for the park is not what they had in mind. This all happened back in 2009. There was a plan to make the park larger by tearing down the existing building, but now a developer wants to re-use the building instead. The current park proposal would be smaller.  [I am on record as supporting preserving the existing building and using the smaller park idea. I like the old building and don't think downtown needs a larger park really. This is not to mention the financial side of it, and how expensive tearing down the old building and creating a new park would be vs. using it as a positive tax base generation office space density increasing structure. There are lots of things that were in old comp plans that were bad ideas, e.g. Ayd Mill Road expansion, and that should not make them permanent ideas. That said, who knows what promises were made by people ten years ago who are no longer in office... Anyway, it's another Saint Paul lawsuit.]

Headline: West 7th Street readies for the opening of Keg & Case market; Old Schmidt warehouse is transformed into an airy light-filled marketplace
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: An old part of the old brewery is now a market full of shops. Article includes list of the different vendors. [There is no bike parking, because of course it's still Saint Paul we're talking about.]

Headline: Hearing set on Marshall Ave. rezoning; Divided Planning Commission forwards plan to City Council
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: There will be a public hearing at City Council on plans to re-zone parts of Marshall Avenue. Some parts will be upzoned and others will be downzoned. [Also the zoning will be getting a lot more complex, rather than simpler, which is a bad trend in general. I voted against this, mostly because it is slated to be an aBRT transit corridor in the future.]  

Headline: St. Paul schools open a new year with renewed, improved facilities
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: Some schools have been made nicer.

Headline: New parking lots paved beside stadium; Neighbors seek dual purpose of space for days with no games
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: The buildings around the under-construction soccer stadium have been torn down and mostly temporary parking lots are being put there. Neighbors are concerned about traffic, parking, and "being overrun with soccer fans." [I do believe that "hooligans" is the correct term here.] Eventually the parking lots should become developed, as is the plan, but the team is requesting a five-year window. Some folks at the neighborhood group want to figure out how to share the parking when there are not games. [I really hope we can get some development in here in under five years.]

Headline: Developer conducts inventory of trees around Ford property
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version:  The Ford site developer is counting the trees in the area.

Headline: Council ready to approve plan to turn church into arts venue
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: The City Council is going to vote on whether to allow a developer to re-use an old church for concerts, events, and the like. Neighbors are concerned about traffic,  parking, and noise. [This seems like a great way to re-use an historic church that could use some restoration and life.] 

Headline: St. Paul OKs final regulations for organized trash collection
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: The city is [finally] almost done with the new organized trash system. Neighbors are concerned about costs and the number and size of carts. There is another Saint Paul lawsuit.

Headline: Disc golf expansion, Linwood security receive STAR funding
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: The part of the Highland golf course that is used for disc golf got money to expand, as did a rec center that wants security cameras. Neighbors are concerned about disc golfers.

Headline: Efforts continue to renovate historic Goodrich Ave. house
Author: Dave Page

Short short version: And old house from the 1850s that is still in the West End area is not yet torn down. It is very small. Neighbors are trying to raise money to save it. [It's a super weird house! I am for saving it if possible. It is really small. People used to live in super small houses. The 1850s was a long time ago.]


Saint Clair Avenue Factory Tour Bike Ride, Thursday September 20th

What do chocolate candies, awnings, barber poles, decorate church pews, leather, satchels, organ pipes, and beer have in common?

For one thing, they are all very cool. This is an awesome list of items.

But even more than that, they are all made on Saint Clair Avenue, an otherwise unremarkable commercial mixed-use street in Saint Paul, Minnesota!

It's kind of hard to believe that Saint Clair Avenue is peppered by manufacturing, but it's true. Next Thursday, I'll be leading a bike ride from one end of Saint Clair to the other, stopping at eight (8) signifiant spots where things are made, and sharing a brief history of these hidden factories. 

The ride will begin at Regina's Fine Candies, where you are welcome to purchase and consume at chocolate, and end at Bad Weather Brewing, which is not technically on Saint Clair but is close enough for jazz, and where they absolutely do manufacture another fine product that you are welcome to consume.

Along the way, we'll be biking a straight line down the avenue and stopping at a few noteworthy establishments to admire and learn about them.

See you there! Regina's closes at 6pm, so get be on time if you want a delicious treat.

What: bike ride down Saint Clair Avenue to look at buildings where things are made
When: Thursday 5:45pm 9/20 Tuesday 10/2 5:45 
Where: meet at Regina's, proceed for four (4) miles due easterly
Who: anyone with a bike
Why: because it's there


[Look at these great things made on Saint Clair!]


Talking about Skyways and Street Life in Minneapolis and Winnipeg with the CBC

Following up on my appearance on the CBC last year to discuss urbanist reactions to Winnipeg, I was on the CBC again yesterday to discuss the pros and cons of skyways and tunnels in downtowns. There is a big debate going on right now about the key intersection in downtown Winnipeg, Portage and Main, and whether or not to re-introduce crosswalks and pedestrian access at the corner.

For people who want to bring back street life at the intersection, it doesn't appear to be going very well.

Here's an excerpt from the latest story on it, with poll results:

"The data shows Winnipeggers really don't like this idea of opening Portage and Main to pedestrians. There is no demographic — not young people, not downtowners, not downtown residents — who want to open the intersection," said Mary Agnes Welch, a senior researcher for Winnipeg-based Probe.  
"There is broad and deep, intense dislike for this idea."

Anyway, I appeared on the CBC radio news to explain about Minneapolis unique skyway system and what lessons, if any, the tensions around skyways might have for folks in Winnipeg.

Fun! I'll have to go back to Winnipeg in a hundred years when they finally get rid of the massive concrete barriers around the sidewalks of their downtown.

[This is what the main intersection of Portage and Main looks like, similar to a shuttered skyway.]


Twin City Lamp Posts #16

 [East Lake, Minneapolis.]

 [Niagara Falls, ON.]

 [Detroit, MI.]

 [Detroit, MI.]

 [Lansing, MI.]

 [Troy, NY.]

 [Williamstown, MA.]

[Boston, MA.]