Four Guide Booklets Now Back in Print

Good news! I have finally gotten off my ass, updated and reprinted four long out-of-print booklets from my Guide Booklet series. They are: 

  • Noteworthy Dive Bars of Old Fort Road (now featuring Bay Street Burger Dive)
  • Lesser Known Parks of Northwestern St. Paul
  • Public Staircases of St. Paul (with Walnut Stairs update)
  • and Coney Dogs of Greater St. Paul (now featuring the Bar + Cart footlong)

They all feature local artwork by various artists, as well as illustrations and information about their respective subject matter. You can purchase them right now at my Twin City Sidewalks Store, hot off the presses. Enjoy, and look for new reprints and some brand new booklets in the coming weeks.

But wait... there's more. I also have in stock, after many years, my Minneapolis-St. Paul: Then and Now photo book, which I will sign and send to you! It makes a great addition to any coffee table or bathroom.


Signs of the Times #188



[Sandwich board. Selby Avenue, St. Paul.]


[Door. Salt Lake City, UT.]


[Tree. Salt Lake City, UT.]


[Wall. Downtown, St. Paul.]


[Bike. Selby Avenue, St. Paul.] 

The Dog

[Midway, St. Paul.]

Thank You

[Yard. Location forgotten.]

-> $1.76 Tr

[Utility box. St. Paul, Capitol.]

Pepper .75
slicer 1.00
basket 1-

[Farmstand. Pepin, WI.]

This is a bench
Sit here.

[Bench. North Minneapolis.]


[Door. Location forgotten.]


My Testimony to the Planning Commission on the new St. Paul Drive-Thru Study

[The lovely patio at the Snelling/Marshall Starbucks that has always been this way and was never a literal hellscape or anything.]

Last Friday, I had the privilege of being the only member of the public to testify on the city's new drive-thru study that wasn't representing the fast food industry or the Chamber of Commerce. Here's my brief testimony, which you can also see here:

Thank you Madam Chair and members of the Commission. I served here for 9 years, and one thing I remember talking about was the Snelling and Marshall Starbucks, which is where I wrote these notes, on their new patio. 

I have three things to think about. First, there’s a new book about people with disabilities — I’m reluctant to speak for people with disabilities personally — but there’s a new book called "When Driving is Not an Option" that covers the importance of these topics, and mentions the high percentage of people with disabilities who don’t drive cars. It’s important when designing these polices that we don’t trade off access for one group at the expense of access for another.

My second point is about ice removal on sidewalks, another key issue for safety and mobility. Drive-thru curb cuts, once cars start driving over the sidewalk, the snow and ice get compacted and it's impossible to get the ice off the sidewalk. It becomes the slipperiest part of someone’s trek down the sidewalks of St. Paul. 

The third thing is economic development in St. Paul. This has come up a lot lately in my life, where people have asked me, including Dir. Goodman in PED, how do we help small businesses in St Paul? What do we have that they don’t have in the suburbs? 

We have connections between businesses. We have sidewalks, and you can trip chain. You go to the bakery, then you go to the bookstore, then you go to the coffee shop. You walk between all these places. The second you put a drive-thru in, that business becomes an island. People don’t even get out of their cars. They don’t walk. 

That makes it harder to connect between one place an another. If you want to grow places like Snelling, Grand, the East Side, all the commercial strips in St. Paul, you need to focus on making connections between business, not just building drive-thrus run by corporate chains from around the world, to be little islands where people never see what’s so great about St. Paul and our small business economy. 

They did this in Minneapolis, a blanket ban on drive-thrus to support small businesses, equity, safety, walkability, climate action. we can do that in St. Paul too.   

Axios has a story on it today covering the study that generously quotes me. Let's hope that Planning Commissioners and city leaders push staff to be more aggressive with these regulations.


Border-to-Border Desire Chatsworth Bike Ride this Friday

[Chatsworth Avenue, a relatively pleasant street.]

Hello there. It's been too long! 

Just for fun, I'm going to lead a bike ride this Friday that will follow one of my favorite secret routes through St. Paul. In my head, I simply call it "Desire Chatsworth," because it traces a straight north-south line where Chatsworth Avenue should be. It's one of the only bikable routes that actually crosses* every railroad and highway boundary in the city, at least if you squint a little bit.

Along the way, we'll stop a few times to discuss St. Paul history and how the topography and geography of the city reflect inequality and diversity. 

We'll meet at the southern border of the city at Summit Brewing at 5:30, depart around 6:00. We'll end up at the northern border of the city at Ted's Rec, and from there you'll be on your own. 

Hope to see you then! 

* Warning: the ride will likely involve some light trespassing

[Facebook event is here.]


On TPT Almanac to talk about Saint Paul's New Downtown Plan

 Well, I can check this one off my bucket list! I went on Almanac, Minnesota's long-running flagship local politics show, last Friday to talk about downtown Saint Paul. I normally avoid doing TV because I hate it, but I'll aways make an exception for Eric Eskola and Cathy Wurzer. 

It's very very quick, like all television, but I hope you enjoy it. I haven't watched it myself, but apparently I didn't sound like a moron. You'll notice that I didn't take the bait on the leading question about skyways. Live TV is too short to explain that shit.

[Watch all five minutes of glory here.]