12.2.16

Sidewalk Poetry #50

I
Like 
The 
Way 
That when you 
Tilt 
Poems 
On their side 
They 
Look like 
Miniature 
Cities 
From 
A long way 
Away. 
Skyscrapers 
Made out 
Of 
Words.

[Matt Haig.] 

[City of London. skyline.]
 

10.2.16

TC Sidewalks Live! Downtown Minneapolis Skyway Tour

A week from Saturday, at 2pm on the 20th, I'll be hosting another Downtown Minneapolis skyway tour. Highlights will include the oldest skyway (i.e. the 2nd skyway in Minneapolis history), the longest skyway, the newest skyway (as close as we can get to it), the second newest skyway (formerly the "skyway to nowhere"), some "architecturally noteworthy" skyways, and of course the most soul-sucking skyway (location TBD, could be pictured at right, but I doubt it).
 
[See also Minneapolis Skyway Tour #1 and Minneapolis Skyway Tour #2.]

[2012 Minneapolis Skyway tour getting kicked out of the Crystal Court.]
Skyways are Minneapolis' most unique architectural feature, and are still a key point of contention between place-oriented urban planners, urban and suburban publics, and the business community. I pretty much hate them, but I think they prove a useful point about public and private space, and how those distinctions can be carefully constructed and rely on subtle social relationships.

Feel free to read up on skyways, as I've written a ton on this topic. Here are some highlights:

The Case Against Skyways in 10 Easy Steps
Happy 50th Birthday to the Minneapolis Skyway System
Four Suggested Skyway Improvements
Stuck With Skyways
Climate as Proxy for Capital in the Minneapolis Skyway System

We'll be starting in the IDS Center, right in the middle of the Crystal Court, which is not where the skyways began, but rather where they "peaked" as public space. Everything else is downhill.


What: A guided tour of the downtown Minneapolis skyway system
When: Saturday afternoon, the 20th of February
Where: Meet at the IDS Center Crystal Court, and walk around from there
Why: Because the skyways are still there
Who: You can come! Feel free to buy your tour guide a drink afterward.

Here's some food for thought:

The Unwritten Rules of Skyway Etiquette, by Mark McGinty
1) Stay to the right.
2) Move quickly towards your destination in an orderly manner.
3) No zig-zagging.
4) No stopping to gawk at merchandise.
5) No stopping at all.
6) No looking at merchandise.
7) When traveling in groups, stay close together in tight little packs - do not walk side-by-side-by-side-by-side.
8) Keep the luggage to a minimum.
 9) No phone calls unless you're using an earpiece or headset in which case you kind of look like a D-Bag. 
10) By all means if you need to turn around, exit and enter somewhere else - do not just stop, turn around and start walking directly into the coming masses, people! 

Follow these rules and you will live longer!!!

[A William H. Whyte quote on the side of the IDS this winter.]
Please note that we'll be breaking all or most of these rules. (Sorry Mark!)

Did skyways "save downtown", as some people claim? Do skyways "ruin the city"? Should we tear them down or keep building more?

I look forward to seeing you.

I'm guessing the tour might be 90 minutes or so, though you're welcome to leave whenever you like. We'll be ending at one of the few skyway-connected downtown bars for after-walk mingling.

Some illustrative highlights follow:

[First renderings of the downtown Minneapolis skyway system, when they were open-air.]

[The Tri-Tech Office Building skyway under construction, and 32 years later.]

[R.T. Rybak reporting on skyway shade c. 1985.]

[Some friends and I picnicing in the Minneapolis skyway in 2015, which is something only white people can do.]

[Minneapolis bike cop taking his bike up a skyway escalator for some reason.]

[The newest skyways, going the new football stadium, under construction last fall.]



9.2.16

Signs of the Times #109

EXTRA
PARKING
<-------- p="">

[Warehouse. Swede Hollow, Saint Paul.]


BLACKIE
THANK YOU FOR THE
ROSECOLOREDGLASSES

[Bar marquee. Frogtown, Saint Paul.]


PLEASE TAKE NOTE:
 THIS IS NOT UBER

uber's address is
xxx xxxx

[Door. North Loop, Minneapolis.]


THANK YOU FOR 26
YEARS OF GREAT
LOYALTY

ORIGAMI DOWNTOWN
WILL PERMANENTLY
CLOSE ON DECEMBER
23rd

PLEASE VISIT OUR 
UPTOWN LOCATION

[Door. North Loop, Minneapolis.]


THIS IS NOT A
PUBLIC
ENTRANCE.

FOR ARTIST USE ONLY.

[Door. Downtown, Saint Paul.]


Curfew is the law
It keeps kids safe

[Window. Downtown, Minneapolis.] 


THIS NOTICE
will be ripped down
by
a flunky
of
Mr Mpls moneybags

[Lamppost. Downtown, Saint Paul.]


PLEASE NOT DROP OFF
CARPET AT THIS DOCK
THE CARPET RECYCLING
CENTER, IS LOCATED THE
NORTH END OF THE 840
HAMPDEN BULDING.

[Gate/door. West Midway, Saint Paul.]


The STEPS ! STILL
Under Construction
I don't xxx Just

[Board on steps. West Side, Saint Paul.]

8.2.16

Why I Love the Green Line: an Open Letter to my Fort Road Neighbors

[A car-choked street.]
Hello neighbor.

I live across the High Bridge from you, and spend a lot of time in your neighborhood. Plus, I take the bus and train an awful lot. Just wanted to drop a line.

Look, I get it. Many of you vividly remember the debate over Riverview transit back in the 90s. And you were right! Widening the street by 4' would have been a bad move back then, and would be a bad idea today.

But this is the year that Saint Paul's leaders, and that includes many of you, are going to make a huge decision about a transit line along the Riverview Corridor. It’s the kind of thing that, once made, is almost impossible to change.*

[A poll from a neighborhood Facebook page.]
There’s a lot of debate in the neighborhood along West 7th Street, or "old Fort Road." Many people have been very vocal about not wanting to see any rail on West 7th. And some people I’ve spoken to have said that the opposition from business leaders and community groups is so strong that planners are considering bypassing the 7th Street neighborhood in favor of a route along the river.

Alternately, some people would prefer a bus rapid transit investment that would minimize impacts to  today’s car-centric street designs (parking, higher speed travel lanes, difficult pedestrian crossings).

Personally, I think either of those two options would be a huge mistake. Bypassing West 7th Street would leave thousands of people out in the cold, and waste Saint Paul’s best chance to build a great transit city.

[Riverview doesn't have to look like this Green Line station, but the idea should be the same; give people secure, pleasant places to take transit.]


For me, a lot depends on how you feel about the Green Line. Reading through the neighborhood comments over the past month or two, I've noticed that many people seem to think that the Green Line is a failure. Or that it's too slow. Or that it's ruined University Avenue.

My experience is just the opposite. I take the Green Line (from end-to-end) all the time, once or twice a week for over a year now. When you spend time actually riding on the train, it changes your mind.

[Putting a bike on the bus rack.]
See, when compared to riding the bus, the Green Line is amazing. When you sit and watch the people around you, you see relaxed, comfortable folks. They might look bored, yes, but they're allowed to move, sit, and travel through the city without a car, but with respect.

Rolling up in a wheelchair, or with a stroller, or with a bunch of shopping bags, or with a cane, or with two kids, or with whatever burden you carry, the train is just so much better.  You can see a measure of relief in the faces of the thousands of people from the diverse Frogtown, Hamline-Midway, Downtown, and University-area neighborhoods trying to get around.

Even though we have a decent transit system, riding the bus around the city can sometimes be a disheartening experience. Stepping up over snowbanks, huddling in a shelter, scooching through cramped aisles, struggling to put your bike on the front rack...

Don’t get me wrong, taking the bus is a perfectly fine way to get around, and I often do it myself, but a predictable smooth-running train with level boarding and plenty of space is a huge step up in the quality of life for everyone on board. It's a sign that our city is treating the transit-dependent, the elderly, the young, the poor, and anyone else who wants to shed some car trips with some much deserved dignity.

[A pretty full Green Line car.]
That's important because Saint Paul is a diverse city with many of areas of concentrated poverty. Over 40% of our 280,000 people are people of color. Over half of the people living in the West 7th neighborhood rent their home. 35% of neighborhood households make less than $35K a year. Yet all through Saint Paul, and all though this planning process, almost all the people making decisions around the table are white owners of homes or businesses. This isn't to cast blame, but just to point out that lots of people are being left out. What about them?

Don't get me wrong. I have questions too. There tons of details about exact routes, modes, and design decisions still on the table. (Check out my suggestion for one possible route that would serve huge parts of the West 7th and Highland neighborhoods without having major impacts on parking or car travel on 7th Street).

[Wheelchair, guy in the companion seat, bike rack on the Green Line.]
By all means, people in the community should be debating how best to design and build rail transit in this corridor. Can a streetcar-style vehicle work? Should we use the Ford Spur? How do we get across the river? What are the trade-offs between stops and transit speeds?

But bypassing all the people whose lives would be meaningfully improved by a major transit investment would be a disaster. That’s what they’re doing with the two Minneapolis rail lines, skipping the heart of the city. And it’s a shame. Saint Paul should do better.

Try the Green Line. Take the bus. Think about who lives here, all your neighbors, not just the ones who show up to meetings.

The future of the Fort Road neighborhood depends on what choices we make this year. Let’s give our transit riders a great future.

See you on the sidewalk.

Yours truly,
Bill


[A man with a cane and an unleashed dog crossing West 7th Street.]


[Guy on the Green Line with an elaborate wheelchair setup.]

[Riding the Green Line on Halloween.]

[Two wheelchairs / scooters on the Green Line at the same time.]

 
[Guy hauling U-Haul boxes, bike (not his) on the Green Line.]


[Folks looking out Green Blue Line windows.]

[Riding the Green Line on a December evening.]

[Riding the Green Line on a December evening.]

[It's time to "level up" the bus.]

* In 2010, Hennepin County SWLRT planners decided for the 3C alignment down the Kenilworth Corridor instead of going through uptown. It was the wrong decision, but there’s nothing anyone can do about it now.

5.2.16

*** Sidewalk Weekend! ***

Sidewalk Rating: Trompable


In the new conception, both ends of the corridor represent low energy positions in the energy landscape. The natural tendency is for pedestrians to fall into the nearest low energy state, which corresponds to the far end of the corridor. However, on their walk through the energy landscape, they pass close to the second minimum. A small amount of noise is all that's needed to change which minimum they are headed for. This was sufficient to fully replicate the statistics of single pedestrian behavior.

[from this.]

[A Rolls-Royce on East 7th Street in Saint Paul.]


*** CLICK ON THE IMAGES FOR THE LINKS ***



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https://twitter.com/douglasmack/status/695305038076325888

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https://twitter.com/Avidor/status/693287140436897792/photo/1


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http://tcsidewalks.blogspot.com/2012/02/anarchist-burma-shave-como-avenue.html


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http://mentalfloss.com/article/56804/how-fans-followed-baseball-games-tv-or-radio


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http://www.theguardian.com/cities/gallery/2016/jan/13/from-doonesbury-to-grayson-perry-10-of-the-best-gentrification-cartoons

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https://www.facebook.com/guardiancities/photos/a.642725589116963.1073741828.641313679258154/997611116961740/?type=3&theater


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http://kottke.org/16/01/cross-pollinated-comics


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http://www.nbcnews.com/storyline/europes-border-crisis/new-bansky-artwork-london-hits-nerve-boarded-n503866

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http://www.citylab.com/design/2016/01/in-a-new-mural-a-new-orleans-tradition-comes-to-life/424803/

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https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2016/01/15/the-inequality-of-sidewalks/


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https://medium.com/@chazhutton/drawing-the-map-of-every-city-f4b4ea7fa58f#.b73oljilt


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http://atlasobscura.tumblr.com/post/138097679321/mapsontheweb-map-of-the-disunited-states-of


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http://www.verysmallarray.com/?p=36


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http://littlebrumble.tumblr.com/


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http://www.creativeboom.com/photography/abandoned-checkpoints-photographer-documents-europes-forgotten-borders/


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https://blogs.nasa.gov/spacestation/2016/01/21/crew-studies-health-in-space-and-counts-down-to-next-spacewalk/


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http://www.swifty.com/lifestyle/35102/23-photos-that-show-the-alarming-effects-of-overpopulation-around-the-world?utm_source=fbk&utm_campaign=35102-fa-de&utm_medium=referral&pid=null#slide/0


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http://curbed.com/archives/2016/01/28/aydin-buyuktas-turkey-flipped.php


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http://curbed.com/archives/2016/02/01/benthem-crouwel-amsterdam-underpass-flipped.php


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http://stuffaboutminneapolis.tumblr.com/post/138622124144/366thingsilove-february-3-2016-34366-this


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http://rebelmetropolis.org/examining-snowmaggedon-streets-without-the-automobile/


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http://blogs.mprnews.org/newscut/2016/01/the-people-who-wont-clean-their-cars-of-snow/


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http://www.citylab.com/design/2016/01/gothenburg-sweden-snow-penis/425085/


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https://twitter.com/BillLindeke/status/695669484724441088


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http://curbed.com/archives/2016/01/25/concordia-kielkowski-photos-flipped.php


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http://www.atlasobscura.com/places/mayfield-railway-station


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http://www.citylab.com/politics/2016/01/flint-water-crisis-lead-michigan/424728/


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http://tsutpen.blogspot.com/2016/01/the-art-of-war-72.html


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http://www.citylab.com/design/2016/01/mapping-new-york-city-noise-complaints-311/426606/


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http://catandgirl.com/?p=5019


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https://twitter.com/galka_max/status/690628016045568000


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http://www.citylab.com/design/2016/01/mapping-the-interconnectedness-of-canadas-water/425064/

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http://www.atlasobscura.com/articles/160yearold-ganges-canal-superpassages-are-an-engineering-marvel

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http://www.citylab.com/design/2016/02/my-favorite-maps-stamen-designs-eric-rodenbeck/431613/


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http://waitbutwhy.com/2016/01/horizontal-history.html

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http://www.verysmallarray.com/?p=1994

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http://tsutpen.blogspot.com/2016/01/artists-in-action-874.html


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http://www.atlasobscura.com/articles/object-of-intrigue-backpack-helicopters?utm_source=twitter&utm_medium=atlas-page

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http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/imageo/2016/01/18/lenticular-clouds-over-flagstaff-and-boulder/#.VrTt7rkrIy5


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http://www.atlasobscura.com/articles/7-dubai-locations-that-defy-their-desert-setting?utm_source=twitter&utm_medium=atlas-page


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https://scienceloveletters.wordpress.com/2016/01/16/week-iii-repetition/#jp-carousel-51


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http://www.citylab.com/crime/2016/01/berlin-squat-houses-raids-police/424608/


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http://www.huffingtonpost.com/ebonycom/did-the-epa-fail-to-prote_b_9020002.html?utm_hp_ref=green&ir=Green

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http://www.atlasobscura.com/articles/photo-of-the-week-carpowered-sledding?utm_source=twitter&utm_medium=atlas-page

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http://saintpaulalmanac.org/saint-paul-stories/history/fire-on-pigs-eye-island/


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http://kottke.org/16/01/a-brief-history-of-the-flatiron-building


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http://stuffaboutminneapolis.tumblr.com/post/137790959384/lightcapturessound-when-snow-is-on-the-menu