Suburbs - General Topics

Twin Cities Suburbs
David Greene
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Re: Suburbs - General Topics

Postby David Greene » August 19th, 2015, 10:08 pm

sdho wrote:4. Minneapolis residential sidewalks are excessively wide, in my opinion. I think 5' would serve just as well in a single-family home area as 6-7' with less impervious surface and less for homeowners to shovel.
No way. There are many places in the city where the sidewalks are not wide enough due to utility poles and other such obstacles. Most sidewalks are comfortably wide enough for people to pass each other. Any narrower and it would get quite uncomfortable with the wheelchairs, dogs, scooters, wagons, etc.

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sdho
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Re: Suburbs - General Topics

Postby sdho » August 20th, 2015, 9:18 am

David Greene wrote:No way. There are many places in the city where the sidewalks are not wide enough due to utility poles and other such obstacles. Most sidewalks are comfortably wide enough for people to pass each other. Any narrower and it would get quite uncomfortable with the wheelchairs, dogs, scooters, wagons, etc.
I'm not saying every single street. Obviously, yes, streets that have no boulevards (like 38th St) and have signs, utility poles, etc in the sidewalk need every inch they've got. But I'm talking about the minor streets with uninterrupted 6-7' walks on either side and only single-family homes in front. There are at least a few hundred miles of that design.

My boyfriend lives on 21st Ave near Folwell Middle School. The volume of kids makes the 7' walks on that street sort of useful, but they could easily lose a foot and function just as well. (And the street could lose 4'.) And there are many, many streets with less pedestrian traffic than 21st Ave. In fact, many of Minneapolis's busier streets and bus routes have less width than the minor streets -- like Nicollet through Tangletown and Penn Ave S where recently reconstructed. Those are 5-6'.

I still think having sidewalks on both sides is important -- for safety and comfort -- but they don't need to be seven feet wide!

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Re: Suburbs - General Topics

Postby David Greene » August 20th, 2015, 10:29 am

sdho wrote:I'm not saying every single street. Obviously, yes, streets that have no boulevards (like 38th St) and have signs, utility poles, etc in the sidewalk need every inch they've got. But I'm talking about the minor streets with uninterrupted 6-7' walks on either side and only single-family homes in front. There are at least a few hundred miles of that design.
Yes, I know. I live on one such segment. We need the width. I mean, what's the point, anyway? To reduce the width of the publicly-owned ROW? Not gonna happen. Any narrowing of sidewalks would simply become publicly-owned grass, which can be nice, but really doesn't do anything to improve the pedestrian experiences, except in places where there is no boulevard and for those places I would narrow the roadway to accomplish the same thing.

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sdho
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Re: Suburbs - General Topics

Postby sdho » August 20th, 2015, 3:23 pm

The point would be to reduce runoff (which is a bigger deal for the street, since much sidewalk runoff ends up on the grass) and, mainly to reduce maintenance. Less to shovel, and less material that has to be replaced, reducing the cost of assessments to homeowners.

It also means -- yes, more grass, wider boulevards, and healthier trees. Fortunately, my boyfriend's street has quite ample 8-10' boulevards, but many streets' boulevards are as narrow as 5-6'. I wouldn't want to simply surrender that right-of-way, but I would gladly use it for more boulevard width, especially if the space could be used partially for rain gardens (as has been done in Maplewood).

Of course, there should be some local preference here. I think we should look into what works, what people like, etc. But doesn't it seem odd to build a wider sidewalk on a residential street that sees maybe 20 peds a day than on a busy street with a major bus route?

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Re: Suburbs - General Topics

Postby min-chi-cbus » August 20th, 2015, 4:20 pm

David Greene wrote:
sdho wrote:4. Minneapolis residential sidewalks are excessively wide, in my opinion. I think 5' would serve just as well in a single-family home area as 6-7' with less impervious surface and less for homeowners to shovel.
No way. There are many places in the city where the sidewalks are not wide enough due to utility poles and other such obstacles. Most sidewalks are comfortably wide enough for people to pass each other. Any narrower and it would get quite uncomfortable with the wheelchairs, dogs, scooters, wagons, etc.
I agree as well. In fact, I don't think I've ever before heard a complaint about a sidewalk being too wide, but I suppose if a sidewalk in a random SW Mpls street were 10-12 feet wide, that may actually be a bit much. Otherwise, I generally complain (to myself) that sidewalks aren't wide enough. While we're on the subject, I also wish they would widen the pathways around the Mpls lakes.

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Re: Suburbs - General Topics

Postby David Greene » August 20th, 2015, 7:59 pm

sdho wrote:Of course, there should be some local preference here. I think we should look into what works, what people like, etc. But doesn't it seem odd to build a wider sidewalk on a residential street that sees maybe 20 peds a day than on a busy street with a major bus route?
Well, yeah, so widen the sidewalk along the bus route. Take roadway and turn it into more boulevard.

Our boulevard trees are quite mature and healthy. Of all the things wrong with the Minneapolis pedestrian environment, "excessively wide sidewalks" is not on my list.

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Re: Suburbs - General Topics

Postby FISHMANPET » August 20th, 2015, 8:04 pm

Also as far as shoveling goes, a sidewalk that's twice as wide (say 4 ft vs 8 ft) as not twice as hard to shovel. It's more work, but not literally twice as much work.

sad panda
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Re: Suburbs - General Topics

Postby sad panda » August 20th, 2015, 8:55 pm

From a physics standpoint you're wrong. Moving twice the mass of snow on average twice the distance means you're doing 4x as much work.

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Re: Suburbs - General Topics

Postby FISHMANPET » August 20th, 2015, 9:56 pm

Well I don't put all the snow I shovel into a single pile, and also shoveling is more than literally exerting a force onto a mass.

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Re: Suburbs - General Topics

Postby Snelbian » August 21st, 2015, 7:43 am

I'm reminded of a joke. A biologist, a chemist, and a physicist are going for a walk in the country and pass a cow. Looking for something to talk about, the biologists begins describing the evolutionary adaptations and mating behaviors of the modern cow. The chemist responds by explaining how the enzymes in the cow's stomachs interact with plant matter. The physicist interrupts and says, "Assume a spherical cow..."

Anyway, physics, so far as I can tell, is mostly about simplifying real world situations beyond absurdity to make the math more elegant.

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Re: Suburbs - General Topics

Postby sdho » August 21st, 2015, 11:08 am

Not intending to do a culture war of sidewalk width here. I have nothing against wide sidewalks -- in fact, I end up doing most of the shoveling of my boyfriend's 7' x 50' walk, and it usually only takes a few minutes when the snow isn't too sticky. But in my list of five items that might be improved upon with Mpls/St. Paul local streets, it came to mind as excessive (along with the roadway width).

Is it the #1 pressing issue with pedestrian safety? Of course not. It's not in the top 100. But if we were re-envisioning how local streets are designed, I think it's something that ought to be reconsidered in different areas.

And as an idea of how this might actually look in Minneapolis, I like the many examples in Tangletown of narrow streets (24-28'), narrow sidewalks (4-5'), and one-side parking. That is a very pleasant, high-quality pedestrian environment. My only gripe with those streets is slightly too-narrow boulevards, and too many driveways (little alley coverage).

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Re: Suburbs - General Topics

Postby Mdcastle » August 22nd, 2015, 11:37 am

I don't think any more of the round globe lights should go in. I don't care that they're not politically correct, but they're more "mid-century modern" as opposed to "current", and they're not any more appropriate than the acorn lights in front of Walmart. Some examples of modern pedestrian scale lights would be in front of the development that replace Bloomington City Hall, or the South Loop area.

It's interesting that some of Richfields main north-south streets including were NSP wood pole mercury lights long after the minro streets had the davit poles installed, then when they put up davit poles they were low pressure sodium (this and MN 77 in front of met stadium are the only places I've ever seen LPS on public roads in MN) from the mid 1980s through the mid 1990s,

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Re: Suburbs - General Topics

Postby Anondson » August 31st, 2015, 9:35 pm

I came close to starting a General Topics thread for Edina, decided to just post it here because it has larger implications.

http://www.startribune.com/survey-says- ... 323537001/

Edina conducted a city-wide survey of residents on a variety of topics. There was some interesting trends such as a significant majority say they'd walk more if they had sidewalks and a significant majority said transit was poor or fair.

Teardowns is the #1 problem to residents, related is two-thirds said housing was now too expensive.

Anyone know the details of how this "Come Home 2 Edina" affordability program work, the article claims it can make possible bringing a house into affordable range to a middle class income. I wonder how many homes have used that program during Edina's recent teardown wave.

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Re: Suburbs - General Topics

Postby Tiller » September 1st, 2015, 4:32 pm

mattaudio wrote:-1: The shape of the City of Maplewood

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(from the other thread)
I always find it great how Maplewood is just a bunch of leftovers.

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Re: Suburbs - General Topics

Postby seanrichardryan » September 1st, 2015, 8:01 pm

As I would have guessed, it's sort of the leftovers from New Canada township:
http://mn-maplewood.civicplus.com/index.aspx?NID=528
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Re: Suburbs - General Topics

Postby Anondson » September 1st, 2015, 8:07 pm

New Canada would have been a far more interesting unique name.

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Re: Suburbs - General Topics

Postby acs » September 1st, 2015, 8:25 pm

boy that would get confusing with little Canada.

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Re: Suburbs - General Topics

Postby seanrichardryan » September 1st, 2015, 8:30 pm

hmm. the southern leg is still perplexing. Investigation continues.

http://www.angelfire.com/de/empson/newcan.html

There is some fun here:

http://www.historicmapworks.com/Atlas/US/16809/
Last edited by seanrichardryan on September 1st, 2015, 8:36 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Suburbs - General Topics

Postby Anondson » September 1st, 2015, 8:35 pm

acs wrote:boy that would get confusing with little Canada.
Brooklyn Center, Brooklyn Park? Bethel, East Bethel? Possibly a bit, I think they'd be distinctive enough.

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Re: Suburbs - General Topics

Postby MNdible » September 1st, 2015, 8:37 pm

I've always understood that the southern leg is directly related to 3M's campus move. Right?


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