Sunday, February 15, 2015

Queen Avenue Bike Path Presents Its Own Set of Problems

Today a fellow northside biker and I traversed the most likely alternative to a Penn Avenue bike lane, as we went from Highway 394 all the way up to 44th Avenue North.  We have both been regular attendees at the Penn Avenue Community Works meetings, but this was our first time actually going along the route.  While Penn presents its own set of challenges for bike lanes, Queen is far from an ideal alternative.

In fact, after this experience (in a car, so that we could more easily and quickly make an account of the corridor and because it's February) I would push back to our policymakers and elected officials.  Either we're serious about getting a north/south bike corridor somewhere between the proposed Humboldt/Irving Greenway and Theo Wirth, or we're not.  If the political will and funding aren't there to do it right (even on Queen, which in my book doesn't meet the criteria) then tell us now and stop wasting everyone's time.

If we ARE serious about biking amenities on the corridor, then the first question is...

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Bus Rapid Transit Delayed on Penn Ave N (And Why That's a Good Thing)

Disclaimer:  I serve on the Penn Avenue Community Works committee as a delegate on behalf of the Jordan neighborhood.  The only formal position JACC has taken on the Penn Bus Rapid Transit is that there be an additional stop in Jordan besides the Broadway and Lowry stations.  If JACC takes additional positions, I will work to implement them as long as I am on the committee as a Jordan delegate.

The Penn Avenue Bus Rapid Transit project, also known as the C Line, had recently picked up quite a bit of momentum.  In late 2014, we were informed that the BRT line in St. Paul (B Line) was not moving forward as quickly as anticipated.  That potentially freed up funding to allow detailed design to begin in 2015 with construction on the C Line in 2016.  At recent Penn Avenue meetings, we were operating under the hope that this funding and construction schedule would take place.

But there is an entity called the Transportation Advisory Board that makes programming decisions for these funds, and at their January 21st meeting they decided...

Sunday, February 8, 2015

The Case of the Sign Spam Assault Comes to a Close

Last summer, I was assaulted as I was taking down sign spam in front of my house.  After the initial blog post, I held off on writing about the progress of the incident, wanting to see how it would play out.  The case has now come to a close, and my charges were dismissed.  That's not entirely a bad thing, as will be shown later.  But first, a brief recap:

I was sitting on my front porch, watching the world go by one summer evening when I saw a van pull up and plaster the light poles with sign spam for upcoming concerts at a downtown venue.  It dawned on me then that I hadn't taken down that stuff for a while, and my whole corner was looking kind of ugly.  So I went out and ripped off that sign and others that were taped to the four posts on my corner.

Well, the perpetrator didn't like that, confronted me, threatened to both assault and rob me, and then actually did throw a punch.  He then hopped into his getaway vehicle--the 19 bus line.  I got on after him, and informed the bus driver that I had called 911, then removed myself from the situation.  He was caught a few moments later and brought back to my house, where the helpful MPD officers walked me through my first citizen's arrest.

Since then...

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

The Sheltering Arms House Rehab is Complete

Post and photos by the Hawthorne Hawkman.

There are photos of the interior at the end of this post, for those of you who may want to skip my ramblings and get to the best part.

The Sheltering Arms House, at 2648 Emerson Ave N, had a pre-open house on Saturday.  For those looking to read up on the recent history of this house, most of that was covered first on Johnny Northside, and later on this blog - each hyperlink will take you to that blog's "Sheltering Arms" search results.

In short, however, the home was built in 1891 as an orphanage for the Sheltering Arms Orphanage.  It is believed to be the first or among the first orphanages away from the main campus on the Mississippi riverfront.  The orphanage was the precursor to what is now the Sheltering Arms Foundation.

It's worth repeating that the Sheltering Arms was run by a group of twenty-five Episcopalian nuns, dedicated to serving needy children "without regard to race, color, or creed."  A women-run organization with that mission in eighteen ninety-one is a part of this city's history that most definitely needed to be preserved.

In a smaller sense, this house had its own place in north Minneapolis history as well.  That's because...

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Cultural Comfort Food Fusion

A recent Facebook conversation with my favorite former Minnesotan, Bryan Thao Worra, centered around cultural comfort foods and culinary fusion.  As more and more Southeast Asians (and other immigrants) locate in Minnesota, they will bring their comfort foods with them--laab meat, papaya salad, sticky rice, etc.  Here in the midwest, we've already got plenty of our own comfort foods, such as shepherd's pie, the infamous hot dish, and various jello and fruit conglomerations.

So we began to ask ourselves, what would happen if some of these Scandinavian and Southeast Asian foods were to be combined in some unholy culinary syncretism?  What would some of our choices even be?

I ruled out chicken noodle pho right off the bat.  But laab meat had some potential...

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Aldermanic Privilege, When it Works and When It Doesn't

Post by the Hawhtorne Hawkman, photo from the Healy Project blog.

The term "aldermanic privilege" has its origins in Chicago, but the principle is often applied here in Minneapolis as well.  The phrase refers to circumstances where the council as a whole defers to the wishes of the council member whose ward is most impacted by a particular issue or vote.  This privilege has its benefits - and not just to the individual council member, but also to his or her constituents.  And then there's the drawbacks, especially in a "weak mayor/strong council" city like Minneapolis, where a liberal application of aldermanic privilege bestows too much power on each council member.

First up, when and where it works:

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Two Housing Buzzwords Minneapolis Staff Should Stop Using

And one word that should be more than a buzzword.

Does the above photo make your head hurt?  Good, we both feel the same way.  But for me, the words of the day are "functionally obsolete" and "demands of the current housing market."  If you hear the words of the day, scream real loud.

These two phrases are bandied about by Minneapolis city staffers when they erroneously believe that housing in our community needs to be demolished instead of rehabbed.  And they should be stricken from any future use on the grounds that they are employed neither objectively nor by people with professional experience in the sale of real estate.  I'd go so far as to say they are redundant as well.

First, what "functional obsolescence" means...