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Evan Roberts

Minneapolis, MN
Commenter for
3 years 44 weeks

Recent Comments

Posted on 10/23/14 at 07:10 pm in response to Superhighways and light rail: antagonists or evil twins?

Crossing University Ave on foot is much easier than it used to be. The traffic volumes appear to be down, there are more mid-block marked crosswalks, and in places where you have a lengthy view of the tracks either way there is a huge great median of rail track that you can wait on momentarily in the middle of the street.

Posted on 09/19/14 at 10:32 pm in response to Minneapolis neighborhood groups try to bridge the renter gap

Echoing some of what's been said above, perhaps a bigger problem is how few people—homeowners or not—are involved in neighborhood associations relative to the population.

It's also notable that the formal positive powers of the associations are limited (so as David Brauer says, they can't do much), yet they can exercise a great deal of informal blocking or veto power without really being held accountable for that. I think this contributes to some of them having a reputation for...

Posted on 06/24/14 at 10:30 am in response to Urban rhythms and the case of the missing all-night diner

Even downtown the standard authorized hours of a coffee shop in Minneapolis (for example) are 6:00am - 1:00am (Sun-Thu) and 2:00am Fri/Sat. The city imposes extra hurdles on businesses that want to open later, making them do a separate license application, and paying $142/year for the privilege. Not a huge amount of money to be sure, but one more barrier to just deciding to open a little later.

Posted on 08/01/13 at 12:28 pm in response to One developer should not dictate the future of Dinkytown

Dinkytown is a lovely area, but its charm rests on the people in the area, not any particular building.

What Opus is proposing with its mixed commercial/residential development would actually restore this block to closer to what it used to look like before buildings were torn down for parking in the 1960s (a direct result of the Minneapolis zoning code requiring off-street parking). In the 1920s and 1930s, for example, this block was densely populated with buildings and had nearly...

Posted on 06/24/13 at 03:35 pm in response to Dinkytown building demolition

"Urban renewal" was a specific group of government-sponsored demolition and redevelopment projects in the 1960s and 1970s that often had the characteristic of whole blocks being demolished at the same time. The failure of "urban renewal" was often that no new developments went in for a long time. Justifiably it got a bad name as a policy.

When a private company demolishes a building, and immediately puts up something else, that is renewing an urban area, but it's not "urban renewal"...

Posted on 03/26/13 at 12:23 pm in response to Mayor Coleman hits the college haunts to see what students are thinking

How about making it easier for students to live in Saint Paul when they're studying? Let people build apartments near some of these colleges. Don't restrict private landlords from deciding who they want to rent to in the neighborhoods around the colleges ...

Posted on 12/22/12 at 01:10 pm in response to 7 best planning moves in Twin Cities history

This is a good list (definitely agree with #1!), and I'd second the view that the Midtown Greenway should be on the list. It's had a big impact in just a decade.

You're a little generous with Saint Paul and its lack of parking lots. Walk a few blocks and you'll find them.

Posted on 12/20/12 at 12:39 pm in response to 9 worst urban planning moves in Twin Cities history

Great article, though I don't agree with all of the items or the order, if order means something (#4 seems far more consequential than #3, though both are undoubtedly mistakes).

The list itself is an interesting mix of systemic and large-scale decisions that will be hard to undo with smaller blunders that could be fixed relatively easily.

To wit, #1, #2, and #4 were huge blunders, and concentrated in about 20 years worth of destruction. The mindset that cars are the only way...

Posted on 11/27/12 at 03:23 pm in response to Gateway Park: When will Minneapolis get a signature downtown park?

"Initially, I was a little disappointed that the vision wasn't quite as grand as Manhattan's Central Park."

This is a bizarre comparison. The functional equivalent of Central Park in Minneapolis is the Grand Rounds. We already have that, and it's better than what most other cities have in the way of park space. The other comparisons (Bryant, Washington Square, Rice, Mears) are more appropriate, but go take a look at them, and they're much smaller than a park one block wide stretching...

Posted on 11/29/12 at 02:52 pm in response to Gateway Park: When will Minneapolis get a signature downtown park?

Don't get me wrong, I love parks, and take daily advantage of the park system. Most successful city parks are not just destinations, but on the way to somewhere else, which is often not another park. People from Olmsted to Jane Jacobs recognized this. Central Park -- surrounded by buildings. Rice and Mears Park, great examples, but again in the middle of a [locally] dense part of town.

I'm skeptical we need this much park heading out of the density of downtown.