If you’ve ever been to Uptown’s The Mall, you might not have realized it’s a park administered by the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board. It can feel more like a nicely landscaped parking lot with a generous grassy median. The drive-able portion of The Mall really just serves the function of letting drivers hunt for parking. According to Google Maps, if you drove all .6 miles of this street-to-nowhere looking for a place to park, it would take you four minutes (without traffic). That’s a lot of space that could be used as a grassy area for people to socialize and entertain.
But why would anyone call a park a “Mall”?
Continue reading “Uptown’s Mall: More Park, Less Parking”
“In the 17th and 18th centuries, ‘mall’ referred to a place where people would gather to play pall-mall, a croquet-like game. The games were social gatherings, and the term gradually transformed to mean any grassy area where people could gather to socialize and entertain.”
On Monday I was at the Downtown Minneapolis Neighborhood Association (DMNA), mostly because I heard a crew of residents would be riled up over a plan for short term rentals. (The rumors were true. I’ve never heard so many lawsuit threats in my life).
As a bonus, I got to hear developers Mike Garvin and Kelly Doran make their case against a proposed city ordinance to limit landlord screening practices on things like background checks, credit checks, and deposit amounts.
Continue reading “Kelly Doran Bullshits His Way Through a Debate with Councilman Steve”
Inclusionary zoning is a done deal in Minneapolis. It’s happening. All that remains are the details.
City Council President Lisa Bender’s mantra during most of 2018: the Minneapolis 2040 plan was a “nonstarter” without an inclusionary zoning policy. Bender made it clear that she and her Council colleagues wouldn’t do one policy without the other: as the city makes it easier to build more housing in more places, some portion of that housing would need to be affordable. So last December, when the City Council passed what has now become the nationally heralded 2040 plan, they also passed an interim inclusionary zoning ordinance.
Continue reading “Council Considers Details of “Inclusionary Zoning” Affordable Housing Mandate”
Here’s a story about two six-story apartment proposals, from the same developer in adjacent neighborhoods. In both cases, city planners said the buildings were too big. But the differing approach from each neighborhood organization meant one was approved and the other has been scaled down significantly.
Continue reading “Is It Possible to Have Productive Neighborhood Conversations About Development?”
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On Monday, the Minneapolis Planning Commission denied approval for the Federal Reserve Bank’s proposed 790-car riverfront parking garage. The vote to deny the conditional use permit to allow a parking facility split the commission 5-4, with President Sam Rockwell casting the tie-breaking vote. Site plan approval was denied by a larger 7-1 margin. It is likely the Fed will appeal the decision to the City Council.
Representatives of the Fed made the arguments you’d expect when justifying a parking garage: we need more parking. Duane Carter, a senior vice president at the bank, also said a few unexpected things in his presentation. He reminded the Commission of the time a man fired a gun at the Fed building (he didn’t mention the shots were fired from another nearby parking garage belonging to the US Postal Service). He told them the bank keeps unfathomable “treasure” in their vault. He showed the Commission on the projector what $36 million dollars looks like when you stack it up real big. Weirdest of all, he claimed the parking garage would be good for bikers and pedestrians.
Continue reading “Giant Riverfront Parking Garage Rejected by Minneapolis Planning Commission”
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People said it couldn’t be done. They said “Chet, you should reschedule, it’s going to rain really hard and everyone will get wet!”
I said, “Please don’t call me Chet. This ‘Chet Wedgely’ thing was meant to be a joke but now it’s catching on.” And then, showing uncommon courage, I refused to cancel the cat tour. As a result, 300 hearts were touched and the sun never stopped shining. That’s 10 times the number of people who attended last year’s Wedge neighborhood cat tour.
Attendees (the ones who kept count) reported seeing over 50 cats. Most cats were spotted at windows — but others were seen on porches, rooftops, in strollers, on leashes, or scampering through yards. A man at 28th and Dupont emerged from an apartment building holding a cat and wearing a giant cat head. As one Reddit user put it, “does anyone else think this is kinda fuckin weird?”
Continue reading “Cat Tour Draws Hundreds to the Wedge”
On Monday, the City Council’s Public Health, Environment, Civil Rights, and Engagement Committee heard an update about the city’s Fast Track initiative to combat HIV. Fast Track is a “global partnership between high HIV burden cities” with a goal to “end AIDs as a public health threat by 2030.”
Continue reading “Minneapolis “Fast Track” to combat HIV”
And other news from around the Greater Wedge Tri-Neighborhood Metropolitan Area…
VIDEO: Anger, Sadness, & Disapproval. A four-story building is coming to Linden Hills. The zoning code says yes, but their hearts say no. Watch the video below.
Continue reading “News Brief: “Anger, Sadness and Disapproval” in Linden Hills”
Wedge LIVE! has reluctantly embarked on what is sure to become a long and bitter feud with the Strong Towns website.
While at a Planning Commission meeting yesterday, I tweeted about the idea of incrementalism — comparing a 100-year-old 4-story building to a 6-story proposal across the street — and made a reference to Strong Towns as a prominent proponent of that idea. This was directed at the consternation among commissioners over whether a 6-story building was appropriate. Later that evening, Strong Towns founder Charles Marohn found a way to take umbrage.
Continue reading “Statement Regarding the Onset of Hostilities with “Strong Towns””