Uptown Secures 50 More Years of Drive-Thru Banking

A Google search for “do people still go inside banks?” shows that, for some of us, physical banks are a thing of the past. Which means you might not be aware of the dangers of car-free banking. Read on, for a story every parent should see.

Yesterday, the Planning Commission considered Wells Fargo’s plans for a new branch building at the corner of Lake and Humboldt. The building would replace the bank’s existing structure built in 1973. The maximum number of car parking stalls allowed for the proposed building is 17. Wells Fargo wants 36.

A representative for Wells Fargo cited safety concerns, for employees and customers, as one reason the Planning Commission should allow double the parking maximum. Commissioner Ben Gisselman also had questions about safety:

When we’re talking about bank transactions, I feel like there is some argument that perhaps customers–I don’t know if this is legitimate or not–but perhaps customers do want the safety of having their vehicle there.

@happifydesign @mikesonn from watching that meeting, I gather it’s hugely dangerous to do your banking without a getaway car nearby.

— Wedge LIVE! (@WedgeLIVE) November 17, 2015

Considering the neighborhood context (frequent transit, multiple bikeways, walkability, density, the transportation preferences of nearby residents), Commissioner Nick Magrino expressed “surprise” that all 27 Wells Fargo employees at the site are driving themselves to work: “I think it’s probably possible that you’re sort of inducing some of that demand from the employees by having free parking available on site.”

The Planning Commission denied the request for 19 additional car stalls. They also required that three bike parking stalls be added at the bank’s Lake and Humboldt entrance. As a result of these two decisions, several long-time residents probably made dramatic Facebook pronouncements about moving to St. Paul.

The Planning Commission also voted to continue the tradition of drive-thru banking in the heart of Uptown. The new drive-thru will be two lanes, which is considerably smaller than the existing building’s seven-lane monster.

Sam Rockwell, the lone commissioner to oppose the drive-thru, noted that the Hennepin-Lake area is a Pedestrian Overlay District, and the first rule of Pedestrian Overlay District is don’t talk about drive-thrus. Rockwell also pointed to the fact that the area has the fourth highest bicycle counts and the third highest pedestrian counts in the city. [to watch his entire remarks, visit SamRockwellSpeech.com]

It’s impossible to say whether the Millenials of tomorrow will make virtual banking transactions from a retractable kiosk mounted on the titanium-alloy ceiling of their driverless Space-Ubers. But even if we can’t know what banking will look like a decade from now, we do know that Uptown might be stuck with the banking equivalent of a VCR, in the form of a one-story drive-thru bank that could last 50 years.  

Based on your past purchases, you might also like:
Rockwell’s Travel Guides – Drive-Thru Banking in Minneapolis

“The Planning Commission” Pre-Show Panel

We’re minutes away from tonight’s Planning Commission (view the trailer). Linden Hills is on the agenda. It’s Nick Magrino’s first meeting as a commissioner. There’s probably at least one Sabri on the agenda. Let’s go to our panel!

John: let’s start with Whittier. gentrification is in the news today. anyone have some quick takes?

[Shouted from the studio audience]: do these people not realize Whittier is getting fancy restaurants and hipster/gentrified bars, etc **without** the Uptown-esque 5 story developments?

J: I thought the line against this building was “too affordable”?

Senior Producer: From the strib, “As increasingly upscale businesses have bloomed near it — just up the street is a yoga studio and a bar that specializes in fermented products ranging from local kombucha tea to artisan cheeses.”

[Surly audience member]: It’s as if chains and bros will literally move into old, crummy buildings without new construction to satisfy their $2k/month budget!

J: Fancy people only ruin things when they live in apartments. As soon as a fancy person goes above about three stories, the neighborhood starts to undergo what I like to call “ghettoized gentrification.”

I’ve never been excited for anything as much as the @WedgeLIVE reporting team is for this zoning & planning meeting https://t.co/cYOI6rbtXG

— Kristina (@gelicia) September 8, 2015

Anton: wait, I thought it was the planning commission

Kristina: I’m sorry I maybe messed up the terminology. BUT no one who follows me will care who isnt one of you weirdos.

A: what a total n00b! Doesn’t know the difference between Zoning & Planning and the Planning Commission!!! LOLOL

J: familiarize yourself with the 87 layers of development bureaucracy or GTFO.

let’s get back to the issue. like, was commissioner nick magrino properly vetted?

A: did they hold confirmation hearings? was there a litmus test? there needs to be a quiz.

J: “which of these words has not been used to describe linden hills? a) quaint, b) small town, c) village,  d) gargantuan”

A: how many of the founding fathers’ signatures are on the Linden Hills Small Area Plan?

J: i can’t be the only one who’s exhausted by discussion of the LHSAP. it needs to go away.

A: but it represents everyone in Linden Hills

J: depends if you’re talking about the actual LHSAP or the one the founders intended.

it’s a sunni shiite thing.

A: Yes, are you an originalist when it comes to the LHSAP, or do you feel that it is a “living document”?

that needs to be the litmus test

J: that’s my point. nick magrino was never forced to answer that question.

Senior Producer: all I know about the LHSAP is they spent $60,000 on it

J: ha ha. like any amount of money can buy off the multinational corporations.

A: Do you, Nick Magrino, consider yourself more of a Antonin Scalia or Stephen Breyer?

J: he’s more of a ruth bader magrinsburg.

A: Thurgood Magrino

J: i might have to edit this into a roundtable. who’s willing to be quoted?

A: um, what of mine will be quoted again?

YES I CONSENT

J: i’ll edit you to make you look smart and handsome.

A: that doesn’t fit with my personal brand, but that’s okay. please make a clever Robert Bork joke on my behalf.

Update: Watch the three minute recap of The Planning Commission, or the full 12-minute director’s cut.