Saturday, February 22, 2014

Real Urban Planners of Genius

One month ago, the Star Tribune reported that "city leaders" think that Minneapolis needs 100,000 more people, but that they don't want them to have cars, or something:
“The first reaction of most neighborhoods would be that there’s not enough parking,” said Ted Tucker, president of the city planning commission. “But the trouble with that is, of course, the city may devote too many resources to parking automobiles and not enough to making life pleasant for pedestrians and bicyclists.”

Parking-free residential developments have popped up in other cities, but several Minneapolis developers said prospective tenants, nervous investors and neighborhood groups still demand ample parking in new buildings.
Yesterday, the same newspaper reported that snow emergency towing isn't, ahem, uniformly applied:
Where you park in Minneapolis matters, at least when it comes to snow emergencies.

Hundreds of vehicles were towed from neighborhoods around the University of Minnesota during the Jan. 30 snow emergency, but almost none from the streets in the southwest corner, near Lake Harriet, according to towing data requested by the Star Tribune.

“That shouldn’t be,” said Council Member Kevin Reich, who chairs the city’s transportation and public works committee, of the lack of towing in the southwest. He called the disparity on the newspaper’s map of towing locations “glaring.”

Limited resources means the city tows fewer cars farther away from the core, but public works officials said the complete lack of towing in one area was unusual.
Let's make a few reasonable assumptions, shall we? First, while this winter has been unusually ferocious, it's hardly unprecedented. Second, people like to be able come and go as they please, which is precisely why automobiles are ubiquitous. Third, it's a lot easier to tow cars from the U over to the impound lot than it is to schlep all the way over to Lake Harriet. And finally, I can think of two very compelling reasons for why towing wouldn't be happening in Linden Hills, to wit:

  • The population isn't as densely concentrated and many of the homes in the neighborhood have garages; and
  • A smart government doesn't piss off its primary tax base, and towing the cars of the gentry is bad for bidness
So, where are these new 100,000 people gonna go? I can tell you this -- it won't be Linden Hills. I do hope that in their great planning schemes that the city leaders leave ample room for expanding the impound lot.

1 comment:

Bike Bubba said...

They've got the same idea in Rochester--they want to expand Mayo 50% without improving streets. The crazy thing is that the typical Mayo patient comes with a family member or friend, which means that transit is actually far less efficient for Mayo's business model than driving--it's like everybody driving at least a SuperDuty F350 there.


And I can only imagine how hellish Minneapolis traffic would be with another 100k residents. Yikes. Even if it was an environmental debacle and they all took the bus or the Death Train, it would be pure Hell.