Wednesday, April 25, 2018

State of the Wedge LIVE 2018


Dear Reader,

With the support of readers and viewers like you over the last year -- from countless neighborhoods across the region -- Wedge LIVE has grown to become the Best Website in the Twin Cities. If you don't believe me, check out City Pages' very glossy "Best of the Twin Cities" edition -- on newsstands now!

Monday, April 23, 2018

The Future: Minneapolis 2040



At a community meeting for a street reconstruction last year, a young mom made a passionate argument: it would be a generation, she said, before the street was reconstructed again. This was our only chance to create a neighborhood street where she could safely push a stroller, or walk and bike with her kids. It was an argument that stayed with me, not just for its passion, but because it so obviously placed the question in the right context: we were about to lock in a reality that would endure for decades.

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Sign up for Wedge LIVE Email Alerts


It's a question technophiles are asking each other more and more these days: "Are you on email?"

If the answer is yes, consider signing up for Wedge LIVE news alerts delivered straight to your inbox. We anticipate messages will be sent very infrequently, and possibly never. Sign up today!

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Zoning Reform and the Pace of Neighborhood Change

There's a post on streets.mn debunking the idea that fourplexes mean four stories. The truth is that Minneapolis' new draft comprehensive plan that proposes allowing up to four-family homes in currently single-family neighborhoods, would limit those homes to 2.5 stories (the "Interior 1" designation). Honestly, I am someone who thinks four stories is just fine in lots of places and the comprehensive plan isn't radical enough -- but if you're bothered, the facts should be reassuring.

"Interior 1" in the draft Minneapolis Comp Plan
There's another point to be made about the pace of change that modest zoning reform would bring to any given neighborhood. As with most things, I like to use the Wedge neighborhood as an example. For the last 40 years, the Wedge has had the most permissive residential zoning in Minneapolis (R6) across many interior blocks (along with a generous portion of two-family zoning). It's the kind of zoning that, if you can assemble multiple lots, might conceivably lead to a five- or six-story building with a 100 or more apartments.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Fourplexes Everywhere? Bold Reform Proposed in Minneapolis


Word has leaked of a very preliminary plan to legalize fourplexes in virtually every neighborhood in Minneapolis. It's one part of a larger draft comprehensive plan that hasn't yet been made public. If implemented, it would be the boldest land-use reform in the country, reversing a decades-long trend of restrictions that have contributed to higher housing costs and racial/economic segregation. Here are some reasons I think we should embrace this plan to legalize fourplexes in Minneapolis.

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Does Minneapolis need more cops?

Mayor Frey and Chief Arradondo want to hire 100 more cops to push Minneapolis to 1,000 officers. A recent Star Tribune article notes that Minneapolis "still lags behind other Midwest cities, including Cincinnati, Milwaukee and Kansas City, Mo." The article quotes notoriously racist Minneapolis police union leader Bob Kroll saying Minneapolis should strive to match Milwaukee, a place with nearly 60% more cops per capita.

There are a few things about all these city-to-city comparisons that make me question the relevance of "cops per resident" as a statistic. Milwaukee and Kansas City have 40-45% more violent crime per capita than Minneapolis; either all that extra policing isn't working or there are more significant factors contributing to/mitigating violent crime than how many cops you have. And as long as we're comparing ourselves to large Midwestern cities, Minneapolis has slightly more cops per person than St. Paul, which is the Midwest city located just across the river (police staffing data as of 2016).

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Lisa Goodman Calls YIMBYs "Republicanesque" Proponents of "Trickle-Down"


After spending far too much time with the cast of characters from last week's Zoning and Planning meeting in the editing room (ICYMI: I'm a prominent local anthropologist and documentarian), one thing struck me as particularly notable: Council Member Lisa Goodman calling YIMBYs a bunch of Republicans.

Local Development Politics Officially Enter the Trump Era


It was bound to happen. After a year spent enduring the daily trauma inflicted on our country by its own president, concerned residents have adopted the language of resistance to Donald Trump and applied it to the perceived atrocity of new apartments in their backyard.

Saturday, February 10, 2018

Residents Gather to Remember Iconic Arby's Sign


People from across the Twin Cities flocked to Arby's Island in Uptown Friday night to celebrate the memory of a fallen icon: a fast food sign that lit the corner of Lake St and Emerson Ave for more than 47 years.

Monday, January 29, 2018

The Uptown Arby's is Now Closed


With rumors swirling about the fate of the Wedge neighborhood's most beloved fast food restaurant, I was present for the final hours of the Uptown Arby's. Joined by four of my best Twitter friends, we ate curly fries and reminisced about the good times.

Monday, January 22, 2018

What's the difference between a 62A and a 62B?

You may currently be hearing a lot about a couple of open and competitive Minnesota State House seats this year: 62A and 62B. If you're like me, those numbers are geographically incomprehensible. You may be asking, what is the difference between a 62A and a 62B? Who is running in which of these districts? How can I get involved?

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

App Matches Minneapolis Politicians to Their Fine Art Dopplegängers

Google now has an app that will match your face to fine art. I have determined you can point your phone's camera at a computer screen to match Minneapolis politicians to faces in old paintings. Disclaimer: much like DNA testing services provided by sites like ancestry.com, these results are not 100% genetically accurate.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Billboard Proposal is "Rash That Won't Go Away"


Update: New Ward 3 Council Member Steve Fletcher has confirmed that the billboard proposal is dead.

The mysteriously persistent proposal to allow more billboards in downtown Minneapolis has Planning Commissioner John Slack feeling as if he'd like to pour a bottle of antibiotics all over it:
For me this is like the rash that won't go away. I don't see how this supports any of the comprehensive plan goals, I don't see how this improves livability in the downtown. All I see is negative and adverse effects.

Monday, January 8, 2018

Lisa Bender Expected to be Elected President of Minneapolis City Council

Commemorative shirt. Get yours today!
In the Minneapolis City Council's virtual one party system it can be tough to know how election results translate to actual governing. This morning we get answers to some of the big questions lingering since last November's election, setting the stage for the next four years.

Sunday, January 7, 2018

Acme Comedy: The Parking Crisis That Wasn't

Acme Comedy's remaining parking lot was half-filled during a Friday show last June

In 2016, Acme Comedy Co was the subject of the most high-profile movement to save a parking lot in recent Minneapolis history. If the owner of an adjacent parking lot was allowed to turn it into apartments, Acme's owner predicted he would be forced to move his business out of Minneapolis to a parking-rich suburb. Nationally-known comedians rallied to Acme's defense. Nearly 6,000 people signed an online petition to save a parking lot -- in order to save a beloved comedy institution.

Today, with a new apartment building occupying that former parking lot, Acme owner Louis Lee tells the Star Tribune (in a story unrelated to parking) "Acme is enjoying its strongest business in a decade."