Sidewalks of shame

As a pedestrian walking to the University of Minnesota campus, for about 11 5 months a year I have the opportunity to grumble about people not shoveling their sidewalks. I always had in mind naming and shaming those who did not. After last weekend’s monster snowstorm, I again had reason to complain, but the suspects changed. Normally there are selected houses which are unoccupied or rented that are unshoveled after a snowstorm. This week those were pretty good, either neighbors took it upon themselves, or the tenants saw the need.
What was problematic was:

  • The City of Minneapolis and/or Hennepin County, who again did not shovel around my favorite five-way intersection (East River Road/Franklin/27th), until bringing out the Bobcats on Friday, almost a full week after the snowfall started. This after makings all sorts of noises about caring about pedestrians, especially in discussions about reconfiguring the intersection. Bah, they only care about moving cars.
  • The Minneapolis Parks Department, which was extremely slow to clear pedestrian paths along East River Road.
  • The Good Samaritans (a Lutheran charity that has no relation to the real Samaritans), who made sure to shovel their parking lots, but not the sidewalks in front of their parking lots for many days later.
  • A few houses near the U on East River Road, which following the behavior of the Parks Dept. failed to clear adjacent sidewalks
  • I need to also complain about the snow plows that created giant mountains of snow where the sidewalk meets the road, undoing much hard fought shoveling. Fortunately the bobcats came by a few days later. Is it too much to ask for these to be simultaneous?

I recognize public agencies might have been a bit over-whelmed. On the other hand, I didn’t see an offer of $10/hour for labor to help clear public sidewalks, only to help clear football stadiums.
That said, praise be to those who did, I was out of town through Sunday, so thanks to my neighbors for clearing our public facing sidewalk by Sunday evening when I got back.

From Spokes to Sprockettes: A History of Women and the Bicycle

A podcast worth listening to if you are interested in a cultural history of the bicycle is a wonderful, if scandalous, talk by Jennifer Dill: From Spokes to Sprockettes: A History of Women and the Bicycle. The podcast can be downloaded here

Stadia Standings and Structural Failure

The 5 and 8 Minnesota Vikings will host the Chicago Bears Monday Night at TCF Bank Stadium on the University of Minnesota campus due to Snowmageddon and the collapse of the Metrodome roof last Sunday.


Several points:

  • The collapse of the Metrodome roof guarantees the Vikings a new stadium. It is too embarrassing to Minnesota to let the Vikings leave because a spectacularly structurally troubled stadium deflated. What if there was a game on? Someone could have been hurt (probably not in this slow-motion collapse, but something slightly faster, or he subsequent panic). Were the stadium deemed adequate and the team left, that would be because they were greedy. Now who looks cheap? I predicted the Vikings would get a stadium only if they won the Superbowl last year (not gonna happen this year either), but I did not account for this.
  • The best solution given the Vikings stay in Minnesota would be to share a field and stands with the Gophers. This deal should have been cut 5 years ago. Maybe something could still be worked out to retrofit the “Bank”, but I doubt it. I really don’t understand the problem so long as the NFL has revenue sharing. Wilf can increase profits either with more revenue (his current strategy) or lowered costs (which using TCF Bank Stadium bring)
  • I hope they move the new stadium out of downtown. Football stadiums are a waste of scarce downtown space that could be put to a higher or better use ([saracasm] like even a parking lot, which would at least be used 365 days a year)
  • What is it about Minnesota infrastructure. Comparatively this is a well-managed state, yet we seem to have a lot of infrastructure failure in this Minneapolis Triangle.
  • I saw them shoveling out TCF stadium while walking home Thursday, they were almost done then. But what is with all the helicopters circling the site, what can be gleaned from a helicopter that is not obvious from the ground?