Private Parking Signs on Public Streets

I find people who claim ownership of the public street in front of their private home entertaining. Here’s an example from 42nd Ave S near the Blue Door Pub:

Private Parking? Please.

Even more ridiculous, they’ve hammered nails into the public’s tree on the public boulevard to hang their “Private Parking” sign:

Parking must be pretty bad around there, eh? Not exactly. It’s possible that a few members of the public may park their private cars on the public street in front of that private house for a few hours on evenings where the BDP is particularly busy. Does this force this homeowner to park blocks away from their home if they arrive home during peak BDP hours? Well, maybe for their third car:

The “Longfellow was better before it had businesses people were willing to drive across town to visit” crowd has hammers and knows how to use them.

Faces of Snipe: Paul St Andrew of LongfellowHomes.net

Snipe Sign by Paul St Andrew

If you live in the Longfellow Community of Minneapolis, you may have seen some snipe litter advertising longfellowhomes.net. It popped up in August in our city parks. Seriously, the person behind this decided that it would be a good idea to advertise his personal business in the city’s parks. I’ve taken down at least half a dozen of these signs and have heard from friends in the neighborhood who’ve taken down signs as well.

That person behind the snipe litter is Paul St Andrew with RE/MAX Results:

Paul St Andrew: Longfellow Snipe Spammer

Paul’s trying to make a living. I get that. But, so are the hundred or so real estate agents serving the Longfellow Community who somehow manage to make a living without planting signs in our neighborhood’s parks.

As a Longfellow resident with some decent real estate connections, I’m asked for referrals a couple times a month on average. One agent who clearly won’t be on my referral list is Paul St Andrew since he’s decided that it’s cool to litter in the Longfellow Community for personal profit.

For what it’s worth, here’s where Paul St Andrew currently has sold properties:

Paul St Andrew's Sold Listings

And where he has active listings:

Paul St Andrew Active Listings

I’m not sayin’ but I’m just sayin’ that I don’t see any action in the Longfellow Community on either of those maps. Sure, he’s capable of representing buyers or sellers in Longfellow, but there are other agents who have more experience in the Longfellow Community who don’t litter the neighborhood with snipe advertising in the parks.

If you’re looking for an agent to work with to buy or sell a home in Longfellow, let me know. I can put you in touch with someone who knows the neighborhood well, has a ton of experience, and doesn’t litter the neighborhood’s parks with snipe advertising.

Run Minneapolis: Dorman, Seabury, 26th Ave S, 32nd St E

Saturday’s run with The Other Mike and Bill started along 46th Ave S where we headed North crossing E Lake Steet next to the West River Commons townhomes and apartments.

West River Commons

And my neighborhood car repair service, Electra Tune:

Electra Tune

We heading Northwest from there along Dorman, which parallels W River Rd a block in. The backyards of one of the West River Rd has a ginormous garage. I presume they’re acrobats:

Huge Garage

To the North of the tracks, we entered the Seward Neighborhoods and ran along Seabury Ave:

Seabury Ave Looking North

We crossed Franklin and ran a couple blocks on Franklin Terrace past Riverside Park:

Riverside Park

At 26th Ave S, we turned South, meandered past Franklin, then spotted this awesome block of historic homes along 22nd St E.:

Homes Along E 22nd St

Four blocks later, we passed Memory Lanes:

Memory Lanes

And New French Bakery’s baking (and retail) facility:

New French Bakery

Before 29th, we passed the eco-friendly 7 Sigma company’s building and parking lot where they’ve included rain gardens to capture and percolate run off:

7 Sigma Rain Garden

At Lake St, we passed the Minneapolis Police Department’s 3rd Precinct:

Minneapolis 3rd Precinct Police Station

And the long-standing Minnehaha Liquors:

Minnehaha Liquors

Followed by Patrick’s Cabaret in the old fire station 21 along Minnehaha Ave that was built in 1894:

Patrick's Cabaret

At 32nd St E, we turned left to complete the loop. The highlight of 32nd was the many churches we passed, such as the First Church of God:

First Church of God

Followed by the Epworth United Methodist Church:

Epworth United Methodist Church

And the Shower of Blessings Church?:

Shower of Blessings Church?

And Bethlehem Covenant Church:

Bethlehem Covenant Church

Run Minneapolis: Snelling and Dight Avenues

Seward Coop

Tonight’s run started at the Seward Coop where Carly dropped me off before picking up some groceries. (Note: If you’ve never been to the Seward Coop before, it can be quite a shock to find yourself surrounded by fresh organic foods from local sources with ingredients you can pronounce. Bring a foodie friend with you for your first experience so they can explain how it all works.)

I went West on S 9th St past Seward Towers West – home to many new immigrants to the United States, including former residents of Sudan and Somalia:

Seward Towers West

When I reached the messy corner of Franklin, Minnehaha and Cedar, I headed South on Cedar then tucked a block West to Snelling Ave (runs between Minnehaha and Hiawatha) where I saw this passive aggressive sign in a relatively low congestion area:

Don't Even Think of Parking Here

And this cool older building at 2115 Snelling:

Cool Old School Building

Then I passed the largest Oriental grocery store in the Midwest, United Noodles. It’s hidden away and definitely worth checking out. It would take a year to try their ramen selection.

United Noodle

Followed by Minneapolis’ premier seafood shop, Coastal Seafoods:

Coastal Seafoods

I crossed the Midtown Greenway, where people commute by bike year round:

Midtown Greenway

At the North end of the retail block that includes Target and Cub, I passed 1st Cup Cafe and Hiawatha Pizza. 1st Cup Cafe has awesome sambusas and Hiawatha’s pizza by the slice is great if you’re into big thin greasy slices of pizza like I am:

1st Cup Cafe & Hiawatha Pizza

South of Lake Street on Snelling Ave, I passed Big Bell Ice Cream’s headquarters:

Big Bell Ice Cream Trucks

And a gang tag across the street. It’s rare to see stuff like this to the East of Hiawatha but it does occasionally crop up in the first couple blocks:

Gang Tag

At 34th St E, I tucked a block West onto Dight Ave, which is generally lined with grain mills between Dight and Hiawahta to the West and a combination of small warehouses and single family homes to the East. Residential and commercial bump up hard against each other here. Rep. Phyllis Kahn suggested back in 2005 that Dight Ave should be renamed since the Dight it’s named after hasn’t been judged well by history. Kahn describes him as “a eugenicist and admirer of Hitler.”

Grain Mills

A redevelopment plan for the Purina Mill site near 38th St East has been in the works since at least 2005 that included the drafting of a community benefits agreement that I believe was approved a year ago. I haven’t heard any new developments lately. Anyone have some info on the status of that project?

Purina Grain Mill

There are at least two lofts for sale at the 42nd Street Lofts. I’ve toured these before. They have a pretty cool feel and the big window on the first floor is actually a glass garage door that can open up.

42nd Street Lofts

Snelling Ave S at 46th was the turnaround. That area has a relatively new apartment and will likely see quite a few more changes, being a block from the LRT, lots of convenient retail, and Minnehaha Falls.

E 46th St & Snelling Ave S

I passed Fire Station 21 on the way back, which fortunately has never had to visit the Kohler household.

Minneapolis Fire Station 21

J.W.S. Inc. Welding is better at welding than fixing windows:

JWS Inc Welding

At 34th St E, I headed East for home and passed Longfellow Park:

Longfellow Park

And the empty lot where Hovde Automotive used to be before it blew up:

Hovde Auto Repair Lot

The corner of 34th St and 42nd Ave is home to Keller Automotive, who does a brisk business in keeping Rainbow Taxi on the road:

Keller Automotive and Rainbow Taxi

Could someone please figure out a way to open at brew pub where the Pizza, Pie, and I used to be?

Pizza Pie & I Location

Riverstone Salon Spa looked warm and inviting compared to the snow I was running in:

Riverstone Salon Spa

I stopped in and said hi to the guys at 612 Authentic who were busy at work on an awesome new project.

612 Authentic

Lots of sights on this one. Here’s the map:

Run Minneapolis, Dight & Snelling

Or, in digital form:

Run Minneapolis: 43rd & 44th Ave S Cooper, Howe, & Hiawatha

44th Ave S at 32nd St E

The Other Mike and I took on two Longfellow Community Avenues last night: 44th and 43rd from near their Northern ends to their Southern stop at Minnehaha Park.

We started by heading North on 44th, crossing Lake Street past the East Lake Dairy Queen (which is open):

East Lake Dairy Queen

Two blocks later, we hit Dorman Ave, went left, and circled back on 43rd where we passed The Craftsman at Lake St:

The Craftsman Restaurant

American Rug Laundry represented at Lake St too:

American Rug Laundry

At 43rd Ave S and 38th St E, we noticed a sign for an upcoming meeting regarding future plans for the Howe Community School.

Howe Community School Meeting

Howe has been closed for a few years now. At one time, plans were in the works to use the building for artist’s quarters and a day care among other things but that fell through. If you have information about the latest plans, drop a comment or send me an email.

At that point, we crossed into LoFo: an unofficial definition for “Lower Longfellow” – the blocks below 38th St E. Above that, unofficially, is Lake-8 (Lake to 38th) and parts of Longfellow North of Lake are uncharted.

A few blocks later we passed through an icy Hiawatha School and Park:

Hiawatha Rec Center

After reaching Minnehaha Park, we headed back up 44th, into the Cooper Neighborhood, and passed the closed Cooper Community School a block before the end of our run:

Cooper Community School

As you can probably tell, it started to snow before we finished our run. That was probably better than the drizzle we were dealing with earlier on.

I haven’t heard any recent news about plans for reuse of this elementary school. Any scoops?

43rd & 44th Aves S, Minneapolis, MN

Minneapolis West River Parkway Trail Redesign

Anyone who’s used the trails along West River Parkway in Minneapolis over the past few years would probably agree that they’re overdue for an overhaul. Good news: It’s happening. The plan is to rebuild them starting in June 2009. Design plans are coming together right now.

West River Road Trail Redesign
(Pink marks the proposed bituminous path. Blue marks the proposed concrete path.)

Carly and I had a chance to attend a meeting about the design plans for the reconstruction at Brackett Park tonight. The turn-out was impressive. We clearly live in a very active community that takes its trails seriously. They played a very significant role in choosing a Minneapolis neighborhood to move to back in 2004 for us and they play a daily role in our lives today.

The section of trail getting attention runs from Franklin Ave on the North to Minnehaha Falls.

Here’s what we learned tonight:

1. Bike Trails will be widened from 8 to 10 feet.

2. Run/Walk trails will be 8′ with a concrete surface (more on this below)

3. When combined due to available bluff space, they’ll try to maintain a 12′ wide surface

4. Lighting will be improved. This is part of a city-wide plan to upgrade lighting. You can see examples of this on East River Parkway to the South of Franklin.

5. The amount of impervious area will increase due to path widening. However, they plan to grade as much of the path to drain toward the street rather than river which is supposed to help improve water quality from run-off. There will also be a few drainage designed green spaces.

6. The path should be more durable than the current version. As I understand it, this is because they know more about building long-lasting trails than they used to.

7. They plan to separate the trails further apart than they are today when possible. However, room is tight between the road and the drop into the gorge.

8. Around 6 trees will be removed. However, additional green spaces will be created in other areas.

9. There are design proposals to close one of the two entryways to parking lots along the parkway, such as at 36th Street & Becketwood. This should allow for increased green space and a smoother surface with less congestion for trail users. The explanation of the changes across from Becketwood received applause:

West River Road Trail Redesign

That design shows a closing of the South driveway, adding a trail to the road, and moving the crosswalk further North to the straightway. Right now, the crosswalk is on the curve, which is a very dangerous spot for the slow moving pedestrians from the senior home who are trying to safely access the parkway across the street.

10. They estimate it will take 3-4 months to rebuild the trail. It will be disruptive. They hope to keep some areas open during construction but don’t have a plan in place on how to reroute trail traffic during reconstruction.

The biggest noticeable change for most people would be the parking lot redesigns, such as this proposal to remove a few spots down near Lock & Dam #1:

West River Road Trail Redesign

Concerns about running on concrete, which leads to combined path issues. Park Board’s standard is concrete for pedestrian path.

Concrete Running Path?
UPDATE: The plan has been modified based on feedback. Both paths will be asphalt.

Running in attendance were more than a little surprised to hear that the proposed surface for the running/walking trail is concrete. Runners commonly avoid running on hard surfaces as a way to protect their bodies from injuries, and concrete is the hardest surface they’ll encounter.

Using concrete for the running path sounds like a disaster waiting to happen since many runners will avoid running on that path in favor of the softer, asphalt, bike path. This will lead to congestion, accidents, unhappy bikers & runners.

The question of safety of concrete as a running surface was raised at the meeting. The presenter (John Deitrich?) said that they looked into this and they didn’t find a difference in surfaces. Regardless of the science, if runners won’t run on it, there will be trail use issues caused by the surface differences.

However, it looks like there really are physical health issues caused by running on concrete. A nice round-up of studies can be found on Google Answers that includes this breakdown of running surfaces by a podiatrist:

Google Answers: RUNNING AND JOINT HEALTH — ASPHALT vs. CONCRETE?

Dr. John Pagliano (the podiatrist quoted in the Men’s Fitness article above), who also coauthored a scholarly article on Illiotibial Band Syndrome) comes down against concrete, saying that “if you switch to softer surfaces, you can cut your injury risk by 50%.” In this particular article, the magazine rates ten running surfaces (1 being worst/10 being best)–I realize your question is specific to street running, but I’m including all of the surfaces here in case it’s of interest:
Asphalt: 6
Cinders: 7.5
Concrete: 1
Dirt: 8
Grass: 9.5
Sand: 4
Snow: 2.5
Track (referring to synthetically made tracks): 7
Treadmill: 6.5
Wood Chips: 9

If you’re passionate about running, your fellow runners, or bikers who compete for trail space with runners, please take action to get this issue straightened out. This decision will be with us for the next couple decades so the time to act is now. Here’s who to talk to:

Nick Eoloff
Project Manager
612-230-6465
neoloff@minneapolisparks.org

Janell Wojtowicz
Communication Specialist
612-230-6414
jwojtowicz@minneapolisparks.org

Sandy Colvin-Roy – City Council Member Representing the Area
Phone (612) 673-2212
Fax (612) 673-3940
Email form on website.

Scott Vreeland – Park Board Member Representing the Area
612-721-7892
svreeland@minneapolisparks.org

Shots Fired in Longfellow?

The Bridge has published minutes from last night’s Longfellow Community Council meeting, where it was mentioned that the closed Howe school on 38th St E is attracting some evil doers:

Longfellow Community Council, 5/22 board meeting

HOWE PLAYGROUND MAGNET FOR CRIMINAL ACTIVITY: Taskforce member Bernadette Ammon lives right across from the unused Howe School playground. Since the school closed about four years ago, Ammon told the board the playground has become “a festering ground of criminal activity.” “We are asking that the playground be removed so that we can live our lives,” said Ammon.

Ammon told the board that she has spoken to the School Board and Ward 12 Council Member Sandra Colvin Roy to no avail. “If it takes another two to three years to get the reuse project done, we won’t have a viable neighborhood left,” she stated. Ammon and her neighbors call the police almost nightly. “The police don’t come when you call. And this was ‘shots fired’. And they didn’t come.”

Could better lighting solve this? It sounds like the playground isn’t an issue during daylight hours, so turn night into day.

Anti Monkey Butt Powder

Anti Monkey Butt Powder

I’m not sure why the monkey on Anti Monkey Butt Powder is giving a thumbs up. He looks like he could have used some Anti Monkey Butt Powder and has the grimace of someone who forgot to liberally apply Anti Monkey Butt Powder to his monkey butt.

This is available at the now-open East Lake St Frattallone’s Ace Hardware near the checkout. A perfect impulse buy.

It turns out that Anti Monkey Butt Powder has a website at AntiMonkeyButt.com

Aaron points out that Frattallone’s dropped off t-shirts at Longfellow homes that are good for 10% discounts when worn into our new Ace Hardware. Would wearing that shirt into True Value be considered a wardrobe malfunction or a hardware shopping fashion faux pas?

StarTribune on Riverview Wine Bar

StarTribune wine blogger, Bill Ward, spills the beans on the coolness of the Riverview Wine Bar (and Spill the Wine on Washington Ave downtown) in his column today.

Pair of wine bars deftly nail a fine-fitting vibe

RIVERVIEW WINE BAR AND CAFE

The wines: The broadest, most eclectic by-the-glass list in town, offering up to a dozen cleverly matched four-wine flights and 73 wines by the glass. The pours are generous, but those who like to swirl their wine are out of luck with the squat glasses. On Wednesdays and Sundays, customers can create their own flights, perhaps the most alluring wine deal in town.

The grub: In keeping with an eatery across the street from the Mother Earth Gardens store, the menu is veggie-heavy and ensconced in the fresh-local-seasonal-organic mode. The über-thin-crusted pizzas are yumminess incarnate, the daily soup-and-sandwich combo always worth checking out.

I like this line from Bill’s blog this past Saturday:

If someone is making you feel dumb about wine, that’s their problem, not yours.

I’ll drink to that.

Jack Pine Closing Doors in Longfellow

Our local left-wing radicals at Jack Pine are closing their doors. Apparently, it’s tough to be a radical and make rent:

Jack Pine Community Center shutting down

Twin Cities radicals and activists will lose one of their most beloved meeting grounds when the Jack Pine Community Center closes its doors this week. Citing a lack of “sufficient energy to make the Jack Pine financially feasible,” the group has decided against renewing the lease to its East Lake Street location.

They say it was a “Herculean task” to keep the doors open as long as they did, but I think most people wouldn’t consider holding a steady job a “Herculean task” since 94.5% of you do it.