Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Is Grandview a neighborhood or a shortcut?

The city of Mound was petitioned recently to consider slowing down traffic on Grandview Boulevard. This is another residential street providing a shortcut through a neighborhood people live on. It gets lots of fast cars going through it, so people don't have to drive through Mound's downtown.

It's good to see residents of Grandview Boulevard asking about ways to improve their street, though I believe it's going to take a lot more than a petition to get the city to take these concerns seriously. Their prevailing (and incorrect) belief is that if we have cars drive slower, then we are creating congestion. As we have discussed before, driving 5 MPH slower adds only seconds when one is driving through someone else's neighborhood.

Unfortunately, Grandview is a MSA street, which means that Mound get's state highway money to pay for the street, but there are strings attached to those funds. The state has guidelines about how MSA streets are to be built, including how wide it has to be, and what the minimum speed limit is (which is 30). There is highway money behind these streets, and so they are meant to have cars drive fast on them.

There is work being done at the state level to incorporate more pedestrian and bike features on these streets, but frankly, the process is slow, and several people that I have spoken with on these matters feel it's little more than lip service. The MSA system that is deeply ingrained in the way we build and manage cities. It's only value is that it cuts seconds off a commute for people driving in cars. The MSA system adds little value to the people who live on Grandview Boulevard.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Good Places in Mound

It has been suggested I come up with a list of positive places for Mound. Here's a quick list and explanations. Feel free to add your own in the comments!

Surfside Park and Beach 

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Surfside on a Thursday evening
Easily the most popular park in the city. Public Access for your boat, shelter for your party, concerts, Spirit of the Lake events, beach, playground... it has pretty much everything you'd want despite it's fairly small size.

Mound Caribou
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A convenient meeting place
The place to meet friends and acquaintances. Want to be seen? Hang out here.

Gillespie Center
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The Gillespie Center
This really is a fantastic facility manned by a small staff, and a lot of dedicated volunteers. Wonderful, inexpensive lunches on Wednesday, Thursday and Fridays, concerts, meetings, Memorial Day services, exercise classes. This is not a place just for seniors, there is something for everyone here.

Mound Westonka Schools
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Westonka Schools have been working with Maeve and our family since she was an infant with home visits.
Westonka Schools keeps racking up the awards and acknowledgements. They are safe places for our kids, as well as offering a nurturing and exciting environment for them to learn and grow. The Mound Westonka schools are easily one of Mound's biggest assets.

Gale Woods Farm
Not technically in Mound, but this relatively new addition to the Three River Parks serves Mound and the surrounding area with wonderful activities helping people understand our food system, as well have being a great event center.

Minnetonka Drive In
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My 1964 Dodge Dart (aka - The Kid), which occasionally makes it to the Minnetonka Drive In.
Again, not technically Mound, but a great place in the summer to stop when walking by the trail, or to drive in and eat in the car or one of the picnic tables. Also fun to stop by on Thursday nights when the Slow Strokes meet, and walk around the coolest free car show around. FYI - The Drive In opened for the season just last week!

Dakota Trail
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Not the best part of the trail, but it connects you to some very nice places.
Everyone love the trail that goes through Mound for wonderful bike rides, jogging and walking. The walk along Langdon is very scenic as one heads towards St. Bonifacious. It will be interesting to see how the new "Dakota Junction" restaurant adds to Mound's trail life. Hopefully Mound can utilize the trail more effectively as Downtown redevelops.

Mound Farmers Market and More
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Farmer Market activity on Saturday morning.
Saturday mornings by by the parking ramp, Mound has had a fairly successful Farmer's market for a few years now. Last year they added music every week, which really added to the events.

On a related note, I personally am working on adding kids activities in the Greenway near the Farmer's Market's on Saturday mornings. I'm working on having a Bike Rodeo, some impromptu athletic activities, and other fun ideas. If you are interested in hearing more about what I'm working on, please let me know!