Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Walking to school

My friends at Strong Towns asked me to write a piece about having my children walk to school. You can find the piece here...


Monday, November 3, 2014

Time to vote

Dear Readers,

I appreciate everyone's interest in making Mound a better place. The best news ahead of us is that it really doesn't matter if George Linkert wins a spot on the Mound city council or not. The issues discussed here will not be fixed by one guy with one voice and one vote at the table, but by a community of people looking at the situation they presently in, and moving forward in a rational way. I will continue to be a part of that discussion, and you should too.

If you have come to this website to find out more about me, you can....

Read my response to the Laker questionnaire a couple weeks ago

Read and learn more about me

Watch my presentation to the Mound city council

Issues I'm concerned with and have written about include...

Returning "On Street" parking at Surfside

Understanding how to create wealth (or not) in our downtown developments

Working to develop a Mound to be a place to drive to, not drive through.

I've said many times that the issues Mound faces are faced in cities all over the state and country. Local Mound residents may find it strange, but this website is followed by people all over the country as they face the same issues we face. It is very humbling to have Chuck Marohn going around the country, speaking to people about what is going on here in Mound.

If you like what you read here, please vote for George Linkert for Mound City Council tomorrow. You should also continue to follow the discussion here by either subscribing to new posts via email, or liking our Facebook page.

Either way the election goes, stay tuned. Exciting things are happening in Mound, and I'm going to be a part of the discussion. Will you?!

Thank you.


Thursday, October 23, 2014

What if you don't have a car?

Improving connectivity is a top priority in Mound. We have engineered and designed our lives so that getting to the store, a friends house, work or school, is best and most easily done by automobile. If you attempt to go anywhere in Mound on it's streets via walking, bus, or bicycle, you will quickly realize serious problems many people have to live with everyday.

Cars on our streets tend to go much faster than the posted speed limits. It's very difficult to enjoy a pleasant walk in your neighborhood while a 1990's era black Ford Bronco goes barreling by you at 30+ miles per hour. Every time my children leaves for school, my heart skips a little beat when I think about them crossing Bartlett Blvd every day. Attempting to cross four lanes of traffic at County Road 15 and on Commerce Blvd on the Dakota Trail breaks out a sweat for everyone that is conscious of safety.

I was talking with one regular Mound pedestrian and her walk everyday to work to a local business. She has to walk along Tuxedo Blvd for two miles most days of the year. There is a sidewalk along one side of Tuxedo, but it is in terrible shape, and growth from bushes and trees impede use of it. In the winter she has to walk alongside traffic, as the shoulders and sidewalk quickly fill up with snow removal.

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Walking towards Swenson Park on Brighton Blvd where people like my kids are not welcomed.

Another woman I talked with regularly walks to the Mound Transit Center from the Island using Wilshire. The intersection of Wilshire and Brighton had been recently rebuilt, and we were discussing pedestrian safety in Mound. Her days would be ruined as she would be simply attempting to get to work or home, because cars were whizzing by dangerously close to her.

The city of Mound spent considerable time in the last year discussing regulations determining how much car storage should certain types of businesses be required to build, but almost none about bike storage. There was considerable effort and time and money spent on the new Dakota Trail crossing on County Rd. 15, mostly aimed at stopping bikes, and changing the way they ride, instead of addressing how cars approach the intersection. The priority of today's street and road engineers is to build places where cars can travel unimpeded.

My wife and I have worked hard to raise two independent children. My eight year old, Cecelia, now has the confidence and ability to go to bike to the Dollar+ store, piano lessons and friends houses in our neighborhood. She and her sister, Maeve, walk nearly every day to school. What's next for Cecelia? Will she be able to walk or bike to Swenson Park on her own? How about biking to the library, or to Grandview School, where she will go next year for school. Going to those places will mean traveling on the "Highways" of Mound that weren't built for people like them. Those places will be a bigger hurdle and I'm not confident Cecelia will be able to handle them for a couple more years.

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Cecelia and Maeve start off on their walk to school.

What are the other options for people without cars?  I dare you to ask anyone I work with at Sojourn about their Metro Mobility experiences. They are likely to tell you it's inconvenient, unreliable, and you have to plan your trip days in advance. There are Taxi and other services that are incredibly expensive. I have great respect for WeCab here in Mound, but I think it's irresponsible of my community to expect volunteers to shuttle people about town on errands.

In 2012, it was found 1 in 12 households do no own a car, and that 13% of people 15 years and older don't drive a car. I believe Mound and all cities in general need to build these streets with these people in mind. It's not going to be easy, and there will be a lot of "experts" from Hennepin County, MNDoT telling us we can't build streets like that, but they would be wrong.

Not only does building streets for people make our neighborhoods better, but then it encourages healthier lifestyles, and allows those without a use of a car, a safer, and more productive life.

My daughters and I have enjoyed our neighborhood park visits this week. Please stop by and see me tonight at Belmont Park if you are around.

Thursday, Octover 23, 5:30-6:30 Belmont Park (Belmont and Tonkawood)

Please like and share "A Place in Mound" on Facebook, and with your neighbors and friends in Mound, and vote for George Linkert on November 4th.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Allowing on street parking at Surfside and the next "Meet George"

Everyone loves Surfside Park and Beach. It's on a great location on Lake Minnetonka, relatively close to downtown Mound. It's got great features like the swimming beach, boat docks, volleyball court, playground, picnic tables, grills, the depot for indoor events and finally it has a bike rack!

It's also a great place for events. Several churches in the area will hold a Sunday service at the beach, it is regularly a place for family events, and you shouldn't miss the Music in the Park series there during the summer.

I've written about this issue before about this park and the lack of on street parking. Around 1990, the city council decided to ask Hennepin County to post no parking signs. This needs to be fixed, and post "No Boat Trailer Parking" signs, and make Surfside a better, more accessible place.

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On street parking at Surfside. A simple way to improve a "place" in Mound.

I made this video two years ago and still remains true today.

Also, come and visit me one of the next three evenings in our city parks. I'd love to meet you!

Tuesday, October 21, 6PM-7PM Highland Park (Highland and Glenwood)

Wednesday, October 22, 6PM-7PM Three Points Park (Three Points and Gull)

Thursday, Octover 23, 5:30-6:30 Belmont Park (Belmont and Tonkawood)

Please like and share "A Place in Mound" on Facebook, and with your neighbors and friends in Mound, and vote for George Linkert on November 4th.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Enjoying beautiful Swenson Park and future "Meet George" events

The kids and I had fun at Swenson Park last Saturday morning, getting a great sense of the neighborhoods and some of the best places Mound has to offer. Here are some pictures of our walk to the park.

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Our walk to the park started on Emerald Dr, a nice, walkable street. 

The kids really enjoyed stomping through the leaves on that beautiful Saturday.

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Coming up to the Wilshire/Brighton Blvd intersection.

The Wilshire/Brighton Blvd intersection is not a very pleasant place to be... I've written about it before. We remained undaunted, and continued our way to the park.

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Swenson Park is a great place in Mound!
Swenson Park on the Island is a great place for people. It's got a playground, tennis courts, softball field, basketball court, and a lovely little wooded area. The kids spent most of their time playing (and  a little bit fighting) of course.

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My daughter exploring the wooded area of Swenson Park.
I have to say that this was the first park I've noticed (aside from Avon Park where I live) where the "No Parking" signs were on the side of the street by the houses, leaving plenty of room for parking on the park side of the street. I visited with one of the long time residents, and he said that the neighborhood petitioned the city to make that change long ago. Way to go Swenson Park neighborhood!

One really gets a good sense of what makes a "place" in a city when you are moving on foot. You see all the homes and places, streets and retaining walls, gardens and yards you miss otherwise. You run into friends and acquaintances and pet puppies, and wave to people who are raking leaves. After a while I start feeling sad for those who never take the time for activities like this. We enjoyed the park for a good hour, and we headed home.

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Wilshire/Brighton intersection again going the other way.
The picture above of two girls simply walking home on the only place on the street they can, and are expected to share this space with speeding cars is a reminder that there is still work to undertake to improve Mound for people. Neighborhood connections like those between the Shirley Hills and the Island neighborhoods have been engineered to eliminate people so cars can save seconds from a commute. This mentality needs to change. Places like this need to be designed more thoughtfully, concentrating on enhancing the area for people to live and conduct their affairs on, while still allowing cars to respectfully drive through.

We enjoyed our time at Swenson Park so much. that we are heading to other Mound parks in your neighborhood. Come and and say hi!

Tuesday, October 21, 6PM-7PM Highland Park (Highland and Glenwood)

Wednesday, October 22, 6PM-7PM Three Points Park (Three Points and Gull)

Thursday, Octover 23, 5:30-6:30 Belmont Park (Belmont and Tonkawood)

Please like and share "A Place in Mound" on Facebook, and with your neighbors and friends in Mound, and vote for George Linkert on November 4th.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Meet George at Swenson Park

I have been enlightened and enriched over the years having great conversations with you here online, and in the streets about our city. I am constantly humbled when people recognize the value of the arguments we've made at a Place in Mound. The fact is that many of the issues we see here in Mound are issues cities all over Minnesota and our country face. This is the beginning of a long and much larger process to create communities of value and enhance the lives we live in important, and meaningful ways.

On this Saturday morning, October 18, from 10 to 11 in the morning, I'll be hanging out on the Island at Swenson Park with my kids playing soccer. It would be great to meet you if you are in the Brighton Blvd area, so come out and join us.

I have been surprise how many people with whom I've barely know, offering me financial support. If you are interested in donating to my campaign for Mound Council member, you can use the link below.

If you would rather send me a check, you can mail it to me...

George for Mound
5017 Avon Dr
Mound, MN 55364

Thank you. See you Saturday. Let's work together to make Mound a place to drive to, not drive through.


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Thursday, September 11, 2014

George Linkert speaks to the Mound Council

I was very fortunate in November 2012 to have the Mound city manager invite me to come speak about some of the topics written about here to the city council. I spent a lot of time preparing material to talk mostly about the fast streets of Mound, and the lack of on street parking in it's downtown and at Surfside park.

This video was available for a year at the local cable access website, but it isn't anymore. Fortunately, I obtained a DVD of that meeting, and have made it available again online.

This is just my 17 minute presentation from that day. I will post the discussion I had with the city council in another week or so.

Please share this video and website with your friends and family in Mound. Let them know I'm running for city council in November. And let's work together to get Mound to build places for people.

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