Last week, Love Thy Neighborhood returned for a second year. In the past, this column has pretty much solely focused on urban development and transportation projects in the Twin Cities. After conversations with people over the summer, Love Thy Neighborhood this year will transition to more of an urban lifestyle column. We will still cover development, but I hope to delve into larger concepts of what it means to live in a city, answering such questions as “Do the retail locations next to Macalester adequately meet our needs?” “ How do I find an off-campus house?” “Who has the best decorated house/dorm room?” “What does the High Winds Fund really do?”
In last week’s column I focused on Macalester’s transit connections and their unique features. This week’s article is a rundown of big things that happened in the Twin Cities over the summer.
Viking’s Stadium Rises, Will Birds Survive?
Construction on the new one billion dollar Vikings stadium is underway. The former Metrodome is completely gone, and the new stadium’s steel and concrete can be seen from the ground. Construction of the new stadium, which is being built on the former site of the Metrodome, has forced the Vikings to play this season and the next at TCF stadium at the University of Minnesota. The new stadium is scheduled to open in the summer of 2016, in time for that year’s season.
Over the summer, environmentalists, the birding community and politicians criticized the Vikings organization for not including bird-friendly design in the new stadium. The stadium, which will have large towering glass doors and a retractable glass roof, is not designed to reflect light, which means that birds flying in the area will not be able to see that they are about to fly into the building. Criticism intensified as the Vikings said they did not have enough money to incorporate bird-friendly glass, after they announced that they would add more escalators and televisions in the stadium to improve the fan experience.
Construction takes over Snelby Intersection
The development boom in the Twin Cities has hit our neighborhood. The old Alliance Bank building located at the northeast corner of Selby and Snelling Avenue has been torn down. Earlier in August, Alliance Bank moved one block north into their new site. A new six-story building with a Whole Foods on the first floor and 208 apartments atop it will rise on the old bank site. After construction is completed, the Whole Foods currently located at Fairview and Grand will move into the space. No word yet on what will happen to the old Whole Foods space. The project is due to be complete by Fall 2015.
Marclay’s The Clock takes local art scene by storm
Renowned artist Christian Marclay’s 2010 film The Clock was featured all summer at the Walker Arts Center in Minneapolis. The Clock is a 24-hour project consisting of thousands of pieces of film that each have a reference to time. The time in each scene correlates to the exact time of day, offering moviegoers an exhilarating experience. The Clock’s exhibition at Walker ended in August, no word yet on whether it will be shown elsewhere or released to the public.
Bike Tune-Up Station installed on campus
Bikers on campus will be excited to know that a new bicycle fix-it station has been installed at Macalester’s multi-modal transit center. This center, located on the surface parking lot next to the Cultural House, also houses four HourCar vehicles and a NiceRide station. The fix it station can be used any hour of the day and can perform basic maintenance and bike tune ups. This will be beneficial to those who need a quick fix and do not have the time or need to go to MacBike.
Car2Go expands to St. Paul
A new car-share service debuted in St. Paul over the summer. Unlike Hourcar, which requires users to return the vehicle to the station in which they checked it out, Car2Go allows users to leave the car wherever they want, in either St. Paul or Minneapolis. Their fleet consists of blue and white Smart cars scattered across the city. Car2go has no real stations in their network since users use their app to find where the cars are located. Car2go also allows users to lock the car while in use, so they can get out to run errands worry-free. Visit car2go.com to learn more about their company and sign up for their service.
High Winds aims to improve pedestrian safety
After two students were hit by a vehicle while crossing Snelling and Lincoln this summer, Macalester and the High Winds Fund, Macalester’s neighborhood development group, ramped up efforts to improve pedestrian safety in and around the college. Orange flags are now stationed in a bucket attached to crosswalk signs at the intersections of Grand and Cambridge as well as Snelling and Lincoln. These flags can be used by pedestrians to signal to traffic that they are crossing. The flag can then be deposited in the bucket on the opposite side.
Macalester has also been working with the Department of Transportation to install new pedestrian crossing lights at Snelling and Lincoln. These lights will be installed sometime this fall.