It’s been a while since I’ve written about any urban design stuff. Part of it is because I’ve realized that real change is never sweeping, it is incremental, which can be incredibly frustrating. But I’ve learned to to have patience, as long as things look like they’re heading in the right direction. Also, as part of Fridley’s Environmental Quality and Energy Commission (EQEC), I’ve seen several of the cities’ initiatives first hand, and and I feel like they are generally heading in the right direction.

It’s Happening!

I wrote about the idea of a road diet on Mississippi St. over 6 years ago. I told myself that if it ever happened, I had done my job. And as it stands, here we are:

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Before I get into any questions like “What the heck is a split phase intersection and why would you have a favorite?” Let me give you some back-story… I’ve been attending a series of workshops revolving around State Highways 65 & 47.

I’ve got several opinions about these roads and their intersections, and one very loud opinion that we don’t need both to act as expressways, we just need one.

Luckily, I learned at the meetings that my fellow residents share the same opinions! I was delighted at the first two meetings. Do I think MnDOT will actually listen? Probably not, but that’s when we’ll sick Mayor Lund on them 🐕

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The state of Minnesota defines our waste hierarchy as:

I wrote about recycling, and composting, and I recently visited the local waste-to-energy (WTE) facility to complete the picture of the garbage lifecycle. If you live in or near Minneapolis, there’s a place called the Hennepin Energy Recovery Center (the HERC). It’s downtown, right next to Target Field. In the winter, the amount of steam it produces in the cold, still air makes it look like a cloud factory.

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People that recycle often feel recycling guilt. It’s when they want to make sure something gets recycled even if it’s not recyclable. This is when wish cycling occurs. You can’t just wish your grease-stained cardboard pizza box can get recycled. Cardboard is recyclable, right? Instead let’s put it where it belongs and really reduce the contents of your waste bin.

To get started, let’s look at the big picture: total trash output. It appears that we reached “Peak Trash” in 1990

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Last week I had the pleasure of visiting the Waste Management Material Recovery Facility (MRF) in Minneapolis, colloquially referred to as a “Murf.” Simply put, this is the type of place all of your recycling goes to be processed. This particular facility is where recycling from Columbia Heights goes (and other cities that contract through Waste Management). Fridley’s recycling goes to a similar type of murf facility owned by Republic Services in Inver Grove Heights.

The trip was enlightening and I wish everyone could see it in action. If you can’t make it, here are the cliff’s notes.

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