Open workshop night at Spokes community bike shop.

SPOKES and Cycles for Change to Merge

On January 1, we had a big change: SPOKES (the community bike center just east of the LRT on 22nd Street) merged with Cycles for Change, a community bike center headquartered in St. Paul. The two community bike centers have very similar programs. Also, Cycles for Change provided fantastic support to SPOKES when it was starting two and a half years ago.We will keep SPOKES great staff, location, programs, and hours. (details at • Our Open Shop (where we help you fix your bike) stays on Saturday afternoons and Wednesday evenings,•Our Earn-a-Bike course continue,• Our Learn-to-Ride course will start again this spring• Our volunteer nights stay the same,• The Hub Mini Store @SPOKES will actually add hours this spring (adding Sunday to sell reconditioned used bikes) SPOKES is actually merging with an old friend. There has been a long history of collaboration between SPOKES and Cycles for Change (as long as that a two and a half year old program can have):• Most of SPOKES’ programs and policies were designed using Cycles for Change’s programs as a template.• For its first year, SPOKES contracted with Cycles for Change to provide staff support for the Learn-to-Ride program and Open Shop.• SPOKES has been a branch of Cycles for Change’s Community Partners Bike Library Program for the last two years. In addition, SPOKES is joining with a couple old friends: Cycles for Change’s current Executive Director (Jason Tanzman) and current board president (Katya Pilling) were the two people responsible for the original idea of starting a community bike center in Seward. Continue Reading


Broad coalition ramps up pressure for action on transportation

 Concerned that state lawmakers won’t act to address Minnesota’s transportation needs, advocates delivered thousands of signatures to the state Capitol Feb. 12, after hearing a call to action from Governor Mark Dayton.“The real question comes down to: What kind of Minnesota do we want in 10 years?” Dayton asked a packed room where members of The Transportation Alliance and MoveMn had gathered for Transportation Day. The groups include labor unions, businesses, local governments and community organizations from across the state.“If you’re willing to accept things getting worse in 10 years . . . Continue Reading


Riding the Green Line: Why shared public space matters

I board the Green Line, traveling east from downtown Minneapolis. It’s my first time taking the new line mid-day on a weekday, and I’m riding it just a few stops. It seems quiet.The only person seated in my section—he’s across the aisle, a couple rows ahead of me—is a young man, neatly dressed, with a backpack. He looks like he might be a college student.Next stop, the doors open, another guy enters, somewhat older than the first, very different style of dress, hair, head covering.This is a Community Voices submission and is moderated but not edited. The opinions expressed by Community Voices contributors are their own and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the TC Daily Planet.The newly arrived passenger takes a seat directly across from the first, then leans over to ask something. Continue Reading

Residents design a plan for the redevelopment of the Saxon Ford site. Photo by Kayla Steinberg.

Frogtown residents speak out on St. Paul’s Saxon Ford site development on Central Corridor

A bowling alley, a water park, a community center for the elderly, a pharmacy, hospice care, and green space were just some of the many ideas that residents came up with for the redevelopment of the largest vacant site in Saint Paul’s Frogtown neighborhood.On Wednesday, February 19, the University Buffet was transformed from a restaurant into a city planning workshop for 18 Frogtown area residents, two city workers, and 13 Corridor Development Initiative staff and consultants. “Are we ready to create and envision what our community is going to look like?” asked workshop facilitator Sheronda Orridge, as she started the meeting. The Frogtown Neighborhood Association, Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC), and the City of Saint Paul have teamed up to put on four workshops about the redevelopment of the Saxon Ford lot, located at 253-255 University Avenue in St. Paul. The city bought the lot a few years ago. The goal of these workshops is to provide the city with information about what Frogtown residents want to see in their community.The next workshop will take place on Wednesday, March 5 and will include a panel of developers. The fourth and final workshop will be on Wednesday, March 19 and will be used to summarize the information gained in the first three meetings into developmental guidelines and to get a consensus from the participants on these guidelines. Continue Reading


Rents rising in Frogtown as light rail opening day approaches

The Green Line’s opening is four months away, but the train has already brought rent increases for Frogtown renters.Organizations working closely with Frogtown have been worried about rent increases for years, and recent data from HousingLink shows that these fears may be justified.According to Minnesota Housing Link’s third quarter analysis, median rent listings for the “shadow market” in Frogtown — duplexes, condos, single-family housing, and townhomes — have risen remarkably in the last year. In 2011, the median rent was $807. In 2012 it rose to $850, and by 2013, the median rent had jumped to $995. Rent listings for multi-unit apartment buildings have remained unchanged.The rent increase for duplexes, condos, single-family housing, and townhomes is particularly significant for Frogtown. According to the Minnesota Housing Preservation Project (MHPP)’s Before the Train report, 43 percent of the housing in the Midway East area (which roughly corresponds to Frogtown) is single family or duplex housing. Continue Reading

Photos by Kayla Steinberg

Home is where the art is: Extreme Home Makeover on the Central Corridor

For Lucy Whitley Mott, 10, home is “where I have a roof over my head.”For Julie GebbenGreen, 47, home is less location-specific and more “sacred.”Whitley Mott and GebbenGreen traced projected images of the spaces they think of as “home” onto green canvases at a community art project on February 11. They met at the Hamline Midway Library as part of Artify’s THIS IS HOME community art project. Their work is currently on display on the 1300 block of University Avenue at the future location of a Project for Pride in Living (PPL) affordable housing development.Witt Siasoco, who runs the THIS IS HOME project with fellow Minneapolis-based artist, Mischa Kegan, was inspired by Artify’s theme of “Home is…” and his previous work with teens at Project Offstreets, a homeless-drop in shelter. “I had been working there for a year trying to figure out a project that would really speak to them,” he said. “And I came up with an idea about them talking about places they’ve lived and places that have felt safe to them.”Siasoco said that the THIS IS HOME project is similar to his work at Project Offstreets because it’s people “talking about where they’re from, and what feels like home to them.”All of the 22 participants are residents of the Hamline-Midway or Frogtown-Rondo neighborhoods. Continue Reading

At a transit equity forum hosted by the Alliance for Metropolitan Stability, local and national leaders gathered to discuss the future of Minnesota's transit development. 

Local, national leaders discuss transit equity in St. Paul

A sense of powerlessness on the part of transit riders, jobs and economic development, equitable and comprehensive transit in Minnesota — these were some of the issues up for discussion at a St. Paul transit forum that included national and local voices. On January 14, local community members, including politicians, community organizers, and transit leaders were joined by national union leaders for “Everyone Deserves a Seat:  Transportation, Jobs, and Equity Forum” at the Carpenters Local Union 322 in St. Paul. Core to the panelists’ discussions were the ways in which they believe that Minnesota’s transit systems must develop. Continue Reading