Northfield prohibits riding bicycles (skateboards and rollerblades) on downtown sidewalks. This ordinance makes sense on Division Street – a busy, pedestrian street with pretty narrow sidewalks populated with street furniture, sidewalk dining, signs, trees, and trash/recycling containers and the people using all of them.
The negative message: Here’s what Northfield stencils on their downtown sidewalks: NO BIKES!
Tell or show people what to do: But really, “No Bikes” is not the message I think we want to convey in Northfield. Rather, bikes welcome, but walk them on the limited sidewalk real estate. Here’s one way we might improve the messaging to tell people what we want them to do:
And here is another, somewhat broader but equally positive message showing (rather than merely telling) people what to do, rather than what not to do.
Show where the bikes go: Then, after showing people what’s desired on the sidewalk, Northfield could also add additional bike-friendly pavement markings like sharrows on Division Street. Sharrows are no substitute for bike lanes, but on Division Street, with slow-moving traffic as well as angled and parallel parking, sharrows would reinforce the message “Bikes should ride here (and the sharrows could help position cyclists out of the door zone, or far enough from the angled parking to be seen) and not on the sidewalk.
Extra credit: Reverse the angled parking so drivers can see people on bikes (and pedestrians) better when pulling out of parking spots.
The East Cannon River Trail is the only issue on the Northfield City Council’s special meeting agenda (although there are multiple actions to be taken) tomorrow, Tuesday, April 26 2016 (here’s the packet). While there are multiple pieces in the project puzzle, approving the trail should be easy – no-brainer easy – because building this trail segment is so richly supported by prior planning going back more than a decade. This piece of trail specifically or more general guidance for improving access to the Cannon River and increasing recreational opportunities along it is contained in all Northfield’s major planning documents. The Council can take a big step toward implementing the City’s policy vision by approving this trail.
The Trail Itself
Right now, there is a section of paved trail beginning at the Peggy Prowe Pedestrian Bridge extending south toward Dundas, but the trail stops behind the commercial development. There have been wetland issues (and the Army Corps of Engineers) to manage (and wetland credits are also on the agenda tomorrow) as well as inter-jurisdictional negotiation (Dundas, DNR). Now, however, the Northfield city staff have lined up all the ducks for the Council to approve, culminating in approving a resolution accepting bids and awarding the contract for the East Cannon River Trail Project.
This piece of trail is important for Northfield and Dundas because it helps achieve a long-term vision to capitalize on the Cannon River as a distinctive natural, economic and recreational resource, provides an off-road link (along the busy and otherwise difficult to walk or ride Highway 3) to a charter school, commercial areas, and three parks (including Sechler Park which is being developed by CROCT as an offroad bike facility), forms another link to the Mill Towns Trail under development, and can be another small part of making Northfield good to walk, great to retire, and highly livable. No wonder it is included in all these city plans:
Comprehensive Plan: The Comp Plan highlights the importance of the Cannon River and applauds efforts “to better integrate the river into the community; its scenic beauty and recreational possibilities afford the possibility for further integration of the river into the community. The Greater Northfield Area Greenway System Action Plan is an important resource in helping with this integration.” Land Use, Community Identify and Economic Develop objectives all identify the Cannon River as critical and expanding access to the river, linking to downtown, and connecting parks, places and people.
The Economic Development Plan makes activating and leveraging the Cannon River one of three key findings for economic success; Northfield’s rich sense of place is considered critical. And, the Transportation Plan contains objectives to trail connectivity between areas of the City including current bike and pedestrian route deficiencies (current as of 2008) such as the east side trail dead ending, lack of trail integration into overall design, and challenges linking downtown with the trail system.
East Cannon River Trail specifically
Greenway Corridor Plan: Generally, this plan recommended trails should be considered on both sides of the Cannon River as well as some creeks to link neighborhoods to the river. The East River Corridor (east side of the Cannon River from Highway #3 bridge south to Dundas) was identified as the first priority “because it forms the backbone of the system, due to the potential for development, and because creation of this link will help to create strong support for the system.”
Park, Open Space, and Trail System Plan: The plan identifies this trail connection as a Destination Trail (which neighborhood trails and linking trails connect to the rest of Northfield). Individual park plans for Babcock, Riverside Lions Park, and Compostella Park also note development of an east river trail should be integrated into master planning for these currently underutilized parks.
Gateway Corridor Improvement Plan: This plan to improve gateways into Northfield incorporated the Greenway Corridor and other plans to highlight trail connections and other green infrastructure.
Costs and benefits
Almost half of the approximately $1 million trail construction cost (with bids substantially less than engineering estimates) is from grants with the remainder coming from the general fund (about $200,000), TIF funding (about $175,000), and the City of Dundas (about $93,000). I’m not a big fan of grants, believing too often grants are sought to fund projects the City would not otherwise undertake. In this case, however, the plan to build the trail is well established and grant funding has been awarded to complete this well-documented, long-planned project. The City will need to build maintenance of the trail into the budget and CIP in coming years, but the costs relative to the wide benefits of this long-planned trail segment appear very reasonable.
The question of trail surface material must also be answered. In this area prone to flooding, the choice of a paved rather than crushed rock surface would provide a high-quality surface for more users with better durability. The plans for this trail emphasize its importance for access and connectivity; building for residents with limited mobility, children, skateboards, walkers, runners, and people on bikes; choosing the bituminous option provides bigger benefits to more people. I hope the Council will take action to carry out so many of Northfield’s plans by approving this trail project.
Northfield’s 1888 train depot is on the move this week. The Save the Northfield Depot (STND) group has been working for five years to raise funds and navigate the political, environmental and legal obstacles to be able to save the historic building from destruction and move it a block north up the (rail) road.
Seeing ground broken and the building secured for the journey is an exciting milestone for historic preservation and a testament to the hard work of STND organization (you should read about the history of the Depot, the efforts to save it from destruction, train service in Northfield, and the details of the project on their very thorough website).
The Depot’s move, however, will also be the first shovels-in-the-ground redevelopment work on this centrally located, repeatedly planned and very difficult site.
The Q Block
The Depot is headed to what Northfield calls the “Q Block” on the west side of MN Trunk Highway 3 (TH3) named for the popular Quarterback Club restaurant and the forgotten Quizno’s sub shop (a space now occupied by El Triunfo – well worth the trip). The Canadian Pacific railroad (and high voltage power lines) bisects the block, the highway frontage makes the site visible but not easily accessible, the block has oddly hsaped parcels and multiple property owners (including the City of Northfield); the Q Block is not the easiest place to develop, in other words.
Downtown Northfield used to exist on both the east and west side of what is now TH3. In the late 1950’s, a swath of seventeen buildings was razed for the new trunk highway running from Saint Paul through Northfield to Faribault. In the late 1990s, after 40 years of highway strip development, the prospect of a new Target store further south on the highway, and planning the realignment of TH3 through downtown, Northfield leaders were thinking how to ensure the success of the historic downtown remaining on the east side of TH3 and make better use of underutilized parcels on the west side of the highway.
The Q Block was identified as a west side site in need of thoughtful redevelopment which made it the subject of repeated plans for the real estate and also critical as a location needing better access for people on bikes or on foot. Including these (but perhaps I’ve omitted a few):
1997 Ad Hoc report and 2005 Safe Crossing report: The 1997 citizen group and 2005 Safe Crossing task force both made recommendations for helping people walking or biking cross the highway by adding a traffic signal at the Q Block, but also be trying to recreate a local, human-scale streetscape along the highway through downtown to slow traffic and reinforce the sense of having entered downtown, rather than speeding through town. MnDOT’s actual realignment and reconstruction in of this highway segment did not robustly incorporate the suggestions.
1999 West of the River Guidelines were intended “to incorporate the west of the river area as part of the downtown” by encouraging zero-lot line development, two- to three-story buildings, and echoing the urban design of downtown. These guidelines were instrumental in rejecting a suburban-style Walgreens (which eventually built further south on the highway) on the Q Block and soliciting development proposals for what became the Crossings condo and retail site (worth its own post).
2006 EDA Q Block Master Plan set goals to redevelop “an outdated and mostly vacant retail area” by extending downtown’s scale and urban form across the highway to visually connect east and west and creating a “balance between pedestrian and automobile space along TH 3” and to “enhance pedestrian connections from the Q Block site to the Downtown by improving the TH 3 pedestrian crossings at 2nd and 3rd Streets.”
2010 Northfield Roundtable Q Block Planning session (captured in their 2014 Framework Plan) noted: “The ‘Q Block’ could play a central role in creating an east-west axis for Northfield. Many have suggested it as a long-range location for a transportation hub that could provide a “hook” connecting emerging West Side redevelopment to the East Side historic downtown” and further adding ideas for a “greened” pedestrian crossing of the railroad as well as the highway.
High hopes for the Depot and the future
Despite all that planning interest and statements of intention, private tax-paying development did not occur. The proposal to move the Depot to the Q Block was met with both great interest as a way to stimulate long-sought development by some (including me), but significant skepticism by others because it was not “real” economic development. By 2012, the City Council (I was a Council member at the time) approved the Depot move with public support in the form of City-owned land to be transferred the Depot group and financial assistance from the Economic Development Authority. Yet, given the non-profit nature of the development, concerns remained the Depot was not the highest and best use of the property and might discourage additional future development.
But after all that planning, moving the Depot to the Q block is the first concrete step toward improving the block and carrying out the plans and more. The Depot project:
Preserves a singular and historic building which is uniquely intended to be located next to the railroad rather than having the train and its noise be a problem to be mitigated in other kinds of development.
Can leverage additional development. The development bet is moving the Depot, restoring the building and making it useful again, will spark additional – tax paying – development to fill out the block, carry downtown back across the highway, and use buildings to shape the streetscape, calm traffic and restore the local street function back to this strip of highway.
As the truck arrives to begin the Depot’s move just up the tracks to the Q Block, here’s a big round of applause for the Save the Northfield Depot organization for its hard work and persistence to preserve an historic building, lay the groundwork for more transit options, and break ground on redevelopment on the Q Block.
Back in 2013, I posted about a couple of fun urban slides, and here’s another one. The ArcelorMittal Orbit sculpture created by Anish Kapoor for the London Olympics in 2012 is going to get funner in 2016 by adding a slide:
Peter Tudor, Director of Visitor Services, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, said: “What more exciting way to descend the ArcelorMittal Orbit than on the world’s longest and tallest tunnel slide. We are committed to ensuring our visitors have the best possible day out every time they visit Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, and as with all our venues, we are constantly exploring ways to ensure we lead the way with the latest visitor experience. This slide really will give a different perspective of Britain’s tallest sculpture.”
246 Solutions Group is a new grassroots “group of concerned Northfield residents that came together to help change a very dangerous intersection” on MN State Highway 246 near three of Northfield’s five schools by asking MnDOT to reduce speed limits on 246, creating a school zone, and improving the intersection at 246 and Jefferson Parkway.
246 Solutions has also drafted a petition (with about 200 signatures to date) to MnDOT Commissioner Charlie Zelle and other MnDOT officials asking MnDOT to reduce the speed limit, establish a school zone and “follow the Safe Route to Schools Recommendations of the sections of State Highways That Become City Streets.” And here’s a behind the handlebars video view of biking to school by high school student Jake Thomas. Various impediments to change have been raised in response to the petition such as insufficient resources for enforcement, cost to build improvements, etc., but this infusion of new energy is needed to help spur action on this old problem.
The problem of reaching Northfield’s schools safely has existed since before the Middle School opened its doors more than ten years ago and while there has been much discussion and planning, there’s been no action. However, other parts of the transportation landscape have changed in the meantime and tools exist now which were not well-known at earlier points in the discussion; this new grassroots push could finally move Northfield to action.
By locating the Middle School south of Bridgewater Elementary School and the High School…All of our public school children grade 6 and above + our largest elementary school will now attend school in the same area. This is a great opportunity to develop these sites into an excellent educational and athletic campus not possible with more disparate and smaller sites. But this also means we have the safety of hundreds of our children to consider as we try to also manage the vastly increased [vehicle] traffic through the area…the traffic patterns on Jefferson Parkway, through Bridgewater and high school campuses and on 246 are problematic now, before any additional load is added to the area.
The traffic impact study for the Middle School focused on the impact to vehicle Level of Service during the peak traffic at the start and end of the school day and made recommendations to (1) stagger school opening times to alleviate congestion (which was done) and (2) add the median to Jefferson Parkway to “provide more direction for drivers, which will in turn make it a safer corridor” and provide a pedestrian refuge, but which made the roadway too narrow to bike safely and difficult for school buses to turn.
It is truly sad that it often seems to take a tragedy of some magnitude to get people’s attention about pedestrian and bicycle safety, and make them realize that streets aren’t just for cars and trucks.
Additional challenges relate to the lack of interconnected neighborhoods in some parts of the City. This is particularly evident in the area south of Jefferson Parkway. The extensive amount of cul-de sacs results in an overreliance on Jefferson Parkway and TH 246/Division Street for all trips in the area.
Northfield has done much planning and policy development related to this area since 2001 and each iteration adds support to the goal of improving this part of town:
2009 Safe Routes to School plan highlighted this area and proposed a range of solutions for the Jefferson/TH 246 intersection from a traffic signal to a roundabout.
2014 Bike Friendly Community application (we received an Honorable Mention).
2014: TAP Grant Application in 2014 for a traffic signal at Jefferson Parkway and TH 246 was withdrawn after discussion that a signal was likely not the best solution.
2015: Bike Friendly Community process continues with a visit by Steve Clark
Now’s the time to take all the plans and policies plus the new grassroots support and do something.
In the short-term, the 246 Solutions group plan to establish a school zone and slow traffic should be implemented, but the longer term fix should be multi-jurisdictional and address land uses, design speed, and lack of other connections – this problem is not MnDOT’s alone. The 246 Solutions community support is to demand committed and sustained leadership from the school district, city and MnDOT to make Safe Routes to (the majority of Northfield’s) Schools a reality.
Fortunately, much has changed since 2001 in the land use and transportation world. In Northfield, we’ve added all those studies and policies to justify change toward building streets as if people mattered. National Safe Routes to School reports, other cities’ leadership, and federal programs (Mayor’s Challenge, Surgeon General’s Step It Up campaign) all signal a shift in the political landscape which recognizes how we build our cities matters. What used to be a safety issue alone is now a public health, livability, fiscal, urban planning and environmental issue.
Northfield should acknowledge that city development decisions and School District siting choices helped create the problems and these groups need to think together about the long-term plan to rebuild connections among places including addressing these issues:
Reducing vehicle traffic by encouraging bus ridership as well as actively promoting biking and walking. Years of development choices, fewer parents at home, and helicopter parenting have contributed to the steep decline in walking and biking to school. Usually not mentioned is that much of the traffic to the schools is generated by parents chauffeuring their children to school (When my daughter was a middle school student, I joked about adding a toll booth to the Middle School driveway to raise funds for improvements and to allocate the costs of driving more equitably). A recent MinnPost piece highlighted how change is happening in Minneapolis to encourage active transportation.
Slowing traffic: Speed limit signs, even the speed feedback signs, must be enforced to be effective. TH 246 screams “Drive fast!” and it needs to be redesigned to cue drivers to slow down, look for people walking and biking, and (most importantly) pay attention.
Redesign the Jefferson Parkway/246 intersection for people rather than cars only. The intersection must accommodate school buses, cars, and larger vehicles because 246 is a key route into and out of Northfield, but the trail connections, sidewalks, bike facilities must also be safe and easy for kids (and seniors – the Senior Center is there, too) to navigate.
Create at-grade connections from neighborhoods to schools (and the Senior Center): Bridges and underpasses are usually put forward as solutions, but I’d advocate for changing the roadway design to build people back into the street network and make the public right-of-way truly public (as well as safe and attractive). Newer design guidelines (like Seattle’s Safe Routes to School Engineering Toolkit or NACTO standards) can provide guidance.
Politics and money: The Northfield City Council will vote on next year’s tax levy very soon. Some Council members want to avoid any levy increases because fund balances are flush, but clearly there are needs which have gone unmet for a decade. Voting for a small levy increase would help take advantage of Northfield’s favorable financial position to start to fix this important area at last.
Tonight (Tuesday, September 22, 2015), the Northfield City Council will discuss low-cost projects to improve bicycle and walking routes on the west side of the city linking neighborhoods and Saint Olaf College to downtown.
BikeNorthfield members (I’m part of the Steering Committee) worked with City staff to develop the improvements to be discussed tonight. As we stared at the map, “low hanging fruit” was uttered more than once as we looked for the most logical street links from neighborhoods to Greenvale Park School, west side churches, and downtown as well as Saint Olaf College to downtown.
The proposed improvements use signage and striping to provide clearly marked bike lanes on busier streets or shared space on lower traffic volume streets.
Second Street is prioritized as a bike-friendly crossing of Highway 3. A bike-specific sensor for the traffic signal was installed last year allowing bikes to trigger a green light for crossing.
Overall, these changes do more than the TIGER trail project by creating a neighborhood-wide network of routes guiding people on bikes to the 2nd Street/Highway 3 intersection. The proposed network also dovetails with plans to improve pedestrian crossing of Highway 3 at 3rd Street and Fremouw. On the other hand, once at the 2nd Street intersection, crossing the highway will continue to require confidence on a bike which is unlikely to inspire many to ride. The bike sensor at Second Street requires riding boldly into the center of the traffic lane to trip the loop sensor and ride across.
The improvements in more detail
Bike lanes would be striped on
Dresden Avenue connecting to Lincoln Parkway (and Greenvale Park School) and Spring Street (between Lincoln and Greenvale Avenues);
Saint Olaf Avenue connecting to Lincoln Street N (and Lincoln Parkway, etc.);
Second Street West between Spring Street and Highway 3 where cyclists could utilize the bike-sensor.
Shared lane markings or sharrows (“Share the road arrows”) would be added to
Lincoln Street from Saint Olaf Avenue to 1st Street West (connecting the bike lane from Saint Olaf to Lincoln);
First Street West (utilizing the path through Way Park) to Spring Street and Second Street West; and
Spring Street between Greenvale and Second Street West to link to the bike lane to the signalized intersection.
How you can help
Ride with us TONIGHT:A low speed, casual bike ride to tour the improvement area will take place before the Council worksession, September 22, 2015 beginning from Bridge Square @ 6pm.
Communicate your support for these improvements: if you want to make safer and more pleasant to bike to these places, let the City know. You can contact:
Incremental changes like the ones on the Council’s agenda tonight can help connect the West Side and then lead to more robust thinking about continuing to work toward a low-stress bicycling network connecting Northfield which fixes the broken link in the chain at Highway 3.
Another invitation: Steve Clark, the League of American Bicyclists Bike Friendly Community Specialist, will be in Northfield next week to help us think further about becoming a Bronze Level Bike Friendly Community and, beyond the label, how we connect people with places and each other. More on this very soon, but here are the essentials:
While in Amsterdam last month, I walked around looking at doorways and thought: “Who needs a front yard anyway?”
At home, I feel oppressed by most of my yard. My house sits on a 66′ x 150′ Northfield original town lot which is a not huge parcel in a walkable neighborhood near downtown Northfield. Pretty modest by recent development standards, you might say.
Still, there’s too much useless space which demands mowing or weeding without offering much in the way of compensation. The front yard is particularly unnecessary, but I don’t live in a place which makes an Amsterdam-style front entrance possible. I’m thrilled, though, to see articles like Lawns are a Soul-Crushing Time Suck since that pretty much sums up my thinking about the grassy party of my yard.
My little backyard prairie keeps evolving as the grasses and flowers reseed themselves or adapt to the light and soil conditions. Unlike the grass bits, my prairie is filled with honeybees and butterflies and bunnies; it requires no mowing, almost no weeding and is interesting in all seasons. Every year we reclaim a bit more yard from mowable grass; perhaps the front yard will be next.
Typically, street projects are designed by consultant engineers – Bolton and Menk, in this case – with limited knowledge of the community context of the street. While Bolton and Menk have worked in Northfield frequently, that’s not the same as knowing how the street and surrounding land uses work together, or how Woodley connects more distant parts of the city. Community members, both those adjacent to project boundaries and those who travel through the project area, can inform the non-native designers about the community, how this street connects to other places (or how it doesn’t now, but could in the future), and other local knowledge about the place and how people move around in it. In other words, showing the engineers what matters in human terms so the design can respond to local context rather than just slapping down the standard plate over whatever might be it its path.
It’s no secret I’m interested in broadening the conversation and changing the street to do more and to change the way the space functions for the longer term. Northfield and its hired help need input from the people who currently use or cross Woodley Street and those who avoid it because of perceived problems to determine what change is needed.
I’m also a design idealist (despite believing this video to be all too true). Having had the luxury of living in and visiting other cities, I have seen how well-designed infrastructure makes getting around easy and pleasant as well as experiencing less than well-designed places and struggling as a result. Local people know their places well, but are not street design experts and rather than asking residents (or the City Council) to be citizen engineers and do the drawing, I’m wishing for local people who provide great feet-on-the-street knowledge and innovative designers who can create a street corridor which works for Northfield.
The challenges of public input
Who shows up?
Northfield has made great progress in the last few years publicizing meetings, providing on-line engagement, and increasing the number of face-to-face opportunities for input. Even so, it is difficult to reach and engage community members beyond the adjacent property owners for whom personal notice is built into the legal requirements. BikeNorthfield (I’m on the its steering committee) and other organizations like Sibley School and the school district, advocates for public health, etc. can help spread the word that input is needed about the project (and we should get to work).
Not that the adjacent property owners should be ignored; I appreciate the very real concerns (and have paid my own special assessment in the last few years) – project residents mostly own their homes and their home is likely a very substantial portion of their assets – of course they are concerned about the impact to that asset and whether the project will affect its value or their ability to enjoy their property. The way we assess a portion of the project cost to adjacent property owners makes it completely reasonable that they may have an aversion to loss of “their” property when a sidewalk is constructed or fear how any change in the street corridor will affect their investment. On the other hand, Council members who simply give residents veto power abdicate their responsibility to consider the long term benefits for the community.
What do we ask?
Perhaps my biggest concern is how little education takes place to guide public comment. Most of us do not spend much time looking at street cross sections, learning about intersection geometry, or know what design features have been demonstrated to calm traffic, improve safety or address other relevant issues (hence my comments above that residents supply context so thoughtful designers can get to work). In the past, consultants and staff have done little to help policy-makers or residents learn what design choices are possible, how design could help solve problems identified, and what choices cost in both the long and short term, but instead stood by their diagrams and maps waiting for whatever questions or comments emerge.
If we’re simply shown big diagrams and asked “So, what do you think?” or “Do you like it or not?” we don’t know much about what we’re being asked and are more likely to give feedback which is irrelevant (when I scribble “Make Woodley a 32′ wide street!” when the 44′ width has already been decided) or merely reactive (“I don’t want a sidewalk!”).
How do we ask?
What if we framed the discussion this way: The City is working to implement its Safe Routes to School plan and make its streets more “complete” by improving bike and pedestrian connections to important destinations like Sibley School, the Spring Creek Soccer Complex, the City Pool at Old Memorial Park and downtown. The County requires a 44′ wide street with 12′ travel lanes. The remaining space can be allocated in different ways to provide better bike connections, prioritize private parking, or a combination of uses. Sidewalks are included in Northfield’s policies, too, and can be included in this project. Then, the City could present some alternative configurations with some of the benefits and costs of each.
What do we show?
Flat maps and diagrams don’t help much with visualizing change and can even be rather alarming as this diagram showing trees to be removed as small explosions which make it difficult to see much beyond loss and destruction:
Hennepin County has recently been doing some planning and adding bike lanes on Lowry Avenue. In addition to the flat images, the County has tried to market the change positively. The image shows cars still moving efficiently, but also includes the bikes and new trees to present a positive image of change rather than a documentation of loss.
What is the broader benefit or how do we change?
City staff and elected leaders could emphasize values and priorities as articulated in city policy. Our policies are really good and forward thinking. Allocating space for bicycles is less about space than about making different choices (and allocating all the space for cars was a choice made in the past). If we presume the space is for motor vehicles, then every reduction in driving or parking space seems like a loss or (worse) a threat. If, on the other hand, we start from the position than the public right of way should be allocated for the broadest inclusion and choice across the network, we can use the space to both permit safe, uninterrupted vehicle movement and safe, clearly identified space for bicycles.
Woodley Street needs fixing as anyone who has driven, ridden or walked on it knows. But remembering this needed repair to pavement and pipes is a once-in-a-generation opportunity for change, what are the other benefits the city could realize? My interest is how Woodley Street helps us get places and links destinations – and it is a key link to many places in Northfield.
If Northfield and Rice County rebuild Woodley Street by repeating choices of the past – a car-only county highway without sidewalks, safe intersections for pedestrians, or bike facilities, the City will miss the chance to help anyone who walks, bicycles or uses a wheelchair/scooter right now to reach downtown, parks, schools and moving around the neighborhood and, more importantly, will preempt these choices for decades more to come.
Now that it is getting Springy in Northfield, thoughts turn to flowers, getting outside, and enjoying public spaces. Here’s a way to get it all:
I’m thinking they’d look lovely in Bridge Square, along the Cannon River, scattered in parks or even strategically deployed along Division Street (yes, I know these seats do not follow the Northfield Streetscape Framework Plan)