Archive for the ‘Apple Valley’

Apple Valley Convinced BRT to Aid Growth

According to this article in the StarTribune, Apple Valley continues to pin its hopes on Bus Rapid Transit aiding growth within the city’s limits, especially the near decade-long vacancies in the Central Village “downtown” area. While Apple Valley’s leaders hope this will help everything from residential growth to new business, questions remain to be answered on how effective this new transit line will be and whether it can help business growth when most of the metro’s transit system is developed to funnel people into the city from the suburbs and not the other way around.

From the article:

An office building — one with a large employer as an anchor tenant — is high on the city’s priority list for filling some of the empty space. Nordquist said the city would like to see up to 100,000 square feet of office space, a total that likely would require an anchor tenant taking about 50,000 square feet.


“New construction is expensive, and there’s no shortage of existing space that would be cheaper for an office user,” Karkula said. Large chunks of vacant office space include the former offices of Delta Air Lines and Blue Cross and Blue Shield in Eagan and the former Brown College campus in Mendota Heights.

With so much other open development opportunities available elsewhere, Apple Valley appears to be jumping the gun on trying to build out and anticipate development needs around a transit line which hasn’t even opened yet and will remain in its infancy for years. The current transit system is oriented towards one-way travel: suburb -> city in the morning and city -> suburb in the evening. While BRT has the potential to fix this, somewhat, the City of Apple Valley is hoping that people from other areas are going to be willing to spend over an hour on transit systems with several transfers to get to Apple Valley. This will continue to be a non-starter for years to come.

What Apple Valley is currently doing here is very similar to what they did with the start of Central Village nearly 15 years ago. They are hedging bets on broken thought processes and a clear lack of understanding of how they fit into the metro area. They need to wait for BRT to mature (which it likely never will) and instead of using nearly $1 million in tax dollars to retrofit buildings now for companies which have already turned away from Apple Valley (hey guys, where was the huge press event where you admitted you lost the company you touted as the future of Apple Valley’s business sector?), the waiting game should continue for a while so you aren’t left with more unused and outdated development for business which will likely never come.

What do you think about this one? If you were located in another part of the metro would you be willing to take the LRT to BRT to work in Apple Valley? Do you think the city should be using nearly $1 million in tax dollars to build out commercial space for companies which are likely to never come? Do you think BRT will ever become the transit line the county and cities hope? Whatever you have to say about this one go ahead and comment on as I’d love to hear your thoughts.

SunThisweek Publishes Story about UFO Encounter?

While this isn’t the first time SunThisweek has stooped so low as to fill empty space in its newspaper with trash about UFOs, I am surprised quite surprised they spent the time to not only put it in the paper which no one reads but to admit they wrote about it on Twitter! If this was the first time they referenced a UFO story in their history we may have been able to give them a pass but this most definitely isn’t the first time they’ve stooped so low.

From the article:

Terror beset an Apple Valley couple late one night last month when an unidentified flying object appeared outside their bedroom window.

According to testimony provided by the wife, light from the silent, low-flying object began shining into the bedroom just after 1 a.m. Saturday, April 27.


The Apple Valley Police Department received no reports of anomalous aerial phenomena in the early hours of April 27, police Capt. Michael Marben said.

Now, not only did they waste their readers’ time with this ‘story’, they also wasted Apple Valley taxpayer dollars by asking the Apple Valley PD if they had received any reports of ‘anomalous aerial phenomena’. I get it; the paper had nothing to write about and needed to fill space and thought this would be funny or something, but seriously? This took it too far for an article not published on April 1st.

What do you think?

What Makes You Attached to the MSP Metro?

According to this MinnPost article which discusses what makes people attached to a particular city. The article discusses with Katherine Loflin, a placemaking expert and lead consultant for a Gallup and Knight Foundation study on what drives attachment to a city. While the results of this study are interesting, most people may disagree with the findings.

From the article:

If people can find jobs and reasonable places to live, they’ll be attached enough. Worrying about quality of life, amenities, public spirit and all that squishy stuff seems a bit trivial in an economy that still recovering from one of the worst recessions ever.

But Loflin makes a business case for love of a place. These days, those people most likely to drive the growth of a city, namely young people between the ages of 25 and 34, have reprioritized. Quality of life registers high on their list of necessities. Corporations are finding that increasingly they have to sell talented recruits on the place where they would be relocating as well as the job.

As a hiring manager working in a field which is showing rapid growth and high competition during the turned down economy, I have been fighting to both recruit and retain people for my teams. While my experience is limited and certainly not as wide as the number of people looked at by this study, my experience in no way mirrors what Loflin has said. Talented recruits just out of school or with less than 10 years experience have just as much desire for high salary, regardless of their current location in our outside Minnesota, as anyone else I have talked to recently. You can sell them all you like on the greatness of the MSP metro but they know two things: money talks and it’s freakishly frigid here. When recent grad students are requesting six figure salaries without more than a few months of relevant real-world experience and getting offers from elsewhere with it, I can give you a 99.999% guarantee that this study is bunk.

What do you think about this one? Would you pass over a much higher income elsewhere just so you could stay where the people are? Are you surprised that recently minted masters-level students without much relevant experience are receiving such high offers when you hear in the news that this group is so hard pressed for cash lately? What attaches you to the MSP metro? Whatever you have to say about this one go ahead and comment on as I’d love to hear what you have to say.

Should All Lights Be Right Turn on Red?

A couple of red traffic lights against a blue sky originally uploaded by Horia Varlan

According to a recent SunThisweek Letter to the Editor from a Burnsville resident, the lack of a modern traffic signal coupled with a sign forbidding right turns on red has created a situation where lengthy delays for no good reason are frequent. One has to wonder whether most, if not all, traffic signals should be upgraded and have right turn restrictions eliminated.

From the Letter to the Editor:

Isn’t it time to rethink the no-right-turn sign at the foot of the southbound exit of I-35E as it controls traffic entering County Road 42?


Currently, I estimate that one out of every five drivers disregards the no-right-turn sign and I can completely understand their frustration after waiting, in some instances, as long as a minute and a half, while no westbound cars are even visible at this intersection.

How many times are you sitting at a light about to turn right and realize you’re forbidden to do so by the tiny little sign that mocks you as no traffic approaches? This is often the case at many lights in the state, especially those that ignore or simply do not support detection of cars at an intersection with no cross traffic. It’s not only frustrating but increasingly irrelevant now that we have the ability and, in many cases, the built-in support for smart signals which simply are not doing their jobs. For once I agree with a Letter to the Editor writer entirely. This, and most other SOTR signals, need to be reevaluated for right turns on red and have the smart technology installed or utilized as intended.

What do you think about this one? Do you agree that forbidden right turns on red is generally useless? How often do you see people ignore the tiny signs suggesting they do otherwise? Do you think more often than not signals should be detecting cross traffic presence and changing the light to alleviate stacked traffic in the other direction? Whatever you have to say about this one go ahead and comment on as I’d love to hear what you have to say.