A Little Inspiration from Fargo

DSC02053In last week’s post, I discussed how Little Falls, MN, has been designed over the years to keep people apart. This leads to a lack of creativity and, I believe, economic activity. As one of this blog’s readers noted, Little Falls is not alone in its lack of social opportunities. Rural Minnesota towns have been swept up in larger societal trends that seemed like a good idea at the time … like designing our cities around cars and limited zoning districts … but that are now leading to their demise.

It doesn’t have to be this way.

The city of Fargo, North Dakota, was on its way to a dead downtown. It has been revitalized through the work of Doug Burgum, who grew up in Fargo, moved away as a young adult, and then returned. He thinks the key to a vibrant community is walkability. His story comes courtesy of Pollen. As you read it, think about ways his ideas could be implemented in Little Falls.

How can we make Little Falls more walkable? How can we encourage the formation of businesses, organizations, and events that people want to walk to?

5 thoughts on “A Little Inspiration from Fargo

  1. I have been wondering what it would take to change the traffic patterns for downtown Little Falls. There is probably little that can be done with Broadway, but it seems southbound traffic could be rerouted at 1st Ave North to go a block west and come back out at 1st Ave South. That would give us two downtown blocks of one way traffic. Parking could then be changed to diagonal rather than parallel thereby increasing the number of parking spots on 1st Street and thus increasing 1st Street pedestrian traffic. The only other element then, would be to attract the right kind of shops to all those empty downtown spaces, shops that would attract pedestrian shoppers.

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    • Good thoughts, Christian! When the Highway 10 bypass was slated to come to Little Falls, locals knew it would cause downtown traffic to drop … and it did. This was part of the larger pro-automobile trend that killed downtowns by shooting traffic around cities instead of through them.

      I like the idea of diagonal parking, mostly because I am horrible at parallel parking. I wonder how many people avoid parking downtown because of that? I know if I have to be downtown, I find a spot on the main drag that I can dive into or I go around back to one of the parking lots.

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  2. Mary….thank you for your volunteer time writing all of this GREAT info. It is people like YOU, that need to run for elected office. Please consider. You are a community asset for sure and NOT being utilized to the fullest.

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