Monthly Archives: June 2013

Three Half-Assed Freeways That Nobody Will Miss

We’ve been down this road before. Urban freeways impact their neighborhoods through noise, pollution, and by creating barriers to biking, walking, and local trips. No matter how many sound walls you erect, freeways erode quality of life for a quarter- or half-mile in any direction. Fumes, noise, asthma, speeding traffic… nobody wants to live next […]

The Cases for (and Against) Public and Private Networks

This post is co-authored with David Levinson (a displaced Marylander who lives in Minneapolis, and who blogs at The Transportationist and Streets.MN) We have explored the case for subsidy for transit and roads in previous weeks, discussing the pros and cons of capital and operating subsidy. Yet our discussion has largely focused on individual facilities or projects. […]

Podcast #36 – East Side Better Block with Andrew Howard

This podcast this week is a conversation with Andrew Howard, one of the founders of the Better Block Project. Better Block is an example of tactical urbanism, which describes a series of approaches to planning, placemaking, and community outreach that encourages experimentation, temporary installations, and improvisiation for urban designers and neighborhood planners. Andrew Howard is […]

Regent Street, London

In a West End town, a dead end world

When I first heard about the new development called the Shops at West End (WE), the Pet Shop Boys played in my head. My vision of The West End came from London, roughly the area between Piccadilly Circus and Charing Cross. They are not similarly located, London’s version is substantially closer to the City (2.2 […]

The Politics of Dumb Infrastructure

We have a political situation in the United States where Democrats are too eager to build anything if it creates a job and the Republicans are too willing to call a project a boondoggle without first investigating its merit. It is this standstill that Josh Barro argues in How Republicans Made Both Parties Stupid On […]

Time Lapse of the Green Line Construction

No big article today from me… but…  Here is a fun time lapse of the Green Line LRT construction on the U of M campus. All pictures were taken from the pedestrian bridge near Coffman Union looking east. (I knew this would be useful someday!) This is a work in progress. I will be adding more […]

Do Bike Lanes Impact Housing Values?

Can good walking and bicycling facilities increase the value of your home? Perhaps more importantly, can the lack of bike lanes decrease your home’s value? Or, have you heard replies from engineers, planners, and politicians like “nobody’s asking for it” and “we can’t afford it” in response to pleas for better and safer pedestrian and […]

Rochester’s Zip Rail holds first EIS meetings

The Zip Rail project to connect the Twin Cities to Rochester with a fast train service has finally entered into a Tier I Environmental Impact Statement process, more than two decades after the concept of connecting Rochester was first dangled in front of the public. The EIS team held their first open houses this past […]

A Form-Based Code Would Help Dinkytown

“Why would anybody ever eat anything besides breakfast food?” – Leslie Knope “People are idiots, Leslie.” – Ron Swanson When I heard Al’s might get redeveloped, I thought the end of the breakfast world was approaching. My first reaction was “you can take away Al’s Breakfast but you’ll have to pry that bacon from my […]

A busload of farecards

Free transit? A thought experiment.

The foremost response to my thought experiment on farebox recovery is that transit should be free. This idea is not new, there is an article on free public transport wikipedia, with some examples. So why don’t we treat transit like we treat elevators? Functionally they appear very similar, though one operates on the horizontal and […]