Sunday Summary – May 4, 2014

sunday-summary-logoHere’s what you need to know about transportation, land use and related fun stuff from the past (cold, wet) week on

In Memoriam: Jim Oberstar (1934-2014) not only observes the passing of former Minnesota Congressman Oberstar, but reminds us of his contributions to transportation policy and his passion for cycling.

Projects: This week, posts on particular projects or locations got the lion’s share of comments.  Two posts on the proposed mixed use project at Franklin and Lyndale Avenue area (1) Frank-Lyn: A Wedge in The Wedge which looks around at a neighborhood meeting at opponents and comments on demographics, housing and transportation choices in an urban neighborhood, and (2) Frank-Lyn II: The Opposition’s Bad Arguments tries to pick apart the objections about parking and traffic raised. As you can expect on, the both posts and comments are generally pro-urbanism and pro-density (along with some very specific discussion of the neighborhood meeting with video).

Moving out to the suburbs, On 66th Street, Frontage Matters illustrates one issue which should be part of the design and planning of the reconstruction of Richfield’s main street in a couple of years.  And to St. Paul where How To Mitigate Grand Avenue’s Parking Problem makes a radically simple suggestion.  And back to Minneapolis and Simple Suggestions for Grant Street which proposes steps which could improve this small street near Loring Park (with many additional suggestions in the comments). I hope planners and elected officials are reading this stuff (or readers could share relevant links with their Council representatives).

Policy: What Southwest Light Rail Conversations Get Wrong could be classified as a post about a specific project, but really it’s about the much larger policy problem of how federal funding drives transportation projects (and not in a good direction); Comments for the St Paul Bikeways Plan are now closed, but Mr Gorbachev, Tear Down This Wall boldly demands the next step: implement the policy (as quickly as possible).  Somewhat related to implementing a bike plan, planners should read What’s the Value of a Lane? for some thoughts about how we allocate space (and could reclaim some space for non-car traffic and other things).

Little videos: Google Self-Driving Car on City Streets stops for pedestrians while What causes congestion? is the next video about transportation economics.

Photos: Detritus of Winter shows the stuff left behind after the snow melts; Looking Down from airplanes tells us much about land use.

Audio, sort of: Bells & Whistles uses words to comment on bells, whistles, sirens and horns and wonder about more civil vehicle communication devices.

Charts of the Day this week continue to meter out information from MnDOT’s Annual Transportation Performance Report 2012.  This week, the theme is funding -the sources and uses of funds by MnDOT and the Metropolitan Council: MnDOT Sources and Uses of Funds, Metropolitan Council Capital Improvement Plan (is funded in large part by the federal government); Debt Service (is increasing sharply); and MnDOT Construction Program.

Have a fine week doing the outdoor things you avoided last week while it was raining!


Betsey Buckheit

About Betsey Buckheit

Betsey rides her pretty blue city bike, walks her energetic black dogs, and agitates for more thoughtful, long-range decision-making in Northfield, MN. You can follow her blog at