Important ideas department: Streets.mn has trying to expand the conversation about transportation and land use by increasing equity and intentionally including voices not usually heard. This week, On the Politics of the Rhetoric of Choice analyzes how we describe public transit (and how we might change that conversation). For a personal perspective, read the latest Transpo Convo: Rashaad on Snelling (earlier Convos are here) Finally, for a video look at early transportation equity, watch the short video Women’s Independence and the Bicycle.
Current events: On Tuesday, September 30, Streets.mn joins the Railvolution with a panel discussion at the annual Rail-volution conference with streets.mn bloggers debating pros and cons of the Skyways, regional transit expansion, and streetcar growth. I’m betting a future post or two will recap the discussion for those of us who didn’t attend the conference.
Citizen engagement department: On the positive engagement side, A Better Block Indeed! PARKing Day Rocks! celebrates one observance of 2014 PARKing Day in Minneapolis where local residents try to improve their space and publicize issues about parking, parks and public life. Some not so positive citizen participation is documented in No Need for Vandalism on the Greenway & Kenilworth which photographs recent anti-Southwest light rail transit statements on the bike paths (with multiple links to past streets.mn posts which more thoughtfully consider and criticize the project).
Infrastructure improvement department: Recent headlines announced that bridge inspections reveal the St. Paul Kellogg Bridge is structurally deficient; streets.mn asks how much bridge is required to address the problem Infrastructure Opportunists and the Kellogg Bridge. Motivation For Safer Roads, the comment winner of the week, considers changing how we evaluate the level of service (LOS) of roadways and making transportation engineers’ compensation partly dependent on improvements. Commenters discuss the former with specific examples of possible improvements around Minneapolis.
History department: Minnesota Gadgetbahn – When the Future of Twin Cities Transit Was Up in the Air chronicles the history of Personal Rapid Transit and where it went (mostly nowhere); commenters provide some defense of PRT, additional criticism and a few examples.
Quick looks: The Friday Photo: Two Views of Minneapolis’ Historic Churches shows dramatic scenes not usually appearing on postcards. Gas Stations: Where have they gone? shows one repurposed gas station and wonders what happened to other interesting bits of vernacular architecture which used to be part of the urban landscape. The Urbanist’s Dream City looks at user-friendly density, transit and design in Tokyo. Behind the Green Line takes us on a bike ride from Summit Hill to the Green Line’s starting point (other photo-rides are here). Also take a look at Women’s Independence and the Bicycle describing how bicycles helped women go more places without depending on (male) others for a ride. This week there is one Chart of the Day: Single-family Home Vacancy Rate and one Map of the Day: The Railvolution Guide to Transit Accessible MSP.
The streets of Minnesota have been particularly lovely this week with changing leaves against warm blue skies. Enjoy it while it lasts and have a great week!