Want great streets? Vote.
Vote for candidates who will look at the evidence for safer streets, walkable places, bikeable cities and allocate your tax dollars to build better streets. Voting is even easier this year with Free Metro Transit on Election Day, November 4th, 2014 required by state law this year (but only this year; the funding allocation expires on November 5, 2014); this post has additional election resources for finding polling places and more.
Voting is entry level advocacy; take the first step.
Allocating space and shifting values
How we allocate space in transportation corridors reflects how we prioritize modes of transportation; this common streets.mn theme has some notable posts this week. Four-Lane Death Roads Should Be Illegal (the comment winner of the week and also picked up on MinnPost) prescribes road diets and generates lively discussion about street design (both in general and particular places), safety, transportation priorities and more.
Making Room for Transit Makes Streets Better for Everyone is a look by a Washington area blogger at the Green Line’s progress toward making streets for people, not just cars. No Big Bucks Needed for Complete Streets! takes a trip to New York City to consider how some of the quicker and cheaper strategies for improving streets for people might be transplanted back to Saint Paul.
A One-Track Mind continues the thinking about the proposed Southwest Light Rail by considering a single-track solution to some SWLRT space allocation problems with freight and passenger rail.
Look and listen
Listen to the latest Podcast #75 – Restoring University Avenue Parking with Chris Ferguson, University Avenue business owner and leader of Parking Possibilities MSP.
Look to see if the light is green with Traffic Signal Trivia which is not so much trivia as an illustrated history of traffic signals (last week’s Seeing Green (1937) Inside Traffic Lights video might be an excellent companion piece).
Look at Charts of the Day: This week, charts track long-term trends with Childhood Obesity over Time and Homeownership over Time. Charts typically don’t elicit many comments, but there is a lively discussion about home ownership compared to renting in terms of costs, benefits, reasons to own, and more. Chart of the Day Part 2: Lane Miles Revisited, Lane Miles Per Estimated Market Value, Lanes Miles of Metro Counties Per 10,000 People
Look and listen to the Saturday Music Video: Circles (AK).
Ford Parkway Reconstruction – Close but Not Quite critiques planned bike lanes asking Ramsey County to “mature past door-zone bike lanes and really take a step into the 21st century.” Across town, Steeling Myself for the Winter (Bike) Commute looks at winters past on the Loring Bike Bridge and advocates for consistent maintenance of the infrastructure this winter (and illustrates how, after voting, follow-up with elected officials and city staff is also critical).
Rochester, MN map: Surface Parking Lots continues mapping places and nonplaces (see last week’s Map Monday) with some suggestions about improvements Rochester could consider. At the End of the Green Line, a Building That Would Say “Welcome to Lowertown” – sketches a solution to provide visitor information and a community center for locals.
Transit and more
Could Go-To Banking be the Ticket? Part 1, Go-To Banking, Part 2, and The Bank for Better Buses, Part 3 asks questions about expanding the Metropolitan Transit Go-To card and other ways to expand transportation and banking options. New Poll Shows Public Wants Public Transit… Again looks at some of the survey numbers and advocates for transit advocacy (voting is a great start).
Talk of Secession in St. George about municipal boundary changes in Louisiana. The Urbanism Crowdsourcing Hodge Podge Twitter Grab Bag is just that. Halloween is the Sidewalk Holiday considers the personality of holidays where Thanksgiving is inward looking to dining room tables, but Halloween takes us around the neighborhood and onto the porches (Election Day should be a holiday with equal shelf space at Target devoted to voting and democracy themed decorations as pumpkins, witches and (sigh) sexy nurse costumes).
The theme for the Summary this week is obviously voting and elections. Great places depend on public funding, city permits, and other machinery of government in addition to passionate grassroots supporters; electing candidates who see projects in context, costs in the long term, and opportunities for change is critical.
Have a great week and vote!