Sunday Summary – January 11, 2015

sunday-summary-logoThe holiday lull is over and normal traffic has resumed here on  As you drive through the week, here are some places to exit for critique, complaint, challenge and  fun.

Building for bikes

Things We Build Even Though Use May Be Seasonal works to undermine the common justification for not building bike lanes by agreeing that bike traffic does drop in the winter, but (publicly funded) park and swimming pool traffic does, too.  Compare this seasonal variation on the Catch-22 that few people bike because the infrastructure doesn’t support it, but then we shouldn’t build better infrastructure because no one will use it to the policy problem in People Like Their Cars, below.  Bicycle Trust Fund, meanwhile, considers a bike registration fee to fund bike infrastructure (and perhaps buy cycling a seat at the table); commenters leap to criticize this plan for several reasons, but also propose some other strategies.

Convenience store

Cars as Keurigs explores or exploits the analogy between those convenient single serving coffee pods and single occupancy vehicles compared to transit and full pots of coffee. Commenters helpfully extend the analogy and consider the question of convenience, comparing coffee and oil as fuel, and more. Somewhat related, “People Like Their Cars” questions whether it is a love of cars which leads to car-only thinking or a lack of convenient alternatives that creates the love of cars.  Comments consider how to live car-free, how land use affects transportation choices, and the perception that transit is wonderful on vacation in Europe but curiously impossible back in the USA.

Single serving coffee and vehicles or mass transit for people and caffeine

Single serving coffee and vehicles or mass transit for people and caffeine


The Nicollet Mall Redesign and the Failure of Planning is the conversation starter of the week with 100+ comments. The much-publicized redesign of Nicollet Mall fails because the biggest problem is not on the mall but is the building fronts, and the folks “advocating for urban improvements are precisely the ones who are creating most of the problems”. The many comments evaluate the storefronts, hash over skyways, and continue to critique the Christmas Market. This post includes an offer for a free copy of Jane Jacobs’ The Death and Life of Great American Cities (for Minneapolis Downtown Improvement District board members only). Lasalle Avenue: Downtown Minneapolis’ Worst Street moves over a block to take a dim view of streetscape on Lasalle; comments pick up on the parking ramps and the impenetrable building fronts.

Safety Center

The Flashing Yellow Arrow and the Yellow Trap continues the analysis of traffic signals (Part 1 covered signals in general here; Part 2 dealt with left turn signals here) by considering the particular perils of the Yellow Trap.  Inspired by Ramsey County’s plans to reconstruct Randolph Avenue in Saint Paul, Debunking the LOS Extortion Argument rejects the (prevailing) idea that if we don’t expand roads and intersections to improve LOS, “drivers will get frustrated and start to drive their cars in dangerous ways” and advocates for considering safety beyond accident numbers so, in urban areas, safety includes slowing car traffic and creating a safe and welcoming environment for all modes of traffic (including those on foot); comments include times/dates for meetings about the Randolph project as well as discussion of design issues on Randolph (and more generally).

Flashing Yellow Arrow indication for "Four Lane Death Roads"

Flashing Yellow Arrow indication for “Four Lane Death Roads”

Highly visual

Main Street – Gaylord, Minnesota shows us the next of the Minnesota county seats (Glencoe was the previous trip). We’ve been enjoying bike rides around Saint Paul every few weeks and this week compiles a photo essay of house numbers along many routes in I’ve Got Your Number.

Charts ‘n’ Maps

Maps and Charts this week are: Map Monday: Rooftop Solar Grid Parity and All the 2015 Transit (projects in 2015 in North America), Comparing National Gas TaxesGas Prices vs. Real Wage Over Time and Property Values vs. Traffic.

Keep those sidewalks shoveled and have a great week!

A well-shoveled sidewalk

A well-shoveled sidewalk


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