It has been a busy week here on streets.mn and here it is:
Making things better department
Streets.mn writers like to make things better. This week Making Downtown East Commons a Great Place recommends thinking about park programming and what people will do when they get there before designing the park (and considers the long-term costs, too; commenters wonder about tailgating). Making West 7th Street Less Auto-Centric Involves MORE Roads proposes moving through-traffic from Saint Paul’s West 7th by adding a few strategic road bits.
Suburb to Suburb Express Buses: The Final Frontier is a detailed look at the Twin Cities metro and possible routes between suburbs which might support express buses; commenters weigh in with equally detailed responses. Everything That’s Wrong with Small Town Transit calculates costs of taking transit in Mankato compared to driving and finds transit just can’t compete with free parking. An Unpleasant Experience on a Bus describes one and generates good conversation about transit experience and ways to help make difficult situations better (speak up, for instance, and ask for change). West Broadway LRT sketches possibilities; commenters who know the area ask questions about how possible it could be.
Legislative affairs department
8 Reasons Biking and Walking Should be Part of the State Transportation Bill provides just what it says (along with some nice charts); comments consider whether bike/ped funding should be at the state or local level and discuss Move MN advocacy. Last week Bicycle Trust Fund proposed a bike tax to fund bike infrastructure; this week Counterpoint: We Don’t Need No Stinking Bike Tax argues the other side which envisions efficient use of city streets and denser development to generate more tax revenue without charging cyclists; commenters discuss tax policy (are dedicated funding streams or general fund better) and economics (should positive externalities be subsidized?). Comment winner of the week is Development and Taxes in Linden Hills links Linden Hills residents opposition to new development to their higher taxes. Commenters consider neighborhood character, gentrification, and details of development in Linden Hills and elsewhere.
Put a Lid on It? reviews recent buzz about putting a lid over I-35 near the University of Minnesota and brings the discussion back down to earth (Freeway lids, both in this location and more generally have been considered on streets.mn before). What’s In a Brick? considers the functional and aesthetic qualities of brick for signaling bike/ped intersection treatments; commenters point out that Minnesota is not the Netherlands when it comes to weather and its impacts.
Look and Listen
Listen to Podcast #79: Saint Paul’s Ward 2 with Rebecca Noecker to kick off Election Season 2015 with a conversation with Rebecca Noecker who is running for the open seat (created by Dave Thune’s retirement) representing Saint Paul’s west side.
Multitask while listening and look at the Friday Photo – Rendering the Rendering which adds some realism to architectural renderings for the Nicollet Hotel block in Minneapolis. Then consider the eclectic group of Charts of the Day this week with Minnesota Freeway Fatalities over Time, Gas Tax vs. Transit Fare Increases over Time , Speed of Dedicated Bus Lanes in New York City plus two Maps of the Day State Highway Taxes vs. State Highway Spending and 10-Year Traffic Trends at MnDOT’s Automated Recorders.
Look and listen with this week’s videos. Back On Track: The Rebirth of St. Paul’s Union Depot is a long (57 minutes) video which chronicles the renovation of the historic depot; Sailor – Traffic Jam (Music Video) is quick fun.
Tomorrow is Martin Luther King Day when we should all be inspired again by his dream and his oratory. Land use and transportation can be tools of oppression and marginalization, too, as streets.mn equity conversations this year have begun to explore. Have a great week as we keep working toward building places help us gather together safely.
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