Sunday Summary – April 12, 2015

Image of Sunday Summary logoSomehow, the final Fabulous Four in our streets.m(ad)n(ess) tournament did not get quite the publicity of the NCAA version, but did give us our policy vs. project Championship – (1) Green Line vs. (2) Thrive MSP 2040 – results should be available soon!  The rest of the week on is right here, sorted, summarized and sign-posted for your reading convenience.


Perhaps because we are on Day 12 of #30daysofbiking or perhaps because it is Spring, this week brings more bike-related posts.  A couple of future bike-related projects are highlighted: first, Washington Avenue’s Experimental Signals gives a graphic preview of bike-specific signals to be installed on Washington Avenue (along with the bike lanes) and Survey Results: Two-Thirds Use West River Parkway for Bicycling follows up on last week’s post about the slow West River Parkway mudslide repairs. Are The Plymouth Bridge Lanes A Success? reviews the bike lanes on the Plymouth Avenue bridge and finds they are an improvement, but one which highlights an opportunity for something better, more direct and more useful on the Hennepin Avenue Bridge.

From street level to 30,000 feet, Why Should Minnesota Cities Focus on Bikes, Anyway? tries to make the case that working for bikeable streets and places is a way to accomplish much, much more.


Washington Avenue Traffic Signal Animation

What Washington Avenue’s bike signal might look like

Personal reflections

Wisconsin Is Alright takes a look at Wisconsin and meditates a bit about how we are shaped by our places (and puts in a plug for Madison as a great place).  Musings of a Minnesotan Preservationist tries to bring preservationists, urbanists and others into a common conversation about our built environment; the comments pick up on the example of Nye’s Polonaise Room.  More On Bad Downtown Streets is a second post about unattractive streets in downtown Minneapolis (the first about Lasalle Avenue is here) by taking a walk and a camera down South 10th Street.

Photo of garage door as example of ugly streetscape

Some of the South 10th Street scenery

Places and projects

Kensington Park – Ten Years Later is another Ten Years Later post (see the earlier Midtown Exchange post, too) which takes us on a detailed tour of Richfield’s Kensington Park which is a successful mixed-use project with condominium units, townhomes and retail space, that falls a bit short on creating a really walkable, multi-modal environment (but notes that the auto-oriented Richfield environment is a big factor).  From Kensington Park’s new mixed use development to Stadium Village and redevelopment of an old mixed use area: Stadium Village is Minnesota’s Best New Urbanism takes a look at improvements to the University of Minnesota area Stadium Village and finds a lot to like; the need to force some difficult change in order to be able to break old habits is also noted. Commenters agree and add some additional detail about what the improvements feel like on the street.

The Stillwater Bridge Story II is, obviously, the second part of a series on the development of the new St. Croix River bridge (the first part is here); part II takes us from 1998 to the final design in great and interesting detail.

Stillwater Bridge: Braun Proposal Rendering. (Photo MnDOT)

Stillwater Bridge: Braun Proposal Rendering. (Photo MnDOT)


The Minneapolis Transit Spine That Could is a detailed consideration of the proposed downtown Minneapolis 7th Street South design changes and also some proposals for even better improvements for transit.

On the Blue and Green Lines, Signals on Washington Avenue Transit Mall reproduces a letter from the director of the Blue Line extension concerning signal timing for the Green Line, a subject which has been covered extensively on  The letter provides data about wait times and other things, but not much change.  Comparing Transportation Violation Rates unpacks recent headlines about transit fare scofflaws on Metro Transit light rail lines (4.6 to 9 percent of Green Line Riders evade fares; Blue Line rates are between 2.6 and 3.6 percent) by comparing fare evasion in other major transit systems (and evading HOV lane fares, too) and asking whether more fancy technology or just some human beings would help. This was the comment winner of the week with discussion of evasion vs. non-compliance and addition consideration of possible solutions.

In the passenger rail department, Following the Tracks to Duluth follows an earlier post on the Empire Builder route to look at the proposed Northern Lights Express project between Minneapolis and Duluth and ask what it would take to restore passenger rail in this corridor.

7th Street South proposal

7th Street South proposal


Starting conversations

What We Talk About When We Talk About Homelessness is a conversational opening to talk about homelessness and poverty.  I’ll just let the post speak for itself:

For now, though, I submit the simple observation that there is a false note to plans designed to address “homelessness”, which we allow to stand in for so much, without addressing the many difficult structural inequities of which “homelessness” – in both its most literal and its most euphemistic sense – is a symptom. Such plans articulate the problem of poverty not from the perspective of the poor, but rather from the perspective of those who are bothered by their presence. We absolutely need to think seriously about how to alleviate the public housing logjam that has been getting some recent attention by contributors andother journalists, and to find ways to build affordable units that are actually affordable for people with severely limited resources. Thinking about affordable housing’s relationship to minimum and fair-wage requirements is an important step.

Audiovisual department

Photo bike ride:  Another bike ride around Saint Paul, this one from September 2014 through Macalester-Groveland, Highland Park, and West End (others are here) which might inspire some of the #30DaysofBiking riders.

Charts of the Week:  Forecast Greenhouse Emissions by ModeVisual Field at Different SpeedsCommon Forms of Distracted Driving, and Global Migration Between Continents.

Graphic novel: The next installment Bicyclopolis: Episode Six, The Siege of Fort Snelling.

Parody: If Jack and His Buddies Never Made It Out Of New Jersey reimagines an add in the style of Jack Kerouac.

What you could see along your bike ride in Saint Paul

What you could see along your bike ride in Saint Paul

Keep reading, writing, and riding this week!  And pay those taxes, of course.  Have a great week!




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