Sunday Summary – May 10, 2015

Image of Sunday Summary logoA Happy Mothers’ Day to reader moms! Great gifts for streets.moms would be a new bicycle (perhaps a bakfiets for hauling kids and stuff), a walk around her neighborhood (with light conversation about pedestrian facilities), or a ride on the Green Line to a wonderful brunch. As free-range parenting and urban design have been in the news here, maybe Mothers’ Day would be a great time to ask your Mom (or for Moms to ask themselves) what she thinks about kids, safety, and getting around town. But whether you’re heading out to see Mom, are a Mom waiting for breakfast in bed, a Mom who refuses to buy into the corporate hoo-ha of the day, or doing something else entirely different this Sunday, here’s what you need to read from the week on

In the news department posts have wider influence than just this blog.  This week Blogger Featured on WCCO highlights writer Nick Magrino’s appearance on ‘CCO following his post The Met Council is Spending $6,000,000 on this Unnecessary Pedestrian Bridge? (which was also picked up by MinnPost). Featured on KARE 11 with contributor Sean Hayford Oleary discussing the disappearing suburban crosswalks in Monte Castleman‘s recent post of the same name. posts are also regularly picked up by MinnPost, Streetsblog, and other media.

Also in the news, Saint Paul Bike to Work Week showcases Saint Paul events for Bike to Work week this week, plus hails the newly adopted Saint Paul Bike Plan by highlighting several high-impact projects from the plan.

Saint Paul Bike to Work Week poster

Saint Paul Bike to Work Day poster

Understanding issues

These posts cover different issues, but each one tries to help us understand what’s behind the headlines.  A couple of posts work to explain what’s happening at the State Capitol as the legislative session screeches to a close (since the legislature is Constitutionally constrained and “may not meet in regular session after the first Monday following the third Saturday in May of any year.”)

Why I Support Move MN is written by Ethan Fawley, Minneapolis Bike Coalition executive director and one of the partners in the Move MN coalition. The post summarizes the (Republican-controlled) House and (DF-controlled) Senate transportation funding bills, but moves on to critiquing the idealist view of transportation funding promoted by Strong Towns “No New Roads” campaign and arguing for the more pragmatic Move MN position. Move MN’s proposal has been written about before on for more background. The comments for this post continue the idealist vs. pragmatist debate and are well worth reading to understand the tension in a nutshell.

Or, you could read The Infrastructure Debate in a Nutshell which pragmatically uses one example (the 10th Avenue Bridge) from a Star Tribune Op Ed piece to illustrate the problem of (1) simply appropriating more money to repair and build transportation facilities or rethinking what roads and bridges we need and how to retool the system; and (2) what projects should be state level issues and which are purely local. Call this one pragmatically idealist. Commenters here continue to unpack the details of the 10th Avenue Bridge as well as larger funding issues.

Let’s Rethink the Regional Transit Sales Tax takes a suggestion from a previous post to create a sales tax in Hennepin and Ramsey Counties for transit in those counties, considers the regional transit sales tax and suggests a compromise for legislators to consider. Commenters consider both the proposed compromise, but also carry on a conversation about urban vs. suburban planning, urbanism and elitism, and other underlying political tensions; even if the specifics of transit funding don’t interest you, the comments are a good introduction to transportation planning politics.

Beyond the legislative session, A Primer on “Density” takes a word which gets tossed around quite a lot and explains different types of density and how these metrics might be used, as well as comparing the Twin Cities density (of several sorts) to other places.  Map of the Day: Fiscal Performance of MN Roadways has a map, but also a discussion about roadways which do (and don’t) pay for themselves.  Green Line Tragedy a Wake-up Call uses the recent pedestrian fatality on the Green Line to review the challenges facing pedestrians as they try to get to and from train platforms.  Commenters add personal stories of problems, how they’ve seen pedestrians behaving, and making suggestions for improvements.

Minnesota State Capitol (Photo: Nick Busse:/Flickr Creative Commons)


2015 Dinkytown a Bit More Chain Store-y Than 2007 Dinkytown, Study Finds is part walk down memory lane (via Google Street View) to see whether Dinkytown has more chain stores now than it used to, but also considers the impact of fewer local businesses and more housing (which has certainly come to Dinkytown). Commenters continue to unpack what counts as a “local” business as well as considering the merits of particular businesses, chain or not.  The Linden Hills Model for Neighborhood Participation looks at two neighborhood association voting procedures and advocates for Linden Hill’s system for greater participation and equity in local decision-making.

Touring the area on bike, boat and feet

This week has three posts which take us around parts of the Twin Cities metro in different ways.  Walk This Way: 31-mile Loop of the Grand Rounds Scenic Byway is a Spring photo-tour of the Grand Rounds by foot.  I Thought I Heard Goats does show us some goats in another bike tour around Saint Paul’s Frogtown, Como and Highland Park neighborhoods in September 2014, but we also see historic homes, gardens and the lovely Saint Columba’s church. Views from the water are rarer on, but Urban Boating (Excelsior and Lake Minnetonka) provides a boat tour of Lake Minnetonka with a stop on shore in Excelsior.

View of downtown Minneapolis from 42nd Avenue Bridge over the Mississippi River

Walk This Way: View of downtown Minneapolis from 42nd Avenue Bridge over the Mississippi River

Views from other places

Lessons on Biking from Barcelona is a trip to Spain and a look at the bike infrastructure in Barcelona (another author  visited Seville and other European cities last year if you’d like to continue your armchair bike tour). A post imported from Birmingham, England looks at Dutch infrastructure for elderly people and those with mobility challenges: Enabling the Disabled: A View From the UK.

Barcelona street scene

Barcelona street scene

Continuing conversations

The Biggest Danger to Kids? Bad Urban Design! takes up from writer Bill Lindeke’s MinnPost piece about free range parenting to argue that bad design creates neighborhoods where freely-ranging is dangerous, difficult or impossible. In the comments, the issue of school placement is taken up (Schools and where to put them keeps recurring here on with posts about Mankato, New Ulm, St. Cloud and Alexandria).  The Stillwater Bridge Story: Part Four continues the detailed history and analysis of the planning and building of the new Saint Croix River bridge and brings us up to the present day.

Audiovisual department

Chart of the Day: Bike Lanes vs. No Bike Lanes and Travel Time is the week’s only chart, but we still have maps: Map of the Day: Fiscal Performance of MN Roadways is more than a map (see above) about roads which pay for themselves (or don’t) and Map Monday: MnPass Holders in the Twin Cities Metro.

Finally Bicyclopolis: Episode Ten, The Meat Axe is the last episode of Bicyclopolis, Book One (and until Book Two is completed, readers will get a “special cartoon offering” on Sundays).



“You have legs and you know how to use them” was something my daughter probably tired of hearing, but she learned how to get around on foot, bicycle and transit at an early age (and use terms like “design speed” before graduating from high school). I’m even prouder, however, that she sends friends voter registration forms for their 18th birthdays and is deeply engaged in the processes that lead to better places for all of us. Happy Mothers Day and 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