Sunday Summary – July 5, 2015

Now that the fireworks are over (except, perhaps, for those leftover firecrackers which will still be heard around the neighborhood for awhile), you can take a look at what happened on last week.  On the streets of the Netherlands, the Tour de France is underway, but it’s been a pretty light week here on

Seasonally appropriate

A Great But Imperfect Country celebrates America and its strengths of freedom and opportunity. Certainly here on we often find much to criticize about transportation, land use, and public policy, so having a seasonal reminder of what makes the USA strong (while also acknowledging there is always improvement to be made and more work to be done) can generate debate of another kind.

Minnesota has much to celebrate, too. 50 Reasons: Minneapolis is the Bike Capital of America showcase the eponymous short film by GearJunkie that provides a humorous and enlightening look about what makes the Twin Cities such a great place to have a bicycle. From the Grand Rounds Scenic Byway to the Bike Junkyard, there’s so much to be thankful for (and to explore if you haven’t already!).

For some explosive fun, check out Capitol Bombs, featuring some great footage of last year’s fireworks by the state capitol!

Main Street, USA

Independence Day is one of those holidays which sparks ideas. Free Idea: Main Street Minnesota is a quick suggestion about reusing great old buildings from dying towns by relocating them to other places. Commenters are intrigued, but have some questions about money, feasibility and how we know when towns are dying. Or, you could visit Main Street – Mahtowa, Minnesota in pictures (or perhaps take a road trip) so you don’t miss the Wurst Hearse and other highlights.

TJ's Wurst Hearse

TJ’s Wurst Hearse, Mahtowa, MN

Current events and public policy

The Minnesota Massacre Needs to End reviews the latest pedestrian fatality; a jogger was struck and killed by a motorist in Plymouth. Looking at the road and intersection where this death occurred, a 45 MPH Four Lane Death Road™, this post traces the changes to this road segment including removal of the marked crosswalk which make it less safe for people who are not in cars and calls for change. Commenters debate this location and its problems, but also consider pedestrians, road design, and behavior in the bigger picture.

Thinking about how we design our cities for the cars which aren’t moving, Minneapolis’ Progress on Parking: A Channel 79 EXCLUSIVE  links to the City of Minneapolis’ government channel coverage of this issue, plus reviews some of the positions and comments on this issue (See the earlier post on this subject which previewed the Council’s action). You Won’t Believe What Happens if You Invert Circling to Find a Parking Spot in Minneapolis provides another perspective on the parking “crisis” through a tongue-in-cheek travelogue to the St. Louis Olive Garden.

How to Improve the Vikings Pedestrian Bridge with One Easy Step  highlights an important design flaw in the bridge which aims to separate floods of football fans from the street and light rail tracks. Namely, that it doesn’t stop most people from crossing the light rail lines as it only connects to one platform (and the lesser used one, at that). The solution? A flight of stairs.

Plymouth, MN intersection changes and crosswalk removal

Plymouth, MN intersection changes and crosswalk removal

Audiovisual department

Charts of the Day of the Week: Dutch Bicycling Rates by Age and Gender, from the good folks over at the Cycling Embassy of Great Britain, show some intersing statistics plus some good analysis to help unpack what we mean when we talk about gender equity. There’s also a bonus chart of mode share by gender in the United States showing a very different landscape.  Average Home Size over Time, Midwest vs. US shows homes trending larger over time, probably to no one’s surprise, plus some current events from the Strib about just how big. Fine Particle Concentration, July 4th vs. Control provides an interesting look at how much residue from fireworks you breathe in during your revelries, as well as giving some links to content from Independence Days past.

Map: Map Monday: The US Overlaid By Road Straightness highlights a map showing where the roads are curviest. Spoiler alert: it’s straight sailing in the Midwest.

Comics: Roadkill Bill – There Goes the Neighborhood continues the story as we wait for Bicyclopolis, Book 2.

Dutch biking by gender

Dutch biking by gender

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