Sunday Summary – August 2, 2015

Here’s the week on to read before you play in the summer sun:

Happening now

Stop for Pedestrians. We Mean It This Time highlights Saint Paul’s Pedestrian Safety Awareness Week which begins today. Saint Paul Police (and District Councils, too) will be spending the week doing intensive education and enforcement about crosswalk laws.

People crossing a street on foot holding a banner that says Stop for pedestrians at every corner.

Highland District Council pedestrian safety awareness crosswalk event, August 2014

More on bikes and pedestrians

Before turning to the comment-provoking posts, Create a Personal Walking/Biking/Rolling Wishlist is pretty perfect for thinking about on a summer day. Janelle Nivens who previously took us on some long walks around the Twin Cities, suggests ways to get off our personal beaten paths to take new walks and different rides. You’re invited to chat with Janelle in the comments about your ideas for great walks and rides.

Hit By a Car (again) in Downtown St. Paul, or Why We Need the Bike Plan is a first person narrative of (very experienced rider) Dana DeMaster’s choices to try to ride as safely as possible from work, to camp pick-up, errands and home knowing no route was great – construction, no bike lanes – and the collision which happened. This post is also a call to action to implement the Saint Paul Bike Plan to help anyone “decide it is easier to bike the three miles to the grocery store or the park.” Because the driver was making a right turn on red (RTOR) when he hit Ms. DeMaster and she had chosen to ride on the sidewalk, commenters debate RTOR, riding on sidewalks, construction issues, and enforcement of crosswalk (and other) regulations.  One of the commenters defending RTOR is Monte Castleman who wrote:

The Right Turn on Red and some Free Ideas which continues the series about traffic signals by considering the crash data for RTOR (few crashes), engineering considerations, possible changes (like red light cameras, for instance) plus personal opinion.  Commenters on this post bring up issues of perceived safety and near misses in addition to crash data, as well as difficulties of engineering highway entrance/exit ramps to integrate smoothly with city streets.

Why Are Bicycle Sales Declining (for the 14th year)? suggests the problem is bike shops marketing recreational or racing bikes, lycra shorts and quite a bit of intimidation, rather than helping connect people with basic transportation. The comments are a rich source of information about city bikes, box bikes, great customer service and where to find them in the Twin Cities.


Other ideas this week

Bad Idea of the Day: Minneapolis-Saint Paul Should Bid for the Olympics riffs on Boston’s refusal to sign on the dotted line to guarantee that city taxpayers would foot the bill for cost overruns for hosting the 2024 Summer Olympics by suggesting the Twin Cities, with its impressive roster of athletic facilities, could step up to the starting line, but since “to host the Olympics, you pretty much have to be an autocratic nation, or profoundly unwise with your money” (as the choice of Beijing to host the 2022 Winter Olympics despite not having any snow would seem to support) concludes we’d be better off not.

The Single-Tracked World of American Railroading continues Mike Hicks’ consideration of rail-related topics by mapping the number of main tracks at public grade crossings which shows “the vast majority of our rail infrastructure is single-tracked” with a few exceptions and thus constrained by allowing only one train at a time.

A Stratification of Metro Transit Light Rail Vehicle Seating takes a look at the good and not so good seats on the Flexity Swifts and other light rail train cars, helpfully emoji-d to help you choose wisely.

Face to face seats

Audiovisual department

Listen: Podcast #86: Planning Campus Bicycling with Steve Sanders and Tyler Schow has Bill Lindeke talking to University of Minnesota student (and writer) Tyler Schow and alternative transportation manager for the University, Steve Sanders about changes around the U and planning for the future.

Look: Charts of the Week: For Saint Paul’s Pedestrian Safety Awareness Week starting today, Chart of the Day: Speed Kills charts vehicle speeds and odds of pedestrian death; the title should be a tip-off. Chart of the Day: Share of Regional Population Growth by Development Type, 2010 – 2014 shows where development has been happening in the Twin Cities Metro in the last few years and Chart of the Day: Transit Labor Efficiency in NY Metro Area shows how transit staffing affects cost.

Comics: Roadkill Bill: Second Class Citizens continues the graphic tale…

population share estimates

It’s August…time for end-of-summer vacations, sweet corn, back-to-school shopping, and enjoying your street(s) in the indolent weather of late summer.  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