Sunday Summary – August 9, 2015

Image of Sunday Summary logoAugust oozes toward the State Fair, back to school, and winter bike commuting. Did you know you can continue this week’s conversations in-depth at the Forum?   Indeed you can and perhaps you should click the Forum link in the menu bar to get there and talk about many issues raised here plus much more (make your own Embarassing Confessions of Urbanists perhaps) .

Hottest topics

A follow-up to last week’s very popular and highly commented post on the decline of bike sales which opined that the decline is because bikes as basic transportation have been ignored, What Kind of Bike Do I Need for My New Commute? looks to crowdsource bike selection for basic transportation in the Twin Cities. Indeed,this post got started in the comments to Why Are Bicycle Sales Declining (for the 14th Year) so you can read the comments on both posts for some wide-ranging advice about bikes for commuting.

Time for Some East Lake Open Streets Follow Through follows-up on the recent East Lake Open Streets event by reminding us of the larger purpose of Open Streets: “The events are supposed to lead to re-thinking our street design priorities” and Bill Lindeke suggests this stretch of road would be a great place for a 4-3 conversion. The comment section is rich in additional suggestions along with a tangential discussion of about transportation subsidies, cars, transit and more.

St Paul Dithers While Other Cities Move On laments the Ramsay County board decision to proceed with resurfacing Cleveland Avenue (between Summit Avenue and Highland Parkway) without restriping for bike lanes as called for in the new Saint Paul Bike Plan. The decision to keep parking but not add bike lanes is seen as a symptom of larger backward-lookingness in Saint Paul which ignores the voices asking for better bike infrastructure like the Open Letter to Joe Soucheray from a Saint Paul Minivan Mom a few weeks ago: “This is kind of like watching someone who has great talent ruin their life with drugs or alcohol. They always say they’ll get their act together tomorrow though.”


East Lakes Open Streets (Photo Scott Schaffer)

Roads to improvement

The Four-Way Stop that Almost Is shows us 10th Avenue and 25th Street in Minneapolis (via GoPro video) and the near misses which happen there because of driver confusion about who stops (and who doesn’t). The proposed solution (and request to city government) is to make this 2-way stop a 4-way stop. Commenters chew this over a bit and consider 4-way yield, “cross traffic does not stop” and related issues.

In Brainerd, Business 371 is for Business goes north to observe, in a vein similar to Saint Paul Dithers, how an “improvement” project does not move Brainerd forward. Brainerd’s South 6th Street (still marked as “Business 371″) is “by far the most direct option to get downtown” and scheduled for reconstruction by MnDOT in 2017. Offered options to rebuild it in its current 5-lane stroad design or to narrow the road to 3 lanes (with added sidewalks and plantings). Brainerd went with the 5-lane option ostensibly to serve the businesses along the route. Sean Hayford O’Leary uses this project decision to ask about MnDOT’s commitment to its own Complete Streets policy as well as Brainerd’s retro-vision.  Comments also contain some feedback from a Brainerd Councilperson who read the post and adds a bit of illumination about the thinking behind the decision.

“New” Enforcement for Proof of Payment on Light Rail Lines takes a look at not new, but now newly publicized enforcement tactics for light rail users at the Target Field station which, in addition to “on the train” checks, should make special event fare evasion negligible.

6th Street Brainerd in November 2014. Death road with snow on sidewalk

Brainerd’s South 6th Street (there is a sidewalk underneath that snow)

Day trips

Main Street – Hutchinson, Minnesota continues the Main Street series of small towns around Minnesota. This week, visit Hutchinson, 61 miles west of Minneapolis and founded by the musical Hutchinson brothers — “abolitionists and among the biggest musical acts of the day, touring and provoking both imitators and satirists.”

Halloween, Hedges (because trees don’t alliterate) and Hydrants helps us toward the end of summer and into fall with this photo essay of a lovely bike ride last October through Saint Paul’s Macalester-Groveland, Merriam Park, and South Como neighborhoods with special attention to fire hydrants (and other details we might not otherwise notice). For more of Wolfie Browender’s rides, click here.

State Theater, Hutchinson

State Theater, Hutchinson

Audiovisual department

Video: BIKES vs CARS – TRAILER I is a trailer, obviously, for a film which approaches bikes as a powerful instrument of grassroots social change.

Charts of the Week: Comparing Bus and Vehicle Fatality Rates on Urban StreetsMSP Bus Speeds Since 2000 (are slower) and Drunk Driving Crashes 2003 – 2013 (are also falling).

Map Monday MapMap Monday: All Minnesota Jobs, 2010 is a great “dot map” of all the jobs in Minnesota exploits US Census data to map each job (in one of 4 categories).

Bus Speeds

Bus Speeds


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