Sunday Summary – October 4, 2015

Image of Sunday Summary logoA relatively light week for posts here on, but perhaps that’s a chance to remind readers to look at (or contribute to) our events calendar, consider writing for us, continue the discussion on our forum, and/or become a member of  Then take a look at the From the Network links on the right wide of the page; many writers maintain their own blogs (and some posts start in those places) where you can explore their work in greater detail as well as finding some new blog friends in the list.

Current events

Another St. Paul Pedestrian Death: a Personal Statistic tells Nicole Mardell’s story – her then 20-year old sister was struck and killed at the Saint Clair Avenue and West 7th Street intersection in 2009 – and calls for action after the most recent pedestrian death at the same intersection. The intersection itself has multiple blind spots and a speed limit too high to allow drivers to stop quickly; another pedestrian death should spark change

Getting around

Upstream Impacts of Electric Vehicles Depend on Kicking Coal has Brendan Slotterback digging deeper after his recent post comparing the nitrogen oxide emissions of electric and fossil-powered vehicles generated many comments which noted the upstream impact of refining fossil fuels to run the power plants which fuel the electric vehicles. Using the National Energy Technology Laboratory’s (part of the US Department of Energy) Upstream Dashboard Tool finding nitrogen oxide rates change a great deal depending on how much coal is in the mix of fuels generating the electricity to run the vehicle. The comment section considerably broadens the conversation to consider renewable energy plans, capacity and social change.

For those who want to drive out-of-state or cross-country, Mn-Pass Lacks Electronic Toll Collection Interoperability and Technology surveys the landscape of electronic toll collection systems in advance of the October 2016 deadline for interoperability. One year ahead of the deadline, a significant number of states’ (including Minnesota’s Mn-Pass) transponder systems do not allow drivers to drive from their home state on other states’ federally funded toll roads.

Arterial Bus Rapid Transit Could Save Us From Ourselves helps us distinguish buses, bus rapid transit (BRT) and arterial bus rapid trans (aBRT) before looking at METRO Transit’s aBRT plans which would use some of METRO Transit’s busiest bus routes for improved buses (lower floors and wider aisles for easier boarding) and service (running more often, fewer stops, off-board payment and real-time arrival information, transit signal priority) and “most importantly, aBRT is cheap, like real cheap, like effectively free compared to other kinds of transit projects that get lots of press and attention.”

Shop Closer to Home has Adam Miller following up on his very popular Live Closer to Stuff to ask whether it really is cheaper to hop in the car and head to the deep discount big box store by comparing the prices of a selection of grocery items, transportation costs and time. The post is thought-provoking, but the comments are a thoughtful collection of stories about how people shop, why they choose to shop where they do (some or all of the time), and additional personal narratives which mostly support the “shop closer to home” idea, but also expose the over-simplicity of the answer.

A-Line aBRT Station at 46th & 46th

A-Line aBRT Station at 46th & 46th

Audiovisual department

Photo-tours: Two posts this week take us across town and back in time so show us interesting things we might not otherwise notice. In Where Have All the Masons Gone?, David Levinson observes “The quality of masonry in the built environment has dropped significantly in the past century” and proceeds to show us the evidence.  Booted From the Hollow; Bounced From the Flats is a Spring 2015 bike ride around Saint Paul with Wolfie Browender. As usual, Wolfie’s ride takes us to interesting places and the people who live (or have lived there) – this time with a long look at Swede’s Hollow and some people who lived there.

Map: Map Monday: Minneapolis Bicycling / Nice Ride Ridership Mashup continues the Rice collaboration.

Comic: Roadkill Bill – Using Cars Wisely is the next installment (and the last comic for a while will be posted later today).

nice-ride-ridership-map-mashup 2

Nice Ride Mashup

Happy October! Frost has arrived, leaves are finally changing and we ask “Is it time to turn on the heat?”  Or we fight with our partners about whether it is time to turn on the heat while wedging our cold feet under a warm dog. Or, take the dog for a walk before she takes the bus to the dog park by herself on a lovely afternoon. 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