Sunday Summary – October 18, 2015

Image of Sunday Summary logoFrost finally arrives in for real in Minnesota and the streets are filled with swirling, crunchy leaves. Are you the sort of person who tries to avoid the piles of leaves on the sidewalk or the type who goes out of her way to jump, shuffle and crackle your way through them? Before you go walking around or through the leaves, here’s the week on with a big dollop of pedestrian safety posts to consider on your way.

Nice Rice’s collaboration with Nice Rice MN continues until this Wednesday, October 21. This week, we’ve got two Nice Ride-related posts from new writers to continue the conversation.  Nice Ride Riders Like Nice Weather is Michael Altmann’s analysis of ridership by month (more riders in July than October) as well as more details of ridership indexed to temperature and precipitation. A Lake Minnetonka Nice Ride Idea is from another new writer Luke Van Santen. Luke used Strava Global HeatMap to see where people are riding.  Like Minneapolis’ lakes, Lake Minnetonka is a bike hot spot and perhaps a good candidate for Nice Ride expansion outside the urban core (especially with new trail connections planned in the area).

nice ride bike by lake

Pedestrian safety

Recent events have put pedestrian safety out in front this week for writers. The City of Minneapolis installed five medians this summer to help pedestrians cross E. 26th and 28th Streets; last week, the City began removing them because of difficulties for turning vehicles. The Importance of Pedestrian Medians on 26th and 28th Streets is a single photo demonstrating the need to protect pedestrians. Ethan Fawley’s Planned Removal of 26th/28th St Pedestrian Medians Indicate Need for Complete Streets summarizes why the medians are being removed, but highlights how much public engagement showed the need for the medians and calls for Minneapolis to develop a robust Complete Streets policy to help shift the transportation orientation away from streets which serve only motorized traffic. And do read the comments for their fine-grained look at the intersections involved, as well as thinking about turning radii, traffic calming, and other related topics.

A couple of weeks ago, Another Saint Paul Pedestrian Death told the story of two pedestrian deaths on West 7th Street and highlighted the design of the intersection as a cause. In People on Foot: Step Up to Stop the Carnage! Anne White answers the question posed in that post:  “Is it time to act? Or do we need another death?” with a firm yes along with a catalog of citizen-led and official efforts to find solutions “to begin by raising awareness, instilling a sense of urgency, and building a broad coalition of people who are ready to take a stand to stop the carnage.” Anne follows up with America’s Love Affair with the Automobile: Not much Change in 100 Years which shows a 1902 newspaper clipping which paints a brightly colored picture of cars, drivers, and the personality of both.

Staying in Saint Paul, The Fight for Pedestrian Safety is Nate Hood’s look at 6th & Sibley Streets in Lowertown, a pretty walkable area of the city, to demonstrate “The system – as it is currently structured – it designed at every corner to favor the automobile.” Like Ethan Fawley’s Planned Removal…  the call is for designing for people, not the easiest operation of motor vehicles. Comments veer off to debate whether engineers (and other city officials) should live where they work (it’s not legal in Minnesota) so they would see the impact of their decisions, consider how engineer training might change, and other related questions about how the status quo might be altered.


Other stuff

Two very different other posts: Free Idea: Implement Transit + Freight Lanes offers a simple solution to one piece of the congestion puzzle – why not allow freight and delivery vehicles in dedicated bus lanes?  What About Beauty? acknowledges the economics of various development forms, but asks us to think beyond the dollars to beauty and places which we love and are willing to preserve and improve.

Galena IL

Audiovisual department

Video: LumiNite 2015 is a short 2:49 minute video documenting the bicycle-propelled light, video and sound art show which took place in Minneapolis.

Chart: Chart of the Day: Costs per Passenger-Mile of Different Modes compares the costs of driving, bicycling and walking; time, money and health/environment impacts all figure in..

Photojournalism: The Empire Strikes Back, or ‘One Way to Deal with a Desire Line’ Redux is the third visit (here’s the first and second) to the University of Minnesota campus to document the determination of University planners to block a direct pedestrian path.

time cost mode share chart

A warmer winter is forecast this year and the National Weather Service is introducing a Winter Travel Impact index, so you can ponder the winter to come (along with the Winter Cycling Congress in Minneapolis in 2016) while you enjoy the fall leaves as you pick out your pumpkin and make your Halloween costume (photos of your streets-related costumes are welcome). 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