Here’s the week on streets.mn to enjoy after an extra hour of sleep as Daylight Savings Time ends and with your morning coffee and those Fun Size Snickers® from your (or your child’s) Halloween candy.
Nice Ride wrap-up
The end of October is also the end of our collaboration with Nice Ride to crowdsource analysis and recommendations for expanding and improving the Twin Cities bikeshare system (read all the Nice Ride crowdsource posts here). The project generated a wide range of ideas, plus netted streets.mn some new writers, too. The final wave of posts include the long form Expanding Access Is Nice Ride’s Seminal Challenge where access is about making it easier to ride and pay, especially for those who may not have or use credit cards. Other writers in this project have advocated for linking bike locations to transit stations, but this post goes further to make paying for transit plus bike share seamless, or by allowing payment for Nice Ride available at other locations people frequent, like convenience stores.
Quicker takes: Why Not Nice Ride Cargo Bikes? asks what other kinds of bicycles might help extend Nice Ride’s reach – cargo bikes at the grocery store (or other shopping destination) and fast bikes at the gym are two ideas. New writer Mary Mulherin thinks up Nice Ride Ideas to Improve Saint Paul: Neighborhoods, Transit Vacuums, Libraries, Wayfinding to continue a theme from past weeks of putting Nice Ride bikes where people need them to link neighborhoods to places, transit, and the city.
Walking and riding bikes
Pedestrian Crosswalk Demonstrations Show Need for Vision Zero Saint Paul takes us to the Highland Park neighborhood’s recent demonstration intended to educate people about state pedestrian laws. Volunteers with signs walked back and forth across a new marked crosswalk on Montreal Avenue; drivers failing to yield were stopped by police. Beyond this event, Anne White gives us more information about what Saint Paul has been doing for pedestrian safety and calls for Vision Zero to be part of Saint Paul policy and practice. Meanwhile, The Battle for Two Feet in Brooklyn Park looks at a street project where residents oppose narrowing a street and adding sidewalks (despite cost savings and safety advantages).
For bikes this week, in Comments Requested: Minnesota Statewide Bicycle Plan Walker Angell reviews some highlights from MnDOT’s new draft bike plan and likes what he sees on paper; in practice he finds some very recent projects which challenge whether there is deep commitment to some of the policies (and you can read and comment on the plan through November 16, 2015). Two Anti-Bike Lane Narratives that Need to Stop looks at some of the campaign materials produced to stop bike lanes on Cleveland Avenue in Saint Paul lines up the research to debunk the myth that narrow lanes are more dangerous as well as disputing assertions that off-street bikeways or protected lanes are the only acceptable bike facilities.
And On the Way to Jail is another wonderful photo-tour by bike from Wolfie Browender which shows us the sights along his route, but this trip gets off the bike and takes a tour of the former Ramsey County Adult Detention Center now being demolished in downtown Saint Paul; Ramsey County Deputy Sergeant John Eastham and John Siqveland, County Public Communications Director lead the tour of the facility and its history.
Transit, transportation and public spaces
The Psychology of Driving asks why it is so irritating to feel delayed when driving and what features of streets could help create appropriate expectations for speed: “When we make streets wider, get rid of parked cars, fail to mark crosswalks, leave off bike lanes, etc. we’re making drivers feel fewer conflicts, thus making them feel safer, increasing the speed at which they will want to travel, increasing their frustration when something makes them slow down and making them more dangerous to each other and everyone who isn’t in a car.”
From the psychology of driving to the politics of transit planning and funding: Downtown Buses Slow as Hell, Three Miles of Transit Tunnels and Bridges Planned Elsewhere looks at ways to improve efficiency for buses through downtown Minneapolis including digging some tunnels. Of course, tunnels cost money, but money for improvements (think Bottineau Blue Line extension) exists, but political dealmaking steers dollars to projects which will have less impact. Commenters compare Minneapolis to other cities with transit tunnels, chew over some details of routes in Minneapolis and debate some of the cost issues.
In case you missed it, Saint Paul and Major League Soccer recently announced plans to build a new soccer stadium at the Snelling-Midway former Metro Transit bus barn site as the home for a new MLS franchise. Chris Iverson has some ideas for how that stadium and surrounding area develops in Four Necessities for the MLS Bus Barn Site including multi-modal connections, building the parking over I-94, and adding a Space Needle-like observation tower. The commenters get pretty excited about these ideas and add some refinements and encouragement for making the stadium a hub of transit-oriented development.
Finally, and appropriately for what’s been a pretty rainy week around here, Awnings: Shelter from the Storm shows us many kinds of awnings and shelters from Australia and New Zealand to illustrate how shelter is an important part of making public spaces more welcoming and more pleasant for walking, sitting, eating and more. Unfortunately, Minneapolis ordinances make most awnings and other shelters difficult or impossible to build so it is “easier to build easier to build a skyway than it is to build an awning in Minneapolis. Let’s change that.”
Charts: Two charts this week with TIF Comparison for Minneapolis and selected suburbs and Downtown Streets Busy with Buses.
Map Monday: Urban Heat islands of the U.S ranked.
Posters: A Post About Posters shows the results of David Levinson’s in-class exercise for his Transportation Policy, Planning, and Deployment class asking students to create posters for MetroTransit. With some refinement, perhaps MetroTransit can rival the London Underground (my special favorite is Man Ray’s poster).
Welcome to November and the hints of winter it brings: Snow plow drivers have been training, the Winter Cycling Congress is on the horizon in the Twin Cities this winter, and maybe there will be enough snow for skiing this winter. Have a great week!