Here’s the week on streets.mn succinctly summarized for easy snacking. Beyond what you see on the page, the streets.mn board met yesterday to do some strategic planning for the website and beyond; once we organize our notes, we’ll tell you more about the directions we plan to take and the resources needed to get there. In the meantime, we welcome your thoughts and suggestions for streets.mn in the comment section or the contact form (and, for writers, the writers’ email list, too).
The Injustice of Peak Hour Myopia is Bill Lindeke’s look at the plans for Saint Paul’s Lexington and Randolph intersection which call for adding turn lanes and other features to improve the flow of traffic at the rush hour peak times by asking about the choice transportation planners face: “Do you give design priority to the people using the street for those 4 hours of the day at the expense of the people that “use” the street for the other 20 hours?” Acknowledging planners have “firm, exact counts of cars and their stopped seconds, but nobody counts pedestrians” but also noting induced demand and the challenge of really fixing the rush hour problem, the post calls for finding ways to value (and design for) the “all-day, every-day quality of life for the people living or walking in the neighborhood.”
A couple of posts this week add to the streets.mn/Nice Ride crowdsource conversation, the series of posts crowdsourcing ways to expand or improve Nice Ride planning (Check out the rest here); both posts are from new writer Annie Van Cleve with suggestions for the immediate and slightly further future. A Short-term Growth Strategy for Nice Ride in Minneapolis proposes enhancing the Nice Ride system (and growing bike use for transporation) near Minnehaha Falls Park and surrounding neighborhood “by meeting people where they are at – i.e. using bicycles for recreation – and leveraging what’s working to expand the system in a way that also supports increased utilitarian bicycling.” After that, Nice Ride’s Five-year Goal should be Connections to Transit by building on Nice Rice’s “unique advantage because the system allows for one-way trips” for connecting people to transit by “figuring out a viable model for neighborhoods – and stations that are proximate to the bicycling network, including Minneapolis’s new protected bikeways plan also due to be built out in the next five years.”
Riding the Free Trolley at the Grand Meander is Emily Metcalfe’s tale of trying to ride the trolley at Grand Avenue’s Grand Meander event which also started her thinking about the trolley as a “pretend bus” following the same route as Metro Transit’s 63 bus and better ways to integrate transit: “The old fashioned trolley is fun, but it doesn’t offer as good a service as the 63 bus in moving people along the street. By promoting bus rides as part of the Grand Meander, GABA could make the statement that riding the bus is a normal, convenient, and even fun way to visit businesses on Grand Avenue.”
Wye Not? is David Levinson’s proposal for adding a small wye junction between the Blue and Green LRT lines in the Cedar-Riverside area for “direct access for other Green Line origins (destinations) like the University of Minnesota to Blue Line destinations (origins) like South Minneapolis, the Airport, and the Mall of America.” Commenters are rather skeptical and argue the new track would provide fewer benefits with higher costs to the neighborhood than proposed.
Retired Metro Transit planner Aaron Isaacs provides The Quarterly Transit Report – December 2015 which reports on service changes in the Metro Transit system. This quarter, resident complaints resulted in detouring Route 4 buses from Bryant and NextTrip real-time electronic signs and automated stop announcing are being rolled out. Commenters take up the Bryant Avenue issue in greater detail.
Since there’s no audio component to any of these, here’s the week’s quick visual takes (but feel free to hum along and provide your own soundtrack).
Photo tourism: Winter weather isn’t really here yet, but we are heading for the Winter Solstice anyway. First, let’s enjoy a bit of winter wonderfulness, even without any snow or significant cold, by walking with Janelle Nivins to Embrace the Darkness by enjoying holiday lights and displays. Janelle asks for suggestions for more holiday displays and the commenters have begun to weigh in. Or, we can avoid winter altogether as Making Peter Piper Jealous take us back to the Summer Solstice on a bike ride from Macalester-Groveland to the West End and West Side of Saint Paul. As on all his rides, Wolfie Browender shows us some history, introduces us to some people along the way, and highlights some details we would likely miss on our own.
Charts: Chart of the Day: US Household Composition over Time illustrates the growth in people living alone and the decline in 2-parents-with-kids households. Bill Lindeke opines, “this change, which has many roots, is the biggest driver of differences in urban development. Many people no longer need or want the 2,500 sq. ft. single family home for the simple reason that they’re living alone (Or maybe with a cat).” This opinion kicked prompted a comment asking why single-family home sizes increased substantially during the same time and much discussion ensued. Also this week: Chart of the Day: Neighborhood Characteristics and Income Mobility.
Map: Map Monday: Minnesota’s Carbon Donut zooms in on the Minneapolis/Saint Paul metro area from an interactive map of the United States showing values of equivalent metric ton CO2 emission broken into categories of transportation, housing, food, goods, and services by zip code. As world leaders conclude their Climate Summit in Paris, seeing the local carbon map might help illustrate how our transportation and land use choices drive some of the issues.
Have a great week!