Sunday Summary – April 10, 2016

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Today is audacious and noteworthy engineer Isambard Kingdom Brunel’s birthday (born on this date in 1806). Among other accomplishments, Brunel was Resident Engineer on the Thames Tunnel (called the 8th Wonder of the World at the time) at Rotherhithe. After narrowly escaping death when the tunnel roof collapsed, flooding the tunnel, Brunel later hosted a lavish banquet in the tunnel to restore confidence (You can go see the quirky Brunel Museum in London, too). No tunnels this week on, but posts about current and future projects, in defense of suburbs, and the continued predictions about the demise of gas stations.

Particular projects

Of immediate important, Robin Garwood advocates Minneapolis Should Use the Three-Lane Layout for 3rd Avenue. As of this writing, the Transportation and Public Works Committee deadlocked on reducing four lanes to three, sending the issue to the full City Council on April 15. The argument here is that despite political opposition, four lanes are not needed for two reasons: “The first, and simplest, is that the original Public Works staff traffic analysis (which has been buried due to political pressure) said that a three-lane road would work just fine” and the second reason is “there are roads that the City has already changed from a four-lane to a three-lane layout that carry more traffic than 3rd Ave S.” Commenters track the decision-making and count votes needed to make the change to three lanes.

Tell Us Your Hennepin Avenue Hopes looks ahead to the reconstruction of Hennepin (here’s an earlier post on this project) with a survey from Minneapolis Bike Coalition volunteer Galen Ryan aimed at helping people answer the City of Minneapolis’ very broad question ”What is important to you?” You can go straight to the survey, but also read the post for some project background and more information about the survey. Commenters add some answers to “What is important to you?” but we hope they take the survey, too.

3rd Avenue Design

3rd Avenue Design


Lifelong Bloomington resident Monte Castleman responds to the Strib’s piece covering local real estate agents’ contention that this older suburb has lost its former luster with In Defense of “Unlustrous” Bloomington. The appeal of Bloomington is its convenient car access, affordable single-family homes, but (looking to the future) also its improving bike infrastructure and new multi-family housing linked to transit. The comment section takes up the appeal of suburbs (or not), alleys (pro and con), and ideas about aging in place (like public housing for seniors).

Village Square Mall

Bloomington’s Village Square Mall

Continuing saga

In the last couple of weeks, the end of gas stations has been foretold with Part I: Gas Stations: Not So Long For This World?, Part II: Gas Stations: Will They Survive The Rise Of Plug-In Hybrids? and now Part III, End Of Gas Stations III: Coming To A Corner Near You. Walker Angell has added a “sidebar” Econ 101: Why I’ll Never Buy A Gas Car Again to complete the series. Part III predicts the “gas stations that will be the first to go are those near more affluent communities” because the affluent replace cars more quickly and “more likely to invest in a PEV of some sort. Probably not a good time to own a gas station that serves an affluent area.” Commenters on the Econ 101 post question the numbers and timeline a bit with some lively exchanges with the author.

Plugs rather than pumps?

Plugs rather than pumps?

Walking tech

Janelle Nivens has taken us along on some of her walks with lots of photos and narrative about what she finds along the way. This week, she finds out how to Track Your Moves using the Moves and Move-O-Scope apps which track walking, running, biking, transit, and car movement (without having to remember to turn on the tracking) and displays it in a variety of ways for “a diary of the places you’ve been and your mode of travel in between.”

Moves App display

Moves App display

Quick looks

Photo story: The Saga of the Stop Sign at 14th and Fremont is a little photo essay about a single stop sign and its destruction and replacement (twice) over a few days.

Chart of the Week: Chart of the Day: Effectiveness vs Achievability of Pro-Bike Tactics from the UK which “outlines what the author calls the ‘is it worth asking for’ metric.”

Maps on Monday: Another week with just one Monday, but two maps. Map Monday: Saint Paul Street Safety Evaluation is a “fun-to-peruse map that emerged out of the process for creating Saint Paul’s almost-completed Complete Streets Design Manual. It’s an attempt to make a comprehensive map of Saint Paul’s streets ranked according to all the different safety factors.” Map Monday: 7-County Metro Population in Thirds continues the recent theme of population growth and change with a different look at where the metro population lies.

Metro Population in Thirds

Metro Population in Thirds

And, that’s the week on Tax Day is coming up this week, but perhaps also more of 30 Days of Biking and enjoying Spring (without last week’s snow). 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