Sunday Summary – June 12, 2016

Image of Sunday Summary logoHot, hazy and humid in much of Minnesota this week, so welcome to summer.  Today is also the end of National Fishing and Boating Week with free fishing in Minnesota. Check out the week’s posts, then perhaps you can hit one of Minnesota’s 10,000+ (the DNR reports there are 11,842 lakes 10 acres or larger).  Or consult the Minnesota breweries map for the most proximate refreshment.  Or just get outside somehow.


For Detours, the Green Line Needs Much Better Public Information is based on new writer Linda Lindeke’s late night walking expedition along the Green Line when trains were not running and alternative services were unavailable or just unknown because of a lack of information: “The key message: Make sure the Green Line fully serves the public by providing easily-accessed information. They might try out old-fashioned posted signs, perhaps. And certainly, you need to have message boards that say more than “Please check schedules.” The best would be easily-identified employees strategically placed at key stations after sporting events. Tell people well in advance about scheduled train stoppages.” After the fact, Linda found Metro Transit’s Rider Alert service, but this doesn’t replace “on the platform” information.

Shopping Centers vs. Transit Users picks up on a recent story out of Coon Rapids where a strip mall owner is trying to remove a public transit bus stop from its property. Retired transit planner Aaron Isaacs provides some institutional memory on earlier private property versus transit controversies noting these disputes are “a legal grey area that the legislature should address, because it amounts to discrimination based on mode of transportation” and providing much relevant background on transit facilities and transit service. Commenters focus on how to address the issue some mall tenants noted – the transit stop brought people who were only loitering, but not shopping – and calling out racism and other bias.

Some Visions for West Seventh Transit is a detailed post from Erik Hare, a member of the Technical Advisory Committee for the Riverview Corridor transit project (he wrote an earlier post about this, too). The post provides extensive background for the corridor and the project as well as proposing a variety of design solutions highlighting non-car transportation including ideas for bikes, pedestrians, LRT, and streetcars (although he also includes “Carvana” – a Streetmix design which would prioritize motor vehicles for comparison).

Photo of Green Line light rail platform in rain at night

Green Line platform without a train: “Please check schedules”

Bikes and feet

Not Seeing Pedestrians is Not an Excuse is a very practical post in the wake of several crashes killing pedestrians in Saint Paul. While acknowledging street design problems, Emily Metcalfe highlights what drivers can do right now saying “We don’t seem to connect death and injury to pedestrians on our streets with our everyday driving habits, as though we are all three-year-olds when we get behind the wheel. No one tries to hit a pedestrian, but too many drivers aren’t trying not to.” Since driver education rarely includes instruction for seeing and avoiding pedestrians and bikes, Emily gives us her own intentional habits for safer driving:  “So, it’s not that complicated. 1) Do a visual sweep of corners as you approach an intersection looking for pedestrians. 2) When the driver next to you stops, you stop too. But that doesn’t mean it’s easy. You have to work to teach yourself new habits.” Comments include some discussion of MN crosswalk laws as well as the observation that we teach pedestrians to look out for cars, but not the other way around.

Seven Reasons to Keep 29th Avenue Closed to Cars is new writer Matthew Hendricks‘ report on the test closure of 29th Avenue at the Midtown Greenway which the City of Minneapolis is now proposing to change to a “half closure” allowing northbound traffic. The test closure is part of Safe Routes to School planning around the K-8 Seward Montessori School (see the City’s report on the closure here). As the title indicates, this post advocates for keeping the street closed and alerts readers to some upcoming meetings where the public can add their thoughts to the decision-making process.

Dana DeMaster highlights a small segment with big impact in this thank you note to Saint Paul Public Works: Otto Avenue Gets Big Bike Improvements.  A short – one-third mile – off-street path connects West 7th Street to Shepard Road and then to the Minnesota River Trail (MRT) Bikeway making this route not just bike-friendly, but family friendly as she rides with her 7-year old. It’s not quite perfect, as the off street path ends at West 7th, but this post points the way to improving that intersection, too.

Seward Montessori students at the 29th Avenue closure

Seward Montessori students at the 29th Avenue closure

Quick looks

Map ‘n’ Chart department: One of each this week with Chart of the Day: Water Use per Crop (Lawn vs Agriculture) (which should make you think twice about watering your yard) and Map of the Day: Workforce Population Change, 2010 – 2040.

Video: Sidings Make Rail Networks Operate More Efficiently is a short animated video about railroad sidings (and algebra) from BNSF.

Photo vacation: City Centers Thrive Without Cars in Ireland and Scotland. Adam Miller takes us on a little photo tour of  central Edinburgh, Dublin and smaller cities with their focus on lively streets for people.

water use graph lawn v crops

Acre-feet of water used in one year

And that’s the week on Join us for Happy Hour at The Local on Tuesday, June 14, 2016 – meet writers, board members and other folks interested in cities and how they work. Or, join us as a member – we depend on members to fund our operations and keep moving. 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