It has been a busy week on streets.mn as our writers have begun to respond to recent events from the the horrifying to the fun, plus the usual assortment of posts about our cities. Streets.mn welcomes new writers and would very much like to publish posts about current events (or any other transportation and land use subject) from perspectives not yet represented on the site, so if you’re not seeing a needed viewpoint or want to create some conversation, write for us.
The shooting of Philando Castile by police in Falcon Heights, MN shocked and saddened our communities, but also exposes inequities here and elsewhere. Mike Hicks highlights the location of the shooting at the entrance to the Minnesota State Fair – “the Great Minnesota Get-Together” – and “a place where everyone should be welcome, and not one where race or cultural background should cause people to be treated any differently” in A Police Shooting at the Crossroads of Minnesota. The post reviews policing, traffic stops, gun issues and more, with some calm commentary about guns, traffic stop numbers and pretexts, and more.
Minneapolis: One City, Diverging Realities is a bigger picture look at inequities in Minneapolis by (new writer!) Cole Norgaarden. Using statistics for a white child in a majority white school and her African-American counterpart in a majority African-American school to show the different outcomes likely for each child and help illustrate what white privilege is. For a city which has received multiple awards and recognitions, “It’s time to realize that celebrating Minneapolis, a city that is 64% White and has maintained this majority for its entire history, is implicitly celebrating a city that works for White people.” Commenters pick apart some numbers issues, appreciate the quantitative look at privilege, and offer a few suggestions for further reading, too.
Plus, two related quick looks Chart of the Day: Traffic Stop Pretexts by Race and Map Monday: Northern Twin Cities Suburbs Race Maps 1980-2010
Other current events
Walker Angell asks Is Tesla Autopilot Safe? and tries to answer that question in the wake of the first Tesla Autopilot fatality recently. For Tesla and autonomous car geeks, this one’s for you with a detailed review of Tesla features/programs, accident statistics, road design and fault. For anyone interested in thinking about the morality of self-driving cars, there’s Moral Machine, an MIT project to gather human perspectives on the moral decisions of self-driving vehicles.
Hard to avoid news of Pokemon GO and actual players on your streets, so Julie Kosbab’s Pokemon GO: 10 Streets Etiquette Tips for Pokemon Trainers is a very timely common sense list of reminders for those chasing down Pokemon including don’t mix Pokemon GO with streets, train tracks, water or driving and, generally, don’t be a jerk to the people around you as you play. I’m looking forward to more reports from streets.mn writers on Pokemon GO, streets, cities, and other transportation and land use interactions as this keeps going.
Getting around: walking, biking, and transit
Joyful Bike Commuting is a positive personal narrative about housing and transportation choices as well as some follow-up to earlier streets.mn conversations. Adam Miller, former downtown condo owner and walk-to-worker, bought a house in South Minneapolis after carefully considering transit connections and, he hoped, biking the 5.5-7 miles to work at least some of the time. Last year he asked streets.mn readers for some commuter bike advice and now he reports on some results which, as the title suggests, can be pretty good. Read the post for more details about Adam’s take on bike routes to downtown, the bike he chose, and his choices in different kinds of weather.
Janelle Nivens usually tells us about her own self-planned walking expeditions, but this time she takes a Walking Tour of Saint Paul’s East Side called “From Then To Now: Immigration and the (Re)Making of Saint Paul’s East Side.” This tour was a ” half-day event was co-organized by the University of Minnesota’s Immigration Research History Center and the East Side Freedom Library and was made possible by a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities. After a week of tragic events locally, nationally, and internationally, attending an event focused on the contributions of immigrants to our community was especially meaningful.” The post includes photos and info, but also links to more history along the way.
In Metro Transit and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Weekend Light Rail Shutdown Peter Bajurny takes us for a forced Nice Ride trip along the Blue Line when maintenance shut down the trains with some observations of what was happening at each station, plus some recommendations for managing transit shutdowns better through better communication. We’ve seen this before, too, with a late night Green Line lament about no information when trains weren’t running. Commenters are understanding about the need for maintenance or the inevitability of service interruptions, but unanimous about how poorly Metro Transit communicates with riders about these events.
A Lukewarm Take on Richfield’s Concierge Apartments is Alex Cecchini’s calm and detailed look at the purchase and upscaling of the large Richfield apartment complex formerly known as Crossroads as it becomes Concierge. From some estimates of the costs per unit in upgrades, rent increases and other “internal” details of the project, Alex goes on to look at the land use patterns in Richfield finding zoning on the site prevents adding additional units or greater efficiency, while Richfield’s overall zoning patterns have prevented development of other multi-family housing which could have been available for the displaced Crossroads families. Looking ahead, Alex states “We need a range of policies and funding streams (at all levels of government) to help mitigate these situations so that everyone can afford a place to live” and lists a few, plus asks for some suggestions in the comments.
Shedding some light
Monte Castleman has distinguished himself on streets.mn as the guy who knows his traffic signals and street lights (and Bloomington!). Following up on last month’s post about freeway streetlights, The Overhead Streetlights of Local Streets, Part 1 (written in advance of Xcel’s conversion of many to LED lights) shows us different types of lights their history and other information in a sort of natural history of local streetlights.
Map: Map Monday: Northern Twin Cities Suburbs Race Maps 1980-2010 shows the unequal change in northern suburbs, like Falcon Heights where the Castile shooting happened, over a thirty-year period when the overall percentage of people of color in the Twin Cities increased about 5% to 25%.