July is almost over and tomorrow we’ll start the end of summer, family vacation after youth soccer is over, run up to the State Fair, back-to-school sort of month of August. Here on streets.mn this week, we’ve got a good mix of politics, reports on particular places and some looks further afield. As always, we invite you to write for us or support our 100% volunteer enterprise by becoming a member of streets.mn.
Dana DeMaster continues to demystify and critique Saint Paul bike routes and paths with The Isla de Muerta of Saint Paul Biking. You probably don’t know this trail exists, but it runs alongside I-35E and was born as part of a court settlement for the controversial location of 35E through a neighborhood (along with the 45 mph speed limit from W. 7th through downtown). It’s now being improved from Saint Clair to Grand Avenues thanks to the Little Bohemia Neighborhood Association (LBNA) and a grant to resurface and add crosswalks, lighting and landscaping. Follow this post along the trail to see where it goes, what it passes and what might be improved.
Neighborhood Group Votes for More Parking, Higher Rents reports on Southwest Journal coverage of a Lyndale neighborhood meeting to vote on development proposals in the area; as the title states, the winning proposal has more parking and higher rents. John Edwards is a consistent critic of neighborhood association politics and here again he calls for development to reflect the actual character of the area (where almost a third of residents have no cars) rather than what is demanded by the limited slice of the neighborhood represented at meetings.
What do you call that?
The Parking Ramp: As Minnesotan as Hot Dish (or as Minnesotan as Duck Duck Gray Duck). Minnesota native Hannah Pritchard (and traffic engineer) who has returned home after sojourns in other states has learned the hard way that only Minnesotans call those vertical parking things “ramps” rather than “garages” or “structures” or “decks.” Check out the comments for much more on regional English.
The Orange Line Defunding is a Crisis for Hennepin County reports on the politics of transit funding and regional cooperation. Sean Hayford Oleary writes “Residents of South Minneapolis, Richfield, and Bloomington got some very bad news last week. In response to a move by Dakota County to leave the Counties Transit Improvement Board, CTIB is considering withdrawing its funding for the Orange Line Bus Rapid Transit. The Orange Line would be the metro’s first true bus rapid transit line, offering similar frequency to and better transit time than our Light Rail lines. Unlike our light rail lines, however, the Orange Line will cost only about $150 million — less than 1/1o the cost of Southwest LRT.”
Daily A Line commuter (and new writer!) Jeb Rach reviews The A Line, One Month In and finds good stuff (off-board payment, all door boarding) and also some missed opportunities (Rosedale Transit Center, ticket and ticket machine issues). streets.mn has other reviews (and preview) from other perspectives, too: the academic review, a review with stroller (and thoughts about wheelchairs and other mobility aids, too), and a preview in the June 2016 Quarterly Transit Report.
Would We Really Miss It? disputes claims in a Rochester newspaper that a very small piece of greater Minnesota infrastructure which has been closed due to state funding gridlock is critically important. Using the lightly used (40 vehicles per day) bridge as an example, Matt Steele asks for more intentional transportation planning and funding that prioritizes investments rather than trying to maintain everything.
What a Car-Free Commute Looks Like in Outstate Minnesota details a bike/bus commute from Becker to Saint Cloud. Alex Rowland bikes about 4 miles to the bus stop in Becker (which lacks a bike rack as well as not showing up on Google Maps) over less than ideal roads and then describes the bus journey and getting around Saint Cloud. Comments net a response from Google asking for more detail to be able to add the bus stop and bike route information.
Sam Newberg discovered (while at CNU 24) that despite bankruptcy and stories of decay, Detroit Still Exists and is making progress. The CNU meeting was held “in beautiful old theaters, bars, parks, pop-up event spaces with food trucks, tables, vendors and Ping-Pong, and informal gathering spots. In other words, out in the city,” and Sam says “I’m very impressed. Detroit’s public realm and remaining building fabric provide a strong basis for a strong city in the future. The crazy thing is downtown Detroit has elements that supposedly much stronger downtowns lack.” Also no skyways.
Quick looks and fun stories
Fun with engineering: World’s Largest KNEX Ball Machine includes a 40-foot DIY Engineered Bridge includes a video of the ball machine in action plus Bill Lindeke’s interview with Austin Granger “holder of the Guinness world record for the largest KNEX ball machine structure in the world, which is located in the Brickmania offices in Northeast Minneapolis. During our chat, he started telling me about the most elaborate and difficult part of the machine, a 40-foot long bridge.”
Chart: Chart of the Day: US CO2 Emissions Trends by Sector with a bonus pie chart of Minneapolis greenhouse gas emissions, too.
Map: Map Monday: Northern Twin Cities Suburbs Racial Dot Map is another map looking at the changing demographics of the Twin Cities.
Video: Fresh Energy Video: Safer Streets, Amy Brendmoen is a short video featuring Saint Paul City Council Member Amy Brendmoen and her son Lars as they go for a bicycle ride with Fresh Energy to talk about safer streets.
And that’s the week on street.mn, enjoy the start of August on your street and have a great week.