Summer is winding down and along with the back-to-school sales, streets.mn has some back-to-school inspiration from a new column featuring Macalester College student writers. Features like these are developed by readers like you and we welcome your posts, suggestions for new content, and other ideas for expanding the conversation on transportation and land use.
New feature – Macalester Student Views
This week we’ve published five op-eds written by Macalester College students in the 2016 Winter Environmental Studies course Bicycling the Urban Landscape. The course objective was to provide intellectual and active engagement with bicycling, so course members rode, thought and wrote about bicycling in the Twin Cities. We’ve posted the results of their work under the group name Macalester Student Perspectives while individual author names and bios appear at the end of each post. A few commenters have noted the posts seem “collegie” and they are; these posts were written as class assignments first and published here after the course had ended. We’re hoping for more work like this from Macalester and perhaps other institutions in the future and, as always, look to our commenters to help keep the conversation going with some real-world feedback for our new writers.
In the group, two posts are specifically about bikes. The Importance of Bicycling Infrastructure in American Cities by Samantha Manz, takes us to last winter’s Winter Cycling Congress to review some bike infrastructure improvements around the world and, as a transplant from Lubbock, Texas, celebrate the freedom of getting around by bike in Saint Paul. Dan Klonowski says, I’m a Two-Wheeled Mutt and That’s a Good Thing as he makes the case for breaking down barriers among cycling tribes to work together for better biking for all.
Then there are three posts thinking about how to be more car-independent: Downtown is Not a Place for Cars by Olivia Thorp looking for longterm change where downtowns should be dense places where people want to go, but “when about half of that prime space is being devoted to cars and not people it is time to reevaluate how cities are designed and build downtowns based on what the next generation wants and needs.”
Continuing the alternatives to cars theme, Clara Friedman offers some first person perspective, “As a local college student, I have witnessed the effects of plentiful parking firsthand. I’ve spent nights running through the parking lots around an eerily empty downtown St. Paul, searching for bus stops along streets with cars whizzing by . Is this how we want our downtown to feel?” Answering no, she reviews costs, particular Saint Paul locations and looks to the future in We Should Incentivize Alternative Transportation for a More Livable City.
Isaac Liu brings international perspective to his post Car-free College Living advocating for more students (and others) to enjoy their places car-free saying “public transportation, is more time-consuming and less convenient, but for me it makes the trip more fun and meaningful. By taking public transportation, we can explore the city as we are on our way.”
Reviews and recaps
Matthew Hendricks’ Reflections on the Grand Opening of the Northside Greenway Demo takes us to the grand opening event held in June, but also thoughtfully considers some of the history of the project, opposition to the Greenway, and the public engagement which got the project rolling and will be needed for its success.
Alice Avidor volunteered at the East Lake Street Open Streets event and finds Protected Bikeways Are Happening, and Many Are On Board: A Recap of the East Lake Open Streets Event with this “glimpse into what the streets could look and feel like with more bicyclists on the road and smarter bikeway infrastructure.”
David Levinson takes us down Franklin Avenue after The Resurfacing and Restriping of Franklin Avenue SE – A Review finding much improved pavement surface, but concentrating on the stripes. The roadway was “mostly restriped” to create bike lanes, but some gaps and other shortcomings are identified. The commenters consider the bike lanes and criticize the polarization of bike-friendliness into facilities usable only by spandex-clad bike-warriors or safe enough for children.
Photo journey: Wolfie Browender is back on his bike in Saint Paul with another photo-ride around the city from August 2015. Signs and Symbols takes us through parts of the Macalester-Groveland, Lexington-Hamline, Summit-University (Rondo), and Summit Hill neighborhoods with history and fine-grained detail along the way.
Links: National Links: Expensive Housing, Rural Internet, and a Stalled Straddling Bus from the Direct Transfer.
And that’s the week on streets.mn. The State Fair starts on Thursday and we always like posts about getting there and walking around the place, or perhaps you could write about getting to school (student views are welcome!) this Fall. Have a great week!