Sunday Summary – July 30, 2017

Screaming to the end of July this week and getting closer to the start of early voting in local elections on September 22.  To help advance election conversations, we have another addition to the Voter Guide – Saint Paul Mayoral Candidate Melvin Carter -The Voter Guide questionnaire for Saint Paul mayoral candidates was developed in collaboration with the Saint Paul Bicycle Coalition and Transit for Livable Communities. Pat Harris, Tom Goldstein, and Tim Holden have yet to respond, but Dai Thao’s and Elizabeth Dickinson’s responses are available in the Voter Guide.

Big ideas

Competitive Cycling versus Cycling as Cultural Evolution: Musing on the Tour de France by Daniel Choma reflects on how “cycling” is sometimes too narrowly construed as Tour de France-style racing, “But we need to remember that cycling in America has always held a uniquely American relationship with the concept of Freedom.  We are not Copenhagen and we are not the Tour De France.  These things are beautiful in their own right, but I believe we as Americans can use the bicycle in unique ways to express our inalienable rights of “Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.” This post has some history of the Tour, documents cycling in the United States, and thinks about how the Tour is just one bit of the story of cycling as cultural evolution.

We Must Foster Opportunity on Hennepin Avenue says Janne Flisrand in the form of supporting a project to build affordable youth housing in Lowry Hill for young people aging out of foster care.  The new housing would be good for the neighborhood – increasing walkability on Hennepin, increasing the supply of affordable housing, more diversity, and adding stability to a difficult to use parcel of land; it would also be a good neighborhood for the young people who will live there with the transit connections, access to education and jobs, green space, and neighborhood retail and services.

Peris Housing (Image courtesy of The John and Denise Graves Foundation.)

Retired transit planner Aaron Isaacs writes about his trip on The Red Line Revisited which runs from the Mall of America to Apple Valley “to check out the new Cedar Grove station, and see out how the Twin Cities’ first BRT is doing. It’s fast and frequent, but it runs through a landscape that is designed to impede transit use.”  The post gives the details of stations, on-board changes, and a review of this BRT experiment. Commenters connect this post and observations about sparse land uses and low ridership to the Riverview Line post below which describes a transit corridor which connects people and places where people already are.

The Riverview Line is the Best Twin Cities Transit Project in the Works Right Now for Bill Lindeke: “Even with “fully dedicated light rail” off the table, I believe that Riverview is the best project currently in the queue. In other words, this is a better transit project than either of the expensive Minneapolis lines, the Southwest or Bottineau light rails, both of which connect mostly empty parks and mostly car-centric suburbs to downtown Minneapolis.” Four reasons back up this opinion: it will connect people-filled places rather than sparse suburban locations, transit should be built around walkable stations, transit should build on existing ridership rather than to generate new ridership, and rail is better than buses. The many commenters debate the details, ask questions about plans, and consider other transit improvements.

West 7th Street back when it was walkable, had a contiguous street frontage, did not have consistent 40mph traffic weaving back and forth between lanes, and also featured streetcars at high frequencies. (around 1935)


Quick looks

Charts!  Twin Cities Household Size and Age Forecasts uses Metro Council data and the report observes: “As the Twin Cities region’s age mix changes, its mix of households changes with it. Households headed by older adults will more than double in number by 2030 and will account for almost a third of all households by 2040. The housing needs and preferences of older adults will become an important driver of the region’s housing market.”  Time Spent versus Age from Quartz illustrates “Hours spent in the company of children, friends, and extended family members all plateau by our mid-50s. And from the age of 40 until death, we spend an ever-increasing amount of time alone,” plus an invitation from Bill Lindeke to consider how urban design affects who we spend time with.

Links! National Links: Fix It First California, Glass Buildings, and Lyft Shuttle from The Direct Transfer and a link to Jeff Wood’s show Transit Trends episode 11 (transportation equity is the topic).


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