Sunday Summary – September 3, 2017

Happy September!  Labor Day weekend traditionally signals the end of summer when we get back to school and buckle down to work.  You could use your new pencils/laptop to write for welcomes new writers at any time to extend current discussions, bring new perspectives to issues on, or add new voices to the conversation about our cities. This week, Saint Paul got a lot of attention and cycling in Saint Paul in particular.  But don’t stay in the city, you can ride the Red Line with to the southern suburbs on Saturday, September 8.

Saint Paul

A New Vision Zero for St. Paul: Part 3 – Engineering is the third installment from Michael Daigh working through the 5E’s of bike/walk friendliness and concludes Vision Zero can help shift the practice where “For decades, traffic engineers have treated vehicular traffic in the same manner as plumbing: Build it bigger, wider, faster, and engineer the intersections to maximize flow throughput. The result has been the dividing of neighborhoods and communities, isolating people/pedestrians on “safe” islands that have been severed from human scaled connections by lethal and wide roads.”

Summit Avenue Bridge Construction Detouring is Mike Sonn’s visual guide to several possible detour routes which ensure bike connections during this project.

Impacts are on the city’s mind, let’s point them in the right direction.

Bill Lindeke reviews Three Saint Paul Bike Projects that Should be Under Construction Right Now but Aren’t (plus a bonus project). “Saint Paul finally passed a bike plan about two years ago, which held great promise despite the lack of great funding. The idea is that, with the plan in place, the City would be able to create bike infrastructure in a flexible, tactical way, using crafty grant-writing and opportunistic low-cost investments to eventually get a meaningful network in place.” Unfortunately, there’s some low hanging fruit which is going unpicked; the post describes three projects, what they could be, and why they’re not happening. Commenters add perspective on the projects, consider additional design issues, and point the way to more advocacy.

Five Reasons to Support the Snelling Avenue South Zoning Study from Gena Berglund is a call for more neighbors (and the benefits they’ll bring):  “The Snelling Avenue South Zoning Study recommends Traditional Neighborhood rezoning of Snelling and its commercial nodes. Traditional Neighborhood zoning will encourage multifamily housing and mixed-use development over the next 40 to 60 years. Traditional Neighborhood zoning puts out the welcome sign for developments that will bring more neighbors to Saint Paul.” Also take a look at recent YIMBY posts which encourage more neighbors, greater density, and more equity.

Big ideas

Staving Off Bikesharing Shrinkage by Heidi Schallberg starts with a story of the disappearance of her neighborhood bikeshare station and continues with a wealth of information about how Nice Ride decides where to locate bike stations, how it uses numbers to make decisions, about the value of social media to organize people to effect change, and a preview of possible changes in how bikeshare operates (dockless bike sharing in our future?)

Car-focused Assumptions Lack Inclusiveness by Amy Gage describes a common situation: organizations hold events and provide driving and parking information, but don’t tell attendees about transit or bike connections. The post has some specific examples, but also some evidence of change: the State Capitol now provides transit, bike share, and bike parking, as well as car-centric directions.

The refurbished State Capitol is accessible to all, not only drivers.

Quick looks and longer listen

Charts: Three charts this week from local information with Chart of the Day: Saint Paul Bike Traffic Before and After Bike Lanes, to demographic change in Chart of the Day: US Population Growth by Age Cohort to thinking about Hurricane Harvey’s impact in Chart of the Day: Necessary Road Space per Traffic Mode for Houston Metro Evacuation.

Listen: Podcast #105: Sustain Ward 3 with Amanda Willis and Brandon Long is “a conversation with Amanda Willis and Brandon Long, two of the people who have organized called Sustain Ward 3, a new community group in Saint Paul focusing on urban issues.”

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