Thank you, Tom and Julie for summarizing on Sundays for me while I was away from MN and away from most streets altogether. But, I’m back and here’s last week on streets.mn:
Bike to Work Day
Julie Kosbab provided a summary of streets.mn posts related to bike commuting in Bike to Work Day: A Content Retrospective. Whether or not you biked to work on Friday, here are a few personal stories, a helpful guide, and other possibly inspiring and useful info to get you on your bike this Spring.
We asked people for their stories about commuting and here are two: Commuter Story: I Am A Multimodal Commuter is Jeremy Hop’s post about not only commuting to work, but getting around the Twin Cities without a car and with kids on buses and bikes. Starting young, Commuter Story: Danger Girl Bikes To School is kindergartener Danger Girl’s bike to school story, “I ride my bike to school because my dad makes me. Sometimes we walk. I like to do tricks, like ride with my feet on the handlebars or stand on the seat.”
Christa Moseng identifies Ways Metro Transit Can Improve Its Multimodal/Bike Friendliness from its current policy of driver’s discretion to allow (or not) bikes on buses, “The current policy winds up being arbitrary—someone considering a multimodal trip doesn’t know whether the driver is going to prevent them from boarding, making it impossible to reliably plan such a trip. This discourages ridership, and probably beyond just the one planned trip. It can make a regular, reliable, multimodal commuting plan impossible.”
Aaron Isaacs reviews The Hennepin Bus Lane Experiment (where temporary bus lanes were created by removing parking during rush hour) with what one commenter called “skeptical optimism,” saying, “There’s no question that the lanes performed well during the test. The problem is, replicating the test conditions on a permanent basis may not be possible. I believe the lanes will only work if there is a physical barrier to keep the autos out of them” which will require a political fight about parking and transit.
Better Buses Bit by Bit, also from Aaron Isaacs, highlights the new displays on A Line buses which “list the next three stops. For the next stop, a list of the connecting buses appears, followed by the minutes until the next bus arrives on each route. The route number and destination are shown.”
Safety on the streets
All Watched Over by Machines of Loving Grace is Michael Daigh’s commentary on the recent death of Elaine Herzberg in Tempe, AZ after being struck by an autonomous, self-driving vehicle, “The most perplexing aspect of the tragedy, though, was the subsequent frenzy of legislative action, an outpouring of posturing that revealed, if nothing else, the deep denial we as a society are in regarding the dangers that we have created, and ultimately our own place in that society, ethically and functionally.” Another way, if lawmakers addressed speed limits and street design to improve safety overall, the strengths of autonomous vehicles could be deployed to follow those rules better than human drivers.
Unsafe Streets Are Inequitable: For Vulnerable Road Users, “Doing Everything Right” Isn’t Enough says Christa Moseng. The post details her crash 3 years ago and the struggles she faced to finally receive an insurance settlement. Acknowledging her privilege and legal training gave her an advantage, she notes, “Vulnerable road users are at significant risk even if they take every precaution in the world. Even a helmet AND insurance AND being completely, unambiguously without fault can’t protect you from other people’s negligence. The uncertainty and economic consequences of this crash dragged on for years (my shoulder will never fully recover)—and most victims will be less lucky and privileged than me. Even if you “do everything right” our adversarial system basically ensures someone will try to tag some blame on you, and keep you from being made whole. Fighting that takes resources (time, money) and good fortune.”
In Winter Walking & The City of Minneapolis Maintenance Study, Julia Curran writes, “The long-anticipated City of Minneapolis’ Winter Maintenance Study is being presented to the City Council’s Transportation and Public Works committee on Tuesday. The Study looks far afield for solutions, analyzing municipal winter maintenance responsibility across the country, but without ever evaluating the efficacy of either our current system or the ones studied. Despite its importance and all the time that it represents, the study glosses over these two major holes in our current system of winter sidewalk maintenance: the number of reports that fall through the cracks due to lack of a valid address, and ambiguity over what constitutes a clear sidewalk.”
Quick looks, lots of links, longer listens, even longer walks
Quick looks: Two charts this week, Metro Population Growth 2010-2017 and (see the Hennepin bus lane post above) Hennepin Avenue Peak Hour Mode Share. And a timely map for summer which, using the requirement that “a fire must be at least 25 feet from a structure or combustible material,” Map Monday: Can I Have a Recreational Fire in Minneapolis? maps which parcels can legally have a recreational fire (68% of parcels could have fires, with a couple of caveats – perhaps yours is one?).
Listen: Bill Lindeke “sat down a few weeks ago with the team from Mapping Prejudice, a groundbreaking historical research effort to shed light on the racist history of housing practices in Minneapolis” and here’s the result: Podcast #112: Mapping the History of Racial Covenants in Minneapolis.
Links: From The Overhead Wire, our weekly serving of National Links: Behavioral Design Can Improve the City