Nicollet Avenue Chicken Benches

Sunday Summary – September 23, 2018

Happy Autumn (as of 8:54 pm last night). will be at Open Streets again this Sunday (for which we’ve arranged cooler weather, you’re welcome) – this time on Nicollet – why not stop by and see us. We also have another urban scavenger hunt photo challenge (complete with valuable prizes) to help you get to know this particular street.

Julie Kosbab continues to help readers deal with online comments. This time around there’s no single issue where she reads and reviews comments, but gives us the tools we need with We Read The Comments Special Edition: Comments Bingo Cards!  Yup, printable bingo cards – go get ’em.

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Car-Free Day

Yesterday – Saturday, September 22, 2018 – was World Car-Free DayAndy Singer posted Car-Free Day Car-toons from the critical to the inspirational. I think this one sums up the joys of car-free places:

Christa Moseng offers some advice on How You, and All of Us, Can Escape Car Dependency: “As an individual, the key is to start with the short-term, very bite-sized question: “how can I take fewer car trips, or drive fewer miles?” Then, as you run into obstacles, plan to overcome them over the long term by deciding either to change your own circumstances, or to advocate for investment and planning in public forums and in your workplace that will facilitate you and others in your community overcoming them together.”  Commenters weigh in on grocery stores, kids, and their own car free/car lite experience.


Areas within the dotted lines are locations within 1/2 mile of high-frequency, rapid transit… and half of them don’t exist yet.


Adam Miller helps drivers know How to Drive Around Buses, where “Some of what follows is going to be about state law. Some will be about good policy. Some is straight-forward safety. But all of it has a foundation in just being courteous to others, especially considering that those others may be less fortunate or more vulnerable than you.” So, yield to the bus, do not turn right in front of a stopped bus, and yield to pedestrians.

Erid Ecklund considers the Commonalities of the Northstar and Red Line. Although bus rapid transit and commuter rails don’t seem too similar, “People have called the Northstar Line a failure for not meeting ridership expectations, and have assumed commuter rail can’t work in the Twin Cities. However, outside urban studies and transit planning groups, I haven’t heard anyone call the Red Line a failure. If people are calling commuter rail a failed experiment, then what about highway bus rapid transit? To me, neither of these routes are failures, just works in progress. ” The post proposes some steps to finish the job. The comment section has some extended discussion of the issues with both services.

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Northstar Line train

Getting away

Pine Salica says Bikepacking Is Great and reports on an awesome end of summer trip from St. Paul to Afton State Park on the Gateway Trail. There were a few glitches, but mostly clear sailing. Check out her start of summer adventure here.

two hammocks, a tent, and a bike leaning against a tree.

We spent most of the next day relaxing.


Walker Angell looks to distinguish Good vs Bad Density in Vadnais Height. A proposed project is of the bad density variety because “If built, this property would be isolated high density. It is surrounded by low density on all sides; Interstate 35E (wall) to the east, 1.5 story townhomes to the north, a small park, wetland and single family homes to the west and single story duplex to the south. It is a considerable distance from eating, shopping and other amenities,” rather than near the town center.

Bloomington’s Four-Lane Death Roads Revisited is a follow-up post by Monte Castleman. In 2014 he considered Bloomington’s four-lane undivided roads. Four years later, he reports on the road diet on Portland Avenue, and some other Bloomington projects. However, the bulk of the post is good information and graphics showing why “Four-Lane Death Roads” are so problematic. Commenters have some thoughts about road diets and road geometry.

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Bloomington Death Roads

Look, link, walk

Quick looks: Map Monday: Hennepin Minus Minneapolis: Density of People of Color from Three Rivers Park District. And two charts, Chart of the Day: Per Capita Vehicle Miles Traveled, 2018 Update and Chart of the Day: MSP Non-Minnesotan Domestic Migration, 1991-2016.

Link: Link around the country with more National Links: Paving Potholes with Pizza Money from The Overhead Wire.

Walk: Keep Walking All the Streets of Hiawatha‘s Minnehaha Falls Area with Max Hailperin.

Rest Of Hennepin People Of Color

Rest of Hennepin, excluding Minneapolis, People of Color by acre.

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