Last week was busy here on streets.mn with current events, project reviews, and a variety of journeys. Plus, of course, some regular features. Get up to speed…
I love winter – especially snowy winter – and think being active outside is the way to be warm and enjoy the season. Others agree – Jenny Werness picks up on streets.mn’s new-ish mission with My Commute is Delightful with a photo-journal of her winter bike commute. We’ve also had 30 Days of Winter Biking and Winter Bike to Work Day is coming up in February. You’re invited to add your winter bike commute stories and pictures.
Alex Schieferdecker says The Riverview Modern Streetcar Is Still Not Good Transit (you can read his 2017 take here), but decisions are about to be made (you can comment until 5pm tomorrow, January 21, 2019) saying, “the study’s steering committee chose a modern streetcar option as the locally preferred alternative. This mode choice would cost exponentially more than aBRT service ever would have, take far more time to build, and provide slower end-to-end travel times. On the flip side, this mode choice would cost a similar amount to light rail service, take a similar amount of time to build, and also provide slower and less reliable end-to-end travel times with far less capacity. The result of the study is an alternative that will not achieve gains for transit riders in the corridor, while still spending enormous amounts of money and time.”
From the headlines last week, long-time Metro Transit planner Aaron Isaacs writesBrian Lamb and Metro Transit Deserved Better saying, “How incredibly stupid. The newly appointed Met Council Chair has fired the best General Manager in Metro Transit’s history and replaced him with someone who has no transit background. What?” The post details Mr Lamb’s accomplishments and commenters agree and also say “What?”
Counting The Homeless On The Train One July Evening is Henry Pan’s story of volunteering with Hennepin County and St. Stephens to help with the Point-In-Time Count of the Blue Line trains, “Dignity. Housing. Help. Five dollars. That’s what some people clamored for when they saw us on the Blue Line one July morning. With our safety vests on and our clipboards wielded, they recognized us as staff (volunteer or paid, it didn’t seem to matter to them) conducting the Point-In-Time Count. It’s a quarterly – now biannual – census of people who are experiencing homelessness in the Twin Cities area.” Another count is coming up very soon; read the post to find out how to volunteer.
Let’s Ban Slip Lanes in Saint Paul writes Pat Thompson. The post describes a walk which included crossing a slip lane – those free right turn lanes created by “porkchops” – where someone walking had to cross the fast-moving turning traffic to reach the “porkchop” with the beg button to cross the rest of the street, “This slip lane (like all slip lanes) is very dangerous for pedestrians, and its existence basically tells us that we don’t belong in this area at all. Moving cars as efficiently as possible is prioritized (God forbid drivers should have to wait to turn right! Traffic might back up onto the highway!).” The many commenters consider both slip lanes, but also the presumptions that people walking should or can detour to better crosswalks or pedestrian bridges.
Improved Yielding to Cyclists in St. Paul is reported by Eric Saathoff after street improvements to the Margaret Street Bicycle Boulevard and asks “What is it about the design that works psychologically on the driver in ways that other intersections with cyclists do not?” and suggests some answers, but also asks for more streets like this.
Bill Lindeke is Reviewing (and Grading) Saint Paul’s New Smith Avenue/High Bridge Design. After 18 months out of commission, this scenic and important link across the river has reopened and this post surveys the results “Space on the bridge was always going to be a zero sum game. If the engineers were going to improve anything, some parts of the right-of-way were going to lose out. In this case, the sidewalk got better and the bike lane worse. There was no easy way out of that spatial pickle.” In addition to the sidewalk/bike lane tradeoff, read about new fencing, traffic calming at the ends of the bridge, and the final grade.
Finally, finish the journey from Saint Paul to Duluth with Monte Castleman Along Old Highway 61 to Duluth, a Phototour: Part Three (See Part One from Saint Paul to White Bear Lake and Part Two from White Bear Lake to almost Hinckley). Start in Hinckley, learn some history and see the contemporary and vintage photos of the towns along the way before ending at the Lift Bridge in Duluth.