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Sunday Summary – February 17, 2019

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Getting around

A Car-Free, Car-Less, and Car-Lite Guide To Surviving Bemidji from Henry Pan describes how they get around Bemidji without driving (or driving much).  “As difficult as it is living in Bemidji without a car in the winter, it is indeed possible to live without one. But it would even better if there were more sidewalks, more separated bike lanes, and transit that ran longer and more predictably,” and the post reviews all the transit, Lyft, ride sharing, biking, walking, transit choices.

What Happened To My Bus? asks Christa Moseng.  When the usual express bus doesn’t show up and there’s been no announcement of a service change, the posts looks for answers. None yet, but she’s “hoping to hear that this is just a temporary service reduction, but at this point it is unarguably a service reduction—and Metro Transit should be more transparent, communicative, and accountable about these things.”

Monte Castleman is Critiquing the Transportation-as-a-Service Model where self-driving or autonomous vehicles will replace owning our own cars; he says, “I seriously doubt fully automated cars will be ready, technologically, by 2030. And even if they are ready and promise more safety than driving yourself, the psychological comfort of being “in control” is strong.”

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Unplowed bike rack at the Bemidji State University campus. February 13, 2019


A Charming Third, or Tilting At Windmills from Luke Van Santen is a look at bicycle-related legislation moving through the Minnesota legislature this session with some positive developments about passing distance, but still no consideration of the Idaho Stop (that’s the tilting at windmills part).

Jenny Werness is Learning From My Winter Cycling Failures and invites your lessons learned, too. My favorite: “Soup will freeze and burst in your bag at -20 F, and then all your stuff will smell like soup all day.”

Bicycle handlebars with a snow-filled bar mitt attached. Teal bike with basket and picnic table in background

After work one day, I found my bar mitts filled with snow. Now I try to angle my handlebars away from the prevailing winds


The Fed’s Parking Garage

Alex Schieferdecker tells us Why The Fed’s Proposed Parking Garage Is Terrible For The Climate. The Minneapolis Fed has proposed an 800 space parking garage and citing (and linking) many sources that more parking leads to more driving which, in turn, leads to higher greenhouse gas emissions, “The proposed ramp is an egregious piece of fossil fuel infrastructure, just like an oil pipeline, but proposed for central city land. The token amenities proposed with the plan are greenwashing, like an oil derrick with a solar panel attached.” There’s much back and forth in the comments with some pushback about everyone won’t or can’t take transit or other mode (convenience, cold, time) countered by just as many agreeing with the post that climate change is the more critical concern.

Taking another tack, Conrad Zbikowski tells us Riding the Bus to the Fed Costs Less Than Half as Driving. So Why is the Fed Building Parking?  Using some quick calculations, the cost of riding the bus is cheaper, but “The problem facing the Fed’s employees, and neighbors, and the planet is that every time an employee takes the bus, the Fed loses by paying out a subsidy. Every time an employee drives and parks on a Fed parking lot, the Fed makes money in avoiding subsidy and earning rent on the parking stall.” Comments debate the cost of transit (and the realism of the examples) as well as whether the Fed pays property taxes.


Near the Fed

The Park Board’s Vision for Gateway Park is another post from Conrad Zbikowski this week. The post looks at plans for Gateway Park in downtown Minneapolis (and how to pay for them) and offers a family-friendly amendment, “As a local resident, only two suggestions I would add to the 2017 plan would be removing the coffee kiosk and adding a fenced children’s playground on the open lawn. With three coffee shops within one block of Gateway Park (Starbucks, Whole Foods Allegro, and Penny’s), I don’t think that a staffed coffee kiosk will be viable. Using the $186,000 budgeted for the kiosk on children’s play equipment and fencing could be a major positive for the neighborhood. ”

Proposed plan includes new water feature and ramps to address grade changes. Credit: MPRB

Proposed plan includes new water feature and ramps to address grade changes. Credit: MPRB

Regular features

Links: National Links: Putin’s Cities and the Topography of Wealth from Jeff Wood and The Overhead Wire.

Map: Map Monday: Fantasy Eastern US Rail Network of high and low speed lines. Two and a half hours to Chicago, anyone?

Walk: Walking All the Streets of Central King Field with Max Hailperin.

Levy Rail Map Proposal

Fantasy rail map


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