Sunday Summary – September 1, 2019

Yes, I do enjoy it when the Sunday Summary and the start of a new week land on the first day of a new month.  Here’s the end of August from streets.mn

Image of Sunday Summary logo

Big picture

Evan Roberts writes Minneapolis Needs Better Street Design, but Minnesota Needs Better Enforcement and shifts the focus of enforcement saying, “An important precondition for effective enforcement of traffic laws is to think of bad driving as a public health problem like smoking, sexually transmitted diseases, or poor nutrition: widespread and partly the result of common human temptations and behavior. Of course, these are imperfect analogies when taken too far. More enforcement can be an effective way to reset the driving behavior of millions around speed and driving after drinking alcohol.” The post details ways other countries, like Australia, have worked to reduce impaired driving, reducing speed, decriminalizing traffic offenses, and reducing the discretion accorded cops and judges. Read on for some analysis of how US law hinders some enforcement and the “both-and” conclusion that enforcement everywhere needs to change, but local action can focus on better streets.

What You Can Do to Ensure the Unhoused Have a Place to Stay in Light of the Green Line Shutdown by Henry Pan is not principally about the Green Line, but about making housing more affordable, “With overnight trains no longer an option for the unhoused, where should they go? Sure, they could go to shelters that are overcrowded and unsafe (However, more shelter beds will be available soon in Ramsey County). But that’s a short-term solution to a long-term problem. In order to address the homelessness crisis once and for all, we must make it easier for everyone, regardless of their background, to access housing.” Find some details about the two renter-protection proposals currently before the Minneapolis City Council (and the opposition to them) as well as a promise of future posts delving deeper.

Bill Lindeke’s post, Cars are Tragedy not a Boon for Small Businesses, is not about the “but where will they park?” problem, but rather more urgent.  Using the recent crash of an SUV into a small business and its building on West 7th Street in Saint Paul to advocate for attention to designing for people, saying, “I wish that business associations and city leaders tasked with economic development would see traffic and speeding drivers as a problem rather than the something to be desired. Long ago, we should have re-designed this street to make the sidewalks wider, the corners tighter, and removed a the extra lane of traffic that encourages people to speed and weave around other drivers.”

SUV shown crashed into the side of a building


Getting around

Pennsylvania Avenue Revisited in light of the Ayd Mill Road bikeway proposals by Eric Saathoff and makes some detailed comparisons to launch a post about bikes on Pennsylvania (here’s his previous post about this) and around Saint Paul.  Many maps and much data support the call to action; commenters add some additional details and suggestions while almost all supporting the ideas.

Pennsylvania, Bike Plan

Saint Paul Bike Plan: Pennsylvania Avenue

Christa Moseng tells us about Safety and the Power of Public Works.  streets.mn often publishes work about the policies and politics of making street design decisions (see ___ for example), but this post points out how small decisions out of the public eye make a big difference: “My point is that the people that go out to maintain the roads every year aren’t just guided by policy that the City Council votes on; they are delegated substantial independent responsibility to make decisions and choices that don’t rise to the level of getting addressed by elected officials. They have the power to make all sorts of places in the city more or less safe for sustainable transportation with their implementation decisions. And at least in this one place, this year, my commute is less safe because of one of those decisions.”

Regular features

Project! Conrad Zbikowski continues his reporting on new Minneapolis apartments and other projects in Ritzy Rafter in CenHen Opens for Business.


Working for truly multi-modal transportation at the State Fair (ends tomorrow!)

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 BetseyBuckheit.com.