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Sunday Summary – September 29, 2019

It is now officially Fall, so keep the link to the DNR’s Fall Color Finder handy (complete with a list of state parks and how close they are to “peak leaf” and comparison to past leaf seasons).  You can even subscribe to updates by email. Visiting state parks is mostly a road trip idea, but here are some carfree ideas (also bikepacking).  And here’s last week on streets.mn:

streets.mn Sunday Summary logo

Farewell to summer

In the last(?) blast of summer weather, Alicia Valenti gives us 3 Ideas to Create Better Summer Cities including public water fountains (yes!) since “As global warming continues and accelerates, summers—especially here in Minnesota—are growing hotter and longer, making it ever more important to make sure our cities are safe and comfortable places to spend time outside.”

Photo of misting system used to cool amusement park visitors

Two amusement park visitors use a misting system to cool off (Kool Fog)

Driving (less)

To Decarbonize Transportation, MnDOT Needs To Challenge Itself To Reduce VMT says Alex Schieferdecker.  Responding to a recent MnDOT report “Pathways to Decarbonizing Transportation” which models how Minnesota could meet the greenhouse gas emission reduction targets set back in the Pawlenty administration.  The MnDOT report relies on shifting to electric vehicles and developing alternative fuels, but this post advocates for reducing vehicle miles travelled saying “The other major reason why reducing VMT requires far greater attention from MnDOT is that unlike vehicle electrification or alternative fuel development, it is something that is actually largely in the agency’s control. The amount that people drive now and will drive in the future is highly elastic. Reducing the size of roads is one proven strategy for reducing VMT that MnDOT could bake into every road project it undertakes.”

Some Recent CARtoons from Andy Singer pointedly points out out some of the absurdities of the car-heavy life and pro-car advocacy:

How Many Highway Lanes Does It Take To Alleviate Congestion?

Lindsey Aster Silas reminds people who drive everywhere that Not Everyone Lives the Same Way You Do, and That’s OK, saying “People who have spent their entire lives living a suburban, car-centric life cannot necessarily understand what an urban, car-light lifestyle is like. It’s not a hellscape of driving in circles forever trying to park. It’s the opposite of that.”


Rebuttal to a Rebuttal: Let’s Talk Functional Density takes on a Strib screed complaining (again) about Minneapolis’ plans to allow greater density along transit corridors and ending single-family zoning.  Frankie Stolarski fights fury with facts, the post refutes each point with evidence.  Most commenters agree and add some detail to the arguments with a bit of pushback (and pushing back the pushback).

Maps of Seattle and Minneapolis showing that both cities are largely zoned for exclusively single-family homes

Single-family zoning in Seattle and Minneapolis

Regular features

National Links: More Gender Equity in Toronto Planning from Jeff Wood and The Overhead Wire.

Conrad Zbikowski’s latest review is a Dispatch from Car-Free MSP Day  with commuter stories and some scooter reviews.

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Multimodal parking (Germany)

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.