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Dispatch from Black Friday

Every year I make an expedition to the Mall of America on Black Friday with no specific agenda. Living in downtown Minneapolis, I can buy an all-day Metro Transit pass for $5, saving $1.55 in gasoline, 13 pounds of carbon dioxide and a chip out of my soul.

We were riding the lemon yellow light rail cars, and the sound from the grinding of the wheels was deafening. I happened to be wearing new headphones, but to no avail. Maybe a future post will compare the audio pain of both the new and old cars.

November 29 2019 - Mall of America light rail station

The new transit station at the Mall of America. Photo: Author

The new transit station at the Mall of America looks impressive on its face, but usability is only adequate in 2019. The doors swing rather than slide, not great if you have wheels. The escalator to the mall is narrow for one of the building’s major arteries. It feels like the escalators inside the mall are wider.

Escalator at Mall of America transit station

All aboard the escalator of capitalism (note the few brave walkers). Photo: Author

On top of the engineering corners cut, there is the security theater. Metro Transit police check tickets at the light rail platform. Mall security checks identification at the escalator, looking for youth under 16 not accompanied by an adult. Nobody checks to see if your plate tabs are up-to-date or if you are too young to shop if you drive to the mall.

Mall of America rotunda

Mall of America amusement park
Inside the mall, we are reminded of what can happen when a space is made for pedestrians. Air a comfortable 72 degrees. No ice or salt or sand. Shops and dining all together. You just need a car or a $5 transit ticket to get there. And be 17 or older.

Conrad Zbikowski

About Conrad Zbikowski

Downtown Minneapolis resident covering local issues including parks, transportation, zoning, and development.

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