Festivus 2019: Detours For The Rest of Us

It is time once again to honor Festivus with decor and activities befitting the day, as we do each year.

The Festivus Pole

We shall start the observance with a pole. While we have done this before and so you may think us lazy, we are going with a bollard once again for our pole, aka “the suggestion post.”

A series of Festivus poles playing in traffic, photo courtesy of Bill Lindeke

The Airing of Grievances

Next, we shall begin the Airing of Grievances!  And boy oh boy, we have a lot of them. Many serious grievances that may rise above the level of “grievance” due to their seriousness and non-petty natures.

  • The Cedar Lake Trail detour. First, putting up signs weeks ahead of work starting, then ticketing people for ignoring them. Then, the actual detour is confusing, terrible and unsafe. And we’re stuck with this until fall 2021?!
  • Everyone blocking the box in downtown Minneapolis. It was an epidemic.
  • Parking ramps that subsidize the least efficient commuters from the furthest-flung exurbs.
  • Spending $3,569,917 to repave Ayd Mill Road.
  • The incompleteness of the new Minnesota River Bridge.
  • All continuing foolishness around “distracted walking” and “distracted bicycling,” both of which are garbage distractions from the real issues with our roads.
  • Right turns on red. Make them illegal.

As usual, our intrepid readers have shared some grievances!

Turns out it’s because the back door exit hasn’t been shoveled, which is its own grievance.


Why, yes. And St. Paul’s. And cities without sidewalks, because we can’t even complain about their lack of clearance because the city just plain doesn’t have any, which is maybe worst of all.

In follow up:

Feats of Strength

Every year, your Feats of Strength training should include clearing walks, bus stops, staircases, and those ice floes that form where there is runoff. I nearly killed myself on one of those today, and it would have been awkward given I am the only healthy person in my home right now!

If you went to a public hearing and stood in line without a bathroom break, that is also a Feat of Strength.

Your Turn

Dear readers, please share with us your Festivus observances and grievances. We also want to hear about some Festivus miracles, especially any that involve noodle soup of any kind (veggie, chicken, pho).

About Julie Kosbab

Julie Kosbab is an online marketing consultant and active transportation advocate living in Anoka County, Minnesota. She was one of Minnesota's only League of American Bicyclists Certified Instructors when certified in 2005, and is no longer lonely in that calling. A past member of the National Bicycle Tour Directors Association, she has 2 children and a garage full of bicycles. Find her on Twitter as @betweenstations, or read her (seldom updated) blog at Ride Boldly!

9 thoughts on “Festivus 2019: Detours For The Rest of Us

  1. Aaron IsaacsAaron Isaacs

    The lack of “Keep Right” signs on the Minneapolis lake bike paths.

    Standee bus passengers who block the rear door and the aisle between the front wheel wells.

    1. Brian

      Where exactly should people stand doesn’t block someone? I’ve been on buses where the bus as so full the driver had to leave passengers at stop because there was no room for any more standees.

  2. Serafina ScheelSerafina

    Why on earth is there no clear responsibility for clearing bus stops in the winter?

    And when are we going to do away with beg buttons for people on foot, mobility devices, and bikes? I’m so tired of having to dismount and push a walk signal to cross University Avenue. Or to just miss pushing the button to get a walk signal and have to wait an entire phase.

  3. Aaron IsaacsAaron Isaacs

    Metro Transit clears the stops with bus shelters, then works on other busy stops. Beyond that, there is no clear reasonability.

    1. Andrew Evans

      Slow day at work, so what more fun than looking up Mpls city ordinances. Note I use property owner, which means the adjacent property owner to the boulevard or shelter.


      Basically I’m responsible for my sidewalk and boulevard. Although there are limits to what I can and can’t do with the space. Without permission or a permit I can’t plant high flowers or weeds (tell that to those in south growing sunflowers), or pave over it.

      For better or worse the Minneapolis Park Board controls the planting of trees on a boulevard and what types of trees are allowed. They also will provide trees and will cut them down if/when needed. (They will also drive up on the sidewalk and destroy landscaping, then deny it, and not pay for it, then also leave a stump upon request when told they would more than likely grind down the sidewalk and leave the stump if they tried to take it out.)

      In any event, it seems that the city has agreements with other entities that allow them to add services to the street boulevards and to have some responsibility over those additions.


      The general website doesn’t mention bus stops, but mostly to be a good neighbor and clear snow within the first few days on the sidewalk. It is interesting that corner lot folks aren’t required to clear snow ridges that are in the street, the requirement is only to the gutter. I didn’t see a mention of that in Chapter 445, so I’m assuming that there is a difference between “sidewalk” and “road”.

      I would also assume from this that a property owner would be responsible to clear the sidewalk up to and by a bus stop shelter, or the whole bus stop if no shelter was there.

      Then two things on shelters – APPENDIX G – BUS STOP SHELTERS FRANCHISE from the city and from Metro Transit Customer Waiting Shelter Planning and Prioritizing. Note this is from a quick’ish google search and these were the first few links to pop up that make sense.

      The city has – Section 23. – Maintenance. “The Company shall inspect each shelter at least once every four (4) calendar days for any damaged or broken parts or burned-out lighting fixtures and the Company shall repair or replace damaged or broken parts and burned-out lighting fixtures within twenty-four (24) hours after the Company becomes aware of the damage, breakage or burnout. (2010-Or-043, § 1, 4-16-10)”

      Also the city permits the shelters and approves them like any other building. I’m not sure if they consider local residents or property owners views or concerns and it doesn’t look like the property owner has a responsibility for shelters in the same way they do to mow and keep the boulevard.

      Also, it seems they aren’t owned by Metro Transit as per the city website. “An ordinance granting a franchise to CBS Outdoor, to own, operate and maintain shelters for transit passengers in the City of Minneapolis, Minnesota, setting forth conditions accompanying the grant of franchise and providing for the regulation and use of said shelters and the advertising placed thereon.”

      Although on the Metro Transit site – “Advertising Shelters
      Until recently, privately owned advertising shelters were installed in Minneapolis, St. Paul, West St. Paul and Roseville through individual franchise agreements between the cities and the shelter owner. These agreements allowed the cities to share in the revenue generated in their community by the shelter advertisements. Similar to other privately owned shelters, these advertising shelters were maintained by their owner.

      In July 2014, Metro Transit assumed ownership and maintenance responsibilities for all of the advertising shelters in Minneapolis, and in mid-2015, took ownership of advertising shelters in both St. Paul and West St. Paul. Metro Transit is currently in the process of replacing many of these aging shelters with new shelters.”

      I’m not going to dig any further than this because it seems that either they are owned by a private company or by Metro Transit. Either way they aren’t the adjacent property owners responsibility, unless of course if there is an agreement with the property owner and shelter owner as far as snow removal, trash, etc.

      In Section 23 of the Appendix G it covers snow removal. “… The Company shall clean any accumulation of snow from inside the shelter and from the area between the shelter and the curbline within forty-eight (48) hours after a snowfall of four (4) inches or more.”

      Which are basically the same rules as other property owners.

      In Minneapolis, since it is an ordinance, I’d complain to the city of shelters are not shoveled out. Although keep in mind with shoveling it says something along the lines that the preference is bare pavement, but that best efforts are accepted if that’s not feasible as long as sand or something is put down.

      Section 27 says that an adjacent property owner can put up their own shelter. However they can’t advertise, and then must otherwise follow the shelter rules. I’d assume these are some of the oddball ones downtown, and in any event they don’t have advertising so they may be easy to spot, and they would follow the same snow removal rules anyway.

      Then for what it’s worth Section 25. – Forfeiture – “(5)If the Company refuses or neglects to comply with any reasonable order of the City Engineer; or(6)If the Company persists in any course of conduct in violation of any of the provisions of this ordinance; or” So in effect, if they don’t shovel, do maintenance, or anything, the city will ask them to take it down. So complaining about the shelter, and doing it enough, may mean its removal rather than a redoubled effort to maintain it.

      In my opinion, I’m not a lawyer, but I have had some luck using ordinances and contacting the city, for what it’s worth.

      1. Brian

        Ameriprise must have some sort of agreement with Metro Transit and/or the city for the bus shelter next to their building that has the huge Amerprise logo on it. The Amerprise logo would certainly be considered advertising.

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