News & Views: Electric Cargo Bikes and Statewide Transit

Upcoming Events

Friday, April 12th: We’re proud to be co-hosting Ray Delahanty, aka CityNerd, for a meet and greet/bike ride event at Venture Bikes in Minneapolis! More information to follow next week, so save the date and keep your eyes peeled on Streets.mn!

Saturday, April 27th, 10 a.m.: Take a ride on transit with other Streets.mn enthusiasts…and Lesley Kandaras, Metro Transit’s General Manager! Starting point to be announced, but it will be somewhere in downtown St. Paul, and we’ll be riding the 62/68.

Saturday, May 11th: Join us in Rochester for our first Greater Minnesota contributors workshop. Time and schedule to follow in April.

A wet street with melting snow beside it. A bike is leaned against a street sign in the mid-ground.
Photo by Zack Mensinger

A Disturbingly Warm Winter

As we say farewell to our warmest-ever winter for most of Minnesota, it’s been on my mind how profoundly we humans are altering our planet. Excessively warm winters might not hit us with the seriousness of climate change like a July heat dome does, but they nonetheless have serious consequences in the natural world. Then I think about what is keeping us, collectively, from taking sufficient action to combat climate change. We’re often encouraged to make lifestyle changes to minimize our personal carbon emissions — in fact, you’ll find lots of stories at Streets.mn about people taking that approach. The power of individual change lies in the possibility that many individuals will alter how they live, adding up to significant change.

But even at a publication like ours that champions individual action like learning how to bike more places and take public transit, we remain entrenched in a system of fossil fuel-based resource consumption, and until we have completed a societal shift away from that system, personal choices can do only so much. It was none other than BP that popularized the concept of the carbon footprint back in the early 2000s on the back of a $100 million marketing campaign. It’s safe to say they didn’t spend that money with the hope — or expectation — that people would give up gasoline en masse and put them out of business.

Combating climate change looms large behind nearly everything we say and do at Streets.mn. For better or worse, as our name hints at, our stories are almost always rooted in places. Sometimes those stories are indeed about individual efforts to try and cut down on fossil fuel consumption. And while you won’t find us publishing many pieces talking about how to break the lobbying power of big oil, stories that push to change the status quo on a smaller scale are our bread and butter: stories that advocate for land use changes that allow for more density, or draw attention to new cycling infrastructure, or encourage people to petition their local government to build complete streets that allow for more multimodal transportation. These kinds of changes are essential to transforming Minnesota’s cities and towns away from dependence on fossil fuels and into sustainable, people-centered places.

Here are a couple of stories highlighting both the systemic and the individual changes I’m talking about.

An electric bike with a cargo trailer for sale in a store.
Photo by Mary Morse Marti

An Ode to Electric Cargo Bikes

Mary Morse Marti • February 6, 2024

Longtime transportation advocate Mary Morse Marti writes about the life-changing experience of owning a cargo e-bike. Her story is a delightful and informative combination of personal experience and wonky details (like MGVW ratings) that will help you calculate how much your bike can carry.

A bus sitting at a station platform with the destination Union Station.
Photo by Jesse Cook

Expanding Statewide Transit: Lessons from Colorado

Jesse Cook • February 7, 2024

Colorado native and Streets.mn board member Jesse Cook uses his personal experience and in-depth knowledge of the transit system in and around Denver and Boulder, Colorado, to advocate for changes Minnesota needs to make in order to have a truly statewide system.

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On the Podcast

microphone with an out of focus background containing the Streets.mn logo

Zoning Constraints and Mixed-Use Corridors: A Conversation With Spencer Miller-Johnson

Sherry Johnson and Ian R Buck • March 4, 2024

Spencer Miller-Johnson, Senior City Planner for the City of St. Paul, joins Sherry Johnson for a lively conversation about zoning and land use. Spencer helps us unpack a city report on its East Grand Avenue Overlay Study. He also shares about the city’s planning philosophies, why he’s passionate about form-based codes, and what keeps him up at night. Hear about how you can help guide potential zoning changes during the study’s public comment period through March 29.

Both Small and Big Moves Matter

Few of the toughest challenges we as a species have overcome were solved through a single, magic bullet approach. When it comes to climate change, we need a dual focus on doing what we can personally while also working to lift our society out of the rut of fossil fuel-based consumption. And when it comes to opportunities and ideas to do both these things in the North Star state, you couldn’t have picked a better organization to follow than Streets.mn.

We want to hear from you about climate change and urbanism in Minnesota. How has our winter that wasn’t been making you think and feel? Do you have an angle on climate that you keep wishing we’d cover? What are your own steps toward personal change? Drop us a line at editor@streets.mn! Propose a story! Share an idea for the podcast!

Micah Davison

Editor in chief

About Micah Davison

Micah is the editor in chief at Streets.mn. He moved to the Twin Cities in 2019, hailing from Canada by way of Boston. Always a lover of rivers, he feels he's landed in a pretty good town, and spends much time during the warm months enjoying the local watercourses. During the winter, he does what he needs to keep biking through whatever unholy combination of cold, snow and ice nature throws our way.