Author Archive | Eric Ecklund

Streetcar Osanna Photo

65 Years Later: Twin Cities Streetcars

On June 19, 1954 the streetcar system in the Twin Cities shut down permanently. I consider it one of the biggest mistakes our region has ever made as we’re now spending billions and taking decades to rebuild a similar system albeit with arterial bus rapid transit (ABRT), BRT, and light rail. There are several causes […]

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Route 614: Can (or Should) It Be Saved?

The Metropolitan Council is proposing to eliminate Route 614, which operates Monday-Friday between Ridgedale Mall and apartment complexes in Minnetonka Heights (just north of County Road 101 and Townline Road/Highway 62). Frequency of this route is around every hour. The first northbound bus leaves at 5:16 AM, and the last northbound bus leaves at 5:35 […]

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An Easy Way to Make Suburbs More Walkable: Sidewalk Shortcuts

Making the suburbs, especially outer ring suburbs, walkable will require a significant shift in how we treat pedestrians in terms of infrastructure investment and in terms of interacting with them while driving. However, there is an easy way to make the suburbs more walkable without requiring significant investment: simply adding a sidewalk connecting streets and […]

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One Month Later: A RRFB Crossing Failed

Just over a month after I wrote a post criticizing county traffic engineers for a half-baked attempt at protecting pedestrians and cyclists crossing busy streets, I unfortunately was proven right by a crossing in Anoka County. On November 20 two girls crossing Highway 47 at Pederson Drive in St. Francis were struck at the crosswalk […]

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Twin Cities Transit Expansion Timeline

The Twin Cities region has been slow to establish transitways compared to peer cities. While there have been a few new transitways since our first major transit project was completed, the region has a long way to go and will likely need major funding changes for more routes to be completed and in a reasonable […]

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Is Minnesota All Aboard for Intercity Rail?

After posting about potential rapid transit routes in the Twin Cities here and potential regional rail routes in the Twin Cities here, now is the potential for intercity rail in Minnesota. History of Intercity Rail in Minnesota Post-Amtrak Like most states, Minnesota had a large intercity rail network operated by private freight railroads. With the […]

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RRFBs: A False Sense of Protection

When Rectangular Rapid Flash Beacons (RRFBs) started appearing in Bloomington and Edina I thought they would be a huge improvement for pedestrian safety, but having used them numerous times I’ve realized they’re a compromise on safety and neither motorists or pedestrians are the winners. RRFBs are a safety device used at crosswalks in which a […]

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Trip Report: Amtrak Empire Builder Chicago-St. Paul

How about the train? Way back in December I had already planned most of my 3-month summer tour of Europe, but I hadn’t decided on how I would return home. I narrowed my options to a flight from Europe directly to Minneapolis (boring, but the quickest), fly from Europe to Chicago and then Amtrak to […]

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Commonalities of the Northstar and Red Line

From a physical and operational standpoint the Northstar Line and Red Line are a night and day difference, but from an implementation and performance standpoint they are actually quite similar. The Red Line operates every 20 minutes (it used to be every 15 minutes) and had 267,000 rides in 2016 . While the Red Line hasn’t […]

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A Regional Rail System for the Twin Cities

Following my post on potential Twin Cities rapid transit routes, which you can find here, next is the topic of regional/commuter rail in the Twin Cities region. Minnesota has one example of regional rail; the Northstar Line between Minneapolis and Big Lake in the northwest region operating on existing BNSF Railway track. The Northstar Line is how […]

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