Author Archive | Monte Castleman

A History of Bicycle Helmets and a Study of Bicycle Helmet use in Minnesota

A History of Bicycle Helmets Advocacy for wearing bicycle  helmets is almost as old as bicycles themselves. In the 1880s bicycle clubs began to advocate for the use of helmets. Eventually racers began to use helmets, first leather pith-type helmets, then leather ring-type “hairnet” helmets, but helmets were unknown in non-race bicycling. First modern helmets […]

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The Causes of Crashes

There’s been much discussion about car vs. pedestrian crashes in the Twin Cities and closer-in suburbs. Here is a discussion about one in an exurb and one in a small town. When a crash happens, eventually the investigating agency winds up saying someone french-fried when they should have pizza-ed, assigns blame, the insurance companies and lawyers […]

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The I-35W Bridge Collapse 10 Years Later

August 1st, 2007 was Minnesota’s day of infamy, when one of the most heavily used bridges in the state collapsed into the Mississippi River. Looking back 10 years and a month later, it’s time to reflect on some of the changes since then. It Ended the “Funny Money” Era at MnDOT The 1990s were a […]

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The Stillwater Bridge Story, Part Five

To Build a Bridge Several years ago, I wrote a four part series about the story of the Stillwater Bridge across the St. Croix River. Part 1 covered the  project from 1950s promises to build a high bridge and get traffic well away from downtown up to the point the original iteration of the 1980s proposal was […]

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The LED Streetlights Are Here

The Dawn of Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs) Previously I covered the cobrahead streetlights of the Twin Cities. Well, they’re almost gone. The thousands of high pressure sodium MnDOT lights on the freeways have been converted to LED (light emitting diodes) and the 90,000 Xcel energy lights are in the process of being converted. So it’s […]

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The Richfield South Minneapolis Home Depot

The Suburb to City Retail Subsidy

The Urban Planning “S” Words It seems in urban planning there’s no shortage of locker room talk to describe development and infrastructure you personally don’t like. For example, the epithet “sprawl.”  Some may say “I know it when I see it,” but too often it’s just an insult with no objective definition; perhaps just a […]

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The Overhead Streetlights of the Local Streets Part 2: Clamshells and Cobraheads

This is Part 2 in an overview of overhead street lighting. Earlier we talked about NEMA lights, which are still commonly used in St. Paul. Today we cover some of the newer form factors.  “Clamshell” Street Lights Because of their large circular filaments, incandescent street light bulbs needed to be mounted vertically. But no such […]

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Dakota County Leaves the CTIB: the Orange Line is in Jeopardy

The Orange Line in Jeopardy Dakota County has decided to leave the CTIB (County Transit Improvement Board). The CTIB allegedly retaliated by refusing to fill a $12 million gap from the failed bonding bill with CTIB funds; this puts the Orange Line in jeopardy as the bulk of the funding ($120 out of $150 million) is expected […]

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Tesla’s Electric Self-Driving Car Euphoria Gets Jolted

An event predicted by many finally occurred: the first fatal crash in an electric self-driving car, on May 7 in Florida. That crash was followed soon by two more non-fatal crashes, one in Pennsylvania on July 1 and another in Montana early Sunday morning. Tesla’s stock fell and the media is having a field day predicting the death of […]

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The Overhead Streetlights of Local Streets, Part 1

Previously I wrote about streetlights, with a special emphasis on the freeways since these were about to be converted to LED. Now Xcel Energy has announced 100,000 local streetlights in its service area will be converted, so it is time to look at some of these. The NEMA Lights In the early days, every manufacturer […]

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