Author Archive | Monte Castleman

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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Warrants and Justifications for Traffic Signs

The first two parts of this series dealt with warrants and justifications for traffic signals. Here the series concludes with a discussion of warrants and justifications for signs and other traffic control devices.  Justification for Stop Signs   Let’s go to the Minnesota MUTCD; section 2B.4: .03 YIELD or STOP signs should be used at an […]

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Warrants for Traffic Signals, Part 2: The Lyndale Avenue Example

Analyzing a Corridor Previously we went into what the warrants for signals were and went through some examples. So now let’s look at all the signals on a corridor. I picked South Lyndale Ave (with the exception of the signal at the ramp to MN 62, which is Mn/DOT operated. I’m going to cheat and just […]

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