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Our mission is to help transform Twin Cities streets into community spaces that invite people of all ages, cultures and abilities to walk, bicycle, socialize and play.

Draft version of Minnesota GO 50-year vision released

This arrived in my inbox today:

Draft Vision Released and We Want Your Feedback

Today MnDOT officially released the draft 50-year vision as part of Minnesota GO.  The vision was developed with input from the public and diverse representatives of the transportation community who participated in advisory group meetings, public workshops and online (that's you!) during the past several months.

Read the vision and tell us what you think!

MnDOT will also be hosting a public hearing on October 4th to hear comments in person.  Join us! 

It's important to hear from you.  MnDOT and other transportation organizations will use the vision and information from this project in developing short-term and long-term plans. The vision will offer guidance in determining the transportation initiatives that the state chooses for investment.

Plus O' The Day: September 21, 2011

Quality Temporary Sidewalk on Hennepin
There's even a ramp at the end

Sidewalks, as the word suggests, tend to form the side of the street, and are thereby vulnerable to closures forced by adjacent activities, like construction.  Hennepin Ave pedestrians are all too familiar with this vulnerability, having recently endured 17 months of complete and total closure of one of the busiest sidewalks in town, the sidewalk on Hennepin that connects the 6th St bus stop with the Warehouse District LRT station.

But things are looking up on Hennepin Ave.  The construction of a new Lunds at 13th & Hennepin has forced the closure of the sidewalk, but someone looked logically at the 60-some feet devoted to through traffic and thought that maybe some of that space could be reallocated to pedestrians. 

I don't know who is responsible for this progressive attitude, but since the city charges four times as much to close a through traffic lane as they charge to close a sidewalk, my guess is it wasn't the contractor.  Whoever it was, I commend them for this quality pedestrian treatment.

Top 10 (Lightweight) Items to Pack in Your Panniers

Masterlink

Ever since my first dispatch from the road I have been mentioning (complaining?) about the weight of the stuff I’ve been hauling over mountain passes, through canyons, and to places that are in the middle of nowhere. I decided I would throw a bone to the cyclists in the crowd as the question I most frequently asked to anyone I could catch on cycling tour before starting the Ride the Talk campaign was, “What item is the most valuable to you on your trip?”

It is amazing how after a few days of travel you discover what is important and what is just dead weight. As one cyclist put it, “Whatever you discover in the bottom of you panniers at the end of the trip is what you didn’t need.” I decided not to wait until the end of the trip to tell you what’s risen to the top. Read more >

Help us pick a new name!

Twin Cities Streets for People is entering a new era, and we'd like your help in making the transition.  Regular readers may have noticed a few new names popping up on this site in the last few weeks.  A discussion initiated by David Levinson (The Transportationist) early last month has brought several Minnesota bloggers together with aspirations of making a local version of something like Greater Greater Washington or the Streetsblog family of websites.  TCSP already has a mission similar to those outlets, so we decided to make use of existing infrastructure rather than attempting to make something completely new.  This lets us get moving more quickly.

However, a few changes are in the pipeline—first among these is a new name.  "Twin Cities Streets for People" sends a positive message, but there's a sense among many of us that it's a bit cumbersome.  So, what would you like to see as the name of the premier Minnesota/Twin Cities site related to placemaking, sustainability, and other urban planning topics?

Here's a list of nominees we've selected:

  • streets.mn
  • strongermn.org / .com
  • minnurbia.org
  • improve.mn / improvemn.org
  • mnstreets.org
  • mnurbanism.org
  • places.mn

Please give us your vote in the comments!  Voting will run until the end of the day on Wednesday, September 28th. Read more >

Plus O' The Day: September 19, 2011

New Pedestrian Median at Hamline and Pierce Butler in St Paul
The median looking South where it crosses the tracks at Hamline Avenue.

Pierce Butler is a really busy road where cars move north of 50 mph. It's also a bike route with sidewalks and houses alongside it. So its really important to have pedestrian safety infrastructure such as crosswalks and medians.

St Paul just installed one of these at the Hamline Avenue pedestrian bridge, where it crosses the railroad tracks leading into Bandana Square. And it looks nice!

Somewhere in Nowhere

About 150 miles south of Miles City lies a place, “conveniently located in the middle of no place.” It’s called Alazada, Montana, and is home to the Stoneville Saloon and not much else (there is also a convenience store and post office). The Saloon is a place that one must really visit in person to get the real story but I’ll do my best to portray how, despite first appearances, the Saloon is  a safe haven of friendliness and is doing it’s part to be a bit “greener". Read more >

The Devolution of St. Paul's 7 Corners

The last 47 years have not been kind to 7 Corners

The images displayed below are of  7 Corners in St. Paul, but it might as well be Anywhere, USA. The last 47 years haven’t been kind to the district adjacent to downtown. In fact, it transformed from a neighborhood of small businesses, quaint houses and small apartment blocks into an open surface parking lot for a convention center. Read more >

Road Test: Backcountry Boiler

When beginning to build my Ride the Talk campaign for need-based scholarships for the students of MCAD’s Sustainable Design program, I stumbled upon a cool Kickstarter campaign for the Backcountry Boiler. Devin Montgomery, a young designer turned entrepreneur, raised three times his Kickstarter fundraising goal with the help of over 500 backers to turn his sustainable design concept into reality. I was immediately enamored by Devin’s product, "a light and simple way to carry and efficiently heat water in the outdoors using just about any fuel that you can find." Read more >

Creating nice places is kind of simple

Examining a car-less, bike and pedestrian Island urban planning utopia

This is downtown Mackinac Island.

Bicycles rule the roads, shops and colorful awnings line the sidewalks and horse carriages gallivant freely down the congestion-free roadways. It looks kitsch, but it isn’t. It’s actually a working small town – albeit one that relies nearly exclusively on tourism.

Ignoring the volatility of the tourist-driven economyMackinac Island looks stronger and healthier than any small town I’ve seen. It succeeds where most small towns fail – it provides an urban environment worthy of human affection. Read more >

Peeve O' The Day: September 14, 2011

Parking on the Sidewalk
A car parking on the sidewalk outside Grand Avenue Liquors in St Paul.

I guess places like this get somehow "grandfathered in," but it never ceases to amaze me that some parts of the Twin Cities condone (and apparently legalize) turning the sidewalk into extra parking spaces for cars.

This example comes from the Grand Avenue Liquor Store in St Paul, where drivers continue to park on the sidewalk despite the store's own parking lot being located 30 feet away, across the street.