Archive for the ‘Transportation’ Category

Bike Walk Week

This week (June 5th – 11th) is bikewalk week in the Twin Cities. Keep yourself self-propelled!
Here is a list of events from bikewalkweek.org:

Events Saturday, June 5 Kick Off!: •Twin Cities Heart Walk hosted at the new Minnesota Twins Target Field •Celebrate National Trails Day with the Three Rivers Park District at the Hopkins Depot Trail Head on the Cedar Lake LRT Regional Trail
Sunday, June 6: •Grand Old Day – avoid parking problems—ride your bike, walk, or take transit to Grand Old Day in St. Paul •Bike-Walk to Worship Days and Saturday June 5 & Friday June 11
Tuesday, June 8: •Film Screening: Beyond the Motor City – Can the Twin Cities move beyond being a “motor city?” Attend a screening and discussion of the film as well as other short films about bicycling, 7pm, St. Anthony Main Theatre. Q&A to follow with director Aaron Woolf and local bicycle business leaders and activists.
Wednesday, June 9: •Women’s Wednesday
Thursday, June 10: •Bike Walk to Work Day with Celebrations Locations all over town, including: ◦Neighborhood Celebration locations —see map below ◦Morning Downtown Events in Minneapolis and St. Paul ◦Nice Ride, the nation’s largest bike sharing program, launches with a noon ride along Nicollet Mall in Downtown Minneapolis, from the Central Library to Peavey Plaza (map) ◦Evening celebrations at REI locations in Bloomington, Roseville, & Maple Grove!
Sunday, June 13: •Bike to the Twins Game – presented by OptumHealth – Gift bags compliments of OptumHealth will be given to the first 1000 Twins fans who ride their bike to the 1:10pm Twins vs. Atlanta baseball game at Target Field. There are 400 bike racks around the ballpark. In addition, a bike corral will be setup just off the Cedar Lake Trail on Glenwood in Ramp A.

And on a sidenote: Can we please stop forcing our friends to drink Smirnoff Ice? Sure, the surprise factor of it all is great, but come on, enough is enough. It’s like a White Castle eating contest, there are no real winners here. 

And got to love a little rain on a Grand Day!

Bike To Work Week May 17 – 21

Did you know that this coming week May 17 – 21 is Bike to Work Week and May 21 is Bike to Work Day?

I had forgotten, but luckily Bicycling sent me a reminder email filled with some great resources.

Cyclists vs. Drivers – How to Share the Road Better
Bicycling’s 2010 List of Amercia’s “Top 50 Bike-Friendly Cities”

·         To view our full rankings and see where your city placed, click here. (If interested, a full PDF of the article is also available)

  • Or, check out 8 ideas that cyclists can push for to make their city more bike-friendly here.
  • And, see which foreign cities are the most bike-friendly.
From the Editors – Facts and Tips on Bike Commuting
  • Bicycling editors are available to share tips and facts on bike commuting and bike trends. For example:
  • The average American drives 29 miles per day. If you substitute one day’s worth of driving with riding per week, in a year you’ll burn enough calories to lose 19 pounds. You’ll also reduce auto emissions by 1,248 pounds of CO2, and save more than $800 on gas and maintenance.

Additionally I had the opportunity to speak with Bicycling.com editor Christine Mattheis about various biking topics, including the Top 50 Bike-Friendly Cities which as you know Minneapolis ranked #1.

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Have you always been a biker? At what age did you begin?
I learned to bike when I was a kid, like most kids, but really got into it in college when I bought a road bike.

Are you still an avid biker?
Yeah, I bike commute year around. Probably not as much as I should. I try for three days a week.

I see you were involved with the “top 50 Bike Friendly Cities”? in which Minneapolis placed #1, What was were the main factors in ranking?
There were many studies we used in our research and we talked to leading bicycle advocates. I suggest you check out PeoplePoweredMovement.org and the book Bicycling and Walking in the U.S., 2010 Benchmarking Report is a great resource.

How many of the cities have you biked? Several including Minneapolis, between myself and the other editors that worked on the best biking feature we biked all of the 50 cities.

What is your favorite ride?
Currently I am riding my Specialized Ruby Expert most, but I also own an older Gary Fisher mountain bike and a Giant full suspension. I’m looking at buying a Orbea

Of the bikes you’ve tested in the last year what is been your favorite?

I really liked the Breezer. It’s a great commuter bike for a beginner and has everything someone needs to get started.

You may or may not be aware of this, but Minneapolis and Portland (top 50 #2) kind of have an ongoing competition about quality of life. What was the big separator that put Minneapolis as #1?

*laughs* I wasn’t aware of that… I must have missed something. One thing that really separated Minneapolis was it’s growth and it’s extensive network of trails. You can really get from one end of the city to the other without having to deal with much traffic. Also, Portland doesn’t really have the 4 months of extreme winter.

[In Your FACE Portland!]

Biking seems to be making a comeback, how do you see the future of biking unfolding over the next ten years?
I don’t think it’s a fad. It’s a growing trend. People are more concerned with health and when the price of gasoline spiked a few years ago it made a lot of people take notice. Also, city planners and politicians are taking note. It’s a chicken and egg thing, are they taking note because there are more bikers or are there more bikers because they are taking note and building more trails, either way, biking is definantly a growth market.

What is your take on women in biking?
It’s definantly a growing interest. Over the last 10 years women have been given more attention by the major bike manufacturers in everything from the bikes to the equipment. 10 years ago that just didn’t exist, also more women have been interested in triathalon which has exposed them to biking.

Did you hear about or participate in 30 days of biking?
I heard about it, but did not participate. I think it’s a great thing, anything that can get people on their bikes is a positive for their health and the environment.

If you could give any advice to a new biker what would it be?
Get a bike that fits your body, comfort is important and so is avoiding injury. You can go inexpensive as long as it fits you’ll enjoy riding it. Avoid the cheap used bikes as you’ll end up investing money in them on repairs or replacement and way. Go to your local bike shop and have them help.

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Thanks to Christine for the great conversation on biking a Bicycling.com for the reminder and resources. Remember people, get out there and bike!

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Saint Paul to lose Bicycle Advisory Board

In a story by the East Side review , Bon voyage, BAB? , it’s reported that Saint Paul’s Bicycle Advisory Board wants to disband and form a new transportation board.

St. Paul Ward 4 City Council member Russ Stark – also a bicycling enthusiast, as well as another onetime board chair of the BAB – presented such a resolution to the full council two weeks ago.

While he desires to dissolve the BAB, Stark’s hope is simply to start fresh with a similar citywide body, one devoted to deliberating and championing not just cycling but all manner of individual and mass transportation. And it appears the rest of the council has backed his move to approve a new transportation committee of the St. Paul Planning Commission, one that can consider transportation issues from the absolute beginning when the city takes a look at zoning, neighborhood issues, or major infrastructure investments.

Stark’s proposal calls for a new committee with eight St. Paulites interested in:

• transit, including bicycle and passenger rail

• pedestrian/walkability issues

• freight and logistics industries, including trucking, rail, and airports

• accessibility representatives or people with disabilities

• commercial corridor representatives, such as business owners

• downtown building or business representatives

When asked about disbanding the board, current head Rob Barbosa stated

“Some of the board members are extremists,” Barbosa says, “and they don’t understand there’s a grass roots process” to getting stuff done.
“I told Russ that I’m all for moving BAB into another organization that has more teeth. I would say that BAB is dysfunctional,”

I’m not certain how a new board with a broader objective would have any more power than the BAB or be more effective in representing bike transportation, but I suppose the devil is in the details.

T Minus 1 Day Until 30 Days of Biking

Uploaded on March 24, 2010
by Individual_romance

Have you made the pledge?

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Should police obey the law?

In this post at the Pioneer press Ruben Rosario: Cops’ seat-belt sting did the job. But was it right? Ruben talks about a police string to catch motorists not using a seatbealt.

The FBI had Donnie Brasco, the undercover agent who infiltrated the mob. Maplewood police have “Homeless Harry” — my moniker for the undercover cop who last weekend bagged a completely different kind of outlaw. Let me explain.

Blake Elfstrom, 22, of Maplewood, was driving his girlfriend home late Sunday morning. He was the fourth car at a stop sign before turning onto westbound Minnesota 36 from northbound McKnight Road in North St. Paul.

That was when he spotted a shabbily dressed, middle-aged man wearing glasses that seemed too big for his face. The man, who turned out to be Maplewood cop Paul Bartz, was holding up a sign — “Will work for food” — as he approached and looked inside the line of waiting vehicles.

Elfstrom was pondering whether to roll down his window when he saw the cars moving ahead of him. He entered the on-ramp, only to be waved to the side of the road moments later by one of several uniformed cops standing near a line of patrol cars.

He asked the cop why he was being pulled over. The officer told him his girlfriend was in violation of a 9-month-old law that gives Minnesota law enforcement the authority to pull over drivers and occupants for not wearing seat belts.

“How in the world did you know?” Elfstrom asked the ticketing officer.

“That homeless guy back there? He’s an officer,” the cop replied.

“I saw about 10 other cars pulled over as he wrote out the (summons),” said Elfstrom

Ruben then goes on to delve into the right/wrongs of police posing as the homeless for a sting and quotes officers that are both for and against the practice.

Though, the bit that caught my eye is this

I was left wondering whether the cops violated one state law in order to enforce another. According to Subdivision 2 of Minnesota Statute 169.22, “no person shall stand on a roadway for the purpose of soliciting employment, business, or contributions from the occupant of any vehicle.”

It’s clear from the article that the police did in fact solicit and accept money while working on the sting. (Almost $100! which they donated)

I think we’ve all seen police breaking laws that apply to other drivers: speeding, flipping on lights to go through a red and then immediately turning them off, distracted driving, etc.

I know it’s a loaded question, but does anyone think it’s ok for the police to break while enforcing the law?
Should all these seatbeat tickets be tossed out of court on a technicality?

[poll=22]

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wN8qxl4xjOI[/youtube]

With Style

(Original image uploaded on December 30, 2009
by urban@ )

Planes, trains, and automobiles: the terrorist in your panties.

Yesterday MPR asked “How far should authorities go to protect air travelers from terrorists?” and there are now new technologies that allows screeners to basically see you naked as Slate writesShow Some Balls
Want to get on an airplane? Let’s see your scrotum.

I think it’s a timely question, especially here in the Twin Cities where we have a major air hub and are building more and more public transportation.

What next? There are still orafices terrorists can stuff things into and there’s the old drug mule trick of swallowing stuff. How will they attempt to detect that? Will all travellers need a TSA approved Dr. screening before boarding? Will these new rules soon be applied to all mass transportation, LRT, Metro Bus, Greyhound, Amtrack, Subway, etc?

In not, why ? Aren’t they just as at risk?

So I ask you, my dear readers, just how far should the government go with this?

[poll=20]

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Incoming!

Image uploaded on December 28, 2009
by the queen of subtle and she writes

countdown to white-out conditions: 3… 2… 1…

i think this is the only snowplow in the state.

Then I write . . .
I don’t know about your neighborhood, but our street is down to one land as the city plows left a 3 foot ice wall in the intersection. It’s actually quite menacing, I hope no one runs into it at 30mph.

Do you have any storm stories? Or more importantly, do you have an post storm bitch-fest you’d like to share about your city streets, sidewalks, neighbors, or that creepy person that watches you in the gym locker room?

Do tell.

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My baby takes the morning train


(photo Saturday Afternoon Northstar Uploaded on December 14, 2009
by MSPdude )

A 5-car Northstar train departs Target Field Station on a late Saturday afternoon. So far, Metro Transit seems to be using 5-car trains on weekends, and a maximum of 4 car trains on weekdays, because that is the maximum length they can run with the number of coaches they have. On weekends, on the other hand, the schedule can be run with one trainset, so they can add more cars. This works well for special events, as well as those curious train tourists they still seem to be getting on weekends

Is it just me….

 IMG_1451

…or is 1st avenue still a little strange on a bike? The street changes have been around for a while now, but I can’t seem to enjoy riding between parked cars and the curb. Most people are conscious getting out of the drivers side (well, some people are). But most individuals aren’t exactly aware of bikers from the passenger side. The first time I was riding down this stretch, 2 doors almost clipped me. And if you’ve ever been down here, you know there isn’t much swerving room.
*Sidenote* While I was taking this picture, another group of bikers were behind me complaining about the new set up. One of them explained to me that she was actually pushed by a car who tried to drive in the bike lane.
Maybe it will take people a little longer to get used to–but for now I’ll detour it.

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