Wisconsin Is Alright

The following is a meditation on a personal experience and should not be cited authoritatively in academia. It sat half-written in drafts for about six months, and after Wisconsin’s loss to Duke earlier this week, it felt like a nice thing to finish. Wisconsin, America’s Dairyland, is my second favorite state. It occurred to me […]

Continue Reading 6

Chart of the Day: Visual Field at Different Speeds

Last week’s post on “The Critical Ten,” the difference between driving at 20 and 30 miles per hour, generated an intriguing conversation over at Streetsblog about what, exactly, science can tell us about perception and speed. I included this chart (given to me by folks at an engineering firm), but writer Alex Cecchini tweeted […]

Continue Reading 1
image of blue city bike

Why Should Minnesota Cities Focus on Bikes, Anyway?

Someone asked me “So, Betsey…why bikes?” as in “Why are you focusing on bike advocacy in particular?” It’s a good question since reading back in time on my blog suggests that “just bikes” is a significant contraction of my interests from city government, urban planning and economic development. Also a good question since my goal […]

Continue Reading 10
Kensington Park, Richfield

Kensington Park – Ten Years Later

For the third installment of the “Urban Design – Ten Years Later” series, we head to suburban Richfield, Minnesota to take a look at Kensington Park. What was envisioned back then? How is it used and loved today? Has it lived up to the hype? Is it a great place for people? The good news […]

Continue Reading 8

Chart of the Day: Common Forms of Distracted Driving

As the Star Tribune’s Tim Harlow pointed out recently, distracted driving is a huge problem that seemingly everyone is ignoring. Here’s a nice chart from AAA about what actually is doing the “distracting”: While this chart kind of reminds me of one of The Onion’s infographics, it’s still informative. AAA seems to focus on teens, […]

Continue Reading 0

The Minneapolis Transit Spine That Could

Downtown Minneapolis is exciting! Development and stadia and the potential for morgue-gating are bringing millennials by the dozens so it’s easy to miss the small stuff sometimes. Little things like how to handle the various bus routes that run east-west through the central business district of our city. The City of Minneapolis currently has a bid out to make changes […]

Continue Reading 16

Signals on Washington Avenue Transit Mall

The following was passed on to, which is the response from officials about improving signal timings for Pedestrians on the Washington Avenue Transit Mall. “Balance” is the word used, not “Priority”. I assume pedestrians will continue to violate at will. Twelve seconds of useless wait is a long time in January. is […]

Continue Reading 5

Chart of the Day: Global Migration Between Continents

Zooming out a bit from’s typical scale of concern, here’s a beaut of a chart depicting global migration patterns: Here’s a bit about how to read the chart, from the website that published it. You can click over to the site to see longitudinal data and to explore the chart in detail. […]

Continue Reading 0

The Stillwater Bridge Story II

When a Final Design Isn’t This is Part Two of a series on the new Stillwater Bridge, now officially known as the St. Croix Crossing. Part One dealt with 1950s era mutterings up to the 1995 selection of a preferred alternative. But as everyone knows there was plenty of opposition. Although final design work (costing $1 Million) and […]

Continue Reading 4

What We Talk About When We Talk About Homelessness

[This is the first in a series of posts about “homelessness”.] I start quite deliberately with the scare quotes above because it is one of my primary objectives here to articulate my discomfort with the way the term “homelessness” is conventionally used. I will argue that it is a crude and inadequately descriptive piece of shorthand that […]

Continue Reading 18

Schools, Pools, Beer and Deer

Macalester-Groveland, Highland Park, West End Saturday, September 6, 2014 11.9 miles: Students in Saint Paul went back to school this week, making the visit to one of my favorite school buildings, Randolph Heights Elementary, apropos. This gorgeous 1916 building has several uncommon and attractive elements. The first is the Spanish-influenced design itself. Lead architect Charles […]

Continue Reading 0

Following the Tracks to Duluth

Here is a map showing the route for trains that are expected to run from Minneapolis to Duluth once the Northern Lights Express project is completed. Like my previous map for Amtrak’s Empire Builder, this shows segments of single- and double-tracking (usually sidings) along the corridor. This highlights the places where trains may be able […]

Continue Reading 7

Bicyclopolis: Episode Six, The Siege of Fort Snelling presents Bicyclopolis, a graphic novel by Ken Avidor in serial form. In last week’s episode, The Knights of Metroria, Sara Raleigh  explained how Metro Area suburbanites became the medieval Metrorians and a how  group of Civil War reenactors prepared to survive the collapse of the industrial era.  In this week’s episode, Sara continues the tale […]

Continue Reading 1