Dancing for safety at the street corner

The launch of the light rail Green Line has spurred an increase of 20 to 25 percent in pedestrian traffic at the downtown Minneapolis Nicollet Mall station where Blue Line trains have stopped for years, according to a new study. Unlike its predecessor, the new line traverses its entire route through the heart of the Twin Cities, an area particularly rich in vehicle, bicycle and walking traffic. Continue Reading

Up to speed in Minnesota

Our culture loves speed. How else to explain the popularity of NASCAR, a spectator sport in which advertising-festooned motor vehicles circle an oval track at ear-shattering intensity, over and over again? Continue Reading

Private sector to the rescue?

As a newly minted think tank fellow seven years ago, I heard Bob Poole, the libertarian Reason Foundation’s thoughtful and nonpartisan transportation expert, argue in a local luncheon speech that private investment offered the only feasible way out of America’s chronic shortfall in funding roads, bridges, transit and other ways of getting around. Continue Reading

A one-sided fight over St. Paul’s streets

Under pressure from the City Council last week, St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman outlined a $54 million street-improvement program—more than 10 percent of his proposed $515 million operating budget for 2015. Hizzoner thus significantly raised a group of rebellious council members’ bid of $22 million for streets after they likened his earlier plan to “putting a Band-Aid on a broken hip.” Continue Reading

Sympathy for the Devil?

It may seem strange to work up much sympathy for a booming industry that killed 47 people while virtually leveling their Quebec town last year and later touched off a giant fireball over Casselton, N.D., on the Minnesota border, but that’s what I’m feeling these days for the railroads. Continue Reading