SPOKES and Cycles for Change to Merge

On January 1, we had a big change: SPOKES (the community bike center just east of the LRT on 22nd Street) merged with Cycles for Change, a community bike center headquartered in St. Paul. The two community bike centers have very similar programs. Also, Cycles for Change provided fantastic support to SPOKES when it was starting two and a half years ago.We will keep SPOKES great staff, location, programs, and hours. (details at www.SpokesConnect.org) • Our Open Shop (where we help you fix your bike) stays on Saturday afternoons and Wednesday evenings,•Our Earn-a-Bike course continue,• Our Learn-to-Ride course will start again this spring• Our volunteer nights stay the same,• The Hub Mini Store @SPOKES will actually add hours this spring (adding Sunday to sell reconditioned used bikes) SPOKES is actually merging with an old friend. There has been a long history of collaboration between SPOKES and Cycles for Change (as long as that a two and a half year old program can have):• Most of SPOKES’ programs and policies were designed using Cycles for Change’s programs as a template.• For its first year, SPOKES contracted with Cycles for Change to provide staff support for the Learn-to-Ride program and Open Shop.• SPOKES has been a branch of Cycles for Change’s Community Partners Bike Library Program for the last two years. In addition, SPOKES is joining with a couple old friends: Cycles for Change’s current Executive Director (Jason Tanzman) and current board president (Katya Pilling) were the two people responsible for the original idea of starting a community bike center in Seward. Continue Reading

Broad coalition ramps up pressure for action on transportation

 Concerned that state lawmakers won’t act to address Minnesota’s transportation needs, advocates delivered thousands of signatures to the state Capitol Feb. 12, after hearing a call to action from Governor Mark Dayton.“The real question comes down to: What kind of Minnesota do we want in 10 years?” Dayton asked a packed room where members of The Transportation Alliance and MoveMn had gathered for Transportation Day. The groups include labor unions, businesses, local governments and community organizations from across the state.“If you’re willing to accept things getting worse in 10 years . . . Continue Reading

The train that was a bus

Saint Paul’s Green Line-the Central Corridor. It cruises down University Avenue at a remarkable 45 MPH at its fastest speed. It has got the speed of a llama and the heart of a lion! – well, maybe it has the heart. By comparison, the speed of the Blue Line that runs between Downtown Minneapolis and the Mall of America is 55 mph in many spots along Hiawatha Avenue and 60 mph through the airport tunnel. You can get from Target Field to MOA and vice versa in less than 30 minutes. You’re lucky to make the trip in 55 minutes between Target Field and Downtown Saint Paul, even though the actual distance of the Green Line is about two miles less than the total distance of the Blue Line. That’s OK, though. There’s plenty of places to park your car along the Green Line, right? Continue Reading

Benches, tables and chairs for a more walkable and welcoming Saint Paul

As I’ve worked on walkability surveys of routes to Green Line stations over the last few years, one of the issues consistently raised by community members is the need for more benches at bus stops and along major arterials, to provide places to rest, especially for seniors and people who use canes or walkers, and parents with young children. Continue Reading

Green Line getting up to speed in fits and starts

Heading east from Minneapolis, the Westgate Station is the first Green Line port of call in Saint Paul. Trains stop in the shadow of the KSTP radio mast, out front of an apartment building with a ground floor Dunn Brothers Coffee, Metro PCS, and Snap Fitness. Continue Reading

Unique art on the Green Line LRT platforms

I was always fascinated by a 2011 WCCO article regarding Art Along the Light Rail (Blue Line). I took an #mspwalkin St. Paul the other day, although it was raining so it wound up being a couple hours of getting lost in the skyway. Nonetheless, I took the newer Green Line to the Union Depot and back, and saw some really nice art at various LRT platforms. Continue Reading

Improving LRT signal timing in Downtown Minneapolis

Although St. Paul’s traffic signals deserve most of the blame for slowing the Green Line, there’s room for improvement in Minneapolis as well. To be fair, Minneapolis deserves praise for its signal timing through the University of Minnesota campus, where trains are seldom delayed. They’ve also established a very good progression for westbound trains from the city limits to the Prospect Park Station, including the right turn from University Avenue onto 29th Avenue SE. Continue Reading