April 23, 2009

Dinner and drinks

Waiting for the 3 near Dinkytown:

Cell Phone Guy: "Jim? Dave here. I'm on my way to Bloomington. Hey, I was just a Class A co-dependent enabler. Eddy just had dinner on my dime at McDonalds. But then I saw him in the liquor store. Said he'll be sleeping under the bridge."

[Silence]

Cell Phone Guy: "It won't happen again."

[Silence]

Posted by tgus at 9:35 PM

April 19, 2009

Green Apples at Bus LRT Station?

The Apple Valley Transit Station, part of the Cedar Avenue Bus Rapid Transit line, is now being built, pace John Kline.

The Strib article says that it's a green building, but how green is space for 750 cars, with only 10 bike lockers?

Posted by tgus at 4:09 PM

April 16, 2009

"Packed Like Lemmings in Their Shiny Metal Boxes"

It's a commonplace that American commuter culture overwhelmingly comprises solo riders in cars built to seat 4-7 passengers.

Still, as I biked across the Franklin Avenue Bridge at 5:20 pm today, I was struck by the two lanes of predominantly one-person cars, lined up in two Eastbound lanes, bumper to bumper across the breadth of the Mississippi River Gorge. And a couple hundred yards upstream, the same scene stretched across the I-94 bridge.

Until we have good transit options--or $4-a-gallon gas--most commuters will put up with the delays and frustrations of going solo.

Posted by tgus at 9:40 PM

The Eight Billion Dollar Question

Will the $8 billion in stimulus funds for high speed rail be a down payment on transit infrastructure comparable to "the Interstate Highway System in the 1950s?"

We're supposed to find out which regions will get the cash by the end of the summer. As the article points out, the midwest region, with a Chicago hub and a very hard-hit economy, should be able to make a strong case to be part of the early answer.

Posted by tgus at 9:31 PM

April 13, 2009

High Speed Ohio?

Ohio's jumping on the high speed rail proposal bandwagon

Posted by tgus at 6:11 AM

Seeing the Light (Rail)

See what one successful light rail line and the prospect of federal money for more transit development can do?

Who knew the governor and the Chamber of Commerce would so quickly do an about face and get on board the transit bandwagon?

Posted by tgus at 6:05 AM

April 12, 2009

Northern Light Express Project

RFP for the Northern Lights Passenger Rail Project: hIgh speed rail, Minneapolis to Duluth

Main page of NLX here

Posted by tgus at 6:19 AM

April 8, 2009

The Recession's Growth Industry

On the Hiawatha Line:

Rider 1: So what do you do?

Rider 2: I'm in collections. We used to be a law firm that did some collections, but we've morphed into all collections.

Posted by tgus at 5:42 AM

April 7, 2009

At the Metrodome Station

Crowds appear on the plaza, clustered lines:
Winter's sand blown dry across the bricks.

Posted by tgus at 5:20 AM

April 6, 2009

Final Dome Opener

Made my usual transfer from bus to train at the Metrodome station.

On Opening day for the Twins.

While waiting for the train, I strolled the Plaza on Kirby Puckett Place, and decided to buy a bag of kettle corn to bring home to make our TV viewing of the game feel a litttle more like Dome, Sweet Dome.

It's the puffy, Teflon and plastic stadium's final year as home of the Twins.

With temps in the low 40's and a stiff northwest wind blowing, most fans were probably happy to retreat indoors for one final home opener. Next year, people will need to ride a few more stops to het to Target Field. (Also, see Target Field webcams )

Play ball.

Posted by tgus at 6:25 PM

April 4, 2009

A Philosophy of Cars

play car.jpg
Creative Commons

Found myself humming this old Paul Simon song:

Cars are cars/ All over the world/ Cars are cars/ All over the world/ Similarly made/ Similarly sold/ In a motorcade/ Abandoned when they're old

"Cars are Cars," from
Hearts and Bones

It's always seemed like a disposable sort of song--it's my least favorite on an otherwise strong if overlooked album--but but its cheesy pop sound was part of the point about commodification and disposability.

Posted by tgus at 7:12 AM

April 3, 2009

Transportation Choices 2020

The Transportation Choices 2020 Initiative Includes eight projects to create a true regional transit system.

Take a look at this map to get a sense of what could be. For $100 million a year.

Posted by tgus at 6:02 AM

April 2, 2009

Someone ought to do a story

7:20 a.m., on the 50, between the Metrodome and the U:

Woman 1 [looking up under the 35W overpass]: There's our homeless person. I don't know how they can sleep there.

Woman 2: Yeah--

Woman 1: Sleep on that cold concrete. Someone ought to do a story about that.

Woman 2: Yep.

Woman 1: If I ever win the lottery, that'll end.

Woman 2: That's inspiring.

Woman 1: They need jobs, a lot of them have medical issues. I mean, they try to go into McDonalds to get warm, but they just kick 'em out. One poor guy locked himself in the bathroom, he was so cold and tired. He had new clothes--someone had done that. If they have money to buy something, they'll let 'em stay, but if not.... When I used to work downtown, I'd buy two Egg McMuffins and coffees at the McDonalds that was there--back when that was just a couple bucks--and give one away.

Posted by tgus at 7:42 AM

High-Speed's Political Hurdles

This AP article lays out why, despite Transportation Secretary LaHood's assertion that "developing high-speed rail is the country's No. 1 transportation priority," U.S. bullet trains are unlikely to become reality, even with 8 billion in stimulus money dedicated to them.

Alack, and weyl-a-wey.

Posted by tgus at 7:38 AM

The Functions of Transit Stops?

tom_Bus_stop.png

Aside from their obvious, intended function as locations where people access a transit system, bus stops and rail stations advertise the possibility of transit to all the car drivers who pass by--though not always positively. A lonely soul in the rain,or a crowd huddled in a -20 windchill undoubtedly cause passing drivers to thank their stars for their cars.

They also serve as places of exchange (someone needs money for a ticket, or for smokes, or for a bottle), and sites for interaction among people who wouldn't otherwise look at each other, let alone strike up conversations.

Looking at them sociologically, or anthropologically--what other roles do they play?

Posted by tgus at 1:01 AM

April 1, 2009

Who's Doing What? a.m. edition

On the downtown-bound 24 bus, 7:15 am, out of 21 people there were

6 people reading books
5 people reading newspapers
1 person reading a magazine
1 person listening to an mp3 player
1 person talking on a cell phone (also one of the book readers

A big day for newsprint.

Posted by tgus at 8:38 PM

Youthful Exuberance

Two young professionals (YPs) chatting on the Hiwatha line, 5 pm:

YP1: I'll probably put half my tax return in the Wall Street casino
YP2: I've never bought stock. My grandparents did--
YP1: For Christmas?
YP2: Yeah.
YP1: There you go.

[silence]

YP2: You have to wear that tie?
YP1: Tie or a jacket.
YP2: Fridays too?
YP1: Nah. Good thing--only have one.

[silence]

YP1: Josh was so trashed Friday night.
YP2: [laughs] Yeah.
YP1: I've seen him wasted before, but he couldn't even keep track of his bets.
YP1: Later. [exits, Lake Street station]

Posted by tgus at 8:19 PM