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Transportation Posts

Bike Share

Wouldn’t it be great if we had a bike share like the Cities?
Or like Nashville?

And/or car share like Chicago?

It seems like programs that a community association would be great at administering.

Wish List for New Downtown Bike Station?

The Duluth Transit Authority is on a fast track for construction of its new Multimodal Transportation Center in downtown Duluth.

When it opens, the center will be a hub for multiple modes of transportation, including the main transit station for DTA buses and other inter-city bus lines, public and private parking, a reconstructed walkway between the downtown to the DECC and the first of its kind in Duluth, a bike station.

What this bike station looks like is where your help is needed.

Sidewalks: Who Gets to Decide?

Did you see this front-page article in today’s paper?  Should neighborhood residents be the ones to decide whether or not sidewalks are included as their street is reconstructed? Is it about building a transportation network that serves current and future residents, those who drive and those who don’t?

Caution: Sidewalk fight ahead on Duluth’s Glenwood Street

Walk? Bike? Bus? Don’t own a car at all? We want to hear from you!

I’m making a short video about alternative transportation in the Twin Ports, and I’m looking for people who would be interested in being interviewed. The goal of this project is to show different reasons why people don’t drive, and why it’s important to support alternative transportation (buses, sidewalks, bike routes, etc). I am looking to interview people from all walks of life, including, but not limited to…

– People who walk, bike, or bus by choice
– People who walk, bike, or bus out of necessity
– The youth
– The elderly
– The physically disabled
– People who don’t drive much and have kids
– People who live walking distance to everything they need
– The guy who clears the sidewalks for the City
– Anyone else who might be interesting for this project

If you have something to say and think you would be a good interviewee, or know someone who might fit the bill, please email me at lesem002 @ umn.edu. Interviews will be held between February and May.

Northern Lights Express Passenger Rail: Stimulus or Boondoggle?

There have been a number of posts on PDD in the past regarding the Northern Lights Express passenger rail project, which would create a 155-mile train corridor connecting Duluth to Minneapolis. With Congressman Jim Oberstar’s loss to Chip Cravaack in Tuesday’s election, and Cravaack’s stated lack of support for the project, the subject of the NLX seems worth revisiting.

However, I’d like to provide some special guidelines for commenting on this post, because we’ve seen in the past that there are some pretty passionate supporters and opponents of this project, and its pros and cons tend to get lost in personal attacks and partisan silliness.

So, let’s try a little experiment. What I’d like to see is three different types of comments.

1) Simple links to news and information related to this subject, without any commentary whatsoever.

2) Comments labeled “Pro” at the beginning, which list one good thing about the project.

3) Comments labeled “Con” at the beginning, which list one negative thing about the project.

Keep it brief, resist the urge to respond to other people’s comments, resist the urge to make multiple pro or con comments, resist the urge to bash Cravaack or Oberstar, resist the urge to comment about these guidelines.

Ready. Set. Go.

Isn’t it time for better transit?

All this talk about sustainability in Duluth, and how the DTA was named Best Transit Provider in Minnesota, and it wins all the Sustainability Points it can get (biofuels, paper reduction, hybrid busses, new technology, etc) – but..

Why can’t a car-free-sustainable-person like me take a bus downtown or to a movie on a Saturday night?

Seriously… is anyone else feeling the pinch of poor transit options for the car-less or car-free of us in Duluth? Some of us make the choice to be sustainable and car-free, and then what?  We get to sit at home every Saturday and Sunday evening, because our busses stop operating around 7pm!  How does that make a “sustainable city” or attract sustainability-minded folks?  Now service is cut on the 24th during the week (no service after 7:15pm), yet not New Year’s eve.  Huh?

Have there been any attempts at better transit in the past? Advocacy groups?  Sustainability groups that take action rather than pat politicos on the back or host “seminars”?  Any ideas on organizing a Bus Rider’s Union or getting a Car-sharing program going in Duluth?

Or, as I asked the mayor in an email, as well as the DTA – “Should a guy like me just buy a car and ‘shut up’ in Duluth?”

Ideas are welcome, as are interested organizers! Send email to w[email protected].

Northern Lights Express could cost $1 billion

From the Minneapolis Star Tribune:

The proposed Northern Lights Express from Minneapolis to Duluth runs into complications after a MnDOT “worst-case” estimate comes in much higher than a more conservative estimate by rail supporters.

End of Stagecoaches in Duluth

“On August 1, 1870, the St. Paul and Lake Superior Stagecoaches ceremoniously quit service with the opening of the Lake Superior and Mississippi Railroad. On this day, the first train arrived in Duluth from St. Paul, a roughly 150-mile trip that took 16 hours.”

–Susan Marks, Historic Photos of Minnesota
Turner Publishing Company, 2009

Train knowledge

For those who want to be in the know, I’d highly recommend the meeting at the Depot from 4-7 Wednesday. From 4-5, the plans for a transportation mecca downtown will be discussed. From 5-7, the talk is the Northern Lights Express passenger train. A lot is happening right now and I’d like to see many more people informed on the project and end this “it’s just another Amtrak” talk or “not my money” plaint. We subsidize roads and other travel options and never expect a return. While the rail gets up and going with significant public investment, it is being planned as a self-sustaining operation. Anyway, come to the meeting, get informed. The NLX has a Web site: www.northernlightsexpress.com

High-speed train from Duluth to Twin Cities

The Federal Railroad Administration awarded $1.1 million for an environmental study into the Northern Lights Express high-speed rail line from Duluth to Minneapolis, according to an announcement today from U.S. Rep. Jim Oberstar.

Another $1.1 million will be covered by the Minnesota Department of Transportation. Engineering work for the rail line is scheduled to be done next year, with the train running in 2012.

Oberstar believes the 150-mile route will have minimal environmental impact because it will run along existing Burlington Northern Santa Fe rail lines.

“I expect this study to demonstrate a positive impact on the environment,” Oberstar said in a news release. “It will take cars off the road, and reduce air pollution and fuel consumption.”

See the full story: Northern Lights Express train receives $1 million for study