Better bus stops

Bus stops are making the big time.

Metro transit is launching an Enhanced Transit Information Signage Survey (The ETISS). All are encouraged to participate.

Metro Transit wants to enhance information at bus stops. Please answer a few quick questions to help us identify new improvements.

Also, Eric Roper has a nice article in today’s Strib: Building a Better Bus Stop quoting previous Streets.MN posts on the subject.

University of Minnesota professor David Levinson has written extensively and recently at Streets.MNabout what he has dubbed the “sorry state of bus stop signs” in the Twin Cities. Levinson argues that bus signs in the region provide too little information, particularly compared to other transit-friendly cities.

“If you go to most bus stops in the city of Minneapolis, the bus stop sign says ‘bus stop,'” Levinson said in an interview this fall. “Which is I guess better than not having a sign at all. But if you go to another city where they care about transit, the bus stop signs provide a lot of information about where the buses are going, when they run, what the schedule is.”


Also has an article today by Alex Pareene: Why mass transit is doomed in America: Politicians don’t know people who use it: If big, liberal cities can’t adequately fund their transit systems, what hope does anywhere else have? Also extensively quoting Streets.MN:

Take Minneapolis, a decently dense city that could, and ought to, support a much more extensive mass transit system. The existing system, mainly buses and a light rail line, with more lines planned, is operated by a division of the Metropolitan Council, and, predictably, the council designs transit in a way that reflects the ostensible needs of the entire metro area, including suburbs that sprawl out miles beyond the city center. The result is a series of ambitious plans to build rail lines traveling from outside the city to downtown, while the urban bus system is unreliable, neglected and nearly impossible to navigate without extensive prior knowledge. Meanwhile, the light rail lines the council and the state are pressing forward with have been designed in a bizarre fashion, along low-traffic, low-density routes and ignoring the most dense and highly trafficked corridors in the city. The city government is now fighting with the council over its plan to put a streetcar line on one major urban avenue. The streetcar is probably not as good a solution as either improving bus service, on the cheap side, or creating a real subway or light rail line, on the more expensive, but it’s the only proposed transit expansion right now in the area designed to serve people who actually live in the city. Here, again, politicians don’t ride the bus, and likely know hardly anyone who does regularly.


Main Street – Faribault |

Cross-posted from Main Street – Faribault:

“The economics of the town are not as strong as some others. It does have a correctional facility. Unfortunately, while also an institution, its residents don’t get out as much as the college students of Northfield.”

Main Street – Faribault

When writing my post praising Northfield last summer, someone (probably from Faribault) said “what about Faribault? I had never been to Faribault so I had no opinion. Recently we did a short road trip to some towns in Southern Minnesota, and here is what I saw.

Faribault, Minnesota

Caveat: This is at best drive-by urbanism, I didn’t do any investigative reporting besides citing Wikipedia and visiting and photographing. I don’t really know what makes the town tick, but even at a short glance, some issues can be identified.

Faribault is [the county seat of] Rice County, Minnesota, United States. .. The population was 23,352 at the 2010 census. Faribault is approximately 50 miles south of Minneapolis and St. Paul.

The “Main Street” of Faribault is Central Avenue, a north-south street sandwiched between 1st Avenue NE and 1st Avenue NW. (The original main east-west street is Division Street, this seems to have been replaced by 4th St NW). [photos]

Faribault, Minnesota

Now, I wasn’t around when the streets here were named, but this seems a small enough town that numbered street names need not have been repeated, especially given the ravine, Cannon River, and railroad tracks just to the east of 1st Avenue NE. One should also note that the Streets and Avenues are both numbered. So 1st Ave NE meets 1st Street NE and 1st Street SE, AND, 1st Ave NW meets 1st Street NW and 1st Street SW. So there are four “First and First” intersections within a 4 block area. I suppose numbering aids in way-finding, but hasn’t anyone here heard of the alphabet?

1st and 1st in Faribault.

The Main Street itself is nice and well-maintained, with lots of diagonal parking. The buildings are very nice classical period piece of late 18th century small-town midwestern architecture, with a great deal of ornamented brick and nice windows. You really need to credit the masons of the era for building something that required high skill to create such detail and texture, and also something that has lasted 130 years. And also credit the developers of the period for creating permanence. I doubt you could say similar for today’sarchitecture.

Faribault, Minnesota (1882)

There are people on the street, though clearly the downtown has seen more prosperous days, as the business occupying the main street were not the type to pay very high rents. Nothing wrong with that, those businesses need to be somewhere, and occupancy is better than vacancy, but it is an indicator of the state of health of the downtown and the level of demand. Overall the town is still gaining population, which is a good sign.

The economics of the town are not as strong as some others. It does have a correctional facility. Unfortunately, while also an institution, its residents don’t get out as much as the college students of Northfield.