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Twin Cities Traffic Congestion Is Worse Than Ever

Yesterday's Star Tribune headlined: "Solutions sought with Twin Cities traffic at its most congested since 1993." The Minnesota Department of Transportation released its annual Twin Cities congestion report last week, and the news was kind of ominous. Congestion rose to its highest level since 1993, when the agency began tracking rush-hour traffic conditions and reporting them in its Metropolitan Freeway System Congestion Report. This year’s report found roads were jammed 23.7 percent of the time between 5 and 10 a.m. and 2 and 7 p.m. on weekdays. Even more foreboding is that roads are projected to be jammed 30 percent of the...

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OLA Jim Nobles Releases Critical Met Council Transit Audit: Legislative Leaders React

“Metropolitan Council staff told us they use one set of assumptions (based on historical state and local funding) when preparing their federal transportation financial plans, and different assumptions (based on current appropriations law) when preparing internal reports and information for the Minnesota Legislature.” OLA ...

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Backlash? Apparent Protest Planned Over Minneapolis Bike Lanes

Drivers in Minneapolis continue to have a rough time of it, as more car lanes go the way of bike lanes. Our recent report on traffic congestion highlighted one case in point on Washington Avenue from Hennepin Avenue to Fifth Avenue South. Commuters have endured road construction for months. But the wait may get even worse once work wraps up. Drivers will have two fewer lanes to get to the freeway, four instead of six, thanks to two newly installed lanes for bikes. Never mind the detrimental impact on the environment and economy, pointed out in our report. This congestion would...

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Twin Cities Traffic Armageddon

A critical stretch of Highway 35W, the Twin Cities' main North-South route, has been closed for the weekend. This closure caused howls of outrage from many Twin Cities residents, because four major events were scheduled in downtown Minneapolis on Saturday and Sunday--the Gophers football game beginning at 11 on Saturday morning, the final Twins games of the season at 6 p.m. on Saturday and 2:00 on Sunday, and a Vikings game at noon on Sunday. It would be hard to find a worse time to close down 35W. Governor Mark Dayton expressed concern about the closure. This is typical of Dayton:...

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35W Meltdown: Why Didn’t Dayton Steer Fans to His Bike Lanes and Trains This Weekend?

Gov. Mark Dayton hit the panic button this week.  He expressed "serious concerns" and apologized for MnDOT's untimely closure of 35W into downtown Minneapolis this weekend on game days.  The 35W meltdown offered Dayton the opportunity to urge Minnesotans to take to the bike lanes, walkways and light rail trains his administration has prioritized over highways.  But when the rubber hit the road this weekend, the governor let a good crisis go to waste.  Not a word about alternative modes of travel that MnDOT, the Met Council and urban planners pretend are just as important as freeways. Gov. Mark Dayton has...

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Read it and Grin: Minneapolis officials call for Environmental Review of SWLRT Crash Wall

Look on the bright side Minneapolis: the wall could be passed off as an expansion of the nearby Walker Art Museum’s Sculpture Garden. Think of the wall as a giant canvas. The Walker could provide spray paint to aspiring local artists to encourage self-expression, sponsoring an annual "We Love Our Wall" contest. Imagine how much the residents of Bryn Mawr will enjoy looking at their art. The Met Council could even save some bucks here; with all the graffiti, surely the train stations will not need any more “public art.”...

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Reader Rage Over Confusing Minneapolis Bike Lanes

It's not your imagination. It's not your fault. There's a deliberate campaign by city, county and state transportation planners to get more cars off our freeways and streets. See "Twin Cities Traffic Congestion: It's No Accident" for more specifics. Star Tribune traffic expert Tim Harlow provides the latest example in a piece headlined "Lane Markings on Minneapolis Streets Baffle Drivers." Harlow focuses on the nauseating experience awaiting the 15,000 drivers who will be detoured from the newly closed Franklin Ave.--I-35W bridge onto two east-west arteries in south Minneapolis. Spoiler alert: Avoid W. 26th and W. 28th at all costs! The city recently put...

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Has Southwest Light Rail Hit a Speed Bump—or The Wall?

SWLRT has hit several walls: a structural operating deficit brought on by the Council favoring LRT expansion and bike lanes over a well-run bus system, a Legislature that has refused to fund SWLRT (though it gave one-time cash to help with the deficit), and The BNSF Wall. These and problems we do not know about have prevented the Council from requesting federal funds. Good. ...

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Fighting for the American Dream in D.C.

DFL Governor Mark Dayton’s plan, like many “blue state” governors, uses “transit oriented development” or TOD, to pull money out of the suburbs and greater Minnesota to fund and re-enforce a city centric power model. That model shifts how and where people live, and how they get around, to change the political landscape in favor of left-wing control of local and state government. ...

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