Minneapolis’ obsessions with cars makes it impossible to drive them

I couldn’t help but laugh at this tragic tale in the Star Tribune today:

You’re driving on nearly any Minneapolis residential street. Your coffee is spilling; your head is bobbing, and if you’ve got anything hanging from the rearview mirror, it’s swinging wildly as you bounce through a moonscape of rutted ice and snow.

Then you cross, say, Xerxes Avenue. Suddenly, your tires caress pristine pavement and you’re rolling in a snow-free Shangri-La.

What changed?

You crossed from Minneapolis into Edina. If you’d have driven from St. Paul into West St. Paul, same phenomenon.

Dave Orrick, Star Tribune

Thankfully, Orrick identifies the culprit: it’s all the damn cars on the road! The cars that take up so much space that plows can’t get through to scrape the snow off the street. This isn’t a problem in Edina because nearly everyone has a private driveway where they can store their vehicles, while the city bans street parking during the winter and quickly plows the roads each snowfall.

It’s a simple, elegant solution for a suburb. In the city, it’s a different story. The question is always: “Where do we put the cars?” And what more and more city leaders are finding is that the answer is: nowhere. You have to get the cars out if you want the city to function the way it should. And that means drastically improving the speed and reliability of public transit, building accessible, protected bike lanes everywhere, and making driving the least convenient option for most people. Then, and only then, might the snow plows have enough room to clear the roads for those who must continue to drive.

But we all know that’s not going to happen. Instead, we’ll keep stuffing the city with cars and wondering why it keeps getting less pleasant to live here. Good luck out there. Did I mention that the bike trails are nice and smooth?

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