Wednesday, May 14, 2014

What Year Is it?

I am trying to remain calm. 30 days until the big day, and this stuff shows up. 

Hey, that's my sidewalk. And my bus stop. 

Today Walsh is going to start a mill and overlay of the whole street, and I can't help but feel oh-so-2011 as test trains zip by. So I'm gonna let you finish, Walsh, but all these orange cones are making me real nervous.

Monday, April 28, 2014


These days, it's rare to be surprised by a rail car gliding down University. Now that they're being tested all day every day, it's actually staggering to me how unremarkable it has become. I couldn't have processed this feeling even six months ago.

Perhaps that's why I was so caught off guard this weekend when I was walking the dog and heard that familiar sound - the ping ping ping of a light rail bell - from the sidewalk in front of my house. How many times a day do I hear that, working 100 feet from the Blue Line? It sounded so startling, and new, and beautiful on University Avenue. It's one of those small things I hope I never forget. 

Maybe all this lead up to opening day has made me overly sentimental about the avenue. Yesterday I rode the 16 in the pouring rain to meet a friend for tea. The crowd on the bus was especially chatty - there's a camaraderie among people who ride the 16. Especially on a Sunday. Especially in this weather. 

A man sitting in back row was talking to a friend, who was getting off the bus to go to work at Rainbow. He yelled as she left, "don't be a stranger! If you need me, just call 911 and hang up. Repeatedly!" That got a big laugh out of the back half of the bus. He turned to me and said, "I've been riding the bus with her for 11 years." I nodded and smiled. He said, "She's family. I give her a hard time, but I did invite her to the 80th birthday party they threw for me on the 14." I mean, gosh. Who wouldn't be sentimental about this stuff? I hope we never lose that. 

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

The very last year

2013 has been good to me. I started a new job, traveled to both coasts and abroad, wore funny costumes in funny parades, ran my first (Jr.) Bix, and bought our first honest-to-goodness, real-sized Christmas tree.

But since LRT construction is, like, so 2012, one thing I did not do much of was blogging. So here are my top transity moments of 2013, the year that will be remembered as the VERY LAST YEAR that I ever had to live without the Green Line. Thank. God.

New LRVs in the wild
The only thing better than seeing the new LRVs in service on the Blue Line was seeing the new LRVs putzing down University Avenue, sometimes slow, sometimes fast, but always ridiculously surreal. Maybe the best part of this phase for me was that finally everybody on Facebook and Twitter was talking about LRT (not just transit weirdos...ahem).

At Government Center, downtown Minneapolis

In the yard, on my way to work.
Lookin' good, everybody!
At University & Chatsworth. 
Unfortunately, the bus doesn't stop so 
that I can take a decent photo.

Better Block
Although not on University Avenue, the Better Block event on East 7th was one of the most epic transit/bike/walk events of 2013, involved pretty much all my favorite people, and was powered (in part) by a large box of Trung Nam croissants.

That's Jessica, taping with great precision.

Damian and I defacing the street with spray chalk.

I painted that sign with the help of a small child!

New neighborhood cafe

Duct tape is so useful.

Closing the CCRC
The Central Corridor Resource Center in the old Lexington Library has been, over the past 7 years or so, the site of pretty much all melodrama, wacky and wonderful meetings (Charles Avenue...did that actually happen?), and too many heating and cooling hijinks to count. Every situation was made only more bananas by people randomly dropping books in the long-closed book return, window parts being stolen, or a car running into the building. The real question is, what on earth is going to happen to that scale model of University?

Does anybody have room for this?

Open Streets
Open Streets was the last big party before the next big party: opening day. Probably my favorite moment was when a woman handing out Green Line swag asked me if I "liked LRT" and pushed a neon bag into my hands. Play it cool...take the bag...jump for joy!

Maybe the first day ever that I wish I owned a bike.

Best Steak House kid working the crowd.

Do I want a bag? Um, yeah.

You and me both, buddy.

Twinkle Bus
Bucket list: Ride the Twinkle Bus. Check! I think putting this bad boy in service on Route 16 is well overdue.

Twinkle Bus training at the garage.
Yep, it works.

I think I had a dream like this once. 

Washington Avenue Reopens
Dinkytown is great. I mean, I used to complain that I needed to transfer to get there. But no offense Dinkytown, now that the three-year construction detour is over, I may never visit you again. Washington Avenue, which is almost unrecognizable with new development, reopened in December with buses sharing the light rail tracks. There are a few kinks to work out before LRT opens...the worst being that when we stop at Oak Street, the Jimmy John's guy runs on the bus and hands out sandwiches. I know people like free sammies, but you're killing our running time.

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