** News Flash **

Hate the sound of a diesel? Well there's some great news from MetroTransit -- they're getting hybrid buses.

Metro Transit buses in the Twin Cities will begin burning a fuel mixture that includes 5 percent renewable bio-diesel beginning in July, Minnesota officials announced today.

In addition, the bus agency is ordering 20 more hybrid buses that use battery power to increase fuel mileage and cut noise on city streets, said Metropolitan Council Chairman Peter Bell.

That goes a long way to increasing bus sex appeal for exactly the people who should be riding the bus regularly -- by decreasing noise and environmental impact. I know MetroTransit has no money, but they need more of these hybrid buses. Is there any way to hybridize an existing bus?


In Saint Paul, the MAC and Chamber of Commerce are trying to bully Mayor Coleman into vetoing the Council's decision not to build the Holman Field floodwall. Of course, it won't work. The mayor is being adamant, while seemingto say that he's flexible.
"I do think there's an opportunity to make something go here," said Whitney Clark, executive director of the Friends of the Mississippi. He suggested that elements of a deal might include a realignment of the floodwall, a trail along the river and a conservation easement that would prevent development of the land if the airport closed.
Will they go back to the drawing board, and come back with a neighborhood-friendly proposal? Does the failure of big business bullying tactics bode ill for Trooien's big budget Bridges boondoggle?

The lesson here is that, from now on, Saint Paul developers need to work more with community and environmental groups. Coleman and the Council know on which side their bread is buttered.


And there's more good news on the Saint Paul front as an appeals court ruled in favor of the city regarding the Victoria Park brownfield development.

A Minnesota appeals court ruled Tuesday that the city of St. Paul can use eminent domain to acquire a former tank farm overlooking the Mississippi River, clearing the way for Victoria Park, the largest neighborhood development in recent St. Paul history.

The property sits on 65 acres bordered by West Seventh Street, Otto Avenue, Shepard Road and Montreal Way. The city and a handful of developers already have broken ground on a plan to build more than 800 condos, town homes, single-family homes and senior housing units, but control of more than half of the land has been tied up in court.

This is the kind of development project we need more of. If you haven't, you should drive down West 7th Street and look at this site. It's eerie -- all dirt with some streetlamps sticking up like desert cacti . . .


Minneapolis, too, is making environmental noise.

A plan to make Minneapolis more sustainable is one step closer to completion after the City Council approved a lengthy list of goals at its March 31 meeting.

The list features 24 sustainability targets focused on making the city "greener" and improving the quality of life for residents now and in the future. The goals include reducing carbon dioxide emissions, improving air and water quality, increasing the use of mass transportation, raising the graduation rate and increasing the number of block clubs. The list is the focal point of a broad plan to make Minneapolis the most sustainable city in the nation.
[Southwest Journal]

But talk is cheap, no?


Finally, more people are riding the bus.

Ridership numbers for the first quarter of 2006 are nearly 8 percent higher than Metro Transit's 2006 budget forecast. The agency is making progress toward its goal of 71 million bus and train rides this year.


UncommonBusiness said...

If oil keeps going up, we all soon will be riding busses

Polymander said...

Sadly, I´m pretty sure there´s no way to hybridize an existing bus. It´s a totally different engine, I believe.

Wm said...

So far, as oil prices have risen, demand for oil has stayed constant.

What I've heard, is that it would take $5 oil for 5 years to really force Americans to make lifestyle changes. That won't happen.