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Wednesday July 6th 2022

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Build Transit For Our Climate

METRO TRANSIT

 By JOHN CHARLES WILSON

At the time I am writing this, Minnesota is having its coldest weather of the season. Please keep that in mind if it is warmer by the time this column is actually in print. Everybody in Minnesota who goes outside knows we have
a challenging climate, to say the least. Extreme cold and snow in the winter, and heavy rainstorms in the summer. However, Metro Transit installs the flimsy “shelters” that often provide little to no protection from wind, rain, and snow, and the heaters are often broken or placed so high they don”™t give enough heat to help anyone.

Even worse than the bus shelters are the ones at Light Rail stations. Those are like wind tunnels when the wind blows parallel to the tracks. The best shelters Metro Transit has to offer are at Northstar stations.

It”™s not like more heat and better shelters are impossible: Winnipeg has fully enclosed shelters with doors, and Chicago provides decent heat at L stations. Some people worry that more comfortable shelters would end up getting taken over by the homeless. Personally, I think that finding homes, or at least decent shelter, for them would reduce the problem considerably. Cruelty to everyone just to punish the homeless is short-sighted. People who get around by bus and train deserve nice things too.

I have recently joined a Facebook group called NUMTOT Twin Cities that discusses this and other transit issues. NUMTOT is an acronym for “New Urbanist Memes for Transit Oriented Teens”, which is a misnomer as most of the members aren”™t teenagers. There are members who work for Metro Transit and/or are transit advocates. I highly recommend it to others who care about making Metro Transit a better system.

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