Author

Henry Pan

Henry Pan

Henry Pan (pronouns: They/He/佢/他) is a Twin Cities-based journalist, cartographer and photographer passionate about human interests and all things transportation. They have a background in urban planning, a disdain for Minnesota Nice, and a penchant for solitude, transit and bicycle joyrides.

The great outdoors: Not just for white people

By: - September 9, 2021

Mai Nhia Xiong-Chan almost didn’t go to the Boundary Waters with her friends this year. Xiong-Chan, who is the vice president of admissions at Hamline University, had some experience camping, but not the strenuous portaging and canoeing for which the Boundary Waters are famous.   But Xiong-Chan was glad she went. She was honoring the wishes […]

Reliability problems stall transition to electric buses

By: - August 31, 2021

DULUTH — Ambitious plans to electrify Minnesota transit bus fleets have thus far run headlong into technological problems. For several years, Duluth and the Twin Cities transit systems have been testing electric buses in an effort to reduce their carbon footprint and air pollution. For the most part, they’re a hit among riders and drivers. […]

Spotty transit access keeps the carless out of vaunted state park system

By: - August 19, 2021

For the three years Lee Oglesby lived in Minnesota, she went to Minnesota State Parks twice. Oglesby, who got to know the outdoors as a Girl Scout in Florida before relocating to Minnesota to work in publishing, didn’t have a car and hesitated to rely on others to get outdoors. “I don’t wanna impose on […]

As riders return, transit system again faces safety, nuisance issues

By: - August 12, 2021

Cynthia Stuen appeared visibly distraught after getting off of the 721 bus and venturing into Brooklyn Center Transit Center recently. Stuen and her fiancé said they were threatened just before getting off.  “They threatened to kill my fiancé. We got off the bus here, (then) he stole a bike and ran that way,” Stuen said, […]

After hiatus, Met Council again enforcing transit fare

By: - June 25, 2021

The Metropolitan Council said in an email to the Reformer on Wednesday that Metro Transit, which they oversee, will resume using their police force to enforce fares on transit vehicles after a 15-month pandemic hiatus. The message came after House Republicans lamented the $7 billion transportation budget bill, which passed Wednesday, does nothing to address […]

What’s in Minnesota’s $7 billion transportation bill?

By: - June 23, 2021

Legislative leaders and the administration of Gov. Tim Walz came to an agreement on a $7 billion transportation bill that will fund transportation projects and decide transportation policy across the state over the next two years. The bill is a compromise between the Republican-controlled Senate, which favors directing most transportation dollars to roads and bridges, […]

Activists stand athwart highway expansion, yelling stop

By: - June 16, 2021

DULUTH — Jordan van der Hagen, a landscape designer, wants I-35 through downtown Duluth replaced with a boulevard. The freeway, he argues, is a massive tangle of concrete shuttling fewer cars than it was intended for, while inhibiting opportunities for downtown development and more human-centered — as opposed to autocentric — movement. The idea was […]

Asian Minnesotans say discrimination is on the rise, push to make prosecuting hate crimes easier

By: - June 7, 2021

At the start of the pandemic, Yaoyao Chen, a materials research engineer, was an early adopter of mask-wearing.  One day in March, she was at a Woodbury intersection when someone yelled at her, “Your mask is a piece of [expletive].” She was so frightened by the exchange that she stayed home for a week.  Then […]

Legislature debating decriminalizing fare evasion, allowing Metro Transit to focus on more serious crimes

By: - May 28, 2021

An attempt to reform how Minnesota enforces transit fare and deals with a concerning rise in serious crime on trains and buses in recent years hangs in the balance as the Legislature nears a self-imposed deadline to finish their work for the year.  People who ride without paying the $2.50 fare pay a $180 fine […]

The Legislature has a long to-do list on transportation

By: - February 24, 2021

Every morning, Linda Hale crosses University Avenue just outside of Northtown Mall in Blaine to get to work at the local Burger King. She sees people zooming by on what the Minnesota Department of Transportation calls a rural road. She knows of two people who were hit and killed there.  “I wish they would slow […]

Without help from the Legislature or Congress, Metro Transit is in trouble

By: - November 23, 2020

This year has been a wild ride for Metro Transit and the Metropolitan Council that manages it. They traded a driver shortage for a pandemic that decimated ridership and revenue, forcing it to cut service for the foreseeable future. Metro Transit continues to struggle for stable funding, while receiving endless criticism from its riders and […]

As committee examines Met Council, a primer: What is it? How did it come to be?

By: - October 26, 2020

No Minnesota government agency inspires more heat — and with it, less light — than the Metropolitan Council. Composed of 17 appointees of the governor, the Met Council, as it is known, is responsible for transportation, housing, land use, parks, and sewer planning and operations in the Twin Cities metropolitan area.  The late Arthur Naftalin, who was […]