Tuesday, July 24, 2012
The Tour de Cluck, which attracted legions of coop jocks in bike helmets, some in zany chicken fashion statements, is part of a boomlet in chicken voyeurism, including tours this summer in Seattle; Salem, Ore.; and Santa Fe, N.M.
Madison, Wis., has had a tour since 2005. This year’s annual Funky Chicken Coop Tour in Austin, Tex., on the day before Easter, drew 2,500 visitors in six hours. Unlike decorator show-houses, with their tasseled draperies, coop tours attract people searching for practical and ingenious solutions that will result in the ultimate prize: a summer of frittatas, soufflés and huevos rancheros pridefully made from their own fresh eggs.
For more on urban chickens: http://urbanchickens.org/
Tuesday, May 8, 2012
On the third Thursday of the month May through September free guided tours of art by bicycle are offered starting at 5:30 pm and continuing until 7:30 pm. Tours take off from and return to Regency Plaza (GN's monthly headquarters on Greene Street in Providence). Free parking is available.
Guides are often artists or designers who also happen to be avid bicyclists and lead groups through a few Gallery Night art venues.
Rides are typically at a moderate, laid-back pace. Two guides per month provide different perspectives and skills. GN also offers free walking and bus tours.
Gallery Night Providence - Dates + Bicycle Guides 2012
May 17 - Peter Goldberg, Photographer, and Lani Stack, Senior Communications Specialist, RISD Museum
June 21 – 2 tours Tour A - Andrew Oesch, Artist, and Jason Yoon, New Urban Arts Tour B - Derek Schusterbauer, Graphic Designer, and John Caserta, Graphic Designer
July 19 - Susan Sakash, South Side Community Land Trust and Musician, and Joan Wyand, Artist
August 16 - Steve Heath, Catalyst of Bike Newport + Community Learning Specialist at the East Bay Met School, and Metalsmith/Jeweler, Patrick McMillian
September 20 – 2 tours Tour A - Ian Alden Russell, Curator, Bell Gallery, and Flannery Patton, Program Coordinator for Greater Kennedy Plaza Tour B - Erik Gould, Photographer and Erik Carlson, Artist and Musician
Friday, April 13, 2012
Interesting plan for Seattle's new streetcar. Can the same be done for Providence some day?
Monday, February 27, 2012
Norquist: Route 34 Highway Removal is greatest national embarassment since the Bridge to Nowhere in Alaska
On the misuse of TIGER funds. Will Providence do better?
Since 1959, Route 34, the Dick Lee Highway, also known as the "Oak Street Connector," has blighted downtown New Haven.
Mayor Richard Lee and his planner Ed Logue reshaped New Haven in the 1950s and '60s, removing entire neighborhoods and attempting to transform the downtown into a suburban-style office park. They were pioneers in that era of urban renewal, bringing more federal money to New Haven per capita than any other city received.
But the total effect was devastating, and the highway's construction played a big part in the resulting loss of housing and population. The elevated roadway and parallel adjoining one-way streets occupy 26 acres of otherwise prime downtown land that could be redeveloped to double the size of downtown and add considerable value back to the city. A public-private effort called Downtown Crossing aimed to do just that by replacing the Route 34 connector with a walkable, pedestrian-oriented street plan.
Downtown Crossing was awarded a $23 million U.S Department of Transportation TIGER grant, one of the largest issued from Washington, to do the job. Yet the plan's current design does not align itself with the stated intent of the project.
The original plan called for a four-lane boulevard. This was rejected by Connecticut's Department of Transportation. Instead, current plans call for an eight-lane monstrosity that will be nearly impossible to cross on foot.
Like the Dick Lee Highway, the new arterial will function more as a long ramp extension of I-95 than as a street. Local activists challenged the plan by proposing alternatives in a community workshop, with hopes city and state leaders would understand the opportunity to restore vibrancy and value to downtown New Haven.
Led by Alderman Justin Elicker, activists supported a resolution to restore the original plan and increase pedestrian safety and reduce the number of lanes, making downtown more livable and walkable. The resolution called for greater pedestrian connectivity, bike lanes and a target speed of no more than 25 mph. It would have included two lanes in each direction with intersections at each block so that the street would serve the neighborhood, rather than just function as a freeway ramp.
These voices of reason fell on deaf ears. By early November, the board of alderman passed a lukewarm resolution that rhetorically mentioned pedestrian safety. New Haven's aldermen essentially caved in to the expressway advocates at the state DOT.
While the city's resolution calls for a greater commitment to pedestrian and bicycle safety, the current Downtown Crossing plan makes those goals impossible to achieve. The auto-centric design will not create a livable, vibrant city street. The state and city are wasting a huge federal grant and mangling a great opportunity to repair some of the devastation imposed on New Haven in the urban renewal era of Dick Lee and Ed Logue.
The U.S. Department of Transportation oft-lauded TIGER grant program is the impetus behind the Downtown Crossing plan. U.S. DOT administrators are quick to take the praise for TIGER's allegedly innovative approaches, but now are silent in the face of this wasted opportunity. TIGER is an acronym standing for Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery. As now planned, it won't. Downtown Crossing is one of the U.S. DOT's largest projects — and it is likely to be its largest source of embarrassment since Alaska's "Bridge to Nowhere."
Monday, February 6, 2012
Tuesday, January 31, 2012
"Traffic calming tends to provide the greatest benefits to pedestrians, bicyclists and local residents, while imposing the greatest costs on motorists who drive intensively (i.e., as fast as possible). Traffic calming tends to increase horizontal equity by reducing the external costs imposed by motor vehicles and improving the balance between different uses of public streets. Traffic calming tends to increase vertical equity because it benefits people who are physically, economically and socially disadvantaged, while imposing the greatest disbenefits on relatively wealthy, higher mileage drivers."
Monday, May 2, 2011
The event has no sponsors and no registration fees. It asks its cyclists to ride no faster than 12 mph and remain silent during the ride. All cyclists will be required to wear helmets, follow traffic laws, and use hand signals, aiming to raise awareness about the important of cycling safety and sharing the road.
Cyclists will gather at 6:15 on the Front Green at Brown University, at the corner of Prospect Street and Waterman Street. The ride, which will be 8 miles long, will begin at 7:00 p.m., with a reception to follow in the Multipurpose Room of the Stephen Robert Campus Center on the Main Green at Brown.
Tuesday, April 5, 2011
Friday, January 28, 2011
An analysis of President Obama's State of the Union address from one of the top national advocates of smart growth and sustainable city planning: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/geoffrey-anderson/a-sputnik-moment-for-smar_b_814541.html
Monday, December 27, 2010
"Those living in more walkable neighborhoods trusted their neighbors more; participated in community projects, clubs and volunteering more; and described television as their major form of entertainment less than survey participants living in less walkable neighborhoods."
Monday, November 29, 2010
Great selection of recent links about cities and urbanism:
1. The WSJ claims that delinquent homeowners can expect to stay in their homes after making their last mortgage payment – that is, they can live rent-free – for at least 16 months. The longer it takes for foreclosures to happen, the longer it will take for real estate markets to adjust to the new paradigm.
The article also confirms my suspicion that food trucks may actually be safer than restaurants: “These are essentially open kitchens…you can look in there and see exactly what these guys are doing, where they’re grabbing the food from, how they’re cooking it.”
3. Hong Kong and Singapore are both instituting controls on their residential property markets to avoid bubbles, but they are also freeing government land for developers (in spite of Singapore’s free market reputation, most residents apparently live in public housing). Some speculate that Hong Kong’s controls might be a sign of increasing control from Beijing. Reuters says that “China, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand and Malaysia have also unveiled more stringent regulations in recent months” – the bubble that led to the 1997 financial crisis had a large property component. The Beijing Communist Party mouthpiece, apparently fearing that investors have too much faith in the local government, blames the city’s high rents on prostitutes.
4. Cap’n Transit on road subsidies. These sorts of debates often frustrate me because I feel like people are not clear as to which roads they’re talking about (federal, state, local?).
5. Al Gore admits that first-generation ethanol was a mistake and he only supported it because of “a certain fondness for the farmers in the state of Iowa” (yes, he really said that). But talk is cheap – he’s still sticking by non-food biofuels, though I think those’re just as bad. On the bright side, though, DeMint and Tom Coburn are apparently ready to let some key ethanol subsidies lapse this year.
6. DC developer forced to offer below-market rents to an IHOP. You know what would really help “small, local, minority-owned businesses”? Eliminating mandates like this that lead to constrained property markets and sky-high rents.
7. Remember that god-awful North Jersey mall project Xanadu, whose demise prompted an item in the last link list? Well apparently Chris Christie wants to throw more money down that hole. Speaking of which: Did they really not realize the negative associations people have with the name “Xanadu”? Or is that just evidence that not even the person who named it had any faith in it?
8. Real estate investors are bidding up prices for apartment buildings, says the NYT. Hopefully the increase in prices will convince local officials to zone for more multifamily development.
Friday, November 19, 2010
One of the victims, who asked to remain anonymous, said that he and his friends were on their way to purchase food when the suspect approached them and held them at gunpoint.This incident was the sixth armed robbery on or close to the Harvard campus in two weeks and the third that involved Harvard affiliates. Following the armed robbery of a non-Harvard affiliate on Thursday morning at 2:45 a.m., HUPD added additional officers on patrol and "increased visibility" in and around the Yard, according to a community advisory that HUPD sent to Harvard affiliates yesterday afternoon.
Two robberies took place on campus—in addition to the Yard robbery, the Harvard University Employee Credit Union was quietly robbed by an unarmed white male on Oct. 30.
The other six robberies all occurred within one block of Harvard property, stretching from the Quad to the Divinity School. Two of them were very close to the Harvard Square T stop.