Friday, November 28, 2008

Another Example Of More Roads Creating More Traffic

See: The Big Dig's Unintended Consequence: More Traffic
In fact, the time it takes to travel certain routes has actually doubled as a result of the project. What's perhaps more surprising than these findings is the fact that no one saw it coming.

Water Trails

Many communities across America are considering and organizing water trails for canoers and kayakers. American Rivers calls them "Blue Trails" and have launched a web site to help communities get started.

See: Blue Trails Guide
Welcome to The Blue Trails Guide

The Blue Trails Guide by American Rivers provides step-by-step instructions for developing thriving blue trails, the water equivalent to hiking trails, in your community.

To have a successful blue trail you need to have a healthy river, which is why this guide focuses on river conservation. You will find practical advice on planning, building, and managing for conservation and case studies from experts across the country.

This guide will help your community protect and restore your rivers and landscapes through recreation.

What Makes For The Best Streets?

World Class Streets Have More Pedestrians, Fewer Cars

Or in other words, it is time to look at streets as multi-use avenues rather than a means of getting cars from point A to point B.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Granny Flats In Traverse City Are Inevitable

In the first half of the 20th Century boarding houses were common in the United States as many people struggled economically. Today recent college graduates move back in with their parents, and parents move in with adult children. So to the Traverse City Commission I ask; why should it be illegal to rent an ADU to your parents or kids?

See: USNews: Baby Boomers Moving In With Adult Children

Classical Farming

Seems obvious but people still have to write articles to encourage farmers to attempt to work with wildlife.

See: Farming with the Wild

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Removing A Dam In Fort Covington, NY

A dam is being removed in Fort Covington, NY in order to restore the connectivity of the Salmon River to the St. Lawrence River. And the anglers there are very excited about it.

See: NY officials hope removing dam will revive fishing

The Sound Of Inevitability

Wind energy is coming, it'll just be a matter of where and when. The importance to northern Michigan is that offering green and reliable electricity will attract the type of businesses which attract skilled and high-tech workers.

Why Michigan offshore wind farms are inevitable
Windmill economics are better if the weather is colder, the propeller is bigger, but most importantly if the wind blows faster.

Study: Offshore Wind Turbines Could Pack Punch
If Michigan allowed close to 100,000 wind turbines to be plopped along the shore of the Great Lakes, it would produce enough energy to power the entire Upper Midwest, according to a Michigan State University Land Policy Institute study set to be released today, according to the MIRS News Service.

While acknowledging that such a scenario is absurd, the study "Michigan's Offshore Wind Potential" produced the calculations to show the state what is possible if wind turbines were moved next to and into the Great Lakes.

For example, to use offshore wind energy to satisfy all of Michigan's power demands, the state would need to plop 11,469 wind turbines 10 kilometers offshore at a depth of 60 meters, according to the study, authored by Charles McKeown and Soji Adelaja.

Traverse City Water Festival

DECEMBER 12 - 14,2008

The Water Festival seeks to attract, entertain, educate and activate individuals and communities.The first Traverse City Water Festival will take place at the City Opera House on Friday and Saturday, December 12th and 13th, and at the Grand Traverse Commons on Sunday, December 14th.

The full schedule. However, as I rule I do not attend events featuring group drumming.

Preservation In The Midst Of 1000 Cuts

We're lucky enough in northern Michigan to have large stretches of wilderness. Yet, in urban areas too, a new study indicates preserving patches of green can help mobile species.

See ScienceBlog: Networks of small habitat patches can preserve urban biodiversity

Thursday, November 13, 2008

A League Of Young Farmers

One of the best things about northern Michigan is the number of farmers, particularly new, young farmers. There is no more noble profession.

There are programs in place to encourage young people to get into farming:
Get Farming! from MLUI

Now there's also this community getting started to help young farmer's across the country:
Serve Your Country Food

Chicks In The City

The Traverse City Commissioners are pretty good at avoiding innovation so this will probably not happen for a few more years, but backyard poultry is a growing trend. Here are some recent stories:

Does My City Allow Me to Raise Chickens?

Whole lotta clucking going on in cities
The communities of Fort Collins, Colo.; Ann Arbor, Mich.; and Wake Forest, N.C.; have passed laws allowing residents to keep a limited number of backyard birds. Other chicken-friendly cities include New York; Oakland, Calif.; Portland, Ore.; and Salt Lake City.

Fresh eggs for breakfast aren't the only benefit of raising chickens, say hobbyists. The birds provide organic fertilizer, and their appetite for pesky weeds and bugs helps gardens thrive.

"If our economy continues on the downward spiral," says Ms. Shell, a third-generation poultry hobbyist, "you're going to see a lot more people raising their own chickens in their backyards and starting up vegetable gardens."

A mostly complete list of chicken laws by city: Chicken Laws

Open Spaces Matter

I am happy to see that Traverse City's Peninsula Township residents approved funding for the Center Road Natural Area Park.

It is well established that housing next to preserved land appreciates more quickly than houses elsewhere in the community.

Now an interesting British study demonstrates that access to green spaces and parks improves people's health and also "counteracts the effects of poverty on deprivation".

See TH: Urban Parks Help Defeat Inequality

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Good For Michigan

I'm happy to see that Michigan passed Proposals 1 and 2. Proposal 1 will help keep the Creative Class in the state and Proposal 2 will keep scientists in the state.

See: Scientists, doctors, patients stand to benefit as Proposals 1, 2 pass

And just this week new research is coming out: Research into medicinal marijuana grows up