Friday, July 30, 2010

There's No Pleasing Of Bicycle Advocates

No, you cannot please them.

It isn't a Travesre City thing. Or a Portland thing. Because it happens in London too.

The mayor there had the good idea of giving cyclist a bike lane by painting a blue stripe on the streets as an indicator to people on bike and in vehicles.

But the London cyclists call it a "gimmick".

See Grist: London builds bike ‘superhighways’ with groundbreaking blue paint

Why I Shop At Oryana

Oh Oryana, Traverse City is lucky to have a food cooperative like you.

Mark Bittman on his blog recently highlighted the need for supermarkets that strive to be better.
See: About “Better” Supermarkets
We should unquestionably support good supermarkets, but we should also be pushing them to:

- carry sustainable seafood exclusively

- carry ethically raised meat and poultry whenever possible

- carry organic and/or local fruits and vegetables whenever possible

- buy from suppliers who themselves have a conscience whenever possible

- pay their own staff a living wage, with benefits

- think about their energy usage, their waste, their community service
This sounds like what our Oryana has always done. See: Purchasing Policy

And this food co-op is so much a part of the fabric of Traverse City that I couldn't imagine this town without it. Oryana is one of those organizations that makes Traverse City more livable.

Dear Oryana,
Thank you.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Curbside Composting

Bay Area Recycling for Charities received a grant to bring curbside composting to Traverse City.

And earlier this year I heard a story on NPR about how restaurants are cutting costs with curbside composting: Compost Startup Helps Restaurants Cut Costs

3P has more on this topic: Curbside Composting Programs – Why We Need Them and Where to Start

I look forward to seeing BARC start this soon. What I hear is the compost will be used at The Commons community garden.

Friday, July 23, 2010


I started this post back in December, and after seeing Gary's post: Do you know where your closest city park is? which includes a map of Traverse City parkland, I decided I should get this wrapped up.

The big news is each Traverse City bay is poised to get revamped parks. The Acme Shoreline Park has a goal of turning one mile of East Bay into a blue mile of beachfront with volleyball courts, a playground, public marina, and open space; all connected to a TART trail spur.

See the Record-Eagle: Shoreline site in Acme to become new park

For West Bay, there is much hope for a completely new bayfront to connect downtown Traverse City to the water.

The new Bayfront Park design was recently revealed. See: bayfront plans are done

The conceptualization hits many highlights for me including a natural play area, an artesian spring and stream, an improved boat launch that will be friendlier to canoes and kayaks, more vegetation, keeping the emergent wetland at the mouth of the Boardman, dark-sky compliant lighting, fish cleaning station, improved access to the park with tunnels, etc.

However, it does appear that this was a great opportunity to develop a dedicated Farmer's Market space in the area but it isn't in the final plans. Also, to make the area more inviting to visitors of all types harness the artesian well in such a way so that boaters and others could fill up their containers with potable water. Much like how travelers stop north of Petoskey on US 31 to fill up with the well by the side of the road there. And I am not sure we need so many roundabouts but that is a topic for another post. You can't have it all I suppose.

I believe a new Bayfront will be a great addition to Traverse City and could serve as a multi-modal hub for the entire region. I hope it gets done. Even better would be tying this in to re-naturalizing the Boardman as it goes through downtown and then tie that into a whitewater park between Cass and Union.

Grand Rapids is trying it. (Grand River as downtown Grand Rapids whitewater course?)

There is a Facebook group for the Traverse City Boardman River Whitewater Park effort.

For more on the Bayfront park see:
TC bayfront plans take a step forward

Bayfront overhaul work could begin in 2011

Next, Traverse City residents clearly want a dog park. Recently in the paper there was this: Dog park project may be in the works

And when Mayor Bzdok made this post: Update for the week of November 29 to December 6 there were many comments from people wanting a dog park.

Not only would an off-leash dog park be good for the dogs but dog-walkers are great to have in the neighborhood. As mentioned in Why dog owners make the best citizens

After dark, the streets fill with dog walkers. A couple per block, at least. In the winter, they're the only people on the streets. Without them, the neighborhood would be lot emptier, and the streets would feel a lot more forbidding. Placing a couple of poodles -- and my neighborhood has a lot of poodles -- on the landscape really does wonders

I have the spot - next to the trail between Oryana and the library. An area some people are calling Old Town Park. My idea is a dog park on one side and let the other side which is already being used by beavers, rabbits, red-winged blackbirds, fox, be allowed to develop naturally. Build a high wall/fence next to the apartments to mitigate noise, though I believe the benefits to those residents having a place to exercise their dog outweighs any negatives.

I like this location because:
- it is centrally located to Traverse City's neighborhoods
- getting dog walkers in this area should help with the graffiti on the Community Sailing building and loitering on the bridge
- Oryana and McGough's should see increased sales of their pet supplies if dog owners are in the area more

And the natural area is important because it will act as a buffer when rail travel returns to the area.

Map (blue line is the park, other line is the natural area):

View Traverse City Dog Park? in a larger map

Finally, parks are great, but without a trail system connecting them (I've heard it described as a "string of pearls") it will not reach its full potential. So I hope that whatever is done is planned with TART so that all of these parks can be reached by non-motorized means.

Additional reading for inspiration:
INFRA: The Best New Urban Parks

NYT: Blueprints for a Better ‘Burb

Friday, July 16, 2010

Re-Inventing The Cherry Festival

I am going to admit something that for someone in Traverse City is similar to a rural Michigander saying "maybe we don't need so many townships?" - and that is, maybe the Cherry Festival is too long and not focused on the right things?

Because in its current incarnation I don't care for the Cherry Festival. One reason is because I feel like a minority for NOT smoking cigarettes. Another reason is I prefer farmers to carnies. Plus there are the piles of trash (I will not reveal if I am referring to people or refuse) and as Gary points out over at MWaT, Traverse City gets trashed in general during the TCCF. See: The condition of the Open Space, post-Cherry Festival

What I would like to see is a shortened Cherry Festival that doesn't span two weekends, and a Cherry Festival that is re-imagined as a food festival much like the lost Epicurean Classic.

Alas, the only victory at this year's Festival was no twilight air show. I think the outcry from the downtown parents after the last time the Blue Angels flew at night precluded any future consideration for evening strafing runs.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Bicycle Lockers At The Old Town Parking Deck

The new Old Town Parking Deck will include Bike Lockers. They will cost $15/month or $1/day. Apparently these have been available at the downtown Hardy Parking Deck. Yeah, I didn't know that either.

See DowntownTC: Bike Lockers In The Old Town Parking Deck


Parking updates.

The Diane Rehm show recently dedicated an hour to parking garages, and it was fascinating. See (and listen): The Parking Garage poses this obvious question: Tell me again why we mandate parking at bars?

And the NYT covers what current parking lots are good for: The Parking Lot as ‘Solar Grove’

I made a related post in 2008 about parking standards in an urban environment.

All this news makes me think the new Old Town parking deck is going to do a lot of things right in that it will be LEED certified, have a green roof, include solar chargers for future EV's, and it is designed with an Old Town aesthetic.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Walk Score In The Wall Street Journal

It doesn't get much more mainstream than this - walkability is covered in the WSJ's Real Estate section: A Walker's Guide to Home Buying
Still, the more emphasis on walking distance, the better, say many home-buyers. Gary Howe, a photographer and writer in Traverse City, Mich., has been working with his city's planning department to get, among other things, pedestrian-enhanced crosswalks at a busy intersection—a crossing so dangerous, he says, that many neighbors drive less than a block to a pharmacy just to avoid that street. "When I was looking for a house four years ago, lots of real-estate agents didn't even mention walkability," Mr. Howe says. "Now I see it everywhere, which is great."

One Person's Experience With A CSF

Via Goodeater: Community Supported Fisheries 2.0: A Personal Take

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Advice For The New Chicken Raiser

See Grist: Chicken expert Gail Damerow answers newbie questions

And on page two is this idealized urban chicken coop design

Friday, July 2, 2010

More In The Theme Of 'Streets Are For People'

IPR reports that Garland St in the warehouse district may be turned into a Woonerf.

Woonerf in Asheville, NC

See IPR: Warehouse District Ready To Boom

And Cairo is the latest city to ban cars in the downtown. See: CoolTownStudios: Cairo to go pedestrian-only in downtown