Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Another Reason Women Don't Bike - Men

The conventional wisdom is that more women don't ride their bikes because they don't feel safe.

But another reason appears to be that men can let their idiotic side come out when they see a woman on a bicycle. See The Guardian: Record and ridicule: Female cyclists expose sexist idiots online

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Park It

[8/25/2010 Update from MR: More parking links]

It is like 2008 all over again. Tyler Cowen writes in the NYT: Free Parking Comes at a Price and while the response should be "obviously"; Mr. Cowen is quite influential and so there has been quite a kerfuffle in the blogosphere about "free parking".

MWaT: We’re all subsidizing parking and it ain’t cheap
MY:Parking Feedback Loops

But the best comes from a true nerd - just look at this guy:

Michael E. Lewyn. 2010. "What Would Coase Do (About Parking Regulation)?"
By artificially increasing the supply of parking and thus making driving cheaper and more convenient, these regulations have redistributed wealth from society as a whole to drivers, making driving more attractive and thus increasing automobile travel and its negative externalities (such as pollution, traffic congestion, and greenhouse gas emissions). By creating the parking-dominated “strip mall” landscape of suburbia, such regulations impose discomfort and even danger upon pedestrians. And by making urban redevelopment more expensive, minimum parking regulations shift development from city to automobile-dependent suburb. So minimum parking requirements may be one of the situations foreseen by Coase, in which government regulation creates more congestion and environmental damage than it prevents.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Knoxville's Success

Knoxville, TN has a Market Square that succeeds as both a downtown car-free zone and as a plaza for a farmer's market, concerts, and other public amenities.

See SustainableCities: Knoxville’s Market Square Shows Pedestrian-Only Spaces Can Work, Too

When Will Traverse City Get A U.S. Bicycle Route 35 Meeting?

Good job EUP. This is what is so vexing about Sault Ste. Marie - they'll do something ridiculous like ban city chickens but then have a public meeting for the U.S. Bicycle Route 35. (4 p.m. on September 9 at Kinross Charter Township Hall, located at 4884 W. Curtis, Kincheloe)

Via the SooEveningNews: Public hearing set for U.S. Bicycle Route 35
The Corridor Committee is made up of representatives of the Cities of Sault Ste. Marie, Petoskey, Traverse City, Manistee, Ludington, Muskegon, Holland, South Haven and Saint Joseph. The role of the Corridor Committee is to propose a route to the Michigan Department of Transportation, which will consider the route, and if acceptable, apply for national recognition as a United States Bicycle Route.

I have an email in to see if Traverse City will host a meeting.

Why I Buy Shetler Dairy Products

A recent article at The Atlantic's Food channel reminded me of why I only will buy Shetler Dairy milk.

See: A Tale of Two Dairy Farms

The mega-dairy farms are disgusting and so is their milk. (and this includes Horizon organic milk). Yet I know local people who won't buy Shetler because it isn't certified organic. To me, this is a perfect example of why there are times when local is better than organic - and you can be "organic" without certification. I'd rather be able to visit the cows making my milk and ice cream and see their pasture than get milk from cows on factory farms getting organic feed.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Sleepy Bike Tours

Via Regular bike tours scheduled for Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore

This is a great idea and I am happy to see the NPS add it to their services.

If successful then perhaps it could lead others to start full-fledged bicycle touring businesses?

Thursday, August 5, 2010

It's Funny Because It's True

You didn't know U.S. Mayors signed on to an evil U.N. bicycle sharing plan did you?
Count your lucky stars that Colorado wingnut Republican has the inside info on this insidious plot to get people biking.

What say you Mayor Bzdock? Are you a car driving American or a bike riding socialist?

Via MSNBC: Colo. GOP candidate peddles U.N. bike theory

If it bends it's funny, if it breaks, it isn't. This wacko idea about bicycle sharing breaks I'm afraid though I am trying to be funny about it.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Separate But Equal

The Mississippi basin and Great Lakes are equally wonderful waterways, but I too would like to see them separated. Or turn Chicago back into a swamp instead of a flowing river. After all, the original name was chicagoua which was the word for the wild leeks which grew in the swampy ground there. The Chicago river barely flowed at all. How about turning the whole thing back into a wetland?

Doubtful, but this is hopeful.

See ChiBusiness: Bill calls for study delinking Lake Michigan, Chicago River to stall Asian carp

I was on a fishing charter recently and the sentiment on the boat was overwhelmingly for blocking out Asian carp no matter the cost.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Epistemic Closure In Traverse City (And Applying Astrophysics To Roundabouts)

There's a reason it is called Division St.

The Traverse City Commission had a meeting where no one spoke against roundabouts on Division St. A local AM radio station took calls from listeners for an hour and no one spoke in favor of roundabouts.

Obviously there are two different communities in Traverse City. One is open to trying new things. The other lives in fear of change - locked in their own world of epistemic closure with the same AM talk radio station on all day and predictable TV at night.

These two communities represent a fundamental split in the people of Traverse City. There are folks who think of this place as the small town where nothing changes and everyone hunts and fishes. The others think of TC as a micropolitan that attracts the educated and creative class with its natural beauty and concentrated amenities.

My opinion on Division St and Grandview Parkway is I want easier pedestrian access across these busy streets and slower traffic. And if a series of roundabouts is the best solution then that is what I would like to see.

But I am not convinced that a series of roundabouts would succeed.

Rather I want to apply astrophysics to the transportation problem in Traverse City.

The gas giants of the outer solar system or like the townships surrounding Traverse and the hospitable inner planets of Mars, Earth, and Venus are like the neighborhoods.

Much like the gas giants protect the more hospitable planets of the inner solar system from bombardment by cosmic debris from dark space I want to see roundabouts at the city limits protecting the inner neighborhoods. For example, a roundabout at 14th St. and Division would use the gravity of the circling traffic to sling vehicles in various directions into and out of Traverse City. And just as spacecraft use gravitational deceleration before landing, the mass of the roundabout would slow down traffic coming into the city's neighborhoods.

And just as a gas giant cannot survive in an inner-solar system neither can a roundabout survive in a neighborhood.

(ref: geologists and astronomers believe the gravitational pull of Saturn and Jupiter deflect possible planet killing comets, asteroids, etc that enter the solar system and this is what gave the early Earth time to evolve life)

Roundabout proponents claim that they make pedestrian access easier because you only have to look in one direction as you cross. So I tried an experiment. I walked towards the Bay on Oak St and attempted to cross at the crosswalk where Grandview Parkway is divided by a median. I only had to look one way before crossing each half of the street, and though it was better than crossing an undivided road, it was still not as easy as using a pedestrian underpass.

Or a stop light for that matter. The punctuated equilibrium of traffic that a light provides is why I go to Seventh St when I want to walk across Division. But no one is arguing for more traffic lights even though you clearly improve pedestrian access if you stop traffic for a few minutes.

So put roundabouts outside of the neighborhoods and make Division St into a Woodmere Ave-like boulevard north towards the Bay with one or more pedestrian tunnels connecting Central Neighborhood to The Commons. My hope would be that by constructing fewer roundabouts the savings could be used to pay for a green and welcoming Division St boulevard.

With all of this hoopla over roundabouts imagine what would happen if the suggestion was to remove all the traffic signs?

IPR: Roundabouts Praised At Public Meeting

MyNorth: Should Traverse City Have Traffic Roundabouts?

PlanForTC: roundabouts on Division?

MWaT: Car advocates, beginning to rally

TCBN: Ron Jolly

R-E: Skeptics, enthusiasts debate roundabouts