Friday, October 29, 2010

Importing Ideas

Saw two European transportation related things today that caught my attention.

1. A friend posted to Facebook this picture with the comment of "Typical Amsterdam bike rack.":

2. Originally from France, via GOOD: The Merits of the Diverging Diamond Interchange

Thursday, October 28, 2010

The Storm

The October blow is winding down finally.

Jeff Masters:
Strongest storm ever recorded in the Midwest smashes all-time pressure records

GOES image

There's a satellite movie too.

The system made worldwide news. The BBC covered it: Fierce storm muscles through Midwestern US

HuffPo has a few unremarkable pictures: 'Chiclone' Aftermath: Storms Leave Plenty Of Damage Throughout Midwest

The WaPo has some interesting facts at Midwest storm by the numbers such as:
24 tornado reports

282 wind damage reports

26 mb pressure fall in 24 hours in central Minnesota. This kind of extreme drop in pressure is referred to as "explosive cyclogenesis" or "bombogenesis"

77 mph wind gust in Greenfield, Indiana. Highest "official" wind gust reported.

5 states (Indiana, Wisconsin, Illinois, Michigan, and South Dakota) - where wind gusts to at least 70 mph were reported. List of selected wind gusts.

250+ flight cancellations yesterday at Chicago O'Hare

50 mph winds for 24 of the last 32 hours in Pierre, South Dakota according to the Weather Channel

8" - Snow report in Harvey, ND accompanied by sustained winds near 40 mph and gusts over 50 mph

150-180 mph winds estimated at jet stream level driven by the large temperature contrast between the eastern and western U.S. - which in turn - fueled this storm in the center of the country.

1 partially impaled teacher by tree limb outside Chicago. Teacher says she will use tree limb that entered her abdomen and came out her side as "art"

In Michigan, wave height was 20+ feet in some places:

NWS recorded a top guts of 78 mph on the bridge: Final Wind Gusts for the Historic Great Lakes Storm of October 26-27

9&10 reported that all freighters were anchored.

In Empire, a water spout was spotted.

And naturally there are many, many power lines and trees down, but it appears nothing too terrible occurred. I kept waiting for it to get really windy.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Understanding Braess

And calming traffic.

Simply put - adding capacity to a network decreases overall efficiency.

See Scientific American: Removing Roads and Traffic Lights Speeds Urban Travel

Why? There's math for that (see Wikipedia). How I see it is based on the psychological experiment that asked people if they'd rather live in a neighborhood where they made $100,000 and their neighbors $50,000; or a place where they made $200,000 but surrounded by people making $400,000. People overwhelming wanted to be richer than their neighbors even when that meant passing up a doubling of their income. A study from the U.K. confirmed this experiment: Happiness Is ... Making More Money Than the Next Guy. Or as They Might Be Giants sang, "I don't want the world, I just want your half".
This is how drivers behave - why they do not make the most efficient choice. Some drivers are simply looking for a way to get to the next spot before the other guy.

You see this as drivers speed down Lake Ave past Oryana and McGoughs. They aren't going to save a lot of time by doing this but if they can get ahead of the car that they were behind a few minutes ago on Fourteenth then they are satisfied.

And as an experimental guy found out in Seattle, one bad or good driver can impact everyone else for the worse or better.

I believe this is the essence of the Braess paradox, additional network choices lead to inefficient decision because the agents look at only getting to the next hop in the network. By eliminating choice you increase efficiency since there is no competition for an alternative route.

This has been proven New York, Stuttgart, Seoul, Los Angeles. It can work in Traverse City too. Plus, it is much cheaper to close a road than to build a new one.

This is something I want Traverse City to consider as the City plans to introduce traffic calming ideas. I'm going to listen to them then will have more to say about it and about the proposed Boardman Lake Ave.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Wine And Color

A couple of lists Traverse City has appeared on include:

TripAdvisor picks the top ten fall foliage destinations

[Via My-North]

and from USAToday: 10 great places for local wines
"They're very good at matching grapes with climate"

[Via the R-E]

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Photograph Of Building 50 Wins Worldwide Competition

I recognized the picture before I read the text to confirm what the first blink told me - this winning image is from Traverse City.

GOOD hosted a contest and asked for the submission of images of building from reader's neighborhoods. Nataliya Chekhovskaya submission was of a tree growing from the ruins. A fitting image for the rebirth happening at The Commons.

Well, the votes are in, and the image from Traverse City won.

See: Winner Announced: Crowdsourced Picture Show About Buildings

image by Nataliya Chekhovskaya at