Friday, May 4, 2012

Missing Links for May 4th

-NationalPost: Hampstead crash: Stop signs cause more harm than good, some experts say [this accident received a lot of coverage in the Canadian media]

-Iowa BiCycle Coalition: Economic Study Shows Bicycling Generates $364.8 million for Iowa
The study estimates that bicycling saves the State of Iowa $73.9 million in healthcare costs for those who cycle recreationally. Another $13,266,020 in health care costs is saved by those who commute to work.
-NYT: Can’t Park? Blame a Condo
[free parking is socialism]

...just as horses made room for cars, he said, cars are making room for humans.

-TheAtlantic: The Hub: A Promising Experiment in Food Processing for Small Farms: A solution for farmers that can't afford the big state-of-the-art equipment required to process, store, and distribute their meat and produce.

-TheAtlantic: Why Do People Oppose Development?

most of us do not want to say "I want to live around people who consume the same stuff I consume", or "I don't want to live near poor people", or "I would rather not have more families in town because they're just going to be a financial burden on me", or "I think it would be better if you had fewer alternatives to shopping at my store", so we talk about . . . noise, congestion, and traffic.
-PhysOrg: Roundabouts emerging as the ideal intersection between driver safety and efficiency [summary of traffic engineering research]

-TheAtlantic: New Playgrounds Are Safe—and That's Why Nobody Uses Them

-CoolTools: Raising Chickens for Dummies

-GOOD: Why Historic Buildings Are Greener Than LEED-Certified New Ones

-Burgh Diaspora: The Michigan Exodus Myth

-Strong Towns: No new streets
We need to start getting used to a world where there will be no new streets. What you see on Google Maps today is what is going to be there fifty years from now, if not fewer as many streets will be abandoned. The fact that we don't have the money to even maintain a fraction of what we have already built is a powerful constraint that we don't fully appreciate.
-The Atlantic Cities: Parking Minimums Promote Driving, Even in Transit-Friendly New York

-FastCompany: DeepRoot: A New Solution For Saving Cities Money By Planting Trees

-The Mercury (Pottstown, PA): New business was drawn to Pottstown by arts center

If you are excited by the news that a high-tech firm with more than 30 good-paying jobs plans to move from a farm field in East Vincent to High Street, you can thank Ralphie and his Christmas wish for a Red Ryder BB Gun with a compass in the stock.

“A Christmas Story,” the seasonal offering at Pottstown’s downtown TriCounty Performing Arts Center, was among the shows that first attracted VideoRay President Scott Bentley to Pottstown.
-Grist: World’s worst elected official makes the case for sprawl [Oakland County]

-Citizens in the D.C. neighborhood of Glover Park are fighting for MORE liquor licenses. See WashingtonCityPaper: YIMBY Uprising Over Glover Park Liquor Moratorium

-The Atlantic Cities: Chicago's Booming Beer Scene, Explained

So why is this happening in Chicago? Chalk at least some of it up to institutional memory. Across the street from Goose Island's original brewpub on Clybourn Avenue sits the Siebel Institute of Technology, founded in 1871 and the oldest brewing school in the United States...

Chicago is also home to the Craft Beer Institute, which trains beer servers, distributors and restaurant and industry professionals in the history, production, handling, and consumption of beer. The program recently issued its 10,000 certified beer server certificate, just four years after Chicagoan Ray Daniels created the program.
-The Atlantic Cities: How More Expensive Housing Can Actually Cost You Less
[more expensive housing often has lower commuting costs]

-MM: Public Schools Good for People Without Kids, Too
[better schools = better communities to live in]

-Autoblog: America's parking spaces cover more area than Puerto Rico

-Next American City: The Psychology of Sprawl

After using atomic weapons in Japan and witnessing the beginning of the Cold War conflict with the Soviet Union, US experts became keenly aware of the vulnerability of its densely populated cities as targets of attack, and advised that strong measures be taken to disperse urban populations.
-The Atlantic Cities: When it Comes to Parks, it's Not Just How Many, But Where

-Grist: Into the woods: Seattle plants a public food forest
[or, if a city is going to plant trees why not plant edible trees?]

-AtlanticCities: What Communities Should Do To Protect Against Climate Change

-NYT: When a Parking Lot Is So Much More
there are three nonresidential parking spaces for every car in the United States. That adds up to almost 800 million parking spaces, covering about 4,360 square miles — an area larger than Puerto Rico. In some cities, like Orlando and Los Angeles, parking lots are estimated to cover at least one-third of the land area, making them one of the most salient landscape features of the built world.
-The Atlantic Cities: The True Cost of Unwalkable Streets

-Crain's Detroit: Northern Michigan's local-food movement needs infrastructure to turn an idea into an industry

Douglas Luciani, president and CEO of the Traverse City chamber, estimates that more than $1 billion is spent a year in the area on events ranging from weddings and family reunions to luncheons and fundraisers. If all event planners and venue owners agreed to buy 20 percent of their goods and services locally, that's $200 million that stays in the local economy.
-ClimateProgress: Nine Low-Tech Steps For Community Resilience In A Warming Climate

-BloombergView: Why Does U.S. Build Roads If It Can’t Pay to Fix Them?

-Tactical Urbanism 2: Short-term action | Long-term change [e-book]

-Bridge MI: State attracts visitors of motor-less bent
[bicycle trails and tours have the capacity to replace Michigan's billion dollar snowmobile related economy as climate chaos melts our heritage away]

-National Association of Realtors: 2011 Community Preference Survey
Overall, Americans’ ideal communities have a mix of houses, places to walk, and amenities within an easy walk or close drive
-GL Echo: Demand high, supplies tight for some Michigan-grown organic foods

-NPR: Guerrilla Grafters Bring Forbidden Fruit Back To City Trees

-FastCompany: Making More Livable Cities With Shade Stands, Rainwater Collection, And Closed Streets

-The Atlantic Cities: Traffic Explained in Less Than 4 Minutes
- A Data-Driven Case for Walkability
-What Cities Gain When Their Airports Are Close to Downtown

-SeattlePi: In an old Chicago meat plant, greens and fish grow

-MLive: 'A Day in the Life' of chef Mario Batali in New York is hectic, no wonder he loves Michigan

related NYT: For Mario Batali, It’s Molto Michigan [from 2007]

-Grist: How demolishing freeways is reviving American cities

-AtlanticCities: Green Infrastructure Could Save Cities Billions
[in other words, by letting natural systems handle stormwater runoff a city can save big money in waste water costs]

-SciAm: Grid Unlocked: How Street Networks Evolve as Cities Grow
the researchers found a tendency for older streets to be the more central ones in modern times

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

The Traverse City Approved Trees And Shrubs List

I heard from a Commissioner that Traverse City had an "approved trees list" on the City web site.

I think I finally found it in a 2009 appendix to zoning map changes.


The following text comes from the source PDF except I have changed to formatting to make it easier to read which includes taking out the scientific names:

The following is a partial list of plant materials which is preferred to exotic plants when the location is visible from public rights-of-way or adjacent to areas of natural vegetation. This list is not necessarily a guideline for interior courtyards and single family residential development.

Balsam Fir
Red Maple
Sugar Maple
Black Spruce
White Pine
Black Cherry
Black Willow

Sweet Birch
River Birch
Alternate-Leaved Dogwood
White Cedar

Red Chokeberry
Gray Dogwood
Redosier Dogwood
Common Witchhazel
Michigan Holly
American Elderberry
Highbush Blueberry
American Cranberry Bush

Common Juniper
Bush Cinquefoil
Canada Yew

Balsam Fir
Sugar Maple
American Beech
White Ash
Red Pine
White Oak
Red Oak

Cockspur Hawthorn
Downey Hawthorn
Dotted Hawthorn
Green Hawthorn
Eastern Red Cedar
Prairie Crab
Red Mulberry
Pin Cherry
Choke Cherry
Carolina Buckthorn
Mountain Ash

American Filbert
Common Witchhazel
Michigan Holly

New Jersey Tea.
Bush Honeysuckle

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Missing Links For 2-07-2012

[these links started collecting dust in November]

-Fortune Magazine, 1958: Downtown is for People

-WSJ: The Hidden Toll of Traffic Jams
Children in areas affected by high levels of emissions, on average, scored more poorly on intelligence tests and were more prone to depression, anxiety and attention problems than children growing up in cleaner air, separate research teams in New York, Boston, Beijing, and Krakow, Poland, found. And older men and women long exposed to higher levels of traffic-related particles and ozone had memory and reasoning problems that effectively added five years to their mental age, other university researchers in Boston reported this year. The emissions may also heighten the risk of Alzheimer's disease and speed the effects of Parkinson's disease.

-Steve Miller: Complete Streets As An Economic Development Strategy: The Green Beyond The Paint

-RecyclingToday: BHS Installs Solid Waste Processing System in Northern Michigan

-DetNews: Michigan wineries toast bumper crop

-CreativeClass: Bicycling and the Wealth and Happiness of Cities

-Grist: Why small cities are poised for success in an oil-starved future

-DetNews: Fishing for a living in Detroit
In less than a lifetime, the Great Lakes were depleted to the point where commercial fishing was no longer viable.

On a positive note, scientists from the U.S. Geological Survey and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service discovered spawning lake whitefish and fertilized whitefish eggs in the Detroit River in the fall of 2006, the first documented spawning of the fish in the river since 1916.

-NYT: In the Shadow of Grand Resorts, a Town Hill Struggles

-Petoskey News: The mystery of the Elk Lake lake trout
The trout, like their century-old counterpart, spawn in more than 100 feet of water -- indicating that these trout are one of the deepwater forms that used to exist in Lake Michigan.
-Freep: More Michigan voyages ahead; 13 cruises to visit new Detroit dock
[notice that Traverse City is NOT a destination]

-Atlantic Cities: The Opera House Effect

-MedicalXPress: Study shows medical marijuana laws reduce traffic deaths
"Our research suggests that the legalization of medical marijuana reduces traffic fatalities through reducing alcohol consumption by young adults,"
-Michigan River News: Great Lakes salmon polluting Michigan’s stream fish
[this is why the Union St dam on the Boardman is being left in place]

-CT Mirror: Economic value of state's parks is more than $1 billion
[the state of Connecticut could fit into NW lower MI]

-M2: Why a Democracy Needs Uninformed People

-GCC: MIT researchers developing algorithms to predict more accurately which cars are likeliest to run red lights

-TheAtlantic: New Yorkers Now Live 2.4 Years Longer Than Other Americans

-Grist: The next small thing: How sustainable neighborhoods could reshape cities

-MLive: Michigan resumes stocking Atlantic salmon in Torch Lake

-NationalPost: Taking a u-turn on the one-way street
Two years ago, city crews went to St. Paul Street — the one-way spine of downtown St. Catharines, Ont. — took down the “no entry” signs, painted new lines and opened up the street to two-way traffic. According to planners, it would slow cars down, make the downtown more pedestrian friendly and spur retail development.

People, especially businesspeople, didn’t like it. And then they did.

-Atlantic Cities: The Case for Congestion

-Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland: Urban Growth and Decline: The Role of Population Density at the City Core
We look at four decades of census data and show that growing cities have maintained dense urban centers, while shrinking cities have not. There are reasons to think that loss of population density at the core of the city could be particularly damaging to productivity. If this is the case, there could be productivity gains from policies aimed at reversing that trend.

-Mlive: Owasippe an 'epic' destination? Mountain bikers say yes

-AAA: AAA Study Finds Costs Associated With Traffic Crashes Are More than Three Times Greater than Congestion Costs With apartments full, developers look for new rental opportunities in downtown Cleveland
With apartments nearly full and waiting lists piling up, a sense of rental euphoria has fallen over downtown Cleveland...

Young professionals... are driving the downtown market. So are students, empty nesters and people moving from other cities.

-Atlantic Cities: Why Portland's Public Toilets Succeeded Where Others Failed

-CNNMoney: Tony Hsieh's new $350 million startup-The Zappos CEO is trading shoes for urban planning -- and spending big bucks to rebuild downtown Las Vegas.

-NYT: The Death of the Fringe Suburb
Simply put, there has been a profound structural shift — a reversal of what took place in the 1950s, when drivable suburbs boomed and flourished as center cities emptied and withered.

The shift is durable and lasting because of a major demographic event: the convergence of the two largest generations in American history, the baby boomers (born between 1946 and 1964) and the millennials (born between 1979 and 1996), which today represent half of the total population.

Many boomers are now empty nesters and approaching retirement. Generally this means that they will downsize their housing in the near future. Boomers want to live in a walkable urban downtown, a suburban town center or a small town, according to a recent survey by the National Association of Realtors.

The millennials are just now beginning to emerge from the nest — at least those who can afford to live on their own. This coming-of-age cohort also favors urban downtowns and suburban town centers — for lifestyle reasons and the convenience of not having to own cars.

-LAMag: Between the Lines [longread about the history of parking lots in LA; congestion pricing for parking and turning over parking meter money to the owner of the lot next to the space]
Shoup is not opposed to all parking lots; he’s against cities requiring parking lots. “Would you require every home to come with a pool or every office to include a dining room because someone might want it?” asks Shoup. “Why not let developers build parking where the market demands it and charge its true value?”

-NewGeography: The Driving Decline
[discussion of possible reasons for the 5 yr decline in total miles driven in the United States]

-The European: Cities Are Making Us More Human: Interview with Edward Glaeser
The European: As an economist, you have a very pragmatic approach to cities. Let’s begin with one of your thoughts: Cities help preserve the environment precisely because they keep people away from it.
Glaeser: That is right. It is somewhat counterintuitive but all that is leafy is not necessarily green – living around trees and living in low density areas may end being actually quite harmful for the environment, whereas living in high-rise buildings and urban core may end up being quite kind to the environment.

-GearJunkie: Longest 'Urban' Mt. Bike Trail in USA
Duluth mayor Don Ness has ambitions to make Duluth “the premier trail city in North America.” The Duluth Traverse, which is being touted as the longest urban singletrack trail system in the nation, is a key part in the vision alongside new paths and trails for hiking and XC skiing.

-AdventureCycling: Becoming Bike Travel Friendly: Minneapolis Case Study

-M2: Traffic Solution: Make Drivers Less Lonely

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

More Surveys

or as Doug E Fresh might say - ain't no reason for teasin' because it IS survey season.

-planning for a new Discovery Center to host the Maritime Heritage Alliance, The Watershed Center, Great Lakes Children's Museum, and Traverse Area Community Sailing: Discovery Center Great Lakes Community Survey

-MyNorth: 2012 Red Hot Best of Northern Michigan

-Northern Express: 2012 "Best of Northern Michigan"

(you know you're from northern Michigan when the highlight of your year is the Northern Express 'Best Of' survey)

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Drinker's Paradise

Sorry Asheville, I love you as a town but you're behind Traverse City again (and you're wrong).

First a little background...

Traverse City residents are familiar with our town perennially appearing on "up and coming" foodie town lists.

But the bigger story might be how the area is becoming known for adult beverages.

For example, in the Spring of 2011 I met a gentleman from Pennsylvania who read about Michigan and decided to drive out to experience the solitude of a cabin on Beaver Island. But first he was taking a tour of North Peak, Mackinaw Brewing Company, and Right Brain Brewery and stocking up on growlers.

And the Grand Traverse Resort offers walking Traverse City Craft Brewery Tours downtown with shuttle service back to the resort.

Now Draft Magazine puts Traverse City with OKC and St Louis as three emerging beer towns.

That's not fair to those other towns though. Like the Food Town lists that say Traverse City is "up and coming" I'd argue that Traverse City is the firmly established capital of the adult beverage aficionado.

Here's why...

Several years ago I took a trip to Ithaca, NY. Loved their Farmer's Market but was annoyed by signs proclaiming the highest restaurant density in the world - "even higher than New York City!" they said. It didn't feel right to me. When I got home I looked up the numbers and calculated that in fact Traverse City has a higher restaurant density than Ithaca.

What I found is Ithaca had 1.84 restaurants per 1000 people; Traverse City had 2.27 per 1000 people. I suppose I could infer from that that Traverse City has the highest restaurant density in the United States (but won't).

And that takes me to beer.

Asheville, NC proclaims itself as Beer City USA and boasts the "highest craft beer per capita in the world".

So I wanted to find the numbers and see if that was true.

Asheville, NC population = 83,393 (417,012 in the metro area)

Traverse City, MI population = 14,674

Craft breweries in Asheville = 10

Craft breweries in TC = 4 (I include Jolly Pumpkin on Old Mission but not the soon to open Brewery Terra Firma nor the rumors of 2 more coming)

14674/4 = 3668 people per brewery in Traverse City (dropping to 2935:1 once Brewery Terra Firma opens)

83,393/10 = 8339 people per brewery in Asheville.

So I could say Traverse City has more than twice the craft breweries per capita than Asheville.

I can then make it look worse.

Take into account the Old Mission Wineries, Left Foot Charley, Civilized Spirits, and the Grand Traverse Distillery.

And you get 1 drinking destination per 917 people.

Asheville. Beer Town USA.
-10 breweries
-5 wineries within an hours drive
-2 distilleries

Which gives 1 drinking destination for 4905 people.

In other words, the density of breweries, wineries, and distilleries is 5 times higher in Traverse City than Asheville.

And that does not even include Black Star Farms and the wineries of the Leelanu appellation; Acoustic Mead; Shorts Brewing; or Tandem Ciders.

Nor does it include other destinations such as 7 Monks Taproom, Brew, Uncorked, or the fact that Blue Tractor has beer from every microbrewery in Michigan.

Add it all up and it is not a fair competition to any other region. This is a paradise.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Surveys Say

A couple of community surveys are available.

-The Traverse City Corridors Improvement Study has Questionnaires for Residents and Businesses.

-Vasa Trail Five- and Ten-Year planning process