Happy Friday, everyone. I'm a little behind the normal schedule today for two reasons. First, there is a little four year old girl that has not gotten much "daddy time" this week since I've been out for much of it, so she's absorbed my attention up to this point. She's sleeping now so I'm working to get caught up. Second, I was at Target Field Wednesday night watching baseball be played in a snowstorm, but I wake up today to a glorious and sunny day. So I'm going to click "publish" on this blog post and then write so you'll actually get a rolling, unedited version if you are hitting refresh, understanding that when Girl #2 wakes up, my attention will again be diverted.
May your life be equally full of such diversions - enjoy the week's news.
- Last November I had a chance to meet fellow New Urbanist and NextGen'r Edward Enfurt while in New Orleans. On a group walk one evening back from dinner, he was kind enough to take the time to explain a lot of the city's features to me and gave me a wonderful tour from his eyes. Since then, I've enjoyed reading his blog and following him on Twitter and find myself really enjoying his insights. This is a guy worth following, so check out the Restless Urbanist and plan to come to CNU 19 and meet and hear from bright people like Edward in person.
- Tactical Urbanism update! The blog site FineWoodWorking.com picked up the chairbombing approach from the perspective of pointing out a pretty handy use for a pallet. If we can mobilize hobbyists in this way, all the better. Pattern Cities also had a post showing an elaborate chairbombing. Keep it up, everyone.
- The South Dakota governor is starting a new initiative to target economic development in small towns. My initial reaction is skepticism based on an understanding that an elected official's term is much shorter than the length of time needed to see significant results, and that hunch was bolstered by the quotes in the article. But there is some hope there from the comments section from someone who gets it (third comment), although from the popular voting he ranks behind both a belief in the unicorns and abandonment as viable options. Great work, Tom.
The fact of the matter is that government policies (both State and Federal) have been responsible for the hollowing out of small towns across this country since the Modern Economy began (post WW2). For some enlightening insight on small towns, and great ideas to make them successful, check out http://www.strongtowns.org/. The ideas on that site are likely to be far more effective than whatever tax-incentive, infrastructure-subsidy program the state government has planned.
- I also wanted to give a heartfelt thank you to the Savannah Association of the Blind for including a link to us on their website. It caught my eye because I don't look at us as advocates for the blind and so we don't typically get traffic from a source like SAB (although if we are helping blind people, that is a truly great bonus). Here is how they listed us, which is right on and absolutely made my day.
Strong Towns - Make a better community for everyone, including pedestrians.
- On Wednesday we ran a preview of the Bernanke press conference. I found it fascinating and frustrating at the same time (and I still want to get back with my peeps in the comments section for Wednesday. If you are interested in hearing for yourself, here's the video.
- I really enjoy Matt Miller in his role of host and moderator on KCRW's Left, Right and Center. He has a column this week that I think fits well as a companion piece to the Bernanke press conference, The next banking crisis is coming.
As Phil Angelides, co-chairman of the FCIC, told me, “Wall Street hasn’t learned any lessons, because they paid no real price.” When historians dig through the rubble of the financial crisis of 2018 or 2020, they’ll wonder how we could have been duped again so quickly.
- My friends in Maryland may particularly enjoy this response from the Maryland Department of Transportation to a driver upset with sharing the road with a bicyclist. It is a great analysis of the rights of non-auto travelers.
You mentioned that you’ve seen two car/bike crashes (presumably on Jones Mill Road) in three years and that even one is too much. I assume the argument is that bicyclists should be banned from Jones Mill Road because of these crashes. If true than we would have to ban motoring as well, considering the 32,000 motor vehicle fatalities occurring annually, let alone the hundreds of thousands of injuries and collisions that occur nationally. Instead of taking that extreme step as a society we determine if motoring and bicycling are reasonable risks while we continue to work on improving safety.
- This article from the Daily Yonder made me angry from the first sentence, which is:
The quality and quantity of the transportation systems that serve rural America have been steadily eroding for many decades.
For some reason there is no discussion of the disproportionate amount of money spent in rural areas, the fact that we have poured our wealth into rural roads, etc... The article largely presents is the same old, worn-out, woe-is-me narrative that has dominated - and stifled - discussion in rural areas for decades. Even when they list the goals that a new omnibous road slush fund bill should have, they skip right past the damage that our approach to rural transportation has done and instead equate prosperity with more funding for roads. The idea that doing more of what got us here is going to make things better truly is insanity. Come on, Daily Yonder - you guys are great. Let's dig a little deeper.
Back in a bit to finish....
It's Sunday now - yesterday was a combination of swimming, dance and prom and I am amazed at how sleepy one can become from all that sitting around - and I'm going to save the rest for next week. Thanks everyone.