Archive for April, 2012

Birthday

Tuesday, April 10th, 2012

No, not mine. But one of the engineers who sits near me had one today. So a fellow engineer (whose name I shall not divulge, but no, it wasn’t me) decided to upgrade the decor of his workspace:

The little touches were especially thoughtful:

Building Codes

Tuesday, April 10th, 2012

Okay, so I know building codes aren’t terribly exciting. But I’m thrilled to see that Buffalo is updating its entire building code for the first time since the year I was born. It’s like a stake through the heart of Vampire Robert Moses. Words like “walkable” and “new urbanism” are sprinkled through this whole article, and developers like Termini and Zemsky are behind it; I’m positively giddy.

Specialized Turbo

Monday, April 9th, 2012

The “world’s fastest electric bike“.

Who is supposed to buy this thing?

Perspective

Tuesday, April 3rd, 2012

The red line is the distance that the Voyager probe will travel in one million years.

Long Beach

Tuesday, April 3rd, 2012

Long Beach, California: the latest city to decide that it wants to be the most bicycle-friendly in America.

From the article:

Achieving that level of comfort requires convincing cyclists as well as educating drivers. One method Gandy helped pursue in Long Beach is an approach first seen in Salt Lake City. There wasn’t space for a dedicated bike lane on the busy commercial corridor in Long Beach’s Belmont Shore neighborhood, so the city laid down a five-foot strip of green paint right in a traffic lane for about half a mile each way, brightly and visibly notifying drivers that the lane can and will be legally shared by bicyclists.

“Once the confusion died down, once people understood what the intent was, it was clear that the authority figures were saying ‘bicycles belong here,’” Gandy says. “The attitude that bikes don’t belong has been greatly changed in Long Beach.”

And the green lanes have encouraged more cycling down this street as well. Before the paint was laid down, the street saw about 400 cyclists and 40,000 motorists a day. After the paint dried two and a half years ago, the street sees about 1,000 cyclists per day and the same level of car traffic. And while some had been concerned that intersplicing bikes with cars on this stretch would result in accidents and injuries, Gandy says the post-paint crash figures are the same as before, at just about 5 car-bike crashes per year. This was the first experiment the city did, using federal money. Separating out labor costs, these green sharrow lanes cost the city just $5,000 each. Their success has suggested replication.

Revenue per Acre

Monday, April 2nd, 2012

An interesting article on the Atlantic web site, regarding the rebirth of downtown Asheville, NC, and the thinking behind it. They make the case that “revenue per acre” is probably a better way to measure economic impact than “revenue per building” or “revenue per project” – huge projects, like Walmarts and shopping malls, require much more infrastructure and so their impact is diffuse.

This is, of course, just another example of why my beloved Nickel City needs to do something with that embarassing stretch of downtown by the Hyatt.

Umwelt

Monday, April 2nd, 2012

Check out xkcd (www.xkcd.com) this morning (Comic # 11037)

Now try it in a different browser.

Now look at it on your Android or Iphone

Now try it in Chrome. Now adjust the window width.

How the hell…???