Friday, October 31, 2008

Another Infant for Obama

AP photo by David Richard / October 29, 2008

Complete Streets Legislation

We're lucky here in Chicago. We have a bike-friendly mayor, a ton of bike lanes, and a very active bike advocacy group in the Chicagoland Bicycle Federation. In addition to organizing plenty of great events like "Bike the Drive," they are at work to make the streets more cyclist-friendly.

In reading their latest newsletter I learned about the Complete Streets policy. It's been passed in Illinois, and also just this month in California. The gist of it is this: roadways should accomodate all users; the policy mandates that all new road projects include ped and bike access.

It wasn't that long ago that I was in a Grand Rapids, MI, city planning meeting when a major downtown road re-construction project was up for approval. I had the opportunity to speak to the designer personally, and I asked him where the bike lanes were. They were none in his nice diagrams. It struck me as such a wasted opportunity. Where its passed, this legislation would go a long way toward making sure bike lanes are part of every new road construction plan.

Here's a list of places that have put Complete Streets on the books.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Bike Commuting Way Up in NYC

Great News! New Yorkers are getting on bikes in greater numbers. Estimates are that the city's bike commuting population is up 35% from 2007 to 2008.

From the Times:
“This growth is real,” said Wiley Norvell, a spokesman for Transportation Alternatives, the leading advocacy group for cyclists and pedestrians in New York City. “It’s born out by what I see on the streets every day, and we’re reaping the rewards from the city’s investment in bicycling over the last several years. More and better-designed bike lanes are producing more cyclists and more first-time cyclists.”

Since 2007, 140 miles of new bicycle routes have been added to the on-street bicycle network.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Build Me One, Too.

The music critic and his wife, the public relations consultant, wanted a green home, but had little money. The result is friggin awesome.

The project began with a challenge from one friend to another. “We want the greenest house you’ve ever designed, but we have almost no money,” Mr. Small recalled telling Whitney Sander, who, with his wife, Catherine Holliss, runs Sander Architects, of Venice, Calif. Another goal was that it be a quiet retreat and acoustically resonant to accommodate a passion of his, chamber music recitals.

Inspired by the house that Charles and Ray Eames created in 1949 from a prefabricated steel frame and doors, windows and the like ordered from a catalog, the architects took the project on the condition that they could pursue a novel strategy. Besides using acrylic, Panelite, recycled steel and Styrofoam, they would try unusual ingredients like sunflower husks for wall panels and bookshelves, and blue jeans (for insulation).
There's a slideshow at the article. I hope more houses are like this in the future.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Tax Breaks for Cyclist-Friendly Employers

Apparently buried down in the depths of the so-called "Bailout Bill" there was inserted some bike friendly legislation!

Starting next year, employers who provide bike parking, bathing facilities, tune-ups, or other support for bicycle commuting, can deduct up to $20 a month per participating employee from their own taxable income.
Ah, bathing facilities. . .

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Raphael Saadiq is doing it.

I've been grooving on the new Raphael Saadiq record for a few weeks now, and it's sticking like super glue. It's somehow utterly retro without being at all contrived. It's like he traveled back to the Motown era and recorded at Hitsville USA and brought the results back to us here in 2008. It's super great and NPR thinks so too. One suggestion: don't ever ask Jay Z to sing again (at least its on the last track of the record).

Amtrak Vs. Petrostates

High Oil Prices!

Curse or Blessing?

Props up Mid-Eastern Petrostates? Yes!

Accelerates the move toward more responsible transit options? Yes!

Amtrak announces record ridership of 28.7 million for fiscal year to continue resurgence.

And don't look now, but falling prices (due to lower consumption) are pulling the rug out from under some folks in the Middle East.

Iran Vendors Protest Move to Collect a Sales Tax

OPEC anxiety on the rise as oil prices drop

Iran's Fear of Low Oil Prices

Do the patriotic thing, stop funding the bad guys, and take the train.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Kerrier District

The fantastic 2004 eponymous album by Kerrier District has been re-released. I didn't sleep on it this time. Robotuss is not on this particular album, but check out the bedroom dancing anyway. If you've never done this, you're missing out.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Clothes Line Nation

Over the summer I spent some time trying to figure out how to convince my landlord to adopt some renewable-energy technologies. I'm still working on it, but in the meantime, I think I've made a big step in the conservation department, and I'm a bit embarrassed that I didn't think of it earlier.

I made my own line with some nylon rope and two keychain carabiners. I didn't cut the rope, so I can change the length if I need to adjust to another location, and the carabiners allow me to take it down, as well as hang it inside if I want (which I do if I leave the apartment before my clothes are dry)

Project Laundry List gives these reasons for line-drying:

10) Save money (more than $100/year off electric bill for most households). FN1

9) Conserve energy and the environment. FN2

8) Clothes and sheets smell better without adding possibly toxic chemicals to your body and the environment. FN3

7) Clothes last longer. Where do you think lint comes from? FN4

6) It is physical activity which you can do in or outside. FN5

5) Sunlight bleaches and disinfects. FN6

4) Indoor racks can humidify in dry winter weather. FN7

3) Clothes dryer fires account for about 15,600 structure fires, 15 deaths, and 400 injuries annually. The yearly national fire loss for clothes dryer fires in structures is estimated at $99 million. FN8

2) An outdoor experience that is meditative. FN9

1) Demonstrates that small steps can make a difference. You don't have to wait for the government to take action. FN10

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Apple Cider Century

My bike mounted camera! Higher quality version can be seen at you tube. You know how to do it, right? Music: "Sometimes" by Kid 606.

Funk Dat

Just cuz.