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Positive developments in transportation, urban planning, design, the environment, the internet and many other vaguely related areas.

Negative developments in transportation, urban planning, design, the environment, the internet and many other vaguely related areas.

 October 26, 2007 


Get on the Bike Bus!

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In Sydney, Australia multiple groups of commuter bicyclists have gotten organized and adopted routes with scheduled stops calling themselves a "bike bus".

The brilliance is the purposeful combination of the age-old tactic of safety in numbers, social interaction, and scheduled stops along the routes to include others in the pack of riders. After about a year of group rides the number of riders in each group or “bus” has significantly grown. Perhaps it can be said that timid riders are encouraged to commute on bicycles when they can cluster with lead riders who provide confident leadership within the flow of car traffic?

MORE...

Posted at 11:00 AM | Please feel free to comment (5)
Category:
Cycling , Society , Transit

 February 14, 2007 


Mainstream Recognition of Groundwater System in Wisconsin

aquifer.jpgPabst Farms is NOT brilliant. It's yet another exurban zone of tacky strip malls and low-grade McMansions. Well, is has a few minor merits - a bit more greenspace than average, for example. But basically it's another tragic waste of prime countryside adjacent to a major urban area - Milwaukee.

What's momentarily brilliant is the fact that the Journal Sentinel thankfully had the foresight to publish this article outlining the likely effects on groundwater if several hundred acres in the area are paved. Basically it will wreck the already strained and radium tainted well water for a great deal of Waukesha County. Kudos for making some effort to get the public to start connecting the dots and understanding how systems work.

Now back to pessimism mode. Given the local myopia (Although Milwaukee is reasonably thoughtful, its western suburbs are anything but) I doubt anything will change. What's worse is that after wrecking their own aquifer the suburbs will likely go after Lake Michigan. C'est la vie.

Posted at 09:30 AM | Please feel free to comment (2)
Category:
Environment

 October 04, 2006 


The Tulsa Channels

thechannels.gifTake a look at this. I don't know anything about Tulsa, but this is one of the most well thought out urban renewal ideas I've seen in a while and to see it coming out of the bible belt is particularily impressive and encouraging. Who knows if it will actually get built, but the fact that it's gotten as much attention as it has is proof that a few good minds and a decent website can go a long way!

Posted at 12:01 AM | Please feel free to comment (8)
Category:
Urban Planning

 September 28, 2006 


Google Transit

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There's little I can say about this other than it's awesome. A welcome maship from google.

Posted at 10:12 AM | Please feel free to comment (3)
Category:
Transit

 September 16, 2006 


Boston Sidewalks May go All-Rubber

boston.jpgRubber Sidewalks seem to be taking off. The city of Boston may start requiring them - article here. That's a pretty bold step for something relatively unproven, but will be very useful for other cities to watch and represents the perfect marriage between utility and environmental responsibility - the sidewalks should save the city a fortune, and they represent a way to recycle used tires and other detritous.

Posted at 01:24 PM | Please feel free to comment (2)
Category:
Urban Planning

 July 26, 2006 


Rubber Sidewalks

rubber_side.jpgThis article's gotten a lot of play and it sound's like a truly brilliant idea: Make sidewalks out of recycled tires - it's cheap, they apparantly last longer, they are easier on the feet, they don't have freeze/thaw issues in the winter and to top it off they bend around trees and roots so you don't have to prune as much. I'm ready for 'em now! (Full Article Here)

Posted at 10:41 PM | Please feel free to comment (1)
Category:
Urban Planning

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 November 18, 2007 


Alaska Airlines Useless Apology Cards

ak-airlines.jpgI normally like Alaska Airlines. They're generally very nice, and in the case of a major delay (during which we had to turn around and return to the airport of departure) they were polite and professional. No big deal. To make matters nicer, the airline offered a $25 discount on any future Alaska flight. That's nice. Here's the problem - in order to receive the $25 discount, you have to physically take a piece of paper to either an Alaska Airlines ticket counter or to a travel agent in order to purchase your ticket. Yes, in the year 2007 Alaska Airlines actually expects you to buy a ticket, in person, from someone behind a desk. Either that or they have DELIBERATELY imposed this rule to reduce the number of people actually redeeming the discount.

If everyone on the 737 I was on redeemed the discount, I figure that would cost the airline about $3000. I'd guess only half the people will actually remember they have the discount and with the "ticket agent" restriction in place, I'd say, about zero will actually redeem it. Nice going guys, way to be tricky.

Posted at 09:15 AM | Please feel free to comment (0)
Category:
Aviation

 November 14, 2007 


Toms Toothpaste Interpreted as a Threat

tomstoothpaste.jpgI know I'm not the first person who's complained about these things, but my respect for TSA security is so low I could scream. Twice recently I've had these idiots rummage through my bag in search of liquids and when nothing is found have had things randomly taken or bizarre demands made. Just now, my toothpaste was taken because it was, apparantly, over their 3-point-whatever limit even though the toothpaste tube has gone through the x-ray at least 8 times since I got it. Screw you, you stinking jerks. You owe me $5 and a written appology. A few days earlier the exact same bag of toiletries was rummaged through, including the toothpaste, which was not taken. That time, I was scolded for not having the correct sized clear plastic baggy, and given a new plastic baggy. How in the name of god does the size of the pastic baggy impact anything?

My respect for TSA = Zero. You are doing nothing but harrassing people and commiting crimes against decency and intelligence.

Posted at 04:40 PM | Please feel free to comment (1)
Category:
Aviation

 April 09, 2007 


Google Maps Useless WhiteSpace

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I really love Google Maps. There's one problem with it though. When you search for something and get a typo, you typically get a left-hand sidebar with suggestions about what you might have done wrong. This is vaguely useful, but usually I just want to re-type in what I'm looking for and get on with life. The sidebar takes up a huge amount of space and there is no "X" to get rid of it. The only way to remove it is to perform a successful search.

But now the problem is 100x worse. Now this useless sidebar appears all the time. And there does not appear to be any way to get rid of it. If you have a small screen, or just appreciate a full screen map like me, then you are continually offended by the presence of this un-close-able sidebar. Please, Google, give it a close button!!!

Posted at 10:32 AM | Please feel free to comment (8)
Category:
Internet

 January 30, 2007 


JetBlue's Expiring Miles

jetblue.jpgJetBlue is a wonderful airline - they are hip, polite, and have cool features like live TV on the flight. However, their frequent flyer program, true blue, is a failure. Why? Because miles expire after one year. As a result, I have (on two occasions) paid slightly more to fly on a different airline knowing that my miles might actually be useful some day.

I suppose if I lived in New York I might fly JetBlue enough to earn something within a year, but it seems to me that JetBlue is losing business by having such a draconian policy. A *two year* policy, such as the one Southwest offers is immensely better!

Posted at 01:52 PM | Please feel free to comment (1)
Category:
Aviation

 January 21, 2007 


Airbus' Immobile Armrests

afa340.jpgI never wanted to get into this battle, but I have to throw it in - Boeing's large jets are superior to those of Airbus, at least the Air France variety. Why? One and only one reason - the central armrests on both the A330 and the A340 are immobile. That means that if you get the entire middle row (a rare luxury on an intercontinental flight) you are no better off than if you only had 2 seats to yoursellf in one of the outer rows. It is impossible to lie down on only two seats. Horrible!

Posted at 09:49 PM | Please feel free to comment (2)
Category:
Aviation

 September 20, 2006 


Assinine Software you Have no Choice but to Install

sec_epson.gifA USB device is suppose to connect intelligently to your computer without any hassel. Not printers. If the even come with a USB cord (some printers actually make you buy this separately), you inevitable have to install an entire CD worth of god awful software which clugs up your machine to no end. Desktop icons, system try icons, strange dialogue boxes that always try to sell you more ink. Default settings that use as much ink as possible, and worse, if you happen to lose the idoitic CD, then it's an unreal process to find the right drivers online and get it working. Argh.

Posted at 02:44 PM | Please feel free to comment (1)
Category:
Internet

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