Friday, January 28, 2011

Operation Courtyard

I have started a project with the goal of getting one business, the Courtyard Marriott, to clear their sidewalk. Today is my second day calling in the request. No progress so far.

So, Operation Courtyard unplowed sidewalk counter: Day 2

If we can figure out how to get one business to clear their sidewalk, perhaps one day they will all fulfill their civic duty.

Update: And by the end of day 2, it was done! Who's next?

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

More good work from Parks & Rec

A crew at work this morning on the path by Oyster Shell Park
Another snowstorm and another chance for Parks & Rec to be on top of their game, plowing the path under the I-95 by Oyster Shell Park. As a vital link for pedestrians and cyclists, the path serves a transportation as well as recreational role. Keeping the path clear demonstrates that it is important for people without cars to be able to get around too.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Parks & Rec clears a vital path

The path by Oyster Shell Park is an essential link for cyclists and pedestrians.

A kudos is due to DPW the Parks & Rec Department. The path from North Water Street to Crescent Street near Oyster Shell Park has been plowed. This is an essential connection for cyclists and pedestrians. It is used by many of the people who bicycle to South Norwalk train station and by the 42% of South Norwalk residents that commute without a car.*

Credit also goes to The Daily Norwalk for highlighting the issue. With a new snow dump expected tonight, I hope DPW Parks & Rec will continue its efforts to keep all residents mobile, including those who aren't driving.

* From American Community Survey data, 2005-2009, for census tract 441 block group 1.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

What's the worst thing about cars?

What drives you crazy about cars? They have such an imposing role on our community and lifestyle, it's easy to come up with a diverse list of their negative impacts. Yet we all measure those impacts differently.

Here are a few of the effects cars have on our lives.
  • Urban form (big "traffic sewer" roads, ugly parking lots, strip malls)
    • This is my biggest issue with cars. Instead of developing our retail in appealing walkable city centers, we spread it out over miles of lifeless parking-lot-centric development. Whenever we try to develop more interesting city centers, the cry goes up, "Not enough parking!"
    • Environmental impacts (global warming, asthma)
      • For many environmentalists, this is the major cause of automobile-induced consternation. It tends to be less of a focus of livable streets advocates, as evidenced in the lack of enthusiasm for electric cars.
      • A future of low-emissions vehicles may help reduce global warming, but will continue to promote sprawl and congestion.
    • Quality-of-life impacts
      • Congestion-induced stress is a daily feature of many car-centered lives. For the average motorist, this is the likely the most bothersome aspect of cars.
      • Cars enable a sedentary lifestyle and reduce our human-to-human contact.
      • There is a strong correlation between driving and obesity.
    • Safety
      • Every year, 45,000 people die in car crashes and 2.4 million are injured in the US. Our willingness to trade safety for mobility is amazing.
      • The cost is born disproportionately by pedestrians and cyclists, who suffer all of the danger but get none of the mobility.
    The front ends of two cars smashed together

    Which impact is most important to you?