Graceful Danish bicycle bridges

Canal Bridges in Copenhagen - Source: copenhagenize.com

Canal Bridges in Copenhagen – Source: copenhagenize.com

Above and below are both photographs and/or artist’s renderings of some of the graceful and stylish bicycle bridges that can be found in Denmark. While these bridges may not have the dynamic boldness of those posted previously from the Netherlands, they are sleek, artistic, handsome, and functional in their own right. Particularly likable is the way these bridges fit aesthetically into their surroundings without being overpowering. Enjoy!

Brygge Bridge in Copenhagen - Source: kimbach.org

Brygge Bridge in Copenhagen – Source: kimbach.org

20110930_120352_Bro_over_Inderhaven_2_1200x695-1

Inderhavns (retractable) Bridge in Copenhagen – Source: dak.dk

Abuen Bridge in copenhagen - Source: demotix.com

Abuen Bridge in Copenhagen – Source: demotix.com

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Cable-stayed bridge under development in Odense – Source: cycling-embassy.dk

woven_bridge_copenhagen_m270312_1

Woven Bridge in Copenhagen – Source mlrp.dk

 

A cut above – Detroit’s Dequindre Cut

Source: smithgroupjjr.com

Source: smithgroupjjr.com

For those out there that think Detroit’s a lost cause, the magnificent Dequindre Cut Greenway is an example of why you are wrong. Constructed along an abandoned below-grade rail corridor, the 1.35 mile greenway links some of Detroit’s coolest features – including the scenic 2.5 mile long RiverWalk, the vibrant Eastern Market, and the trendy Villages. Combine those with a world-class greenway for cyclists and pedestrians and some seriously hip graffiti artwork and you have the recipe for a Midwestern version of New York City’s High Line or Atlanta’s Belt Line.

Source: streetsblog.org

Source: streetsblog.org

Kudos to all those individuals and organizations involved in making the Dequindre Cut a post-industrial success story that truly is “a cut above” most other nonmotorized trails.

Source: freep.com

Source: freep.com

 

 

Eleven planning lessons from Boston/Cambridge

Dowtown Boston

Downtown Boston from Cambridge

I had the opportunity to visit Boston and Cambridge, Massachusetts in mid-March. Here is a list of eleven planning-related lessons I took away from visiting these two dynamic cities.

  • Preserve, protect and celebrate your community’s history.
  • A varied blend of historic structures and new edifices is visually intoxicating.
  • Savor and build upon the benefits derived from being home to institutions of higher education.
  • Cultural diversity and inclusiveness makes a community much more vibrant.
  • Accessible mass transit and bike sharing systems are wonderful things.
  • Denser urban development can be softened by rich and varied public spaces.
  • The removal of an ugly freeway can reawaken once forlorn areas.
  • The heart of the city can be a great place to raise a family.
  • Pedestrians, bicyclists, transit, and cars can successfully and safely coexist.
  • A thriving city requires thriving neighborhoods – you cannot have one without the other.
  • A compact and walkable urban core is far more preferable to a sprawling mess.

The poetry of a spring bike commute

Spring Morning Commute

By Rick Brown

 

Wheels spin round and round

Traversing the paved terrain

They roll in cadent unison

Along the paved bike lane

 

Fresh air breezes past me

As fragrances abound

Spring charms once dulled senses

As my wheels spin round and round

 

Songbirds serenade me

With their musical delights

A cavalcade of sweet tunes

To start the day off right

 

One pedal before the next

While shifting gears in time

In constant, subtle harmony

A soothing, recurrent rhyme

 

Away from the congestion

Through canopies of bliss

My wheels roll ever onward

Cloaked in the morning mist

 

Freed from harried schedules

As the wheels spin on and on

To enjoy keepsake moments

Amid the day-breaking dawn.

2014

Saying goodbye to a dear show

Source: collider.com

Source: collider.com

Tonight, the final episode of How I Met Your Mother (HIMYM) will be broadcast on CBS. HIMYM is a wonderful series that explores the lives and loves of five close friends. It is centered around Ted Mosby and the tale of how he met the future mother of his children. While a comedy, HIMYM routinely touches your heart in ways that few shows can and do. M*A*S*H could. Cheers could. Friends could. Big Bang Theory sometimes does. Modern Family does. And Suburgatory does.

HIMYM is also one of those television shows that grows on you. For the first five seasons, I didn’t even watch it. It was the reruns on local channels that introduced me to the softer and special side of this series – the part never shown in the highlights – the part that not only touches your heart, but carries it away.

Another unique aspect about the show is its appeal to all ages. While enjoying a pizza lunch yesterday, Kathy and I, as well as four of our children ages 19-24 who were with us, agreed that HIMYM is a special show and that we look forward to watching the finale episode airing tonight.

Were there silly episodes? Of course. Were there dumb episodes? Of course. Were there episodes that hit it out of the ballpark? Absolutely! And those are the episodes that will be the ones that everyone remembers and talks about for years to come. This season, there have been numerous keepsake episodes that we will all remember – Thank you to the cast and crew of How I Met Your Mother for years of happy memories.

“The Grand Budapest Hotel” is a cinematic treat

Source: indiewire.com

Source: indiewire.com

We went to see acclaimed film, The Grand Budapest Hotel last night. Unique and eccentric hardly come close to describing the movie, but it appears everyone associated with the motion picture must have had a blast during filming and production. Throughout the movie there are offbeat moments (like a phone booth in the middle of a pasture) and Mel Brooks-like silly, deadpan jokes that tickle your funny bone, while the cinematic style, a la Edward Scissorhands or Beetlejuice, keeps you visually entertained like few movies can or have. Oh, by the way, the story is rather interesting too, though I have to admit it ended a tad abruptly for my tastes.

The cast is filled with featured stars and cameo appearances of a who’s who from Hollywood. Part of the fun is discerning the guest appearances behind those 1930s Eastern European themed make-up and wardrobes. Ralph Fiennes and Tony Revolori are both excellent as Gustave and Zero, while it was terrific to see Jeff Goldblum again.

Part of the fun of The Grand Budapest Hotel is that it is film style you rarely see anymore except perhaps at film festivals or at an art theater. If for no other reason, go see the movie to experience the film’s “atmosphere.” I think you will come away appreciating its artistic and cinamatic qualities as much as I did.

A word of caution. The R rating is deserved and there are several scenes not appropriate for youngsters…or the squeamish.

Why Americans drive and the Dutch bike

Source: csmonitor.com

Source: csmonitor.com

I am in midst of reading the illuminating and intriguing book entitled In The City of Bikes: The Story of the Amsterdam Bicyclist by author Pete Jordan. If you ever wanted to know the bicycling history of this great European city, Mr. Jordan’s exceptional book is a great place to do it.

Amid the myriad of fun and interesting cycling stories, Mr. Jordan includes a textbook analysis of the fourteen social, cultural, economic, historic, geographic, and demographic differences that led the United States to become a nation overrun with cars, while the Netherlands became Earth’s royal domain of bicycles. In the interest of brevity, the reasons are listed in the order presented in pages 100 through 113 the book, but the author’s detailed explanation for each is not included. Some are self-explanatory. If a reason can be summarized succinctly, it is provided. Otherwise, the list below gives you a reason to go buy it or check out the book from you library. I hope you find his identified differences in our two cultures as interesting as I did.

The difference in the price of a car.  [Mass production in the United States while the Netherlands imports nearly all motor vehicles.]

The difference in access to easy credit.

The difference in the price of gasoline. [Historically, the price of gas on average is three times higher in the Netherlands, partially due to a lack of home-grown resources.]

The difference in the availability of parking.

The difference in the need for a chauffeur.

The difference in the amount of physical space – and how that physical space is regarded.

The difference in how distances were regarded.

The difference in urban street widths.

The difference in the physical size of urban areas.

The difference in the pace of traffic (and of life).

The difference in the necessity of a car.

The difference in traffic safety.

The difference in perspectives on bike riding and car owning.

The difference between spendthrifts and cheapskates. [Being frugal is not the same as being cheap.]

USA’s most exciting mid-sized cities

Below is a list created by the Movoto Real Estate Blog of its top ten most exciting mid-

Source: blogworld.com

Source: blogworld.com

sized cities (120,000 to 210,000 people) in the United States:

  1. Providence, RI
  2. Charleston, SC
  3. Fort Collins, CO
  4. Eugene, OR
  5. Syracuse, NY
  6. New Haven, CT
  7. Fort Lauderdale, FL
  8. Pasadena, CA
  9. Grand Rapids, MI
  10. Salt Lake City, UT

(Pasadena and Grand Rapids tied for eighth place)

A total of 117 cities fell into Movoto’s population range as being considered mid-sized. Then, the following six criteria were used to determine the top ten most exciting ones.

Nightlife per capita (bars, clubs, comedy, etc.)

Live music venues per capita

Active life options per capita (parks, outdoor activities, etc.)

Fast Food restaurants per capita (the fewer the better)

Percentage of restaurants that are fast food (the lower the better)

Percentage of young residents ages 20 to 34 (the higher the better)

To this urban planner, the criteria is missing a key element that I believe would lend itself  to creating a more accurate calculation — a vibrant and diverse multicultural population is critical to a city being exciting. The music, artistic, and cuisine options grow exponentially as new cultures are introduced. While the fact that they didn’t include that factor does not diminish the interesting aspects of their list, it would have made it a more inclusive study.

Art and architecture of Boston/Cambridge

Here are a few photos of art and architecture from our weekend trip to Boston and Cambridge. Enjoy!

IMG_1798

Stata Center by Frank Gehry

Arthur Fielder

Arthur Fielder

At the Boston Pops stage

At the Boston Pops stage – photo by Kathy

Downtown Boston in the distance

Downtown Boston in the distance

Make Room for Ducklings - photo by Kathy

Make Room for Ducklings – photo by Kathy

Cigar store dude

Cigar store dude

Photo by Kathy

Photo by Kathy

General Patton surveying the scene

General Patton surveying the scene

Which way do we go?

Which way do we go?

Twilight ride of Paul Revere

Twilight ride of Paul Revere

A hilarious evening of improv.

A hilarious evening of improv.

Charlestown street

Charlestown streetscene

Incredible Dutch bicycling bridges

De Oversteek in Nijmegen - Source: urbancommuter.wordpress.com

De Oversteek in Nijmegen – Source: urbancommuter.wordpress.com

Above and below are a series of images of a few of the most spectacular and inspiring bicycle bridges you will ever see on this planet. All of them are located or proposed in the Netherlands – home of windmills, of canals, of tulips, and of two-wheeled pedal-powered transport. The Dutch bicycle culture is legendary and these artistic spans only add to that well-earned acclaim. I hope you enjoy viewing these engineering wonders as much as I do.

Nesciobrug in Amsterdam - Source:

Nesciobrug in Amsterdam – Source: bicycledutch.wordpress.com

Source:

Melkwegbridge – Source: laughingsquid.com

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Groningen Bicycle Bridge – Source: treehugger.com

The Hovenring in Eindhoven - Source: gizmodo.com

The Hovenring in Eindhoven – Source: gizmodo.com

The Twist in  - Source:

“The Twist” in Vlaardingen – Source: 24oranges.nl

Fietsbrug ‘t Groentje in Nijmegen - Source: urbancommuter.wordpress.com

Fietsbrug ‘t Groentje in Nijmegen – Source: urbancommuter.wordpress.com

Proposed mixed use bridge in Amsterdam - Source:

Proposed mixed use bridge in Amsterdam – Source: evolo.us

enschede-cycle-bridge2

Rendering of the completed Enschede Cycle Bridge – Source: bicycledutch.wordpress.com