The discount department stores listed below represent memories of the golden age of sprawl (if there is such a thing as a golden age for sprawl). Many of these were local and/or regional chains that grew out of a full-line department store in order to compete with the national discounters. For example, in my hometown of Indianapolis, Ayr-Way was started by L.S. Ayres. They eventually had stores all over Indiana and much of Kentucky.
Personally, I recall many trips with my parents to the Ayr-Way stores in Nora or Augusta, which are both on the far northside of Indianapolis. These two stores, as with the entire Ayr-Way chain, were later absorbed and converted into Target. Due to heavy competition from Walmart, Target, and Meijer, many of these chains are long gone and the only reminder are sad, shuttered/abandoned units along an old commercial highway. Others are now occupied by flea markets or second-hand stores.
See how many you many of these stores you remember and please feel free to forward any others that I might have missed. The list does NOT include five and dime stores like Ben Franklin, McCrory, G.C. Murphy, Kresge, Kress, or Woolworth, as those were a different retail niche, though some of those chains did start successful discount department stores like Kmart, Murphy Mart and Woolco.
Here’s the list with links to their history and the year they were closed or taken over. The ones I have shopped at are shown in italics.
One of my favorite bicycle advocacy catch phrases is “One less car!” In celebration of this worthy and sustainable effort, Kathy and I spent yesterday (Saturday) accomplishing all our errands on our bicycles. Between us, we totaled more than 27 miles of travel on our bicycles, riding to places like the florist, Kohl’s, the bank, my apartment, her house, Douglas J, the Trek store, and other businesses in the area.
All in all, it was a very rewarding experience that we intend to duplicate over and over again, thus removing our two cars from the local roadways on those days where we ride about town instead of driving. Combined with our regular bike commuting to/from work, we are hoping to eventually limit our car usage solely to longer trips, inclement weather (particularly in winter) or travel-related purposes.
Considering 50 percent of all trips are three miles or less in length, just imagine the positive impacts that could occur if each and every one of us dedicated just one day per week or one day per month to run all our errands by bicycle…or by transit…or by foot. Such an act would lower our individual and collective carbon footprint, improve our health, reduce congestion, demonstrate sustainability to others, and serve as a positive reminder that not all transportation must be done by the almighty automobile. Will you join us?
Here are some great satellite images from Honolulu, Hawaii; Long Beach, California; Los Angeles, California; Mazatlan, Mexico, Oakland California; Tacoma, Washington; and Vancouver, British Columbia. Enjoy!
Honolulu and Pearl Harbor, HA – Source: commons.wikimedia.org
Long Beach, CA – Source: en.wikipedia.org
Los Angeles, CA – Source: en.wikipedia.org
Mazatlan, Mexico – Source: mazatlantoday.com
Oakland, CA – Source: unknown
Tacoma, WA – Source: aeerialarchives.com
Vancouver, BC – Source: urbanlifesigns.blogspot.com
Among my many ponderings about cycling and bike commuting, one topic that bugs me on a semi-annual basis is why I am not eligible to get a lower auto insurance rate for commuting to/from work so often by bicycle? In calendar year 2013, I bike commuted 73 times to work or 33% of the time, while in 2012 my bike commutes accounted for 40% (or 87) of my work commutes. Given the greatly reduced time, mileage, and wear/tear on the car as a result of bicycling to and from work, why don’t I qualify for some sort of discount from my auto insurer? Yes, I have asked them in the past.
The same holds true for health insurance. Shouldn’t those of us who practice a healthier lifestyle be rewarded with lower rates or some sort of discount? It would be one thing to only ride now and then to work, but when it equates to 20 percent or more of your total commutes, there should be an “x” factor built into the actuarial tables which rewards those who cycle to and fro. Granted, some type of substantive proof would be necessary, but a notarized document from an employer could suffice. The HR Department where I work certainly is aware of my bike commuting.
It seems to me, if there were a 5% or 10% discount on auto insurance rates for being a consistent bike commuter, overall ridership and safety produced from the corresponding increase in cyclists would be beneficial to all. Growth in ridership would also contribute to improved health and fitness in the community, which should drive down health care expenditures, which should (in a perfect world) lead to lower health insurance rates.
There may be some examples of discounts already being offered here and there around the country, but it is hardly universal and certainly is not marketed extensively like good driver, good student, multi-policy, and other available discounts. To me, it is long past time for the insurance industry to shift gears and start pedaling some innovative and new ideas for those of us in the cycling community. If it does not embrace such an approach, then perhaps state regulators should consider requiring such an option be made available.
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
Inderhavns (retractable) Bridge in Copenhagen – Source: dak.dk
Abuen Bridge in Copenhagen – Source: demotix.com
Cable-stayed bridge under development in Odense – Source: cycling-embassy.dk
Woven Bridge in Copenhagen – Source mlrp.dk
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.
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.
The twin-tube 4,200 foot long PortMiami Tunnel is scheduled to open to traffic in May of 2014. Under construction since 2010, the $1 billion public-private partnership project will extend Interstate 395 under the Government Cut shipping channel separating Watson Island and Dodge Island thus linking the Port of Miami (a.k.a. PortMiami) with the city’s mainland highway network.
The highway tunnel is designed to provide a continuous fixed link (rather than a drawbridge) which allows port related traffic, including heavy truck traffic and cruise-related traffic, to avoid clogging downtown Miami streets. In 2013, Miami saw more than four million passengers pass through its cruise ship terminals, which makes it the busiest cruise port in the world.
Some of the best seaport images yet, come from East Asia. Enjoy!
Incheon, South Korea – Source: ark.co.kr
Kaohsiung, Taiwan – Source: reocities.com
Kobe, Japan – Source: eorc.jaxa.jp
Tainjin, China – Source: chinadaily.com.cn
Tokyo, Japan (great view of Haneda International Airport too) – Source: eoearth.org
Vladivostok, Russia – Source: earthobservatory.nasa.gov
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.