Beware of the weekend sign gremlins

Even notice how a plethora of yard signs suddenly pop-up like dandelions at street intersections on Friday evenings, only to disappear by Monday morning? Those are the result of gremlins putting up signs when they know full well that building or zoning enforcement offices are closed over weekends.

Source: everywheresignsusa.com

Source: everywheresignsusa.com

The same often holds true for portable signs, a-frame signs, banners, flags, streamers, and other sorts of gaudy advertising. Fortunately, when Monday morning rolls around these signs have slithered back into the dark recesses, only for the whole process to repeat itself the following Friday.

Unfortunately, while they are in place, these often illegal signs are quite unsightly and can be a danger to visibility at intersections if improper placed or over-sized.

Short of having enforcement officers working overtime on weekends, policing such activities isn’t an easy task. Perhaps a good civics lesson is one option, but it is doubtful that will have a major impact in the long haul. The legal process may have a far greater impact, if those injured in accidents as a result of visibility constraints from these illegal signs were to take the gremlins and/or the firms who advertise on the signs to court. Not the most efficient way to regulate bad behavior, when all it may lead to is the signs being moved away from street corners.

Any other ideas/suggestions on how to handle the weekend sign gremlins would be welcome.

Utility infrastructure does not have to be ugly

This electrical substation in suburban Chicago (Elk Grove Village) is an excellent example of how, with a little effort, utility infrastructure can be designed to be aesthetically pleasing and blend well with its surroundings. Well done!

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What’s not to like???

A great editorial cartoon found on Facebook. It makes that obvious point that even if climate change is somehow an incorrect thesis, making the world a better place for all of us is still a great benefit to humanity, the environment, and Mother Earth. What’s not to like about that?

Source: facebook.com

Source: Joel Pett/USA Today via facebook.com

Going sky-high and energy wise in Jakarta

Source: asce.org

Source: asce.org

The impressive 99 story Pertamina Tower in Jakarta, Indonesia will not only be super tall at 530 meters (or 1,744 feet) when it is completed in 2020, but it is designed to be a net-zero energy user. Wind turbines in the V-shaped pistachio-shaped void between the building facades at the top quarter of the tower will supply energy to the skyscraper.

 

 

 

 

The dark side of bright lights

Fascinating and useful data on the effects of light pollution on the environment is provided in this poster. Is your city one of the top 10 brightest cities in the world? In this particular case, “brightest” is definitely NOT a synonym for “smart.”

Great seaports from space – Atlantic Coast

Baltimore, Maryland

Baltimore, Maryland – Source: tysc.com

Boston, Massachusetts - Source: en.wikipedia.org

Boston, Massachusetts – Source: en.wikipedia.org

Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada - Source:

Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada – Source: tours-tv.com

Hampton Roads, Virginia - Source:

Hampton Roads, Virginia – Source: en.wikipedia.org

Newark, New Jersey - Source:

Newark, New Jersey – Source: aerialarchives.com

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania - Source:

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania – Source: freerepublic.com

How federal surface transportation funding should be allocated

While my preference would be for 0% go to new roads/bridges the pragmatist in me realizes this breakdown is slightly more plausible, albeit from a bicycling advocates viewpoint. :)

  • Mass transit (bus, BRT, light rail, commuter rail) = 20%
  • Intercity rail/bus = 20%
  • Non-motorized (bicycling and walking) = 20%
  • Road and bridge repair and maintenance = 30%
  • New roads or bridges = 10%

States that most (or least) like bikes

Source: bikeleague.org/content/ranking

Source: bikeleague.org/content/ranking

The lists (above and below) show the League of American Bicyclist’s 2014 state rankings for bike friendliness. Congrats to those states that made the top 10, which are shown in bold. Those states ranked near, but not in the top 10 have something to aspire to, while those in the in positions 26 through 50 have their work cut out for them.

You can review each state’s 2014 report card on the League’s website.

1. Washington

2. Minnesota

3. Wisconsin

4. Delaware

5. Oregon

6. Colorado

7. Maryland

8. Utah

9. California

10. Massachusetts

11. Illinois

12. New Jersey

13. Maine

14. Michigan

15. Arizona

16. Ohio

17. Vermont

18. Virginia

19. Pennsylvania

20. Idaho

21. Connecticut

22. Tennessee

23. North Carolina

24. New Hampshire

25. Iowa

26. Georgia

27. Rhode Island

28. Florida

29. New York

30. Nevada

31. Mississippi

32. Louisiana

33. Texas

34. Missouri

35. North Dakota

36. Wyoming

37. Indiana

38. Arkansas

39. South Dakota

40. Hawaii

41. New Mexico

42. Oklahoma

43. Alaska

44. West Virginia

45. Nebraska

46. Kansas

47. South Carolina

48. Kentucky

49. Montana

50. Alabama

Here’s a link to a fascinating chart that shows ranking for each years since 2008.

Celebrate the “love of bicycling” in May

Source: bikeleague.org

Source: bikeleague.org

There are many bicycling events coming up in the Month of May, as it is National Bike Month here in the United States. These include:

In addition, there are many state and local activities each week throughout the month. One of the most important here in Michigan is the Lucinda Means Advocacy Day at the State Capitol on Wednesday, May 21st.

I have personally participated in three of the national events listed above and have found them very rewarding. In particular, the Ride of Silence is one of the most emotional and solemn activities one could ever participate in. We must never forget that May is the time to honor those cyclists who have been killed or injured in accidents with motor vehicles.

If you are an avid cyclist, bicycle commuter, recreational cyclist, cycling advocate, or just like to putz around the neighborhood on your bike, May is the certainly month to celebrate the love of bicycling.

Leading “Tree Campus USA” states

Source: unl.edu

Source: unl.edu

In honour of Arbor Day 2014 (tomorrow, Friday, April 25th), I thought it would be interesting to highlight the Tree Campus USA program conducted by the Arbor Day Foundation. Started in 2008 and similar to Tree City USA, this program recognizes those collegiate campuses who protect, maintain, and grow their tree infrastructure. The University of Michigan was the first designated Tree Campus in the United States. Six years later, more than 190 schools participate in this worthwhile program.

There are five standards required for being designated a Tree Campus:

  1. Campus Tree Advisory Committee
  2. Campus Tree Care Plan
  3. Campus Tree Program with Dedicated Annual Expenditures
  4. Arbor Day Observance
  5. Service Learning Project

The list below shows the states with at least four college campuses participating in the program. Congratulations to Illinois, New York, Ohio for leading the pack. Sadly, while home to the first university to be designated as a Tree Campus, Michigan only has three participating schools – Calvin College, University of Michigan, and Western Michigan University.

  • Illinois = 14
  • New York = 13
  • Ohio =11
  • Georgia = 9
  • Pennsylvania = 9
  • Texas = 9
  • Florida = 8
  • Indiana = 8
  • California = 7
  • Nebraska = 7
  • Minnesota = 6
  • North Carolina = 6
  • Oklahoma = 6
  • South Carolina = 6
  • Iowa = 5
  • Kentucky =5
  • Louisiana = 5
  • Missouri = 5
  • Colorado = 4
  • Washington = 4
  • Wisconsin = 4

Source: www.arborday.org