Hey, Kohl’s – how about a bike rack?

unnamedRode my new Trek Allant to the local Kohl’s store this morning. I ended up parking and locking it inside the vestibule, as there are no bike racks and not even any signs near the entrance to park my bike safely. Of course they have cigarette disposal units near each entrance for the unhealthy set, and they kept broadcasting how green and environmentally conscious they are on their intercom system, but not a single bike rack to be found. Only acres of asphalt and concrete.

I have been trying to persuade the store to add bike racks ever since it opened approximately 8-10 years ago.  I have spoken to staff, written emails, and left customer comment cards – so far without any success. This despite the documented evidence showing bicycling is good for business.

So here’s my new tactic – broadcasting how much I spent in their store as a bike riding customer in hopes to shame them into action. So Kohl’s – I spent $140.00 at your store this morning – do you think you could afford a bike rack or two now?

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

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Woven Bridge in Copenhagen – Source mlrp.dk

 

PortMiami Tunnel to open in May

Source: youtube.com

Source: youtube.com

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.

Source: portofmiamitunnel.com

Source: portofmiamitunnel.com

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.

Source: gzconsultants.com

Source: gzconsultants.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.

Art and architecture of Boston/Cambridge

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

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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

A new tower to rise in Boston

Below is an artist’s rendering of the new mixed use skyscraper planned for the Back Bay district of Boston. The 58 story, 691 foot triangular-shaped building will contain both condominiums and a hotel, making it the tallest residential building in the city and the city’s third tallest skyscraper overall. City regulators have approved the project and construction should begin soon.

S.F. joining 1,000 foot skyscraper club

Above is an artist’s handsome rendering of the Transbay Tower currently under development in downtown San Francisco. This impressive 61 story, 1,070 foot tall skyscraper will replace the Transamerica Pyramid as the city’s tallest building and add the city by the bay to America’s growing 1,000 foot club when completed in 2015. Upon completion of buildings under development, this exclusive worldwide club will include New York City, Chicago, Atlanta, Houston, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Miami, and San Francisco.

Austria’s tallest building completed

Source: archrecord.construction.com/news/2014/03/140304-First-Look-Dominique-Perraults-DC-Tower-1-in-Vienna.asp and Photo © DC Towers / Michael Nagl

Source: archrecord.construction.com/news/2014/03/140304-First-Look-Dominique-Perraults-DC-Tower-1-in-Vienna.asp and Photo © DC Towers / Michael Nagl

At an impressive 820 feet high and 60 stories, the recently completed Tower 1 in Vienna’s Danube (Donau) City is the tallest building in Austria. Above and below are two images of the new building along the Danube.

Source: archrecord.construction.com/news/2014/03/140304-First-Look-Dominique-Perraults-DC-Tower-1-in-Vienna.asp and Photo © DC Towers / Michael Nagl

Source: archrecord.construction.com/news/2014/03/140304-First-Look-Dominique-Perraults-DC-Tower-1-in-Vienna.asp and Photo © DC Towers / Michael Nagl

“Odessa” – where dreams and nightmares collide

Source: charles-king.net/odessa-genius-a-death.html

Source: charles-king.net/odessa-genius-a-death.html

When I purchased the Kindle e-book Odessa, Genius and Death in a City of Dreams,  I was excited to learn more about the Russian and Ukrainian history pertaining to this famous seaport founded by Catherine the Great. Never did I ever imagine that the dramatic history contained in this fine book by Charles King would become a precursor and essential prerequisite to a better understanding of the tragic events of the past month. As the third largest city in present-day Ukraine, the history of Odessa is a microcosm of that nation’s story – a diverse and sometimes divisive blend of Ottoman, Russian, Greek, Italian, Cossack, Jewish, Orthodox, German, Slavic, Romanian, Soviet, and Ukrainian cultures all rolled into one.

A magnificent seaport city set aside the Black Sea, Odessa is a relatively young city by European standards, but those 220 years are packed with a series of major events that have defined this metropolis. Unfortunately, the unique mix of cultures that set Odessa apart from most of its counterparts in its first century of existence were decimated by a series of nightmarish acts (both internal and external) that have left the city as a hollow shell of its former glory.  Pogroms, epidemics, purges, forced relocation, ethnic cleansing, revolution, warfare, and revisionism have left untold scars upon this once urban beacon of hope, faith, diversity, reluctant acceptance, and economic prosperity.

As strife has yet again returned to the Ukraine, one can only hope and pray that Odessa and the nation as a whole will survive this latest ordeal without undue bloodshed and suffering. Hopefully, this city that once held so much promise as a multicultural beacon can someday return to its rightful position as a leading center of acceptance and shared prosperity. To do otherwise would be a pity and a great loss for humanity as a whole.

Here are selected quotes from this excellent book, some of which are strikingly similar to the ongoing situation there right now:

“Odessa has stood out as a mixed and rambunctious city, an island of difference between sea and steppe, yet a place continually threatened by its own mottled personality.

“From its founding in 1794 all the way to the present, Odessa has struggled to survive somewhere between success and suicide.”

“In the end, Odessa’s experience reveals the creative power as well as the everyday difficulty of being diverse.”

“Visitors don’t arrive in Odessa so much as stumble upon it.”

“But the sea [Black Sea] also offered two things that the Russians in particular desired: ports that were ice-free for most of the winter and potential access to the Mediterranean.”

“Both seaborne and overland commerce made Odessa the centerpiece of an expanding international network that tied the city more to its European counterparts than to the imperial metropolises of St. Petersburg and Moscow.”

“In relatively short order, Odessans became as status conscious as persons in other major cities.”

“A climate of social freedom was readily apparent. Public smoking, fashions that bordered on the scandalous, and public discussion of contentious issues from international affairs to taxes were relatively uncommon privileges in St. Petersburg and Moscow, but they were part of the normal street life in Odessa.”

“Odessa was founded by foreigners in Russian service, and that heritage reproduced itself generation after generation.”

“Odessa’s commercial success lay in its position at the intersection of flatlands and seascape, where the produce of the former could be sent to markets across the latter.”

“The tsar’s secret police began to see the multilingual and cosmopolitan city as a breeding ground for agitators, saboteurs, and terrorists – because in large part it was.”

“Odessa’s civilized core seemed to have withered and blown out to sea.”

“How could a city generally satisfied with its easy cosmopolitanism fall so speedily into communal chaos?

“After the revolution, however, Odessa seemed mainly a place of departure.”

“As a major cultural center, with long-standing times to Western forms of art and music, Odessa was an obvious target for labeling as a den of spies and wreckers.”

“In one of the least-known episodes of the Holocaust, at least 220,000 Jews were killed in or en route to string of ghettos and concentration camps established in portions of Soviet Ukraine and overseen by the Romanian state.”

“Odessa was one f the first four Soviet cities – along with Leningrad, Sevastopol, and Stalingrad – to be awarded the title of Gorod-Geroi, or “hero city.”

“But over the last two centuries, Odessa managed to produce a local culture woven from uneasiness, way of living that may hold lessons about the creative and destructive power of being in-between.”