The Great ‘Reverse’ Migration May Be Disastrous for Many Northern Cities and States

Between 1916 and 1970, more than six million African-Americans migrated northward to work in factories and live in cities across the Northeast and Midwest. Today, there is mounting evidence that this great migration has reversed itself, as those who can afford to are moving back south in greater and greater numbers.
While some of the reasons for this reversal can be attributed to better job opportunities, retirements, and preferences to be closer to relatives, sadly a fourth and ironic factor has to be considered – the abundance of segregated cities and increased racism found in those states that once fought to end slavery. This can be seen from both an economic opportunity perspective, as well as from the geography of prejudices being depicted by segregation in urban areas.
The following list clearly shows that the ten best metropolitan areas for African-American job opportunities can all be found south of the Mason-Dixon Line. When employment and advancement opportunities are lacking in the North for African-Americans, then why stay if you don’t have to?

1. Washington, DC and Atlanta, GA

3. Austin, TX

4. Baltimore, MD

5. Raleigh, NC

6. Charlotte, NC

7. San Antonio, TX

8. Houston, TX

9. Miami, FL

10. Richmond, VA

Secondly, the following map depicts the sad state of affairs for social equity and justice in many northern cities, as nine (9) of ten (10) of the most segregated metros in the nation are in the North. Not only is segregation immoral, but devastatingly harmful to the economic well-being of the cities that are being abandoned. Many northern cities/states are literally shooting themselves in the foot by not combating segregation and racism more forcefully.
How and why many locales in the North have turned into such unwelcoming places for African-Americans is not entirely clear, but the results are very evident. Causes could include:
  • More welcoming and inclusive residents have moved elsewhere for retirement and jobs, leaving behind a greater percentage of those who harbor prejudicial feelings.
  • Pent up anger leftover from factory closings, downsizing, job displacement, and economic malaise.
  • Brain drain of the young – semi-related to the first reason.
  • Growth of alt-right media, politics, and hate groups.
  • Prolonged and entrenched resistance to change or new ideas.
  • Lack of exposure to other cultures and ethnic groups, particularly in smaller cities and rural areas.
Regardless of the reasons, states, counties, and municipalities across the Northeast and Midwest need to accelerate their efforts to stem the tide of this migration by addressing gross inequities in policies, laws, justice, economics, and commerce, or face a bleaker and bleaker future. By thwarting opportunities for resident African-Americans, as well as immigrants, stagnation and decline are a likely result in many areas. Communities absolutely need the influx of new blood and new ideas to grow in population and thrive both economically and culturally.
Here are examples of why inclusivity is important beyond the obvious fact that being a friendly and welcoming community is simply the right thing to do:
  • “More than one-third (35.5 percent) of U.S. innovators were born outside the United States, even though this population makes up just 13.5 percent of all U.S. residents.”
  • “Immigrants born in Europe or Asia are more than five times as likely as the average native-born U.S. citizen to have created an innovation in America.”
  • “Other demographic segments have identified Blacks as a driving force for popular culture, with 73% of Whites and 67% of Hispanics who believe Blacks influence mainstream American culture.”
  • “The reverse migration continues as younger, college-educated Black professionals head South. Entrepreneurs have an opportunity to develop a ‘southern strategy’ to connect with the more than 10 million African-Americans in 10 key southern markets.”

It is long past time for the general citizenry, as well as cities and states in the North to wake up and stand up for what is right! Challenge those who promote hatred, bigotry, prejudice, and racism in any form – including politicians…or family and friends. Every person on this planet is equal regardless of race, gender, ethnicity, orientation, or spiritual belief – no ifs, ands, or buts. It is not debatable! Peace.

6/11/18 Update – Today’s Supreme Court decision on a voter roll law from Ohio is an example of the kinds of actions that help spur African-American migration out of Midwest and Northeast.

If the Great Migration is of interest to you, here are visual links to two (2) books on the topic that are available on Amazon.

Posted in Advocacy, cities, civics, Civil Rights, civility, culture, demographics, economic development, economic gardening, Economy, education, entrepreneurship, family, geography, government, history, Housing, humanity, immigration, inclusiveness, planning, politics, poverty, social equity, Statistics, urban planning | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

Ten Planning Lessons From Warsaw, Indiana


Warsaw, Indiana may not be the first place on most folks lists of planning trend setters across the nation, but in most any community one can find both good and bad lessons to learn from. This prosperous city along with adjacent Winona Lake contain of approximately 21,000 residents. Warsaw is the county seat of Kosciusko County, and is situated roughly midway between Fort Wayne and South Bend in the Northeast lakes region of Indiana.


Here’s my list of ten from the “Orthopedic Capital of the World.” They are presented in no particular order of importance.

  • Street trees and landscaping are needed along all sidewalks to make them more pedestrian friendly and welcoming.
  • An historic Carnegie Library can be enlarged tastefully and keeping with the original architecture.
  • Having major corporations headquartered in a smaller city can be a boon to more than the economy, provided they are socially responsible.
  • Warsaw is the smallest city where I’ve seen a bike share program established and operating.
  • When your city is blessed with freshwater lakes, it is critical to make them accessible all residents.
  • Even smaller cities like Warsaw can be an economic powerhouse when the the right entrepreneurial seeds are planted.
  • Smaller cities can suffer from the ill effects of sprawl just like larger ones.
  • Smaller cities need to identify workable and reliable transportation alternatives to single occupant cars, as their downtowns seem particularly susceptible to surface parking craters.
  • Preserve as much of your original historic downtown as possible, for it’s harder and more expensive to re-create.
  • Rural roadways without shoulders may actually be an unexpected traffic calming technique, as the roads feel much narrower.
Posted in bicycling, bike sharing, business, Cars, cities, commerce, Communications, demographics, downtown, economic development, environment, geography, Health care, historic preservation, history, infrastructure, land use, landscape architecture, placemaking, planning, revitalization, spatial design, sprawl, Statistics, technology, tourism, traffic, transportation, urban planning, walking, zoning | Leave a comment

Fishy Town Names

Here’s my working list of cities, towns, and villages that are named after fish, fish related activities, or include some form of fish terminology in their name. Please note that in some instances the place name may not have originally pertained to a fish topic, but just happens to use a term related to fish. The list also includes shellfish such as oysters and clams.

As I am certain this list is not comprehensive, any additions, corrections, or clarifications are most welcome. Enjoy!

  • Agawam (a fishing station), Massachusetts
  • Apopka (bass or trout eating place), Florida
  • Baixo (bass) Guandu. Brazil
  • Bass, Victoria, Australia
  • Bass Harbor, Maine
  • Bass Lake, Wisconsin
  • Bass River, New Brunswick, Canada
  • Bonita Springs, Florida
  • Bullhead, South Dakota
  • Bullhead City, Arizona
  • Camero’n de Tejeda (shrimp of the tiles), Mexico
  • Camarones (shrimp), Chile and Argentina
  • Cape Porpoise, Maine
  • Carp, Minnesota and Nevada
  • Carp Lake, Michigan
  • Catfish Paradise, Arizona
  • Chinook, Montana and Washington
  • Clam Falls, Wisconsin
  • Clam Lake, Wisconsin
  • Clam River, Michigan
  • Cohoes, New York
  • Fish, Georgia
  • Fish Creek, Florida and Wisconsin
  • Fisher, Minnesota
  • Fisher Branch, Manitoba, Canada
  • Fishers, Indiana
  • Fishers Island, New York
  • Fish Haven, Idaho
  • Fishhook, Alaska
  • Fishing River, Manitoba, Canada
  • Fishkill, New York
  • Fish Town, Liberia
  • Gila Bend, Arizona
  • Grayling, Michigan
  • Jack Fish, Ontario, Canada
  • Kaukauna (pike fishing ground), Wisconsin
  • Keego (fish), Ontario, Canada
  • Keego Harbor, Michigan
  • Kegomic (abundance of fish), Michigan
  • Kegonsa (little fish), Wisconsin
  • Kenosha (pike), Wisconsin
  • King Salmon, Alaska
  • Labuan Bajo, Indonesia
  • Lobsterville, Massachusetts
  • Marlin, Texas
  • Maskinonge (Muskellunge), Quebec, Canada
  • Nahma (King of fishes), Michigan
  • North Spearfish, South Dakota
  • Oconto (pike), Wisconsin
  • Olustee (blackfish), Florida
  • Oyster Bay, New York and Alabama
  • Oyster Creek, New Jersey
  • Pikesville, Maryland
  • Piketon, Ohio
  • Pikeville, Kentucky
  • Pompano Beach, Florida
  • Rabo de Peixe (tail of fish), Azores, Portugal
  • Salmon, Idaho
  • Salmon Beach, New Brunswick, Canada
  • Salmon River, Nova Scotia, Canada
  • Salmon Valley, British Columbia, Canada
  • Spearfish, South Dakota
  • Sturgeon, Pennsylvania
  • Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin
  • Sturgeon Falls, Ontario, Canada
  • Sturgeon Lake, Minnesota
  • Sturgeon Point, Ontario, Canada
  • Tarpon Springs, Florida
  • Trout, Louisiana
  • Trout Creek, Michigan and Ontario
  • Troutdale, Oregon
  • Trout Lake, Michigan
  • Tracheas (trout), New Mexico
  • Whitefish, Montana and Ontario
  • Whitefish Bay,Wisconsin
  • Whitefish Falls, Ontario, Canada
  • Whitefish Point, Michigan
  • White Salmon, Washington
  • Whiting, Indiana and Wisconsin

Here’s a visual link to the Peterson Field Guide to Freshwater Fishes.


Posted in Animals, cities, environment, fun, geography, history, Language, nature, place names, Wildlife | Tagged , | Leave a comment

A Tasty Slice of “Tibetan Peach Pie”

Here’s a quick link to an page for this terrific book.

If you want to read a book that will put a smile on your face and have you chuckling throughout, then serve yourself up a hearty and tasty slice of Tibetan Peach Pie by author Tom Robbins.

Subtitled A True Account of an Imaginative Life, Mr. Robbins proceeds to highlight a fascinating collection of zany, poignant, goofy, and bizarre events that have occurred to him in his eight plus decades on planet Earth. I personally drool with envy at the thought of being able to encapsulate things in such descriptive, yet whimsical prose.

My only disappointment is not having read any of his other books before this fun and finely crafted memoir. That being said, they are now definitely on my must read list.

If you need a pick-me-up filled with humor, sarcasm, and wit, check out Tibetan Peach Pie by Tom Robbins. It’ll make your day.  Here are a few fun quotes from this wonderful book:

“Evidently, I’d suffered an epiphany: the subconscious realization that when it comes to coolness, nothing the human race has ever invented is more cool than a book.”

“(I recommend that you make all of your major moves on the first of April. Just in case.)”

“That’s the value of artists, isn’t it? Even when they aren’t aware of it, they’re dreaming our dreams for us.”

“If I have been given any gift in this life, it’s my ability to live simultaneously in the rational world and the world of imagination.” Ain’t that the truth!


Posted in book reviews, books, culture, fun, history, humanity, Language, literature, writing | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments


“Sails Ablaze”

Got to admit that it has been quite a few years since I last visited Muskegon, Michigan. Even though it is my mother’s birthplace, I can only think of two or three trips to the city (not passing by on the highway) in the past 25 years.

Over the holiday weekend we were in Muskegon for a wedding and were very pleased to see the vivid progress made in revitalizing the downtown area and waterfront. Are there remnant signs of urban decline, of course, but there are many more examples of vibrancy and vibe. It’s no wonder that the city won the 2018 Strongest Town Award.

The Shoreline Inn

New condos, public art displays/tours, trendy dining and drinking establishments, adaptive reuse projects, multiuser trails, and entertainment venues are sprouting throughout the heart of the city. It is quite exciting to observe. Beyond downtown, neighborhoods across the city appear to be doing quite well too.

The Lake House

When the city began attracting Great Lakes cruise ships a few years back, I wondered what the attraction might be. Now that I’ve been back to Muskegon, I can see how the city has parlayed the cruise ships, it’s lovely lakeside location, and the high speed Lake Express cross-lake ferry to Milwaukee into a winning strategy.


WATCH mUSkeGOn! is not just a nifty catchphrase, but also an accurate description of the exciting turnaround taking place. Well-done, Muskegon!

Posted in adaptive reuse, architecture, art, cities, Cuisine, culture, downtown, economic development, economic gardening, entertainment, environment, Food, historic preservation, infrastructure, land use, placemaking, planning, recreation, revitalization, skylines, spatial design, third places, tourism, Travel, urban planning, zoning | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Tally of Food Truck Courts, Lots, Parks, and Pods 

Detroit Fleat in Ferndale – Source:

Here’s my working tally of permanent or semi-permanent (seasonal) food truck courts, lots, parks, and pods that are open to the public on most, if not all, days of the week. The list does NOT include temporary rodeos, events, festivals, rallies, nor round-ups.

SOMA StrEAT Food Park in San Francisco – Source:

It is very obvious from the list that such establishments are particularly popular in Texas and on the West Coast. Austin, Texas appears to be the epicenter of food truck parks with 15 in the metropolitan area. Seattle-Tacoma, Dallas-Fort Worth, Columbus, and Portland-Salem, Oregon are popular sites for these gastronomical venues.

Seventh Street Truck Park in St. Paul – Source: pioneer

While researching these, there are a couple of suggestions to draw more visitors:

  • Add/create a website. Too often the venues are solely identified on the internet by facebook pages and story links from other sources.
  • Get more imaginative with naming your venue – just inserting your city name inform of Food Truck Park or Lot is BORING! Liven the name up with some panache. Food truck owners/operators are excellent at coming up with fun, catchy, and memorable names. Personal favorites from the list below are “The Little Fleet,” “Fuel 66,” “Court Louie,” and “The Picnic.”
  • Try to own the physical site, as moving from place to place due to lease and contract issues is tough for the general public and especially visitors to keep track of. It also makes the venue feel like its operating on a shoestring budget and may not be a long-term endeavor – not a good way to make a first impression, particularly if the goal is to eventually open a brick and mortar location.
  • Food trucks and food truck parks are an excellent economic development tool. Communities across the country should be facilitating these venues as part of their economic development toolbox.

Please feel free to forward any additions, corrections, or revisions. Chow!

  • Alder Street Food Cart Pod – Portland, Oregon
  • Art District Food Truck Park – Lubbock, Texas
  • Atlanta Food Truck Park & Market – Atlanta, Georgia
  • Austin Street Truck Stop – Denton, Texas
  • Aztec Food Trailer Park – Austin, Texas
  • Ballard Bites & Brew – Seattle, Washington
  • Baltimore Food Truck Park – Baltimore, Maryland
  • Beehive Station – Salem, Oregon
  • Bellevue Food Truck Pod – Bellevue, Washington
  • Bleu Garten – Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
  • Boardwalk on Elm – Waco, Texas
  • Bushnell Park Food Truck Court – Hartford, Connecticut
  • Brownsville Food Truck Park – Brownsville, Texas
  • Campus Pitt Stop – Columbus, Ohio
  • Charcoal Alley – Jacksonville, Texas
  • Clearfork Food Park – Fort Worth , Texas
  • Columbia Food Park – Vancouver, Washington
  • Columbus Commons – Columbus, Ohio
  • Co-op Food Court – Austin, Texas
  • County Fare – Chapel Hill, North Carolina
  • Court Louie – St. Louis, Missouri
  • Dallas Arts District Food Truck Court – Dallas, Texas
  • Deja Vieux Food Park – New Orleans, Louisiana
  • Denison Food Truck Park – Denison, Texas
  • Delmar Gardens Food Truck Park – Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
  • Des Moines Marina Food Truck Pod – Seattle (Des Moines), Washington
  • Dinin’ Hall – Columbus, Ohio
  • Detroit Fleat – Ferndale, Michigan
  • Downtown Disney Food Truck Park – Anaheim, California
  • East 11th/Rosewood Food Trucks – Austin, Texas
  • East Riverside Food Trucks – Austin Texas
  • East Side Food Trucks – Austin, Texas
  • Food Park – Puerto Vallarta, Mexico
  • Food Truck Bazar -Mexico City, DF, Mexico
  • Food Truck City – Nashville, Tennessee
  • Food Truck Court – Abilene, Texas
  • Food Truck Court – New York City (Manhattan), New York
  • Food Truck Court at Center Park – Chattanooga, Tennessee
  • Food Truck Fiesta – Las Cruces, New Mexico
  • Food Truck-O-Rama – Charleston, South Carolina
  • Food Truck Park – Guadalajara, Mexico
  • Food Truck Pavilion – Shreveport, Louisiana
  • Food Truck Plaza – Wichita, Kansas
  • Food Truck Stop – Little Rock, Arkansas
  • Foodville Food Truck Park – El Paso, Texas
  • Fort Worth Food Park – Fort Worth, Texas
  • Fuel 66 Food Truck Park – Tulsa, Oklahoma
  • Gateway to Go Food Truck Lot – Los Angeles, California
  • Harlingen Food Truck Park – Harlingen, Texas
  • Haywood Street Food Court – Asheville, North Carolina
  • Houston Food Park – Houston, Texas – 2 locations
  • Hub*Streat Food Park – Dallas (Plano), Texas
  • Improper City Food Truck Park – Denver, Colorado
  • Jacksonville Food Truck Court – Jacksonville, Florida
  • Knoxville Food Truck Park – Knoxville, Tennessee
  • Lancaster Food Pod – Salem, Oregon
  • Lone Star Court – Austin, Texas
  • McAllen Food Park – McAllen, Texas
  • Mueller Trailer Eats – Austin, Texas
  • North Block Food Pod – Salem, Oregon
  • North Loop Vegan Trailers – Austin, Texas
  • Omaha Food Truck Park – Omaha, Nebraska
  • Pangea Lounge – Austin, Texas
  • PGH Food Park – Pittsburgh (Millvale), Pennsylvania
  • Pioneer Square Food Cart Lot – Portland, Oregon
  • Rainey Street Food Trucks – Austin Texas
  • Rayback Collective – Boulder, Colorado
  • Richardson Food Truck Park – Richardson, Texas
  • Richmond Food Truck Court – Richmond, Virginia
  • Richmond Food Truck Park – Melbourne (Richmond) Victoria, Australia
  • Rose City Food Park – Portland, Oregon
  • Route 66 Street Food Park – Amarillo, Texas
  • Santa Monica Food Truck Lot – Santa Monica, California
  • Savannah Food Truck Park – Savannah, Georgia
  • Sea-Tac Food Truck Pod – Seattle, Washington
  • Seventh Street Truck Park – St. Paul, Minnesota (indoors)
  • SGF Mobile Food Park – Springfield, Missouri
  • Snow Park Food Pod – Oakland, California
  • SOMA StrEat Food Park – San Francisco, CA
  • South Austin Trailer Park & Eatery – Austin, Texas
  • South Congress Food Trucks – Austin, Texas
  • South End Food Trucks – Boston, Massachusetts
  • South First Street Food Trucks – Austin, Texas
  • Spider House Food Trailers & Village – Austin, Texas
  • Statehouse Market – Indianapolis, Indiana
  • Stompin’ Grounds Food Truck Park – Phenix City, Alabama
  • Street Food Court – Hermosillo, Sonora, Mexico
  • Tacoma Food Truck Pod – Tacoma, Washington
  • Telefonica Gastro Park – Tijuana, Mexico
  • The Back Lot – Mobile, Alabama
  • The Block – San Antonio, Texas
  • The Court Urban Food Park – Jacksonville, Florida
  • The Food Truck Collective – Los Angeles, California
  • The Hub – Virginia Beach, Virginia
  • The Little Fleet – Traverse City, Michigan
  • The Lot – Bend, Oregon
  • The Midway Food Park – Austin, Texas
  • The Park – Corpus Christi, Texas
  • The Park – Redding, California
  • The Point – San Antonio, Texas
  • The Picnic – Austin, Texas
  • The Yard Food Park – Wichita Falls, Texas
  • Thicket Food Park – Austin, Texas
  • Tucson Food Truck Round-up – Tucson, Arizona
  • Three Acres Food Truck Park – Houston (Santa Fe), Texas
  • Trokachula Food Truck Park – San Luis Potosi, Mexico
  • Truck Side Food Truck Court – Halifax (Dartmouth), Nova Scotia
  • Truck Yard – Dallas, Texas
  • Truck Yard – Houston, Texas
  • Wayside Food Park – College Station, Texas
  • Westlake Food Truck Pod – Seattle, Washington
  • 12th & Broadway Food Pod – Oakland, California
  • 3rd Street Food Trucks – Cambridge, Massachusetts
  • 5000 Burnet Food Park – Austin, Texas
  • Beaumont, Texas
  • Bend, Oregon – second lot
  • Birmingham, Alabama
  • Houston, Texas – third location planned
  • Huntsville, Alabama
  • Laredo, Texas
  • Lufkin, Texas
  • Orlando (Milk District), Florida
  • Petoskey, Michigan
  • Toledo, Ohio

To learn more about food trucks, here are several visual links to a books about them.


Posted in books, Cuisine, culture, diversity, economic development, economic gardening, Food, food systems, food trucks, fun, geography, inclusiveness, land use, new urbanism, placemaking, planning, Small business, spatial design, third places, tourism, Travel, urban planning | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

The South Shore Line – Indiana’s Gift to Passenger Rail


We had the honor and thrill of riding the entire length of the South Shore Line round trip between South Bend (Airport Station) and Chicago (Millennium Station) and back over Mother’s Day weekend. Sometimes dubbed as America’s last Interurban, the South Shore Line is an iconic electric railway (opened in 1903) that most cities would drool over having in their midst. It is excellence in regional transportation planning and connectivity personified as 3.5 million passenger ride the SSL annually.

Both trips were full, as numerous Cubs and White Sox fans joined us Saturday morning on their way to the crosstown rivalry game, while weekend revelers, shoppers, and those visiting their mothers rode back to South Bend on Sunday morning. Both trips arrived within 10 minutes of their scheduled times – quite different from the trips I have taken on Amtrak into and out of the Windy City. It sure helps that they own their own tracks versus having to share them.


The train cars are sleek, clean, comfortable, and well-maintained. At $13.50 per person each way from end-to-end, the trip a fabulous deal considering valet parking for just one night in downtown Chicago is $59 (fyi – most hotels don’t offer self parking). Aside from that, the ride is largely stress-free and you can read, use you smartphone, nap, or just look outside enjoy the scenery. One also gets the opportunity observe some of our Rust Belt cities from a whole different and quite discouraging perspective – the disparities of the glossy, towering condominiums of the Loop and South Loop compared with the desperate poverty and decay in Gary and parts of South Chicago are as stark to the visitor’s eye as they are real to those enduring the daily struggle to survive in what is supposed by be the richest nation on Earth.

Indiana doesn’t typically jump to the top of most people’s list when it comes to excellence in transit nor intercity rail travel, but the South Shore Line is simply top notch! It makes this born-Hoosier rail fan quite proud. I am even more proud to note that the South Shore Line is doing so well, that a second line (West Lake Corridor) is currently under development to link Chicago with the fast-growing Lake County suburbs south of Hammond, including Munster, Dyer, and possible limited service to St. John. It is hoped this line will be operational by 2022.


Another development under consideration is whether to move the eastern terminus of the line from South Bend International Airport to downtown South Bend. I can see arguments in favor of both options, but I’ve got to note that the parking convenience and intermodal options at the airport are a big plus! On the other hand, if bringing the line to downtown can build commuter rail traffic and usage into the heart of South Bend and lead to revitalization opportunities there, then who knows?. Either way, Northwest Indiana has a real gem in the South Shore Line and should take every opportunity to take advantage of this iconic railroad. Well done!

Want to learn more about the last interurban railway? Here’s a visual link to a book about the South Shore Line.



Posted in Active transportation, Alternative transportation, cities, electric vehicles, fun, geography, history, infrastructure, land use, Maps, Passenger rail, placemaking, planning, rail, Railroads, spatial design, transit, transportation, Travel, urban planning | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

It is Time to Ban Gas-powered Leaf Blowers!

Personally, I’m sick and tired of noisy leaf blowers disturbing the enjoyment of beautiful days. It has gotten to the point where one cannot keep their windows open or sit on the deck without these infernal things droning on and on well above any allowed or acceptable noise decibel. Furthermore, their exhaust fumes increases air pollution.  And when they stir up dust, pollen, and mold spores, leaf blowers aggravate the allergies in those of us who suffer from such maladies.

Do I sound pissed? Yeah, I am. Apparently I am not alone, as a number of cities and towns have proposed or passed some sort of ordinance to limit the use of gas-powered leaf-blowers within their boundaries. Here are a few disturbing facts I learned about commercial grade, gas-powered leaf blowers:

  • According to the Centers for Disease Control, leaf blowers typically produce at least 90 decibels of noise – exposure two hours of such noise causes permanent hearing loss.
  • Edmunds Automotive found a two-stroke commercial leaf-blower produces as many hydrocarbons emissions in 30 minutes as a F-150 pick-up truck does driving 3,887 miles!
  • The Edmunds study also showed that a gas-powered leaf-blowers two-stroke engine emitted nearly 299 times the hydrocarbons of a pickup truck and 93 times the hydrocarbons of a sedan.
  • A study by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency entitled, National Emissions from Lawn and Garden Equipment, indicates that gasoline-powered lawn and garden equipment is a prevalent source of toxic and carcinogenic emissions.

A number of cities across the country have banned or limited the use of commercial gas-powered leaf blowers (see list below). The first to do so were Carmel and Beverly Hills, California in the mid-1970s. Examples can now be found in New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Illinois, Colorado, Arizona, Oregon, New Hampshire, Hawaii, Texas, and Florida, as well as many other communities in California.

While I don’t expect the EPA to do anything worthwhile under the current administration.  Hopefully more cities, including Traverse City and Tucson, will join the list below, as these mechanical beasts, gas-powered ones in particular, are quite the menace to human health and peaceful enjoyment of our homes and communities. Peace.

 Cities, towns, counties and states which ban or restrict the use of blowers include:
  • Arlington, MA
  • Aspen, CO
  • Belvedere, CA
  • Berkeley, CA
  • Beverly Hills, CA
  • Boulder, CO
  • Brookline, MA
  • Cambridge, MA
  • Carmel, CA (banned in 1975 – first city in the USA)
  • Claremont, CA
  • Del Mar, CA
  • Dobbs Ferry, NY
  • Evanston, IL
  • Foster City, CA
  • Framingham, MA
  • Hastings, NY
  • Honolulu, HI
  • Houston, Texas
  • Indian Wells, CA
  • Key West, FL
  • Laguna Beach, CA
  • Lawndale, CA
  • Los Altos, CA
  • Los Angeles, CA
  • Malibu, CA
  • Mamaroneck, NY
  • Maplewood, NJ
  • Menlo Park, CA
  • Mill Valley, CA
  • Montclair, NJ
  • New Rochelle, NY
  • Oyster Bay, NY
  • Palm Beach, FL
  • Palo Alto, CA
  • Pelham Manor, NY
  • Pelham, NY
  • Portland, OR
  • Portsmouth, NH
  • Rye, NY
  • Santa Barbara, CA
  • Santa Monica, CA
  • Scarsdale, NY
  • Scottsdale, AR
  • Sunnyvale, CA
  • Tampa, FL
  • Tiburon, CA
  • Toronto, ON
  • Vancouver, BC
  • Westchester County, NY
  • West Hollywood, CA
  • White Plains, NY
  • Winnetka, IL
  • Yonkers, NY



Posted in Advocacy, Alternative energy, environment, health, landscape architecture, nature, peace, planning, pollution, product design, seasons, Statistics, sustainability, technology | 3 Comments

If you drive a SUV, you need to plant 127 trees a year!

As the accompanying chart shows, if you own and operate a sport-utility vehicle (SUV), you’ll have a lot of tree planting to do to offset your annual emissions from driving that monstrosity. At approximately $200 per tree (a rather low estimate), owners of SUVs would need to spend more than $25,000 a year planting trees just offset the pollution they are causing. For those of use who prefer to walk or bike as much as possible, our cost would be near zero.

While far from perfect, riding the local bus system reduces your emission output by 50% from SUVs and rail reduces it almost 2/3’s. If you must drive a car, the chart clearly shows the advantages of using a hybrid car or carpooling. These reduce your emissions output by a factor of three to four versus driving alone and a factor of six from driving an SUV.

Sadly, Ford recently announced it was virtually eliminating sedans and almost exclusively producing cross-overs, SUVs, and small trucks in the future. This decision is a recipe for environmental and climate disaster and this author predicts will likely be the company’s path to eventual oblivion if not reversed soon, as smarter and more nimble manufacturers build environmentally friendly vehicles.

As the owner of a Ford hybrid car, it’s hard to understand why some automotive executives in Detroit don’t ever get the fact that gas-guzzlers are the modern-day equivalent of dinosaurs. Any short-term profits will be quickly wiped out by the losses that are sure to follow when gas prices rise, pollution increases, and the effects of climate change become more widespread.

It was such short-term thinking and greed that got Detroit’s Big 3 into trouble both in the 1970s and in the 2000s.  For the moment GM and Fiat/Chrysler seem to get it. Ford…not so much.  Three strikes and you’re out, gang. The public will not be sympathetic this time when the evidence was crystal clear.

Posted in Advocacy, bicycling, Cars, civics, climate change, electric vehicles, environment, health, nature, Passenger rail, pollution, rail, Railroads, sustainability, transit, transportation, walking | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Cities With Single Letter Name Differences


Just for fun, below is my list of cities with nearly the same name, except for one (1) single letter. Most commonly, the (1) letter difference arrises from these sources:

  • Plural versus singular, such as Danville versus Danville
  • Use of “ton” versus “town” such as Charleston versus Charlestown
  • Simply a differing first letter, such as Denton versus Renton
  • No “e” versus an “e” such as Ashville versus Asheville
  • A slight variation in spelling, such as Haslet versus Haslett

At this point, the most common one (1) letter variations for city names are:

  • Alton/Dalton/Halton/Malton/Walton (5)
  • Benton/Denton/Fenton/Renton (4)
  • Cowell/Howell/Lowell/Powell (4)
  • Elton/Belton/Felton/Melton/Welton (5)

Several others have three (3) variations:

  • Alden/Malden/Walden
  • Bayton/Dayton/Layton
  • Baytown/Maytown/Raytown
  • Bayville/Mayville/Wayville
  • Bedford/Medford/Redford
  • Haysville/Kaysville/Maysville
  • Milton/Tilton/Wilton
  • Newton/Reston/Weston
  • Nome/Rome/Tome
  • Tifton/Tilton/Tipton
  • Walton/Welton/Wilton

Here’s the full list so far. I’m sure there are many other one (1) letter variations out there, so please feel free to send them along and I will update the list. Thanks!

  • Alden, Michigan — Malden, Massachusetts — Walden, Colorado
  • Alton, Illinois, Texas, or England — Dalton, Georgia — Halton, England — Malton, Ontario — Walton, New York
  • Ambridge, Pennsylvania — Cambridge, Massachusetts or England
  • Ancaster, England — Lancaster, Pennsylvania
  • Anning, China – Banning, California
  • Arab, Alabama — Arabi, Louisiana
  • Arab, Alabama – Aral, China
  • Arlington, Texas and Virginia — Darlington, England and South Carolina
  • Ashville, Ohio — Asheville, North Carolina
  • Ashville, Ohio — Nashville, Tennessee or Indiana
  • Bayton, England — Dayton, Ohio — Layton, Utah
  • Bayton, England — Baytown Texas
  • Baytown, Texas — Maytown, Kentucky — Raytown, Missouri
  • Bayville, New York — Mayville, New York — Wayville, Australia
  • Bedford, Indiana or Virginia — Medford, Oregon or Massachusetts — Redford, Michigan
  • Benton, Arkansas and Illinois — Denton, Texas — Fenton, Michigan —Renton, Washington
  • Bern, Switzerland — Berne, Indiana
  • Berne, Indiana — Boerne, Texas (Thank you, Steven)
  • Bogata, Texas — Bogota, Colombia
  • Bradford, Ontario — Branford, Connecticut
  • Branford, Connecticut — Brantford, Ontario
  • Branford, Connecticut — Cranford, New Jersey
  • Canton, Michigan or Ohio — Manton, Michigan
  • Caseville, Michigan — Cassville, Missouri or Wisconsin
  • Casper, Wyoming — Jasper, Indiana and Alberta
  • Charleston, South Carolina or West Virginia — Charles Town, West Virginia or Charlestown, Indiana
  • Cheboygan, Michigan — Sheboygan, Wisconsin (Thank you, Wayne!)
  • Cheyenne, Wyoming — Sheyenne, North Dakota
  • Chizhou, China — Chuzhou, China
  • Clanton, Alabama — Clinton, Indiana or Utah
  • Clarkson, New York — Clarkston, Michigan (Thank you, Erin!)
  • Clarkston, Washington or Michigan — Clarkstown, New York
  • Clayville, New York — Claysville, Pennsylvania
  • Clinton, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, or Utah — Clifton, New Jersey
  • Cowell, Australia — Howell, Michigan – Lowell, Massachusetts and Indiana — Powell, Ohio
  • Creston, Iowa — Preston, Connecticut and England
  • Danville, California, Illinois or Virginia — Dansville, Michigan
  • Dartford, England — Hartford, Connecticut
  • Davison, Michigan — Davidson, North Carolina
  • Durand, Michigan — Durant, Oklahoma
  • Eatonton, Georgia — Eatontown, NJ
  • Edinburg, Texas — Edinburgh, Scotland or Indiana
  • Edina, Minnesota — Medina, Ohio or Saudi Arabia
  • Elizabethton, Tennessee — Elizabethtown, Pennsylvania
  • Edmond, Oklahoma — Redmond, Washington and Oregon
  • Elton, Louisiana — Belton, Texas — Felton, California — Melton, Australia– Welton, England
  • Felton, California– Fulton, Kentucky
  • Forest City, North Carolina — Forrest City, Arkansas
  • Frankfort, Kentucky, Indiana, or Michigan — Frankfurt, Germany
  • Fuding, China — Fuqing, China
  • Granville, Ohio — Grandville, Michigan
  • Grayville, Illinois — Graysville, Alabama
  • Greenville, South Carolina and multiple other states — Greeneville, Tennessee
  • Guang’an, China — Guanghan, China
  • Hamlet, North Carolina — Haslet, Texas
  • Haslet, Texas — Haslett, Michigan
  • Haysville, Kansas — Kaysville, Utah — Maysville, Kentucky
  • Heath, Ohio — Neath, Wales
  • Howell, Michigan — Howells, Nebraska (Thank you, John!)
  • Janesville, Wisconsin — Zanesville, Ohio
  • Kendal, England — Kendall, Florida
  • Kinston, North Carolina — Kingston, Jamaica or Ontario
  • Kinston, North Carolina — Winston, Oregon
  • Lacon, Illinois — Lavon, Texas
  • Lacon, Illinois — Macon, Georgia
  • Lander, Wyoming — Leander, Texas
  • Lecce, Italy — Lecco, Italy (Thank you, Cosimo!)
  • Lewiston, Idaho or Maine — Lewistown, Pennsylvania or Montana
  • Linden, Michigan — Minden, Louisiana or Nebraska
  • London, England or Ontario — Loudon, New Hampshire
  • Macomb, Michigan — McComb, Mississippi
  • Maldon, England — Malton, Ontario
  • Malton, Ontario – Milton, Washington or Ontario
  • Marseille, France — Marseilles, Illinois
  • Mayville, New York — Maysville, Kentucky
  • Maysville, Kentucky– Marysville, Ohio
  • Mechanicville, New York — Mechanicsville, Virginia
  • Middleton, Wisconsin — Middletown, Ohio
  • Milwaukee, Wisconsin — Zilwaukee, Michigan
  • Milton, Washington or Ontario — Tilton, New Hampshire — Wilton, Connecticut
  • Monaca, Pennsylvania – Monaco
  • Montpelier, Vermont — Montpellier, France
  • Monterey, California — Monterrey, Mexico
  • Muskego, Wisconsin — Muskegon, Michigan
  • Napanee, Ontario — Nappanee, Indiana
  • Naylor, Missouri — Taylor, Michigan (Thank you, Erin!)
  • Neston, England — Reston, Virginia — Weston, Florida, Connecticut, and New York
  • Newman, Californian –Newnan, Georgia
  • Newton, Massachusetts — Newtown, Connecticut
  • Nome, Alaska — Rome, Italy or Georgia — Tome, Japan or Tome’, Chile
  • Orland, Maine — Orlando, Florida
  • Orwell, Ohio — Norwell, Massachusetts
  • Owasso, Oklahoma — Owosso, Michigan
  • Pampa, Texas — Tampa, Florida
  • Parkville, Maryland or Missouri — Parksville, British Columbia
  • Paterson, New Jersey — Patterson, Louisiana
  • Pikeville, Kentucky — Pikesville, Maryland
  • Pittsburg, California or Kansas — Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
  • Prineville, Oregon — Princeville, Hawaii
  • Puebla, Mexico — Pueblo, Colorado
  • Radford, Virginia — Redford, Michigan
  • Reading, Pennsylvania or England — Redding, California
  • Redford, Michigan — Retford, England
  • Redland, Maryland — Redlands, California
  • Remerton, Georgia — Bremerton, Washington
  • Rome, Italy or Georgia — Romeo, Michigan
  • Saco, Maine — Waco, Texas (Thank you, Rich!)
  • Salida, Colorado — Salina, Kansas
  • Salina, Kansas — Saline, Michigan
  • Salina, Kansas — Salinas, California
  • Sanatoga, Pennsylvania — Saratoga, California
  • Sand Springs, Oklahoma — Sandy Springs, Georgia
  • Sanford, Florida — Stanford, California or New York
  • Sidney, Nebraska or British Columbia — Sydney, Australia or Nova Scotia
  • Senj, Croatis — Sinj, Croatia (Thank you, Marina!)
  • Sparta, Greece — Isparta, Turkey (Thank you, Mehmet!)
  • Sterling, Virginia — Stirling, Scotland
  • St. John, Indiana — St. Johns, Michigan
  • Stanton, Michigan — Staunton, Virginia
  • Stow, Ohio or Massachusetts — Stowe, Vermont
  • Strasburg, Virginia — Strasbourg,France
  • Stratford, Ontario or Connecticut — Stretford, England
  • Sturbridge, Massachusetts – Stourbridge, England
  • Summerville, South Carolina — Summersville, West Virginia
  • Taylor, Michigan — Taylors, South Carolina
  • Tifton, Georgia — Tilton, New Hampshire — Tipton, Indiana
  • Walton, New York — Welton, England — Wilton, Connecticut
  • Williamston, Michigan — Williamstown, Kentucky


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