Monday, January 09, 2017

Wrunning & Writing

There's two things I've never really enjoyed in my half lifespan of a life; writing and running. Somehow, I've nearly gotten over my distaste for running thanks to the downtown YMCA and this contraption called a Green Curve, a 'cool' treadmill that requires no electricity to function! As obvious as that might sound, it's an atypical treadmill in a world of plugs-in running machines. Check it out here: Woodway Green Curve

Thursday, December 13, 2012

LESS Productions

LESS Productions (runs the largest mens homeless shelter in the state and harvests and refines their own WVO for use in an old school bus and VW pick-up

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Think about re-building streets in Cleveland like this one from Barcelona. A true multi-modal boulevard! A street like this one sends a message to humans that this street was made for bicycling! People of all ages and abilities feel safe riding a bicycle on an on-street facility such as the one shown. Consider how many wide, under utilized streets, many of them old street cars right-of-ways, we have in Cleveland and the inner ring suburbs. Examples such as W. 65, E. 79, E. 105, Clifton, Fairmount, Harvard/Denison, Lorain, Quincy, St. Clair, Union, and the list goes on.... We could initiate this process with very little funding, simply by reclaiming the old StreetCar R.O.W. for bicycles using widely available traffic control infrastructure like plastic bollards and parking blocks.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

A bold prediction for Cleveland in 20Twenty: The urbanized core and inner ring of our region will fully facilitate car free travel, for everyone 8 to 88. In the next 5 years, we must provide dedicated road space in the central city for bicycle-only travel. In doing so, we revive small scale intra-city commerce and as a city we make a statement to our citizens and visitors alike that bicycle travel is a valued and even preferred mode. At minimum such actions will reduce the cost of maintaining road surfaces. But let's focus on higher aims.... (i) we will re-invigorate our city on the premise of valuing what was built by our city founders - a robust street car network connecting neighborhood business districts. (ii) an ultra flat city like Cleveland lowers the barriers to the movement of goods and services; thus bicycle travel and cargo carrying is more efficient than some more densely populated cities (iii) small scale entrepreneurial endeavors and networked cooperative style businesses can flourish when transportation costs are low. Currently Clevelanders spend nearly 25% of income on transport. What else could our citizens do with that 25% of their income? How could we improve ourselves and our communities if there was no need for a personal automobile? 2016 is the celebration year for SC2019 transportation. Cleveland leaders need realize that by building on the historical foundations of our city, we realize our future potential. The economy is rapidly changing, many of us no longer travel to a place of work. Therefore, we can and must begin to replace exclusive automobile infrastructure in the core city with protected bicycle infrastructure and invest in people!

Monday, December 01, 2008

People Have the Power

I've been wondering why our local government(s) consistently ask us for money, but rarely, if ever, ask us for our actions? After all, it is our actions (and our thoughts) that are the basis of our democracy, not our money.

Anyone have any thoughts on this?

For instance, we are working with a consortium of local organizations and governments to create an idle-reduction ordinance affecting all vehicles traversing the region. The goal of such an ordinance is to limit the harmful emissions caused by needless idling. This ordinance requests that people in our region 'take the action' of reducing idling by turning off their engine, when waiting for a period of say, 30 seconds or more.

What are some other examples of requesting an action from citizen in our region, as a means of strengthening our city/region?

Saturday, March 22, 2008


A quick study on the origin of words:


all derived from 'common '
1297, from O.Fr. comun, from L. communis "in common, public, general, shared by all or many," from PIE *ko-moin-i- "held in common,"

PIE: Proto-Indo-European, the hypothetical reconstructed ancestral language of the Indo-European family. The time scale is much debated, but the most recent date proposed for it is about 5,500 years ago.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Cars Are The Problem With Snow

It's cars and snow that don't mix that makes Clevelanders dislike our winter weather.  Imagine your favorite neighborhood shopping district, otherwise known as a functioning, lively, and organic neighborhood.  Imagine walking down the sidewalk window shopping or bar hopping or friendly talking......  That's a really nice feeling to recall, isn't it?
Now recall that feeling with a gentle breeze and a snow fall.  A bit cold around the ears and nose, are ya!?  All the more excuse to stop in and say hello to a neighbor merchant and order a cup of joe; retreat for a bit only to gather some steam and plunge back out to the snowy sidewalks of your neighborhood......lights twinkling, beers drinking, community linking. 

Now stop thinking of that.

Consider this scene instead.  You're driving your trusty steed (your automobile) to your favorite shop/pub/parlor.  It's warm and cozy in your car and all is well, though admittedly, it's a bit difficult to see out the window.  It's snowing afterall.   No matter, you're warm and cozy and speeding along (relatively, it's snowing afterall) to your destination.  You wish you could go faster, but alas the roads are slippery and it's hard to see.  But wait, there's help around the corner.  You see a flashing siren and the  the spray of salt comes barreling at your windshield.  'We're saved', you think.  Everything's okay - full speed ahead.  

And therein lies the problem.  

Monday, October 22, 2007

Social Ideology of the Motorcar

I picked up this booklet, written in 1973, at an event celebrating the car-free lifestyle while I was living in Chicago in 2002. It seems that the idea of being car-free is something that is only considered in places that possess lively streets where people really do live, work, and play. Here in Cleveland, I think we are still working on creating those neighborhoods.

But, if we can advance to the time when those neighborhoods are already in existence, we will come to realize that the car is actually a barrier to creating a livable place. And we will begin to advocate for places where cars are simply not allowed.
In order to get you to that frame of mind now, I encourage you to read this manifesto, 'Social Ideology of the MotorCar by André Gorz. I've copied one of my favorite passages below, but you can download the entire manuscript for free, right here.

"The worst thing about cars is that they are like castles or villas by the sea: luxury goods invented for the exclusive pleasure of a very rich minority, and which in conception and nature were never intended for the people. Unlike the vacuum cleaner, the radio, or the bicycle, which retain their use value when everyone has one, the car, like a villa by the sea, is only desirable and useful insofar as the masses don't have one. That is how in both conception and original purpose the car is a luxury good. And the essence of luxury is that it cannot be democratised. If everyone can have luxury, no one gets any advantages from it. On the contrary, everyone diddles, cheats, and frustrates everyone else, and is diddled, cheated, and frustrated in return.

This is pretty much common knowledge in the case of the seaside villas. No politico has yet dared to claim that to democratise the right to vacation would mean a villa with private beach for every family. Everyone understands that if each of 13 or 14 million families were to use only 10 meters of the coast, it would take 140,000km of beach in order for all of them to have their share! To give everyone his or her share would be to cut up the beaches in such little strips-or to squeeze the villas so tightly together - that their use value would be nil and their advantage over a hotel complex would disappear. In short, democratisation of access to the beaches point to only one solution-the collectivist one. And this solution is necessarily at war with the luxury of the private beach, which is a privilege that a small minority takes as their right at the expense of all.

Now, why is it that what is perfectly obvious in the case of the beaches is not generally acknowledged to be the case for transportation? Like the beach house, doesn't a car occupy scarce space? Doesn't it deprive the others who use the roads (pedestrians, cyclists, streetcar and bus drivers)? Doesn't it lose its use value when everyone uses his or her own? And yet there are plenty of politicians who insist that every family has the right to at least one car and that it's up to the "government" to make it possible for everyone to park conveniently, drive easily in the city, and go on holiday at the same time as everyone else, going 70 mph on the roads to vacation spots."

Thursday, September 06, 2007

When Cleveland Walks, Cleveland Benefits!

As Cleveland and her neighborhoods move forward with ever more housing projects, it is critical that we advocate for non-automotive connections between places. A region wide policy for 'complete streets' would be a great start, though there is certainly much more planning work to do!

Since all great plans and visions need inspiration, have a look at what has been accomplished in Portland, OR in the last two decades..

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Cleveland's Sound Garden

Did you know Sound Garden was named after a the Sound Garden public park in Seattle? Me neither. Not until my my most recent visit to Seattle when I saw it on a map and asked. Apparently, it's a public art installation that creates sound as wind passes through it and is located within the larger Magnuson Park. The winds are likely generated by the junction of land and Lake Washington.

Well, guess what Cleveland?

After walking, biking, and generally being blown around our very own north coast harbor which includes the under-used public areas surrounding the rock'n'roll hall of fame, great lakes science center, steam-ship Mather, I've come to the easy conclusion that we've got the blowing air resources to create our very own rock'n'roll sound garden. Why not have a high school/university contest to create temporary sound sculptures to float in the inner harbor that harness the kinetic wind energy and transform it into sound and light sculptures? With all this talk of wind turbines in our dear Lake Erie the deficiencies in math and science education, this idea seems like a win-win no-brainer!


Thursday, November 16, 2006

Kinetic Wave-power Sculpturing

Took a walk along the Edgewater beach this afternoon. Today was a small craft advisory. The gents flying combat wings knew it and the surfers seemed to get it too.

As for transforming that knowledge of wave/wind power into electrical energy, well the
University of Oregon is on it!

A simple idea is to create an aspect of Burning River Fest at the western edge of Edgewater. Burning River Fest currently takes place at Wendy Park which is located on Whiskey Island, which could be considered the far, far eastern edge of Edgewater Park. Many people experienced massive congestion problems near the entrance to Burning River Fest last year, so why not spread the fun out a bit and encourage people to walk/bike?

The Kinetic Wave-power Sculpture event could entail highschool/college engineering groups or hobbyists creating an energy generating sculpture based upon a common platform. The sculptures would showcase the potential energy generation through mechanical movements which could be further enhanced by affixing multicolor led's on the moving sculpture to ensure some really cool night time effects.


Friday, September 08, 2006

Mirages and Driving Don't Mix

Yet another reason to WALK along the shores of our Great Lake, whether downtown, out at Edgewater, or along Dike 14, just for the chance that you might see straight across to Canada!

"Scientists say it's a mirage, but others swear that when the weather is right, Clevelanders can see across Lake Erie and spot Canadian trees and buildings 50 miles away."

Whooo-whooo! If you saw something that crazy in your car, you might just be the cause of an accident! But alas, walking enables an easy slow pace that engenders such discoveries.

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