Friday, September 24th, 2010
My Labor Day open thread on what successful low income neighborhoods look like prompted a ton of great discussion. If you didn’t see it, I suggest checking it out.
1. Greg Hinz: After Daley’s Retirement, Chicago Needs a New Approach – “What Chicago really needs now is fewer ideas and orders from the top and more proposals and initiatives from the bottom. In the same way that this city’s economy is much better at applying than innovating, its political culture needs to be opened up so that new, better policies can be implemented. ”
2. Michael Lewis: Beware of Greeks bearing bonds – Not really urbanist related, but a great read. “As it turned out, what the Greeks wanted to do, once the lights went out and they were alone in the dark with a pile of borrowed money, was turn their government into a piñata stuffed with fantastic sums and give as many citizens as possible a whack at it. ”
3. Streetsblog: The Financial Foolishness of Christie’s ARC Gambit
Indianapolis Parking Meters
One particularly insidious part of the Indianapolis parking meter contract is the way closure penalties work. On hearing that meters can closed 6% of the time, you might think, How could the city possible shut down meters in the city more than that? The key is that this is not an aggregate system wide number, but applies on a meter by meter basis. Per the contract:
“Temporary Closure Allowance” means, with respect to a particular Metered Parking Space and a particular Year, Six Percent (6%) of the number of Days (rounded up to the nearest Day) during such Year that such Metered Parking Space was a designated Metered Parking Space for Metered Parking System Operations… [emphasis added]
The city might overall only close meters 1% of the time, but a major road construction project could knock out a mile of meters – and that would be $15-$20, every spot, every day, all summer long. Yikes!
I’ve previously suggesting using revenue bonds for the meter upgrades or doing a transfer to Citizens Energy similar to the water company deal. A commenter on the IBJ made another interesting suggestion: get the money from the Indiana Public Employees Retirement Fund. Pensions love long term, cash generating assets and frequently invest in privatization deals. Why not cut out the middle man? PERF would also be more likely to structure a true partnership with the city than a private company.
More Radical Racial Segregation Cartography
The previous piece I linked showing a map of racial segregation in Chicago from Radical Cartography prompted Eric Fischer (of locals vs. tourists fame) to do an entire series of dozens of cities across America. Here’s his map of New York:
Check out the whole set.
World and National Roundup
Toronto Globe and Mail: China’s new boom towns
Stateline: States pressed to fix local water systems
The Atlantic: Why Oklahoma City Could Represent the Future of America
Next American City: How Houston Became a Global City
Felix Salmon: A unified theory of New York biking
Washington City Paper: Inside DC’s Food Truck Wars
The Economist: The Big Sell: Asset Leasing in Chicago.
Chicago Tribune: Daley the Builder leaves unfinished business
Chicago Sun-Times: Suit: Firm negligent in analysis of parking meter deal – Someone filed a class-action lawsuit against William Blair for faulty analysis in the now infamous Chicago parking meter lease.
Terry Teachout: Disaster for the Detroit Symphony Orchestra
NYT: Thieves cart off St. Louis bricks – having already stripped all the metal from houses, thieves in St. Louis are now hauling away the bricks themselves.
St. Louis Arch Grounds Competition
UrbanStl first reported that the MVVA design team won the international competition to design the grounds surrounding the Gateway Arch in St. Louis. UrbanStl previously posted a full review of their proposal. Here’s a video of MVVA’s concept. (If the video doesn’t display click here).
More Metra Follies
Metra, Chicago’s commuter rail system, continues to live up to its reputation as “The transit agency that can say No.” This week it was “No” to quiet cars on trains. Add this to no credit cards (until the state forced them), no wi-fi, no electronic ticketing, and more.
Also, the Tribune reports on chaos and angry riders as Metra restricts service as part of its poorly conceived UP-North Line bridge replacement project. Don’t worry, the riders will have plenty of time to adjust to the new reality – eight years in fact. I hate to say I told you so, but….
Here’s another short but cool time lapse video, this one via Copenhagenize, that appears to be a promo for a conference of some sort. (If the video doesn’t display, click here).
Cargo Bikes of Copenhagen
Historic Billboards of Chicago
Last week was (PARK)ing Day across America, sponsored by Architecture for Humanity. This involves installing temporary park areas in parking spaces in cities. This is a photo of the installation in Indianapolis. It features a shade built from recycled RCA Dome roof material, designed by Wil Marquez of Wpurpose, fabricated by iFAB, and funded by People for Urban Progress.
Note the bagged parking meter in this photo. If privatization goes through, that will be $20/day in contract penalties please.
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Aaron M. Renn is an opinion-leading urban analyst, consultant, speaker, and writer on a mission to help America’s cities thrive and find sustainable success in the 21st century.