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News & Notes The True Cost of Commuting [Mr. Money Mustache]

I was talking to a couple I had just met, and the topic turned to the beauty of the neighborhood. [...] “We should really move here!”.

Then the discussion turned to the comparatively affordable housing, and the other benefits of living in my particular town. By the end of it, these people were verbally working out the details of a potential move within just a few months.

Except their plan was absurd.

Because these two full-time professional workers currently happen to live and work in “Broomfield”, a city that is about 19 miles and 40 minutes of mixed high-traffic driving away from here. They brushed off the potential commute, saying “Oh, 40 minutes, that’s not too bad.”

Yes, actually it IS too bad!

Turns out, this couple would end up spending $125,000 over 10 years for their “not so bad” 40 minute commutes. Visit the link to see the math.


The Importance of Comprehensive Planning in a Down Economy [Planetizen]

The slowing in the pace of development has given those planners who remain something precious: time. Especially in America’s fastest-growing places, the pace of development at the height of the housing boom often left planners with little time to engage in planning that was not focused on the here and now. As a result, in many jurisdictions important work to update archaic zoning ordinances or old comprehensive plans was left undone. Comprehensive plans in particular suffered, as fast-paced development changed the face of towns and cities in ways not anticipated by plans of an earlier age. Except in those states where comprehensive plans are binding, the first hints of irrelevance (real or perceived) are often the death knell for a comprehensive plan’s effectiveness.


Privately Owned Park, Open to the Public, May Make Its Own Rules [The New York Times]

Zuccotti Park, the half-acre plaza in Lower Manhattan now synonymous with Occupy Wall Street, exists in a strange category of New York parkland, identified by a seeming oxymoron: a privately owned public space.

The park was established in a wave of development that spurred corporate plazas after changes were made to the city’s zoning laws in the early 1960s. The laws generally give real estate developers zoning concessions in exchange for public space. There are now at least 520 such parks, arcades and plazas in New York City, both indoors and out, providing a total of 3.5 million square feet of space.

Privately mantained parkland and the rules and regulations upon which to create them, are a topic of the Downtown & “Knowledge” District Rezoning Committee.


Detroit cyclist gets a ticket and possible child endangerment charges [M-Bike.org]

On September 2nd, Sean Harrington biked to the Detroit RiverWalk with his twin sons in a bike trailer. On the way home, he took the sidewalk north on Park Avenue, which is a one way side street heading south.

When pedestrians and construction scaffolding blocked the sidewalk, he rode on the road for about four car lengths.

That was apparently too much for Detroit Police who issued Harrington a $110 ticket and now may face charges of child endangerment.

Via: Streetsblog


Amtrak soft launches Wi-Fi, but with content filtering [Greater Greater Washington]

And an Amtrak contractor was checking with riders about the connection quality, which Moon found to be quite “stable.” Have you found Wi-Fi on any Regionals?

There’s one catch: the service, Amtrak Connect, is apparently also employing content filters that censor many completely legitimate subjects, including news sites that focus on gay issues.


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One Response to News & Notes

  1. Alon Levy October 20, 2011 at 11:26 am #

    So far I can’t even reliably access the wi-fi at the stations – it doesn’t load well. In contrast, it works fine on the MBTA trains.

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