Streetcars & Pecha Kucha

Some short notes on a couple items in Soapbox this week. First, an excellent opinion on the streetcar.

It should be noted that the proposed Mill Creek Expressway/I-75 project will essentially add one single lane of freeway in both directions of I-75 between the Western Hills Viaduct and Paddock Road, while also revamping on/off ramps, and will cost an estimated $642.5 million. That's an extra lane of freeway for 7.9 miles, plus revamping interchanges.  ...In addition to the $642.5 million Mill Creek Expressway project, the Through the Valley project will engage in an additional widening exercise from Paddock to I-275 at the cost of an additional $149 million (at least).

...Coincidentally enough, if the full stretch [of the streetcar] to the zoo and back were implemented, it would be a route of roughly 7.9 miles, the same stretch of widening on I-75.

So we have critics carping on the profligacy of spending $185 million versus a whopping $800 million for freeway widening.


The second item I noticed was about the apparent success of the first Pecha Kucha night in Cincinnati.

"PK Vol. 1 was such a huge success," says official organizer, Greg Lewis. "It demonstrated that the same desire that got PK started in Tokyo six years ago is present here in Cincinnati today."

Uh, I don't mean anything negative, but I know that technology groups around the region have been doing these presentations for last two years.  They may not have been as flashy, and certainly none were in as cool a venue as the CAC, but they have been around.  You may have heard them mistakenly referred to as Machu Pichu talks, or Pikachu presentations, but PK has been present in Cincinnati for a while now.  So thanks for participating.  :) 

Storm's A-Comin'

Tornado sirens sounded on and off as a high wind advisory lasted throughout the day and into the night.  But the afternoon was actually pretty calm, except for a few isolated torrential rainstorms that stopped as soon as they started.  Here's the end of one of those rainstorms, looking at Bellevue and Dayton.

Clouds exiting

Clouds exiting

And those two pictures stitched together...

Clouds exiting

A Word On Consumption

One thing I love about CityKin is that I get all this great information from urban/green media, but don't have to track any of it. In a post about efficiency vs. sustainability is this quoted quote:

Driving a car that is 10% more efficient uses the same amount of gas as driving 10% less.

It's a sentiment I've dwelled on before. Sure, it's great if that new pair of shoes is made locally by workers paid a living wage with sustainable materials, but do you really need a new pair of shoes? (Forgive me if my example offends those of you who love your shoes.)

I don't consider myself particularly green with the stuff I have, but I have a compulsion to own as little as possible. (Or maybe I'm just cheap.) I have a coat that used to be my dad's. All my shoes are at least 6 years old. I pretty much own things until they are run into the ground. Then I try to sell them on eBay or give them to Goodwill. Unfortunately, the more I look around, the more it feels like we live in a disposable world.

I don't know if it's my training, or if I'm just lazy, but I am also very anal about energy and time trade-offs. I hate sitting in traffic. I hate braking on hills. I love walking because even though it takes more time, I benefit from the activity and from saving gas. I meticulously load every corner of the dishwasher, and usually hand-wash pots and pans. I break down every box I throw away or recycle, not only to save landfill or bin space, but also because it means I'll have to take out the garbage less.

I like this quote from CityKin's post a lot too.

Living in a place where you can get to all the daily necessities of life by walking, biking or driving gives you much more freedom than living in a place where your only choice is driving.

I don't get to drive much, so sometimes I just like drive around at night aimlessly. Especially in the summer. At first, I felt guilty about it, like I was wasting gas, but eventually I realized the same thing in that quote. Being green is about freedom just as much as it is about anything else.