Echoface

What it is:  Long on data, short on analysis.  The list below is a sampling of HAC-relevant media that has come bouncing across my personal echo chamber in the last day or two.  Who has time to take it all in, much less interpret what it means?

(And one bonus tangent:  Every item below came to me by way of facebook updates, several of them repeated from more than one person.  The predictions that social networking sites like facebook are destined to become the centralized source for all of our information are looking more and more spot on. And it’s a compelling thing for sure, this distributed system for news, prefiltered by people who share your interests.  Of course that strength is also a weakness, since such a system will tend to reinforce isolated social bubbles — whither opposing viewpoints?)

“The Great Wish across America is to resume the life of comfort-and-convenience that seemed so nirvana-like just a few short years ago, when the very constellations of the heavens might have been renamed after heroic Atlanta realtors and Connecticut hedge fund warriors, and the boomer portfolios groaned with earnings, and millions of graying corporate salary mules dreamed of their approaching retirement to a satori of golf and Viagra, and the interior decorators grew so rich installing granite countertops that they could buy their own houses in the East Hampton, and every microcephalic parking valet in Las Vegas qualified for a bucket full of Ninja mortgages, and Lloyd Blankfein could dream of divorcing his wife to marry his cappuccino machine.”

3 Responses to “Echoface”

  1. Joshua Daniel Franklin

    For opposing viewpoints, it’s simple. Add some Facebook friends who don’t share your views and actually try to write reasonable comments.

  2. dan cortland

    From the pedestrian plan:

    Strategy 2.2: Improve pedestrian access to major destinations
    a. Prioritize walking connections to major pedestrian destinations

    Identify specific design criteria to allow wider sidewalks in locations of high pedestrian
    demand. Explore special signal or crossing treatments near high volume destinations
    or at special events, or expand the pedestrian overlay zone to high demand areas.

    A few naive questions: We know that widening roads creates automotive traffic. Is the same true of sidewalks and pedestrian use? Say there’s a neighborhood or commercial street that has narrow sidewalks with a lot of new buildings that will increase the number of residents many-fold, and there’s ample parking underground. Does leaving the sidewalks narrow rather than widening them during building construction suppress pedestrian demand? In other words, will the proposed policy be ineffective because it has cause and effect somewhat backwards?

    Does it make a difference if the people are moving in from the suburbs or from other cities? Do larger street trees (in wider ROWs) increase pedestrian activity in urban neighborhoods?

    What’s a “major destination”? Safeco field, or the local grocery store? Certain houses in West Seattle?

  3. Kathryn

    It all matters. In commercial areas, wider sidewalks matter IMO. Think about downtown DC where people can walk three and four abreast. On busy streets, don’t widen the street, add a green strip between the sidewalk and the street and ideally widen the sidewalk.

    But, people will walk on NYC narrow sidewalks, too, but the streets are narrow.

    I think, also, there are ped ROW strategies in some areas that do not require a sidewalk. Just a ROW and separation from the traffic. Like where we don’t have sidewalks yet, maybe in the meantime plant a strip between where people can walk and the road.

    We also need builders to provide us a way to still walk. I was happy to see that one lane of Westlake was blocked off by cones the other day so I could continue walking and not have to cross the street to where yet another builder had the sidewalk blocked off.

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