October 20, 2010


New batteries for my red blinky.  Less worry now for sure!

October 19, 2010

Tis the Season

Sitting at work this morning, I'd like hot chocolate, doughnuts, a good book, and perhaps a blanket.  The season change prompts my body to forget about going outside.  I just want to eat pie and watch football for the next month.  
I haven't had a chance to really hibernate yet, but I already feel like I'm packing on the pounds and getting sluggish.  The scale says I'm up 2 pounds which is right in the normal fluctuation range, but I suspect if I give up any activity that number would skyrocket.
I'm mentally ready to start training for next year's marathon, although physically I'm working through some things.  BUT I've got something up my sleeve that may just pull me out of this cacoon.  More on that in the coming days...

October 18, 2010

Traffic Calming

Recently Councilman Richard Rush put everything on the line for 2nd Avenue Bike lanes.  He makes some good arguments, and I agree with him on several accounts.  I also disagree with some of his arguments, but that's not the tone I'd like to portray today.  One phrase from his post is not well defined (in my opinion):  Traffic Calming.

My wife was reading over my shoulder as I read his blog, and when she read this sentence:

"Narrow travel lanes, bike lanes and street trees are traffic calming devices."

...she asked in an incredulous tone, "Narrow lanes, bike lanes, and trees are calming?"  Having read it as a regular person who drives on Spokane streets, she had internalized the sentence as it applies to her.  Narrow lanes do not calm a driver's nerves. 

I suppose trees may have a calming effect and bicycle lanes may or may not calm drivers' nerves, but narrow lanes definitely do not sooth the driver's soul.  I explained to my wife that Councilman Rush was not talking about creating a serene environment in which drivers drift from one place to another.  Rather, he was talking about slowing traffic down and perhaps reducing the number of cars on the road. 

In order to achieve "traffic calming", outside influences are employed to positively affect the way traffic acts.  Of course, we are giving human traits to an in-human item here.  Traffic itself, cannot be calmed without affecting drivers - the soul of traffic.

In its worst light, traffic calming is physically changing things in order to force drivers to take more care, which then causes them to slow their cars down, and in the process weeds out those who can no longer stand the route.

From a planning and safety perspective, traffic calming is more than just a great thing.  It is an essential tool.

From a political standpoint, it can go either way:  Trees are great, and calm traffic is great.  Raging traffic is bad.  Moving people efficiently is good.  Moving people by different modes of transportation is good.  Meshing those modes of transportation is tricky.  Safety is good.
Narrow lanes are difficult to swallow. 
I applaud Councilman Rush for taking a solid stance.  As seen on T.V. recently, that's kinda rare with the political types.  I wonder what could calm that traffic?