Monday, December 31, 2012

Quarterly Fun

With everyone making plans for New Year’s Eve, I don’t’ want to unduly burden your minds.  Instead, I’ll offer my quarterly update to April Fool’s Day.  Because there’s just too much urbanism-related weirdness to save it for only one day a year.

We’ll start with the auto industry fighting back against the increasing use of bicycles.  Check out this attempt by Long Island City Hyundai to convince that guys on bikes can’t get girls.  The comments are also fun.

But the bicycle still has some adherents, as shown in this Daily Mail article about a 40-foot tall Christmas tree of bicycles in China.

Not to forget our pedestrian friends, John Metcalfe of Atlantic Cities offers his thoughts on a German invention, a “decelerator helmet” that stores images of the outside world and plays them back at a reduced rate to the person inside the helmet.  Which seems like a good way to see a curb in fine clarity several seconds after tripping over it.  Some inventions seem like ideas in search of a problem.  The decelerator helmet appears to be one.  Although perhaps a homeplate umpire could use one for ball-strike calls.

Switching over to transit, Kaid Benfield of the National Resources Defense Council presents videos that show the daily pattern of transit trips in several metropolitan areas.  The patterns are hypnotic.  However, please note that the San Francisco model includes only Muni and BART.  The North Bay isn’t quite the transit vacuum that the video makes us appear.  Golden Gate Bus, Marin Transit, Sonoma Transit, and other local providers may not make the North Bay a transit-rich environment, but at least we’re not a black void.

We’ll finish up with another transit link.  Jay-Z recently used transit to move between shows.  While on a subway, he had to explain who he was to a rider who sensed he was famous, but couldn’t place the face.  Gawker provides the endearing video.

Be safe on New Year’s Eve.  And if you can use, use transit, bicycle, or foot before and after your parties.

As always, your questions or comments will be appreciated.  Please comment below or email me.  And thanks for reading. - Dave Alden (

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