Thursday, February 26, 2009
Tuesday, February 24, 2009
It's a great central location that provides easy access to much of Missoula. Doing a little work with Google maps, I figured that its 2 miles to Costco, the new light at Palmer St should make crossing Broadway much easier and safer, though I don't know if Costco has a bike rack. Some other important points in Missoula include; downtown (less than a mile), half a mile to the new Safeway, less than 2 miles to the North Hills trail system, 2.5 miles to campus, and 1 mile or 2.5 miles to Bayern and Kettlehouse Brewries.
So, by the first week of April we should be all moved in and I can give up driving.
Monday, February 23, 2009
What does that mean? For most people, the only concern this will bring to mind is the utterly unsustainable oil price of $40 a barrel. If production declines even moderately, say 2-3% a year, the price will once again shoot-up. Maybe not immediately to the peaks we recently experienced, but give it some time and we will see oil prices much higher this go around. Even with the current economic crisis, oil demand is not falling at 2-3% a year, so we have a situation where demand will be far out pacing supply, leading not only to higher prices, but to shortages ala the 1970's, only this time we won't get over the oil shocks.
How can people prepare for this inevitable future? First, as a nation, we can stop building suburbs and start concentrating on refurbishing existing towns along New Urbanist guidelines while building the transportation and alternative energy infrastructure needed to help make the transition to a world with less oil. People that live in urban areas consume less energy and produce less carbon emissions according to an article over at City Journal (thanks to CarFree USA Blog for finding the article) Thats only part of the solution. As individuals, one of the fastest ways to lower personal energy consumption is to stop driving. I know that our current living arrangements in America don't always allow for this to be a reality, but no other behavioral change will do more to reduce energy consumption and save people money. For other ideas on what can be done, check out the book Plan C: Community Survival Strategies for Peak Oil and Climate Change by Pat Murphy and anything by James Howard Kunstler is also a great source of information.
Sunday, February 22, 2009
Friday, February 20, 2009
Ironically, this also means that state and local government are generating less money from gas taxes, exacerbating the budget crunch.
Thursday, February 19, 2009
I guess this is a good time to write a brief statement of my beliefs regarding planning and why I have chosen to give up my car... most of which opposes Brooks' point of view.
It is true that as a future planner I would like to see American cities revitalized and become livable and walkable environments. Why? Because I believe that as a nation we have to change the way that we live and interact with one another and our environment for the future vitality of our country. We can't go on expanding suburbia ever outward, there aren't the resources, the oil isn't there to allow use to continue to increase our driving and our society can't take the pressure that sitting in a tin-can for three hours a day does to a person. Do we really want to pave over every acre of farm land, or meadow, or rid ourselves of the charms of small towns and replace these things with the monotony of cul-de-sacs and strip malls?
Not only is suburbia an aesthetic and culture sink hole, but the economics can't last. I know the American economy is built upon the ever expanding binge-consumption of useless plastic crap, but for the health of ourselves, our communities, and our environment we need to consume and want less. Its a difficult transition to make, because almost everything in our American culture tells us that consumption is good, your not a good American if you don't consume. Our last president even told us that the most patriotic thing, as Americans, that we could do was to go to the mall.
The car and the physical infrastructure that is required to maintain the aoutocentric, mobile lifestyle of Americans is becoming to big, to destructive, and to costly. Living a life in which alternative transportation plays a large part consumes less, pollutes less, costs less, and has the added benefit of allowing face-to-face interactions with those individuals that you call neighbors. We need community right now, to get use through tough times, and that can't be fostered sitting in a car competing for lane space.
Tuesday, February 17, 2009
Zootown © Along the Trail Photography
Well... I walked to the Clark Fork River last night to get a few night shots of
downtown from across the river. One thing about walking anywhere at night in Missoula is that as a pedestrian, cars really can't see you. It wasn't until the Hip Strip that enough street lighting was present that I actually felt safe from speeding motorists. I don't think this is much of a problem, but with better lighting in a few places, it might encourage people to walk a little more once the sun sets.
Monday, February 16, 2009
Thursday, February 12, 2009
Well... I still haven't transitioned to a car-free existence, but am doing my best to be car-light at the moment. Last night a bunch of us flickr addicts from Missoula got together for some night photopraphy. It was a really great experience and I learned many things and met many new and fascinating people.
Getting downtown on my bike wasn't very tough at all - after recovering from the disorientation of not having ridden at night for some time - as the river trail system is a great asset to Missoula. Of course, on such a cold night I was the only one out on a bike. Getting home after a few was another matter.
Here's on of the photos from the shoot:
Thursday, February 5, 2009
So... For now this will act as a place holder.