Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Santa Barbara, CA.


The thing labor needs most?

A long and wonderful vacation.

I am back home from my 2006 trip down the west coast. This was my 5th west coast tour over the years.

Came back by train.

Above picture taken from observation tower atop Santa Barbara County Courthouse. Downtown Santa Barbara has a lot of classical architecture and pedestrian malls.

A similar view was featured in the popular book "Bicycling The Pacific Coast" by Tom Kirkendall and Vicky Spring, (at least in an earlier edition). I remember pouring over that book before my first west coast trip in 1987.

Cyclists are still taking that book with them as they do this trip. (Probably later editions).

At the end of my trip, the radio said that California has just passed a strong piece of legislation designed to roll back state wide greenhouse gas emissions. Roll these back to 1990 levels by 2020.

That will be a tall order as one must remember, population is also increasing.

Just "treading water" (keeping same percapita consumption levels) means increasing consumption if population is increasing.

This will require some major changes.

Or, maybe the goal can't be achieved with conservation? Nuclear power anyone? How about solar? Hydrogen Fusion?

All of the above.

Ironically, southern California seems more bicycle friendly than northern California. More people and more money for infrastructure. Also the need is clearly evident.

Things like bike paths and the southern California Surfliner train are great.

Now, back hear in Washington State, the Dave Ross Show, on Seattle's KIRO, does a segment about how to make roads safer.

Labor Day weekend is a deadly weekend on the roads.

Many kinds of suggestions come in. People suggest things like making truckers only operate at night or having the driving test become harder.

No one mentions making the nation less dependent on automotive travel. Maybe I should have called.

Looking forward to adding photos and stories, from my 2006 trip to these sites in the next few months.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Wouldn't be as good as a dance floor

I am passing through Garberville, CA. on my 2006 bicycle tour down west coast. Have enjoyed the huge redwoods. Riding quietly through the big trees on a side road called Avenue Of The Giants. Much nicer than the more "pragmatic 101, where most commutes and trucks go.

Biking is a quiet way to see the trees.

Meeting some other cyclists at the campgrounds. KOA in Eureka had a hot tub. $20 to camp, but worth if for the hot tub. The bike area is big, behind the main building away from the RVs. Most of the time I am in state park "hiker biker" sites. No hot tub, but only $3 per night thanks to Cal state park encouragement for bicyclists.

I passed one big tree that someone wanted to chop down back around 1910. They wanted to use the stump for a dance floor. That idea was nixed and the tree still stands. Would have been too small for a dance floor anyway, but the tree is huge; and I like dance floors. It's just that the tree wouldn't have been a good one. It's better as a tree.

Lots of groves have been preserved in this area. Avenue Of the Giants, and other parts of the Redwood parks are quite extensive. A joint California and federal park system.

Tomorrow I head back to the coast on Cal Highway 1. Headed toward fort Bragg. Then San Francisco, in a few days.

Friday, August 04, 2006

My 2006 bicycle trip has started

Headed south down USA west coast. Every once-in-a-while, I will put details here. Later this coming Autumn, there will be a write up, with photos, on my web site. Past trips are already there.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Inclusive Neighborhoods


Photo looking up into Bellingham Farmer's Market clock tower. Light fixtures.

There is a lot of talk about Inclusive zoning these days. Allowing a mixture of housing types and price ranges with-in a neighborhood.

That, instead of places where only (expensive) single family homes are allowed while, across town, a ghetto of apartments is kept in one area. Like, "keep those apartments from escaping."

Inclusive zoning means a mix of housing types and income levels. Also a mix of land uses in one neighborhood. That means one can take a stroll, near one's home, and pass houses, a park, a church and an ice cream parlor.

That's more inviting than some boring "subdivision mile" with nothing but garage doors visible.

It brings diverse income groups together. More trust and understanding between social classes.

Also allows people to live closer to services and activities. Cuts car dependency.

I recently saw a good article about this concept in the July 26 06 Cascade Weekly. Written by one of our city council members, Joan Beardsley. She talked quite a bit about the good effects that "inclusive neighborhoods" have on schools.

In the past, people have spent much effort bussing kids across town to bring various elements of our society together. Well, another way to bring us together can be in how we plan our neighborhoods.

Bring various income classes together, for instance.

After pondering those encouraging words, I had a conversation with a friend in Ecuador, South America.

A conversation via Skype Internet phone.

My friend, in Ecuador, spoke of a negative consequence when the gap between wealthy and poor gets too wide. Latin American nations are noted for wide gaps between income classes.

Something that could be in USA's future, if we don't watch out. The income gap keeps getting wider.

He said single family homes are loosing popularity for the middle class in Ecuador.

Loosing popularity because the crime rate is so high that detached homes are vulnerable to break ins, robberies, even armed robberies.

It's like class warfare.

So the middle class is turning to high rises.

Condominium projects, rather than detached homes.

A condominium complex can provide centralized entrances for security and things like "windows high off the ground," away from the break-in zone.

Interesting observation.

It seems like bringing American income classes together, to lower the crime rate, might help us save the single family home.

Ironically, we may need to be less exclusive about our single family neighborhoods to save them.

Save them from the ravages of societal breakdown.