This weekend began a new chapter in my carfree lifestyle. Or rather, revisits a chapter I haven’t encountered in a few years. Running all my errands without borrowing a car or tagging along with someone going to the same place.
Of course, this doesn’t sound like a horribly large event, except that it is currently 2467 degrees Fahrenheit outside and exposure to the sun for more than 35 seconds has been proven to actually melt your face off.
So, with this in mind, I woke up early on Saturday (or rather woke up at more normal time and declined sleeping in) and set out to run a few errands before the Sun knew what I was doing and could exact it’s vengeance on me.
With the help of FourSquare, my trip went a bit like this:
9:30am – Iced Latte & Lola
9:45am – just miss Light Rail train at Roosevelt/Central Station.
~10:00am – board Light Rail, latte already drained
~10:15am – get off at Central/Camelback Station, get haircut at Central Barbers
11:00am – Grocery Shopping at AJ’s
11:45am – just miss Light Rail train at Central/Camelback Station
12:30pm – arrive home, staved off further melting
1:30pm – walk to Verde for a breakfast burrito
So, it’s not much, but I did manage to secure breakfast, lunch, a haircut & groceries using only mass transit or walking.
As much as I gripe about some of the poor planning around town, I do say I always appreciate the small business owner’s ability to pop up shop exactly where I need them.
I imagine the next step will be to buy a bike (and a pretty good lock) for bigger trips to the store, and hopefully to intersperse along with my rail commute to work.
Lots of people have called this idea crazy, and INHABITAT adds,
Yes, folks, you just read that. I may have just hit a milestone in ridiculousness, but I really don’t think robots on the moon is an ambitious enough plan.
Why just put a belt around it? Why not try to cover as much of one side as you can?
I have to say, I love the idea of bountiful, cheap electrical power, especially if it can easily be shared to far reaching parts of the globe.
But let’s take it one step farther…
Why not couple this with the Wireless Power invented by MIT a couple years ago, and just beam free power to the world?
THAT is how I’d like the government to spend my tax dollars.
And, I bet THAT would get a lot more people to switch to electrical or solar-power automobiles.
Free power in AZ in the summer would mean at least $100 per month I’d have available, and I’m sure my home is on the small-end of that scale.
(I just checked, and APS.com confirmed that I used 7,885 kWh of power over the last 12 months, with 56% of that use coming from June – October. Average energy spending per month: $90. Energy spending for the average AZ home: waaaay more than that.)
Sure, I get that money paid to the power company is still money going into the economy, and by no means to I think APS is an evil company. (Though the many coal-fired power plants in the East & Southeast are…)
However, if I had that extra money available, I could support more local businesses, such as through the 3/50 Project, or hell, even save the money for a big ticket purchase, like a down payment on a house (sub-prime hell nah).
Benefits of “free power”:
- Solar & EV cars take over
- Light Rail could run almost entirely for free (not that they couldn’t pull this off if they installed solar on the existing line, though….)
- More money to stimulate the local economy, instead of landing as profits for the electrical utility.
- Storm-proof power. Monsoons now longer a worry.
- Less utilities means less costs for government in terms of facilities maintenance and entitlement payouts, and thus better funding for relevant projects and/or less taxes for us, further leading to more stimulus of the local economy.
- No power plants endlessly burning coal, adding SO2 to the air, causing respiratory diseases and deaths.
I’m sure there are countless other benefits I just haven’t thought of right now….
I stumbled across Transportation Alternatives as they were being discussed on a design blog I read, and as I dug in, I thought “this is a pretty good idea, why don’t we have a strong group for this here?”.
Our Mission is to reclaim New York City’s streets from the automobile, and to advocate for bicycling, walking and public transit as the best transportation alternatives.
Transportation Alternatives was founded in 1973 during the explosion of environmental consciousness that also produced the Clean Air and Clean Water Act and the Environmental Protection Agency. Since our founding, T.A. has helped win numerous improvements for cyclists and pedestrians and has been the leading voice for reducing car use in the city. T.A.’s roots are in bicycling, and many of our members are everyday cyclists. But winning a cycling-friendly city means changing the overall transportation system, which, even in mass transit-centered New York City, is still dominated by the private automobile.
T.A. seeks to change New York City’s transportation priorities to encourage and increase non-polluting, quiet, city-friendly travel and decrease–not ban–private car use. We seek a rational transportation system based on a “Green Transportation Hierarchy,” which gives preference to modes of travel based on their benefits and costs to society. To achieve our goals, T.A. works in five areas: Bicycling, Walking and Traffic Calming, Car-Free Parks, Safe Streets and Sensible Transportation.
Of course, lately I’ve heard positive things about more and more people riding their bikes, and I’ve certainly seen an increased number of bike riders, and Light Rail commuters, this year. Perhaps I’m completely ignorant to a local organization that is already responsible for all of this.
But it never hurts to get the word out.
This week work has been pretty busy and I haven’t had much time to stop during the day. This means my usual breakfast/coffee break has been impacted, and clearly this does not make for a productive employee.
So, for the last two mornings in a row I’ve had nebulous plans to get up early and head over to Matt’s Big Breakfast before work.
I say nebulous because even though I had a plan, good ol’ sleep won out.
Today my alarm went off at 6am, I figured I could be out the door by 7, hit Matt’s and catch an 8:15 train to work.
Then my mind conceived that 10 more minutes of sleep wouldn’t be the worst. After all, I had just hit the snooze button, right?
As it turns out, I had actually turned the whole alarm off. I realized this when I woke up 75 minutes later, wondering where the hell my delicious breakfast was.
Turns out, dreams are NOT as fulfilling as a great breakfast. Even when you dream of bacon.
So now, all I’m left with are memories…. and hunger.
Damn you, Sleep! I should be having some of this:
City slickers love telling everyone what neighborhoods they live in. It’s become a kind of shorthand for what sort of person they are, what they value, where they like to hang out. It makes sense: As small as the world has gotten, it’s still really big, and carving out a little piece of it that feels familiar and pride-worthy is a basic human urge.
But forget for a second where your apartment is, and think about the blocks that surround it, the guy one door down you’ve never spoken to, the people you mill around at the flea market or pass in the bike lane on your way to the grocery store. You probably have as much in common with them as you do with your friends, but you’ve never even met.
Now, if you’ve read my blog (TB3N) for any time now, you’ve seen me advocate for more lively neighborhoods more than once. At it’s base, what they said above is 100% true. We do tend of generalize people, even within our own community, based upon where they live.
Does your block have something to say about you?
Or do you have something to say about what your block really is?
The first step is getting out there and finding out the truth and seeing what you can do to be more involved.
The first step to building a better neighborhood is the step out your front door.
To read more from GOOD.is Guide, click here.
(image from GOOD.is)
There we are, Phoenix. Number 12 on the survey for Least Wasteful Cities.
Not too bad. Let’s see some of the details:
Ranked 12th in the nation as America’s Least Wasteful City
Ranked 20th in 2009
Phoenix’s high rankings:
- 5th Never driving their car for trips that are less than one mile from home
- 7th Participating in their city’s sustainability/environmental programs
- 7th Turning off the water when brushing their teeth
Phoenix’s low rankings:
- 23rd Shutting the lights off when not in the room
- 23rd Hanging their clothes out to dry when possible
- 24th Buying locally grown/produced foods
So oddly we’re good at walking for short trips, which I’d expect us to be awful at because of the heat, and we’re awful at hanging clothes to dry, even though it only takes 0.8342 seconds to dry off here.
But here’s the part I loved best:
Efforts/Decisions to more environmentally friendly
- 84 percent recycle
- 78 percent use energy efficient bulbs
- 75 percent shop locally
Hooray for shopping local!
So we moved up from 20th to 12th in one year. No reason we cannot crack the top 10 next year.
To learn more about Phoenix’s environmental and sustainability efforts, visit http://phoenix.gov/greenphoenix/index.html
(Yes, I actually click on those links people put on the sidebars, especially if it looks like a well-designed link.)
The point of the 3/50 Project is to support “the brick & mortars our nation is built on”; meaning using our dollars to support local businesses we love RIGHT NOW, instead of lamenting their disappearance later on.
I love this concept for two reasons:
1.) I love brick buildings anyways.
2.) Local/Indie businesses may cost a little more, but the service you get is 100x better than at a chain, and the money stays here.
So I don’t mind paying a little extra (if that’s even needed) to support a local business because it means that the workers there, who receive my dollars as their wages, will in turn spend the same dollars nearby. In the end my same dollar bounces around and support dozens of buisnesses. Now THAT is “stimulating the local economy”. Plus, local businesses = less empty buildings = less blight = less crime = better neighborhoods.
Consider THAT next time you make a run to Wal-Mart.
So the concept is pretty simple. Pick out 3 business you would hate to see go under, and spend $50/month at those spots. Sure, this sounds like a financial commitment that can have an impact on people trying to make ends meet, but the idea is not to spend more, it’s to spend there instead.
So here’s the three I’ve picked for April:
– Royal Coffee / Urban Grocery (because of their symbiotic relationship, I’m counting them as one)
This week I’ve gone to Urban Grocery for lunch twice and Royal Coffee three times. I went to Lola this morning. I went to Postino’s last Sunday and will be returning on Monday night.
I’m pretty sure that next month I’ll include places like All About Books & Comics, Cheese-n-Stuff, and hopefully I’ll find a good, local bookstore, so I don’t have to always go to Borders/B&N.
Think about the three places you’d hate to see go. Show them some appreciation today.