Friday, September 5, 2014
Thursday, September 4, 2014
Flying in the face of a century of development — to say nothing of New Jersey's identity —
Jersey City closed Newark Avenue between Grove and Erie Streets to cars and trucks as of Aug. 19.
The closing, which is in effect from 3 p.m. until midnight on weekdays and throughout the weekend,
is a trial effort set to run through the end of October.
The move to shut down a blocklong stretch of downtown Jersey City's main thoroughfare is just one of
many steps that Mayor Steven Fulop's administration has taken in an attempt to help tame the streets
of the state's second-largest city. These initiatives — the creation of pedestrian plazas, bicycle lanes,
slow zones and even a tentative bike-sharing network — would be familiar to many New Yorkers. But can
pedestrians and cyclists really get a foothold in a city that often feels to some like little more than an
on-ramp to the Holland Tunnel, especially in a state where toll increases and road closings can create
political potholes for elected officials?
To read the entire article, click here.
In Jersey City, 41% of households have no car, ranking behind NYC (56%) and Newark (44%).
Sunday, August 24, 2014
I had briefly mentioned in a previous post about what might go on
the cover of the upcoming "Biking in Princeton" paper map, to be
published within a few months. It hasn't been decided yet.
So for those among you who enjoy photography or drawing/sketching,
or know somebody who does, we encourage you to search in your
collection for a suitable image to include on the cover of our map. Or
wait for a fine cloudless day (today for example) and go make one.
The rules concerning format are, for the moment, pretty loose, and will
be specified by Nat Case, the cartographer in charge of the map. But
- the artwork or photo will need to be a digital file, not hard copy.
- send an email with your entry/submission to "firstname.lastname@example.org"
- entries will be accepted until midnight on Wednesday, Sept. 10.
- you agree to donate or freely share your art with the public. For free.
- be aware of the rules/guidelines when taking photos in a public space.
- make it interesting and artful, okay ?
Examples and counter-examples:
This scenic shot might be effective, except would get rejected
since it isn't recognizably Princeton. On the other hand, this photo
isn't usable since we don't know who owns the copyright, and
there is nary a helmet-clad bicyclist to be seen. Same problem here.
Saturday, August 23, 2014
From The Wall Street Journal: Robin Williams and Dario Pegoretti: The Comedian and the Bike Builder
by Jason Gay
By now, you may have heard that Robin Williams was a cycling fanatic. He loved the sport—its history, its
pageantry, its champions magnificent and raffish.
He was also a devoted rider, and adored the machinery. Williams collected bikes of all types, but he was
passionate about one brand in particular: Pegoretti. If you know bicycles, you probably know Pegorettis.
Custom-made in Italy by master builder Dario Pegoretti, who built frames for cycling icons such as Miguel
Indurain, they are wild pieces of art, almost always steel, colorfully painted by hand. They're also serious
road machines. Imagine riding a high-performance Basquiat. That's a Pegoretti.
Read the entire article here.
Saturday, August 16, 2014
Google search using keywords "more recognized than Albert Einstein" yields
somebody you might not expect: Elsie the Cow.
Elsie was created in the 1930s to symbolize the "perfect dairy product". For a time in
the mid-1940s when she was voiced by actress Hope Emerson, she was better known
than some human celebrities, and remains among the most recognizable product logos
in North America. The first Elsie, "You'll Do, Lobelia," was a registered Jersey heifer born
was driven all over the country in "the Cowdillac", which unfortunately was rear-ended
at a US 1 traffic light in 1941, causing Elsie's early demise. Her unmarked grave is in what was
once the Walker-Gordon Dairy Farm, now a housing development, just off Plainsboro Road.
There's a headstone to memorialize Elsie, near this easy-to-spot wooden gazebo. Its
rough location is marked on this map of a fairly easy bike ride, mostly on the towpath.
Subsequent Elsie's, of which there were apparently around 50 through the years, came
from dairy farms located near Albany, the third locus of Elsie the Cow news stories.
Aarhus-based Briton Holly Chabowski, 30, toured parts of Canada with a friend from Denmark, Nanna Sorensen, 23.
The two spent time in Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal, Quebec City, and Halifax. They also rented a car and saw
various national parks, including Forillon, as part of their 5-week visit. Apparently, on the whole, they encountered
an unhappy shock. It stands to reason they found lots of cars, highways and congestion in those major urban
centers. But they were equally appalled by a sense of active bias against anything that wasn't car-oriented.
So they wrote an Open letter to the people who hold power and responsibility in Canada which was published
in the Ottawa Citizen (daily newspaper).
The letter caused a flurry of reactions, from the usual tribal outrage when an outsider criticises one's way of
life, to explanations that Canada is too cold and/or too sparse to be anything but car-centric; this post in the
Hazlitt Magazine blog does a good job of debunking the latter.
"This has gotten so much attention because it's obviously an issue that people really care about," Chabowski
told The Local. "I would encourage everybody who feels strongly about an issue, regardless of what it is, to
do something about it. Whatever your issue is, I think you should stand up and direct your energies toward
people who can make change."
Meanwhile, Toronto mayor Rob Ford, the champion of the car-dependent suburbs who started his career with
photo opportunities tearing up bike paths before going spectacularly off the rails, stands a chance of reelection
Related topic: If You See Something, Say Something, an op-ed piece re: scientists and climate change.