Saturday, August 23, 2008

Measuring Your Miles

Today I took a walk from my house to the beach at Plum Island. I met my wife and kids there who took the car along will all the beach stuff.

I was armed with a water bottle and an IPOD and a letter which I deposited at the Post Office.

Along the way, I passed many tourists, A-frame signs, and one clam shack--all that Newburyport has offer. Another policy thought (and I know it's better than it was years ago): it is not all that safe to walk out to the Island.

There's Google Map 'mashup' at which you can use to measure walks, runs, bike rides and auto trips. It's pretty cool. You can save your 'routes' for future reference.

Here's the 5.3 mile route I took:

If you click on the satellite view, you'll see a lot more beach at the center of Plum Island than there is now.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Going with the flow - The Boston Globe

Going with the flow - The Boston Globe

There was a great article--funny too--the other day in the Globe. I think the real Newburyport bloggers (Salemi, Ari, Gillian, Mary Baker, Mr/Ms X) should drive this guy on a ride through our own beloved streets.

A few interesting insights by the author on the drive through Boston:

"We just passed a classic sign: 'Slippery when wet.' It's a sign that, on the days when it's not wet, nobody pays attention to. When it is wet, do you then pay attention? The more signs that don't apply to your situation at the moment, the more you disregard them. 'Slow, children' signs are the bane of traffic engineers. People get frustrated with speeding and get towns to put up these signs, but they tend not to accomplish anything."

"Very European-inspired city, isn't it? This sort of narrow street, with a lot of obstacles and parking on both sides, is called a self-explaining road - you don't need a speed limit. Whether this always works is hard to say, but it's natural traffic-calming. If you put a speed bump here, people would speed up after the bump."

"Well-designed rotaries are safer than conventional intersections."

"Congestion is as old as cities. Cities thrive on congestion. To have a Boston that you could whisk through magically at some free-flowing speed in a car would raise a question: Would it still be Boston? The easier you make it for drivers, the more driving you're going to attract. The easier you make it to get into a city, the farther out people will choose to live."

"[Economist] Donald Shoup's argument is that if you raise the price of meters to the point where spaces are never more than 85 percent occupied, you'd eliminate a lot of bargain-hunting, meandering around, adding to the traffic with destinationless driving."

My own personal Top 4 favorite challenges in NBPT driving:
4) Route 1 Rotary--cars coming northbound from Newbury seem to be magnetically attracted to vehicles exiting to Dunkin Donuts or get washed. Rotaries and Dunkin Donuts are two great things that don't go well together.
3) Hyman Pennyworth Shoes and Dunkin Donuts--I'm not normally paranoid (really) but how does Dunkin Donuts get these locations approved? Go slow when you pull into Pennyworth's because some overly caffeinated commuter may come whipping around the corner.
2) Taking a left onto High Street from anywhere especially morning and evening commute times.
1) Moseley Woods Intersection....some call it the Chain Bridge time you drive through notice the damaged stone wall apparently hit repeatedly over the years. The Community Preservation Committee recommended and the City Council approved funding to fix the wall as a historic/open space/recreation project. Councillor Derrivan had the line of the night--"There's nothing historic about it except a history of people running into it."

I'd love to hear your favorite Newburyport driving funspots.

Let's be careful out there!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008