When I was in sixth grade social studies, my teacher told us that streets always go east and west, and avenues always go north and south. Many cities have that system, but not every city does: by convention, Manhattan has avenues running north-south and streets running east-west, but the opposite is true in places like Denver where streets run north-south and avenues run east-west. Other cities do it in other ways: Washington, DC, famously has avenues cutting diagonals across the city. Tuscon has "stravenues" that fulfill that function. Generally, cities will have avenues intersecting streets, and I was curious about how Lansing's roads were named.
Saturday, September 12, 2020
Sunday, August 16, 2020
On August 4th, 2020, the port city of Beirut experienced two large explosions, tragically hamstringing its people and infrastructure. Using data publicly available on OpenStreetMap, we can imagine what an equivalent explosion would have been like in our area.
Within 1 kilometer (0.6 miles) of the blast, buildings were all but destroyed, leaving a crater. If the explosion had happened at our capitol building, nearly 1,100 buildings, many residential, would have been leveled in the blast. In Beirut, almost 200 people were tragically killed.
Within 5 kilometers (3.1 miles) of the epicenter, windows were blown out and facades destroyed. Pieces of buildings caused more damage and injuries as the heat and movement carried debris out from the city center. If the explosion had happened in Lansing, over 35,000 buildings could have experienced some kind of damage, including most Lansing neighborhoods.
Within 10 kilometers (6.2 miles) of the epicenter, people felt aftershocks and saw smoke rising into the sky. People as far as Okemos, Holt, Dewitt and, Waverly would be able to see the damage and feel the blast.
Lansing is much larger than Beirut in terms of area, but has one third of the people; the population of the city of Beirut is much more concentrated in a smaller space than Lansing, making the destruction more devastating.
The United States has promised financial support although we have not committed an amount yet. Consider a donation to an organization like Doctors Without Borders that is doing work on the ground in the affected areas.
Friday, July 10, 2020
So begins the Economic Innovation Group's May 2020 report on urban neighborhoods in the United States.
Lansing metro is among the areas analyzed--the report maps our city in terms of its change in poverty rates comparing a range of dates, including 1980, 1990, 2000, 2010 and 2018. On the original EIG site, you can click a tract to see the rates for various years.
With neighborhood names and landmarks superimposed over the map we can get a clearer picture of which areas are hardest hit. Areas along the Cedar St corridor and north of the highway in the Eastside neighborhoods were already experiencing high rates of poverty in the 80s and have worse rates in the present day. There are some areas that were hit hard by the recession in the 2000s and haven't recovered (Tamarisk, Glencairn, Potter-Walsh); others have been hit by the most recent recession (Creston).
A few cities have seen "turn arounds" and others have seen areas that were in deep poverty both in the 1980s and now. Lansing has neither of those; we've seen some areas stabilize and others fall slightly. Tracts are categorized as newly becoming poor, persistently in poverty, in worse poverty, or having been in poverty but "turned around". Interestingly, nationally, most neighborhoods' conditions worsened, only a small minority were in the "turned around" category.
The entire map, which looks at urban areas around the country is available online here.
Tuesday, June 9, 2020
transportation network analysis. They begin by marking streets as high stress (highway 496, or a fast street with narrow bike lanes like Aurelius) or low stress (residential roads, or the Lansing River Trail network). Then it determines which amenities are available via bike, such as employment, recreation, and services like health and grocery. You can see Lansing's network stress analysis here.
Ann Arbor for example has a much higher rating and much more connectivity; it has a similar population size and area to Lansing). Lansing has relatively poor connectivity to a large number of areas--many neighborhoods are are locked off from city amenities by highways, trunks and primary roads without safe bike alternatives. Downtown is well connected, and there are a few areas on the South East side that are moderately well connected and walkable or bikeable. Most neighborhoods require a car to get to important places. The River Trail does a great job of connecting many areas to Downtown and the larger Michigan network, but there are lots of neighborhoods where people cannot access the river trail without driving to a trailhead or crossing busy roads with high speed traffic.
One other things to consider is city size: when small cities are included, the ranking shakes up quite a bit. Many smaller cities are doing a good job of ensuring access to city amenities.
This year, Lansing's rating is 1.8 (last year we also earned a 1.8, in 2018 we had a 1.7). Shout out to the Lansing Bicycle Co-op, the Lansing Bike Party, TCBA and all of the other stakeholders working to make Lansing a better place to bike. Also, Lansing recently renewed the biking millage, and you can see some improvements going up on our current trail. Let's see what we can do to raise it and make us an even more bike-friendly city in the future!
Friday, March 20, 2020
Tuesday, March 17, 2020
The map is available online at: https://www.mcgi.state.mi.us/schoolnutrition/
Wednesday, March 11, 2020
Interesting too are the "protest votes" that went to candidates that had already suspended their campaigns. Tulsi Gabbard, who is still officially running, earned less than one third of the votes that Buttigieg, who has suspended his campaign, earned.