Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Short News Stories No. 5

Excellent Sample Map
A walking map doesn't have to be big or complex to be effective. Take the 8.5-by-11 Walking the Waterfront map of Halifax & Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, Canada, with clear, hand-drawn maps of both city waterfronts. Sites are clearly numbered, one to 44, and range from a casino to open space to eating places and docks. A number of vessels make their home here, including deep sea fishing charter boats, a replica of a famous fishing schooner and a research ship of the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic, which is based in Halifax. The map, prepared by the Waterfront Development Corporation Ltd., is simplicity itself, in two colors, folded into three easy-to-read panels whose title is "Your official cruising guide to the shops and sights, restaurants and museums on the wonderful waterfront." Contact the organization for a sample.

Waterfront Corruption
The FBI seems to have to known what it was doing in targeting city officials in Northern New Jersey with waterfront development projects. Most of the 44 arrests earlier this year were of officials taking bribes from agents posing as developers seeking project approvals. The complaints filed paint a picture of building and zoning departments where influence, connections and payoffs are used to enable developments to proceed smoothly. Otherwise the process is described as dysfunctional. Developers are said to budget for bribes. For a little light reading, try The Soprano State: New Jersey's Culture of Corruption by Bob Ingle and Sandy McClure (New York: St. Martin's Press, 2008).
The Press of Atlantic City, Aug. 8, 2009.

New Treatment Plant Technology
In the city of Blaine, Washington, they are putting a new wastewater treatment plant in a waterfront park. Using new odor control technology plus smaller and quieter equipment enables the facilities to be front and center. In fact, when Blaine's plant opens in June 2010, it will house processing underground and have two structures on top: one for administration, the other for public park uses. The reclaimed wastewater will be used to water city land and a golf course. Funding in the form of grants and loans came from local, state and Federal sources. Brown and Caldwell of Seattle did the design of the 23,000 square-foot plant.
Engineering News Record, Oct. 5, 2009.

Bikers vs. Peds: Serious Business
The Battle of Brooklyn Bridge is on. The narrow walkway (remember the bridge dates to 1883) now tries to accommodate growing numbers of walkers and bikers plus more than a few tourists stopping to take pictures. One solution suggested is to make the bikers use the adjoining Manhattan Bridge, which has a secure bike lane. Problem: it doesn't tie well to downtown. Writing in the Sunday Opinion page of The New York Times, author Robert Sullivan, a Brooklyn biker, proposes taking bikes off the walkway in favor of a protected bike lane in the roadway. Separation is the solution being used on a downtown riverwalk under construction now in Des Moines, Iowa. the Center co-directors were given a tour recently by a representative of Principal Financial Services, the major funder, where there will be a pedestrian walk above on lovely blocks and a pathway below along the river itself intended by bikes, bladers and the like. A new pedestrian/bike bridge under construction will tie the paths together and whose graceful arch will be a new icon for the city.
The New York Times, Sept. 27, 2009.

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