Thursday, January 2, 2014

Tweets from the past year (or so)

I've been using Twitter this year a lot, and I thought the hypothetical readers of this blog might want to see the Best Tweets By Me of 2013. Or at least the ones I liked, anyway.

Since I've never done this before I'm actually going further back than 2013, but I'm thinking maybe I'll make this an annual tradition.

Driving by outlet mall, I think I want to start a store for middle-aged men called “Forever 42”.

➡️ Tea partiers decry "fiat money" backed by noting but government while bitcoiners want money backed by nothing at all

I feel bad sometimes going to the megachain for iced tea, but didn't expect the chain itself to agree

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Brings the boys to the corporation yard MT The Communications Milkshake

Having a Jean Valjean moment

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Gettysburg Address not what most people think.
I want to see "Captain Phillips." I hear it's not as square as "Captain Robertson."

Pet peeve: people who include a little logo or vcf file with every email, making it hard to look for real attachments

Finally cracked the all-important 50 followers! I'm sure my "verified user" check will be required any day now.

Misanthropic camp song: Lose old friends, don't new ones win / One is leaden and the other, tin

Do cats use the hashtag ?

Still waiting for the sequel to "March of the Penguins" (to be called "April of the Penguins")

After rewatching 1st epsiode, now I think I should watch rest of DS9 out of order, so will be "not linear."

I was looking for an emoji character that was appropriate for Star Trek, but couldn't find one. The character called "space" is misleading

What would happen if you took old Bob Dylan recordings and used Auto-Tune on his voice?

I am no longer -- I am now . I'm sure this is a huge deal for everyone.

If there were a comic book series called "Anger," I would go to the used comics store and unload my anger issues

Peeve: saying "make a URL" when they mean "make a web page." Might as well say "make an address" when they mean "build a house."

Golden age of area codes: If we must have overlays, I think it should be everything in those borders

In an independent bookstore, waiting for a lecture to start, ashamed to do what I'd really like and pull out my Kindle.

Watching my nephews play "Polar Express". More sophisticated than "Cartesian Express. "

They say if it feels like an elephant is sitting in your chest, call 911. But how do I know how that feels without an elephant trying it?

Someone said I have "solid character", but maybe it would be better liquid: not fixed to a shape but incompressible under pressure

To appreciate "Pitch Perfect," disbelief cannot simply be suspended; it must be expelled.

Personality Quiz: I know why the caged bird (a) sings (b) bangs its head against the bars over and over until it cracks its skull.

"Thank you, but in our home we don't celebrate Garbage Day."

Takes a worried man to tweet a worried tweet. I'm worried now, but won't be worried longer than 140 characters.

I've been playing Tom Paxton's "Can't Help But Wonder Where I'm Bound" lately. Probably not ideal for someone in the transit info business

Msg from year 2022: Remember before fold-out screens, when half an inch made a big difference in our smartphone screens? Boy was that lame.

Looking at my wife's Frommer's France 2005. Wonder if the Tardis has a whole library: France 1992, France 1993, France 1994, France 1995…

Still trying to figure out how Panorama can take really wide pictures of my cat.

Alameda/Albany/Clayton/Danville/Emeryvl/Hercules/Martinez/Moraga/Newark/Piedmont/Pinole/San Pablo/Sn Ramon all paid for BART. Why Livermore?

So just remember whenever you exchange data via NFC with someone you're exchanging data with everyone they've ever exchanged data with.

Curiosity has landed... those Martian cats are gonna be *taken down*.

New catchphrase "Yours to Discover" is at least better than Friendster's "Je me souviens"

I hadn't a new freezer bag, so put the Berkeley Bagel Co bagels in with the Noah's in their freezer bags. Relations between them are frosty

Monday, December 2, 2013

AC Transit bus stop manager position available

We have a new position available at AC Transit for someone to manage our bus stop program. http://

Thursday, September 26, 2013

An email signature

NOTE: This e-mail communication and any attachments hereto are covered by the Electronic Communications Privacy Act, 18 U.S.C. Sections 2510-2521, as well as the Lunacy (Vacating of Seats) Act, 1886 (49 Vict., c. 16), and are legally and socially privileged. The information contained herein is confidential, and is intended only for the use of the individual or entity to whom it is addressed, or any covert operatives of the United States Government. If you are not the intended recipient of this e-mail communication, you are hereby notified that any retention, copying or further distribution of this e-mail communication and any attachments is strictly prohibited and can be punished by fine, imprisonment, death, or drawing and quartering and, outside the jurisdiction of the United States of America, by attainder and corruption of blood. If you are not the intended recipient, please notify the sender by placing a notice in a newspaper of record or by skywriting the notice on a day with sunny or partly sunny weather conditions, confirming that you have already destroyed (deleted) yourself and any and all other accidental recipients of the original e-mail communication. Thank you.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Romney's view of health care

I just want to offer counterpoint to Mitt Romney's ludicrous suggestion that uninsured people can get adequate healthcare in the emergency room: Primary care does not happen at the ER. Chemo and radiation for cancer patients does not happen in the ER. Pap smears, mammograms, and prostate exams do not happen in the ER. Teenagers don't get birth control in the ER. I sure hope Mr Romney is planning to visit the ER the next time he needs a check up. Something tells me he must have never been in one. #outof touch
— Harriet Patterson, MPH

Monday, May 14, 2012

Toronto and Tomorrowland

Something I noticed some time ago was this:

Here's the logo for the Toronto Transit Commission:

And here's the one for the "Tomorrowland Transit Authority", a ride at Disney World:

I suppose they're not that similar, really. But there is a resemblance.

(Images from Wikipedia)

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

On-street bike parking is a safety improvement

This post from StreetFilms shows that adding bike parking in the curb lane can improve safety. Since a group of bicycles is less bulky and blocks views less than a car does, replacing one car space with a number of bicycle spots not only increases the capacity of the street and encourages alternative transportation, it also makes the street safer by allowing vehicle operators to see other vehicles and pedestrians coming around the corner.

Here's one case where there's no "it might hurt safety" excuse to promote alternative transportation.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

A (2003) critique of Aerotropolis

Earlier this week, Aaron Renn at the Urbanophile took a look at a new book on Aerotropolis, the idea that future cities will be built around airports. (I found it through Streetsblog.)

This is not a new idea. One of my instructors at the USC Sacramento Center was enamored of the Aerotroplis idea back in 2003. A fellow student and I were assigned a paper on "California's Airport Crisis," and were asked to include discussion of Aerotropolis. This was the critique of Aerotropolis that I wrote back then. While this was written some time ago now, I thought it might be useful to have up where people could see it.


John Kasarda, the director of the Frank Hawkins Kenan Institute of Private Enterprise at the University of North Carolina, has suggested that air transport will reshape cities into air metropolises, or “aerotropoli.”

Kasarda points out the increasing importance of air travel and air cargo shipment to today’s economy. Just-in-time production processes and global supply networks make fast access to air traffic crucial to current manufacturing. Companies that provide business services need good access to airports so they can reach their clients. Advanced telecommunications and e-commerce make sales possible in far-off areas that were previously inaccessible.

According to Kasarda, air travel is the “fifth wave” of transportation, after seaports, inland waterways, railroads, and highways. He believes that air travel will affect the ways cities develop in the 21st century in much the same ways that these other modes affected urban development in previous centuries. New development will begin to form in clusters radiating from airports. These will be mixed-use developments, including office, retail, and residential uses. Dedicated automobile and rail infrastructure will be built to provide airport access. Low density development with easy road access to the airport will provide easy accessibility, which will be the key to future real estate decisions.

Kasarda’s vision has little relevance for California and is fundamentally based on an oversimplification of the way transportation modes affect urban development. Cities are affected in two ways by transportation: where they form and how they form. Long-distance transportation primarily affects the location of development, while the city form is affected by the mode of transportation used for day-to-day short-distance trips.

Long-distance transportation affects the location of cities because the movement of goods to market is a primary activity of cities. Development occurs where it is possible to transport these goods, and at entrepot points where merchants trade: around harbors, navigable rivers, and areas where train stations and highways were constructed.

However, the form of that development has little relationship to the long-distance mode of travel. Of course, areas used directly for long-distance transportation infrastructure (rail yards, sea ports) are affected by those modes. But to the extent that the form of the city depends on transportation, it depends on the mode used for short-distance trips taken by its residents, not by this longer-distance transportation. The houses, shops, and warehouses in a city where most travel was performed by walking or in animal-powered vehicles was similar whether long-distance travel was conducted by sea, river, or rail. The advent of commonly-used public transit changed the shape of the city in the late 1800s, and the common use of the automobile changed it again in the mid-1900s. Rail for intercity use preceded the advent of public transit by several decades, but only with the electric streetcar in the 1880s did cities change their form dramatically. Unless we find ourselves in some science-fiction future where jetpacks and aircars are the norm, air transportation may shape the location, but not the form, of cities.

(In any event, the idea that transportation has come in five “waves” is profoundly ahistorical. Sea travel and river travel are both ancient. Only because the settling of the United States by urban people began at the seacoasts and moved inward can it be considered earlier even in this country; sea travel generally came later than river travel due to the difficulty of navigation in the open sea. Airplanes and the automobile were invented at nearly the same time; both were originally made possible by the internal combustion engine.)

But air transportation, unlike water transportation and to a greater extent even than rail or highways, does not dictate any particular location. An airport can be located anywhere there is sufficient flat land, and does not need access to large bodies of water or even be connected to a network of roads or rails.

Kasarda’s “aerotropoli” are supposedly about air travel, but the form he suggest they take – “Low Density Development, Wide Lanes, and Fast Movements” – point to the automobile as the primary mode of transportation for day-to-day use inside them. The aerotropolis is differentiated only by proximity to an airport from a thousand other automobile-based developments. Indeed, Los Colinas, a Dallas-Fort Worth area development cited by Kasarda as an example of an aerotropolis, is discussed in Joel Garreau’s Edge City without any reference to its airport. Sprawl near an airport is still sprawl.

The justification for this airport-centered development is the centrality of air transport to future businesses. There is no question that for some enterprises, accessibility to an airport is key when making a decision on location. However, Kasarda paints this with too broad a brush. It has always been important for manufacturing and warehouse functions to be in locations accessible to long-distance transportation, and as air travel becomes more important relative to rail or sea, these functions may locate in proximity to airports.

But other functions of these same enterprises (such as research and development, marketing, and executive functions) have other needs, such as high employee quality of life, which are at odds with airport proximity due to airports’ negative environmental impacts. For business services, the same advanced telecommunications that Kasarda cites as an incentive for airport accessibility actually makes physical travel less important as more business is done over the Internet.

What are the implications for California? It is clear that California has no special advantage for developments related to airports. An airport-related development can exist anywhere there is flat land and reasonably reliable infrastructure, and California has no monopoly on either. The functions that can most take advantage of airport proximity – manufacturing and warehousing – are relatively unimportant in California’s economy and are disproportionately impacted by California’s high labor and land costs. California would do best to play to its strengths rather than follow the aerotropolis will-o’-the-wisp.


Garreau, Joel. Edge City: Life on the New Frontier. New York: Doubleday. 1991.

Kasarda, John. “Transportation and Business Forces Shaping Urban Development: The Rise of Aerotropolis.” Presentation prepared for the California Transportation Futures Conference. June 21, 2001.

Kasarda, John. “Airport-Driven Commercial Development: The Rise of the Aerotropolis.” Presentation prepared for the Owen G. Kenan Conference, Bangkok, Thailand. January, 2003.

Urban Land Institute. “Will The ‘Aerotropolis’ Replace the Metropolis? In Today's Real Estate Environment, Easy In-Easy Out Is Key Factor.” Press release. Available at “” November 7, 2002.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Don't litter on transit

The FMyLife blog gives me a taste of mild amusement during the day. I usually sympathize with the posters, but not for this post:
Today, in a desperate attempt to get my business "out there", I dropped a few of my cards on a station floor. I got a call, even a quote. A $500 fine from the transit for public littering. FML
If you want to advertise on transit, we would be happy to put your ads up in our billboard frames or in our publications (with reasonable compensation, of course).

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Mainstream vs. Authentic

From a supermarket in Santa Fe, New Mexico. What does it say about us that we oppose the concepts of the mainstream and authenticity?

I suppose it's possible that they are only opposed for Hispanicism, but I doubt it.

Promoting secondary units (in-law apartments)

With streamlined regulations, in-law units could boost East Bay affordable housing stock and economy, study finds

Adding secondary units like this is an extremely cost-effective way of providing affordable housing; the main reason it doesn't happen more is zoning regulations. The main zoning issue is parking, but street parking is not generally difficult to find in these areas. Adding units either in existing units' back yards or carved out of the existing homes should be promoted by the cities.