Archive for May, 2010

I’m responsible for the oil leak contaminating the Gulf of Mexico.  I came to this conclusion this week while I was driving to work, slowed by scores of moving vehicles, most of which contained just one person.
Each time I make the decision to drive to work rather than take the bus, I’ve essentially told companies like BP to search for oil in risky environments.  Each time I sit in line at a drive-thru window, I’ve told our government to do whatever it takes to search for crude oil that can be refined into gasoline.

Each time I drive my car to a friends house, or to the grocery store rather than bicycling or walking, I’m sending a signal to the oil industry that what they do, and that what the government allows them to do is A-OK.

At times I’m forced into such actions.  Escaping a culture that is based upon low-cost fuel is incredibly difficult.  My local supermarket is in fact a super-huge market filled with fruits, vegetables and scores of other products grown and manufactured outside of the region.  I’ve grown to expect fresh fruit in January and February.  I bet you have too.

Each time we build a new road, widen and existing road, rebuild an overpass or zone for a new subdivision rather than repairing our inner-city neighborhoods and investing in public transit systems, we are voting for this type of risk.  Each time we build a new runway or expand an airport rather than expanding our rail system, we invite the risk associated with this type of disaster.

So when I look at the derogatory comments being aimed at BP and the derogatory comments being aimed at the Federal Government I have to stop for a moment and ask, just who is creating the demand for this type of industry.  And when I look for who is to be blamed for this calamity, I have to answer truthfully.

It is I.

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Indianapolis resident Greg Meckstroth writes this week on his blog, Urban Out, about his take on the differences and similarities between Indianapolis and Columbus.

Columbus has an urban spirit not found in Indianapolis, resulting in places like the Short North, German Village, Victorian Village, and Harrison West – all independent oriented, arts inspired urban neighborhoods that feel authentic, progressive, and on-the-go.

You may recall that it was about this time last year that I spoke with Walker Evans at Columbus Underground about my then recent visit to Indianapolis.

These two mid-tier Midwestern cities quite frequently compete in many categories – and it’s always interesting to see someone else’s perspective on this mid-west rivalary.  Click  here to read Greg’s post in it’s entirety.

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If you’re like me, you’ll stay up late every now and then.  Maybe its because you’re out with friends or maybe it’s because you’re engaged in something interesting like reading a book, watching a movie – something like that.

Consider this:

Scenario A)
Let’s say that you’re up late one night and get to sleep around 3 a.m.  About five and a half hours later you wake up, stumble to the kitchen and grab a cup of coffee – maybe some fruit or a danish, or maybe french toast and eggs.  Gaze out the window for a while contemplating the day ahead of you – then freshen up, brush your teeth, lace up your shoes and hit the streets with a plan.

Scenario B)
Maybe you don’t like staying up that late.  And maybe you like to sleep more than six hours.  So, let’s say that you hit the sack around 2 a.m.  After a full eight-hours of sleep you wake up, brush your teeth, have a leisurely breakfast, chat with a few folks over coffee and then decided to spend the rest of the afternoon taking in the sights and sounds of the city.

Scenario C)
Some may like the idea of getting up early, watching the sun rise, reading the paper or knocking out a few chapters of a great book.  Then it’s a intriguing conversation over lunch, an afternoon nap, and by early evening you’re ready for the theater, the opera and a late dinner at a little bistro around the corner.

Imagine that in Scenario A, you walk out the door and find yourself in downtown Chicago – at the base of the Sears Tower no less.

In Scenario B you walk out the door and find yourself just four blocks from the National  Mall in Washington, DC.

And in Scenario C, you open the door and find yourself at Penn Station in New York City.

Do you know that these options currently exist, using Ohio’s existing passenger rail service?  Sure, it requires a drive to Cleveland to catch the train, but it’s possible, it’s completely do-able and it’s relatively inexpensive.  Amtrak operates two trains a day to Chicago, and one a day to both New York and Washington DC.

Yes, it requires a trip to Cleveland to catch the train, but passenger rail exists and it works.   And it’s comfortable.  Even with the drive to Cleveland, it’s relatively convenient.    It’ll be more convenient when boarding the train in downtown Columbus is possible.

Supporting the expansion of Ohio’s passenger rail service also means taking advantage of what we have today, funding what we have today so that those funds can be used to expand service in the future.

If you one of the supporters of the expansion of passenger rail in Ohio which will include the 3C Corridor project, I encourage you to take the train next time you’re planning a trip to one of the three destinations, served directly, on Amtrak today.

$49, one way to Chicago.
$77, one way to DC.
$86, one way to New York.

These are next-day departures, not advanced reservations departing from Cleveland.  Chicago and DC are can also be reached from Cincinnati, but with longer travel times.

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