Friday, September 28, 2012

Carmageddon 2: A Time To Celebrate

On the eve of the second coming of (non)Carmageddon, Wolfpack and friends have put together an all city ride to celebrate. It's not a race against a jet this time, but instead a ride to bring people together from all over LA to go see the 405 in all it's empty glory, and go party at Dockweiler Beach. The organizing for this event is rather last minute, which feels familiar, but it should be a fun time.

Numerous other rides and events are going on, some hosted by bike advocacy groups like LACBC and CICLE, and some events having nothing to do with bikes, all in the new trend that major freeway shutdowns in the capital of freeways are a time to have fun. I love it! So there are a variety of events and rides at different times, places and distance levels to choose from. Don't stay home, go out make fun happen by bike & Metro. Let's show Los Angeles it doesn't need cars to have a good time.

I'll be hosting a ride to the Expo Line from the Santa Monica pier (at the cannon) at noon (11:30 meet up, rolling at 12:00pm sharp), to make our way out to meet up with the main group if anyone wants to hop along. The plan is depending on group size we hop train, or if that is too unmanageable, some of us will ride and some can hop train if they want to.

Also feel free to join along the route if you don't want to start at the pier, we'll be doing one loop through the Windward Circle for those wanting to jump on in Venice, and we'll be taking Fiji way to the creek path through Marina Del Rey, following the path to the La Cienaga Expo Station. For full details on everything check out the links below, and if you come along, I recommend bringing plenty of water and a few snacks. This won't be a Wolfpack pace, but it is shaping up to be quite a few miles, so stay hydrated and get your calories, yadda yadda yadda.

The main group will roll out from LA City Hall in front of the new Grand Park, with rides converging there from 1-2pm, and a last call roll out time of 3pm from Downtown LA.

MR Thread: Carmageddon
MR Thread: Westside Feeder Ride
Facebook Discussion: Main Event Thread

The full map is below (centered on the Westside feeder route), and may feature changing details or new feeder routes as things get nailed down.


Sunday, June 24, 2012

"With all their speed forward they may be a step backward in civilization."

"With all their speed forward they may be a step backward in civilization. May be that they won't add to the beauty of the world or the life of the men's souls, I'm not sure. But automobiles have come and almost all outwards things will be different because of what they bring. They're going to alter war and they're going to alter peace. And I think men's minds are going to be changed in subtle ways because of automobiles. And it may be that George is right. May be that in ten to twenty years from now that if we can see the inward change in men by that time, I shouldn't be able to defend the gasoline engine but agree with George - that automobiles had no business to be invented."

- From the Orson Welles film, "The Magnificent Ambersons" (1942)

Monday, May 14, 2012

Hit with a mind bomb, my first Congress for the New Urbanism

I just got back to the cool breezy air of LA and Santa Monica yesterday after a week in the tropical climate of South Florida for the 20th annual Congress for the New Urbanism in West Palm Beach. The wealth of information I learned from both speakers and the rich dialogue with fellow attendees has left me feeling like a I've come back to California with a whole new brain. A feeling that is quite impressive to me given that I had already read many works by those involved in the New Urbanist movement.

I was also a little surprised at how many people there recognized who I was without introduction and despite this being my first time attending. I guess my blogging and twittering is really starting to get around. Although it was my first time, it also felt good to be able to have a unique perspective and add to the discussion with my own insights. It was not a one way relationship of absorbing information, and that is part of CNU's strength, it's a culture of back and forth that encourages everyone to share what they have to add.

Prior to CNU, and now immediately following, I am in the trenches of overtime hours at work, so my time to share more details are limited. However as soon as I am able to I'll process some of my detailed notes, audio recordings, and photos, and share more highlights here. My update for LA Streetsblog this week, written after day 2 of the 4 day conference, includes my initial impressions from CNU20.

It was an absolutely incredible week, and my thanks to the organizers, the speakers, and everyone who attended and who were so ready and willing to discuss ideas. From the almost legendary architects and urban designers that have written numerous books, to the humble first time attendee, everyone was approachable and willing to chat, and all had valuable and unique insights to add. Getting some one on one time with some authors who have been very influential to my thinking in recent years was alone worth the trip, but that was only a fraction of the value I got out of the experience.

There is nothing else like it that I have ever attended, and I'm sure I'll find my self drawn to CNU again in the future. Forget the left/right political divide, perhaps the best hope for our civilization's future can be found in the broad vision of principles and practices advanced by the New Urbanists.