against parking requirements

A new article!

"The right to access every building in a city by private motorcar, in an age when everyone owns such a vehicle, is actually the right to destroy the city." -- Lewis Mumford, _The City in History_

'A train drops a passenger off and keeps going. A driver drops a car off and keeps going. Thus most trains are mostly moving, while most cars are parked most of the time. The price of the car’s convenience, then, is the space it consumes when it isn’t in motion, and indeed even when it isn’t there. Cities designed for cars must set aside space: space to wait for cars, and space to hold them while they wait for their drivers to come back.'

'In downtown L.A., parking usually costs developers more than $50,000 per space to build. Walt Disney Concert Hall, a cultural landmark that is home to the Los Angeles Philharmonic, cost $274 million to build. Of that total, the underground parking structure, which is not a cultural landmark (it’s an underground parking structure), accounted for $100 million.'

'Large portions of New York, Chicago, Boston, and Philadelphia, if they burned down tomorrow, couldn’t be rebuilt, because according to modern zoning, their buildings don’t have “enough” parking. Brownstone Brooklyn, after all, is largely devoid of parking; so is Boston’s famed North End.'

'There are promising signs of reform. Buffalo, New York, recently abolished its parking requirements. Minneapolis has done the same. San Diego and San Francisco have scaled them back, and California may be on the cusp of rolling them back statewide.' See the comment count unavailable DW comments at

(no subject)

"I wish I'd gotten back to sleep."
remembers something about Teletubbie milk slaves
"Okay, I must have gone from dreaming to waking without noticing, also WTF."

Virus novelty and severity with reference to covid-19.

Minneapolis abolishing parking requirements city-wide. "Progressives" elsewhere, the gauntlet has been thrown.

BTW, you know the stereotype of US conservative being nostalgic for the 1950s? And people point out that's nostalgia for white male suburban breadwinners, not everyone else. Well, it's also nostalgia for an unprecedented lifestyle created through massive government social engineering: zoning, GI bill, highways. Nothing like the actual traditional development pattern which US conservatives now call liberal socialism. See the comment count unavailable DW comments at

motherhood in the age of fear


"In a country that provides no subsidized child care and no mandatory family leave, no assurance of flexibility in the workplace for parents, no universal preschool and minimal safety nets for vulnerable families, making it a crime to offer children independence in effect makes it a crime to be poor."

"One such mother I spoke with was charged with felony child endangerment when she left her napping 4-year-old daughter in the car for a few minutes with the windows open while she ran into a store. During her arrest, she remembers the officer saying, “Stay-at-home mom’s too busy shopping to take care of her kid? Does your husband know how you take care of your child while he’s out earning the big bucks?""

"We’re contemptuous of “lazy” poor mothers. We’re contemptuous of “distracted” working mothers. We’re contemptuous of “selfish” rich mothers. We’re contemptuous of mothers"

" When participants were told a father had left his child for a few minutes to run into work, they estimated the level of risk to the child as about equal to when he left because of circumstances beyond his control. ... I love the way this finding makes plain something we all know but aren’t supposed to say: A father who is distracted by his interests and obligations in the adult world is being, well, a father; a mother who does the same is failing her children." See the comment count unavailable DW comments at

vacc and stuff

Have received my second Moderna. I moved my arms through the 15 minute waiting period, and walked around the park for an hour or so before daring to take the trains home rather than another Lyft. Late that evening I started to feel aches and blah, and I slept so-so with all the blankets on. Next day, I don't think I ever had a really high fever, but definitely slept a lot.

Coupled days of idleness after that, I'd felt fine at home, but I went for a 40 minute walk and it figuratively killed me (and became a 45-50 minute walk, not counting breaks). Got some nice Filipino food out of it, though.

In unrelated news I have ended up in a cutthroat leaderboard on Duolingo. The top score isn't that high, only 1269, not in the 2000s, but no one seems willing to fall into the demotion zone, and I'm struggling to stay neutral.

Books read:
Pyramids (Pratchett)
Bloom into you: Regarding Saeki Sayaka (all 3 volumes)
The Truth
Going Postal
Soul Music See the comment count unavailable DW comments at

musings on grocery/corner stores

Prompted by this article on America's missing corner stores and this video on Dutch grocery shopping.

Apart from a few weeks of contract work in Redwood Shores, and a week in the countryside outside Amsterdam, I think I've lived my entire life within a 20 minute walk of a supermarket, and usually a fair bit closer than that. Not by coincidence, I plan my residences with that in mind. This also means I haven't gone to corner stores much; why bother, when a cheaper supermarket is 5-10 minutes away? Still, sometimes, especially expanding to some specialty neighborhood stores:

Childhood: one corner store or another for the Sunday newspaper, and I think to pick up a gallon of milk when that was the only thing wanted. Also a "Fruit and Produce" stand we sometimes used, I wasn't told why: presumably better selection, freshness, or prices.

Pasadena: supermarket was 15 minutes away, so I started getting milk from a corner store in between; a bit more expensive, but saved my scrawny arms from having to haul milk 15 minutes on top of everything else I was getting.

Cambridge/Somerville: there was a meat market in Davis Square which I think I would visit sometimes even from Porter Square, and definitely when I was living in Powderhouse Square. Fair variety and definitely cheaper (for meat; they sold other things, often at a markup.) In Porter I lived between two Star Markets (super), but Powderhouse was interesting as Davis long didn't have *any* nearby supermarket -- closest was Porter Square! But Powderhouse is 10 minutes in the wrong direction, so the closest had been a 19 minute walk to a distant market. Except that a Bfresh opened in Davis like right before I moved there. It was odd, but enough of a supermarket to work.

Osaka: memory is vague, but I think I sometimes used the closer conbini for bread (the cheap white stuff, not a favorite but stopgap calories or late night snack) and milk. Maybe; I definitely have memories of getting milk from the supermarket too, not like I was getting gallons for my tiny fridge. Conbini also had prepared hot foods. The market was an 8 minute walk away but somehow it *felt* further. See the comment count unavailable DW comments at

life update

I just had my first corn dog of living memory, actually a Korean one. It was everything I dreamed a hot dog covered in fried dough would be: meh.

The odd thing is that the meat 'dogs' are the cheapest from that place. Replacing it with corn or potato makes it more expensive -- I didn't buy one, but from what I was told the cheese dog would be like a cheese stick in fried dough.

I toasted oatmeal yesterday. It made a pleasant difference. Not sure if it made enough of one to be worth a 5 minute setup if I don't make it in bulk.

Bought a pineapple from the grocery truck. $5! No idea if that's cheap or not. Good, though also a lot of pineapple... damn, I picked up real groceries today, and I should have thought to get potato chips and cottage cheese, for the nostalgia mix.

Between vaccine and CDC advice, I've been bolder outdoors, and ate out (outside, unenclosed) on a walk Saturday. I still feel I'd like to have my mask brace on before spending any significant time inside; I found an ice cream place yesterday ("Dolly Llama") but backed out when I found I'd have to wait in a stuffy interior.

Recent books: The Logic of Life; Soul Music; Regarding Saeki Sayaka vols 1 and 2; God Stalk (for a discussion group, none of whom liked it much; Aral Vorkosigan's Dog; Leaf By Niggle (sometimes Tolkien did like allegory). Currently reading The Undercover Economist.

Wishing my A/C wasn't a piece of shit. My host says he's trying to find a replacement. I'm here for another 6 weeks but between vaccine and summer I think it's getting time to move on, even if it's just to a cheaper LA room. See the comment count unavailable DW comments at

grocery truck

One tool I use to expose the real value of parking spaces it to ask how much a food truck would be willing to pay. Probably a lot more than $1/hour, at least during lunch time in busy areas! Or, more hypothetically, small shop trucks similar to the sunglass or watch repair stalls you find in the middle of indoor shopping malls. Or how much someone with an RV might pay for a reserved parking space, even if they have to drive off periodically for fuel fluid exchange -- certainly more than the $30/year Cambridge and Somerville are charging residents.

Anyway, in Koreatown I've observed some of those non-food trucks, grocery trucks run by Latinos. I finally patronized one yesterday, bumping into it on my walk, seeing clementines which I was out of, and feeling less averse to human interaction. 3 minutes away vs. 6 for my supermarket, outdoors (natch), and competitively priced: $3/lb for the mandarins, I think $1/2 lbs for bananas which is cheaper than Ralph's price. I didn't process the price of the potatoes and ginger, but I left with a rather heavy bag I'd paid $6.50 for.

OTOH there was a single-pack of Shin something ramen for $1.50, which seems high.

In all sincerity, free enterprise at work! Woo.

I wasn't paying that much attention but other things present: tomatoes, big oranges, other kinds of ramen, ripe bell peppers, and I think a whole lot more.

Edit after a second look: onions, apples, eggplant, pineapple, mango, Snickers, Kit-Kat, Doritos and other chips, tortillas, tostadas, sugar, more kinds of ramen, Theraflu, more. A sign said toilet paper and cleaning chemicals though I did not see them. See the comment count unavailable DW comments at

covid vaccine trauma and afterwards

I'll put most of this in a cut because some people who can't get vaccine don't like hearing about others getting it, but first some resources:

Collapse ) See the comment count unavailable DW comments at

mode share major cities

Check it out.

You can sort by the various columns, unless you're on a phone. Madrid, Barcelona, and Berlin have 30+% of people walking to work. And these are metro areas of more than 1 million people, not small towns. NYC is #9 at 28%; the next American one is San Francisco at just 5%, then Boston and DC and some more. Granted that's more than the city proper -- but that's true of NYC too!

For biking we have Osaka and Berlin at 20 and 18% (I'm sticking to First World cities, on the grounds of more people having the money for cars, which was maybe less true in 2005 Beijing.) NYC and Portland are the first US cities at 3%.

For metro areas between 250,000 and 1 million, there are a bunch at more than 25% walking. The first US city is Buffalo, at 6%. Biking starts at 48 or 40% for Dutch cities, a bunch have 25%, the first US is Buffalo again, at 1%... granted, Buffalo is apparently the only US metro in that range listed, so it's not super comprehensive.

For least car use, we have Hong Kong and Tokyo at 12% (mostly transit for HK, Tokyo has a lot more walking and biking), Osaka 18%, Paris 20%, NYC 32%.

Canada looks pretty US, except for higher transit use. See the comment count unavailable DW comments at