Monday, December 1, 2014


Yikes, it's been a long November! This semester's wrapping up, though. One more and I'll be a real bona fide Urban Planner, just waiting for someone to employ my skillful self.

This thing is happening in Ann Arbor where people are starting to realize that homeless folks live here! And that it's really cold in Michigan. And that one underresourced warming center can't take care of them all.

It is BLOWING their MINDS.

Reading live tweets of the A2 council meetings always makes me angry in a really unproductive way, so I try not to read them. Besides, it's like being nerdy but not being nerdy enough to actually be out there and be cool and live tweet things myself. Well, I learned about investment analysis all day and now I have two kittens sleeping on top of me, so I'm not going anywhere.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Pedestrian safety / Roving Reads

Fall break - time to take a breath and write some things. I realized lately that I'm a kind of grumpy blogger and kind of get on a soapbox about things. Although I'm really a quite happy person, I find it hard to write cheery slice-of-life stuff when madness is always going on in this region. So, today I'm going to write about one thing that gets my goat and one super cool idea that I read about.

Walkable Ann Arbor?

The pedestrian and the car

Two weeks ago Ann Arbor saw two vehicle-pedestrian accidents, one of which was fatal and incredibly tragic. In the second, the Ann Arbor police chief exculpated the car involved because the runners in question were not using the crosswalk. This was at Beakes and Fifth, where I've run many a time, and anybody who's been a ped knows that whole area is a death trap, with cars whizzing over the bridge and taking sudden turns. The week before, a fellow urban planning student was clipped on her bicycle - and luckily not harmed - by a reckless right-turner at Glen and Fuller/Depot. In August, someone was hospitalized crossing W. Stadium. And of course, last year saw another tragedy of University of Michigan student killed at a crosswalk on Plymouth Rd.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Turning artists into beggars (ft. Aladdin)

Gwyddion Storm is an enterprising guy I used to chat with while walking past Borders. You can read the Ann Arbor News story about his "professional beggar"days from back in 2011. After a while he switched from panhandling to selling jewelry made of beautiful stones wrapped in copper wire.

I got this one a while ago for my mom

But apparently somebody has complained about him selling his stuff. Must have been some regulation-obsessed cat lady/dude, since Gwyddion doesn't bother anybody and is very careful to not obstruct foot traffic.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Travel with Strangers STILL LIVES!

Remember that public transit litmag I started a while ago? We're finally starting on the second issue! If you've ever had a hankering to read/write a short story, limerick, epic poem, monologue, existentialist one-act, or soul-baring memoir that takes place in/around public transit, this is your chance. And let's be real, it's pretty much your only chance, since nobody else publishes the incredibly obscure genre of transit lit.

Oh, we also like visual art - drawings, paintings, photos.

If you've never written anything before, COME ON PEOPLE! The time is now. Pull out those pens or quills or whatever floats your boat and give me some bus verbage.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Xenophobia and Liberty Plaza

I've said this before, but the A2 city council meeting last night, well-documented by the politically active twitter denizens of the city, has brought it to my attention yet again.

There's nothing wrong with wanting a park to be safe. I enjoy safety. I'm actually a bit of a worry-wort, so I try to avoid scary situations. And of course, a city government has a responsibility to keep its public spaces high-quality and secure.

It's the way the conversation about Liberty Plaza goes that gets my goat. As reported by the Ann Arbor News, it's a place where "homeless people congregate." Oh, God forbid that homeless people exist in Ann Arbor,

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Adventures of a one-car cross-county household

Life gets a lot cheaper when you move in with somebody, and Alex and I recently took our Ann Arbor and Detroit habitations and merged them into one big beautiful Ypsilanti. Besides sharing rent, cooking, and bunnies, we decided to junk his clunker and rely solely on my decade-old Ford Focus, which has belonged to every member of my family and traversed the country twice.

Bunny numero uno
It's not like we have ten children, or any other small mammals in our care besides the furry type. But still, with our wildly regional schooling and employment patterns, there are days in which we have to be...creative.

Friday, April 25, 2014

The Detroit News goes off the deep end, and the Socialists miss the point

The Detroit News is going to get a reputation for being on the loonier side of conservative after they published this op-ed written by a random guy in Mt. Pleasant. Emboldened by the unscrupulous ravings of Keith Crain, he jumps on the vaguely racist anti-historical down-with-Detroit bandwagon.

First, let me reiterate my tireless point that suggesting apocalyptic, improbable schemes for various levels of capitalistic Detroit takeover is not useful in any way. It only creates more division, fanaticism, and distrust, and creates roadblocks for people who try to propose real solutions. The Detroit News has published a poorly-thought-out, speculative idealogue's rant that only sets us back as a region.

Ahh Detroit, the intellectual playground of anti-government Michiganders

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

The Transit Dork Speaks

Check out my op-ed in Concentrate! Encouraging everyone to vote yes for more buses on May 6. But be warned, it will make you hungry, 'cause I talk about pizza.

Do you smell it? The sweet scent of improved transit. MMMMMM.

Friday, April 4, 2014


Grad school has eaten me alive, friends, thus the dearth of posts. But here we go... 

I grew up in the suburbs. You probably grew up in the suburbs. Almost everybody in all my classes grew up in the suburbs. The mainstream media is getting wind of the coming demise of the suburbs (hear the cheers of the urbanists!), but they're largely talking about the tumbleweed rolling along McMansion cul-de-sacs, so they're missing my biggest concerns.

Corn growing in the community garden near Claude Allison Park, Redford

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Snow creatures of Ann Arbor (part 1)

Winner of Most Classic Snowman, complete with charcoal eyes and a carrot nose. On the Broadway hill.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

The Great Bursley-Baits Bungle

This is a photograph from my latest excursion on the Bursley-Baits bus. I'm not sure it captures the gross discomfort of the situation. I stood with my spine squished against a rail and griped to myself about how I'm too old for this kind of thing. Around me, people sweated and yawned and complained about their chemistry tests.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Travel with Strangers - a new public transit litmag

Hey everybody, I'm trying to get off the ground a little multidisciplinary venture known as
the only web litmag dedicated to providing glimpses of public transit (if you can prove me wrong, please do).

We just released our first issue, so please check out the site. We've got some talented folks writing, and we're hoping to grow.

Someone really transity once told me that the problem with metro Detroiters and transit is that we can't picture what real, quality transit looks like. We use transit when we go on vacations to Chicago. We don't have the frame of reference for daily, efficient commuter travel. And so what we can't imagine, we can't reach.

Travel with Strangers exists in part to address this issue. To bring transit to the forefront of our narratives. To show that in some places and for some people, it's a thing. And to present the awkwardness/beauty that comes from traveling with strangers instead of with yourself in a bubble.

Please do give it a read! And if you're a transit and/or writer type person, check out the submissions page.

Happy travels!

Saturday, January 4, 2014

The reordering rules of snow

Winner: best use of vegetables and protective headgear

I'm not very accustomed to driving in the snow, because all my winters for the past seven years I've spent in Ann Arbor, blissfully avoiding contact with the automobile type and shuffling frozenly from one point to the next. This year, though, I own a car, and over Christmas break I had the need to use it. The lack of traction unnerves me, the same pit of stomach slipperiness that comes with ice skating. I make a turn onto the main road, the monster I supposedly control does not respond to me, its back and then its front swerve into snowy ruts on the curb. I am a person who likes having control over things, and this gas-fueled beast knows it can now get the best of me.