Playing chicken

1. Why did the chicken cross the road? Because s/he has the right of way in the crosswalk, dang it! [Photo: Chris Brunn, via Flickr]

Northwest Chicago Drive with Care Rally-2.jpg

2. Something’s amiss here: Michigan’s governor now bikes to work, while Illinois’ governor still takes a private jet. [Tim Jones reporting in the Trib via bike blog]

3. How good is the bike business these days? Clever, a utility-focused shop in Portland, is going on a two-week hiatus — partly because they’ve plumb sold out.

4. Why is Mexican food ubiquitous in Chicago but scarce in NYC? The quick answer is that Illinois has the third-largest Mexican population of any state (after California and Texas) whereas New York is 11th, between Georgia and North Carolina. But this surprised me:

Hispanic/Latino population of New York City.: 2,267,827
Mexican: 260,622

Hispanic/Latino population of Santa Ana, Calif.: 351,894
Mexican: 254,794

(Source: 2006 Census ACS)

5. Of all the neighborhoods in Chicago, the office of tourism chooses to highlight Wicker Park in its Summer in Chicago promotion — and does a pretty good job of it.

6. “Broadway Boulevard” will add about 3,000 sq. ft. of open space per block (about half an acre in total) using semi-temporary treatments, at a cost of about $2M/mile. The Times describes the treatment thusly: “painting the bike lane green, buying the chairs, tables, benches, umbrellas and planters and applying a coat of small-grained gravel mixed with epoxy onto the pedestrian areas, which will set them off from both the street and the bicycle path.”

7. A recent Obama-on-the-trail puff pieces in the Times displayed this bit of transect-awareness on the candidate’s part:

Many of the regional distinctions in the United States, he said, “in terms of culture, politics, attitudes, people,” have been muted. After 18 months of traveling extensively across the country, he said, “the biggest differences have more to do with rural, suburban, urban, as opposed to north, south, east or west.”

8. Alderman, there might be a reason why you’re not in the real estate market research business — or, apparently, the “reality based community.” Tom Corfman in Crain’s:

Alderman Anthony Beale (9th) prefers a smaller development of about 200 homes with prices between $350,000 and $500,000, well above the 2007 median price of $124,500 in Pullman… “We are going to build a suburban community within the city,” says Mr. Beale, whose ward includes the Ryerson site. “We’re looking at curved (streets), a gated community, the attached three-car garage.”

9. Someone arrived at this blog yesterday looking for “why cities grow to the west.” What I had heard is that, in Northern Hemisphere mid-latitudes at least, prevailing winds blow from the west. Therefore, the freshest air to be found in an industrial city would generally be found in the western part of town. Obviously, this is not always the case (in NYC, still fresher air can be found by the ocean, which is southeast, and many other cities there are still-stronger “nice” draws like lakes or hills to the east), but it might partially explain why the “favored quarter” often sits west of town.

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3 thoughts on “Playing chicken

  1. i copied Beal’s quote and sent it to several people as well. That pretty much sums up why its difficult to do proper development in some Chicago neighborhoods.

  2. #4 doesn’t surprise me. Much of NYC’s Latino population is Puerto Rican and other Central American nationalities. The Mexican community is much smaller there than here.

  3. Maybe “surprise” was a bit strong. I always knew that Puerto Ricans were strongly concentrated there (not only are Mexican restaurants scarce, but even chips & salsa undersell there), but I wasn’t expecting mighty NYC (that endlessly self-congratulatory Capital of the Universe!!!) to have a Mexican population smaller than… a tract of unassuming ranch houses in hopelessly bland Orange County.

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