Saturday, August 29, 2015

Midtown Renaissance: It depends on what you mean by "painted lady."

I suspect the use of "painted ladies" is intended to imbue these rare instances of New Albanian urban infill with architectural respectability.

"Painted ladies" is a term in American architecture used for Victorian and Edwardian houses and buildings painted in three or more colors that embellish or enhance their architectural details. The term was first used for San Francisco Victorian houses by writers Elizabeth Pomada and Michael Larsen in their 1978 book Painted Ladies - San Francisco's Resplendent Victorians.

But while it's probably no longer politically correct, I prefer Elton John's word association.

"Painted lady" is a euphemism for a prostitute, but Elton's voice is in fine form in this 1976 recording.

Today is the finale of the Mount Saint Francis picnic. Coming next year: Mount Fest.

Grab your machete, hack through the full array of pop-ups, roll-overs and auto-play videos, and read about how the venerable Mount Saint Francis Picnic is no more ... after today's finale.

A festival featuring craft beer, wine and local restaurant fest could work just as well in the Knobs as anywhere else, and it's an under-served market in this regard. I admire the Mount's willingness to think outside the box.

That said, it will be a completely different festival model, both in terms of potential audience and the organizers themselves. Significantly, the current demand for the presence of local-anything at events like Mount Fest has increased exponentially, and truly, with so many models from which to choose, the phrase "devil's in the details" never has been more applicable.

Sales or sample driven?

Tastes of food, or meals?

If the Mount's going to do "craft", then they need to do it right, and I'm sure they want to do so. One thing the Mount indisputably has going for it is prime location. Ever since 1985 and my first visits to German and Austrian beer gardens, I've thought the Mount could be just like them.

Mount Saint Francis picnic going out in style, by Papa Morris (News and Tribune)

MOUNT SAINT FRANCIS — It started in the 1920s, was silent during the war years and resumed in 1971.

The Mount Saint Francis Picnic has been a mainstay in the area, and is usually the final event in the New Albany Deanery summer festival schedule.

But times have changed, and so have the crowds and interest in the picnic. Past generations couldn't wait for the final Saturday of August each year, but not so much with today's Millennials.

"The young kids don't seem to get as excited about it as the older generation," said Mount Saint Francis Director, Friar Robert B. Baxter, OFM Conv.

So with dwindling crowds and tired of battling the August heat, Baxter and others decided it was time for a change.

On June 4, 2016, Mount Fest will replace the annual picnic as a summer fundraiser. The event will feature jazz music, wine, microbreweries, food from local restaurants and other attractions like a raffle. It will last only six hours, instead of the 13 hours the picnic is open.

"We decided to go in a different direction," Baxter said. "We are having it earlier. The weather in August is just too hot. Who wants to eat hot chicken under a hot tent? I would go in the chapel and there would be parents in there with young children and elderly just trying to cool off. Hopefully it won't be as hot the first week of June."

Friday, August 28, 2015

Flaherty Collins rubber stamp for the Coyle site to be hastened by the Board of Zoning Appeals this Tuesday night.

An aside: Naturally, Board of Zoning Appeals minutes cannot be found on the city's web site, although minutes from some boards can ... if you look on the city clerk's page.

Anyway, the next step in the city's trickle-down, ripple-effect, luxury-R-us corporate welfare gift to Flaherty Collins takes place on Tuesday night. I may go to see if anyone at all asks a good question.

TO: New Albany Board of Zoning Appeals

FROM: Scott Wood, Director

SUBJECT: Regular Meeting, September 1st, 2015

DATE: August 27th, 2015


The regular meeting of the New Albany Board of Zoning Appeals will be held on Tuesday, September 1st, 2015 at 7:00 p.m., in the Assembly Room (Room 331) City-County Building, New Albany, Indiana, at which time a Public Hearing will be held to consider the following petitions:


Docket B-26-15: Flaherty & Collins Properties requests a Variance to permit a multi-family complex that will not meet development standards or parking requirements in the C-2, General Business and R-4, Multi-family (high density) districts, at the entire 400 Block of East Spring and 501-515 East Spring Street.

Other Business:

1) Approval of August 4th BZA meeting Minutes

Following are ten links offering background on this issue.

ON THE AVENUES: Money is the ultimate bully.

Gonder on Coyle sitecapades: "We need new rules, special rules, to guide the use of public/private partnerships."

Coyle site luxury giveaway: "The people that they want to attract can't afford to live there."

Coyle sitecapades: In New Albany, Democrats WILL be Republicans ... and Jeff Gahan WILL stay on the down low.

David Duggins on the ironclad reliability of selective expertise.

The Arts Council's Beer Bourbon and BBQ 2015, at the Pepin Mansion.

Good crowd, good times at the Arts Council fundraiser tonight.

I was pouring NABC beers alongside Donum Dei Brewery. It was Rick's and Kim's first outside event ever, and the attendees seemed to approve.

For those who are wondering: Yes, all three mayoral candidates were in attendance. Kevin Zurschmiede was there early, and Jeff Gahan late.

Thanks to Diane Benedetti and Larry Schad; it was a pleasure helping out.

Campaign Diary, Chapter 4: Rental property registration, exclusionary zoning, ordinance enforcement and the SIRA luncheon.

At yesterday's Southern Indiana Realtors Association candidate luncheon, which predictably was boycotted by New Albany's hermetic and curtained Jeff Gahan, I was pleased that the general topic of "ordinance enforcement" formed part of one question to each  candidate.

There were two candidates present from Jeffersonville, Salem and New Albany. The incumbent Charlestown mayor's opponent had a prior commitment, as did Gahan: Oz was flossing, and couldn't be bothered.

Six of the seven mayoral candidates present yesterday expressed a preference for "small government," and as this construct might pertain to ordinances, they preferred to praise what's already on the books rather than contemplate disagreeing with Pat Harrison on rental property registrations in a room filled with real estate professionals, and dare be seen advocating a dreaded "new layer" of intrusive government.

But what if the layers we already have are actively exclusionary or simply outdated?

I was the only candidate present who chose to make this the basis of his answer. Yes, it's true that if New Albany enjoyed a long history of excellence in enforcing its own rule book, we might not be having a chat about rental property registration, but we have not, and because we have not, rental property abuses have become a full-blown concern embracing public health, safety and basic human rights.

Those must be addressed, and so I answered Harrison's question by saying that I'm completely in favor of rental property registration and inspection, with a fee structure to support the same.

Credit Kevin Zurschmiede for noting that tenants as well as owners must be aware of rights and responsibilities, though given the historic tendency of ownership to zealously protect its worse apples rather than be pro-active in weeding them out, how can these rights and responsibilities be applied and maintained without government participation?

Zurschmiede also mentioned that he moved from his Elm Street home because the state of the neighborhood precluded the enjoyment of his property, which is a right recognized by all realtors.

At least he was able to move. Those with lower incomes living nearby might well not be the cause of the problems -- and not be able to leave, either.


Reverence for existing laws becomes somewhat comical when one considers that New Albany still has a law on its books governing "cruising" behavior at the Frisch's on Spring Street, which has been gone so long that "cruising" now means something entirely different -- except when adopted by Harvest Homecoming as a parade theme.

Then there are topics like planning and zoning. Consider this, as buried in a newspaper account of city council budget hearings.

Scott Wood, director of the New Albany Planning Commission, said he’s hopeful the department can begin work on a new comprehensive plan this year. The current plan was approved in 1999.

Wood labeled it a “relic” in need of refreshing.

“Typically those are updated every five years, more like seven-and-a-half to 10, so we’re pretty far behind right now,” Wood said.

The candidate luncheon was held at Elk Run Golf Club, and the outdated nature of New Albany's comprehensive plan is par for the course. How archaic is 1999? As a point of comparison, mobile phone cameras came to America in 2002.


Finally, zoning. I was the only candidate in attendance yesterday who said the words "exclusionary zoning" aloud.

One of the best ways to fight inequality in cities: zoning, by Daniel Hertz (Washington Post)

... For years, activists and researchers have known that restrictive zoning is among the most powerful forces behind racial and economic segregation in the country.

This is for two reasons. First, in many neighborhoods, zoning laws prevent the construction of low-cost housing by, for example, allowing only single-family homes instead of apartments. Second, zoning laws restrict the total amount of housing that can exist in any given area, which means that wherever well-to-do people decide to move, they will bid up the price of housing until it’s out of range of everyone else. Imagine, for example, if there were a law that only 1,000 cars could be sold per year in all of New York. Those 1,000 cars would go to whoever could pay the most money for them, and chances are you and everyone you know would be out of luck.

I don't have a magic wand, and will not claim to know every answer. For instance, there is public housing, a perennial bugbear in New Albany politics.

People in New Albany who ask the question, "What are you going to do about The Project?" tend to be white, and want to see the problem solved by doing anything at all short of changing the fundamental paradigm from exclusionary warehousing of a segment of society, to perhaps advancing a level of opportunity borne of more egalitarian planning.

Meanwhile, people who live in The Project ask, "What are we going to do about affordable housing?" They tend to be African-American, and it's a very good question, isn't it?

If the overall gist of zoning laws already on the books is to keep The Project where it is, occupied by residents with few other options in a country already experiencing historic levels of income inequality, then it's likely they'll remain there. Isn't that how exclusionary zoning laws came into existence in the first place?

It is a mystery to me how an unregulated "free" market in slumlord rental properties addresses the affordable housing quandary, but this seems to have been New Albany's best answer during the past century.

That's inadequate, but even worse, throughout this and so many other discussions, New Albany never varies in the sense of refusing to have these discussions. Jeff Gahan's non-transparency is merely a malignant strain of what we've always been: Down Low on the Ohio.

While I'm at it, this article is instructive:

Where Black Lives Matter Began: Hurricane Katrina exposed our nation’s amazing tolerance for black pain, by Jamelle Bouie (Slate)

But there’s a problem with this capsule summary of Katrina and its place in national memory. It assumes a singular public of “Americans” who understand events in broadly similar ways. This public doesn’t exist. Instead, in the United States, we have multiple publics defined by a constellation of different boundaries: Geographic, religious, economic, ethnic, and racial. With regards to race, we have two dominant publics: A white one and a black one. Each of them saw Katrina in competing, mutually exclusive ways. And the disaster still haunts black political consciousness in ways that most white Americans have never been able to acknowledge.

White Americans saw the storm and its aftermath as a case of bad luck and unprecedented incompetence that spread its pain across the Gulf Coast regardless of race. This is the narrative you see in Landrieu’s words and, to some extent, Obama’s as well. To black Americans, however, this wasn’t an equal opportunity disaster. To them, it was confirmation of America’s indifference to black life. “We have an amazing tolerance for black pain,” said Rev. Jesse Jackson in an interview after the storm. Rev. Al Sharpton, also echoed the mood among many black Americans: “I feel that, if it was in another area, with another economic strata and racial makeup, that President Bush would have run out of Crawford a lot quicker and FEMA would have found its way in a lot sooner.” Even more blunt was rapper Kanye West, who famously told a live national television audience that “George Bush doesn’t care about black people.”

Thursday, August 27, 2015

ON THE AVENUES: Whips, chains and economic development (2010).

ON THE AVENUES: Whips, chains and economic development (2010).

A weekly web column by Roger A. Baylor.

Here’s a flashback from August, 2010.

It’s been five years since this column appeared in the pre-merger New Albany Tribune, and it remains fairly topical, although both Michael Dalby and Steve Price are gone, to be replaced by Wendy Dant-Chesser and Greg Phipps, respectively.

NABC paid back the revolving Horseshoe loan on time, in five years. 

Jeff Gahan? He was elected mayor in 2011, and will leave office at the end of 2015 as the biggest-spending in New Albany’s history.

Late note to 1Si: We may need that $70,000 back, because eventually, the water park’s going to need scrubbing.


Dear reader:

Recently I confided that city council meetings no longer were atop the “must do” list posted on the Baylor household’s refrigerator door. I remarked to one of my lawyer friends that since refraining from attending these tragic-comic legislative follies, my IQ was creeping back up.

He said, “Let me know when it gets to 80.”

Imagine my amusement upon learning that even when I’m not present to monitor the council’s shenanigans, my name comes up, as it did on August 2 when Michael Dalby of One Southern Indiana (1Si ) made his annual journey from the outer reaches of the Latino-manicured, McMansioned exurb to the council’s bilious, spittle-flecked rostrum, beige fedora in hand, to beg money from the perpetually cash-strapped body.

To Steve Price’s credit, he probably started voting “no” when he saw Dalby parking his car.

With the connivance of 6th district councilman Jeff Gahan, whose electoral acreage lies slightly closer to 1Si’s primary clients in River Ridge, Dalby came before the council with a sheaf of satellite photos showing formerly green Floyd County spaces that have recently been bulldozed and filled with concrete, all the better to claim credit and remuneration for 1Si as facilitator of economic development.

According to witnesses, and for reasons known only to the land developers who name their subdivisions for whatever physical feature they obliterated to build them, Dalby inserted my own Bank Street Brewhouse into a discussion with councilman Dan Coffey, evidently to refute the latter’s allegation that while 1Si may perform occasional good deeds, it secretively doles out largess without first asking for Coffey’s neo-papal stamp of approval.

Dalby responded by mentioning that even such a persistent blog critic of 1SI as Roger himself had come aboard the regional development machine to derive benefit from the affiliation. The presumption, whether stated or not, is that it’s never personal, just business, when it comes to turning a buck.

As usual, the truth is more nuanced than that.

It is a matter of public record that in 2009, Bank Street Brewhouse was approved for a piece of the Horseshoe Foundation’s revolving loan to business, which is only administered by 1Si. Breaking with longstanding precedent, and although not required to do so, we decided to join 1Si and see, for once, whether standing inside the tent might be useful.

Having done so, I can say that the area outside the tent is more to my liking, especially when nature calls.

Membership in 1Si has been a mixed bag, and I doubt we’ll remain when the next bill comes due. There have been a few good networking opportunities, and I’ve made the acquaintance of younger 1Si operatives who genuinely seem to “get it,” but 1Si’s overall position reflects an internal star chamber’s non-democratic advocacy of flawed positions reflecting old political power structure privileges and profits, rather than innovative solutions to regional problems.

For instance, there is the Godzilla-esque boondoggle of the Ohio River Bridges Project, which 1Si supports with a zeal bordering on the religious, and which will require tolls on existing bridges that plainly will discriminate against working Hoosiers while fatally impeding the flow of commerce into Indiana from Kentucky, all for the sake of a “fix” that will be outmoded long before completion.

Green, future-oriented, regional transportation alternatives, anyone? Don’t ask 1Si to espouse them. In a world of solar panels, 1Si is mining coal with pick and shovel.

Surprisingly, Coffey’s point was merited, if characteristically muddled. Yes, Bob Caesar’s vote surely was a conflict of interest, and legitimate questions of whether a governmental body should hand cash to any “economic development” entity without bidding the work were ignored.

Still, the question for Coffey (and you) to ask the five council members who voted in favor of $70,000 doled out to 1Si is this: Tolling to pay for the bridges disaster will disproportionately hurt Southern Indiana, so unless we’re all sadomasochists, why would we pay entities like 1Si to hurt our interests – to damage us?

Can’t we hurt ourselves without paying for outside help? Haven’t we, for years?

Conversely, if the council reverses field and decides to use its $75,000 economic development grant as it originally said it would, rather than as it voted to on August 2, I’d like to submit a bid, billable to my consulting company, Potable Curmudgeon, Inc.

I’ve already asked Pete at Digital Resource Center in downtown New Albany to help with the estimate.

We’ll be publishing a couple hundred glossy ringed binders filled with testimonials, pie graphs, statistics, and artfully retouched 1Si press releases. Sleekly professional, though not ostentatious, their design will befit the buttoned-down aspirations of self-respecting Southern Indiana CEOs, each of whom can be counted upon to strategically place the unopened binder on one corner of their desks, where its multi-colored ubiquity will attest to the veracity of the contents.

The beauty of Potable Curmudgeon Inc.’s plan, which we’re calling “Res ipsa loquitur, Southern Indiana,” is that its existence is definitive proof of its value. The binders will serve as unimpeachable evidence of economic development success. Why? Because the binder says so.

Can we prove any of it? Of course … you DO have a binder in your hands, right? What more proof do you need?

If the city council acts today, Potable Curmudgeon Inc. will extend a remarkable 50% reduction to just $35,000 for regional economic development, renewable each and every year, and with binders available in a wide range of different colors to satisfy the interior décor of local corporate headquarters.

Except green.

For some reason, it’s just not a popular color around here.


Recent columns:

August 20: ON THE AVENUES: In the groove.

August 13: ON THE AVENUES: It’s time to purge two-party politics and tie the community together.

August 10: ON THE AVENUES SPECIAL EDITION: When it comes to the RCI, can the RDA opt out of the RFRA?

August 6: ON THE AVENUES: Money is the ultimate bully.

July 30: ON THE AVENUES: Homegrown New Albany, but not in a good way.

July 23: ON THE AVENUES: A citizen's eloquent complaint about the parking debacle at River Run reminds us that planners and brooms go hand in hand.

Jeff Gahan blows off today's SIRA candidate luncheon.

Today was the Southern Indiana Realtors Association luncheon at Elk Run Golf Club in Jeffersonville. There was a huge question hanging over the pre-lunch session, which featured the Jeffersonville and Salem mayoral candidates.

Would Jeff Gahan attend the function, or just send Mike Hall like usual?

As you can see, there was an empty seat for the empty suit.

Mark Cassidy contributed Gomer Pyle, and Nick Vaughn took the photo.

One of the organizers told me that it was really difficult getting hold of Mayor Gahan, and when finally he responded, it was to say he'd try to attend.

I enjoyed it; thanks to Martina Webster to extending the invitation. The gig included a free lunch -- and after all, it's why we fight.

Arts Council's Beer, Bourbon & BBQ 2015, Friday night at the Pepin Mansion.

I had every intention of doing more in the way of publicizing this event, but I haven't, and for this I'm apologetic. There's still time to buy tickets and attend. As you can see below, it's a first-rate lineup of food & drink vendors, artists and music. Alcoholic beverages will be available as samples, and at a cash bar. I'll be representing NABC, and talking beer instead of politics.

Beer, Bourbon, & BBQ 2015

Where: Pepin Mansion, 1003 E. Main St., New Albany, IN
When: August 28th, 2015, 6:00 p.m. -- 10:00 p.m.
What: Barbecue, bourbon, beer, live music, and artist demonstrations
Tickets are $40 and can be purchased at the Arts Council.

"How New Affordable Housing Development Incentives Could Change Louisville."

Today I'll be attending a candidate luncheon sponsored by the Southern Indiana Realtors Association. As such, this article is timely reading.

If you've ever asked the question, "But what do we do about The Project?" (code language if ever I've heard such), I'd recommend taking a look.

I don't have a simple, glib answer to this question, primarily because there isn't one. However, taking inventory of the principles involved and being willing to speak openly about them surely must constitute the first step toward understanding.

Has the local Democratic Party ever had anything coherent to say about these issues?

Didn't think so.

How New Affordable Housing Development Incentives Could Change Louisville, by Jacob Ryan (WFPL)

The Metro Council on Thursday will take up an ordinance that housing advocates say is imperative for expanding affordable housing options in the city.

At present, Louisville is a sharply segregated city with a zoning policy that may violate fair housing laws, said Cathy Hinko, executive director of the Metropolitan Housing Coalition. This vulnerability stems from zoning policies that ban development of certain housing types in some areas of the city.

The ordinance up for council consideration is seen by fair housing advocates as a first step to address these problems and give low-income residents more housing options outside of historically impoverished neighborhoods.

It’s a first step, Hinko said, but a big one.

In Rio, outcomes differ when spending on "projects for people."

Compare and contrast these two projects, and consider how their themes might apply in New Albany. There is much to chew on here, but what I'm getting from it is the less expensive neighborhood project compared to the more expensive showpiece.

Lots to learn ... if we're receptive to learning.

In Rio’s Biggest Favela, One Flashy Project Thrives While Another Fails; As Rio invests for the Olympics, only some of the city’s upgrades are built to last, by Julie Ruvolo (City Lab)

... State of Rio Governor Sérgio Cabral decided to spend the bulk of the PAC funding, about $105 million, on a gondola imported from France. (Some say Cabral was inspired by the international praise Medellín’s mayor received for installing aerial-tram service in the city’s most underserved neighborhoods.) In parallel, the city broke ground on the $1.5 million movie theater, built alongside a community service center and neighborhood daycare.

Both interventions were introduced as projects for the people. At the gondola’s inauguration in 2011, President Dilma Rousseff said the project was a show of respect for Alemão’s residents, and deserved the “justifiable envy” of everyone else. At the theater’s inauguration the same year, Mayor Eduardo Paes struck a similar note. “It’s important for people to know that poor areas also deserve high-quality services,” the mayor said. “This is what we will always provide. High-quality service for everyone.”

I visited both projects a year later. I rode up and down the gondola on a Friday afternoon, securing an entire car to myself most portions of the ride. Despite free tickets for locals—visitors pay as much as 5 reais, or $1.50—not many people were actually riding.

What’s more, there was a general sense of resentment at the huge sum of money that had been earmarked for favela upgrades and instead delivered a tourist attraction. “Close to half a billion reais,” David Amen, of the nonprofit Raizes em Moviemento, told me at the time. “How are you going to spend this money on social projects in Alemão without talking to the residents and letting them be heard?”

To my surprise, however, the movie theater was packed.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Learn about Indie Fest 2015, coming on Sunday, September 27.

Indie Fest returns on Sunday, September 27. As noted below, Indie Fest is the kickoff event for the first New Albany Independent Restaurant Week, which concludes on Saturday, October 3, with Biers on Parade -- also Harvest Homecoming Parade Day.

Here's the link to the New Albany Restaurant & Bar Association's press release. 

The point is this: If Harvest Homecoming is to be the community's focus from parade day forward, then we're trying to make New Albany's independent local business segment the focus for a week on the other side of Harvest Homecoming, beginning with Indie Fest on Sept. 27.

Below is what you need to know about sponsorships for Indie Fest. In my ideal world, Indie Fest revitalizes New Albany First, which then would include the New Albany Restaurant and Bar Association as a parallel arm. Of course, what must happen before any of this is an expansion of consciousness, and a willingness to work together toward common goals. Combined, locally-owned independent businesses possess potential clout far beyond what can be wielded individually.

We must unite to achieve it.


Dear Business Owner,

You have poured your blood, sweat, and tears into making your business successful. You are an integral part of the movement that is making New Albany a destination and a thriving hub of commerce.

As a business owner you know how important it is to provide the community with attractions that pull people in from around the region to showcase the diversity New Albany has to offer. We are providing you the opportunity to be an essential part of a special celebration of all things local and independent. On Sunday, September 27, 2015 New Albany First will be hosting the Fourth Annual Indie Fest. This event will be held at the newly refurbished Underground Station in the 100 block of Bank Street in downtown New Albany.

Indie Fest is a wonderful display of the rich heritage of the arts in New Albany, and will showcase booths for merchants, artists, restaurants, and craftspeople. As in years past, our event will feature music from local musicians spanning all genres, playing throughout the day. Indie Fest is by no means just for adults, there has always, and will continue to be, an extensive kids area that includes a magician, a local musician with instruments for the kids to play, arts and crafts, and other kid friendly activities. This is truly a family event.

Indie Fest is New Albany’s end cap to an exciting summer music series. We are also excited to be part of the Grand Opening celebration for the Underground Station, and the kick-off event for NARBA’s independent restaurant and bar week.

A successful event like this would not happen without the help of our sponsors. We would love to showcase you and your business at Indie Fest. There are multiple sponsorship levels available to meet all budgets and all are absolutely vital to making this event possible.

Please join us as we celebrate New Albany. Help us make Indie Fest 2015 epic!


Marcey Wisman-Bennett
Chairperson, New Albany Indie Fest, LLC


Sponsorship Possibilities

Presenting Sponsor - $2,000
· First right of refusal for Presenting Sponsor for next two years at the same $2,000 rate
· Logo recognition on all promotional and advertising materials
· Logo and/or company name recognition in all Indie Fest public relations efforts
· Recognition on social networks
· hanging of a 4x6 blow through banner
· Opportunity to address the festival crowd during a specified time slot
· Opportunity to provide up to (4) additional 3’x10’ banners with company logo
· Reserved vendor booth space
· Opportunity to distribute coupons, special offers, sampling, conduct raffles and special promotions specifically for YOUR business. (Does not include signage other than the speaker banners.)
· Invitation to sit on the event planning committee!

Gold Sponsor - $1,000
· Logo recognition on all promotional and advertising materials
· Logo and/or company name recognition in all Indie Fest public relations efforts
· recognition on social networks
· Printing and hanging of a 2x6 banner in key locations near stage
· Verbally thanked on stage during the festival for your participation
· Reserved vendor booth space
· Opportunity to distribute coupons, special offers, sampling, conduct raffles and special promotions specifically for YOUR business. (Does not include signage other than the banner near stage.)

Silver Sponsor - $500
· Logo recognition on all promotional and advertising materials
· Logo and/or company name recognition in an Indie Fest public relations efforts
· Recognition on social networks
· Printing and hanging of a 2x6 banner in key locations near stage
· Verbally thanked on stage during the festival for your participation
· Reserved vendor boot space
· Opportunity to distribute coupons, special offers, sampling, conduct raffles and special promotions specifically for YOUR business. (Does not include signage other than the banner near stage.)

Bronze Sponsor - $150
· Logo recognition on all promotional and advertising materials
· Verbally thanked on stage during the festival for your participation
· Logo recognition on group 2x6 banner in front of stage

Banner Sponsor - $50
· Opportunity to provide up to 1 banner with company logo for staff to hang
· Logo recognition on all promotional and advertising materials

Make checks payable to:

New Albany Indie Fest, LLC.
1739 Houston St.
New Albany, IN 47150

The New Albany Restaurant & Bar Association presents Biers on Parade, at the Farmers Market on Saturday, October 3.

The press release will be going out this week. Here's an advance preview.


NEWS FROM: The New Albany Restaurant & Bar Association (NARBA)


CONTACT:   Roger A. Baylor
(502) 468-9710

On Saturday, October 3, 2015, NARBA Presents:

Biers on Parade

At the New Albany Farmers Market

Local beer, fine food and melodies at the Farmers Market (City Square), at the corner of Market and Bank in downtown New Albany, 1:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. on Saturday, October 3.

The New Albany Restaurant & Bar Association (NARBA) is partnering with New Albany’s Farmers Market to stage Biers on Parade, a family-friendly food and drink showcase at the newly remodeled Farmers Market pavilion at the corner of Market and Bank on Saturday, October 3.

Biers on Parade coincides with the Harvest Homecoming Parade through downtown New Albany, and also will conclude New Albany Independent Restaurant Week.

The Farmers Market will operate from 8:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on October 3.

NARBA member businesses will be selling food, beer, wine and non-alcoholic drinks from 1:00 p.m. through 6:00 p.m.

Biers on Parade will offer the first-ever opportunity for patrons to choose from a lineup that includes beers brewed by all three of our city’s breweries: New Albanian Brewing Company, Donum Dei Brewery and the newest, Floyd County Brewing Company.

There’ll also be food prepared by Big Four Burgers + Beer, Feast BBQ and The Exchange, and wine from River City Winery. Other participants TBA.

Proceeds benefit NARBA and Harvest Homecoming’s selected charities. NARBA is applying for non-profit status as a 501(c)6 professional trade group:

The New Albany Restaurant & Bar Association (NARBA) is a nonpartisan, not-for-profit trade organization serving the independent restaurant, bar and on-premise food and drink industry in New Albany, Indiana. NARBA serves as the unified voice of its members on government and public relations issues. It also provides programs that offer educational and operational benefits for members. NARBA represents New Albany’s best known and most vibrant local independent business segment, and is dedicated to the advancement and preservation of New Albany as an urban community.

NARBA’s Biers on Parade is the final event during a week devoted to independent local businesses in New Albany.

New Albany Indie Fest takes place on Sunday, September 27. It’s “a local arts festival including artist booths, amazing music, food, drink, children's area & more! Located at Main & Bank Street in front of the new Underground Station.

September 28 – October 3 is the inaugural New Albany Independent Restaurant Week. New Albany is Louisville’s most flavorful borough, and our locally-owned restaurant and bar operators will be running promotions and holding special events throughout the week. Visit NARBA’s page at Facebook for more:

Harvest Homecoming’s booth days in downtown New Albany begin on Thursday, October 8 and run through Sunday, October 11. For more information:

Sept. 27: New Albany Indie Fest
Sept. 28 – Oct. 3: New Albany Independent Restaurant Week
Oct. 3: Biers on Parade at New Albany City Square
Oct. 3: Harvest Homecoming Parade
Oct. 8 – Oct. 11: Harvest Homecoming Booth Days


The feds, walkability and bike lanes: Why local and state traffic engineers should be trusted as far as you can toss their cars.

Contrary to perceptions, the greatest threat to pedestrian safety is not crime, but the very real danger of automobiles moving quickly. Yet most traffic engineers, often in the name of safety, continually redesign city streets to support higher-speed driving.
-- Jeff Speck

It seems that the Feds want to make several points perfectly clear. Click the link to read this gratifying testimony, in black and white.

Of course, this doesn't explain Jeff Gahan's failure to make use of the transformational walking and cycling measures offered him by Speck, and buttressed with cold, hard fact by John Gilderbloom.

But that's political cowardice, which isn't directly addressed by the FHA in its memo.

Feds to Traffic Engineers: Use Our Money to Build Protected Bike Lanes, by Angie Schmitt (Streetsblog)

The Federal Highway Administration wants to clear the air: Yes, state and local transportation agencies should use federal money to construct high-quality biking and walking infrastructure.

State and local DOTs deploy an array of excuses to avoid building designs like protected bike lanes. “It’s not in the manual” is a favorite. So is “the feds won’t fund that.”

Whether these excuses are cynical or sincere, FHWA wants you to know that they’re bogus.

On Terry and Vera Cummins, and doing what you have to do.

As noted in the previous posting ("College student from Lanesville saves life with bone marrow donation"), I went to high school with Larry Cox, Chuck Freiberger and approximately 350 others, who graduated from Floyd Central in the Class of 1978.

Way back then, Terry Cummins was the FCHS assistant principal in charge of students, a job that included administering discipline. Then as now, I was a malcontent ... meaning we saw a lot of each other. Eventually I became a bit much even for Terry to handle alone, and my file was handed to a different administrator who was more of a Dean Wormer type.

This isn't a eulogy, but Terry's not doing well in terms of health, and neither is his wife Vera.

CUMMINS: Do what you have to do

Beginning in the 1990s through the helpful medium of the Public House, I got to know Terry as an adult. Since then, in spite of a periodically adversarial relationship with the local journalism cadre, one thing I've tried not to miss in the newspaper is his weekly column, and if you've ever read his writing, it makes perfect sense that he'd be writing about his life as it is, right now -- without a trace of annoyance or self-pity, just matter-of-factly, and from a position of bedrock values and an accompanying spiritual serenity.

Is there a better purpose than to live well and die well? For more than 80 years, Vera and I lived well, despite a few kinks here and there. What more could we ask?

Indeed. Please keep both these fine people in your thoughts.

"College student from Lanesville saves life with bone marrow donation."

Daniel Cox's father is Larry Cox, who I've known since childhood. We played high school basketball and baseball together (Chuck Freiberger, too), and did some carousing after college, when Larry got his career job teaching Spanish at Crawford County High School and married Carol. He's now retired from teaching -- and it looks like they raised one heck of a son.

GIFT OF LIFE: College student from Lanesville saves life with bone marrow donation, by Jerod Clapp (N and T)

Daniel Cox, a biochemistry student at Indiana University, became a bone marrow donor after seeing an interview on “Good Morning America” with a cancer survivor. He’s helped start a chapter of Be the Match on campus and helped save a woman’s life with his donation.

More Information: To donate to Daniel's chapter of Be the Match

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

"Why Indianapolis is a test case for a fairer form of gentrification."

That word again -- not gentrification, but "fairer." It isn't always used in this context.

Why Indianapolis is a test case for a fairer form of gentrification, by Cara Courage (The Guardian)

“I helped change one neighbourhood into a hipster place, and then we got priced out of there.” Artist Jim Walker is describing the shift in fortunes of the Fountain Square district of Indianapolis, where his Big Car arts collective was born a decade ago – and of the artists and residents who have been forced to move on by the neighbourhood’s gentrification.

Walker’s experience is an increasingly familiar story in cities around the world – a tale of urban pioneers who play a central role in the redevelopment of a downtown area, only to find themselves unable to afford to stay there. Is there a more equitable way? That’s just what Walker is trying to find out with his latest arts-led Indianapolis project.

The twist is a "land trust."

While some lower-rent properties are still available in Fountain Square, the change led Walker to look at other areas in the city that could offer the vacant space Big Car’s operation requires. But this time, Walker wanted to do it differently – pushing for a model of regeneration that places the arts in control of the development process; a model that keeps artists and locals at the centre of the change, and should prevent residents from getting priced out.

His Big Car collective is now busy in Garfield Park, a disinvested area on the south side of Indianapolis, having located a new home on one of the city’s arterial routes, Shelby Street, which is lined by a small parade of service stores, a secondhand bookshop and a cafe.

Thanks to city government and philanthropic help as well as its own funds, Big Car has bought a “land trust”, as Walker calls it, “for the artists working hard with neighbours to improve the area”. The development includes two former factories now repurposed as studios, exhibition and performance spaces, and the Listen Hear sound-art gallery and radio station – located in what used to be a laundromat. Vacant houses are being renovated into affordable homes for artists; Big Car is also a key partner in a community-led safer streets programme, and in talks to bring Indianapolis’s rapid transit to the area.

Crazed ragpicker poses as city employee, makes terroristic threats to laughing-out-loud store owner.

Longtime readers of this blog know that for many years, I've expressed an aversion to political yard signs.

But having thought better of it during the course of campaigning for mayor, and secure in the knowledge that we're offering platforms over platitudes, the whole process of sign placement has proven to be fun and entertaining, just so long as the tail isn't wagging the dog.

This morning, the sheer entertainment potential of political yard signs was revealed to its greatest conceivable extent.

We'd delivered two signs on Saturday to Cisa Barry at Sew Fitting, and she decided to put one in the tree well in front of her business.

I'm told it's the same tree well the city refused to clear of weeds or bother improving, so Cisa and a friend pulled the weeds, and the building owners added barrier cloth and rock.

My campaign treasurer is Marcey Wisman-Bennett, who works at Sew Fitting, and Marcey quizzed Cisa in precisely the same way I've done when asked for a sign by a business owner: Are you sure? It may repel some customers, and also attract the attention of a particularly vindictive species of City Hall denizen. Cisa was firm (as have a handful of other fellow independent business owners, whom I thank).

As to whether it is legal to put a sign in that tree well, I'd concede that strictly speaking, it's probably no more legal than the two tacky signs tacked to the utility pole in front of the VapeWorks, adjacent to Sew Fitting -- which the city has done nothing about.

Further, I submit that if a business owner finds herself in the position of doing the city's tree well maintenance work for it -- especially after the Board of Public Works has been overtly unhelpful in previous requests made of it with regard to the safety of the intersection, something almost surely owing to political motivations (see "vindictive" above) -- she may care less about strict interpretations, especially when a scene like this is permitted two blocks from her business.

This morning, before Marcey arrived at work, Cisa had a visitor. He said he was a city employee, but did not otherwise identify himself, and she didn't know his name. The city "employee" was red-faced and yelling.

"Marcey should know better than to put a political sign on city property ... if Roger is going to complain about the job I'm doing he shouldn't have signs on city property."

In the hope that he might go away, Cisa removed the sign, but let the city "employee" know that she was the business owner, and she was the one who made the decision to put the sign out -- not Marcey, and not Roger.

After that he was a tad deflated, but managed to huff and puff an additional flatulent utterance: "Marcey still should know better," before stomping away.

Now here's the funny part.

When Marcey came into work and heard the story, she thought about it, and arranged a "lineup" of social media faces in the hope of coaxing a positive ID from Cisa.

And this is how we know who it was.

Dan Coffey.

Thus informed, Cisa did the only logical thing.

She put the sign back out.

CM Blair's bank, the State Street exurb, commercial dereliction, corporate welfare and non-transparency.

Lightning Food Mart is an excellent example of the durability of locally-owned independent small business.

Conversely, most of State Street between the hospital and I-265 long ago was given over to chains and franchises of varying stripes, with a handful of locally-owned businesses scattered randomly through the vicinity.

It's several blocks of exurban sprawl logic crammed inelegantly between neighborhoods where people actually live, with perpetually renewing auto-intensive development, traffic problems, more car-driven development and the ensuing hamster wheel of futility in trying to balance conflicting interests.

Meanwhile, on Sunday this posting racked up huge numbers.

Let's go Krogering?: Does CM Blair's fixation with a boarded-up Hardee's have to do with gas pumps and corporate welfare?

As pointed out to me subsequently, Kroger's ongoing machinations aren't the only reason to pretend that discussions of how to seize and demolish "derelict" commercial properties should occupy council time when other factors are involved.

From 2013 ...

First Savings Bank nearly finished with Wesley Commons project, by Kevin Eigelbach (Louisville Business First)

Clarksville-based First Savings Financial Group Inc., the holding company for First Savings Bank, has nearly finished developing a 4-acre retail center in New Albany. The bank held a grand opening for a new bank branch there, its first in New Albany, last month.

And this:

Tenants: A Bob Evans restaurant, a Tire Discounters store, a Visionworks eyewear store, a Qdoba Mexican Grill restaurant, Bella Nails manicurist, Fantastic Sam’s hair care, Woodside Dental Center, the First Savings branch and a Starbucks coffee shop with a drive-through lane.

Ooh, a drive-thru?

And this:

The bank’s total investment: $7.55 million.

As a friend notes, $7.55 million for all of Wesley Commons makes the $9 million for River Run seem even more inflated, but the point is transparency.

Granted, just because CM Blair is a banker, it doesn't mean he's to be vocationally vilified (even if the temptation always will be strong for me), but the fact that his bank is a player in the immediate vicinity, and Kroger's redevelopment designs were not clearly delineated by Blair or anyone else at last Thursday's council meeting (the razing of  the fire station at a loss to the city to suit Kroger on the other side of the plaza is a different but no less annoying topic), and the city council itself typically participates in decisions pertaining to zoning, traffic and land use on the State Street corridor -- look, all these factors demand more, not less, transparency from elected officials.

Although it does prove that "independent" means different things to different people ... and I like my definition better than his.

Props to Lightning Food Mart's half-century in business.

This article is a good illustration of the qualities that independently-owned local small businesses exhibit when surviving over the long haul. They adapt to changing markets, find undervalued niches, and provide great service. Obviously, Lightning has been doing these things right.

Lightning strikes twice in New Albany, by Daniel Suddeath (News and Tribune)

When Tammy and Bob Wolford decided to move Lightning Food Mart across Charlestown Road from the spot it had been located since 1962, they knew it would be a gamble.

But risk and reward are concepts convenience stores are built upon. Ranked as the top selling lottery store in Southern Indiana, Lightning Food Mart’s reputation for facilitating winners stretches from Floyds Knobs to Louisville.

At the risk of picking nits, one sentence is unsettling to me.

“One of the things I take the most pride in is we’re one of the only American-owned convenience stores left,” Wolford said.

Of course, I'm an advocate of "American-owned," so there is no disagreement there. However, why say "American-owned," when "independently-owned and operated" conveys the same meaning, without a reference to American, which in this context implies code language for "not owned by foreigners"?

It's just that words, language and ideas genuinely matter, but let's not stray too far from the central point: Independent local businesses are the economic backbone. Instead of subsidizing big-ticket, plaque-ready projects, shouldn't we be tending to our fundamental infrastructure as the best way to help independent local businesses compete on a level playing field?

New Albany's new slogan: "Truck Through City" ... Part 98: Diesel-fueled postcard vistas of downtown on a Bored to Death of Works Tuesday!

Oops -- they can't all be scenic vistas.

Fundamentally delayed: The New Albany Street Piano "Grand Opening" is Saturday, September 5.

The New Albany Street Piano "Grand Opening" will take place at 4:00 p.m. on Saturday, September 5, and it is likely to be the politician-watching event of the millennium.

That's because:

Make no mistake: Jeff Gahan is the "driving force" behind the Bored of Works' inability to fathom street pianos, public art and modernity itself.

The street piano was quarantined for months by the mayor's insatiable need for down-low control, and when this fact became painfully obvious to the entire community (except Jimmy, of course), Team Gahan got hot and bothered.

GAHANS STRIKE BACK: Street piano approved but the social media fur begins to fly.

Now that something so very simple finally has been blessed by the self-appointed pillars, how many of them will turn out to claim credit for a phenomenon they neither understood nor assisted?

Celebrate the New Albany Street Piano, while remembering Team Gahan's dismal reaction to it.

I'll be there with a clipboard, checking off the hypocrisy.

Saturday, September 5
4:00 p.m.
Jimmy's Music Center, 123 E. Market St., New Albany

Mark your calendars! After all of the hullabaloo of the last few months, it is finally time to enjoy the New Albany Street Piano for its original purpose: making music and spreading joy to downtown New Albany. We hope to have a good crowd assembled for the unveiling, so please share this invite and bring a friend of two. We invite you all to stop by Jimmy's to see the piano and play/sing/listen for a bit, then head to enjoy an evening at one of the many fine establishments the downtown has to offer. Hope to see you there!

Monday, August 24, 2015

Parking Non-Problem 2: "How to respond when someone complains 'There's no parking.'"

It's been a couple of years since Jeff G mapped New Albany's parking supply (the photo above). Mapping is one of four responses to complaints of "there's no parking," as suggested by Nathaniel Hood, a transportation planner and blogger living in St. Paul who writes for Strong Towns and Streets.MN.

In Parking Non-Problem 1, there is a link to a City Lab article introducing Hood and his photos of wide open spaces where parking shortages are alleged to exist. In the following, Hood's points are truncated, so please click through and read the entire article.

How to respond when someone complains 'There's no parking', by Nathaniel Hood (Star Tribune)

OMG! There is NO parking!" - Concerned Citizen

I wish I had a bus ticket for every time I heard someone say this. Unless you're Manhattan or San Francisco, it is fair to say you don't have a parking problem. I take that back. You do have a parking problem -- there’s too much of it.

Here is a quick how-to guide on dealing with those who claim your city or town lacks adequate parking.

Step 1. Understand perception ... The easiest and most time-effective way of convincing your opposition is to have them acknowledge that the perception of parking availability is different than the reality.

Step 2. Map parking supply ... Load up Google Maps in your favorite web browser, search for your local area, and do a screen capture. Paste the image into MS Paint or a similar program. Start highlighting the open surface parking lots and parking garage structures. I recommend downloading Google Earth for this task.

Step 3. Document unused supply ... Walk around your selected area during normal conditions and take photos. And by normal conditions, I mean you shouldn't document supply during a Rolling Stones concert, nor should you snap photos at 4 a.m. on Monday morning.

Step 4. Use yourself as a case study ... Do it yourself advocacy is as simple as parking. I recommend getting a cheap dashboard camera (or mounting your phone) and recording yourself trying to park. I did this and here are the results on YouTube. I called it a challenge. It was anything but. As expected, parking was simple.

Parking Non-Problem 1. "The Real Downtown 'Parking Problem': There's Too Much of It."

There's not enough parking in downtown NA -- just the red areas.

The topic is "the gap between parking reality and parking perception" in St. Paul, Minnesota, where the Confidentials visited in 2014. We took the Green Line from our room, walked around St. Paul for hours, and enjoyed it immensely.

In Parking Non-Problem 2, we'll learn "How to respond when someone complains 'There's no parking.'"

The Real Downtown 'Parking Problem': There's Too Much of It ... A photographic tour of spots and lots in St. Paul’s booming Lowertown district, by Eric Jaffe (City Lab)

To hear USA Today describe it, the Lowertown district in downtown St. Paul, Minnesota, is officially “up and coming.” In addition to some great restaurants and a year-round Farmers’ Market, the neighborhood is now home to Nice Ride bike-share stations and the new Green Line light rail. The St. Paul Saints, the city’s indy pro baseball club, started playing at the new CHS Field in Lowertown this spring.

But to hear the local papers describe Lowertown, the area’s emergence at a downtown destination has come with a severe parking shortage. Here are two city officials speaking to the Pioneer Press this spring:

Jack Gerten, who manages the Farmers' Market for the city, said he was trying to balance the needs of residents, potential area business patrons and the Saints.

"Lowertown's coming alive, but unfortunately, there's consequences," Gerten said.

City parking manager Gary Grabko added: "The development happening, private and public, has totally changed the parking situation ... especially in Lowertown. That's the reality of the problem.

Local transportation planner and blogger Nathaniel Hood sees things a bit differently. In several recent posts he’s pointed out that there is a parking problem in Lowertown—there’s too much of it. To help make his case, Hood took his camera to Lowertown on a recent “bustling Saturday afternoon” and photographed the shortage.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Let's go Krogering?: Does CM Blair's fixation with a boarded-up Hardee's have to do with gas pumps and corporate welfare?

On Friday, I emitted a rant.

Council meeting recap 1: State's a trashy chain-ridden asphalt nightmare, and this sole derelict Hardee's must go!

There was this interesting comment ...

Did we overhear Kroger managers talking about the company's plans to move the Kroger gas station to the Hardee's site?

If so, shouldn't Kroger pay for the demolition and site remediation?

Even though the city sold a relatively new fire station for much less than the replacement cost to allow Kroger to expand?

This morning over coffee, it was time for some research, prompted by this timely report from another helpful friend who agreed to hit the Internet for me. Let's have a look at the properties involved ...

The Hardees lot is a separate parcel cut from the large State Street Plaza lot. Both are owned by "New Albany Plaza LLC" using Kevin Schreiber as their listed agent. Kevin Schreiber is part of "The Shopping Center Group" - see:

Kroger is now listed as the owner of the former fire house lot using their holding company used for retail land purchases:

"Kroger Limited Partnership 1, through its General Partner KRGP, Inc., doing business as Kroger."

The Principal Officers are as follows:

President/COO: David B. Dillon of 1050 East Rookwood Drive, Cincinnati, OH 45208

Sr. Vice President/Secretary: Paul W. Heldman of 1135 Edwards Road, Cincinnati, OH 45208

Vice President/Treasurer: Scott M. Henderson of 10548 Secretariat Drive, Union, KY 41091.

And a bit more:

The existing Kroger store lot is currently owned by an entity named "B B W T, Inc." - I can't find out any information about that group, and I don't know what the initials represent.

Interestingly, supposedly the Penn Station (former 1st National bank building) comes down, and the Long John Silvers/A & W combo becomes part of the Kroger footprint to the west. When the project was announced, the plans were shown to the front line people, who talked about it for a few days. Now, if you ask any of them about it, all they'll say is that it's in the hands of the higher ups.

Here's a late update from yet another friend:

The Kroger on State Street owns the building that now holds Long John Silver and A & W. The owner of that franchise is looking to build where the Hardees buildig is now. He tried to get it in the contract for Kroger to remove that building and build a new one, but did not. However, the first stage of the Kroger expansion is to tear down the Long John Silver building in order to expand the gas station. Hope this helps.

Thanks to the three of you. Bankers seldom bother containing their enthusiasm for down-low deals of this nature, so it makes me wonder: Just how many deals are going to be cut for Kroger?

As an aside:

Almost from the moment the Kroger store opened on Grant Line Road, just across University Woods Drive from my pizzeria and public house business, the rumors began: Eventually, Kroger would buy Elliott Phillips's parking area (bounded by University Woods and Plaza Drive) and build a gas station there.

It never happened, but the rumors have not ceased.

Phillips no longer owns the property in question. It was purchased a couple years ago by ... the Blairs, from whom NABC leases parking spaces.

Road Kill 2: "The Trucks Are Killing Us."

Photo credit (from Vancouver WA)

In a densely populated urban area, big trucks should be traveling far more slowly than 35 - 40 mph, as they typically do when passing through New Albany.

Let's be truthful: Jeff Gahan is politically gutless and has done nothing to challenge this potentially hazardous equation. As mayor, at least I'll try -- consistently, openly, in public, from a standpoint of transparency. In the battle for New Albany's streets, we may in, or we may lose.

But you will have absolutely no doubt where I stand on the topic.

The Trucks Are Killing Us, by Howard Abramson (New York Times)

ACCIDENTS like the one that critically injured the comedian Tracy Morgan, killed his friend and fellow comedian James McNair, known as Jimmy Mack, and hurt eight others on the New Jersey Turnpike last year are going to continue to happen unless Congress stops coddling the trucking industry.

More people will be killed in traffic accidents involving large trucks this year than have died in all of the domestic commercial airline crashes over the past 45 years, if past trends hold true. And still Congress continues to do the trucking industry’s bidding by frustrating the very regulators the government has empowered to oversee motor carriers.

Road Kill 1: "Despite improvements, driving in America remains extraordinarily dangerous."

From the article.

"Roads get wider and busier and less friendly to pedestrians. And all of the development based around cars, like big sprawling shopping malls. Everything seems to be designed for the benefit of the automobile and not the benefit of the human being." -- Bill Bryson

Not to mention it being hazardous to one's health.

Traffic accidents: Road kill ... Despite improvements, driving in America remains extraordinarily dangerous (The Economist)

 ... Drunk-driving is just one of the perils of American roads. In 2014 some 32,675 people were killed in traffic accidents. In 2013, the latest year for which detailed data are available, some 2.3m were injured—or one in 100 licensed drivers. These numbers are better than a few decades ago, but still far worse than in any other developed country. For every billion miles Americans drive, roughly 11 people are killed. If American roads were as safe per-mile-driven as Ireland’s, the number of lives saved each year would be equivalent to preventing all the murders in the country.

In most of the rich world, far fewer people die in road accidents these days; cars are much safer than they were, with crumple zones, airbags, anti-locking brakes and adaptive cruise control. Use of seatbelts is widespread. But compared with other countries, America has not improved much. And in some ways things have been getting worse. For example, between 2009 and 2013 pedestrian deaths jumped by 15% as the economy recovered. In Britain, over the same period, the number fell by a fifth.

Many states are as safe to drive in as Europe: New Jersey, Rhode Island and Massachusetts all have low accident rates, for example. But in rural, sparsely-populated areas, where people drive long distances on long empty roads, the death rates can be shocking. In Wyoming in 2014, 131 people were killed in fatal crashes—a traffic-accident death rate higher than in most of sub-Saharan Africa. According to the Wyoming Highway Patrol, many deaths involve drivers who refuse to wear seatbelts.

Still confused about "road diets" and street redesign, Irv? Take a video tour and LEARN.

What? You mean just like in this document? Wow!

Even your grandchildren can watch a video ... and comprehend facts.

A Wonderfully Clear Explanation of How Road Diets Work: Planner Jeff Speck leads a video tour of four different street redesigns, by Eric Jaffe (City Lab)

A road diet is a great way for cities to reclaim some of the excess street space they’ve dedicated to cars—generally preserving traffic flows while improving safety and expanding mobility to other modes. But just as food dieters have Atkins, South Beach, vegan, and any number of options, road diets come in many flavors, too. Urban planner and Walkable City author Jeff Speck, in collaboration with graphic artist Spencer Boomhower, takes us on a tour of four types of street diets in a deliciously clear new video series.