Monday, June 30, 2014

"Why free parking is bad for everyone."

Parking's never an issue when you do it on the sidewalk.

Read it first.

THEN start spluttering like an enraged old white man.

Why free parking is bad for everyone, by Joseph Stromberg (Vox)

America is built around cars. And most of us expect that we'll be able to park our cars for free, pretty much anywhere we go.

But economist Donald Shoup of UCLA has made a name for himself by advocating an alternative scheme: charging for street parking anywhere there are more people with cars than spaces to park.

Shoup's 2005 book, The High Cost of Free Parking, articulated why exactly he thinks free parking is such a bad idea. His ideas have started to influence policy: several cities, including San Francisco, have recently begun experimenting with the variable, market-set pricing scheme he thinks makes the most sense. And recent studies have confirmed that it cuts down on cruising time and traffic congestion.

If (doomed) buildings could talk.

Hmm, wonder if we couldn't fit a splash park in there somewhere ...

Entrepreneurs: Forget those forgivable loans. In New Albany, cicada cycles determine infrastructure upgrades.

Here's what the Jeffersonville officials say: Another forgivable loan, another new indie food & drink business in downtown Jeffersonville.

Here is what the Louisville officials say: Metro loans $700k to local businesses: Feast BBQ, Peerless Distilling, Germantown Mill, and a new crepe shop

Here is what New Albany officials say (not necessarily in chronological order).

1. Don't you know anyone at Develop New Albany? It's our economic development arm.

2. No, wait. Don't you know Mike Kopp? HE'S our economic development arm.

3. Hold it ... you know the Horseshoe Foundation, right? That's it ... they're our economic development arm. They have all the money. See if you can get some of it. We're not having any luck.

4. On second thought, we DO have an economic development plan to help independent small businesses, but first, if you're a potential industrial park occupant, please step over to the VIP Rewards-Class Enfluffment Line.

5. Okay, here it is: New Albany's economic development plan for independent small business.

First, you invest your own money in the business. Then, to show you we care, we'll consider repairing a sidewalk we haven't touched since the Eisenhower years, but only if John Rosenbarger hasn't already used the money for a politically motivated neighborhood deforestation project, or bike lanes to nowhere, or bump outs at the wheelchair crossing.

What's more, while we're aware that complete streets would constitute city-wide, non-partisan assistance of a sort (you bet we're going to read Speck's book by the time his study comes back), we're going to take our sweet time thinking about it, because in political terms, we're frozen in the headlights of cars driven by Democratic grandees, and so we'll do nothing about the street grid until we absolutely, positively must -- and then it probably will be too late, but you'll be used to the cut-through, bridge-evasion traffic by then.

Meanwhile, we'll spend millions on the industrial park (them's REAL jobs, son ... are you sure you're in the right line?) and an aquatic center, all of it linked together by streets dangerous to drivers, pedestrians and cyclists alike. Just wait until you hear the new city hall idea.

You're going to love it. After all, NA is where you should be. Says so right there on the ad.

As for YOUR Finnish reindeer taco bar idea, wouldn't you much rather come here to New Albany, than accept those bogus monetary handouts from Jeffersonville and Louisville? The way we see it, using all of your own resources while we look on approvingly and provide moral support makes you a better entrepreneur.

Thanks for coming to New Albany. We're very happy to help.

(Psst, did you squeeze anything out of Jerry Finn yet?)

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Eurovelo: Sweet pedaling dreams are made of this.

It's been 11 years since my Frankfurt - Vienna bike ride, and a decade past the immortal circular journey around Belgian monastic breweries known to posterity as the Tour de Trappiste. In 2006 came the Prague - Vienna Greenway epic.

If I weren't an atheist, I'd say: God, I miss it.

For the past couple of years, I've become a walker first, and a cyclist second. There isn't an overriding reason for the shift in priorities; I'm older, walking is simpler, and I desperately need a new bike. At the same time, life can be serendipity encased in a pendulum. Perhaps another chance will come along.

Few of the routes described below are "finished" to any great degree, but that's okay. Lots of the infrastructure exists already, although surely diminishing as one pedals south and east. This Eurovelo map functions in my brain in the same way as the Thomas Cook rail guide in the 1980s, as a way of fusing reality with pipe dreams. Thanks to Jeff for pointing me to it.

Discover Europe by bike!

Welcome to the – the website for people interested in cycling in Europe.

EuroVelo is a network of 14 long distance cycle routes connecting and uniting the whole European continent. The routes can be used by cycle tourists as well as by local people making daily journeys. EuroVelo currently comprises of 14 routes and it is envisaged that the network will be substantially complete by 2020.

In which the 1985 Ford F-150 finds a worthy new home.

For a brief moment, we were the owners of four Fords, so something had to give. First up was my father's truck (84,000 miles); thanks to Stephen J. Powell, it now has a worthy new home. Next, I hope to trade a 1996 Crown Vic and 2009 Fusion for an F-150 of more recent vintage. We'll see. Maybe there'll be enough left over to purchase a new bicycle.

"Manic Street Preachers still have plenty to get mad about."

To know me is to know how much I love this band. It isn't just the music. It's because the Manics have no interest in their music being about music alone, and the band hasn't ever been hesitant to ponder social and political universals. Substitute "better beer" for music in the preceding, and see the connections. Here are a few informative background selections.

James Dean Bradfield looks back on the band's career

That time when the fascists stupidly borrowed a profoundly anti-fascistic song

A philosophy journal ponders the influence of Nietzsche on Manic Street Preachers lyrics

For capsules of the albums, go here.
Manic Street Preachers: The Complete Guide at Clash Music

Twenty-six years on from their debut single, 19 since the disappearance of Richey Edwards, 12 years on from their first retrospective and only 10 months on from their more acoustic, introverted 11th album, Wales’ finest, Manic Street Preachers, are set to return with one of the best records of their career.

Ahead of the band’s ‘Futurology’ and its triumphant riffery, Clash thought it would be a good time to take a tour through the Manics’ past. From the pomp and arrogance of their early years, through the mid-1990s success during difficult times, up to their latest incarnation, there’s plenty to get to know.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

"Sophie, Sophie, don't die! Stay alive for the children."

This is the image that started it all for me. It shows the heir to the throne of Austria-Hungary and his wife, exiting the town hall in Sarajevo and unwittingly preparing for an appointment with destiny via two well-placed gunshots from Gavrilo Princip.

It was 100 years ago today, and the people pictured above are not happy. It was about to get worse.

The irony of the Archduke's death is that it provided the pretext for the cataclysm of the Great War (now known as World War I). Franz Ferdinand may have been an unsympathetic, disagreeable figure in many ways, but he understood what so many other did not: His empire was not equipped to fight a modern, industrial war. Six weeks after his death, Austria-Hungary invaded tiny Serbia, and was mauled repeatedly by the Serbs until Germany came to the rescue. Meanwhile, general conflict had erupted throughout Europe, the consequences of which endure a century later.

From 1985 through 2006, the life of Franz Ferdinand was a recurring motif in my Central European travels. In 2008, I attempted to explain it, at least in part. It is my hope some day to have the chance to retrace these steps, all in one trip through the former Habsburg lands.


Readers of history already know the emperor Franz Joseph's nephew, Archduke Franz Ferdinand, as the man whose 1914 assassination in Sarajevo lit the fuse for the Great War. As for me, since my very first visit to Europe in 1985, when I made a visit to Austria's national military museum for the sole purpose of viewing the Archduke's blood-splattered tunic and the automobile he and his wife were using to drive through Sarajevo when Gavrilo Princip's bullets ended their lives, visiting the various Central European locales on the Franz Ferdinand heritage trail has been a constant attraction.

The military museum was first, and also in 1985, I walked through the crypt of the Austrian emperors in Vienna precisely to see where Franz Ferdinand and his wife are not buried – and this absence is a very important part of the overall story.

The Archduke was a blunt, obnoxious, violent, unlikable and repressed human being who in his spare time enjoyed slaughtering wildlife under the guise of hunting.

He also did something decidedly uncommon among his brethren European royalty of the age: He fell madly in love, and remained just as madly in love, with a woman decreed by the royal court to be inadequately marriageable for an heir to the throne, and so he married her anyway, even though doing so forced him to renounce the path of succession for the children, and to acknowledge that Sophie could not participate in the normal trappings of royal life … or enjoy an eternal resting place alongside the properly accredited Habsburg family members.

Inexplicably, the otherwise indefensible Franz Ferdinand was transformed into the perfect family man at home in various estates and castles scattered throughout the realm … but, not unexpectedly, his perceived mistreatment at the hands of protocol rankled, and he nursed a smoldering grudge until the end of his life, which came in Sarajevo during a journey of largely unnecessary semi-official business that was undertaken because it geographically placed he and his wife outside the direct control of the court, inside a province that had been annexed only a short time before, and enabled him to provide his wife, albeit it briefly, with the "official" perks denied her otherwise.

All this meant less than nothing to a young group of nationalistic Bosnian revolutionary conspirators who detested the empire and were being trained and financed by a covert arm of the independent Serbian kingdom's military arm in Belgrade ("Black Hand"), and thus we are brought back to Sarajevo, where the motley crew of inflamed and malnourished terrorists plotted their tragicomic ambush of the Archduke.

To start, a bomb was inexpertly tossed. It bounced off the hood of Franz Ferdinand's car and ignited on the one following it, injuring a subaltern. The bomb thrower sought first to drown himself, jumping from an adjacent bridge into the two-foot-deep river, then, thwarted, tried to ingest poison that wasn't poison. He was quickly arrested and the group dissolved in panic, with Princip adjourning to the curb outside a coffee house to morosely consider the failures of the botched performance.

Meanwhile, in spite of the bomb attempt and further warnings that security could not be guaranteed, a supremely annoyed Archduke elected to finish the official visit to Sarajevo's town hall, resulting in one of the most incredible photos you'll ever see, with the bedecked Austrian royal visibly bursting veins while minor officials in vests and fezes offer tepid and embarrassed salutes. The fear in their eyes is palpable even in the ancient black and white photo. A bad moon is about to rise, and they know it.

But nothing can be done when it comes to fate, especially in the Balkans.

Sure enough, perhaps an hour later, the motorcade resumed without the Archduke's staff having communicated to the lead driver a slight change in route undertaken to make the return safer. Having missed the turn, the cars were halted on the street directly outside the coffee shop where Princip now emerged to find his original target stock still and seated only 20 feet away, posing for the crosshairs. Princip fired two shots, one each for Franz Ferdinand and Sophie, both inexplicably perfect in aim, and within moments, the heir and his wife were both dead.

Throughout my subsequent travels, I've visited the Archduke's "hunting lodge" in Benesov, outside Prague, consumed the beer brewed in his name nearby, returned to Vienna to tour the Belvedere Palace (his official residence), and finally in 2003, arduously climbed the steep side of the Danube valley on a bicycle for the privilege of seeing the ancestral castle at Artstetten, and being presented the key to the mausoleum by the lady on duty so that after twenty-two years, the couple's graves could at last be viewed and my respects offered.

But Sarajevo in 1987 remains the benchmark. The town hall, the bridge and the museum located where the coffee shop had been … the footprints in the concrete sidewalk to show where Princip stood when he struck his blows against the empire … and the ambience of this strange old town with minarets and church spires both Catholic and Eastern Orthodox, not to mention synagogues, nestled together on a hillside, with the sprawling newer town encompassing a winter Olympics complex.

Might we invent a local food culture in New Albany?

Cincinnati has goetta and it's own distinctive chili.

Down river in Evansville, calves' brain sandwiches are a specialty, albeit one probably borrowed from St. Louis.

Does Louisville's hot brown fit the bill, or is the entire state of Kentucky represented by cured hams and bourbon? After all, they represent all the relevant food groups.

Then there's New Albany, and no, Rally's is not eligible.

I've consistently advocated meatloaf as the culinary concept most in keeping with local culture, or its absence, suggesting that we promote a themed meat loaf festival as a springtime alternative to Harvest Homecoming. Now that there is a Boomtown fest on Memorial Day weekend, perhaps the time has come: A Houndmouth ale in every hand, and a meatloaf ciabatta in every disposable wrapper. The band itself can judge the cooking competition. There can be meatless loaves, too.

It begs a question: At one time, would river cats and carp have been staple in a place like this? Noting that Hungarians render a fine, peppery soup from Lake Balaton carp, a bottom-feeding Scribner Bouillabaise springs to mind. Serve with a spoon and strainer; those fish are bony.

Local food culture presupposes local culture, and in this sense, New Albany's legacy of dependable underachievement jibes almost perfectly with glib American stereotypes of Frenchmen rising in the morning to be first to surrender. Maybe the NA baguette needs to come without meat or cheese, and stale. If it cannot be eaten, it can be used to smack new ideas in the face.

How to invent a local food culture, by Simon Preston (The Guardian)

In many British towns, local dishes have never evolved or have been forgotten. Is it possible to invent a meaningful food culture for a place that doesn't have one?

In most areas of Britain, local dishes have never evolved or have been forgotten. But might it be possible simply to invent a food culture for a place that doesn't have one? After all, a connection to the food we eat and to the place we live is a vital part of helping us to lead happy, healthy lives.

Why is a political party chairman serving on a local government commission in the first place?

It's always nice to see the local Democratic party chairman wearing his "non-politicized" redevelopment cap whilst eschewing localism and espousing principled internationalism, as compared to his role with the party -- which involves fixing as many outcomes as possible in accordance with the elderly ruling grandees and their special, longstanding needs.

Trouble is, both hats appear somewhat politicized from this distance, but then again, I'm merely a neutral observer. Meanwhile, another couple hundred thousand dollars gets shifted to parks and recreation, as other mundane considerations (i.e., those that require some level of thought) languish.

Am I the only guy in town who cannot remember when the mayor declared parks and recreation his top priority during the campaign? Might that be because he didn't?

Argument over hiring local contractor delays bid for Ekin Center project in New Albany; Commission to meet Monday with deadline looming, by Daniel Suddeath (N and T)

 ... The New Albany Redevelopment Commission received two bids for repairs to the Ekin Avenue Recreation Center. Upton Pry Inc., of New Albany, submitted a base bid of $254,000, while Louisville-based Myers-White Inc. offered a $263,000 contract for the work.

However, the commission requested estimates for several alternates to the project, and when those were figured, Upton Pry’s bid totaled $302,000, or $26,000 more than the proposal of Myers-White.

Despite the $26,000 difference, New Albany City Councilman Dan Coffey, who is also a member of the redevelopment commission, said the contract should be rewarded to the local firm.

“I believe in taking care of the people from home,” Coffey said.

When it can be avoided, local taxpayer dollars shouldn’t be spent to hire nonlocal contractors, he continued ...

 ... Commission President Irving Joshua and commission member Adam Dickey disagreed strongly with Coffey’s proposal. Joshua accused Coffey of holding the commission “hostage” by refusing to vote to accept the low bid.

“I think this is an inappropriate precedent,” Joshua said.

The community isn’t just New Albany, as the city can’t isolate itself from the rest of the region, Dickey added.

Friday, June 27, 2014

The NABC Weekend: Appalatin in the park, Louvino Pop-Up and Shopping with Your Pooch.

Courtesy of the inimitable Tony Beard

At some point on Sunday evening, preferably around 6:30 p.m., I'll be able to relax and enjoy an episode of "The Last of the Summer Wine," a wonderful vision set in a place where no one seems to work, and the weather's always cool. And they visit the pub often. Until then ...


All three of NABC's World Cup Trilogy beers have been tapped, and will continue to pour at both NABC locations until they're depleted. For next Tuesday's USA vs Belgium match in the Round of 16, there'll be a specially prepared keg of Naughty Girl at Bank Street Brewhouse (details TBA; BSB opens at 3 p.m.), while at the Pizzeria & Public House, there's a non-futbol beer takeover event long in the works, featuring drafts from our friends out in San Diego: Stone Brewing Tap Night.


Tonight (Friday, June 27), New Albany’s Bicentennial Park Summer Concert Series features the stellar band Appalatin.

Foot-stomping, hip-swinging sounds organically unite Appalachian folk and high-energy Latin music. The name, Appalatin, reflects the unexpected meeting in Louisville, KY of Kentucky-raised musicians and masterful Latin émigrés from Ecuador, Nicaragua, and Guatemala. Their all-acoustic performances of traditional stings of guitar, mandolin, upright bass, and charango, indigenous Andean flutes, hand percussion, harmonica and vocal harmonies have brought joy and happiness to listeners of all ages.

Inclement weather and staffing issues forced the cancellation of last Friday's Big Four Burger wagon at Bank Street Brewhouse, but we expect them back on Friday.


On Saturday, June 28, Bank Street Brewhouse plays host to a Louvino pop-up restaurant preview. It's the first of what we hope will be many such opportunities to involve food, even if we're not a full-time restaurant.

Join Chefs Tavis Rockwell, Dan Thomas and Michael Hargrove as they try a few menu concepts from the soon to open Louvino. Some of the items will include Confit Chicken Wings, Tavis's Housemade Tater Tots, Sliders, Apple Wontons, Chocolate Malts and Duck Fat Fries. The kitchen will be open for service at 5:00 p.m. and will run until 11:00, or until the food runs out. Beer and beverages will be available from the NABC. We look forward to seeing you there!

Please take note: There'll be no reservations or table service; it's first come, first served. Find a space and get a drink. Diners will order and pay at the kitchen window, and your food will be brought to you. Have a beer. Repeat.


Shop With Your Pooch Sunday ! A Fundraiser for The Arrow Fund runs on Sunday from 11:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. at My Magpie's Nest (1613 E Market St. in New Albany). The list of vendors is long and includes Wenning's Tequila Lime Salsa & Pickles; a pet communicator and psychic; Quibble Hill Winery; Rib Tip Tony's; Savon; and NABC. Accordingly, I'll be there from noon to 4:00 p.m. with beer samples, including the appropriately positioned Houndmouth.

The Arrow Fund provides medical treatment to Kentuckiana animals who have been the victims of torture or extreme forms of abuse and neglect. By highlighting these cases, we strive to educate the public regarding the ongoing problem of animal cruelty and the need to strengthen Kentuckiana's animal welfare laws. TAF Is a non-profit group.

Next week's a whole other story. Fireworks at the Amphitheater with Progressive Pints and the Crashers next Thursday, anyone?

Bill Lamb on bicyclists: Tax 'em, kill 'em -- whatever.

It isn't as though WDRB's Bill Lamb hasn't shamelessly trolled about bicycling in the past. He has. Case in point: The 'Ville Voice: "Bill the Bike Bully."

With the topic being "my car as shriveled phallus extension," The 'Ville Voice's Rick Redding comes in right on cue following yesterday's venomous NAC exchange on bicycling, automotive traffic, and which one makes us more American in the eyes of our patriotic countrymen.

That's right; five long years ago, when Redding still manned the controls at The 'Ville Voice. Now Lamb is back, stoking the road rage brigade, presumably empowered by the knowledge that that there is no known record hereabouts of drivers being prosecuted for killing cyclists under any circumstances.

Now, I hear the Metro Council is considering an ordinance that would tax cyclists through a licensing fee. This is a good idea. First, there is a cost of painting all these new bike lane.
In New Albany, we can't even "afford" striping for automotive lanes, much less bikes, but I digress This time around it's Jake Payne applying the rhetorical mascara to Lamb's wizened visage.

Just when you thought Bill Lamb couldn’t get more disconnected from reality… Taxing cyclists because he’s not man enough to control himself or his emotional reactions. What’ll get his manties in a twist next? This city should be paying cyclists because it gets cars off our already crumbling streets. The environmental benefit is just an added bonus. [WDRB]

St. Paul's Episcopal Church: On the right side of New Albany street grid history.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

ON THE AVENUES: From the countryside to “Livin’ for the City.”

ON THE AVENUES: From the countryside to “Livin’ for the City.”

A weekly web column by Roger A. Baylor.

For the past three months, a transition has been underway.

My mother moved from Georgetown to an apartment at the Silvercrest community, setting into motion familiar cadences in creative downsizing, at times requiring both brain cells and back muscles seldom flexed: Organizing, cataloguing, sorting and packing … applying, verifying, signing and calculating … selling, buying, donating depositing and withdrawing.

The fact that my wife and a group of amazing friends have done so much to help out during this process has made it much easier.

I do have my ghosts, and I respect their shadowy presence in my life. Closing the book on the house where I was raised naturally couldn’t come without periodic mental triage, itself requiring consultations with some of these very same ghosts, and in the main, they’ve been gentle and constructive.

It is true that in terms of physical residence, I’ve never left Floyd County. At the same time, as daily existence pertains to a set of interests and beliefs, and an overall worldview, I often feel like an illegal alien, or a stranger in a strange land. Perhaps I was a country boy in the distant past, but I’ve changed as much as any born-again this-or-that, and now I’m a practicing urbanist of some stripe. There has not been a moment these past weeks when I said to myself -- you know, self, why not live out here again?

The following column appeared in the pre-merger Tribune in March, 2009. I’ve made a few small edits for comprehensibility.


BEER MONEY: Livin’ for the City.

By ROGER BAYLOR, Local Columnist

From the beginning of his life to within weeks of its end, excepting three years in the pacific during WWII, my father lived in rural Floyd County.

For much of that time the landscape genuinely there embodied the attractiveness of the American countryside prior to the invasiveness of postwar sprawl, and perhaps that’s why he seldom had anything positive to say about “city life,” which to him was a phenomenon endured by unfortunate people who were crowded more closely together than could possibly be healthy, with far too much traffic and far too little room to breathe.

When I was a boy, my family vacationed almost exclusively in the great outdoors of the Western United States. It was my father’s preference, and of course proved a valuable education for me. I wouldn’t trade those experiences for anything, but as I grew older, my personal and academic interests inexorably began pointing eastward, back toward the Old World. As noted previously, it wasn’t my fault that the stork was toiling pre-GPS.

The precise moment of my divergence from the anti-urban household party line cannot be pinpointed, although by the conclusion of my first European backpacking expedition in 1985, the deal was probably sealed.

Europe’s cities were revelatory. Suddenly the bountiful possibilities of the urban ethos were revealed: Art, music and culture; parks, history and architecture; restaurants, clubs and pubs; and vast, comprehensive and affordable public transportation networks tying them together.

Yes, my dad had been right: There were more people than I’d ever seen together in one place. But it didn’t escape my notice that many of them in places like Paris were women my age, and that fact alone was more interesting than a mere animal kingdom in Wyoming or Montana.

Multiple summers were spent touring, learning, and experiencing, and each time I elected to return to Indiana. Somewhere along the way came the grudging realization that with an established business, family ties and the unlikelihood of feasible international relocation, New Albany was going to be a permanent home. Diana and I got a great deal on an old house downtown, took a closer look around the neighborhood, and had the same astounded reaction.

So much raw potential … and just as much all-embracing incomprehension.


Amazingly, there are New Albanian residents who’ll vehemently disagree if you assert that the sun rises in the east and sets in the west. If they could say “no” for a living, they would. Unfortunately, theirs are the voices that the majority of local politicians heed, hence a large measure of the eternal problem.

Unraveling the confused argumentation deployed by these semi-pro obstructionists is nearly as fun as wandering through a classic hedge maze in search of the exit, except that when it comes to efforts to reason with the city’s Luddites, there aren’t enough progressive pints of refreshing ale on the planet to ease your transition back to the coherent side of life.

Consider the city’s efforts to broker the construction of the downtown YMCA, a project envisioned by former mayor Regina Overton as the first phase of the Scribner Place revitalization effort, one funded primarily by private donations, including a substantial tithe from the Caesar’s/Horseshoe Foundation. Only a miniscule annual contribution from economic development monies was required to bring this win/win deal happily to fruition.

Even the Geico caveman could grasp it, and yet it took all four years of James Garner’s tenure as Overton’s successor and the first year of Doug England’s term to finally open the doors. Never has a governmental entity been compelled to fight so long and hard to spend millions of someone else’s cash, and the reason why touches on the hallmarks of the New Albany Syndrome: Envy, jealousy, and a seldom-used word normally used in an Irish context, begrudgery.

The very same people who objected to the city spending its economic development money for economic development to help build the YMCA, predicting no one would go there, now are grousing about the parking problems caused by too many people visiting the YMCA. This means that we can add another characteristic to the New Albany Syndrome checklist: Aversion to irony, as in a tragicomic appearance at the YMCA’s opening by two mercifully retired councilmen who spent their last four years in office vigorously opposing its construction.

That’s either extreme chutzpah … or utter cluelessness.


Then as now, the YMCA and Scribner Place proposals make sense because they’re components of purposeful downtown revitalization, and purposeful downtown revitalization makes sense because utilizing the existing urban area means a more effective leveraging of resources we already have at hand. Low-risk expenditures in infrastructure like the YMCA and Scribner Place developments help broaden the tax base, encourage private investment and bring needed jobs to the city. They prime the pump for further growth, but more importantly, the growth achieved does not come at the expense of dwindling green fields.

Moreover, such public/private investments acknowledge that a city is a city – not a suburb, not an exurb, and not a collection of cabins in the forest. It concentrates available resources, work and amenities, and makes it possible to share burdens. There was a period when we forgot much of this, and now a doctrine has emerged that reminds us of the way it is. It’s called New Urbanism.

If I’m not too busy opening a business downtown, I may write more about New Urbanism in the weeks to come. Until then, you can do what the naysayers won’t.

Just look it up.

As long as those paychecks keep coming, John Rosenbarger cares not one jot about crosswalkability downtown.

Here's where 3rd Street crosses Market. The crosswalk is clearly marked. It doesn't mean drivers pay attention, as illustrated by another photo taken elsewhere ...

... but it's somewhere to start. Moving just one block east, where 4th Street meets Market, the only markings are from midday utility line shadows.

I drew in some white lines, just to show you what it might look like.

One of my favorite "WTF" crosswalk stops is at the T intersection of 8th Street and Spring. We went to the trouble of drawing lines across what used to be a three-lane street, without a stop light to slow traffic, and then cleverly had them end at a curb. Hope you weren't using a wheelchair, pal.

A far more recent example of head-scratching is just down Spring Street between 3rd and 4th, at the alley by Centenary Church. A fresh coat of asphalt was applied to the alley, and leveled on the west side.

But on the east side of the alley, no such effort was made. It's several inches up.

One evening in early June, we were walking eastbound behind a fellow in a motorized wheelchair. He started across the alley, saw the bump ahead, and diverted into the bicycle lane against oncoming traffic.

Yep, we're all about public safety in New Albany.

These are only a few examples of the variable crosswalk experience downtown. Perhaps John Rosenbarger spends too much time thinking about how to guarantee speedway-mode passage for J & J Pallet and Tiger Trucking down arterial Spring Street, and not enough time contemplating the ways that his chosen street network discriminates against other forms of human transport.

Pence takes to his bunker as Indiana's gay marriage ban is ruled to be unconstitutional.

Meanwhile last evening, the N and T reported that the home county of Indiana's attorney general would grudgingly accede to modernity.

Duh -- of course Greg Zoeller will argue against it. That's what he's paid to do, but what's worth remembering that he's in the employ of a dullard governor who represents the narrow interests of the GOP fundamentalist cabal. Zoeller's merely a hired hand in this instance, although there is a precedent of sorts for principle over ideology. Anyone remember Indianapolis native William Ruckelshaus?

Weddings begin as judge throws out Indiana's same-sex marriage ban, by Jill Disis and Cara Anthony (Indy Star)

A federal judge ruled Wednesday that Indiana's ban on gay marriage is unconstitutional, immediately allowing same-sex couples across the state to receive marriage licenses.

U.S. District Judge Richard Young did not issue a stay on his ruling. However, a spokesman for Attorney General Greg Zoeller, whose office represented the state, said they "will quickly ask for a stay of today's ruling pending appeal."

New Albany's new slogan: "Truck Through City" ... Part Seventeen: Every time Rosenbarger lies, a monster truck is born.

Main Street Deforestation Project: If John Rosenbarger's lips are moving, chances are he's lying about traffic diversion. Here's why.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Two C-J article chart a housing "boomlet" in downtown New Albany, coincidentally making the case for complete two-way streets.

Dude: Grace Schneider just lapped the 'Bune, although to be fair, the latter has been quite busy cheerleading in Jeffersonville lately.

First, there's this, in which it is revealed that after two and a half years on the job, the city's economic development officials at long last want to know all about the moribund Reisz building on Main:

Shining new light on an old store in New Albany

Then this, collating numerous recent building and property acquisitions into a coherent whole, including the (gasp) prospect of infill construction:

Boomlet begins in New Albany

Random observations after reading these two pieces ...

1. Nowhere is it mentioned that Chalfant, Carter or other investors require a $12 million parking garage as collateral for money they don't have. How very refreshing. What's DNA have to say?

2. Implicit acknowledgement abounds: Without previous entrepreneurial investments in restaurants, bars and shops (largely unassisted by the city) over a period of eight year, there'd be no demand for living space.

3. Yet again, the city is coming in on the tail end of something already begun. Charitably stated, it is belatedly asking what it can do to help, which brings us to the single most obvious answer ...

4. ... the fact that taken as a whole, Grace's two write-ups constitute some of the best slam dunk evidence yet of the pressing need for two-way street conversions and complete streets in New Albany.

5. In part, this is because the developers see the presence of an untolled bridge as highly beneficial, meaning you should reread #4 as the corrective for the problems we'll experience along with the upside.

6. Noted in passing: The prospect of infill construction nearby on the 300 block Main is the best reason offered to support this blog's position on the farmers market location. Anchoring the farmers market to its current spot means sacrificing infill potential, and there's a municipal lot behind Wick's that is far better suited for the permanent farmers market location.

I might continue; feel free to comment here or at Fb.

"Though an entirely commonplace activity, walking has long rewarded contemplation."

My walks have been fueling Grand theories. I envision the former theater being purchased and converted into a live music venue not unlike Headliners.
On walking: Pedestrian observations (The Economist)

... Kant went on the same stroll through Königsberg every day at 5 o'clock, and altered his route only twice: once to get an early copy of “Emile”, and once when news came that revolution had broken out in France. Long, meandering walks, it seems, fuelled the grandest theories: Nietzsche and Rousseau favoured them. Walter Benjamin noticed the urban flâneur amid the crowd. Gandhi made an art of the protest march.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

World Cup: USA vs Germany Sticke Alt ... the video.

Thanks to Jeff G for the vid.

It's World Cup Trilogy for 2014: USA vs. Ghana, Portugal and Germany, NABC's homage to the beautiful game. Next up is USA vs Germany, and Sticke Alt. 

NABC honors the World Cup with three fresh, new beers honoring the three national football squads facing the USA in Group G of the opening round: Ghana, Portugal and Germany. Beginning on June 16, 2014, the beers will debut as the American squad’s opening matches are played. There’ll be many places in metro Louisville to view these contests —but how many of them created and brewed three new beers as specific accompaniment to the beautiful game, and the world’s biggest sporting event?

Just NABC. Do you see just what local can do?

USA vs. Germany – Sticke Alt
Release: Thursday, June 26, at both NABC locations. Bank Street Brewhouse opens early at 11:30 a.m. for the match and the beer; the Pizzeria & Public House will be open at 11:00 a.m. like usual. 

New Albany's new slogan: "Truck Through City" ... Part Sixteen: Weekly Board of Works "WTF" expanded and engorged edition.

All of the preceding photos were taken between 6:35 a.m. and 7:00 a.m. this morning, along Spring Street, during my morning walk. Apologies for poor exposures; it can be difficult to aim with precision when the ground is shaking beneath you.

A city courageously keeping its citizens safe from threatening structures?


Less than a block away from the "threatening structure" at 922 Culbertson, the city allows this "structure" to be used as a "home", allows it to be "built" slowly without a building permit, considers roofing felt to be a suitable exterior wall covering, and allows people to "live" in a "home" that in any reasonable municipality would be rightfully condemned. The city has allowed this to drag on for years, just a few feet from a structure that doesn't need $300,000 for renovation.

The SEJ block grant slush fund inflated contractors estimates, it appears.

This is allowed (endorsed) while an important piece of neighborhood history must be demolished?

Hypocrisy, pure and simple. Somebody wants to build shiny laundromat in the neighborhood. Slumlords demand clean clothes, after all.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Gonder on the impending 922 Culbertson demolition: "This is a shame, and it didn't, and still doesn't, have to happen."

"Huh, I must have missed all the many announcements and advertisements letting as many people as possible know the building is available as part of the City's earnest effort to save it."
-- Bluegill, upon learning of the demolition

Because councilman John Gonder's blog entry about the fate of 922 Culbertson deserves the widest possible audience, I've decided to do something I seldom do: Reprint here in its entirety.


Boxing Day

As Daniel Suddeath reported in the June 20*, News and Tribune, the building at 922 Culbertson is in the sights of the demolition crew. This is a shame, and it didn't, and still doesn't, have to happen.

The worn-out phrase from some distant management guru applies in this case, it is the requirement to think outside the box.

Inside the box, we see inadequate code-enforcement leading to the deterioration of the structure, which set it on its present perilous course. Many building in New Albany are in sorry shape. Are all these blighters the result of blind eyes in the past? If so, good, we can place blame with people who came before us, and what good does that do anyone?

Are the members of preservation groups strident in defense of the city's historic buildings and neighborhoods; do these groups, or individuals within these groups, rub bureaucrats and policy makers the wrong way? Probably, and so what? Is the Horseshoe Foundation derelict in its mission, not abiding by its bylaws which call on the Foundation to support historic preservation? A lot of people think so.

I've heard that in place of the old tavern will be several newly-designed versions of Habitat for Humanity houses. This laudable group does good and meaningful work, and is worthy of support, however, the houses they have designed for New Albany leave much to be desired. The placement and design of the houses does nothing to help the city escape the branding of certain parts of town as underprivileged, less desirable neighborhoods, and, therefore does not break the cycle of exclusion and poverty for the residents of those neighborhoods. Inside the Culbertson Avenue box, if the Habitat solution is chosen, we seem intent on making sure that this depressed neighborhood stays depressed and looks the part.

Does New Albany have money to fund the preservation and reuse of the building at 922 Culbertson? Not if you listen to the noise within the box.

Outside the box, there's plenty of money to salvage this building and help this neighborhood, as Suddeath reported June 19*. The sewer bond restructuring will pipe over a million dollars into City coffers. The rehabilitation of the building at 922 Culbertson has been estimated at between $150,000-300,000. Since the available funds to save this building would come from this rewrite of the bonds, perhaps it is fitting that the Sewerage Department share in the benefits of its salvation. Since the City's exhaustive search for willing parties to take on the rejuvenation process of the building has produced no results, why not use some of the savings from the sewer bonds, to invest in a first class renovation of the property and move the Sewer Billing offices there?

The structure is large enough to allow for the operations of that office to be housed on the main floor, with additional space on the upper floor for private offices for sewer employees or a field office for code enforcement, a police substation, or many other public uses. Even with the sewer offices there, the large main room of the tavern would be an ideal setting for a neighborhood Assembly Room, where from time to time governmental meetings could be held, including some City Council meetings. This would be an opportunity to deliver government services to the place where people live.

If the City's use of the property has the effect I believe it would, adding stability and vitality to that neighborhood, it need not be a permanent part of the neighborhood. The City's tenancy could be ended any time and the structure could be sold to private users. But, those private users would be buying into a part of town that has been greatly improved, and more inviting of private investment.

Inside the box rests a wrecking ball. Outside the box lies an open-ended list of possibilities.

One choice requires no imagination, and returns very little to the citizens of that neighborhood, or the city at large.

The other choice requires a hopeful vision for the city and all of its neighborhoods, a commitment to work toward an environmentally sustainable future, a city of walkable, safe, prosperous and interesting neighborhoods. What's the point of walkable neighborhoods, if you have no place to walk to?

Such neighborhoods can help New Albany rebuild, and bring vitality back to the city, as young people starting new families are given what many of their contemporaries are currently seeking in the older neighborhoods of Louisville, such as Germantown and the Highlands. It is not an overnight fix. It is, rather, a long slow process, and one which is immensely helped with a focal point such as the 922 building. If we don't seize some opportunity with this building, it will be a mistake. Will it be a mistake fatal to New Albany's future? Of course not. But it will be a mistake which we didn't need to make if we just looked outside the box.The lid's open. All we need to do is step out.

*June 20, 2014--News and Tribune, Old New Albany tavern to be torn down
*June 19, 2014--News and Tribune, New Albany City Council acts to restructure sewer bonds

The Festival for the Rest of Us: Poorcastle.

Ain't it true; ain't it true. Not only that, but Poorcastle* takes place where there's plenty of good beer (Apocalypse Brew Works). Maybe Bud Light can pay to play there.

Poorcastle Fest reveals 2014 lineup and dates! (Never Nervous)

* for the uninitiated, it's a dig at Forecastle, the local music fest gone corporate

Don't be a puckfist and Come To Whipper-tootie City.

Just keep your filthy mitts off my trinkgeld.

66 Facts You May Not Have Known About The English Language, by Paul Anthony Jones (Huffington Post)

Thanks to the Bookseller for the link.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

June 28: Louvino pop-up restaurant preview at NABC's Bank Street Brewhouse

Directly across the street from Bank Street Brewhouse in one-way downtown New Albany is Uptown Art's New Albany location, and the owners of Uptown Art are about to open Louvino, a restaurant and wine bar located in the old De La Torres space on two-way Bardstown Road in Louisville.

The Louvino executive chef is Tavis Rockwell, and on Saturday, June 28, Chef Rockwell and fellow chefs Dan Thomas and Michael Hargrove will audition a few Louvino menu concepts at Bank Street Brewhouse. Chef Thomas has local roots, and at an engagingly youthful age, he once served a stint in the Sportstime pizza kitchen.

The notion of a pop-up restaurant is rare in New Albany, but not unprecedented; the Exchange staged an Italian pop-up as recently as January of this year. At Bank Street Brewhouse, the kitchen is intact and fully licensed, making it ideal for such a concept. What we'll be working to achieve in coming months are event like this one sprinkled through the year, with food trucks and vendors on a more predictable rotation.

Back to June 28 ... here is the menu, as updated on Sunday afternoon, June 22. Chef Thomas says: "Some of these will be on the Louvino menu, while others are chef whims we think will go better with NABC beer than wine:

Chef Tavis's Housemade Loaded Tots with Ranch $8.00

Ground Chuck Slider on Brioche Bun with Port Cheese Schmear, Bacon and Caramelized Sweet Peppers & Onions $4.00-Three for $11.00

Duck Fat Fries with choice of Dipping Sauce-Truffle Aioli, Ranch or Sriracha Ketchup $6.00 extra sauce .50 each

Hot Brown Mac & Cheese topped with Chef Tavis's Smoked Gouda Mornay $8.00

Confit Chicken Wings with Asian Chili BBQ $8.00

NABC Beer Steamed Mussels with Crostini $8.00

Mini Bangers with Yukon Gold Mashed $8.00

Apple Potstickers with Bourbon Caramel $5.00

Chocolate Malt $5.00

The kitchen will be open from 5:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m., or until the food runs out.

Note that there'll be no table service; just go to the kitchen window to order and pay, and your food will be brought to you. NABC beer and other beverages will be available as always. We look forward to seeing you there for what we hope is the first in a recurring series of pop-up/guest chef/meals du jour.

Saturday, June 28 ... 5:00 p.m. - 11:00 p.m.
Bank Street Brewhouse ... 415 Bank St, New Albany, Indiana 47150

U of L Prof. Gilderbloom on Mayor Fischer's minions: "They will never use this research; they will instead belittle our efforts."

This is a fascinating juxtaposition. Insider Louisville's piece on the beneficial effects of two-way streets, as documented by Dr. Gilderbloom's team in an exhaustive two-year study, was so encouraging that I read excerpts of it to the seven of nine city council members present during last week's meeting. Now Gilderbloom suggests that New Albany's experience with dumbed-down politicos and self-interested planners isn't at all unique.

U of L Prof. Gilderbloom slams Mayor Fischer for ignoring his research, by David Serchuk (Insider Louisville)

Earlier this week we posted a story about how Louisville converted a pair of one-way streets into two-way streets, which had mostly beneficial effects: fewer accidents, increased property values, and reduced crime.

These results were measured by a team led by Dr. John Gilderbloom, who directs the University of Louisville’s Center for Sustainable Urban Neighborhoods. In 2013 he also won the Presidential Medal for Distinguished Faculty Award for Research.

We asked Gilderbloom a few logical follow-ups via email, including: What does the city make of his research? Is the city planning on using his research? And does he know of any additional two-way street conversions to come?

To our surprise, Gilderbloom fired back what sounds like a salvo in an ongoing (but until now hidden) feud between the city and the main urban planning research body at U of L. Or at least it’s a feud from Gilderbloom’s point of view.

This is noteworthy in a city that often seems to bend over backwards to cater to U of L’s needs, especially when those needs pertain to its basketball team. But, according to Gilderbloom, his team has not benefited; in fact, he claims the city is thumbing its nose at it.

Why is it that any time someone speaks of anti-intellectualism in the context of Louisville municipal government, Mayor Fischer's name invariably appears in the headline?

However, in fairness, note that the charges being made by Gilderbloom ("They will never use this research; they will instead belittle our efforts") make reference to the mayor's office and team in relentlessly plural ways. Only the title points directly to the top dog. Perhaps Fischer is like the Tsars of old, detached from reality, and sheltered from the hard truths by conniving, Machiavellian underlings.

You know, just like Kerry Stemler.

Are there any additional plans to make more two way streets in Louisville based on your research?

Who knows? I know that the Mayor’s staff at a public meeting told me that the speedy multi-lane one-ways moving through struggling neighborhoods in west Louisville, Portland, Old Louisville and Smoketown will not be changed. The traffic engineer for the City said: “This is not part of the discussion.” I am glad to hear that NuLu will get improved, calm streets. I think there might be a few more streets downtown but it’s got to extend into nearby neighborhoods. Louisville has the potential to be one of the greatest comeback cities in the nation; yet the Mayor’s staff is driving away from this opportunity and acting like it’s the 1950s.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Beer and wine at the State Fair as Indiana makes another incremental step toward civilization.

Amid prohibitionist fears of an immoral drunkfest, the Indiana State Fair has been planning a presentation pretty much like all the rest.

State Fair Looking For Breweries, Wineries, by Andy Ober (

Indianapolis, Ind. - The Indiana State Fair is now accepting applications from Hoosier brewers and wineries to participate in the inaugural Indiana Beer and Wine Exhibition at this year's fair, Aug. 1-17. There is no charge to participate, but space is limited and available on a first-come, first-served basis.

The exhibition, which will only be open to visitors who are at least 21 years old, will feature "tasting tables" and beer and wine being sold by the glass. Exhibitors will be able to staff these tables to educate patrons on the beer and wine making process, and to discuss their individual products. They will also be able to display, but not sell, their promotional materials and merchandise.

The new exhibition will be located in the Grand Hall on Main Street directly across from the Fairgrounds Coliseum. It will also include educational displays from the Indiana State Museum's American Spirits exhibit.

World Cup: USA vs Portugal "Super Bock" ... the video.

Thanks to Jeff G for the vid.

As a preface to the weekend event calendar, kindly permit me to begin with another reminder about NABC's World Cup Trilogy for 2014: USA vs. Ghana, Portugal and Germany. The fun continues on Sunday at Bank Street Brewhouse, with the release of "Super Bock" (USA vs. Portugal).

NABC honors the World Cup with three fresh, new beers honoring the three national football squads facing the USA in Group G of the opening round: Ghana, Portugal and Germany. Beginning on June 16, 2014, the beers will debut as the American squad’s opening matches are played. There’ll be many places in metro Louisville to view these contests —but how many of them created and brewed three new beers as specific accompaniment to the beautiful game, and the world’s biggest sporting event?

Just NABC. Do you see just what local can do?

USA vs. Portugal – "Super Bock"
Release: Sunday, June 22, at Bank Street Brewhouse, which opens at noon; the match is at 6 p.m. "Super Bock" will go on tap at the Pizzeria & Public House on Monday, June 23.

Selective public safety interpretations, volume the infinity.

I see a detour sign on the left side, but not the right.

Hmm. Still nothing.

Wait -- there it is. You just couldn't see it for the plumbing truck.

Is the city of New Albany genuinely concerned with public safety?

When the plumbers park their trucks on the street, intersection sight lines are blocked. This is not in the interest public safety.

The city does nothing.

Except create vacant lots?