Thursday, June 13, 2013

Scofflaw Professional Drivers

It's a rare occassion that I need to ride my bicycle on one of Providence's primary traffic corridors during peak hours, but on June 13, I needed to visit DPW during business hours.  At approximately 7:30AM, I rode down one of the few bike lanes in the city, on a street that at high traffic times, is useful to have, since traffic moves well above the 35 mph speed limit of the roadway in both lanes.

These lanes are a perennial source of complaints to RIDOT for the condition of the lanes.  They're generally very debris strewn, with sand, rocks, and larger debris that has escaped from the heavy trucks that frequent this corridor along the working waterfront of the city.  The lanes, as usual were generally full of sand, rendering most of their width challenging to ride in and leaving the preferred position very close to the lane marking line.

A second common complaint is that trucks waiting to enter the yards of the nearby industries park and idle in the bike lane, forcing riders out into the fast moving traffic.  The only redeeming condition is that traffic is regulated by lights, so moves in high speed platoons, leaving gaps that can be exploited, but still endangering every rider on this lane.

And lest anyone think that I'm the only rider, given that there A) complaints, B) self-identified riders who indicate this as their daily commuting route to work and C) I saw 3 other people on bikes on the south bound side during my trip.

Each of the Drivers of these trucks is a Certified Professional, required to got through additional examination and held to a higher standard of operation, due to the nature of their work, however, apparently, getting breakfast is more important than parking legally and creating a situation that can endanger another person's safety.  Below are some pictures of 4 trucks, 2 parked northbound, 2 parked southbound.  Based on the lack of drivers in 3 of the trucks, and their adjacency to the Seaplane Diner, they were patronizing the restaurant.  The 4th truck was not present when I returned north and the presence of the driver indicates to me that he was idling waiting for instructions to deliver his load to a construction site.

Apologies for the sepia tone photos below, I tried to make sure to get operating numbers for all of the trucks and operating company names.  From what I can see, all of the trucks are operating under an USDOT authorization granted to J.P. Noonan, USDOT #111448.  Only 2 of the trucks had identifying markings to indicate the operating company, those are Medas Trucking of Brockton, MA and Cape Code Cartage of West Bridgewater, MA.  I'll be looking into how to send in complaints for parking in a no-parking zone and parking on a sidewalk.  Both of which carry $85 fines if a police officer or parking enforcement officer can be found to write the citation.

I've filed a complaint with USDOT against JP Noonan.  Complaint Number: 100069396

On my way south, I saw:
Northbound side of Allens Ave
precast road base waiting for delivery, Driver was
in this vehicle, apparently waiting for call up
Northbound Allens Ave, Precast concrete structure

As I continued further south:

Never mind the bike lane, just create a hazard, put a sign in it.

Back of the norhernost of 2 trucks,
 Southbound side of Allens Ave

Generous, wide bike lane, wide enough for a trailer-truck
South Bound Allens Ave @ Seaplane Diner,
 Medas Truck parked on northbound side.  Cars parked
in the parking lane, which is apparently also a bus stop
(usually also a no parking zone).

Parking in the bike lane and on the sidewalk in a No Parking Zone

On my way north, taking the time to get
ID information from the trucks that

The truck parked on Allens Northbound ID

And the US DOT Information for Medas Trucking #3
Furthest South truck, southbound side of Allens Ave.

Both Trucks, Southbound side of Allens Ave

Northernmost Truck on Southbound Allens Ave.
No trucking company, but USDOT information

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Rhode Island Humorously Summarized

In a post on March 11, 2013 in Atlantic Cities, a collection of humorous descriptions of several states are on offer.  The collection tries to apply a stereotype of the type of people who live in each state.  Which of course is ludicrous and useless given the variety of people living anywhere, but it is amusing none-the-less.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Those Boston "infill' coastlines

I'd often heard the old saw that Boston's road network was 17th century cow paths built on 18th century landfills.  I'd never taken the time to see just how much dry land had been created or that Boston used to be on a peninsula (see image at left).  Of course, the article it comes from is talking about peak flooding levels from new research, which points out that all this created land is at high risk for flooding as average high tide levels rise and big storms hit.

These Scary Maps Explain What Sea Level Rise Will Mean in Boston - Neighborhoods - The Atlantic Cities:

'via Blog this'

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Roundup of Recent Things

First, a funny, in the spirit of facts about Chuck Norris recurring memes and invented 'facts'. ZeFrank, in a recent edition of ashow, created a True Facts about Morgan Freeman. Totally worth the 2 minutes of your day to hear that Morgan Freeman narrates a documentary, and then nature makes it so.

More seriously, Leo Babauta gives yet another set of suggestions on how to form new habits and get over being afraid of ourselves by overcoming our discomforts that hold us back. As can be expected, the answer is to do overcome them gradually and embrace the discomfort as a learning experience, but don't make it self-torture.

When people are stressed, they often turn to cigarettes, food, shopping, alcohol, drugs … anything to get rid of the disomfort of the thing that’s stressing them out. And yet, if you take a deeper look at the stress, it’s really an unfounded fear that’s causing it (usually the fear that we’re not good enough), and if we examined it and gave it some light of day, it would start to go away.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Apropos of recent work: Bikeyface » A Walking City

I was providing comments on a project design documents for some proposed separated cycle-track/bike path improvements in a major traffic corridor/collector/highway feeder area.  There has been some discussion of the desirability of a demand triggered light phase to allow people on foot and bicycles to cross safely.  DOT response, "we're worried about backing up traffic too much".

Really, 15-30 seconds of all way stop a few times a day is going to completely destroy the traffic grid?

Apropos of this conversation, today's Bikeyface: A Walking City.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Short Echo: Top 10 Mistakes in Behavior Change

Every person who is advocating for any sort of change that requires individuals to take action needs to internalize these.

My personal favorite is #1 - "Imagine willpower doesn't exist" and #7 "Information leads to action"

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Nesting vs. Adventure

Wow, this post has quite a history of sitting in draft.  I wrote this back in 2010 and never actually posted the darn thing.  If I had finished writing this post when I first saved it back then, the rest of this could have been called a pre-echo.  Instead, now it well and truly is an echo of someone else's words, framed in their language and experience, and now 2 years removed.  I still believe what Russ and Laura say on Path Less Pedaled and my own commentary (including the bit about Rhode Island residents).

After having had it sit in my "Must Read" list for nearly four weeks, I devoted the time to read and appreciate "Travelling without Moving" from The Path Less Pedaled.  I was immediately reminded of what I thought was a set of notes kicking around in a notebook, or as a draft on this blog.  If there are any notes, I've misplaced them, and the draft consisted of a title and a link to a web comic.

On my second read, I'm reminded of many stories from prior journeys that illustrate the points Russ is making, and must remind myself that this isn't the story of those trips, but an attempt to understand why travel can be the most rewarding time spent alone, in random encounters and with the best friends in the world.  More importantly, its an attempt to find the magic formula of how to experience the world through travelers shoes every day.

I believe the answer lies in not succumbing to the familiar, avoiding the ease of nesting in front of the same entertainments.  The answer must include some time for nesting, to recharge and be comforted, and  realizing when the recharge is complete, that its time to take action.

When I say we should do something sometime, I'm secretly hoping you'll say 'Why not now?'
xkcd #187 The Familiar (The comic linked above could also easily be interpreted as a commentary on many residents of Rhode Island's attitude at traveling more than a few minutes drive from home.)

The action doesn't need to be profound, walking a different way home may be all that life allows.  Or it can simply be the hunt, scanning the paper for a show, special dinner, anything to throw off the torpor that remaining static engenders.  Being a traveler in one's own hometown can be uniquely satisfying.

In some ways, it feels like an attempt to collect all of the achievements and unlocks.  Sunrise at 5AM, mountaintop sunrise, glacier hike, open ocean kayaking, book reading by author, 43 mph without pedaling, hitting 30 mph while pedaling, waiting out a rainstorm in a Hindu temple, spending the night with other travelers in a crowded bar after a major tragedy.  Some are distinctly individual experiences(okay, my sample list skews heavily that way), others come from joining in community with other people, but all require being aware and open to the world, some require a certain amount of planning, but some of the best come from random happenstance and initiate encounters that can't be contrived.