Riding the streets Day 11, November 21, 2010

WINDY AGAIN!!!!  It cant be a fluke that every time I’m out on my bike, it’s really windy. And it can’t be just me that has noticed the wind this year.  Come on, has anyone else?

Rode the area between Harrodsburg Road and Clays Mill down to New Circle, then covered the area south of Pasadena between Clays Mill and Nicholasville.

This ride put me at least toward 80% complete on every street inside New Circle.  Got a couple more chunks to do, then some odds and ends, and then I’ll be done.

Very long ride:  2:03.  Nice temp, when out of the wind.

Ride Quality.  Nicholasville Road Sucks.  Harrodsburg Road sucks. Stone Road sucks. There, got that out of the way.  The rest of the area is primarily residential.  Did see some crass speeders – minivans with lots of kids in them –  on residential streets; trying to get to mass at Mary Queen, I assumed. They wouldn’t tolerate that in their own neighborhoods, yet think nothing of it in others’.

Lots of kids out.  Small kids.  Playing in leaves.  Pushed in strollers.  Nice to see.

This whole area is really a suburban ideal.  Tidy, affordable houses, fairly big lots, trees, stuff close by.  That last is really the key to this area:  integrated landuses.  Schools, churches, parks, shops, offices, all are within close proximity of residential areas.  I wouldn’t call this a walker’s paradise, but walking is possible.  Biking is certainly easy.  And even driving is very convenient.  This area even has its own main street:  Southland Drive.  Perhaps this area is as close as we have to the “Garden City” model.

Here’s some examples of integration:

A factory in a neighborhood? Who would have thought….

Schools used to fit it neighborhoods….now they usually have all the charm of Wal Marts.

There are perhaps a dozen churches integrated into the neighborhood.  This is Southern Hills Methodist.

It’s not always pretty, but Southland Drive is the area’s main street.  Here some offices abut a residential street – to the detriment of neither.

Remember when kids could walk down the street and watch a baseball game right in their own neighborhood?  Neither do I.  But kids and their parents can do that in this neighborhood.  Southland Park is really a gem.

We used to know how to make streetscapes.  This is Woodbine.

Then for some reason, we lost our concern for the aesthetic of shared space, and thus most of our new streets look like this.

I used to live on Sheridan Drive.  I loved it.  But our house was only 780 square feet.  And we had a baby on the way.

General Thoughts:

1.       Damn our streets are bumpy. And full of glass.

2.      Notice the increasing amount of cars that are in really bad shape?  Basically jalopies.  This is one of my metrics for how bad the economy really is:  people cant afford to fix their cars, even if they get an insurance check for damage someone else did.  Look around:  you’ll see jalopies everywhere. It’s a sad commentary on life in our country right now.

3.      I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again:  Lexington is one big set of suburbs in search of a city.  They are nice, but there is very little sense of place in any of them.

4.      I saw very few houses for sale.  Good sign? People are staying put, or they are selling houses quickly?

 

 

 

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2 Comments

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2 responses to “Riding the streets Day 11, November 21, 2010

  1. Aaron German

    About the wind: I’ve lived in Lexington since August, 2000. I think Lexington is just a windy place. I don’t understand your surprise at this fact.

    I also think Woodbine is a great street. It is one of my favorite streets in town. I love the big trees.

    Southland is a great corridor. Lots of small, local businesses. It has a lot of character. If only the business owners could find a way of making the huge parking lots in front of their stores more aesthetically pleasing.

    Finally, isn’t it a good thing that people are using their cars until they can’t be used any more? That’s much better than moving on to a new car just so it looks nice.

    • Thanks Arron – I’ve lived in Lex since 1982 and it sure seems A LOT more windy than I remember it…..and from a renewable point of view, people always said that it just wasnt windy enough here – I’m beginning to doubt that….

      I do agree that there is a growing change in consciousness about our autos…my reflection was meant to dramatize something we took for granted in the past – namely that you would get your car fixed or at least trade it in – but economically things are so tight people are using insurance money for other things and certainly many people are not in a position to trade in – that tells me a lot about the true stated of the economy

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