Climate Change, Economy, Ethics

The recreation of Louisville as one of the world’s most sustainable cities requires that we recreate our local economy (this holds true for the national economy as well). Our current hybrid economy is largely a consumption based economy. This must be replaced with an economy based much more heavily on investment. The consumer economy is characterized by the purchase of bigger houses with bigger closets holding bigger wardrobes, houses with bigger garages holding more cars, new boats, new electronic devices, new gadgets, new toys, etc.. Louisville is better served by our investing in energy, infrastructure, cleaning creeks, affordable housing, education, skill acquisition, non-consumptive arts, agriculture, green space and earth-nurturing activities.   

The recreation of Louisville as one of the world’s most sustainable cities is more than a issue of  economy. Recreation is also a question of priorities, of ethics. The consumer economy values stuff. The investment economy values people and earth.

The graph source is NASA:  

Fischer: “weak, mealy mouthed”

Joe Gerth of the Courier Journal, on Fischer regarding the sexual misconduct of  metro council member: “mealy mouthed,… oh-so-cautious Fischer… desperately trying not to say what needed to be said…  said what he says best. Nothing. Fischer is weak.”

Dan Johnson, please, go away

Update: It is unfortunate Dan Johnson was removed, not for the offending behavior, but for breaking the negotiated agreement.

Original post: According to the terms of the settlement with Metro Council, Dan Johnson “admits to both transgressions and wrongdoings and stipulates that there is sufficient evidence against him warranting removal”. It is regrettable, first and foremost, that Johnson’s behavior is what it is. It is also regrettable that he has not demonstrated the character to exit without dragging the city through his mud. It is regrettable that state law concerning the removal process jeopardizes the swift and efficient administration of the removal hearing. Regrettable that the removal process could have cost taxpayers $100,000. Regrettable that the slow removal process would have permitted Johnson to extend the fight through next year, when his term ends. Regrettable that Metro Council had no good options.  Regrettable that the settlement seemed the best of bad options. Regrettable that, once again, we are distracted from the important work of creating a sustainable city.

Resisting policies, part of a revolution

“Prosecutors have dropped two traffic violations against bicyclist Jackie Green, who has for two years fought charges of running a red light and blocking motor vehicles by not using a designated bike lane.” James Bruggers, Courier Journal
Bicycles in the travel lane are Louisville’s the best traffic calming tool.
Challenging the traffic charges and Metro’s bicycle policies is part of a larger urban transportation revolution. Sustainable cities are not dominated by private passenger motor vehicles.  Beyond the urban transportation changes, Louisville needs changes in land use, energy use, and energy generation. Deep, pervasive shifts in urban Louisville, not incremental changes, can result in our becoming one of the world’s most sustainable cities. This transformation, this revolution will encourage local talent and businesses to invest locally, and draw remote talent and businesses to join in the recreation of Louisville. The issue of our time is climate change. We must meet this challenge.

Jackie is challenging Metro’s transportation model, not only in fighting the two bicycling charges, but also in his role in reforming Metro’s impound lot management.

Beyond this revolution in urban transportation, in land use, in energy use, and in energy generation we need a revolution in politics that rejects the influence of money in elections and governance. Media can help get money out of politics by not comparing bank accounts of campaigns and by covering issues rather than treating elections as a horse race.

Rejection of Prospect’s affordable housing

Prospect’s objections to the affordable housing project (too large, too tall, inadequate bus service, few nearby government services, too close to service station, incompatible with neighboring houses) sound like the VA Hospital at Brownsboro Road objections. Those objections were not enough to move the new VA Hospital to a more central location, but it seems such objections work for Prospect and Norton Commons.
Three wrongs.
The new VA Hospital should not be in suburbia.
Prospect and Norton Commons should not oppose affordable housing.
The mayor should have come out strong on both issues.
ProspectAffordableHousingHospital to a more central location, but it seems such objections work for Prospect and Norton Commons.

“Parity on the Playground”

WFPL produced a great piece on the problems facing our urban parks, particularly those in poorer areas of our city ( The challenge presented by litter, vandalism, and violence are not insurmountable. Litter can be reduced by challenging the use of disposables. Vandalism can be reduced by using more durable, less toxic natural elements in our playgrounds (see image). Danger can be reduced by adults participating in the commons (get out of the house and car – walk, bicycle). Redirecting investment from the east end to the rest of the city (new VA Hospital being a prime non-park example).

On sabotaging public transit

An angry cyclist was complaining that the city had closed the Clark Memorial Bridge (Second Street Bridge) and the Big Four Bridge for Thunder Over Louisville. He could not get to Indiana by bicycle. I asked him to consider the anger of bus riders who show up at bus stops on weekends from spring to fall, only to find street-closing events like CycLOUvia have rerouted and rescheduled the buses that take them to work, to school, to shop, to worship, to grandma. Louisville sabotages the public transit system, and TARC riders, already burdened by very infrequent service on weekends, find both the TARC schedules and the TARC routes blown. People who depend on the bus will be late for work, may miss work entirely, could lose their jobs as a result, setting off a cascade of events which can culminate in loosing home and family. Grandchildren will not get to visit grandma. Parents’ grocery shopping plans will be trashed. Public transit-subversive events are not limited to the cycling community. Charity runs/walks, races, fairs, parades all share responsibility. Such events take place nearly every spring, summer and fall weekend. Cities and citizens depend on the reliability of urban public transit systems. No compassionate city would deny transportation to those dependent on public transit. Louisville would do well to re-route events so they do not conflict with public transit. River Road, for instance, is a beautiful corridor with no significant cross streets and no TARC routes. Why not make River Road, our parks, or equivalent venues the “parade route”? The question before us is one of venue; the question does not challenge the event. We can play, we can celebrate without sabotaging public transit.

New VA Hospital – wrong place

Like Norton Commons – great idea, wrong place. The new VA Hospital should be downtown.
The apologist for the Brownsboro site acknowledges the downtown med center is important…. “the Brownsboro site is located in closer proximity to the University of Louisville Hospital in downtown Louisville and thus would better facilitate continued collaboration between that facility and the (VA hospital)”.
Then he totally misses the need for public transit to the VA,… the Brownsboro site “offers more direct access via multiple interstates and major roads for those veterans coming from other parts of the service area.”
And of course, the new facility boasts parking for hundreds.
Once again Fischer and Louisville fail in acknowledging the primacy of land use and public transit in creating a sustainable city.


Nashville’s mayor proposes 26+ mile light rail

Louisville must recreate our local transportation system and link that local system by passenger rail to neighboring cities. Map of Nashville’s plan follows. And below that is a map of Louisville’s shelved light rail plan – T2.


Why did T2 feature parallel lines? Feels redundant.
Why did T2 bother with that inefficient loop to the airport and fairgrounds when both are funded by parking fees? The parking income has been the airport’s LARGEST source of income for several decades. The airport and fairgrounds are not likely to be a partner in the success of light rail. T2map