Friday Fun Day! October 19, 2012

Happy Friday!

Grand Rapids hit an exciting milestone yesterday with the announcement that the federal government has approved its Silver Line Bus Rapid Transit plan – the first one in Michigan! This will be a great boon to the South Division area and the city as a whole. Congratulations, Grand Rapids!

Our family trip from Holland to Chicago last weekend went well, but that is not always the case.  Now there’s some good news for better Midwest rail service in years to come, with a $71.3 million federal award designed to decrease rail congestion in Indiana.

This is good news, as a recent study has shown that Americans aren’t fans of the way our current transportation system is working, and would like to see more transit – including rail – as part of the mix.

Maybe not so much on the Lakeshore yet, though.  The Ottawa County Planning Commission has determined that a regional transit system, linking Ottawa County with Muskegon and Kent Counties, is just not tenable right now. Not a surprise given our auto-dependency in this region. I keep hoping for a non-automotive solution to be proposed for the congestion between Holland and Grand Haven, even though I know there aren’t likely to be enough of us either willing or able to get out of our cars to manage this. Yet.

Riding the Rapid – credit

And there’s a battle over transit going on up the road in Walker, where a group is trying to shut down the highly-successful Rapid bus service.  Now the mayors of all six municipalities affected have spoken out: vote NO on this!  Interesting that while transit debate tends to become a partisan issue on the federal level, local mayors –
who see what it means to their citizens – readily cross party lines to support the Rapid because they see the economic and social benefits it brings to their communities.

Next up, and just for fun:  Our culture defaults to disposable, and this goes for homes as much as paper plates.  When my husband and I refinanced our then-eight-year-old home, we noted in the mortgage paperwork that the home was expected to last fifty years.  Say WHAT? On the one hand, I suppose this could be a good thing for poor development – it creates a horizon.  On the other hand, I doubt that our home will be demolished in forty years.  This just means that there’s a lot of cruddy housing stock out there.

Enter Clay Chapman, stage right, with his concept of an $80 per square foot custom, multi-century house. This is a beautiful home – I’m drooling over the fireplace alone. If we were ever to build, we would absolutely be looking more closely at this concept.

Have a great weekend!

2 thoughts on “Friday Fun Day! October 19, 2012”

  1. Thanks for the shout-out. Clay’s story really is a great one and complementary to so many other broader pursuits — how we build and shape our communities, how we grow our food, how we orient ourselves in relation to the earth and each other. Love what he’s doing.

    1. Scott, I’m so glad that you’re covering what Clay is doing! That there are people living in 400+ year old homes in Europe is mind-boggling to me, in an inspiring kind of way. I’d love to see us doing more of that here.

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