The Urban Neighborhood Wal-Mart: A Blessing Or A Curse?

NPR‘s first of two-part series about Wal-Mart looks into the company’s push into cities with its neighborhood market stores whether or not local residents want them. Citing the need to fill the void of food deserts, Wal-Mart is aggressively courting grocery shoppers.

Most urban stores are 25 percent of the size of their rural and suburban cousins. They feature a slightly modified selection of products that caters more to a grab-and-go culture. That reflects a shift in consumer demand, as more Americans make their evening meal decisions in the late afternoon, says food industry analyst Justin Massa.

The Urban Neighborhood Wal-Mart: A Blessing Or A Curse?

[photo via Mike Mozart/flickr]

Has The Farmers Market Movement Peaked?

Penn Quarter Farmers Market (Washington, D.C.)

Has the farmers market movement peaked? (from Russ Parsons of the Los Angeles Times)

An excerpt:

A new study by the Department of Agriculture finds that the rate of growth in the number of farmers markets nationally has slowed dramatically in the last five years.

That decline was particularly notable in Los Angeles County, historically on the leading edge of the farmers market movement, where according to USDA statistics, total sales dropped by almost 43% in real dollars between 2007 and 2012.

[photo via ep_jhu/flickr]

Poll: Would You Ride Or Walk More If Streets Were Safer?

walking street pattaya

The NJ Bike & Walk Coalition asks if people “would ride or walk more if streets were safer?”

Obviously, the question is slightly ambiguous and overly general.

But the question does try to clarify the idea that making streets safer; in terms of pushing drivers to slow down, getting speeding limits reduced, designing streetscapes to be more pleasant and inviting places, improving lighting; will encourage more people to ride bicycles or walk, thus reducing the number of automobiles on road.

People have responded, with saying 97 percent answering ‘yes’ (as of 9 September 2011, 11:14PM PST).

NJ Bike Poll

Obviously, 67 participants is a small number, but it gives you a starting point toward getting more people to bike and walk. I would be interested to know why two people felt that making streets safer wouldn’t get them to ride or walk more.

There are many things to consider in trying to understand why people don’t ride or walk more. I am an advocate of complete streets where all transportation modes are considered in street design.

[photo via Mongering World | image via PJ]

Disaster Amnesia Is A Vicious Circle

Guerneville, CA flood

What is disaster amnesia (also know as hazard amnesia)?

Essentially, it is the inability to contemplate or comprehend a similar disaster happening again.

NPR has a terrific article on how much lessons learned are unheeded and how unlikely disaster amnesia will improve.

Basically, all taxpayers should expect to continue to pay for the repeated mistakes of inhabiting in areas where disasters and other natural (and some manmade) hazards are very prone to happen, unless Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) has his way.

[photo via DanMS/Wikipedia]