Sep 14, 2016

Middle-class Americans and the Poor Enjoyed Their Best Year of Economic Improvement


Middle-class Americans and the poor enjoyed their best year of economic improvement in decades in 2015, the Census Bureau reported Tuesday, a spike that broke a years-long streak of disappointment for American workers but did not fully repair the damage inflicted by the Great Recession.
Real median household income was $56,500 in 2015, the bureau reported, up from $53,700 in 2014. That 5.2 percent increase was the largest, in percentage terms, recorded by the bureau since it began tracking median income statistics in the 1960s.
In addition, the poverty rate fell by 1.2 percentage points, the steepest decline since 1968. There were 43.1 million Americans in poverty on the year, 3.5 million fewer than in 2014. The share of Americans who lack health insurance continued a years-long decline, falling 1.3 percentage points, to 9.1 percent.
A combination of forces fueled the gains, including an improving job market, low inflation and rising wages, particularly for low-earning workers who may have benefited from state and local initiatives to boost minimum wages.
Click to read the full article

Sep 4, 2016

New Interchanges

New interchanges on an Interstate are a major economic development effort.  Major development occurs at interstates, so an interchange is a very big deal.

I have proposed eight new interstate interchanges. It takes many years from the initial plan to reality. It requires building a consensus among governments that the interchange is needed, feasibility studies and significant funds set aside.

The new interchange above just opened up on I-57 and University Parkway / Stuenkel Road. It provides direct access to Governors State University, The METRA Electric Commuter Line, and major industrial parks.  We first proposed it in a plan in 1978. So it took about 28 years from first proposal to being able to drive on the interchange.









Richton Park Plan, Illinois, Comprehensive Plan


COMPREHENSIVE PLAN 
VILLAGE OF RICHTON PARK
 EXECUTIVE SUMMARY


GOALS
  • PRESERVE THE ENVIRONMENT
  • ENCOURAGE THE DEVELOPMENT OF HOUSING OPTIONS FOR ALL PEOPLE
  • SUPPORT THE DEVELOPMENT OF QUALITY COMMERCIAL FACILITIES
  • PROMOTE QUALITY INDUSTRIAL AND OFFICE DEVELOPMENT
  • PROVIDE FOR OUTDOOR RECREATION
  • PROVIDE EXCELLENT TRANSPORTATION FACILITIES
  • SUPPORT QUALITY SOCIAL SERVICES

1.  PRESERVE THE ENVIRONMENT
a.  Provide for a complete range of land uses in an orderly,
harmonious fashion.
b.  Improve the quality of the air and water.
d.  Protect floodplain and wetlands and  incorporate them into the Village open space system.
2.  ENCOURAGE THE DEVELOPMENT OF HOUSING OPTIONS FOR ALL PEOPLE
a.  Encourage the development of a variety of housing  types at various economic levels and at various intensities.
b.  Require quality construction and maintenance of all dwellings.
c.  Assure that all persons regardless of race, color, or creed have equal    opportunity to secure housing.
d.  Prevent monotonous design and appearance.
3. SUPPORT THE DEVELOPMENT OF QUALITY COMMERCIAL FACILITIES
a.  Designate certain areas as community commercial areas with a wide range of services.
b.  Insure neighborhood shopping centers which are reasonably
compact, serve the needs of area residents, and are accessible by pedestrians.
c.  Insure a high standard of maintenance and repair, control of noise, light, and odors and proper buffering from residential areas.
4.  PROMOTE QUALITY INDUSTRIAL AND OFFICE DEVELOPMENT
a.  Encourage light industry and office development to locate near the existing and planned interchanges on I-57.
b.  Insure industry's conformance to performance standards which
                        would eliminate adverse effects on the environment.
c.  Provide for adequate landscaping and buffering to assure compatibility of industrial, commercial, public, and residential uses.
5.  PROVIDE FOR OUTDOOR RECREATION
a.  Develop Village parks which will serve as focal points for both athletic and aesthetic needs on a neighborhood and community wide basis.
b.  Cooperate with School Districts in providing active recreational facilities and parks located next to schools.
c.  Encourage developers to provide private or public lands for recreation adequate to serve their intended optimum population projections.  
PROVIDE EXCELLENT TRANSPORTATION FACILITIES
a.  Provide thoroughfares throughout the Village which     
will promote safe and expeditious movement of vehicular traffic while protecting residential areas from large traffic volumes.                    
b.    Provide efficient traffic circulation for auto,  pedestrians, and bikes.
c.    Provide mass transit to commercial areas, industrial complexes and
recreational areas.
d.  Plan for bikeways and pedestrian walkways to provide alternatives
                        to reliance on automobiles.
7.  SUPPORT QUALITY SOCIAL SERVICES
a.  Support the school system in it's efforts to provide  quality education.
b.  Work with social service agencies to enhance their performance.

3rd Airport Plan - Richton Park Northwest Corner




Sep 2, 2016

US Weather

Current U.S. National Radar--Current

The Current National Weather Radar is shown below with a UTC Time (subtract 5 hours from UTC to get Eastern Time).
Current U.S. National Radar 

National Weather Forecast--Current

The Current National Weather Forecast and National Weather Map are shown below.
Todays National Weather Map

National Weather Forecast for Tomorrow

Tomorrow National Weather Forecast and Tomorrow National Weather Map are show below.
Tomorrows National Weather Map

North America Water Vapor (Moisture)

This map shows recent moisture content over North America. Bright and colored areas show high moisture (ie, clouds ); brown indicates very little moisture present; black indicates no moisture.
North American Water Vapor Map

Amazing Weather Videos (updated daily)

Amazing pics and movies of weather, mother nature, mother earth and people with cameras in the right place at the right time.


COMPARING FOUR ZONING FORMS

Which Code - Euclidian, Conditional, Form Based, or Performance ?
Euclidian, Conditional, Form Based, and Performance 

By 


Lane Kendig, Kendig Keast Collaborative 

Mark White, White & Smith LLC.


An interesting article by Lane Kendig and Mark White about zoning.


Click to read the article



Zoning is very important, but I will personally never work on another zoning code.  A very hard job.

And of course no code will help a declining community rebuild. They only work well when there is market demand for new construction.



Won't sell up? Enjoy living in the middle of a motorway! Road is built around a house after elderly Chinese couple refuse to move.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2236746/Road-built-building-couple-refuse-China.html#ixzz4J7WjJYSJ 






Form Based Code in Sarasota. Florida


What is the Urban Design Studio? 
The City Commission established the Urban Design Studio (UDS) to work with Citizens and Stakeholders to create a City-wide Form-Based Code to replace the City's current Zoning Code.
  What is a Form Based Code?
   
A Form-based code (FBC) fosters predictable building patterns and high-quality public spaces by using physical form (rather than separation of uses) as the organizing principle for the code. The zone districts or Transects are regulations, not mere guidelines, adopted into city or county law.  Form-based codes address the relationship between building facades and public spaces such as parks, the form and mass of buildings in relation to one another, and the scale and types of streets and blocks. The regulations and standards in form-based codes are presented in words, clearly drawn diagrams, metrics and other graphics.   
Form-based codes are a modern response to the challenges of urban sprawl, deterioration of historic neighborhoods, and the need for safe and efficient multi-modal transportation options for pedestrians and cyclists. Working together with City Staff the code will also incorporate specific elements within the public realm including sidewalks, bicycle lanes, transit, on-street parking, and street trees.
Click to read more: