JUNE 30, 2015 SHARE THE STREET
But then, remove all the lane markings and crosswalks from that block! Remove all the signs and traffic lights! Even level all the curbs and sidewalks! Just let all the cars and trucks and buses and bicycles and pedestrians go wherever they like, whenever they like, using their common sense to share the space with everyone else.
Thats nuts. Or so it seems, one participant admitted. But it might just work. Shared space has been successful in several European cities. Weve even seen it in the U.S.; this video is a few years old, but it shows San Franciscos bustling Market Street without signs and signals.
The key to a shared space, the newspaper explained, is creating a design that causes drivers to slow down, which improves safety. Paradoxically, the resulting slow but steady traffic can actually move through the congested area in less time, because no one is standing still, idling, waiting two minutes for a light to change.
Doing away with the rules forces drivers and pedestrians to interact and cooperate. Ownership of the entire street vests with everyone. Drivers pay attention to pedestrians and other drivers rather than signals and signs. Foot traffic increases, stimulating retail development.
It occurs to me that it wont be possible to eliminate all signs. It will be necessary to explain to drivers and pedestrians before they reach the shared space that theyre about to enter the Wild West, a lawless open free-for-all. They should not expect any government-painted lines on the pavement nor any stop signs granting them the right of way over other people. They should be prepared to respect their fellow citizens and defer to them.
JUNE 26, 2015 12C BUZZWORD
In introductory college chemistry, organic chemistry is a more difficult laboratory course than inorganic, because the molecules are more complex.
In broad terms, organic chemistry means containing carbon specifically, carbon compounds like proteins and carbohydrates. Inorganic chemistry includes everything else like metals and acids and salts.
I just brewed myself a cup of chai tea. The package of teabags says its organic. Of course it is. To me, all food is organic, not because of how its grown but because it contains carbon. Inorganic tea would not taste good. So there.
JUNE 20, 2015 HE SAID, SHE SAID
Denny Roberts wrote that he got in big trouble for it. That was in a book of memories we exchanged last weekend at our reunion. So I asked him about it. He told me he did the painting with the help of Gene Somerlot and Pete Ransome. Also, our class wasnt the only mischievous one; the tower had been tagged by older classes in prior years.
However, Pat Ransome Kyle-Beatley told a different tale. She wrote, I can recall climbing the water tower with Sheila Ward to paint Class of 65. Dont believe what Denny Roberts had to say. Too bad the girls were responsible for this. Where were our guys?
Alas, we may never know the truth. Nevertheless, I went ahead and tabulated some of the details and statistics from that book of memories. I also added a whole bunch of Tonya Davis Paynes reunion photos. Its all in a follow-up story, More on the 50th Reunion.
JUNE 10, 2015 FINAL TESTAMENT
They were inside jokes when they were written. Half a century later, even fewer people can understand them. Nevertheless, they're in my files, so now they're online, whether you "get" them or not.
They're the bequests made by the members of the Class of 1965, as read at the very last Richwood High School Junior-Senior Banquet. They're known as The Will.
JUNE 1, 2015 HE CALLED FOR HIS FIDDLERS THREE
At the beginning of your correspondents career, 62 years ago, I was all prepared to conduct an exclusive interview with the king!
Notice my hands; I seem to be holding my notebook like an accordion. As I recall, old King Cole was a merry old soul, and a merry old soul was he. But then our one-on-one was upstaged by the arrival of Daffy-down-Dilly.
Actually, we were all in costume for our kindergarten operetta. It was the spring of 1953. I played Mother Goose's secretary, Kelly Drake portrayed the king, and Sherry Keigley was the daffodil. As Nathaniel Hawthorne observed,
And thus have I colorized this portion of the cast photo.
MAY 29, 2015 POLAROID PROBLEMS
As my 50-year high school reunion approaches, I've been sorting through the old papers in my files. A couple of the documents turned out to be essays for English class.
Later, as a senior, I had mastered the Polaroid sufficiently to show it to my speech class by taking a picture of Carl Martin and my other classmates, who watched my demonstration with rapt fascination.
MAY 23, 2015 IRE-BOWS
Mark Evanier posted this afternoon:
On the contrary, Gay Marriage was approved today in Ireland, and what appeared immediately in the skies? Not burning sulfur, but rainbow after rainbow!
If I were gay, Id be inspired by these scenes. If I believed in signs from God, Id say loving couples whom some Christians revile have been promised Gods blessing.
I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth. Genesis 9:13
Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account.
MAY 22, 2015 THROUGH THESE DOORS
It was a Friday afternoon in New York City, August 6, 1993. Traveling with KDKAs crew for Pittsburgh Pirates telecasts, I had flown in from Chicago that morning.
The Pirates had the day off before playing a Sign Day doubleheader against the Mets on Saturday. Therefore, I had the day off too.
There was much discussion in the TV industry about late-night host David Lettermans move from NBC to CBS. Massive renovations were taking place at New Yorks Ed Sullivan Theater. Some wondered whether the studio would be ready in time for Daves CBS premiere on August 30.
On a map of Manhattan I located the theater. From our hotel next to Grand Central Station, it was eleven blocks north and about the same distance west. That wasnt far away, little more than a mile, so I decided to walk over there to see what was going on.
The theater's lobby is on Broadway, but I remembered from watching the original Ed Sullivan show that the auditorium has ground-level exit doors on the left side of the audience. From the map, I learned that those doors open onto West 53rd Street. If during a show, Dave wanted to leave the studio and talk to people on the street or something, it would be very convenient unlike NBCs Studio 6A, from which one needed an elevator to access the outside world.
When I arrived, there were those doors, and they were open. Crews were carrying in various pieces of scenery and seats and equipment. I walked up and down the sidewalk a few times, glimpsing a few details of the interior through the open doors. I didnt see much. There was a magenta light on the stage, which didnt mean anything. But apparently the technical work was progressing on schedule, because a monitor hanging from the underside of the balcony was functioning and displaying a color-bars test signal.
Yesterday, as shown in pictures from the New York Post, those doors onto West 53rd Street were open again. Crews were again carrying scenery, but this time it was coming out.
If these critters ever learn to read, we'll be defenseless!
But the bait (doughnuts) worked this time, and all is well.
MAY 15, 2015 STEEL TOWN
Though I grew up in Ohio, I moved to the environs of Pittsburgh (the Steel City) in 1974. Around that time, most of the dirty old mills were shutting down. Nowadays visitors are surprised to find that this region, despite its former reputation as a home of heavy industry, is no longer smoky.
But steel hasnt faded away in my neighborhood. Only eight blocks from my suburban apartment, theres a brand new billion-dollar mill! A company official says, You're not going to find another factory like this one in the world.
In the 19th century, coal-fired steel mills made Pittsburgh an industrial giant and a fearsome sight to behold. James Parton famously described the view from atop one of the surrounding hills as looking over into hell with the lid taken off.
In the 20th century, my uncle and many others noted that in the middle of the day, street lights had to stay on and businessmen had to replace their white shirts with clean ones.
However, a 1959 strike shut down the mills for four months. Other industries needed the metal, so for the first time in American history they began importing large amounts of cheaper steel from foreign countries. That virtually killed the domestic steel industry. Within 30 years, over 75% of Pittsburghs steelmaking capacity was shut down.
But as I mentioned, not all the steel mills are gone. Theres a gleaming new hot-rolling mill along the Allegheny River, only half a mile down the hill from my apartment.
Built just downriver from Allegheny Technologies Inc.'s existing plant (formerly Allegheny Ludlum), the $1.2-billion dollar facility is the largest investment in the companys history. Last week, ATI gave the media a tour.
So is the company hiring? Well, not right now. To get government approval for the construction, ATI pledged not to reduce its work force, but it didnt promise to increase it either. When current employees eventually retire, new workers will be added to replace them. However, unlike the old days, laborers wont be able to get a job straight out of high school. Wetherbee said any new hires will likely need at least an associate degree in engineering, electronics, or other technical fields.
But youre wondering how I like living close to a steel mill.
Its no problem. The only noise pollution came from pile drivers building the foundation a few years ago, but thats all gone now. A street next to the plant had to be relocated, but its open again now. And the mill is clean.
ATI spokesman Dan Greenfield said, The whole vision of a dusty, grimy facility is just not the right image of this facility. There's no smoke. There's no coal being burned there. There are no pollutants. The plant operates on electricity and the re-heat furnaces run on natural gas.
As far as water quality is concerned, project manager Darin Sarin said the plant re-uses water taken from the Allegheny River, and what does go back into the river will be cleaner than when it came in. The EPA has said it will use this as an example for other companies building new plants.
MAY 11, 2015 LADIES CHOICE
Fifty years ago this month, I graduated from Richwood High School. Our Class of 1965 broke the mold. The authorities, despairing that any better class would ever come along, retired the schools name. By that fall it had become North Union High School.
MAY 6, 2015 MY EYES ARE BACK
The local headlines mentioned hockey players.
Sid To Play In Worlds
I interpreted the second one the wrong way. Who or what is the Pens Eye? Apparently it has recovered its health, and the second coming of the Eye sounds like good news.
Reading further, I discovered the headline was trying to say, Ailing Penguins Each Look Forward To Returning. Oh. I suppose that would not have fit the allotted space.