Saturday, June 26, 2010

Normal [Your Name Here] Transportation Center

This is an article about big cities (like Philadelphia) allowing corporations to pay for the naming rights to transit stations. What if this happens to Normal's multimodel transportation center? We could have the "Comcast Connection Center" or the "Mitsubishi Multimodel Maximus." It would be so, well, commercial! The place would be a giant ad for a company. I hope that doesn't happen.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Normal Signals

No one likes sitting at red lights but we do appreciate having a chance to go through the intersection (hopefully) safely when the light turns green, so we put up with it. The irritation of sitting at red lights increases dramatically, though, at intersections where there is no or very little cross-traffic, and/or at intersections where a traffic signal just doesn't seem to make much sense (like at a one-way side street that dead-ends onto a one-way, 2-lane street). I haven't heard of any traffic signals being replaced by stop signs, so I think it's safe to say that once a traffic light gets installed, it's here to stay.

That makes the suggestion from this article of replacing traffic signals with stop signs very radical but it does make a lot of sense. Here is what the author says about using stop signs (AWSC = all-way stop control; TWSC = two-way stop control) instead of signals, such as what happens when traffic signals aren't working:

"Now, if you’ve ever noticed that traffic seems to flow more smoothly when the signals are broken than when they’re working, it’s not your imagination - the Transportation Engineering Institute confirms that “AWSC treats the cross-street movements more favorably, without the wasted time associated with traffic signals.”
Implementing TWSC or AWSC is cheaper, by several magnitudes, than installing a traffic signal, which nowadays costs from $80,000 to $100,000 or more depending on bells and whistles such as crosswalk signals and the like. Add to this the perpetual expense of maintenance and the cost of electricity to power signals 24 hours a day, and you’re talking about a serious drain on taxpayer dollars."

Saving money and allowing traffic to move more smoothly with something as low-tech as a stop sign. Imagine that the next time you're waiting at a red light at ??????? and ???????? [fill in the street names of a despised intersection] even though there is no cross-traffic or there was only one vehicle and it left the scene quite some time ago.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Normal Corn Crib vs. Old Corn Crib

The new Corn Crib baseball park isn't anything like the old corn crib at the family farm!

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Normal Uptown Snapshots

First, a picture of the PINK dumpster at the JSM construction site in Uptown Normal. Have you ever seen a pink dumpster??
Second, a picture of the sun setting behind Uptown Normal.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Normal History

At the Bloomington Library book sale, I got an interesting little book called "The Making of Illinois" by Irwin F. Mather (copyright 1925). In the chapter "Education in Illinois," there's a section on "The Normal Schools":

"The public school system having been fully determined upon, it became necessary to found a school where teachers might be properly trained. Accordingly, in 1857, the State legislature passed a law establishing a 'State Normal University,' 'to qualify teachers for the common schools of the State.'
The Board of Trustees selected by the legislature chose a site for the new school near Bloomington. Here the buildings were erected, and around them sprang up the beautiful little city of Normal."

Aw shucks, that's nice of you to say.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Normal Baseball Wikipedia Entry

Just looked at the reference for "Normal CornBelters" in Wikipedia. Not very much information is available and, uh, there are some interesting sources of that limited information. (I don't refer to Wikipedia very often, so I'm not familiar with their usual sources.) They do have a nice picture of the logo. Perhaps more information will be added now that they are playing in 'the crib'.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Normal Uptown et al.

It turns out that there are other "uptown" projects. Well, one other project, at least. Specifically, Marion, Iowa, has an uptown project in the works. The project addresses "signage, benches, lighting, street trees, sidewalks, and opportunities to accommodate additional pedestrian activities within the Uptown area. The plan will establish a theme for the area that respects the history and architecture of the area, yet also provides a framework for the success of Uptown to sustain long into the future."

Sound somewhat familiar? I'm not sure that there's a specific "theme" for Uptown Normal ("Changing the Definition" is more of a goal than a theme) but the efforts to address the streetscape and to accommodate more activities are the same.

I wonder how many uptown projects are taking place across the country. Is it a fad? Are we riding the crest of a wave in a sea of uptown renewals?