Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Normal: Not Fit for Fit EVs?

Honda is introducing the Fit EV this year but only in Oregon and California, which Honda considers "ground zero for electric vehicles". Hello!! Normal is an EV Town!  Even when Honda officially launches the Fit EV in 2013, it will be on the east coast. Hey, what about Normal? We have charging stations and "early adopters" -- you'll "fit" right in (sorry, couldn't resist that)!!

Friday, January 27, 2012

Normal Charging Stations: More at the Store?

Walgreens is putting in charging stations for electric cars, and other stores may be adding them soon. If more stores in Normal add the stations, we might actually get used to seeing (and using) them all around town! I wonder how long it took for people to get used to seeing gas stations around town.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Normal: Walking Neighborhoods Are the Future

This article about the value of having residential neighborhoods with schools, restaurants, convenience stores, and other desired businesses within walking distance is very timely. It's not just rising gas prices that will motivate people to want to be able to walk places, it's also the increase in people working from home, the preference many people now seem to have for making quick trips to purchase nessecities instead of one, extended trip to the store for a week's supply, and the (grudgingly acknowledged) need for exercise.

It would be interesting to take a map of Normal and circle businesses within walking distance (however that's measured) of residential neighborhoods.  I think many residents would like to be able to walk to "neighborhood stores" but they also do not want those stores in their "backyards" (too much traffic, too much light at night, too much loitering). What is the solution to establishing these businesses without upsetting residents? There are vacant buildings that could be transformed into businesses based on what nearby residents want/need. That would be one solution. There is also "undeveloped" land (interpretation: farmland) on the outskirts of some neighborhoods that could be acquired for this purpose.

Maybe in the not too distant future, new subdivision plans will have to include "gray space" (for small businesses) as well as green space.