Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Sharing the Road: Optimizing Pedestrian and Bicycle Safety and Vehicle Mobility

If you've got a few hours to spare, check out Sharing the Road: Optimizing Pedestrian and Bicycle Safety and Vehicle Mobility a report released by MDOT late in April. At 197 pages it's a pretty wild ride. I haven't been able to get through much more than the executive summary in Part 1 and the Best Design Practices in Part 6, but from what I have been able to glean, roundabouts are objectively awesome. Here are some choice cycling facts from the report:
Youth (ages 5-15) involvement in bicycle crashes in Michigan is higher than national statistics: 32.4% compared to 26.8%.That means nearly one-third of all young people in Michigan are involved in a bicycle crash and one-forth of those (25.3%) are fatal/serious.

In all other age classifications, Michigan’s rate is lower than the national data, except for those 65-74 years old.

Men are involved in 81% of all fatal bicycle crashes in Michigan. Bicycle crash locations are nearly evening spilt between intersections and non-intersections (49% to 51%).

Despite the perceived safety of a signalized intersection, almost half of all fatal and serious injury bicycle accidents (48.9%) took place at signalized intersections.

More than half of all fatal/serious injury bicycle accidents took place on two-lane roads (56.6%), followed by five-lane (13.8%); four-lane (12.9%) and three-lane (9.7%).

Together, 25 and 30 mph streets (neighborhood and downtown streets) accounted for 75.5% of all bicycle crashes, but the majority of fatal bicycle crashes took place on streets/roads with a speed limit of 45 mph or greater even though they comprised only 19% of the crashes.

Between 3:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m., 27.2% of fatal and serious bicycle crashes took place, followed by 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. (21.8%); and 12:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. (18.5%).

The day of the week made almost no difference for fatal and serious injury bicycle crashes in the 2005-2010 time frame, ranging between a low of 151 on Sundays to a high of 220 on Wednesdays. The average is 192 and the weekday average is 205.2.

More than two-thirds (71.2%) of all fatal and serious injury bicycle accidents took place during daylight hours and 89% where when the pavement was dry.

Alcohol was not involved for the motorist or bicyclist in 70% of the fatal and serious injury crashes.

Pretty interesting. Here are some of the proposed solutions for improving bicycle and pedestrian safety:

Another mustachioed sign

First the umlauted signs now this. When will the madness end?

Monday, July 30, 2012

Primary election time

Gentle readers, the August Primary Election is just over a week away. If you live in Ann Arbor (in any but the Third Ward) you have a contested democratic primary to vote in! Here's a breakdown of the candidates for each race with links to their campaign websites.

First Ward:

Sumi Kailasapathy
Eric Sturgis
Second Ward:
Tony Derezinski (inc.)
Sally Hart Petersen
Third Ward:
Christopher Taylor (inc.) is running unopposed in the Third Ward but may have challengers in the race to replace Carsten Hohnke as most handsome man on City Council this fall.
Fourth Ward:
Margie Teall (inc.)
Jack Eaton
Fifth Ward:
Vivienne Armentrout
Chuck Warpehoski
Over on the Ann Arbor Chronicle, there is a great article breaking down campaign donations for the Ann Arbor City Council primary race. The article has tons of great maps plotting the address' of campaign contributors for each race on a map of the city's 5 Wards.

Check out the above map (courtesy of the Chronicle). It's of campaign contributions for one of the city council races. Each dot represents a contributor's address. Based on the clustering of the contributions, can you guess which race is being mapped?

David Zinn and Sluggo

I finally met Sluggo creator, David Zinn, last Friday. "You're the guy from sluggoonthestreet.tumblr.com." I said attempting the most awkward introduction possible. "Wow, someone actually follows that?" David responded. "I'm one of the 10."

It was pretty cool to see David in action and to see my first drawing of Sluggo in real life.


David Zinn, the man behind Sluggo

Sunday, July 29, 2012

U of M Solar Car in Ann Arbor

In case you missed it, here's a cool video of the U of M Solar Car team as they passed through Ann Arbor during the American Solar Challenge.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Water Hill Garage Sale today

Looking for a good garage sale? There are 50+ in the Water Hill neighborhood today.

Slick tandem bike

Anonymous food blogger, A2GastroBoy sent in this picture of a sweet tandem cruiser from vacation in Goodhart, MI. Little does he know, this could compromise his nom de plume. Has anyone in Goodhart seen a man riding this bike?

Friday, July 27, 2012

Ask and it shall be given you

You know that problem of when you are at a crowded bar, drinking a beer and have no table or other surface upon which to set aforementioned beer when you have to use the restroom? Personally, I usually end up taking my beer with me to the restroom and then placing the beer precariously on the gently sloping porcelain top of the urinal while I take care of business. This always feels a little uncomfortable because: 1) what if the beer slips off the urinal? and 2) I like to keep my bodily outputs and bodily inputs separated.

Thankfully, Corner Brewery is responding to the requests of its patrons/bathroom vandalizers and installing an above urinal shelf so that people can safely stow their beer during urinal usage. Well done Corner Brewery!

Hat Tip: EJ

Swimsuit at Mark's Carts

Swimsuit, an indie band hailing from Ypsilanti is playing a free show tonight at Mark's Carts. The show runs from 7-9 pm. Here's a little preview of Swimsuit's music which I am really digging at the moment:

Mayer Hawthorne preforms The Walk live at Sonic Lunch

In case you missed it yesterday:

Take Notice

Yesterday evening while I was driving down Wagner I saw a lot of signs written on sheets. They were hanging on the fence M-DOT put up after they evicted Camp Take Notice from their land last month. The pictures aren't great because we almost got rear-ended when we slowed to take them, but you still get the picture.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Show me the way to the next whiskey bar

Ann Arbor finally has a whiskey bar. Mash, opens tonight in the basement of Blue Tractor. Anyone planning on hitting up the opening?

From the looks of the menu, it looks like Mash will be slinging standard priced upscale cocktails. But you don't have to take my word for it:

Mash Menu

Great Lakes surface currents

It's just what you've always wanted: real time visualization of the surface currents on the Great Lakes. Check it out, it's pretty hypnotic.

Hat tip: Dan Katz

Sonic Lunch at the Michigan Theatre today

Due to the inclement weather, today's Sonic Lunch has been moved to the Michigan Theatre. This also might be the most epic concert of the series featuring hometown hero Mayer Hawthorne and indie darlings Lightning Love. I'm pumped. See you there at 11:30.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Exploring Allen Creek

Allen Creek is a tributary of the Huron River that runs more or less along the Ann Arbor Rail Road tracks. Much of Downtown Ann Arbor, Central and South Campus and the west side of town fall within the Allen Creek Watershed. The creek was a major driver of industry in early Ann Arbor. Tanneries, breweries and foundries used Allen Creek for its water. A flower mill located at the mouth of the creek (just below Argo Pond) used the creek to turn a water wheel for power.

Allen Creek became quite polluted because of the industrial activity and open sewers located along its banks. In the 1920s, after floods sent filthy water into nearby neighborhoods, residents petitioned the city to inter the creek. Since 1926, the only place where you can see the Allen Creek is where its cement culvert empties into the Huron River.

One good thing about the drought we're in is that water levels in the Huron River and Allen Creek have been quite low. I took this as a sign from on high that I should go poking around inside Allen Creek. Here are some pictures:

The River is the lowest I have seen it in my life. This makes it easier to approach the mouth of Allen Creek. There are some pretty deep spots still, and reports of northern pike.

Inside the creek's culvert it's quite dark. The culvert starts out about 4m tall and about as wide. The water was about ankle deep but was flowing quite briskly.

A2 Non-moto

The city has a new tumblr highlighting non-motorized transportation in Ann Arbor. Check it out.

Mayer Hawthorne tomorrow at Sonic Lunch

Mayer Hawthorne with special guests Lightning Love. Does it get much better than that? I think not. Details here.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Is this a dragon?

Self avowed Damn Arbor lurker sent in the following picture saying:
Saw this thing hanging outside of Eastern Flame on Ashley--is it a doll?

Well Sam, we sent the image down to our forensic tech team. They just finished enhancing the image and this is what they found:

So it looks like a dragon, or more specifically a dragon-doll.

Supporting both Ward 5 candidates

I know much is made of Midwesterners being polite people, but I really got a kick out of seeing signs supporting both Ward 5 democratic candidates in the same yard. You can find out more about the candidates on their websites. Here's Vivienne's and here's Chuck's.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Stop mustaches

Could someone really be so opposed to mustaches? I doubt it. Maybe this is a prototype of a more hirsute stop sign for deployment in Ypsi.

Cactus Pantry takes on the Art Fair


Sunday, July 22, 2012

Shadow Art Fair in pictures

So EJ and I made it to our first Shadow Art Fair yesterday. It was pretty freaking great. I finally got to meet a lot of people I've known from the internet in real life. Here's Vinnie Massimino at his Green Screen Improve Troupe booth.

Can't wait to see the final Green Screen Theater Troupe video. If EJ and I are lucky, hopefully, we'll make the final cut. Stay tuned.

I also got to meet the Patrick Elkins. Here he is right before taking the stage with the Rainbow Vomit Family Band.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Shadow Art Fair Today

Gentle readers, are you as excited for Shadow Art Fair as I am? I hope so. I also hope to see you there, at the Corner Brewery.

Potential Shadow Art Fair poster submission by Brian Walline.

Candid Art Fair photos

Local photographer, Philip Painter, has been posting some great candid shots of people at the Art Fair on the tumblr. Check it out.

People never notice anything

I noticed this! Prize please.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Shadow Art Fair: Exquisite Motion Corpse

Here's another preview of some of the bizarre stuff you'll be able to find at Shadow Art Fair tomorrow: Exquisite Motion Corpse. The dudes behind it are also Kickstartin' to raise funds to make an app. Check that out here. Also, there rumors that Corner Brewery will unveil a special Shadow Brew tomorrow.


Shadow Art Fair preview

Pretty Fire at Mix Studio Theater

Is Washtenaw County experiencing a golden age to theater? Seems like we are getting press releases from a different theater companies every few weeks. Anyway, if you are looking to take in a play this weekend, or get out of Ann Arbor, you can check out Threefold Production's Pretty Fire. The play, which was written by Tony nominee Charlayne Woodard, and follows a woman's struggle to find her voice in a small suburb of New York during the Civil Rights era. You can read more here. Pretty Fire runs from tonight through the 4th of August at Mix Studio Theater.

Texting for homeless

Quack!Media is teaming up with the Shelter Association of Washtenaw County to run a text to donate campaign. You may have seen some of their posters around town:

You can find out more about the program by checking out this interview on

90's night at Live?

Yes please!

My house!

Under the Radar Michigan featured the Durant a while back. I'll be leaving Flint in a couple weeks, and this is only one of the many things I'll miss.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Banana peel stencils

Saw a lot of these banana peel stencils on State St and Hoover yesterday. I think someone thought Ann Arbor's sharrows were really booster pads from Mario Kart. This really takes street art to the next level. Sorry, that was a terrible pun.

Art Fair: Children in time-out

My favorite piece from the art fair so far has got to be this performance art instillation: "Children in time-out." Notice how the three artists sit separated in the lawn by Rackham, wistfully staring in different directions, contemplating their transgressions.

When life gives you a heat wave

Grow citrus. Saw this on Ann near State.

Big burger

Am I misreading this, or is Mr. Greek's selling a really, really big hamburger?

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

David Zinn, the man behind Sluggo

This is a pretty sweet video of David Zinn--the guy that draws Sluggo all over Ann Arbor.

Another umlaut attack

Is no sign safe?


Umlaut attack

Art Fair: iSPY Magazine Stage


If you are prowling around the Art Fair, make sure you stop by the iSPY Magazine Stage at the corner of Liberty and Ashley. They'll be playing tunes all fair long.

Art Fair has arrived

Damn Arbor reader Dan Hirschman sent in this picture. Though all you GoT fans might appreciate it. Probably would have been more appropriate to run this picture last night, but it slipped through the cracks in the inbox. Gentle readers, are you panning on attending the Art Fair? What are your favorite Art Fair activities?

Bad news for everyone

Will "this is Detroit in the 1970s" rival "you sound like Hitler" as the new death knell for arguments?

But no, seriously, Detroit in the 1970s had problems, the market for law schools has problems--we get it.

Shadow Art Fair preview

This just in from Vinnie Massimino:

Green Screen Improv Troupe from Vinnie Massimino on Vimeo.

From Vinnie:
This video is hottt. It literally dropped minutes ago. My iMac just finished mixing it down and the people need to see it as soon as possible at your convenience.

And other italicized text!

The "Green Screen Improv Troupe" is a long gestating project; attendees of this year's Shadow Art Fair will have the option to pay $1 per minute to do whatever they want infront of a homemade green screen by Melissa Dettloff and yours truly. The user will have 30* background options that they can imagine they're actually interacting with! A compilation of all of the videos will appear online and via DVD in September. While at Shadow Art Fair, you can pre-order a DVD for $10, which will include other weird shit as I see fit.

* Or more, or less

Enjoy this latest piece of weirdness.

Thanks Vinnie. We always enjoy the weirdness. Check out MarkMaynard.com for more Shadow Art Fair coverage.

Ann Arbor travel poster

Spotted this awesome Ann Arbor travel poster yesterday on tumblr. It's by local artist, Brian Walline, who sells other awesome Michigan related prints at The Mighty Mitten.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Art Fair: the calm before the storm

I ventured out of my safe climate controlled lab to mail a letter just now. Here are some pictures I took along with my whity observations.

With the temperature today, these cactus sculptures seemed very appropriate.

Does the State Street Art Fair have the legal authority to change a bike rack into a regular mundane U-shaped post? If they do, they clearly lack the moral ground to have cyclists respect their rules.

A truckload of stick-art ready to hit the streets of Ann Arbor.

Art Fair App

Whoa. I'm trying really hard not to state some question about the Art Fair (trying to find your favorite stick meat vendor?) and respond with "There's and app for that." I guess I failed.

In praise of smaller cities

Growing up in Ann Arbor was wonderful. I was able to enjoy many amenities of a larger city--museums, fairs, culture, arts--while still being able to get out into nature relatively easily. I attended college in another small city, Kalamazoo. Though I loved my time there, I began to feel like I wanted a bigger pond. Though I loved my experiences in small cities, in high school and college I started to feel like I was destined to become a Sophisticated, Big City Person.

After undergrad, I got my wish: I joined Teach for America and got placed as a high school biology teacher in Chicago. While I truly enjoyed my time in the Windy Apple, it made me realize I had taken some things about smaller cities for granted: the ease of being part of the community; the ability to really know the city; and most importantly, the ability get out of the city. In Chicago I realized that maybe I wasn't destined to be a Sophisticated, Big City Person. Maybe I was a bit more of a hayseed* than I had thought.

Jon Wilcox, a friend of Damn Arbor, sent us a tip that Ann Arbor was featured on the front page of The Atlantic Cities today. Micheline Maynard's article, In Praise of Smaller Cities, sums up many of my feelings about small city life quite well.

When I was growing up in Michigan, I couldn’t wait to get out. There was no view as thrilling as the map of a big city laid out from an airplane window at nightfall. Each time my parents took us on a trip, I plotted my escape. I poured over our weekly issue of The New Yorker, memorizing the places advertised in the back of the magazine.

On Sunday afternoons, my brother and I sat in my godmother’s car, playing the game we called “Driving to Chicago.” (Thankfully, her keys were safely put away.)

Eventually, I got my wish. I've lived in Chicago, New York, Washington, and Tokyo. And now, I’m back in Ann Arbor, the town where I was born. Only I’m not standing on our Main Street and despairing.

Turns out my years living in big cities have given me an unexpected education in getting the most out of small city life. They’ve helped me discover what’s most important to me: a lively, diverse community, with access to good food, the arts, the world around us, and a comfortable place to live that’s also affordable on a freelancer’s budget.

Gentle Readers, what do you think about small city life? Do you yearn for something bigger? Are smaller cities right for you? Do you yearn for something smaller? Please share your thoughts.

*Maybe we could call bumpkins from Michigan "appleseeds" as opposed to "hayseeds?"

Umlaut attack

Someone attacked the Dennison Building with some umlauts.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Shadow Art Fair

Shadow Art Fair is this Saturday, July 21, noon to midnight, at the Corner Brewery in Ypsilanti. The event is will showcase 40 artists and crftspeople "with with an emphasis, as usual, on the unpredictable and weird." Parents, remember: just because the event is at a brewery, doesn't mean there won't be plenty of activities for the youngsters. For example "They can watch their parents drink."

Prickly Gooseberry

The prickly gooseberry (Ribes cynosbati) is a native fruit that is closely related to currants. They seem to be doing quite well with our extra dry weather this year and I have found several bushes that are were weighed down by numerous spiky berries. If you find any, give them a try. The flavor is crisp and light with a hint of starfruit. Just make sure you watch out for their prickles.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Townie Street Party

The Townie Street Party is tomorrow from 5 - 9:30. Just remember to bring along your proof of Ann Arbor residency if you plan on attending.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Huron River Day Tomorrow

Huron River Day is tomorrow at Gallup Park. There are activities and exhibitors.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Play frisbee golf while high and horny

Via Boing Boing. If anyone is going to Manistee this weekend, they should check out this place:

Place that photo: The sum of the rest

Bahaha, my wit knows no end. I should just start a dorky uncle club while I'm at it.

So if this place really thinks it's the sum of the rest, they've got some 'splainin' to do. What are they the rest of? Are they okay with just being thought of as "the rest?" I think that's a little reductive. Clearly there are bigger issues at hand if people just think of you as "the rest." You're sellin' yourself short, sign!

This is yet another chance for you to place where this photo was taken. If you are the first person to guess correctly by putting your guess in the comments below, we'll damn you on our Twitter feed. So be sure to include your Twitter handle! If you don't, we'll just damn your damn name.

The last PTP was taken on Division and Washington, right by the old run-down car rental place.

Imagine a park

Join the Library Green Conservancy as they take over S. Fifth Ave. and create a temporary part tomorrow from 12:00-5:00.

Red, White and Bang

Feeling patriotic? There's a Bang! tomorrow evening at the Blind Pig.

Via Jeremy Wheeler

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Best Damn Blog

Regular readers of Damn Arbor will know that I have whined, a lot, about not getting a framed award certificates from the Current for winning the "Best Local Blog" category of the annual readers choice poll. Fortunately, yesterday I received a mysterious package from The Ann Arbor Chronicle containing the above framed award certificate. Thanks Dave and Mary. No more whining.

Z World Detroit

An entrepreneur named Mark Siwak submitted a plan to mayor Dave Bing to convert some Detroit's abandoned industrial parks into a post-zombie apocalypse themed adventure camp. Z World Detroit seems to be targeted at those looking to prepare for the eventual end of the world.
Here’s the synopsis of this live-action theater: Participants arrive and park in the designated parking lot. They undergo a briefing in the staging area adjacent the Z headquarters where they learn the rules and the scenario for their overnight adventure. In brief, they search for shelter among the destroyed buildings, try to gather supplies, and attempt to survive the night without being eaten by the roving pack of zombies unleashed to find them.
I think this is the coolest thing ever, but I'd be interested to know more about the types of zombies we're dealing with here. Are they the traditional shamblersfast zombies, something else? Is zombification caused by a disease or some kind of supernatural curse?

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

British Band at Sonic Lunch tomorrow

Scars on 45, an indie rock band from Bradford in merry old England will be playing Sonic Lunch tomorrow. Sava's is serving food; lab is serving the drinks.

What does this mean

Via father fresh:

I found this in a tree on North Campus. WHAT DOES IT MEAN?
Click through to see my theory.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Testing the Whiplash LP Mailer

Cool new promotional video from Whiplash a local merchandising company. Bottom line: those LP mailers don't look firework proof.

Via: Peter Baker

What to do with the Library Lot?

The above was posted by a group advocating for the space on top of the underground Library Lot structure to be developed into a central park for the city. The video does make a point, for a city with tons of parkland, green spaces are conspicuously lacking from downtown. The City only has one park, Liberty Plaza, in the DDA Assessment Area (well three really if you count the much loved Sculpture Plaza and Farmer's Market). Some would also argue that the University of Michigan's Diag serves some of the functions of a central park.

I could see the benefits of a park on the Library Lot. Especially if it became a Dolores Park-esque gathering place where all sorts of hipsters could gather and drink beer in public together. Then again, I can also see how the city might like to have something more lucrative on top of the lot. Gentle readers, what are your thoughts? Would you like to see a park on top of the Library Lot? How about more retail space, more parking, an obelisk, an office?

Monday, July 9, 2012

Free toys

Spotted this just off of Arborview. Much better than those "take a penny/leave a penny" things.