Tag: Planning

And Here We See the Apotheosis of My Prior Two Posts

Breonna Taylor’s shooting was the result of a Louisville police department operation to clear out a block in western Louisville that was part of a major gentrification makeover, according to attorneys representing the slain 26-year-old’s family.

Lawyers for Taylor’s family allege in court documents filed in Jefferson Circuit Court Sunday that a police squad — named Place-Based Investigations — had “deliberately misled” narcotics detectives to target a home on Elliott Avenue, leading them to believe they were after some of the city’s largest violent crime and drug rings.

The complaint — which amends an earlier lawsuit filed by Taylor’s mother against the three Louisville officers who fired their weapons into Taylor’s home — claims Taylor was caught up in a case that was less about a drug house on Elliott Avenue and more about speeding up the city’s multi-million dollar Vision Russell development plan.


Accusations contained in lawsuits do not constitute evidence in a court of law and represent only one side of the argument.


“Breonna’s home should never have had police there in the first place,” the attorneys wrote in the filing. “When the layers are peeled back, the origin of Breonna’s home being raided by police starts with a political need to clear out a street for a large real estate development project and finishes with a newly formed, rogue police unit violating all levels of policy, protocol and policing standards.

“Breonna’s death was the culmination of radical political and police conduct.”

It appears that the Mayor and the police were a part of a conspiracy to drive out black residents to created a gentrified neighborhood.

I think that the technical term is “Ethnic Cleansing.”

Good Riddance

Seriously, having Google running your life sounds even worse than George Orwell’s worst nightmares:

When Google sibling Sidewalk Labs announced in 2017 a $50 million investment into a project to redevelop a portion of Toronto’s waterfront, it seemed almost too good to be true. Someday soon, Sidewalk Labs promised, Torontonians would live and work in a 12-acre former industrial site in skyscrapers made from timber—a cheaper and more sustainable building material. Streets paved with a new sort of light-up paver would let the development change its design in seconds, able to play host to families on foot and to self-driving cars. Trash would travel through underground chutes. Sidewalks would heat themselves. Forty percent of the thousands of planned apartments would be set aside for low- and middle-income families. And the Google sister company founded to digitize and techify urban planning would collect data on all of it, in a quest to perfect city living.


But Sidewalk Labs’ vision was in trouble long before the pandemic. Since its inception, the project had been criticized by progressive activists concerned about how the Alphabet company would collect and protect data, and who would own that data. Conservative Ontario premier Doug Ford, meanwhile, wondered whether taxpayers would get enough bang from the project’s bucks. New York-based Sidewalk Labs wrestled with its local partner, the waterfront redevelopment agency, over ownership of the project’s intellectual property and, most critically, its financing. At times, its operators seemed confounded by the vagaries of Toronto politics. The project had missed deadline after deadline.

The partnership took a bigger hit last summer, when Sidewalk Labs released a splashy and even more ambitious 1,524-page master plan for the lot that went well beyond what the government had anticipated, and for which the company pledged to spend up to $1.3 billion to complete. The redevelopment group wondered whether some of Sidewalk Labs’ proposals related to data collection and governance were even “in compliance with applicable laws.” It balked at a suggestion that the government commit millions to extend public transit into the area, a commitment, the group reminded the company, that it could not make on its own.

Seriously, giving your city to a profit driven ghoulish mega-corporation seems to be hihg on the list of really stupid ideas.

Good that it is over.

In the Annals of Stupidity

The idea that we should reconfigure cities to accommodate the limitations of robot cars is stupid.

It’s History Schmistory stupid:

Special report Behind the mostly fake “battle” about driverless cars (conventional versus autonomous is the one that captures all the headlines), there are several much more important scraps. One is over the future of the city: will a city be built around machines or people? How much will pedestrians have to sacrifice for the driverless car to succeed?


But the driverless car has to deal with pedestrians, as Christian Wolmar discussed at The Register last week: “The open spaces that cities like to encourage would end as the barricades go up. And foot movement would need to be enforced with Singapore-style authoritarianism.”


“The randomness of the environment such as children or wildlife cannot be dealt with by today’s technology,” admits Volvo’s director of autonomous driving, Markus Rothoff. The driverless car can’t hear you scream. Tests are not being conducted in real pedestrian-congested conditions.

The cheat is: just get rid of the people around cars, so you don’t need to solve these problems.

When people talk about the future of self-driving cars in the foreseeable future,  this is what they mean.

If this sounds far fetched, I will remind you that there is a recent historical precedent:  In the early 20th century, they restructured the city, and criminalized what had been ordinary walking:  They called it “Jaywalking”.

Do not underestimate the willingness of people who profit from driverless cars to restrict the rest of us, and to place the costs on society as a whole.

They have done it before.

NIMBY Bullsh%$

A law is working its way through the California that would required towns to allow higher density housing near to major mass transit projects.

The mayor of Berkeley is calling it, “A declaration of war against our neighborhoods.”

No, it isn’t. It’s a common sense requirement to ensure that expensive mass transit projects benefit more than a few:

New proposed legislation, introduced by Sen. Scott Wiener and co-authored by Sen. Nancy Skinner, that would require California cities to allow denser, taller housing developments near transit hubs and bus lines, has ignited controversy in Berkeley and nationally.

With some limitations, SB 827 would eliminate restrictions on the number of houses that can be built within a half-mile of BART and within a quarter-mile of major bus routes, including Muni and AC Transit. It would also block cities from mandating parking requirements.

Skinner said the bill would help supply much-needed housing in Berkeley and the state.

“In the Bay Area alone, we’ve added thousands more jobs than we have housing units,” she said. “More housing is essential to reduce the pressure that lack of supply is causing in all our communities. And there’s no more logical place for housing than near transit.”

But the bill has drawn strong opposition from many who believe it would deprive cities of their rights to control their own zoning and could also lead to unwanted density. In fact Berkeley Mayor Jesse Arreguín characterizes the bill as “a declaration of war against our neighborhoods.”

Here is the deal, your honor: If you want transit in your neighborhoods, then your neighborhoods have to be transit friendly, and the first 3 requirements of transit friendly neighborhoods are density, density, and density.