Wednesday, May 29, 2024
Urban Planning

Fall In Detroit!

I recently reclaimed my fancy camera, which was stuffed away in a closet in another state for the past year for a series of really quite ridiculous reasons. This means I’m going to be returning to using real life photos taken by a human in addition to the deluge of Midjourney images I’ve been making. I regrettably am publishing this a bit late, but it’s just in time for our first frost, which usually comes around Halloween (these were taken about a month ago).

Batch Oktoberfest. Batch Brewing‘s interpretation of spätzle, a classic German egg noodle dish. I’ve often thought that spätzle tastes sorta like a not-creamy mac and cheese, though most of its regional varieties don’t have cheese in them. This variety was more oily, probably fried on a griddle (spätzle is usually cooked by fashioning dough in some way and then boiling it as one would pasta). The pretzels were great.

Churro, a tiny Mexican pastry of a dog, contemplates the camera. He just recently celebrated his second birthday after we adopted him from Trump Country. Churro is a beagle-Cavalier King Charles mix, or Beaglier, embodying the cuddliness of a cavalier and the alpowerful snurf and garbage-eating drive of a beagle. He is a terror and the trainer says he’ll “probably calm down a bit in the next couple of years.” Until that time, I recommend everyone look out for this demonic creatures. Casualties thus far include an AirPod, half an almond flour cake, and the contents of at least two small trash cans.

Adrianne and I explored the new riverwalk along the Detroit River. This was before the recent opening of the Uniroyal section.

Riverwalk bollard. Large sections of the riverwalk feature modern stainless steel railings that combine sleek, clean forms with chunkier elements like the welded bases and exposed bolts and nuts. This one features an unusual installation method using standard (but huge) hex nuts. Usually these things are installed with tamper-proof nuts, which only tighten one way. However, the process of uninstalling this for the purpose of vandalism seems like a somewhat Herculean task, so we’ll leave it alone. 🙂

Bob’s Bargers? This venue advertises itself as the only barge venue in the city of Detroit. It is part of the new riverfront park connecting the Joe Louis Greenway section along Joseph Campau with the existing riverwalk sections to the west. It’s really well-done public space and one of the few things for which I actually give our “Corporate Power Above All Else” mayor credit. The east end of Windsor, Ontario is visible in the background, showing a mixture of single-family housing and apartments and condos along the riverfront.

Power Distribution Infrastructure. A power pole just north of Jefferson Avenue on the city’s near-eastside. Detroit is witnessing a growing movement to demand radical alternatives to DTE, including but not limited to the municipalization of local power distribution infrastructure. We did it before and we can do it again, advocates say. Who would win? A Rust Belt municipal bureaucracy run by nepotists and corporatist Reaganomists? Or, a publicly traded utility corporation that was still installing CFL lightbulbs as late as 2016 and that boasts some of the worst reliability numbers in the entire United States?

More Dogs. A happy, fluffy Samoyed with a grooming job that probably cost more than my rent. He did, however, appear to be a very good boy. This was taken in front of the newest Red Hook location, on a pedestrianized section of Joseph Campau that forms part of the Joe Louis Greenway, which will eventually connect the whole city via a multi-purpose trail.

Bagley Mansion (1889). The home of the son of Michigan Governor John Bagley (1832-1881) is now offices. Note the ornate brick work and the stained glass. It is also a popular spot for fancy photo shoots. I have no clue what the bike bus things are in front but they’re fun! The function of the parking lot, I assume, serves both the retail on the western side of this pedestrian plaza thing (part of the Joe Louis Greenway), but also the mixed retail space in the Bagley mansion. It’d be nicer if it was a building, but we can’t have buildings everywhere in a state whose residents will certainly die if they lack immediately accessible parking within 10 feet of every destination.

eBike. I’ve got over 2200 miles on my eBike, a Trek Police model. The battery has some scuffs from being dropped a couple of times, but it’s still able to provide 20-30 miles at full speed. I do not recommend purchasing this from American Cycle and Fitness, but I do wholeheartedly recommend a Class III bike with a Bosch mid-drive motor. The mid-drive lacks a throttle like most of the hub motors do, but the acceleration is much smoother and these seem to be substantially more reliable. The eBike can do most of the things the car can do and is especially valuable for intra-city trips that do not require carrying a huge amount of things, whether that means commuting to work downtown or running basic errands.

Nat M. Zorach

Nat M. Zorach, AICP, MBA, is a city planner and energy professional based in Detroit, where he writes about infrastructure, sustainability, tech, and more. A native of Lancaster, Pennsylvania, he attended Grinnell College in Iowa, the Kogod School of Business at American University, the POCACITO transatlantic program, the SISE program at the University of Illinois Chicago, and he is also a StartingBloc Social Innovation Fellow. He enjoys long walks through historic, disinvested Rust Belt neighborhoods at sunset. (Nat's views and opinions are his own and do not represent those of his employer).

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