Williams Street Bikeway

Today was my first use of the new protected bike lanes on Williams Street. I picked it up at Thompson and took it all the way to Main Street and it was wonderful!

I generally feel safe riding my bike in Ann Arbor and do so almost every weekday of the year (except for February, which is the worst). Despite this I wasn’t prepared for just how much safer I felt in the protected bike lanes. When you bike you get used to the idea that all cars can be weaponized against you. After a while a defensive posture becomes part of riding. Like, you learn pretty quickly to make direct eye contact with drivers just to remind them you’re there before they turn into you.

But in the bikeway? It felt safe! I was biking and smiling and felt relaxed. Unless a driver is being willfully dangerous you are actually protected.

My conclusion after using this bikeway just once is that we need a lot more bikeways around town. The more protected lanes we have the more we can recommend biking as a primary mode of transportation. And if we’re serious about the climate emergency that city council just declared we need more as quickly as we can get them.

Pizza Taxonomy, Ann Arbor Edition

A question was asked in Workantile’s recommendation channel that resulted in slack telling notifying us that several people are typing:

What’s your favorite Ann Arbor pizza?

I was one of them because, dear reader, I have pizza opinions.

Pizza Contains Multitudes

There is no one Pizza. Instead, we have many many subclasses of food that look similar, yet are quite different, and can all be broadly defined (and recognized!) as pizza.

If you ask a child to draw a pizza they will draw you a shape that more or less looks like what the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles eat. Something that is circular, cheesy, and maybe some pepperoni on top. The child’s drawing won’t be able to capture a lot of, what I’d argue, are essential properties of the pizza though: speed of delivery to your mouth, toppings, crust, thickness, greasiness, price, etc.

No artist could, really, pizza is complicated and comes in many forms! And, because of it, pizza places cannot excel at all kinds of pizza. They will naturally do one (maybe two!) kinds of pizza well. Expecting them to do everything outlined below would result in them doing nothing correctly. Recognition that the rubric for “good pizza” is vast and circumstantial has the effect of reducing the stress of picking a pizza place. Rather than having only one favorite pizza place you can expand your palette and have many favorite places each tailored to what you are actually craving.

The Taxonomy of Pizza Places

Since we agree that pizza places suit different needs you can first choose the kind of pizza you are craving and then pick your place from there.

I contend that the categories below are more or less comprehensive of restaurant pizza options (we’re not getting into making your own or frozen). I’ve provided my favorite places in Ann Arbor for each category with the understanding that there will be quibbles. That is fine by me. You are always welcome to submit your own blog post to the internet:

Pizza! Now!

Hot and Ready from Little Caesar’s. You may optionally hate yourself later, but you will at least be full.


Domino’s. It’s “local” and defines this category. Maybe Cottage Inn if you want exotic ingredients like “chicken”. I’m told that Marco’s Pizza is also good in this category.

“Fast” Casual

Blaze pizza. Although “fast” in this sense is highly dependent on how busy it is. Blaze is a nightmare if you are hungry because you feel like you’re very close to getting your pizza, but any line whatsoever is going to make it feel like an eternity. That said you get a ton of choices and can piece together a pretty good pizza. Neopapalis is another option here, although I haven’t been in years.

Not Your Daddy’s Pizza

Bigalora or Mani. If you crave interesting ingredients like brussel sprouts OR potatoes go to these places. Mani is loud though.

Sit Down and Wait a While

Anthony’s. Pizza House has a better ambiance. Anthony’s has much better pizza.

Regional Styles

Was told after publishing that I should really include a section on a few specific regional styles:

Chicago (read: Deep Dish)

Anthony’s. Although maybe just wait until the next time you’re in Chicago.


I’m least familiar with this but am told that Buddy’s and/or Jet’s are where to go. As someone who grew up in Chicagoland Detroit style is scary and different.

New York

New York Pizza Depot. I’m unaware of any runner-ups here. Again, probably best to just wait until you’re in NY.


Thanks to Workantile for helping me take this from that thing I rant about from time to time to a written blog post I can now link to whenever someone mentions pizza.

A2 Local Politics: In Which I Link to a Sports Blog

A2 local politics filter: I really liked this piece by MGoBlog about the upcoming election.

Been thinking about this quote for the past day:

“Denying the fact that Ann Arbor will change with weak appeals to parking, traffic, and floodplain development is pure NIMBYism and should be rejected out of hand. Keeping Ann Arbor “funky” or “unique,” which seems to be the main goal cited by development opponents, is 1) impossible and 2) detrimental to everyone in the community who isn’t already locked into a mortgage they intend to keep until they die.”

We’ve been in A2 for 8ish years now (I really need to do the math on that). I’ve said goodbye to A LOT of people who would have loved, or at least liked, to settle down here, but it just doesn’t make financial sense. The only way out of that is to build more places for people to live (or to make it unattractive to investors looking to diversify their investments by buying up single family homes, but good luck defending that position (shout out to my landlord friends! I don’t hold this against you and would do the same if we had the capital!)).

Unless, of course, you don’t want new people to settle down here. If that’s the plan, well, yeah, don’t do a thing to anything.

My wife and I were able to buy in because of generational wealth, two steady incomes, and a willingness to put in sweat equity. Yes, it’d be easier money-wise if we didn’t have a kid. I’d like to think that “raising future consumers and citizens” shouldn’t preclude home ownership though. If prices continue trending upwards as quickly as they are we wouldn’t be able to afford to be within the city limits in a few years.

Anyway, long-winded and not very concise way of saying I’m voting for Ackerman for Ward 3 because he’s pro-development. My political stance these days is that we should so many buildings that you wonder how in the world so many buildings could be built at the same time.