Newsletter May 21st 2018

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The Y Lot

Sounds like Dahlmann got their money back. @erich mentions they also paid taxes on the property and I’m sure there was other upkeep involved. While I’m fairly certain the company generated revenue from when it was a parking lot it likely is a net negative for them in terms of an investment. Edit: my memory was incorrect. No, it wasn’t a parking lot while Dahlmann owned it. It was before and I’d compressed the timeline! Thanks to Peter for the correction!

Honestly, after all this, I think that’s a fair enough settlement and am glad that Ann Arbor is not in for years of protracted litigation. It’s a complicated situation that was further complicated by campaign contributions and cliques within council. Couple that with a long history over what the heck that lot should be and it was bound to get thorny.

I’m anxious to see what ends up happening there. Ann Arbor needs more housing of all types and ANYTHING (even luxury condos) is better than an empty lot. There’s just not enough places for people who want to live in town and easing demand anywhere will help. Of course, I’d love it to be workforce and affordable housing. Not sure that will happen, but I’m glad it’s being floated as an idea.

Paris and London

The Salzmans are going to Europe! We’re headed overseas for the first time as a family (and first time for me and the toddler!). We’ll be staying with family who are living in Paris and then doing a few days in London.

Do you have recommendations for what to while over there? I’ll also take any and all advice about traveling internationally with a toddler.

The Open Plan

I really liked this piece from Bogost on where open plans in houses came from and the architectural response to what they took away from us (read: an additional kitchen called the “messy kitchen”):

Ian Bogost on Twitter: “I wrote about the pleasures and pains of open-plan American home design:”

Our kitchen flows into our living room and on paper that sounds like a brilliant idea. Everyone can hang out together all the time! In practice it means that we’re never quite totally cleaned up. There’s a lot of chore-heavy area concentrated together such that you’re always in view of something else you should be doing (I’m looking at you, dishes). We’re also more likely to default to eating in front of the TV because it’s nearby everything else. It’s not all bad, it is nice having everyone all clumped together, but it can be oddly stressful. We’re looking at rearranging to create better separation between rooms/activities.

Sharrows with Less Snark

I made some snarky comments about sharrows in the past week and learned I was being overly down on them. They do have their uses!

David Erik Nelson on Twitter: “Just one data point, but when they implemented these in town, I noted a marked difference in how driver’s treated me, as a cyclist”

Murph on Twitter: “I’d say they may have use in a very small band between “street doesn’t need anything to be suitable for cycling” and “don’t be ridiculous; this doesn’t do anything to make this street safer.””

I’ve since observed that they do help guide traffic. Mea culpa.

The absolute ideal is a full separate bike lane that doesn’t have to do double duty as anything else (see: idling cars that have “pulled over” for “just a minute”). It’s safer for bikers and sends a crystal clear signal to cars about where bikers are going to be. Sharrows are, in fact, are better than nothing. I withdraw my snark although will continue to advocate for better bike infrastructure everywhere.


I only recently learned from a coworker about Indian Pickles and it’s a life-changing condiment discovery. We bought jars of Garlic Pickle and Lime Pickle and have been enjoying them a lot. You can find them at your local Indian Grocer (shoutout to Bombay Grocers!). If you’re a fan of flavor just go buy everything with “Pickle” at the end and try it out.

The Challenge of Being an Autodidact

bletchley punk on Twitter: “On self-guided programmers and CS grads”

This was a heartening read. It’s hard to come into a profession when you didn’t formally study it. It can create the worst of imposter syndrome and Goldfuss does an excellent job of breaking down why, which helps get past it.