temporary infrastructure


Lineman from Davis H Elliot Electrical Contractors works to untangle a 20,000 volt distribution line on Park Street.
We had a thunderstorm in Charlottesville Sunday. Some trees dropped limbs, others snapped.

Invariably, after storm events there are calls for sapletting…

Lets go axe some trees, they made me miss America’s Funniest Home Videos

How do they do it in the big leagues? Like New York City? Where are their wires?
In Charlottesville, I’d be surprised if we spent more than a hundred thousand dollars last year putting this infrastructure underground, less than we’d spend sending a half dozen children to school.
(below- quercus alba v. Buick, Park Street north of its intersection with Cutler Lane.)

tree v car
May 3, 1990, the Charlottesville City Council and the Planning Commission met and discussed undergrounding electric wires, a lengthy excerpt from the minutes follows.

The undergrounding of utilities was discussed.
Ms. Waters stated that Council’s position was to underground utilities where possible but did not support a major undergrounding effort because of the high cost.
Mr. Akin stated that at his request students in the Systems Engineering Department at the University will conduct a complete study on the management of utilities, including undergrounding and the potential for City ownership. Mr. Akin stated that his intent was to determine how the City can more effectively have control over the utilities.
Mr. Sours noted concern with possible bias of the study and recommended that the study be coordinated through the City Manager’s office.
Ms. Waters stated that there had been no collective decision on the part of the Planning Commission or Council to study utilities and expressed concern about devoting staff time to a study commissioned by one individual.
Mr. Toscano stated that he thought it was positive that the University was willing to take the study on.
Rev. Edwards stated that he would be interested in seeing what the study showed.
Ms. Kay Slaughter, Council Member elect, questioned whether the City had a policy about undergrounding for new projects and Mr Gary O’Connell, City Manager replied that undergrounding has been required for new construction.
Ms. Sue Lewis, Planning Commission member, stated that she felt the City should use the students at the University as resources more often.
Mr. O’Connell stated that he and the City Attorney have been working with Virginia Power on the undergrounding issue.


Park Street was closed north and south of the Route 250 bypass Monday morning.

Collateral damage

sign by Max Frazee
This afternoon the RWSA Board of Directors will continue to address the issue of sanitary sewer overflows (SSO’s) occurring in their transmission system secondary to failed infrastructure (leaky pipes) that are part of the collection system.
Fixing the pipes is the expensive option, 400 million to 2 billion dollars.
Building a new sewage pumping plant is the quick fix for SSO’s and comparatively inexpensive (labor and materials cost 25-37 million dollars).
The concern of central Virginians is the collateral damage, the loss of value to our region. Pumping plant plan pricetags discussed to date do not reflect collateral damage costs, damage to the social, economic and cultural fabric at the foot of Monticello Mountain, impacts to a city park, the primary gateway to the Rivanna River, impacts to a national historic district and impacts to a neighborhood.
The overall cost of the project, to date, has not reflected the cost of locating the pumping station in “the wrong place”.
The cost of building a new 53 million gallon per day pumping plant must include the costs to mitigate its calamitous side effects, costs not reflected in the “materials and labor” estimate.

automotive incinerate

old gas pumps and a razorback
…the same assumption that current ways of doing things will remain in place indefinitely is an important reason why so many otherwise prudent and intelligent people [choose] to ignore the signs that their lifestyle is getting ready to terminate itself with extreme prejudice.–John Michael Greer

Oops. I forgot. Tomorrow is judgment day.

2011 AD—On May 21st, Judgment Day will begin and the rapture (the taking up into heaven of God’s elect people) will occur at the end of the 23-year great tribulation. On October 21st, the world will be destroyed by fire (7000 years from the flood; 13,023 years from creation).–Innanet

Faced with difficult circumstances, it’s recommended that the non-faithful listen to “I Feel Fine” by R.E.M.

Coluber constrictor

Coluber constrictor
The black snake is the state reptile of Ohio. Sign of spring, the snakes come out. Virginia does not have a state reptile, real estate developers did not want the publicity. However, Virginia did recently name the striped (Stry-Ped) bass as the state salt-water fish.
There are many cool, deserving reptiles in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Lets crown one and make it a crime for it to be run over. You deliberately crush a box turtle? We still have capital punishment in our state.
This black snake lived near the intersection the of Riverview and Woolen Mills Road. This is the snake corner. My last living coluber constrictor photo was taken at the same spot.

brick house

512 Rives ST
The house associated with the Rives Street store was torn down last week.

The third little pig met a man with a load of bricks, and said:
‘Please, man, give me those bricks to build a house with.’
So the man gave him the bricks, and he built his house with them. So the wolf came, as he did to the other little pigs, and said:
‘Little pig, little pig, let me come in.’
‘No, no, by the hair of my chiny chin chin.’
‘Then I’ll huff, and I’ll puff, and I’ll blow your house in.’
Well, he huffed, and he puffed, and he huffed and he puffed, and he puffed and huffed; but he could not get the house down. When he found that he could not, with all his huffing and puffing, blow the house down, he said:
‘Little pig, I know where there is a nice field of turnips.’

Asphalt

every fire chiefs' dream
How much asphalt is enough?

After graduating from college with a civil engineering degree, I found myself working in my home town for a local engineering firm doing mostly municipal engineering (roads, sewer pipe, water pipe, stormwater). A fair percentage of my time was spent convincing people that, when it came to their road, I knew more than they did.–Charles Marohn, “Confessions of a Recovering Engineer”, Strongtowns blog

This urban landscape would be a dream come true for any fire chief. Ample room for the trucks to cavort, lots of defensible space, gigantic turning radii accommodated. The ultimate product of a standards and design manual, a landscape where automobiles feel at home.