Archive for July, 2008

How many Starbucks does Alameda need?

July 19, 2008

There are 6 Starbucks stores in Alameda … of which there are two sets of stores that are located in close proximity to each other.

  1. The Webster store is less than half a mile from the Marina Village Lucky location.
  2. Alameda Towne Center has 2 stores located approx a couple of hundred feet from each other

While it certainly can be traumatic for Starbucks employees who might lose their jobs as a result of the proposed consolidation, you have to wonder why the brainiacs running the company couldn’t foresee this situation! Having a large number of stores in close proximity to another (especially for a product that is as generic as it gets) doesn’t seem like a great idea to start with (despite the pretentious “tall/grande/venti” labelling) :-)

Needless to say, definitely not my favorite place to get a cuppa!

What might’ve been!

July 17, 2008

It is too late now … but after a recent article in the Chronicle on some of the more innovation designs for parking garages, I couldn’t help but wonder what might’ve been had the city chosen a better design for the Civic Center garage instead of the boxy structure we’re stuck with!

Oh well!

Seeing is believing … or is it?

July 12, 2008

NYT is reporting that Philadelphia is trying out a rather innovative approach to speed bumps:

The triangles are known variously as 3-D, virtual or just plain fake speed humps. The virtual variety — flat pieces of plastic that are burned into the street, with the configuration of the colored lines conveying the illusion that a driver is about to cross the real thing — is less expensive ($500 each, versus $2,000), does not impede water flow and poses no threat to ambulances or other speeding emergency vehicles.

Would this work in Alameda?

Local bicycle frame builders

July 7, 2008

Interesting article in the Chronicle on local (bicycle) frame builders, including one in our very own backyard.

Bernie Mikkelsen, of Mikkelsen Frames in Alameda, has been building bikes for 34 years. He got his start as a child, putting bikes together from found bike parts. His father, an engineer, converted the basement of the family home in Berkeley into a workshop where his son could learn the intricacies of bike engineering. At his peak, Mikkelsen built four or five custom steel bikes a month and did repairs “at a hundred miles a minute,” said his wife, Melodie Beylick, a glass artist whose work sits on shelves in the bike frame workshop.

Even more fascinating is Bernie’s near recovery from a stroke — perhaps as a consequence of being allowed to work in his bike shop on weekends.

Carbon footprint for dummies?

July 6, 2008

In this article on bamboo frames for bicycles, there is this little gem of a quote from a guy who might need a little primer on the concept of carbon footprint …

“I like to say this bike has the lowest carbon footprint on the planet,” Calfee said.

But then there’s this:

Calfee uses bamboo imported from Taiwan, but he hopes to find California-grown bamboo soon.


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