The Colliding Legacies of Olmsted and Obama

Argument for Landscape Architects Leading the Way on Selection of Site for Presidential Library

I would like to start off by thanking the author for explaining the importance of public space. Whether it’s an architect or landscape architect who drives the decision of where to locate the library, it should be done carefully to tread as softly on the chosen park as possible. The building(s) and parking area should marry into the landscape.

City Mayors are Making Bike Lanes a Priority

'Democratic mayors overwhelmingly prioritize biking, while GOP splits evenly' -Michael Andersen

It’s great news to hear that 1 in 5 city mayors put “bicycle friendliness” among top infrastructure priorities. Now is the time to put funds towards building safe biking networks. These new networks should connect existing parks and greenspace with new green infrastructure. Integrating proposed bike trails with public transportation systems would be ideal. I believe that by providing visually stimulating and safe cycling and walking paths in our cities we would get a lot more of our citizens outside and moving. 

America's most bonkers bikeway is in Clearwater, Florida

This is OK in a World Where People Ride Bicycles with Helmets

Amazing, some people think that this is adequate separation between cars and cyclist. I was thinking more like a curb with flexible bollards, but a train no matter how slow it’s moving or predictable its path is not what you want to ride a bicycle adjacent to. This is just wrong on so many levels. 

Transit Construction Costs Killing Progress

Americans Paying More for Less

Why can’t we build major infrastructure projects in New York and DC at a comparable cost to Paris and Tokyo? We can’t get the transit improvements that we need because of the astronomical costs of construction. We have the resources and millions of under and unemployed people who would be more than willing to do the labor. We should have the most beautiful and efficient transportation infrastructure in the world. 

Good News for Pedestrians and Cyclist

Shaking Title of ‘Boulevard of Death’

When I lived on Long Island, I remember regularly hearing in the news about pedestrians and cyclist being killed by cars. I always wondered why the City wouldn’t do anything about such a dangerous situation on such an important thoroughfare. If you’ve never been on Queens Boulevard, the best way I can describe it is as a freeway-like Main Street in a medium sized town. There are hundreds of high rise apartments and retail stores on long blocks that flank the boulevard, creating diagonal foot traffic patterns across it. I’ve witnessed groups of school aged kids and senior citizens risking their lives daily just go from their apartments to the bus or train station. Cyclist had to navigate multiple lanes of merging, speeding and worst of all parallel parked cars.

Well it looks like the City is finally taking action.  I know some you are saying to yourselves, “that’s New York, what does that have to do with anywhere else in the US or in the world for that matter”.  I think it’s important because there are similar situations in many suburbs in this country. Just about every suburb has a commercial strip that’s just as inhospitable as Queens Boulevard. There may not be as many pedestrians as Queens Boulevard because of population density, but there are a significant number of pedestrian and cyclist fatalities. I think our town planners should study and learn from methods larger cities use to reduce auto, pedestrian and cyclist conflict. New York City is a perfect lab for planners to see what works because it’s just like any other town or city, except it’s on steroids. 

Urbanophobia: A Growing Threat to Public Transit in America

Public Transportation Viewed as Threat to Civil Liberties


“To change people’s behavior through restrictions in land use, herding people into dense inner-city housing, and restricting mobility to force Americans out of their cars and into government-controlled mass transit systems.” - Selous Foundation on Agenda 21.

I really try hard to be open minded about things, but I can’t understand how someone in a leadership position in this country can justify reducing funds and fighting modernization of our public transportation systems in our cities. It’s a difficult sell to someone who travels abroad and uses public transit. Gridlock and pollution isn’t a conservative or liberal issue. It affects all of us. Common sense tells me that getting more people off the road and on to public transportation eases congestion for people who want or need to drive.  There are millions of Americans who would give up their cars if there was a sound alternative. I believe the answer for the US is to have public transportation efficiently integrated with our personal vehicles. 



Deck Overview

Deck Framing Plan

Deck Material Basics

To effectively design using wood materials, a designer must have a basic understanding of the structural properties of wood, its endurance characteristics, availability, grading standards and typical construction practices.


Cedars (Northern White and Western Red)

·         Soft low density woods that are easy to worked, resist warping and rot

·         Structurally weak because they’re soft and don’t hold nails well

·         Medium to fine grained

·         New wood has reddish color, but turns grayish as it weathers

·         Considered an alternative to Redwood

·         Lesser grades can be quite knotty

Douglas Fir

·         Hard dense wood that’s difficult to work with

·         One of the strongest of the soft woods

·         Resistant to shrinkage and warping, if cured properly

·         Not very resistant to rotting and should never be used in an exposed condition

·         Does not hold paint well

Southern White Pine

·         Hard dense wood that’s difficult to work with

·         High pitch content makes it subject to shrinkage and warping if not carefully cured

·         Has very little natural resistance to rot

·         When pressure treated can be highly rot resistant

·         Frequently has large loose knots

·         Doesn’t hold paint well, but does take penetrating oils well

·         Least expensive of commercially harvested species



·         Structurally strong and resist rotting

·         Resistant to splintering; good for hand rails and benches

·         Outstanding for landscape use, but can be expensive and hard to find

Tropical Woods (Mahogany, Ipe, Cumaru, Teak)

·         Known for rot resistance and difficulty to work

·         When properly finished appearance can be quite impressive

·         Buy tropical woods grown and harvested on plantations, as opposed to woods acquired by clear cutting


·         Very popular as decking material

·         Trouble with refinishing

·         Most products will eventually mold

·         Can be expensive and difficult to work with

Sizing and Grades

·         Nominal dimension refers to the approximate size of the would

·         Lumber tends to shrink, because of water loss

·         A 2 x 10 will be closer to 1 1/2” x 9 1/14”

·         Grades: Select for finished woods and Common is typically used for structure or where it’s not seen


·         Nails – steel or bright finished nails should not be used because the will rust; galvanized nails are used for exterior applications

·         Screws – typically used with to connect wood with stress loads or wood that doesn’t hold with nails

·         Bolts - used at major structural joints, such as attaching beams, joist, and stringers

Wood Preservatives

·         These generally increase the durability and resistance from being destroyed by insects or fungus.

·         Creosote – toxic petroleum based preservative used on railroad ties, telephone poles, etc. Restricted disposal – causes burns

·         Chromated copper arsenate, or CCA – toxic and was outlawed in 2003

·         Alkaline copper quaternary (ACQ) – has become the replacement for CCA