Tag Archives: urban

Cruising and guzzling around metro Birmingham

Soho Square development, downtown Homewood. via City-Data.comIt’s time again to take a look at the most walkable cities in the state of Alabama as rated by walkscore.com.

While the 2010 scores were only posted on this site back in mid-December, the new scores were released today and reported on by the Birmingham Business Journal.

Homewood repeats as the state’s most walkable city scoring a respectable 53 – down from last year’s score of 55. Birmingham’s score remained steady at 40. While the score stayed the same, the city is now tied for second statewide with Selma and Florence.

The release of this year’s rankings coincided with the unveiling of an infographic created by online money management service Mint.com earlier this week. It lists Birmingham as the No. 2 Guzzler city among its users, with them averaging $216/month for gas.

We figured we’d do a comparison similar to the one we conducted in December – sharing the average amount spent per month in the cities visited by the Birmingham Regional Chamber of Commerce as part of the B.I.G. trips taken between 2002-2008. They’re again listed in the order they were visited:

  • St. Louis – $136 – Teetotaler
  • Baltimore – $136 – Teetotaler
  • Charlotte – $195 – Guzzler
  • Nashville – $149 – Sipper
  • Pittsburgh – $155 – Sipper
  • Denver – $112 – Teetotaler
  • Austin – $169 – Gulper
It may be helpful to check out how Fast Company’s Co.Design blog presented and interpreted the data – specifically how it related to lists of the best places to live.

Learn more about the Other Birmingham

screenshot from "The Other Birmingham"A couple of years ago there were a couple of incidents involving folks from Birmingham, AL and the city we’re named after, Birmingham, UKconfusing the skylines of the two cities separated by the Atlantic Ocean.

There’s an online resource that should help keep that from happening again.

The Other Birmingham was created by Fiona Cullinan, who originally created the piece for her travel journalism blog as a one-off. She has since maintained the site, enabling her to accept additional submissions about similarities between the two cities as well as suggestions about what else should be covered. There’s been a lot looked at already, including that growing list of similarities

By the way, there are several cities named Birmingham in the United States. They’re considerably smaller, like Birmingham, MO (population 214 according to the 2000 Census) and Birmingham, MI (pop. 19,291) to not even in existence anymore (e.g., Birmingham, KY).

On the agenda: ClasTran and neighborhoods

Official flag of the City of BirminghamIt’s a short Birmingham City Council agenda this morning but its impact could be incredible during this last week of 2010 (It’s only 5 pages).

Item 3 would make $121,500 from the city’s general fund available to ClasTran to help reduce a budget shortfall. This action was promised earlier this month by Mayor Bell, meaning that the city will fulfill its financial obligation. There is still some issue with what the Jefferson County Commission will do and where the additional funds will come from.

The folks in North Pratt will finally have their neighborhood election results certified by the city if Item 11 is approved this morning. Officers for all of the city’s 99 neighborhoods serve two year terms, meaning we’ll have our next set of elections in 2012. The Fountain Heights neighborhood will be able to erect a new neighborhood entrance sign 18th Street North near 16th Court North, adding to the signs popping up throughout the Magic City.

What happens? It wrapped before 10:30 a.m. so you’ll have to check out the video archive.

“Positive” vandalism vandalized

You Are Beautiful, Birmingham. acnatta/FlickrFolks driving into downtown Birmingham this morning through Red Mountain may have noticed that a piece of positive vandalism that had greeted them for the last three months was no longer there.

The reason for its early departure is somewhat ironic.

The You Are Beautiful sign that first appeared on the Highland Avenue Bridge in October (one of several that have appeared throughout the city in recent weeks) was itself tagged during the overnight hours of December 23 with profanity. The sign was supposed to be painted over but not until after the holidays according to the conversation ALDOT’s Brian Davis had with Fox 6 last week.

The unplanned planned removal didn’t come without some collateral damage. The Birmingham News reported that a vehicle crashed into a police cruiser as it attempted to block a lane of traffic to allow crews to do the painting.

Photo: You Are Beautiful, Birmingham. acnatta/Flickr

A look at walkability in Birmingham (and Alabama)

WalkScore screenshotWalk Score‘s recent aggregation of scores for the nation’s 2,500 largest cities had us wondering just where Birmingham ranked. The site determines the “walkability” of any location based on how close it is to amenities like banks, groceries and restaurants.

We compared the city’s score (40) with those from cities that the Birmingham Regional Chamber of Commerce visited as part of the B.I.G. trips taken between 2002-2008. They’re listed in the order that they were visited:

  • St. Louis, MO – 61 (348,366)
  • Baltimore, MD – 65 (652,670)
  • Charlotte, NC – 39 (564,023)
  • Nashville, TN – 39 (545,623)
  • Pittsburgh, PA – 67 (334,059)
  • Denver, CO – 64 (553,515)
  • Austin, TX – 51 (661,212)

It’s interesting to note that none of the cities listed above were the most walkable in their state, though they all made the top ten lists of their respective states.

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You are still Beautiful, Birmingham

You Are Beautiful, too. acnatta/FlickrOne of the newest pieces of graffiti in Birmingham, AL is located directly across the street from Railroad Park in downtown Birmingham, AL. It is the second major location of the phrase “You Are Beautiful” in the city in recent weeks; the first was placed on the Highland Avenue bridge located over the Elton B. Stephens Expressway on the city’s Southside.

When The Birmingham News first reported about the graffiti in October, it was suggested that it may be part of the Operation Beautiful movement. Other sites have pointed out that it is more likely part of the movement explained and chronicled on you-are-beautiful.com.

No matter what the reason, it’s one good reason to get together on Twitter for a #bhamchat conversation tonight. We’ll be getting started at 7 p.m. CT. There will also be an interesting take posted over on Dear Birmingham tomorrow morning.

Photo: You Are Beautiful, too. acnatta/Flickr

Proposed Five Points Chick-Fil-A now has no drive-thru

CIMG0005UPDATE: Joseph Baker, president of I Believe in Birmingham, has posted a statement on the organization’s Facebook page this evening.

Applause erupted this afternoon during a subcommittee meeting of Birmingham’s Design Review Committee as representatives from Chick-Fil-A informed committee members and others gathered that the proposed Five Points South location would not include a drive-through.

The fast-food chain plans to present a conceptual proposal to the full committee during next Wednesday morning’s regularly scheduled meeting. That proposal will incorporate points and suggestions made by the subcommittee today.

Chick-Fil-A also announced that they planned to use and modify the existing building on the site – a former Ruby Tuesday’s location – as well as incorporate a playground and outdoor seating. Reusing the existing structure would also allow them to move forward with the project quickly.

The number of parking spaces would be reduced from 90 to 74. There was also a question about if there would be a change in operating hours as a result of the prominent location; they said that none was planned.

Photo: Chick-Fil-A presents to Design Review Committee subcommittee. acnatta/Flickr