We’re talking about in the financial practicality sense.
An illustrative example: I own a lot of things that range from lime green to safety yellow, not because I like these colors, but these are the colors of satchels/sweaters/jackets/shoes/etc. that are typically on sale at 40%+ off because no woman in her right mind would want to pay MSRP for something that purports to be useful but appears in a day-glo color that truly matches nothing else on this planet.
Because I hate spending money, I avoid turning on the heat until I find myself wearing gloves to type. I then keep the thermostat as low as I can tolerate.
I regulate my indoor temps in relationship to my feeling of personal wealth and current degree of cheapness. Through this, I’ve managed to acclimate myself to never having the thermostat set above 61 degrees. I get added benefit from my in-home heat deprivation because in the building where my actual office is, some losers down the hall don’t have a thermostat, and they choose to open the window next to my office door to adjust their personal climate 100 yards away.
From this rigorous anti-heat training, I might as well be a polar bear.
While hopefully I’ll see some financial benefit to this, the awkward fallout is that I have to wear summer-like layers to tolerate most indoor environments in which I am not responsible for paying utilities.
I went to a town meeting regarding the proposed improvements to the Minute Man Trail at Arlington Center. The word “Trail” is used loosely, as the pathway ends and then confused dog walkers, in-line skaters, speed-walking grandmas and the occasional bicyclist have to figure out how they will cross the Rubicon Mass. Ave. and somehow make it back to the trail. They have some money to fix the problem, and paid some firm to give them suggestions. While the improved light timing and curb extensions are great ideas, the trail connectivity still has a problem. The options range from repainting some sharrows to trying to convert 1.5 blocks into a cycletrack/clusterfuck.
I only had marginal time between leaving arctic workzone and arriving at my arctic igloo apartment. So I dropped the laptop bag, made a PBJ, shoved it in a purse, and pedaled off toward Arlington Center. I have a long history of being the person who shows up late to community input meetings, and I was trying to avoid this typical scenario. I made it there in record time and was pretty warm when I a) almost forgot to lock my bike, b) dropped both my blinkie lights on the sidewalk instead of into the bottom of my purse (thankfully, this was Arlington, and so they were still there at the end of the meeting. I probably wouldn’t have even needed to pull them off).
Apparently the town of Arlington has a much larger budget than I, and thus has no problem heating the inside of town hall. It felt sauna-like. But only to me. Other people didn’t even take off their coats.
In the middle of January, surrounded by every middle-aged cyclist and speedwalking senior citizen in Boston Metro-West, I delayered down to my only-marginally-work-appropriate-with-a-sweater-and-opaque-tights cotton dress, to notice that my favorite cable knit tights had a huge hole in them, and I looked ridiculous. Half dressed. Holes in my clothes. Uneaten PBJ squished in my purse. I had miscalculated the time it would take between home/sandwich/meeting, and so the sandwich just sat there, calling out my name. I did at least remember to silence my phone.
The bike movement options are straight out of the NACTO Urban Bikeway Design Guide. I think it’s great that they are on board to adopt NACTO’s guide – unfortunately the Bikeway design specifically addresses in-road facilities – not on-road segments of multi-user paths, so the potential for confusing users, creating conflicts between trail users and local sidewalk users, not to mention cars/bikes or rollerbladers/everybody is pretty huge. From a Multi-User perspective I wasn’t particularly happy with any of the solutions, but fixing the trail in way that could make everyone happy would probably cost millions, and involve a lot more than a single intersection. Given that I was half-naked and starving, I really wasn’t able to constructively contribute.
Most people at the meeting were pro-active transportation types. A lot of people at the meeting were traffic engineers who wanted to fix other intersections and redesign medians away from standards. I could also swear that I saw Mr. John S Allen wearing a bright green track jacket (is he cheap like me? or just likes the absurdity?), but I have no proof. I did like that the rollerbladers acknowledge that they take up more space than anyone else. Thanks for noticing. Some local news source did actually write up the meeting, and there are a few inaccuracies (I think some people might claim the light timing value mentioned is innacurate), but overall it seems like the same meeting I went to…