Wednesday, February 28, 2007

A few more things

This image doesn't show it all that well, but it was pretty neat to see in person. This is the fire escape on the back of the Portabella's in Moline. (Next door to Bent River Brewery) Each and every opening in the grate had an icicle hanging from it. It made me glad to have my camera along, even if the shot didn't turn out great.

Anyway... here are a few things that I either forgot or didn't make the post yesterday.

Tonight a police call came out as a suicidal woman, armed with a knife, saying that she wants to kill herself. I could almost hear the cops go "uh oh," and it seemed that they did things a little different this time. Not only did they get Fire and Medic standing by ahead of time, but one of the officers stopped by the station to get a ballistic shield. I believe 1 or 2 cars per shift have these with them, but they're basically SWAT team-style shields. Fortunately things went ok this time, and the woman was taken into custody safely. They don't give a play-by-play over the radio, so I'm not sure if they used a less-lethal weapon on her or just talked her into putting the knife down. Either way, good job DPD.

For some reason, the QCBloggers page hasn't been updated for a while. There are old blogs on there that are never updated, while Pioneer98's (relatively) new blog, Information Swimming, doesn't make the cut. He had a good article about the tourism presentation and recommendations, located here.

Why didn't I end up making the meeting? Unfortunately I got busy and forgot to sign up for this meeting, and also forgot to attend the Leonard Pitts even at Palmer that I had looked forward to. Fortunately it sounds like most of the recommendations will be made public.

One meeting I did attend was the Downtown Residents' meeting last Friday at the Redstone Room. Unfortunately there was a fairly small crowd, but fortunately everyone there came ready to speak and full of ideas. There were probably 10 or 12 of us downtown residents, and at least that many city and D1 staff. No huge news was presented or anything, despite my hope that a new 30 story condo tower or something would be announced. Apparently D1 is continuing to try and get a Walgreen's or Walgreen's-substitute downtown, which everyone at the meeting seemed to agree with. A couple people and myself asked if there's a way that people can be taught that downtown Davenport isn't all that dangerous, especially the eastern side of it. My slogan, "stay east of Ripley and don't get shot," probably won't be adopted by the Downtown Partnership.

Tara Barney said that she hopes we can have more of these meetings in the future, and I definitely agree. It was a good thing to meet people from some other the other apartment buildings around downtown, and hear their hopes and complaints about the area. When those of us that live down here treat it more like a neighborhood, it can only benefit downtown. I don't know if any of you blog readers out there live downtown, but I'll publicize the next meeting anyway. Maybe we can even start our own neighborhood group.

That's all for today, and let's all hope for good weather this week.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Tuesday Random Open Thread

For those of you with WebTV, no solution is yet in sight. As I said over at Snarky's blog, try updating your WebTV operating system, if that's possible. They might call it firmware. I even downloaded a WebTV emulator, and I must say that if this is accurately portraying what my blog looks like in WebTV, I don't know how you folks can stand it. There are like 3 words per line. Maybe the emulator isn't giving me an accurate picture.

There were definitely a lot more lights on this weekend in the MidAmerican building than usual for a Saturday and Sunday night. All in all, I'd say Davenport and the Quad Cities as a whole have weathered this ice storm fairly well.

Abolition of committee meeting back on agenda -QCTimes
The way this is described in the article, I don't see how anyone could oppose it. The changes allow any one Alderman to move an item from the consent to the discussion agenda. I think we all know which Alderman that would generally be. Anyone who says that this diminishes public comment only means that it diminishes public TELEVISED comment. If you're really saying things to the council for the good of the city, and not for your 15 minutes on TV, why would it matter if its televised? There will still be 2 chances for televised comments on each item anyway, plus more if additional readings are required. How many time do you need to be able to repeat the same things?

I was over in Illinois doing some errands, and I decided to take a spin through East Moline. I was hoping that some non-publicized progress had been made in The Quarter. Unfortunately, nothing seems to have changed since I last visited, about 2 years ago. I've said before that I feel Dubuque's new Port of Dubuque is too isolated from their downtown, but the Quarter takes that to new heights. Its basically tucked between a Deere plant and the river. Here's what was said about it back in 1999:
In addition to new housing construction, the city is looking toward the riverfront for the future. The Quarter -- a 90-acre site featuring shops, restaurants, condominiums, boat docks, sports and interpretive centers, and a working lighthouse -- will give the East Moline its first access to the river in more than 142 years.

At this point it has... a lighthouse/interpretive center, and a few condos. Any of you EMers know anything about current plans for the area, or have they just given up?

Driving through East Moline I decided that it and Bettendorf are opposites. Bettendorf has plenty of success but very little character or soul, and East Moline has plenty of character and soul, but very little success. Driving past dozens and dozens of blighted industrial sites doesn't go well with my usual "Quad Cities are great" outlook. I guess that just means there's plenty of room for improvement in East Moline.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Rough day for the QC

Its days like today that explain why firefighters and police are well-paid.

This morning there were nonstop accidents, especially out on the interstate and in the country.

The fire department had to respond to dozens if not hundreds of power lines down calls, and even the Chief was out checking on them. They had people out in almost every vehicle they could find.

There was also a fire out where they're building the new Great Escape Pool and Billiards out on Elmore.

You'd think maybe criminals would take a day off during this, but there were 2 major incidents. The first one was a strong-arm robbery or home invasion which I believe was up near 15th and Iowa. (Cruiser's hood, I think) Apparently the victim was assaulted and threatened with a gun, and had an X-box stolen.

The second incident was originally sent out as a man trying to kill himself by cutting off his leg. Soon after the cops arrived they called out that shots were fired, and later explained that he came at them with a knife and they were forced to fire. Here's an early QCTimes article about it.

Not a great day.

I suspect than many of you won't be reading this today as a lot of people are still out of power. My power hasn't been out at all today, but the cable and internet were off for several hours this afternoon. It sounds like its going to be several days before everything is back to normal.

Friday, February 23, 2007

My Blackhawk/Casino Dream Plan

I'll just preface this by saying that this is just me dreaming, and NOT AN ACTUAL IOC PLAN OR IDEA. (That I know of)

Here's a little map I made, which you'll need to click on to read any of the labels.
Ok, my basic concept would be Isle of Capri moving its gaming operations to the L-shaped parking lot that currently surrounds the Blackhawk Hotel. This would be potentially easier now that they may not be required to build the casino on a Styrofoam floor or cushion of water or other silliness.

Since Davenport's casino is probably not going to go the golf course resort route of Riverside, I thought it could be an interesting idea to combine an urban location with an indoor waterpark. This would possibly give the kids something to do while Mom and Dad are off gambling away their inheritance. According to its website, the Grand Harbor indoor waterpark in Dubuque is around 25,000 square feet. According to my measurements on the overhead imagery site, the area of the Blackhawk/parking lots block is about 300x300 feet.

The Plan
The first part of this plan would be to renovate the Blackhawk according to the current city plan, which would include 100+ convention hotel rooms, and possibly some residential living space. This hotel, while aimed at convention or business guests, would be operated by IOC. The second component would be the construction of a 10-14 story hotel, similar to the one that was proposed for the riverfront. This hotel had a small footprint to go with its somewhat respectable height. The bottom 2 or 3 floors of this would be the new, land-based casino. North of this would be the 25,000+ square foot indoor waterpark, which I believe our community has a need for with the loss of Wacky Waters and our difficult weather. North of the existing Blackhawk would be a new parking garage, of whatever height was deemed necessary. Because of the existing Blackhawk's height, none of this would block many river views that aren't already blocked.

The area East of Pershing currently occupied by an auto repair shop, musicians union hall, and crappy strip retail could potentially be used for something with the addition of a skywalk over Pershing. The newly redone plaza directly north of the Rivercenter and adjacent to the Federal Building could be enclosed to extend the Rivercenter to 4th street, or left alone. This would be somewhat of a dark canyon though. Also, I think this plan would work well to connect the Crescent Warehouse District with the rest of downtown, which it is currently isolated from.

Problems with my plan
Money!!! Incentives or not, this thing would cost a fortune. Its also a completely unproven idea. I can't think of a place outside of a Vegas or Atlantic City style city where a large land-based casino complex is located in the heart of a downtown district. The parking garage and indoor waterpark buildings could potentially block some of the windows of the North wing of the Blackhawk, eliminating their use as hotel rooms, condos, or apartments. I'm sure commenters will think of thousands more problems with this idea, so I'll stop there.

Obviously this exact project won't happen, but I would really love to see IOC consider something along these lines. It could really turn downtown into a regional draw, solve the RiverCenter's lack of connected hotel rooms, and clear up the entire riverfront for greenspace or other river-friendly uses.

Potentially Excellent News

Isle of Capri project considers downtown -QCTimes

At least they're considering downtown.
I'm going to do a bigger post on this later today, but here's my favorite line from the article:
“We specifically had a conversation with them that they should not expect any city financial assistance with a greenfield site,” Malin said.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Thursday... Open Thread

Since it was 50 degrees yesterday, I went out and took a few shots using my new tripod. Maybe I'll take some more today, and maybe I'll put together a Flickr album of them.

In the news:

24-hour R.I. business irked with plaza-closing ordinance -QCOnline (look quick)
Not being a big District clubbin' kind of guy, I didn't know that the plaza closed to everyone at 3:15. It seems kind of strange to me for what is kind of a public street to deny access that way, but I suppose its different for pedestrian plazas. It was also most surely poor planning on the part of the business owner not to read the signs in front of her location prior to opening.

Four new hires will inspect rentals -QCTimes
Yeah, yeah... this again. Keep your rental-based discussion on the thread 2 threads down, if you would. The last pro-landlord post was actually fairly civil. Maybe that thread can stay that way.

Van Fossen reports burglary at home -QCTimes
The news just keeps on coming... I'd prefer if Van Fossen-related comments were kept back on this thread, but that is a while back. I really think the guy should resign and just save the city the weekly scandal news. Its not like the 1st ward is going to swing the other way and elect a D1-type. It shouldn't change the makeup of the council much.

River Roots Live returning, will combine with Ribfest -QCTimes
This seems like an odd combo to me, but we'll see how it goes. Its probably a good thing for the RRL festival, although I don't know how well hippies and rib-enthusiasts go together. I'm waiting to see how much the tickets are. Hopefully under $15, because while $30 is cheap to see some of these nationally famous bands perform, its a heck of a lot of money if all you want to do is eat some BBQ.

Also, there is a downtown residents' meeting tomorrow being put on by D1. I will post any new info that they give us, if any.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Brady/Harrison/Welcome Way Corridor Meeting

Last night was the first public meeting with folks from RDG as part of the corridor study they're doing. The study involves this corridor, and also Locust and Rockingham. The hope is that these consultants will be able to think of some things we can do to improve these older streets that may be in somewhat of a decline.

The meeting was mostly public input, and it divided the corridor into 3 segments. They were the section from downtown to Locust, Locust to Kimberly, and Kimberly to I-80. There were surprisingly few comments about changing the streets back to two way, and what comments there were seems mostly opposed to such a change. The RDG representative said that they were considering that as part of the study, but it didn't seem like that was a top priority. One of the things that was discussed was possibly narrowing the lanes or taking a lane away for parking, and making the streets 3 lanes instead of 4. This would prevent the feeling, especially on SoLo Harrison, that you're walking only inches away from speeding traffic. It could do this by both widening the sidewalks and slowing the traffic.

One of the biggest things discussed about the SoLo section of this corridor was connecting the 5 schools (Central, Young, Madison, Palmer and Ambrose) in some way to create an education corridor. Tying in the churches along that stretch was also mentioned. There was also some discussion of a cable car or trolley that could make the loop up Brady, through Vander Veer, and back down Harrison. Many people at the meeting seemed to like that idea, which surprised me. I didn't hear anything along the lines of "another waste of money," so I guess those people decided not to attend this meeting.

North of Locust there was a lot of talk about connecting the Duck Creek Parkway with Vander Veer, and then down Main Street to the riverfront recreation trail. This has been a city plan for several years now, and has always seemed like a great idea to me. If the Duck Creek trail connects to the Bettendorf riverfront trail, and also goes from Emeis over to Sunderbruch Park and down to the riverfront trail that way, we could have quite a connected recreational trail system. The RDG rep also mentioned that a number of businesses had complained that traffic really starts to speed up once it gets past Central Park. Many people at the meeting agreed that traffic on Brady and Harrison needs to be slowed down all along the route.

In the final segment from Kimberly to I-80, there were several suggestions. Everyone agreed that something needs to be done with the former hotel/cinema complex at 65th. Alderman Frink explained that the 65th/67th Street connection to Eastern should happen within a year, and that the 65th Street intersection is going to be redone to be more like a normal intersection. I guess that means some left turn lanes and no more "Exit" sign off to the right. It was also mentioned that people driving past on I-80 don't realize that one of Iowa's largest malls is only a couple miles off the interstate, and that maybe some additional signage could draw people in to town for that.

Overall it was a fairly productive meeting, with about 25-30 people in attendance. Both Alderman Frink and Mayor Winborn were there, along with some city staff. It was good to hear how positive people were, and throwing out good ideas and possibilities. There wasn't much negativity about anything, and I really wondered where all of the people who oppose this stuff are during the time decisions are being made. I suspect that if the city spends money, or even uses state money to turn part of this corridor from 4 lanes to 3, suddenly negative people will come out of the woodwork to oppose it. When that happens, I will ask them where they were last night.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Davenport's Shell Game

More inspectors considered -QCTimes

So now we're hiring more folks to replace the ones we shouldn't have gotten rid of. I really wonder how many people out there still think that dissolving the NEO was a good idea. Can't you tell that all of this is a money-saving move? We've caused city staff countless hours of figuring out how to implement this in the first place, and more hours trying to tweak it to actually work, and now we're just hiring a similar number of people back that were originally gotten rid of! Which department (shell) is the debris complaint department (ball) under this week? You have to watch closely!

I really hate getting into this topic. I considered making this post no-comments-allowed, but that goes against everything I want this blog to be. If there is one subject that will ever cause me to quit blogging, it will probably be the whole QCRPA/NEO/accuse everyone of being Dan, Walter, etc. So lets try and keep this on track, and also keep the NEO comments in this thread for the time being.

For the sake of argument, I'll say that that the old NEO had problems. I personally haven't dealt with them before or after the changes. If they were as screwed up prior to last year as Alderman Lynn wants us to believe, why didn't they try to fix the problem? If most businesses have some employees that aren't working out, they don't just shut down. They'd look into who's causing the problems, and find a solution, which could include some folks getting fired. That way you end up with some of the experienced folks still around, and also the department is still intact. It seems like a good idea to me to have all the inspection-based stuff together for good communication and efficiency. However, I'm no economist.

I guess it takes a professor to figure out how disbanding one department, hiring all new and untrained people to replace it, and spreading their jobs all over the city is good economics, or makes any damn sense at all.

Blogspot 2.0 Open Thread

I finally took the plunge and trusted Blogspot to switch me to the new version. It seems that today the finally decided to make it mandatory. So far it doesn't appear that they've misplaced any of my data, rearranged my carefully-arranged images, or deleted the thousands of comments. I was worried about all of those things, but not quite worried enough to spend the time backing up the entire site. Moving 508 posts onto a new system is no small feat, and it only took about 5 minutes. Please let me know if there are any problems with different screen resolutions, operating systems, WebTV, etc.

In old news, what does anyone think about the Starbucks opening in downtown Davenport? As a non coffee drinker, I'm indifferent. Color me impressed when downtown can support 2 of them.

Also, I recently purchased these new computer speakers. Just what every tenant wants to see their neighbor carry into the building! Thank goodness for foot-thick cement floors. Unfortunately my Google advertising revenue didn't quite cover the cost. Or... any of it.

Later today I hope to post something about the NEO/Firefighting mess, so PLEASE save your comments about that for the related post.

Friday, February 16, 2007

3 Things from the City's website

First of all, there's a public meeting Tuesday at 7 as part of the corridor study that's being done by RDG Planning and Design. This meeting will cover Brady, Harrison, and Welcome Way. It will be held in the Parking/Design Center at 2nd and Brady.

I might make it to the meeting, but I was also hoping to make a return to Bent River's $2 Burger Basket night. Maybe I can manage both.

Then I've found a couple of interesting (to me at least) maps on the city's website.

This first one shows all the streets that are "top priority" for salting during snow and ice events. Its just another one of those things that the city takes care of that people only notice if its not done well.

Finally, here's a map of the historic districts in Davenport. There are more of them than you might think, and they're pretty widely spread around town. Unsurprisingly, there are none North of Kimberly, and the way we build things out there, probably never will be.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Ready for Spring Open Thread

I like winter. I always have. I like the Christmas season, snow, sledding, and even (to an extent) shoveling snow. I think that you can't truly appreciate a warm spring or summer day unless you've been through a bitterly cold February day. My dad hates winter, and has always told me that someday I would too.

Its not true yet, but this is probably the first year where I've been ready for spring this early. Too many under-10 degree nights for my taste. At least the first baseball spring training game is only 13 days away.

No VanFossen related talk on this thread, keep it where it belongs.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Dorks and Pawn Shops

Clear channel files suit against Dwyer and Michaels -QCTimes

I must say I kind of saw this one coming. It seems like they are pushing the envelope and violating the spirit of the agreement, if not the letter. That said, even if they move their studio to Cedar Rapids and quit the QCTimes blog, etc, they will still have the streaming audio on the internet. Its not like people in the Quad Cities are going to forget about them in 5 or 6 months. I love these guys, but it did kind of seem like they were asking for it.

Resale outlets wary of city plan -QCTimes

This one is being somewhat blown out of proportion by the Times, and definitely proves that I should stop reading the comments there once and for all. I may disagree with some of you folks that comment here, but the worst of you are a lot better than the worst of the QCTimes.comments. The Davenport police already have a pawn registry, because these locations are such obvious fences. However, as it stands now I believe it only applies to actual pawn shops, so places like CD Warehouse, that used music supply store in the Village Shopping Center, and "resale shops" are the new places to unload stolen stuff.

I think $1.50 per transaction is outrageous, but the general idea of these places letting the city know who is selling them what is already in use. Even serial numbers get entered into the system, so if a burglary victim knows the number off of their item, the detectives can simply type it into their pawn search program and see if its been sold. Its a pretty cool system, but the negative people that comment on the QCT are against this anti-crime tool at the same time that they complain about crime. Stuff like that really makes me think that an article titled "City strikes gold while digging new PD foundation, eliminates taxes for next 20 years" would get 48 negative comments.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Might as well make a thread....

Davenport alderman charged with assault -QCTimes

Update on Wednesday morning: More drama... so I guess I'll leave this up here at least until this afternoon so people can discuss the developments. Today's QCTimes article about it can be found here. Nowhere does he explain why he would violate a protective order if he was going to cleared of the other charge, which he says he's innocent of. I guess now people from the surrounding area have new stuff to make fun of Davenport for at least.

I will post something to at least get this off the top of the blog today though.

I know its going to get talked about, so it might as well have its own thread, as distasteful as the comments will surely be. I'd prefer you folks kept the discussion directed at what will happen with the remainder of Alderman VanFossen's term if he is proven guilty.

Also, remember a few things.

1. This is America, he's innocent until proven guilty in a court of law

2. Keep in mind that the guy has a family

3. People do make mistakes... even several in one year

4. There's no need for name calling, ever

5. If we all agree that he's not a good Alderman, there's no sense trying to convince anyone of that fact. I don't remember the last time I heard anyone on this blog say something good about the 1st ward representative, so lets not beat a dead horse here.

So lets try and keep this remotely civil.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Overtime Open Thread

I'm going to be pretty busy today and tomorrow, so talk amongst yourselves. I've only got a couple quick things.

Last night the cops spotted a stolen car, followed it while additional units converged, and then stopped it around 14th and Harrison or Main. One of the 2 people inside bailed out and was caught after a foot chase, while the other was captured still in the car. Another good job by the officers. Things like this happen practically on a nightly basis, but never make the news. Whenever there's a news story about a crime, there's never a follow up story if and when the police solve it, arrest the person, etc, unless its a big story like the Blackhawk fire or a murder. The DPD is out there doing good old police work every night, for very little thanks.

Also, I've heard that the first of the new black and white squad cars have arrived, although I haven't seen one for myself yet. Has anyone else spotted one of these "more professional-looking" police cars yet? Feel free to submit a picture.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Iowa-Illinois Regional Auto Show

This is just another of those events that we take for granted around here. Check out this map of the Motor Trend auto shows across the country. We're in pretty good company on there. Las Vegas, Milwaukee, Phoenix, San Jose, Baltimore, etc, and then Quad Cities. From what I can tell we're the smallest metro area in the country to get one of these shows.

Unlike last year, I remembered to take my camera this year.
Hopefully another difference from last year will be that no downtown buildings catch on fire.

If you're such a fan of the QuadCityImages blog that a PayPal donation or ad-clicking just won't do, I wouldn't refuse a gift of a 2008 Dodge Avenger. Its replacing the Stratus, and definitely has more style. Its pretty much a miniature Charger, although without the Hemi. Its also a bit more affordable, and the window sills are perfect for resting your arm on, unlike the Charger's neck-high ones. Of course... I would also accept a Charger.

Here's another interesting thing. Despite only being announced a few days before the show, the 2008 Ford Five Hundred was already rebadged with the Taurus name. I wonder if we were the first auto show to display the 2008 Taurus? Cruiser also mentioned this a couple days ago in his Taurus post.

Here are a couple more pictures from the show, and here are a total of 8 on my Flickr page. These were all taken right before the end of the show Saturday, so the crowd was thinning out. When we got there it was fairly crowded and the parking garage was full up to the 4th floor or so. The show is open from 10am to 6pm today, (Sunday) and costs $6, or $5 if you print off the online coupon.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Where in the QC is this? Valentine's Edition

Ok, so the location may or may not have anything to do with Valentine's Day, but I forgot what number I was up to on my Where in the QC is this? feature. Also, if you're interested in unrelated discussion, I stuck up another Open Thread below this.

Congratulations to Anonymous 12:57, who correctly guessed that these images were taken of the "building at the entrance of Duck Creek Park where wedding receptions are held," otherwise known as the Duck Creek Pavilion. One of those neat little things that we take for granted.
Here's image #2, since no one has gotten it so far.

Here's the original image. I'm starting out hard here, and as time goes by without correct guesses I'll post pictures that show more and more of the location.

Where in the Quad Cities is this?

Non-negative Open Thread

Yeah right, but I can always dream. Do your random talking/insulting the blog author here, and keep the above thread for Where in the QC is this? guesses.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Open Thread

About the only thing I have today to throw out there for discussion is this QCTimes article, which talks about how the CVB hired a secret tourist to evaluate the QC area from an outsiders perspective. It sounds pretty interesting, as over the last 5 or 10 years I've tried to imagine my QC surroundings from a visitor's point of view on many occasions.

The guy who did the evaluating is going to present his findings at a breakfast meeting on February 23rd, which costs $15 and requires registration by February 16th. I'm kind of considering going, but it'd be another of the many meetings where I'm surrounded with people going, "Who's this guy?" At least I've still got 9 days to make up my mind.

Other than that, its just an open thread. I'm going to TRY not to rant about detours or bad drivers at all today.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Follow the detours, for your own sake

PLEASE, people... just follow the detour signs.

In addition to yesterday's problems, Iowa Street is the new mess. I didn't have my camera handy, but as I was coming south from 15th on Iowa I came upon about a dozen cars backed up south of 14th. Some of them were stuck, some sliding around, and several couldn't make it up the hill. It was much more traffic than normal for Iowa Street, so I'm sure many of them were more "smart" detour avoiders. I bet they were all thinking how smart their short cut was. Detours plus the usual lack of winter driving skills has apparently overloaded many local drivers.

The city doesn't use detour signs just to screw with people; they use them because that route is the most logical and safe way to get around the road closure. Rather than trying to weave your way through unplowed residential streets, just follow the nice orange signs and use the plowed arterial streets.

Edit: As you may have noticed the last couple days, bad drivers are one of my pet peeves.

What the new Police Station will look like

For those of you who believe the new PD is ugly and doesn't "match" the downtown, I thought I'd post an artist's rendering of what it will look like.
The rendering above could be seen in the Reader a couple weeks ago, in their article about green roof construction. Here are a couple of older renderings, before a slight design change. I think the city decided that the giant glass panel was a bit much for a government building. These 2 are not the current plan, but do seem to have many similarities.

The building was designed by Neumann Monson, which should sound familiar. They've designed both parking garages, the Skybridge, and the Plaza Towers in Iowa City. So while the building may not match the 1850's,1930's, or 1950's buildings downtown, it does match the 1990's and 2000's buildings. Also, as I've said previously, when we try to "match" the old architecture we get stuck with buildings that look like the MidAmerican building instead of ever advancing into the modern age. I'm not sure what the people who feel its ugly would prefer the new police station to look like. Do they want the city to spend a fortune building a stone building to match city hall? A 1960's aluminum building to match the Courthouse? Or maybe they're just against things, and offer no solutions...

Monday, February 05, 2007

Drivers are funny

I saw one of the strangest things today when I went out to take pictures of the water main break. Since eastbound river drive was closed, traffic was being detoured back up 4th, and then I assume over to Marquette or Brady. But since the average Joe deems himself to know more about traffic patterns than traffic engineers, everyone was looking for ways to go around the detour. This led to literally hundreds of cars turning North on LeClaire, which took them directly into the WG Block gravel pit area. Then they all had to turn around and turn right again on 4th. Then they probably all ignored the "Detour Straight" signs and turned up Iowa, but at least that's a through street. I spent 15 minutes standing out in the cold waving people not to turn, and also calling some folks at the city. Hopefully they got it taken care of, because I left before I got frostbite. They're very lucky there were no accidents. I also saw people exhibiting other forms of bad driving, such as a car going up Oneida and one going down Bridge, and people going around Road Closed signs. After all, those signs are only directed at everyone else...And that's why you should follow detour signs.

Update at 6pm:
A quick look out the stairwell window shows me that yes, Public Works is out placing signs at this intersection to prevent this hilarity. The system works!

Update at 7am: I drove past the intersection of 4th and LeClaire this morning and saw no barricades or signs. A check out the window shows the cars are back to swarming into the cement/gravel yard, only this time in the snow. Maybe the system doesn't work...

So that's where its coming from...

I've always wondered why people seem to consider half of SoLo to be "downtown." Now I know.
The QCTimes, while covering the water main break, has constantly referred to it as a downtown problem. If I lived over on Boies or Lilly I would be sure that it didn't apply to me. However, when they list the areas affected, it extends from the East Village west to the "West end of Davenport" and up to 10th street. I don't consider Oneida to be downtown, and I absolutely don't consider Ralston to be downtown.

What would it take for Davenport to define its downtown more obviously and publicly?

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Super... uh, I mean "Big Game" Assortment

The NFL certainly has been going all out with their cracking down on people for various things. Dwyer and Michaels are apparently unable to use the "SB" words outside of a news-type atmosphere for fear of angering the NFL. I guess this is why baseball is the best sport.

Here's a Sunday morning assortment of random stuff:

-A multi-car hit and run accident on the Centennial Bridge, a disturbance at Genesis East, a man who had to be extricated from his wrecked vehicle on W. 6th, various domestic problems, and the one that will make the news, a stabbing/attempted murder of a woman in Goose Creek at about 5:15 this morning. You wouldn't guess that it was 7 below zero last night by how busy the cops were. The night before I heard a police call for kids egging cars. It was around zero at that point! Come on folks, save your tomfoolery for summer like normal lowlifes.

-Speaking of law enforcement, tomorrow is the deadline if you want to apply for one of the toughest and least recognized jobs in the field: the police dispatcher. Its a county dispatcher, but that doesn't make the job much easier. Also, I don't understand why Scott County only leaves its job openings on its website for a matter of days. I find it humorous that both the "New listing!" icon and the "Expires soon!" icon are both present on the dispatcher listing. I guess you'd better not be out of town when the job you want is taking applications. It doesn't seem like the best way to get a large pool of applicants though. But what do I know, its not like I have a degree in this...

-Did anyone make it to the Figge, Symphony, or RME events last night? Knowing that I'd be out during the cold nights this weekend, I chose to stay in yesterday afternoon. Of course the negative folks will jump all over low attendance to prove their favorite thing, failure. We wouldn't want to look at all the circumstances, such as weather, or anything.

-The Crescent Warehouse District website has added more content, including all the floorplans for the Crescent Macaroni and Waterloo Mills buildings, in addition to the 4th Street Lofts building. Even my floorplan is up there... Maybe some of you will notice that many of the market-rate rents exceed $1000 a month before saying how we all get cheap rents.

-Verizon rolls out high-speed network to QC -QCTimes
I meant to say something about this back on Thursday when the article was in the paper. What in the world is the Times doing reporting this now? I have Verizon, and EV-DO has been working here since sometime in November or December. Apparently either Verizon just finally got around to announcing it, or the QCT finally got around to reporting it. I guess I should have reported it back when I first noticed.

-I hope to be posting some renderings soon of what the new police station will look like, because I'm not sure if those of you complaining about it already realize what it will look like when its done. Or maybe you do and you're just against it like everything else.

-I'm snarky enough this morning to change my name to SnarkyGuy...

-Go Colts

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Busy Saturday for Downtown Davenport

There are a number of events taking place downtown this Saturday.

Saturday, February 3rd

10am-5pm: Free admission to the Figge Art Museum

4:30pm-1am: Shuttle bus running between parking and venues (see below)

7pm-12:00am: The QC Parrot Heads' 3rd annual Havana Daydreamin' at the RiverCenter

8pm: The Quad City Symphony Orchestra returns to the Adler Theatre

8pm: Iris DeMent with Pieta Brown at the Redstone Room

There are also a couple of other meetings, such as Mel Foster's annual banquet going on, which should add up to several thousand people being downtown. The weather won't help, but what better time to go to Havana Daydreamin' than a night with single digit temperatures.

(Click to enlarge)
There will be a shuttle (free, I believe) circling around a loop that includes all 3 parking garages, and all the downtown venues. Nothing beats parking, hopping on a heated bus, and arriving right in front of whichever show you choose to attend. Nothing beats free admission into the Figge either. Hopefully I'll see lots of you folks downtown Saturday.

More info at

Winter Open Thread

This is my 2nd annual reminder that winter won't last forever. Nothing makes us appreciate Iowa summers like an Iowa winter. The image is the Vander Veer lagoon of course, from April of 2003.