Off Your Knees, Kansas City!

November 23rd, 2017 UPDATE: Vanity Fair published the following under the title:

The 12 Most Desperate Stunts Cities Have Pulled to Woo Amazon’s New H.Q.

Kansas City, Missouri

Kansas City mayor Sly James—or, more accurately, some young staffer or intern in his office—bought and then reviewed 1,000 Amazon products for charities in the city, giving each a five-star rating. Every review has since been aggregated on James’s Web site; here’s what he had to say about some wind chimes:

“When it comes to my house and my housewares, there’s nothing I value more than bang for my buck. I live in beautiful Kansas City where the average home price is just $122K, so I know luxe living doesn’t have to cost a ton. That’s why at $14.99, these wind chimes are music to my ears. They have a soothing timbre, a stylish look, a durable aluminum construction, and they catch the wind just as beautifully as far more expensive models. I’ll tell you, when I’m sitting out in the backyard of my reasonably priced home in a safe neighborhood with great schools and these chimes start to tinkle, it feels like the whole world is singing just for me.”

Off Your Knees, Kansas City!

Kansas City

Anyone happen upon one of the new parking meters downtown over the weekend; what did you think?

With more people flocking downtown, [Kansas] City is upping the ante by injecting smart technologies into the downtown parking experience. The goal is to make parking downtown more user-friendly, so the City is installing single and multi-space parking meters.

For this 90-day demonstration, four different smart-parking technology vendors are installing meters in the River Market, Crossroads Arts District and Central Business District. Paid parking will be new for the River Market, with the demo meters on 5th Street, 3rd Street, Main Street and Grand Boulevard.

Enforcement of the new meters will be weekdays from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. and time regulations at meter locations will not change. The parking rate is set at $1 an hour in an attempt to encourage parking space turnover…

…The meters start operating on Friday, Sept. 1, at 8 a.m. The meters have all been installed except at the Crossroads, where they should be in place within 30 days.

You can leave feedback “about your experience” with the new meters either here or here.

For our part, you won’t catch us anywhere near the areas the new meters are going in: A buck an hour is simply a money grab. We spent a part of our summer in Breck and they, too, have installed new meters, which you can use a phone app, or just give the damn things coins or (magnetic) money. Breck charges for the first hour, on the busiest street in town, just 50 cents 1.

Kansas City

Show 1 footnote

  1. Their page is misleading, suggesting that an additional hour will cost $1.50, and more after that; the truth is you can buy 15 minute increments for as long as you need at a cheaper rate.

Sustainable Urban America

The U.S. Cities Sustainable Development Goals Index 2017 is out. 1

What’s that, you ask? Well, let’s cut to the document’s abstract:

America is the world’s richest large economy, with the world’s leading technologies and institutions of higher learning. Yet, the United States of America (U.S.) is falling behind other countries on a range of indicators relating to quality-of-life, economic opportunity, and environmental management. Nowhere is this problem more apparent than in American cities, which are home to 62.7 percent of the domestic population. The Sustainable Development Goals, universally adopted by the world’s governments in 2015, aim to set a framework for action on sustainable development. The U.S. Cities SDG Index aims to help urban leaders address the many sustainable development challenges affecting their cities.

Below is a sample of their findings:

Final Results

Kansas City gets called out a few times – good news, (mostly) ‘meh’ to bad news:

  • Goal 13, which is measured by carbon emissions per capita, is one of the worst scoring goals for all city regions in the Index. Particularly poor performers are concentrated in the Midwestern Region of the U.S., in cities such as Detroit, Chicago, Kansas City, Milwaukee, Minneapolis, Oklahoma City and Memphis.
  • Goal 7, Kansas City ranks 6th in the Affordable Clean Energy index
  • Goal 8, Kansas City also ranks 6th in the Decent Work & Economic Growth index

The complete findings for Kansas City by index: 2

But, hey! Looks like city hall will continue to ram a street car down our throats, our wishes be damned. 3

That should count for something…

Sustainable Urban America

Show 3 footnotes

  1. You can download it here.
  2. No, we don’t know why Goal 8 isn’t green.
  3. A city-wide light-rail system would make sense, but nooooooo, we have to have a streetcar.