Rebuilding Place in the Urban Space

"A community’s physical form, rather than its land uses, is its most intrinsic and enduring characteristic." [Katz, EPA] This blog focuses on place and placemaking and all that makes it work--historic preservation, urban design, transportation, asset-based community development, arts & cultural development, commercial district revitalization, tourism & destination development, and quality of life advocacy--along with doses of civic engagement and good governance watchdogging.

Wednesday, December 05, 2018

President George H.W. Bush

Yes, it bothers me that when past presidents die, most of the media coverage is hagiography and glosses over the bad stuff.  Such is the case with President George H.W. Bush, who among other things used highly racist campaign message and was involved, somehow, with the Iran-Contra affair.

There are some pieces out there saying that yes, President Bush was a gracious person, but that's not enough.

-- "The Media Got George HW Bush Wrong in Life and Death," New Yorker
-- "The Ignored Legacy of George H.W. Bush: War Crimes, Racism, and Obstruction of Justice," The Intercept

WRT transportation, mobility and accessibility, his administration wasn't against transit, the way the current Republican administration is, and he signed the Americans for Disabilities Act, which among other elements, requires that public spaces including streets, sidewalks, and transit, be accessible to the disabled.

-- Introduction to the ADA, ADA.Gov website
-- "Remarks of President George Bush at the Signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act," Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
-- Accessibility, US Department of Transportation

It turns out too that accessibility is helpful to everybody.  People with packages, people crossing streets, bicyclists, people pushing strollers, etc.

While most communities have made progress with this in terms of the sidewalk network, not all transit agencies have, including the New York City Subway system.

Sidewalk uplift, Kansas Avenue NWSidewalk uplift on Kansas Avenue NW.

Although communities may still miss important aspects.

For example, DC has an extensive program making sidewalks at intersections accessible (a lot of this is upgrading already existing ramps), but for the most part, doesn't address mid-block sidewalk problems, even when doing projects in close proximity.

I think that simultaneously, cities should prioritize mid-block repairs as well as intersection upgrades.

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At 9:57 AM, Blogger Mari said...

Most media outlets are following the don't speak ill of the dead rule. I believe a lot of newsrooms have obits ready for a lot of old people, at the ready for when they kick the bucket. Not speaking ill of the dead ages better than unforgiving criticism. The tone of the negative is too tied to the zeitgeist, provided the positive isn't too fawning, it can sit longer.

I'm sure there are scripts and plans for Jimmy Carter for when ever he exits this world already sitting in some file somewhere. So when he goes no one has to reinvent the wheel. The other ex-presidents are still "young" but there may be a bare paint by numbers plan for Clinton and Bush W.


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