How Americans Get to Work
From the Census Bureau:
ABCs in the ATL
If you've ever passed through Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (an even more unwieldy name than Newark Liberty Fahrvergnügen or whatever it's now called), you probably spent a little time on the automated people mover linking the distant concourses. A mechanized female voice calls out each concourse stop: A, B, C, D, E, or T (Terminal). Probably because speaker distortion puts a strain on the voice's enunciation, the concourse's letter is clarified: "Concourse C...as in Charlie" was the first one I heard on a recent trip. That struck me as a little odd, the "ch" sound not being the clearest indicator of the letter C in my book.
But I soon learned that the system was employing the NATO Phonetic Alphabet, as used by the International Civil Aviation Organization. And why not? This is wartime, kids, and maybe a subtle reminder like this allays the anger caused by putting 3-ounce-or-less gels, liquids, and aerosols in a clear 1-liter-or-less zip-top plastic bag to get through airport security.
On my return flight, I paid close attention at each stop: Tango, Alfa, Bravo, Charlie, David, Echo. Wait a minute…David?!? I'm no Army radio operator, but that sounded wrong. It's supposed to be Delta.
Ah, but it can't be Delta. Because Atlanta is the main hub for Delta Air Lines. And that would be too confusing.
So why use the NATO Alphabet in the first place? It's time to revisit this topic, Hartsfield-Jackson International, and I think I know just the person to help.
More traffic for Park Slope?
Though Stay Free! HQ is no longer based in Park Slope, I was nonetheless troubled to read about new changes that the DOT is proposing to 6th and 7th Avenue. Namely: converting them from two-way into one-way streets.
Why is this a problem? One way streets have a heavier traffic load, so it'll bring more traffic to the Slope. Cars on one-way streets tend to go faster, which helps explain why you don't typically see them on cosy, pedestrian-friendly commercial strips like 7th Avenue. If you want to make it easy for people to visit local shops, you don't design the roads for heavy through-traffic.
UPDATE (3/13/07): Brooklynites can sign a petition against the Park Slope road changes here.
UPDATE (3/14/07): Watch the Streetfilms video documenting the differences between one- and two way avenues in Park Slope.