29 May 2009

Songs About Zoning

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

...Hammet has concluded that “most code is written to benefit cars. … Then you start to say, ‘Hey, this is kind of an emotional thing here. Where am I in this planning and zoning?’ “

Her response was “The Automobile Song (Car Tune),” about how a vehicle runs the driver’s life:

“I drive my car to all its favorite places/ I cannot wave at other people’s faces/ Because I’m here behind the tinted glass/ Because it likes to move so very fast/ We don’t go to the zoo or the ballet/ It likes a parking lot or the highway/ It likes the pavement underneath its wheels/ The grass or sandy beach has no appeal/ And when it’s ready for a little rest/ I fill it up with gasoline, high test/ And then I park it safe behind the walls/ Of its own palace, the Garage Mahal/ A-B-C-D-S-U-V, tell me what you think of me.”

Transportation Bill in Congress

...The transportation system our country invests in this year will define our nation for generations, just as the highway system we envisioned more than 60 years ago still defines us today.

Congress is working on a bill right now worth nearly a half-trillion dollars in transportation investments over the next six years. If we continue with business as usual, there will be nothing in the legislation to ensure we're investing in the best projects - those that can build communities, make neighborhoods safer, and move people in the cleanest and most efficient ways.

America in the 21st century needs a complete National Transportation System - one that is safe, well-maintained, and efficient for all users. One that connects our highways with our rail lines and public transportation. One that is friendly for those walking as well as those driving and cycling.

Tell your congressman.

28 May 2009

Daughters Turn Men Liberal

...We document evidence that having daughters leads people to be more sympathetic to left-wing parties. Giving birth to sons, by contrast, seems to make people more likely to vote for a right-wing party....people who parent only daughters are more likely to hold feminist views... - link

Stones from Dunlap Street

I saw these stones in a lot last week and recognized them. They are the remnants of a building that collapsed and was demolished at the NE corner of Dunlap and Henry Streets. It was a warehouse for Christian Morelien I belive:

27 May 2009

10 Years Gone Twice

I was reading Visualingual's post about her anniversary of arriving in Cincinnati, and I found it touching, perhaps because if you know Maya, you know it is a bit out of character. Also I was reflecting on how lame some of my posts have been lately, partially because of time. Despite the terrible economy for those of us in the construction business, I have been lucky to be very busy and with little time for a thoughtful blog post. I really appreciate those bloggers who actually write coherent thoughts instead of just posting links or cell phone photos like I have been doing lately.

Anyway, Maya's post reminded me that I first moved to OTR 20 years ago this month. I was a Mt Auburn resident, hopefully about to graduate from UC, when I got into a discussion with a buddy of mine about "which coast to move to". There were things like Paolo Soleri building a city in the desert or Mike Reynolds building earthships out of tires. Those were the kinds of things I was tentatively interested in. But I wanted to live in the city, not a desert. I told my friend that I wanted to get involved in "community building". My friend suggested I go see buddy gray. So I did that, and moved to 14th Street the next month. It ended up that I had to continue with more coursework in the fall to complete my degree anyway, so I stayed. I met some amazing people. There were young guys like myself, and we had a blast working together and hanging out on the rooftops and doing crazy stuff like smelting aluminum and knocking down chimneys.

But also there were lots of older men who were really wonderful gentle souls, carpenters and bricklayers. Many of them came to the Drop Inn Center down and out. Someday, if I learn how to put some emotions into written word, I will say more about all those men, many who have now died.

The community building that was the objective never seemed to work, at least not in the ways I had hoped. But somehow many years later I find that I live only a few blocks from that first landing spot, and community is everywhere if you open your door to it.

I remember that when I first came here, that it seemed so loud. People yelling up at each other from the street, and buses rumbling by etc.. I remember the first time I saw one of those cars with the thumping speakers in the trunk. But now for example, after midnight with the windows open it seems so peaceful and quiet. I'm really not sure if the neighborhood has changed or I have.

I also remember that my roommate got beat up real bad that first summer. He was standing at the corner waiting for a bus, when a group of guys just came up and started slugging him. Luckily nothing like that has ever happened to me, but I have lost a few bikes and hundreds of tools to thieves. I've also seen lots of sickness and depravity. In 1992, I saw a man shot in the middle of Republic Street. And one morning my wife found a dead man who had just escaped from the Justice Center. He died on our doorstep of a heart attack. I had to move him to open the gate.

And I used to feel that it was a certainty that anyone that voluntarily moved to OTR, generally left demoralized after a few years. That's not so true anymore.

Sometimes I wonder if people are meant to stay here. I saw a woman I knew from years ago recently, and she said something to the effect of, maybe you and I should just move on, seems like the new people are getting more done than we did. She was someone that used to fight demolitions with us. And fighting demolition in Cincinnati is a demoralizing fight if there ever was one. Even if you win the battle, the vacant building just sits there and continues to rot and get more dangerous.
At one point maybe in 1993, I felt responsible for all these vacant buildings. And every time it rained I would get panicked, picturing the damage being inflicted on these buildings by the minute. And it happened that one time I got a call on New Years day, early in the morning. A building, soaked with water, had frozen and then as it thawed, collapsed into the street and onto the sidewalk. Luckily no one was on that sidewalk, but that was just once. Then it happened to another bigger building down the street. And there were partial collapses and fires. Then I decided I couldn't take this anymore, and I could not be responsible for trying to save or maintain vacant buildings. It was mostly a mental excision on my part, but I changed jobs too.
But I had met my wife here, and we decided to make our home here. And I have had jobs in which I have had to commute out of downtown, though sometimes I've worked close-by and all of my wife's jobs have been in the neighborhood. And everything else is here, from the pool to the baker to church. And we are thinking maybe the kids will go to the new school being built nearby, and I maybe I'll change to a job down the street.

But then again, I may end up in another country. You never know. An old classmate of mine recently sent out an email saying he was hiring in Vietnam...

24 May 2009

Cincinnati LEGO Store

Hover for controls, click to enlarge.

You heard it here first, now the new Cincinnati Lego Store is open at Kenwood Towne Centre, and it is fabulous.

Boxed sets line the left and right walls floor to ceiling. A row of portals runs down each aisle at kid-eye level. Inside each is a completed LEGO kit with an appropriate backdrop and accessories, forming a action scene.

Their selection is vast. From simple sets with few pieces for little kids, to 1000+ piece sets for ages 16 and up, costing over a hundred dollars. Most of the Cafe' Corner sets featured here on CityKin are stocked, and the Green Grocer set is on permanent display in one of the large dioramas.

In the middle of the store are display kiosks of some of their really complicated Star Wars models, and of course there's a play table next to a huge vat of bricks for kids of all ages to play with during their visit.

108 bins of both common and specialized parts cover the rear wall. Nearby dispensers provide "Pick a Brick" cups in roughly quart and pint sizes. Mix and match at will, and buy whatever you can fit into the cup for one low price.

Sales associates are extremely helpful, attentive, but not pushy, and knowledgable. They were clearly recruited for their love of all things LEGO, and then trained very well. I'm not somebody who usually likes retail excursions, but I loved shopping here.

A "Shop and Ship" touchscreen PC kiosk near the middle of the store allows you to order off the LEGO website, just like you could do at home, with one key difference. If whatever you want isn't immediately in stock, a staff member punches in a code, and it's shipped to you for free.

Sometimes I wish I could be a kid again. At this store, that wish almost comes true.

23 May 2009

Today on Fountain Square

General View 

Privatizing Public Space:

Groom and Groomsmen

water wall

Heads in water wall 

Flag Guns




Puppets at the UnMuseum


22 May 2009

WTF Palin

Seen at Findlay Market 

Vermicompost Spring Clean Out


worms in dirt 

21 May 2009

Roofs at Findlay Market

Random photo from around the market. 

FLW Lego

The first two Frank Lloyd Wright lego buildings are now available:

Related, see FLW on What's My Line

Glass and Razor Blade on Sidewalk


20 May 2009

Rowing, Rowing, Rowing on the River

Congratulations to the Cincinnati Junior Rowing Team which took home the Midwest Junior Rowing Championship this past weekend. They won 8 gold medals as well as the Team Points Trophy with a total of 215 points. The second team earned 106.5 points. The Cincinnati team advances to the Nationals which will be held in June.

Congratulations to Steven Boyle, Lance Brown, Sam Elsbrock, Eric Garbon, Tom Garry, Matthew Habel, Clay Kadon, Brad Kallmeyer, Adam Miller, Grant Olscamp, Arthur Olson, Ian Powers, Damien Retzinger, Michael Robison, Nick Shaffer, Jacob Smith, Alex Spaulding, Tom Spraul, Eric Swank, Clay Wagner, Dan Weber.

Every day after school and most Saturdays you can find them on the Licking River. During the winter they train in the tank under Montgomery Inn Boathouse. They compete throughout the eastern USA and Canada.

They're Waiting for the Rails

"...they want to see the rails in the ground before they make the investment. They're ready to rehab all the way up the hill.." - talking with a local building inspector who is in charge of prosecuting owners of vacant buildings in OTR.

Bangs Sign

I am suprised how much I miss Bangs. I never went there much, but sometimes you just want a popsicle for the kids or something that you are not willing to walk 3 blocks for. Hopefully another corner store will reopen here in the future. 

19 May 2009

Our Neighbors to the South

Kentucky Afield has some great down-home videos posted on YouTube. Here are two of my favorites.

The turtleman:

The Lardo and Burley river shack:

18 May 2009

Eveningtime Not Quite Summer


Early supper tonight, and then out to play on the playground for an hour or so. IT was a beautiful evening, cool and deep blue sky. Lots of kids gathered at the playground with scooters and basketballs, picking flowers and playing chase.

Then back inside to a hot bath with lots of bubbles. With the windows open the sounds of early summer evening drifting in while the kids play battleship. There's nothing like a hot bath with the cool air coming in through the windows. Then talcum and pajamas, and a scoop of ice cream and settle down bedside to read a few books.

The kids were being so good today. School is almost done, and there is no homework. Even though it is cool, they can taste the long summer days starting. They are so happy. Good night kids. "Nite nite daddy, I love you".

So peaceful, I think I'll forgo my usual nightcap and try hot tea instead.

We are so lucky to have such beautiful kids and live in such a wonderful place, surrounded by such lovely neighbors.

Snail and Mushroom

Nature for kids can be found all around us, even in the most urban environments.

Found on Fountain Square:

and here, locust trees in an urban lot: 
[where: 110 West 14th St., Cincinnati, OH 45202]

Withrow Marching Band at Dribblethon

Just like last year, we had a great time watching the very entertaining Withrow Marching Band at Dribblethon. Here are a couple of very short videos highlighting the drummers:

17 May 2009

OrganTic Chard

Is organtic a combination or organic and gigantic?

Findlay Market Sunday afternoon was somewhat busy. I spent a bit of time at the new biergarten. I didn't try any beer, though the Hudy Delight in a can was tempting. While at the playground I saw lots of cars coming into the parking lot and not being able to find a place to park. And this was on a Sunday afternoon! I really don't think they could ever build enough parking around Findlay Market to make it really work the way it was meant too. The market needs to be connected to the rest of the city via the streetcar. If it is connected to downtown and uptown, it could finally come into its own as a full-time market.  

Roads Are Subsidized Too

...with their taxes. All transportation is subsidized by taxpayers:

...no road pays for itself in gas taxes and fees. For example, in Houston, the 15 miles of SH 99 from I-10 to US 290 will cost $1 billion to build and maintain over its lifetime, while only generating $162 million in gas taxes. That gives a tax gap ratio of .16, which means that the real gas tax rate people would need to pay on this segment of road to completely pay for it would be $2.22 per gallon.
So that’s a 16% cost recovery ratio for your basic non-toll highway. For constrast, Metrorail recovers about 81% of its costs (operating only; not construction).

15 May 2009

Ordinary Awareness

We do not expect people to be deeply moved by what is not unusual.... If we had a keen vision and feeling of all ordinary human life, it would be like hearing the grass grow and the squirrel's heart beat, and we should die of that roar which lies on the other side of silence. - George Elliot


14 May 2009

Is It Possible to Live Carless in US?

As a follow-up to the article a few days ago about the carless town Vauban in Germany, here is an interesting discussion about whether or not this is possible in America. The comments section has over 400 comments. Clearly cars are becoming a hot topic.
There are many reasons to encourage this market trend: social cohesion, environmental sustainability, public health, lower public sector costs for infrastructure per square foot.

But the bottom line is household economics. American families who are car-dependent spend 25 percent of their household income on their fleet of cars, compared with just 9 percent for transportation for those who live in walkable urban places. That potential 16 percent savings could go into improved housing (building household wealth), educating children or that most un-American of all activities, saving.

Following the cost theme, here is some statistics from the latest AAA study:

Despite lower fuel prices, costs to own, operate vehicle remain constant

Motorists spend 54 cents per mile on average according to AAA’s 2009 edition of “Your Driving Costs,” only 0.1 cent drop from 2008 ... costs average $8,095 yearly

Another Detroit Neighborhood Falls

A story about the Robinwood neighborhood in Detroit and how quickly it turned: “in the blink of an eye”.

“Robinwood was an integrated and well-kept block just five years ago, the remnant people say. And then it was gone in the blink of an eye. It started at the east end of the block when a house was rented to 5 adults and 20 children. More families moved out. More renters moved in. The radios started. The brown bags. The gangs of young men. The gunshots. The dope houses. The fires. The insurance checks.”

13 May 2009

Kenwood Lego Store Opening Next Week

Check here for hours etc...

The Best Swings in the City


And the best kid, rock-climbing, right behind:

View back to overlook: 

Why Did they Add Cameras to Cell Phones

So I could post random stuff that we happened upon yesterday?

Pants and ID left on park bench: 

"Another Truckload" 

12 May 2009

Auction of Historic CPS Buildings

Four weeks from today, Cincinnati Public Schools is auctioning off some beautiful historic school buildings.

The 9 school buildings are: Bloom, Bramble, Linwood, McKinley, Swifton, Roosevelt, Windsor, Fairview, Heberle. Seven of these are amazing buildings on great sites.

Since they are right across the street, maybe Citylink will buy Bloom and Heberle? Then maybe Terry's Turf Club will buy Linwood or McKinley so that people could actually get a seat when trying to get one of their hamburgers. Alicia and Steve Reese could buy Bramble and Allen AME could buy Swifton(to demolish and build new houses) and Antiques and Antiquities guy could buy Roosevelt. The Walnut Hills Redevelopment Foundation could buy Windsor, and Justin Jeffre could buy Fairview.

Seriously, some of these buildings are amazing and would be fantastic conversion projects turning them either into housing or offices. Of course they would also make great schools, but that is another story.

UPDATE: Here is a photo list of a similar situation in St. Louis.

Car Free Suburbs

Don't miss this article in the NY Times about some experimental car-free suburburban towns.

... 70 percent of Vauban’s families do not own cars, and 57 percent sold a car to move here. “When I had a car I was always tense. I’m much happier this way,” said ...mother of two, as she walked verdant streets where the swish of bicycles and the chatter of wandering children drown out the occasional distant motor.

...Vauban, home to 5,500 residents within a rectangular square mile, may be the most advanced experiment in low-car suburban life. But its basic precepts are being adopted around the world in attempts to make suburbs more compact and more accessible to public transportation, with less space for parking...

“If you have one (a car), you tend to use it,” ...

... he is glad to be raising his children away from cars; he does not worry much about their safety in the street.

CF Article in New Yorker

The May 4th issue of The New Yorker has a great article about the effort to find genetic treatments for Cystic Fibrosis. (full article requires registration)
Although the treatment of genetic disorders has long been considered too small a market for most pharmaceutical companies, an increasing number of biotech firms have found that genetic research can be used in broader ways than anticipated. All of the physicians and scientists the writer spoke with emphasized the many unknown variables, but for the first time, there is convincing evidence that the underlying defect in cystic fibrosis can be corrected.

The New Yorker had a cutting edge report 5 years ago that also dealt with CF. That article was less about the drugs, but more about the efficacy of different hospitals. The controversy then was about a rating system that showed better success among aggressive programs such as the one in Minneapolis.

11 May 2009

Food Inc

A new documentary: Food Inc will be shown this Thursday, 4:30 at UC. I would really like to see this:

Written by authors Michael Pollan (The Omnivore’s Dilemma) & Eric Schlosser (Fast Food Nation), the film illuminates & exposes the food production system relative to corporate monopolies, government support and health & environmental risks. It alternates charming & frank slaughterhouse imagery to address issues ranging from factory farming, genetically modified crops, increased diabetes, illegal immigrant worker exploitation, e-Coli outbreaks, corn subsidies to reduce meat & fast-food prices & relationship between food corporations & Fed regulators. Presented by the Center for Environmental Genetics.

Free. After the screening, a discussion will be led by a panel that will include UC faculty with expertise in toxicology, industrial hygiene, nutrition, obesity & advocates for local foods & fighting food-borne illness. The film was produced by the team who made An Inconvenient Truth and Charlie Wilson’s War. 94 minutes.

In Kresge Auditorium, Medical Science Building, University of Cincinnati Medical Campus, 231 Albert Sabin Way @ Eden Drive, Cincinnati, OH 45267. Contact info: koprasej at uc dot edu.

A trailer
More movie info

Cincinnati Home of the First Cul-de-sac

The first cul-de-sac?

Happened upon this old advertisement which shows Linden Place in Mariemont. This street and houses are still there. (It is a minor road on the left when entering from Cincinnati/Fairfax).

In case you cannot read it, the caption reads:
Gathered about a grassy circle and picturesque garage, with shady lanes leading to street and boulevard, these pretty frame cottages, with rose-covered porches, will be the first to greet people entering Mariemont from Cincinnati by the State Highway, Wooster Pike.

Linden Place is intended to be a typical residence development for people of moderate means. The houses were erected in 1925 by the Company on easily graded, cheap land and therefor approach the lowest cost-ideal consistent with large lots and attractive planting. It is hoped here to demonstrate how a little skillfully placed shrubbery lends charm to the simplest home.

Mariemont 1924, Elzner and Anderson Architects

Articles retrieved from Google date the cul-de-sac a few years later:
Since its early use in 1928 as part of the hierarchical circulation system in the design of Radburn, New Jersey, the cul-de-sac has been the preferred instrument for controlling through traffic.

The town’s structure exemplified the ideal subdivision layout. ... A town ‘for the motor age.’ A town turned outside-in—without any back doors. A town where roads and parks fit together like the fingers of your right and left hands. A town in which children need never dodge motor-trucks on their way to school.”
A couple of things I noticed. First, there is a green lawn in the center of the cul-de-sac as drawn. Also, it is not really a dead-end, because a small lane connects the end to an adjacent street.

10 May 2009

Happy Mother's Day!

Because moms are the sexiest women of all.

09 May 2009

Carbon Free Central City

"Chris Smith, well-known (in Portland, OR) for his work as a streetcar and bike advocate and for his run at a City Commissioner spot last year, stopped by our office yesterday to share more about what he calls a Carbon Free Central City Mobility concept..." Read more here.

08 May 2009

Gay Rights Update

It is my belief that marginalized people need to be welcomed with open arms into the greater society. They should be encouraged to participate in all the social traditions, thereby enriching all involved. Today that struggle is most apparent in the attempt by homosexuals to marry and serve in the military:

Obama about to fire needed Arabic linguist because he is gay.

Obama should make a stand here. Read the article for a description of how he could do this with a simple Executive Order.

In happier news, Cleveland started a domestic partner registry.

Cleveland City Hall ... the first day that unmarried couples can sign up for the city's new domestic partner registry.

... The registry, Cimperman acknowledged, is mostly symbolic: It does not guarantee any rights, though it may encourage employers and hospitals to give unmarried couples the same rights usually reserved for the married.

The Bartlett Building

The Bartlett building was dedicated on New Year's Day 1901. At the time, it was the tallest building in Cincinnati (surpassed in 1904). It was designed by Daniel Burnham and you can find further information at a web site called Emporis.

The building is 19 stories high, the top is 252 feet.

The detail that was your clue figures prominently over the main entrance.

The entrance has a lot of very interesting detail including the rotating door.

The details include a pair of eagles and some intricate design.

I am always amazed at the detail you can find up near the top of buildings. Even 250 feet in the air they took care of the details.

Of course, it has been in the news lately as it has finally evicted its last tenants due to financial difficulties. I have not looked inside, but certainly hope someone finds a use for this building.

Learn to Deliver Baby via Youtube

"I Googled how to deliver a baby, watched a few videos and basically swotted up," Mr Stephens told the BBC.
Article here

Name the Building

As I mentioned in my Time-Stars post, I believe that Cincinnati is blessed with a lot of interesting architecture that we tend to miss as we travel around the city. So as an intermittent feature, I thought it would be interesting to show a picture of an architectural detail and see if you can identify the building and/or location.

Today I thought I would start with what I think is an easy one:

I'll post the answer, and details about the building Fiday afternoon.

07 May 2009

Car Culture Decline

Although the decline in driving mileage is anticipated to rise again this summer, there are signs that people are choosing cities that have transit options:

Between October 2004, when gas prices first hit two dollars a gallon, and December 2008, when they fell below this threshold, three cities with among the largest declines in housing prices were Las Vegas (-37 percent), Detroit (-34 percent), and Phoenix (-15 percent), each highly car-dependent cities. Conversely, the two markets with the largest gains in housing prices were Portland, Oregon (+19 percent), and Seattle (+18 percent), communities that are more friendly to alternate modes of transportation.

Census Tracts 9 and 16

From the Dayton Daily News:

Do we really live in the second most vacant census tract in the country? Well, sort of. This statistic is about vacant buildings (ie: standing units of housing), not vacant lots. There are a ton of vacant buildings in OTR. They great buildings, and they are worth saving. I am glad they have not been demolished when they became run-down and then vacant. To me, this is not bad news. This just shows that the bones are there for rebuilding. Instead of "high vacancy", this table should be titled "most potential".

Here is a map of the census tracts:

06 May 2009

First Made in USA Modern Streetcar

Oregon Iron Works is just completing the assembly of the first US-made modern streetcar:

...Oregon Iron Works, Inc., which was founded in 1944, has 400 employees, and fabricates barges, dams and bridges — and now streetcars.

...20 to 50 streetcars could conceivably be produced annually by Oregon Iron Works, creating 300 additional jobs for Clackamas County and Oregon.

Making Ohio More Liveable

Call your Congress-weasel today to endorse this long-overdue plan.

05 May 2009

Las Vegas Aerials

A listserve associate of mine sent this interesting link at NASA. It is satellite imagery of Las Vegas from Landsat 5. It clearly demonstrates the explosive growth of Las Vegas, just since 1984. The first and last time I was there was in 1986, so I was fascinated at what these images show.

My curiosity was peaked, and I started looking on Google Maps. Below are some current images that demonstrate the state of the city today. Think of all the oil and water resources required to make such an experiment in the desert possible. How many of these are now in foreclosure?:

A new elementary school surrounded by new subdivisions:

A new high school with over 1,000 parking spaces, surrounded by freeway on two sides. The road frontage of this school is about half a mile:

A mile long earthen dam on the left looks like it is protection against rare water in the stream bed in which new houses are now being built:

Sprawling from right to left:

New streets being built:

All built since the 80s:

New desert home:

An "older" part of town. Every home has a pool:

Green Golf course in the desert

Below, each cul-de-sac has 4 houses. Each individual property measures approximately 150' x 150'. A block of 16 of these houses covers exactly 10 acres, thus 1.6 units per acre. But worse than that, these 16 homes require something like 144,000 square feet of publicly owned and maintained right of way (ie: asphalt):

I think these images are fascinating for several reasons. One is that the flat brown landscape makes the aerial photos very clear about what is happening. Of course there is similar development around all American cities, but vegetation and topography make for a less dramatic photo. Also, the development, although totally car dependent and suburban, is actually quite dense compared to midwestern sprawl.

For example, in the aerial below (from a northern Cincinnati suburb), the yellow box is one-mile square (640 acres) The red is a quarter section, and the maroon is the same dimension as many of the Las Vegas blocks above. The small blue square represents the 300' x 300' area used above for 4 houses in the cul-de-sac. In this case, there are about 300 houses per section which is 2.13 acres per house (NOT 2 houses per acre)! A square mile in the furthest exurb of Las Vegas has at least 1,024 houses, compared to 300 in this new midwestern suburb. Las Vegas sprawl is at least 3 times as dense as Cincinnati's:

I guess I would rather see this kind of sprawl in a desert than on prime Ohio farmland.

Lastly, here is a part of Over-the-Rhine, with a square drawn approximately 300' square. In the same space that Las Vegas is building 4 houses, and West Chester is building 1.2, OTR has over 50 apartments or condos*, half a dozen businesses, and all with no buildings over 4 stories high.:

* Note, the 50 apartment number varies greatly block to block now and has varied greatly over time too. A full block in Cincinnati's OTR is just under 400' square, and many of these blocks at one time had over 200 apartments, and maybe 30-40 storefront establishments. But all blocks now have either vacant buildings or vacant lots on them.

BTW, here is a good drawing showing the standard survey dimensions for townships, sections, quarter sections etc...