Friday, March 15, 2013

I'm in Love with a Non-Urban Planner

Hello. My name is Jaemi. I'm a plannerd and I am in love with someone who is... not.

Food trucks and vendors on South Congress on a Sunday.
I get excited about parking maximums, complete streets, and transit. I am not sure I can be cured. I try to explain all this to the manfriend and his eyes seem to glaze over. Doesn't he understand that back-in diagonal parking is AMAZING?!

We took a trip to Austin last month and stayed at a great AirBnB place off South Congress. South Congress is a lively, active street during the day, with crowds visiting the unique shops and dining at restaurants and food trucks, while live music can be heard at every corner. My impressions: ZOMG, they have diagonal back-in parking! Gasp! Look at these pedestrian refuge islands and bus bump outs! Food trucks and vendors are activating an empty lot!! Squee!!

Best birthday present!
After one of my outbursts of urban joy, he looked over at me and more or less said, "I have no idea what you're saying, but there's a sports bar up here to watch the Illini game." For my part, I was probably going on about theory vs. practice and safety and efficiency, using jargon and boring the hell out of him. But I got to thinking, the manfriend represents the everyday person who is affected by planning. Sure they might not know the significance of tactical or large-scale interventions when presented in terms of planner-ese, but it's important to be able to communicate these concepts. Not just so our loved ones understand us, but for clients and the public at large.

We planned to go downtown during the day (note: we didn't rent a car), and I mentioned we should take the bus rather than a cab. "The bus?" Yes, the bus. I explained it would take 10 minutes or less, cost $1, and there's a stop 3 blocks away. Manfriend was sold. Did I just make a public transit believer? But when all is said and done, he knows me pretty darn well and accepts that I'm a plannerd. I mean, who else would think to get me this amazing T-shirt for my birthday?