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Plum buns were on sale

February 1, 2011
It was 44 degrees here

It was sunny and mild in Bellingham today. (Orin O’Neill photos)

News and weather reports contained new words ending in “-mageddon.” The Midwest and Northeast are being pounded by yet another round of snow and ice storms, while most of the the Gulf Coast was under a tornado watch.

The sky was blue, and while the overnight low was in the 20sF, the GTS reported 44°F as I headed off to use some Haggen coupons that were about to expire.

Haggen is a chain of grocery/drug stores based in Bellingham. Their produce and meat departments feature lots and lots of fresh food from down/up/across the road. It requires little effort to “buy local” when you shop there.

While the one I usually go to is only a 10-minute walk away, I’ve been meaning to check out the one at Barkley Village. Yes, it would take longer, but I figured the groceries would stay cool on the trip home.

Buildings amid empty fields

The Barkley neighborhood is similar to “tranist-friendly” development in many cities around the U.S. Except in this case, they started with an empty field.

While there are some rather large parking lots, there are the makings of neighborhood streets as well.

Newmarket Street

You can see how bright the sunshine was.

There has been much buzz about the Barkley Company’s announcement of a 16-screen cinema, construction of which is to begin shortly.

At bowling, we all look at each other and wonder how Bellingham would be able to support 16 more screens on top of the dozen or so already in town. (Simple—the Regal Cinema 6 at Bellis Fair Mall is going to close when this one opens. —Ed.)

Of course, there are those who gnash their teeth and rend their garments because this would mean—horrors!—MORE CARS!!!

Commercial building

The urban village ideal is for people to be able to work and shop within walking distance of where they live. They wouldn’t need to own an awful, polluting car! Everyone could just stay in their own neighborhood.

Just like in Warsaw, during the Nazi occupation. Or maybe like Gaza today.

What has always puzzled me about the modern urban village concept is how most of the jobs in these places are service jobs that don’t pay very well, yet the housing is way too expensive for someone earning a service employee’s salary.

Well then, you just build a light rail line to the hinterlands where service employees can afford homes. Problem solved! Yeah, right.

At the grocery store

Oh, well. I have groceries to get. Since parking the GTS near the bike rack would actually block a pedestrian path, I put it next to a pillar and hope nobody minds. Scooter parking, people!

The store is not a whole lot different from the one I walk to; both seem to be fairly new. Instead of Tully’s Coffee, there’s Starbucks, and there are a few other minor amenities here that are lacking closer to home. But not enough to make the trip to Barkley worth doing regularly.

Grocery cart

The specials snagged, I head for the checkout. I save more than I spent, even including a chocolate muffin fresh from the store bakery. I can shop with the best of them, thanks to a lifetime of being broke.

Barkley doggie

More and more of the 2-wheeled blogosphere is being populated by dogs. My landlord doesn’t allow pets, but even so, in my present situation a pet is another mouth to feed. But I understand dogs increase viewership. You may find gratuitous dog pictures in future posts. We’ll see.

  1. February 1, 2011 10:50 pm

    Wow. Cheyenne is my secret weapon and I never even knew it? You are a sceptical Vespa rider aren’t you. Gratuitous dog pictures indeed.

  2. February 2, 2011 1:29 am

    Key West Doggie begets Doggie in the Sticks. It’s only a matter of time before we see TheDoggieScoop and 2strokedoggie…

  3. February 2, 2011 8:34 am

    Then, there’s local Bill Meek’s site. Sandy’s a big hit, here. A friendly pooch, too.

  4. Jack Riepe permalink
    February 2, 2011 3:10 pm

    Dear Sir:

    Not only do I ride an iconic BMW, but I have TWO dogs: Atticus (German Shepherd, 140 pounds) and Scout (rescue mutt, 100 pounds). This is like having a couple of yaks running around the house. They are great dogs, of character and discretion, though both regarded Michael Beattie as a kind of plague on his last visit. And they were right.

    Should you ever take the train (Amtrak) through Baltimore, you will discover it runs through the ruins of a once great city. From the tracks, you will discover streets in a grid, surrounding hundreds of factories, churches, and shopping centers, every 15 blocks or so. It’s too bad the factories are closed, the stores largely boarded up, and the houses run-down. My guess is that all the factory jobs went to China. That makes life better for stockholders, who I suspect do not live in Baltimore.

    Still, I like your idea of bringing the neighborhoods back. It all starts with jobs.

    Fondest regards,
    Jack • reep • Toad
    Twisted Roads

  5. February 3, 2011 12:48 pm

    A thought occurs to me: I hope the dog’s name isn’t Barkley

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