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Posts Tagged Tax Dollars Asleep

Rt 376: Clearcut From Red Oaks Mill to Maloney Rd

NYS DOT Region 8 Dutchess South recently did enough over-the-rail clearcutting to make Rt 376 bicycle-able from Red Oaks Mill to Maloney Rd!

To the best of our memories and judging from the tree stumps along the rail, it’s been a decade since DOT last clearcut that section; the Japanese Knotweed has definitely taken over since then.

Here’s what the Knotweed looked like in June, just north of Maloney Rd, after a trimming in May:

Rt 376 at Maloney - knotweed overgrowth - 2019-06-07
Rt 376 at Maloney – knotweed overgrowth – 2019-06-07

Now, it’s not nearly so snug out there:

Rt 376 Clearcut - 20 - 2019-08-29
Rt 376 Clearcut – 20 – 2019-08-29

Here’s a slide show starting with Dutchess North’s routine grass mowing in Red Oaks Mill and ending with Dutchess South’s clearcut just north of Maloney Rd:

The Wappinger Creek bridge seems to be a no man’s land between the two Residencies, but we can generally take the lane:

Rt 376 Clearcut - 03 - 2019-08-29
Rt 376 Clearcut – 03 – 2019-08-29

We hope Dutchess South’s over-the-rail maintenance will become an annual event and prevent the brush from taking over again.

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Tour Easy: Ruggedized Zzipper Fairing Mount

After nigh onto 18 years, the pipe straps holding the Zzipper fairing struts to the handlebars of our Tour Easy recumbents finally shrugged off their plastic wraps:

Tour Easy Zzipper Fairing - OEM mount
Tour Easy Zzipper Fairing – OEM mount

Although they still worked, riding over broken pavement produced distinct rattles; alas, the roads around here feature plenty of broken pavement.

The solution is a rugged plastic block capped with aluminum plates to spread the clamping load:

Tour Easy Zzipper Fairing - block mount
Tour Easy Zzipper Fairing – block mount

The solid model is straightforward:

Zzipper Fairing - Strut Mount - solid model - Show view
Zzipper Fairing – Strut Mount – solid model – Show view

A slight bit of tinkering made the stack exactly the right height for 45 mm screws secured with nyloc nuts. No washers on either end, although that’s definitely in the nature of fine tuning.

The three sections print without support:

Zzipper Fairing - Strut Mount - solid model
Zzipper Fairing – Strut Mount – solid model

I reamed the smaller hole with a 3/8 inch drill to match the fairing strut rod. The as-printed larger hole fit the handlebar perfectly, although the first picture shows the tubing isn’t exactly round on the near side of the block, where it starts the outward bend toward the grips.

The cap plates cried out for CNC, but I simply traced two outlines of the block on 1/8 inch aluminum sheet, bandsawed near the line, introduced them to Mr Disk Sander for finishing & corner rounding, transfer-punched the holes from the plastic blocks, and drilled to suit:

Tour Easy Zzipper Fairing - clamp plates
Tour Easy Zzipper Fairing – clamp plates

Making two pairs of plates by hand counts as Quality Shop Time around here.

The first few rides confirm the fix: no rattles!

The OpenSCAD source code as a GitHub Gist:

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City of Poughkeepsie Police Armor

Returning from a long ride, we spotted an unusual sign at the Vassar Farm entrance (clicky for more dots):

Vassar Farm - Poughkeepsie Police Training sign - 2019-08-12
Vassar Farm – Poughkeepsie Police Training sign – 2019-08-12

Even more unusual was the sight of a matte black MRAP jouncing across the field:

Vassar Farm - Poughkeepsie Police MRAP - 2019-08-12
Vassar Farm – Poughkeepsie Police MRAP – 2019-08-12

I hadn’t noticed an uptick of the insurgency around here, but I suppose it could happen.

It looks like a Cougar HE 6×6 MRAP on loan from the DLA 1033 Program to the City of Poughkeepsie Police Department. The flat top suggests they dismounted the CROWS gun, which seems a definite step down in no-knock capability.

Some poking around showed the Poughkeepsie Police Department acquired a 107 mm Mortar Carrier some years ago:

Marshall Project - Poughkeepsie 107 mm Mortar Carrier
Marshall Project – Poughkeepsie 107 mm Mortar Carrier

The M106 is an impressive hunk of tracked armor, although it seems unsuited for urban warfare and would certainly scuff up the streets pretty badly. I don’t know if they scrapped the M106 in favor of the MRAP.

I’m hoping they don’t collaborate with the Dutchess County Sheriff’s Department to patrol the Rail Trail, even within the City limits.

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Arlington Fire Department Practice Session

The normal Vassar Farm exit was blocked by Arlington Fire District equipment, but the scene was calm and nobody objected when I asked to ride through:

Fire Department Practice - Hose Engine
Fire Department Practice – Hose Engine

They were practicing hose deployment and structure entry in a soon-to-be-demolished building:

Fire Department Practice - Theatrical Smoke
Fire Department Practice – Theatrical Smoke

That’s theatrical smoke, not a real fire; the folks off the right of the picture told me it’s impossible to burn down old structures for practice nowadays, what with all the environmental regulations.

The Tower Truck obviously has more reach than they’ll need for the second floor:

Fire Department Practice - Ladder Truck
Fire Department Practice – Ladder Truck

A few days later, we spotted Fairview Fire District folks scoping out the house.

We think this might be Vassar’s way of contributing back to the various emergency departments, as the College is mostly tax-exempt.

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Runtime Error!

Spotted high on the wall of the local USPS office:

Windows Runtime Error - VLC - monitor
Windows Runtime Error – VLC – monitor

A closer look:

Windows Runtime Error - VLC
Windows Runtime Error – VLC

Huh.

The USPS uses VLC. Who knew?

I darken their doorway so infrequently I have no idea what’s normally displayed up there. Surely it shows advertisements for USPS products, which begs the question: why VLC?

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Monthly Image: Terrifying Playground

The newly built Capital Region Welcome Center on the Thruway has a small playground for small children, featuring appropriately small signage:

NYS Thruway rest area playground
NYS Thruway rest area playground

Here’s the world we live in (clicky for more dots):

Playground warning sign - detail
Playground warning sign – detail

Fortunately, we lack a small child at risk of damage.

You (well, I) just can’t make this stuff up.

[Update: I could get behind Adventure Playgrounds!]

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Sharing the Road on Raymond Avenue

This time, I neglected to give my “We’re taking the lane!” signal, whereupon the driver behind us assumed we would all fit into the roundabout / traffic circle at Vassar’s Main Gate:

Raymond Ave - passing into Main Gate roundabout - rear camera - 2019-03-28
Raymond Ave – passing into Main Gate roundabout – rear camera – 2019-03-28

Raymond Avenue’s original “standards compliant” design has undergone some revision during the last few years:

Raymond Ave - passing into Main Gate roundabout - helmet 1 - 2019-03-28
Raymond Ave – passing into Main Gate roundabout – helmet 1 – 2019-03-28

The brace of black bollards centered on the median at the “pedestrian refuge” now replace the original quartet of illuminated, albeit non-reflective black, bollards, after errant drivers successively destroyed them.

There’s apparently no standard governing the placement or depth of drain grates along the right edge of the lane, nor the amount of gravel and trash allowed to accumulate to the right of the fog line:

Raymond Ave - passing into Main Gate roundabout - helmet 2 - 2019-03-28
Raymond Ave – passing into Main Gate roundabout – helmet 2 – 2019-03-28

Mary is just barely clearing the grate, I’m moving leftward to ensure I’m the first one to get hit. Fortunately, common sense broke out:

Raymond Ave - passing into Main Gate roundabout - helmet 3 - 2019-03-28
Raymond Ave – passing into Main Gate roundabout – helmet 3 – 2019-03-28

We got through the traffic circle without further contention and continued on our way.

Getting squeezed into a traffic circle happens often enough to show whatever NYS DOT uses as a “design standard” doesn’t include pedestrian or bicyclist safety as measurable quantities.

As we all know, anything you don’t measure doesn’t happen.

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