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Mother convicted in son’s street-crossing death speaks out on Today show [VIDEO]

Raquel Nelson, the Atlanta-area mother convicted of vehicular homicide for the death of her son while they were crossing the street outside a crosswalk, appeared on the Today show this morning. Nelson's 4-year-old son, A.J., died after being hit by a driver, Jerry Guy, who later admitted to having consumed alcohol and painkillers. Guy fled the scene, but was later apprehended. He ended up serving six months on the hit-and-run charge, but vehicular homicide and other charges were dropped. You can read my earlier post about Nelson's story here. Nelson, in contrast, could face up to three years in jail. …

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When design kills: The criminalization of walking

Photo: Vivian ChenBad design kills people. That's right. It's not a matter of aesthetics, or of politics, or of opinion. It's a plain fact: When you design streets solely for cars, people die as a result. The underlying conditions that are responsible for those deaths are rarely or never challenged. The victims often get blamed for their own injuries or deaths. Don't believe me? Well, let me refresh your memory about Raquel Nelson, the Atlanta-area mother who was recently convicted of vehicular homicide, second degree -- but not for anything she did behind the wheel. No, she was crossing a …

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Toronto women's shelter starts bike-sharing program

Photo: #2 Son/John A few years ago, in between journalism jobs, I worked at a domestic violence shelter, helping the women and children there navigate the transition to new and better lives. It was difficult work -- there are no simple solutions for women who find themselves in such shelters -- but every bit of freedom and self-confidence that they could get was a small triumph. When you're broke and scared and used to not being in charge of your own life, regaining autonomy is a step-by-step process. Sometimes it's as simple as being able to cook what you want …

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Why Broke-Ass is a patriot

Long may it wave.Photo: Luigi AnzivinoOh, say -- can you see, by the dawn's early light? Broke-Ass can, though when her electricity gets turned off tomorrow, that's about the only light by which Broke-Ass and the crew at the Rancho will be seeing anything. God Bless America! Yet, in spite of the blunt reality that she is flat-out cashless until her book comes out (July 12!) -- and that she lives in a country in which corporate interests threaten to trump availability of safe drinking water; in which there is neither decent, affordable health nor child care; in which fair …

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What does the reverse Great Migration mean for urbanism?

Streets like my own are becoming more desirable for black Americans and others looking for better deals down South.Photo: Kristen E. JeffersCross-posted from The Black Urbanist. According to an article last Wednesday in The New York Times, a reverse Great Migration of African-Americans from the North to the South is occurring. Why is this happening? The Times piece cites the lack of jobs for young black graduates in the North; the relative ease of purchasing property in the South; for elders, the ability to retire in greater comfort; and a flip-flopped racial climate. Many of the elders feel the ancestral …

Read more: Cities, Family, Sprawl, Urbanism

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Bicycling's gender gap: It's the economy, stupid

This is the ninth column in a series focusing on the economics of bicycling. That uptick in bicycling numbers you've been hearing about nationwide? It's mostly men. A recent paper looked at cycling demographic trends and found that, on average, nearly all the new riders on U.S. roads in the past 20 years have been men between the ages of 25 and 64. Meanwhile, the rate of women on the roads has held steady, with 24 percent of bike trips nationwide made by women in 2009 (according to the national travel survey for that year). There's plenty of local variation. …

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Watch a ridiculously adorable kid encourage the world to ride a bike

This kid just learned to ride a bike, and it made him feel happy of himself! You can do it too! He knows you can believe in yourself!

Read more: Biking, Cities, Family, Living

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Too chicken: Why and how to raise chickens in the city

No matter how broke you are, chickens can help you keep some dignity about you.Photo: Stu MayhewWhen last we fetched up, babydolls, Broke-Ass was waxing pedantic about the primacy of stocking the pantry as nutritiously and cheaply as possible. One alert soul commented: "Where are the eggs? Nature's most perfect food with as many ways to fix them as your imagination can accommodate." A flawless observation, "jjfahl"! As it happens, Broke-Ass has so many damn eggs that, at times, she feels that she might prefer to shove bamboo shoots underneath her fingernails than to sup upon another oeuf. This is …

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Stocking the Broke-Ass pantry, and the magical three-day chicken

Making great meals from bubkes is easy when you do it the Broke-Ass way!Broke-Ass has often been asked how she feeds her family of five on bubkes. The answer is: Shop as little as possible, and buy what only what you must, as cheaply as possible. Cutting down on marketing means you not only have more time to earn a damn living, but it also compels you to make -- or grow -- the stuff that you would have bought pre-made or -grown when you did make a damn living. DIY saves money. Back when Broke-Ass was unconcerned with saving …

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Walk this way: How to get a crosswalk on your street

Too many American streets and roads are missing something.Photo: Nicholas_TCreating an environment where people can get across the street without being killed by a driver should be a top priority for the people who design our streets and roads, don't you think? Sad to say, it isn't always so. You only have to take a look at Charles Marohn's enlightening "Confessions of a recovering engineer" to learn that. Here's what Marohn wrote: [T]he engineer first assumes that all traffic must travel at speed. Given that speed, all roads and streets are then designed to handle a projected volume. Once those …