Obviously not.

1900 1st Ave NE.

Kwik Trip Inc. wants to rezone 1900 1st Ave NE to put in a KwikStar gas station and convenience store. Kwik Trip Inc. operates gas station and convienence stores under the KwikTrip, KwikStar and Tobacco Outlet Plus brands. The current plan site plan would demolish the Western Fraternal Life Association building built in 1958.

The rezoning was initially scheduled for the August 24, 2021 Cedar Rapids City Council meeting but was pulled after neighborhood pushback against the proposed development. Kwik Trip Inc. announced an “informational meeting” hosted at 1900 1st Ave NE for September 9, 2021 at 5:00 p.m. …


Change is Hard

I don’t love the scooters. I do love the e-bikes, with their baskets that have a cupholder ring and wide comfortable seats. But the scooters stress my used up cross country knees and test my limited balance. The sit-down scooters are great, but there’s no basket. This is all just a personal preference. I love that the scooters exist. I love that I can walk out of my house and in a few minutes grab a bike or scooter, and then whisk myself off to wherever I want to go. I love that when I’m done getting my haircut downtown…


And the city’s proposed redesign keeps it that way.

The intersection of 15th Street and Mount Vernon Road SE through the gates of Oak Hill Cemetery, June 2, 2021. Photo by Ben Kaplan.

On Wednesday afternoon, June 9th 2021, two boys ages 12 and 8 were struck on a VeoRide scooter on Mount Vernon Road SE near the intersection of Mount Vernon Road and Camburn Ct. The boys are still in the hospital, with life-threatening injuries. The boys did not stop before turning onto Mount Vernon Road from an alley, and were struck by Dennis Lee Candler. Candler was ticketed for driving on a suspended license and a failure to provide proof of liability insurance.

I’m not here to argue that Candler deserves harsher punishment for hitting the two boys. I’m not here…


By god, they actually did it. They made the Mac fun again. I love the design of the new iMacs. They’re fun, stylish, and the perfect office or family computer. I was also struck by how clear it is that the new iMac isn’t a replacement for the 27" iMac, which will soldier on. I’m very curious to see what kind of performance the M1 gets in this new chassis, since it’s clear that Apple has headroom to scale up the clockspeed on the M1, especially in a device that’s always plugged in.

I do have a few nitpicks. You…


Yesterday, January 6th, 2021, a violent mob of fascist protesters incited by the President of the United States stormed the United States Capitol to interrupt the peaceful transfer of power. The event was broadcast live on major news networks, and leaders of the mob livestreamed their takeover of the building. I watched it all from my phone screen, my tv, and my laptop. You probably did too. It was not a new or peculiar kind of violence in this current America. It looked like when armed protesters stormed the Michigan Capitol. When far right extremists descended upon Charlottesville. …


This is a guest post by Eric Gutschmidt. Gutschmidt has been a landlord for over 11 years and is the owner of Gutschmidt Properties. He is also my boss.

Eric Gutschmidt is the owner of Gutschmidt Properties in Cedar Rapids, IA.

Last month we posted a typical ad for one of our rental properties on Zillow. What wasn’t so typical? The response. Dozens of inquires within days. Following the August derecho, Cedar Rapids rental vacancies are hovering near zero percent.

Covid and the derecho have brought to light major issues in our community’s housing supply. There are not enough units — market rate or income-restricted — and there are landlords who do…


The August 10 derecho was powerful enough to rip the roofs off of houses and flatten buildings. Photo by Ron Reynolds.

It has been five days without power for most of Linn County. Alliant energy has announced that nearly all customers will have power within five to seven days. The grid might be back in that amount of time but many customers will still be without power for long afterwards. This is because the derecho destroyed countless homeowners house knobs — the houses connection to the electrical grid — which is the homeowner or property owners responsibility to replace.

Eric Gutschmidt, owner of Gutschmidt Properties, spent most of yesterday trying to track down house knobs, one and one quarter inch Milbank…


9th Ave SE in Oakhill-Jackson Immediately after the derecho on Monday, August 10, 2020. This street sustained mild damage and debris. Most of the city was much worse. Photo by Ben Kaplan.

At 11 a.m. on Monday, August 10 2020 Cedar Rapids was there, by 2 p.m. it was gone. Monday’s derecho, a landlocked hurricane with straight line winds over 100 mph, has impacted every part of the city catastrophically. Nearly every home has damage. Most big trees in the city fell. Most local businesses are closed. Every business is damaged. Most roads are impassable. As of 10 a.m. Wednesday 90,000 plus households in Linn County were without power. Restoring power across the grid will take weeks. Lines at gas stations outside of town with power were hours long. Chainsaws are sold…


Spoiler: the “winner” gets a C-

It looks like Cedar Rapids isn’t getting a casino on the westside of the Cedar River in Kingston Village. After being shot down twice in four years by the state gaming commission for a casino license, the city of Cedar Rapids opened up eight acres of city owned land straddling 1st Ave W and adjacent to the Cedar River to new proposals. Two were submitted by the Friday, February 28 deadline. I don’t feel like repeating Brian Morelli, so check out his article to learn more about both proposals. Unfortunately, from an urbanist perspective both leave a lot to be…


Future Supreme Court Justice Elle Woods using a tangerine iBook.

In the late 1990s Apple computers, under the newly reinstated helm of CEO Steve Jobs, refocused their product lineup, shirking off business units like a chef peels skin off garlic. The introduced a slew of brand new Macs all designed by Jonathan Ive with lively, inventive, frankly whimsical designs. There was the iMac, originally availably only in a color called Bondi Blue, which was eventually sold in no less than eleven colors and two patterns. The Powermac G3 was a blue and white tower, which you could get with a matching CRT or stunning LCD displays. The iBook was a…

Ben Kaplan

Urbanism nerd, Mac enthusiast, Iowan

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