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The Monday Roundup

Posted by on September 14th, 2009 at 8:00 am

Here’s some of the news that caught our eye this week:

– Portland’s newest light rail line — the Green Line MAX — began operating between downtown Portland and Clackamas this weekend.

– More local leaders are looking to reduce the scope and funding of the Columbia River Crossing project.

– Road taxes and congestion pricing remains politically difficult, even as it looks like a majority of Americans would be willing to pay for a shorter commute according to a new survey.

– A new study has found that when a striped bike lane is present, people allow less space between their car and a bicycle when passing.

– A faction in the European parliament proposes that one Euro out of 10 of urban infrastructure spending go to cycling.

– An environmental research organization has published its findings that link oil companies Chevron and Total to human rights violations in Myanmar.

– The NY Times has an analysis of some of the factors — particularly fear of abduction — that play into parents’ decision to drive their kids to school, sometimes over very short distances.

– Dutch road users are urged to “drive with your heart” as children return to school, primarily by bike.

– Oregon gubernatorial candidate Allen Alley walked 400 miles across Oregon in 37 days to promote his campaign (not all at once — he was ferried back and forth each walking day by aides). He claims the trek earned him a 10 lb weight loss and “broke down social barriers” in a way that driving between communities would not have done.

– Every Friday in London, novices can gather for a guided bike commuting lesson from a suburb to the city center.

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– A Portland man who badly injured a blind man on foot in a drunken hit and run crash is working hard — and apparently effectively — to make amends.

– On the BTA blog, a photo survey of some of the ways that Oregon employers have found to provide bike parking to employees.

– Chicago police have released a training video educating officers about bicycling issues and telling them that “bikes belong.”

– Despite recent livable streets improvements, New York City is still plagued with crushing pedestrian traffic in many areas, according to Streetsblog.

– Dubai has unveiled its new $7.6 billion rail system.

– The latest ill-informed “get off the road” editorial comes from an unlikely source close to home — the Sellwood Bee.

– A Eugene Register-Guard op-ed extols the possibilities of ethanol made from apples.

– Cool new inventions of the week: Dahon’s folding bike “cigarette lighter” style USB charger; and the expanding Kilobike concept for growing kids.

And a straw poll for you faithful roundup readers — there’s always some news that gets the axe. The focus is always on transportation — but what would you like to see more of? Climate change? Public health? Land use? Bike industry news? Bike news, period? Let us know in the comments. And as always, feel free to add your own links and discuss any of these and more.

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Comments
  • Jeff Bernards September 14, 2009 at 9:39 am

    I think your focus on climate change is of utmost importance. Were talking about the life support system of the planet. We must make the public & politicians aware that we care and we know it’s real science. Were headed down one way towards an impending disaster, help the public open their eyes. Thanks Elly for asking what we think is important. Visit http://WWW.350.org
    Building bike Blvds. is important put without a planet to put them on it becomes pointless.

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  • Dave September 14, 2009 at 9:52 am

    The comment from Kristen on the article in the Sellwood Bee is probably one of the most reasonable things I’ve heard on a media site in a long time. Refreshing.

    I think it would be interesting to see some stuff about social equity in terms of transportation – that is, how do we make the city easily accessible to as much of the population as possible, that type of thing. I think accessibility is a big part of what makes a city feel livable, plus I think it’s important to give as many citizens as possible the equal opportunity of mobility through the city.

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  • Dave Cary September 14, 2009 at 9:56 am

    The Sellwood Bee’s “Get Off The Road” editorial appeared pretty evenhanded to me. Although I ride in some of the illegal and irresonsible ways cited in the article, I agree that we should all obey the laws. I also agree with one of the comments following the article that we should work toward tweaking some of the regulations to take into account that walking and cycling are not the same animal as driving a vehicle. All are momentum activities, but the power source is more obvious when it comes from us personally than from an internal combustion engine. Our laws should acknowledge this difference.

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  • Kt September 14, 2009 at 10:33 am

    Thanks, Dave, for your kind comments (that was me commenting over at the Bee).

    I’ve had ample opportunity over the last 12 years to observe my commute, both biking and driving. Cyclists delay me as a driver way less than the massive amounts of other cars do, especially during the school year. I waste more time sitting at stop lights waiting in line behind other cars than I do waiting for a safe and legal place to pass a cyclist.

    And the whole “who’s obeying the law” debate is, in my mind, hypocritical and ridiculous. Stones and glass houses, people. Judge not, and all that.

    Yes, it’s best if everyone obeys the law. Yes, it’s safer and better if everyone rides and drives in a predictable and safe and visible way. We’ve still got a long way to go, though, ’til everyone else figures that out.

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  • Kt September 14, 2009 at 10:34 am

    Re: the NYT article about walking to school: That’s a very depressing article, and shows what a sad state of affairs we have here, when a kid can’t even walk 5 houses down to a friend’s house.

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  • Kt September 14, 2009 at 10:37 am

    (To finish my thought here)—

    Can’t walk 5 houses down to a friend’s house without the other parent freaking out about it. Or walk to school without the school officials freaking out, or walk to soccer practice a mile away without the cops freaking out.

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  • Michael M. September 14, 2009 at 10:58 am

    I vote for land use, bike industry news, and bike news in general. Also, transportation news in general as it impacts cycling. Climate change and environmental science news (which is rarely reported even-handendly or well in major or minor media sources anyway) strikes me as off-topic on a cycling blog, unless this is really a cycling & anti-motorist blog, which I don’t think it is.

    I’m sure BikePortland can’t possibly hope to encompass news & views that relate, tangentially, to why all your readers ride bicycles. Some ride for fitness or training, some for recreation, some for transportation, some for environmental concerns, some because they can’t afford to drive, and so on. Some like “bike fun” (Sprokettes, clown bikes, etc.), some like track or cyclocross racing (me, I’m still not exactly sure what the latter is!), some are mainly concerned with getting around town on a bicycle safely. It seems to me, while varying percentages of your readers might be concerned to varying degress with economic injustice, sustainability, war, energy policy, incarceration rates, and a whole host of other things, this is a bike blog, and most of us come here to learn what’s going on in the biking world.

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  • Jabin September 14, 2009 at 11:07 am

    New buffered bike lanes downtown on Oak and Stark.. a pleasant surprise on my ride into work this morning :)

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  • Elly Blue September 14, 2009 at 11:10 am

    Thanks for the feedback and comments — keep ’em coming, it’s always good to hear what captures your interest, and what you think is relevant, or not, to bikes.

    Oh yeah, and photos of the new buffered bike lanes coming up on the next post. Just a few minutes!

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  • Peter W September 14, 2009 at 12:21 pm

    In addition to bike news, I think that land use (especially the Metro Urban+Rural reserves process going on right now) is extremely important — if we’re interested in promoting cycling, we have to create a land use system that makes riding possible (not to mention protecting countryside for recreational riding and providing food we need while riding!)

    Beyond that, I’d also like to see more coverage of what local bike related groups (Shift, local racing teams, etc) are doing, even if it is just links to their blogs or something.

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  • KJ September 14, 2009 at 12:39 pm

    I say ditto on climate change issues and public health.

    That sellwood article and the comments (from everyone) rad! So rare to see actual thoughtful comment responses good job all.

    NY is a agoraphobe’s nightmare. glad I don’t live there yikes.

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  • Tonya September 14, 2009 at 7:19 pm

    And feel free to just link to the stories that don’t make the cut to page 2. I love the Monday round up and would love to at least see more of what’s out there.

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  • Don Stewart September 14, 2009 at 10:19 pm

    Seconded on the buffered bike lanes downtown. This was a great surprise as I turned onto Oak on this morning’s commute. The entire lane is marked off!

    There seemed to be noticeably more bike traffic back down Stark on the way home too.

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  • Refunk September 15, 2009 at 1:34 pm

    Elly,

    “BikePortland” sounds like it’s about bikes, and I think y’all have done a pretty even-handed job of presenting bike-oriented news reflecting and stimulating life with a bike around Stumptown. Thanks.

    Yeah, climate change and non-bike specific justice issues are important, but there are a whole lotta venues for that stuff online and elsewhere already, and you have only so much bandwidth with which to reach Portland and the wider bike world which interacts with it. I would ask you to keep on using the simple anchor of your blog title to assess relevancy for inclusion here: does the item under consideration directly involve bicycling in Portland (events, plans, personal incidents, metrics, role-modeling, etc.) or the spread of Portland bicycle culture or solutions elsewhere or importation of other bike culture, methods or styles to Bridgetown? Cool. If not (bikes & bicyclists are only an afterthought, addendum, to the article/event, a tacked-on element included to widen audience appeal with some groovy affirmation), then maybe somebody else can carry that news.

    You ARE the go-to site for bike news in town. No other single blog collates so much relevant, focussed material, has the same kind of readership and comment community, or the same attitude in promoting bike life (not to say there isn’t other good stuff out there – just that it’s not the same and you guys and gals should be yourselves and not them).

    Jene-Paul

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