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City releases new video to explain cycle tracks, buffered bike lanes

Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on April 1st, 2010 at 8:35 am

Cycle Tracks & Buffered Bike Lanes from Mayor Sam Adams on Vimeo.


Here are the opening lines of the City's new short film to explain the benefits of cycle tracks and buffered bike lanes. (Mayor Adams' transportation policy director Catherine Ciarlo is the narrator):

"We all want to live in a city with clean air, safe streets, healthier, happier people, and stress free commutes... Yeah, that last one's tough; with so many people trying to get to so many places in so many ways -- especially cars and bikes that share the same roads. So here in the city, we've been thinking -- how can we help bikes and cars get where they need to go safely and efficiently? To us, it's the next step to toward creating a healthier, more sustainable city."

The short film mixes live action with animations. The animations were done by Portlander Spencer Boomhower (the same guy who did the widely distributed piece that explained how the Idaho Stop Law works) and Will Heiberg did the character modeling and texturing. The film was created by Portland-based Gyroscope Pictures.

More on cycletracks at MayorSamAdams.com/cycletracks.

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  • Camp Bike Fun April 1, 2010 at 8:47 am

    I love the new Cycle Track and the new Buffered bike lanes. Thanks for the hard work. I heard that there may be a future Portland with a Cycle Track all of the way from Hollywood District to PSU along Broadway. Is there any truth to the rumors? When can we expect to see more buffered bike lanes?

    I'm glad that you showed the potential "Dooring" on the video. If you make a "Video 2.0", I'd suggest that you continue the view scan-line from the motorist's eyes (making a right at a Cycle Track) to continue their gaze all the way to their blind spot- and down the Cycle Track as well.

    Thanks!

    Overall- great video.

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  • timtim April 1, 2010 at 8:49 am

    I liked it when the bike started to fly over the cars and the little guy went wooooooo! that was the best part in this great informational and humorous video.

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  • She April 1, 2010 at 8:54 am

    This is a great video and I wonder the audience and "distribution" of this information. Do you know what their plans are for airing this video? The reason I ask is that it seems to me the people who need the information are not going to seek it out - auto drivers that do not ride bikes.

    I have been to the second buffered wide bike lane and watched cars just drive in the lane, many do not get that it is for bicycles only not for cars at all...

    Educational pieces run on local TV stations might help to get the word out to drivers that may not pay attention to bike blogs...

    Thanks Jonathan for sharing this vid.

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  • John Lascurettes April 1, 2010 at 9:11 am

    Spencer, great video once again. It's super easy to grok for anyone.

    There's one subtle thing about it that bugs me a bit: The moving lane of travel for cars if filled with cars. The bike lanes are not filled with but one bike. I already hear complaints about "there's never even any bikes using these lanes" from the non bikers at work (despite nearly every one of our 40+ bike commuters using one of the buffered bike lanes). The video with lots of cars and a drought of bikes reinforces this misperception.

    Still. Outstanding job. You do excellent work.

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  • alex April 1, 2010 at 9:31 am

    good stuff! personally as a vehicular cyclist i feel these options limit my "right" to the road, but they are here and there use needs to be explained.

    perhaps edit the animations down to 2, 15 second clips that can be aired as PSAs on the local stations (during the news)....

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  • Anonymous April 1, 2010 at 9:52 am

    The animation actually points out the problem with the lanes where the buffer is next to the moving traffic and not next to the parked cars.

    The majority of problems will come from car doors opening into the bike lane, occupants of vehicles using the bike lane to access their vehicles, and cars pulling out of parking spaces into the bike lane to enter traffic.

    The buffer lane makes more sense next to the parked cars not the lanes of traffic.

    If you are riding smart you're going to stay out of the 4ft of bike lane right next to the cars to avoid the above mentioned issues. Basically turning the 8ft bike lane into a 4ft bike lane between two buffer zones.

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  • Spencer Boomhower April 1, 2010 at 10:28 am

    Hey, it's finally out! Good to see, and great to see that people like it so far.

    John #4, thanks! Though I need to point out emphatically that credit for the video overall goes to Matt Giraud of Gyroscope. He wrote it, directed it, shot the live video, and told me exactly what he wanted to see in the animations, which I then cranked out.

    And I had help on the animations from local bike advocate and fellow game artist Will Heiberg, who modeled and textured the character.

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  • Matt Giraud April 1, 2010 at 10:38 am

    Hi, all. I wrote and directed the piece, so It's gratifying you guys enjoyed it. I was overjoyed to lure Spencer into the project. He's a total pro.

    She, I'm sure the city would love to get it on tv, but as you might imagine, that's a significant chunk of change. Know anyone at KGW?

    John, you're right the lane is unrealistically empty, but we decided keeping the visual clutter down would help ensure our flying guy would stand out.

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  • April April 1, 2010 at 12:04 pm

    I also loved the flying guy: "wooohooo!" Probably the biggest reason I posted it to my facebook.

    I do really love this style of animation--everything is clear and simple. I liked it on the Idaho law video as well, which I used in a discussion with a non-bike-riding friend about why bikes don't like stopping at stop signs. It really helped explain things better than just words can.

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  • Todd Boulanger April 1, 2010 at 12:09 pm

    Nice job!

    I just forwarded it onto our partners here in Abu Dhabi...DoT and the Urban Planning Council.

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  • Spencer Boomhower April 1, 2010 at 1:01 pm

    Just watched it again. Still thrilled that we managed to get the animated bike rider to just about morph into a live-action bike rider - the one Catherine is waving to - at the very end of the video.

    Oh and John, I forgot to address your point, though Matt already did. I'll just emphasize: the idea was to focus on the message by keeping everything as simple as possible. That also explains why all the cars are basically the same generic variation of a 1987 K Car :)

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  • Steve B. April 1, 2010 at 1:08 pm

    So pretty, so awesome. Nice job!

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  • V April 1, 2010 at 2:31 pm

    Great video. I haven't seen nearly as many problems in the cycle track as when it was first opened. Drivers aren't parking in it anymore really, which is good.

    I've seen a handful of people riding the wrong way, though. I think that is just a symptom of the campus construction and certain bike/walk routes in the internal campus being closed. So hopefully it won't continue.

    Still, I see two persistent problems with the cycle track: 1) drivers who pull into the cycle track at intersection to drop off/pick up passengers. This happens all the time during the day. Drivers either pull fully into the cycle track, or block the green turning box. It's definitely a parking enforcement issue. The intersections need to be marked no stopping zones.

    2) Drivers pull in behind the row of parked cars, thinking it's the travel lane. It's actually kind of comical, but has been one thing I've seen every few days.

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  • Paul Johnson April 1, 2010 at 3:23 pm

    Great video, I hope the city runs it on TV during the local news. Also, anybody else notice the power wedgie on the jogger towards the end?

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  • Paul Johnson April 1, 2010 at 3:24 pm

    1) drivers who pull into the cycle track at intersection to drop off/pick up passengers. This happens all the time during the day. Drivers either pull fully into the cycle track, or block the green turning box. It's definitely a parking enforcement issue. The intersections need to be marked no stopping zones.

    Am I the only one who thinks that we could solve two birds with one stone (the other being local unemployment numbers) by making the minimum penalty for this death?

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  • KWW April 1, 2010 at 3:59 pm

    Great animation. The left turn box can be incorporated into most multi-lane streets without the need for a segregated bike lane. Just recess the crosswalk 5 feet and put the left turn green box in front of it.

    I reported on a similar system in Taipei for scooters here (I know, they have motors, but are still vulnerable to cars and trucks, and the concept is identical):
    http://www.bikeportland.org/forum/showthread.php?t=3486

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  • Scott Mizée April 1, 2010 at 5:08 pm

    Great video again Spencer! Excellent work.

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  • are April 1, 2010 at 6:33 pm

    at 1:32 through 1:41 a motorist is shown turning right across the cycletrack, with the voiceover suggesting, "you already look out for pedestrians in the crosswalk -- next to the cycletrack, just be on the lookout for bicyclists, too." good advice to the motorist, but it does point out one of the principal weaknesses of the design. in the animation (very well done, spencer, as always), the pedestrian is approaching from the far side and is therefore easy to spot, and there would be no real excuse for the motorist to turn across the pedestrian's path (though they often do). but the cyclist is approaching from behind, and it is only after the cyclist actually enters the intersection (too late) that we see the orange arrow indicating the motorist is "on the lookout." while the orange arrow follows the cyclist through the intersection, another cyclist could be arriving behind . . .

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  • bikieboy April 1, 2010 at 7:23 pm

    Matt & Spencer: fantastic animation, great work!

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  • bikieboy April 1, 2010 at 7:30 pm

    ...and ditto what are (#18) said re: where the motorist needs to direct attention. This is an important bit of information to impart.

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  • Eric April 1, 2010 at 9:44 pm

    man! this cycle track thing is great! I would really like riding my bike on the cycle track depicted in the video. However, I ride on the one painted on the street, and I get to share it with people who drive their cars on it, people who stand in the middle of it having discussions with other people in cars, delivery men from columbia distributing who roll pallet jacks up the street and respond with "fuck you" to the "on your left" call, and students from PSU who make me seriously doubt the value of my future diploma considering that they typically stand in the middle of the cycle track waiting to cross the street. It's no wonder that it feels like even fewer people use that stretch of broadway to commute than before the cycle track.

    I think it's a great idea, but hot damn, there needs to be more of a grade separation and more enforcement.

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  • resopmok April 2, 2010 at 2:25 am

    For some reason whenever this cycletrack comes up for discussion it seems like the obvious problems inherent in the design are ignored. It's been promoted, put to press and talked about enough already. It might even be the most well known piece of bike infrastructure within the city by now. And while I'm all for educating people on correct use of the roadways, it's time to recognize this one as a design failure, and stop pretending like it would be a good idea to build more somewhere. I'd rather have the normal dangers of getting doored or right hooked in a normal bike lane at this point - at least they are what I'm expecting and watching for. Some of the new dangers associated with this facility include:
    Reduced visibility for vehicles turning right into parking lots.
    Reduced visibilty for vehicles exiting parking lots.
    Inattentive pedestrians standing in the cycle track.
    Insufficient space to safely pass another cyclist or other obstruction without entering a door zone or parking area.

    Furthermore, the video, while cute, doesn't address how people actually behave on the road and where their attention (or inattention, as is often the case) is actually centered. For example, _nobody_ waits to make a right by stopping fully in their lane. In reality, they will encroach right and block the bike lane, even when there is a green box.
    Please, it's time for someone to say, "alright, this doesn't work that great, it's why we only built a short section to test it out." We need real, safe solutions that maximize visibility and minimize confusion.

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  • Kt April 2, 2010 at 9:22 am

    Paul Johnson, #15:

    "Cake or death?"

    I'll have the chicken.

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  • are April 2, 2010 at 9:25 am

    good luck with that, comment 22. in its 2030 plan, PBoT already declares the green box a success even though the study it commissioned is not complete and even though the preliminary results were equivocal at best and meaningless at worst. also, although many of the non-standard treatments proposed in the 2030 plan, such as cyclectracks and buffered bike lanes, are called "experimental" in the plan, in the out years the funding for those is tilted about two to one.

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  • commuter April 2, 2010 at 12:12 pm

    I've been commuting along Broadway for about 10 years now as I make my way up to OHSU. I never really had any issues with the conventional bike lane as I would naturally look out for peds. and doors on my right and the occasional car on the left trying to find a parking spot or turning right. I felt I had good visibility as well as the option of riding in traffic to avoid an obstacle.
    Now with the cycle track, I feel hidden from live traffic on the left by parked cars or delivery trucks. I now have to worry about doors on my left and peds from both sides especially around PSU. I've also had to deal with numerous peds in or walking across the cycle track at random times which I think adds more to the confusion/danger. There is also less room to maneuver in the event of an approaching obstacle for fear of being doored from the left.
    The worst times are when there is a nice big delivery truck on a corner blocking my view and a turning car's view of me, with pedestrians trying to cross against the light..who has the right of way? Not to mention the delivery guy hauling goods near or through the cycle track. The other day there was a car parked in the cycletrack a little passed PSU.
    I'm not sure what the solution is but all I can say is as an experienced cyclist, I am more stressed when riding pass PSU now than before.

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  • Paul Johnson April 2, 2010 at 1:11 pm

    delivery men from columbia distributing who roll pallet jacks up the street and respond with "fuck you" to the "on your left" call

    Do not tolerate unprofessional behavior out of professional drivers! Get the cab number and call (503) 274-9990 or (503) 289-9600 and demand to speak to a road supervisor about the problem!

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  • Paul Johnson April 2, 2010 at 1:45 pm

    I'm wondering if we can get some guard rails on the curb and the right side of the pedestrian median to prevent jaywalking across the cycletrack. maybe some bollards at intersections to keep motorists out of the left turn boxes.

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  • [...] looks at DC’s first Contraflow Cycle Track, while Portland releases a video explaining cycle tracks and buffered bike lanes. Consider the Better World Club sort of an auto club for bikes. Five cyclists win a $97,751 [...]

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  • Nick Falbo April 2, 2010 at 4:14 pm

    Awesome video!

    I'm a big fan of the cycletrack on Broadway.

    The right of way is soooo much bigger than the bike lane it replaced, which is particularly helpful when climbing up the slight hill.

    Some people don't like the 2-stage left turn arrangement, but I think it's fairly elegant, and provides high safety to the cyclist.

    As for pedestrians, there certainly are a lot of them. I just ring my bell when I anticipate students entering the lane at the wrong time.

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  • Portland Biker and Driver! April 2, 2010 at 6:02 pm

    I have lived on Broadway drive now for close to a decade and have to admit that I was shocked to see a lane of traffic removed from the PSU portion of Broadway. I don’t know that there is enough bike traffic to justify removing a lane of car traffic for the purpose of a luxury bike lane. I will admit that it feels roomier to bike in than the old outside lane did, but was this wide lane really necessary? Does the current amount of bike commuters really justify removing a lane of traffic, when the old outside lane worked just fine? Are there really that many biking Kramers to justify the luxury lane? Just reeks of someone’s ambitious agenda that is counterintuitive to practicality and ease of living for the ENTIRE community. I understand we all want everyone to live healthy happy lives and ride bikes, but just because this lane was built at the expense of an auto lane, doesn’t mean it’s going to happen. Virtues and ideals are excellent! Just not in the real world, and yes, despite popular belief amongst our wonderful mayor and his council, Portland is a part of it.
    I mean biking up Broadway on the old lane was nothing like biking out to Sauvie’s island on 30 where semi trucks are flying by at 60mph 8inches away from your shoulder… If we are going to install more of these luxury (and unnecessary) bike lanes, let’s not do it where we have to remove a lane of traffic in an already congested area where traffic inherently only goes 20mph anyway(let’s not use the safety argument here to justify it), let’s put one in on hwy 30 out to Sauvie’s island where the shoulder allows it and your actually increasing the safety of the rider.

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  • Paul Johnson April 3, 2010 at 2:35 am

    Bicycle facilities are not a luxury. Motorist facilities are. This is why you are only privileged to drive a car, but you have a right to use a bicycle on Oregon roads.

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  • Portland Biker and Driver! April 3, 2010 at 10:51 pm

    Sorry mi amigo, but motorist facilities are not a luxury, they are actually the reason that roads exist, PERIOD. Every tax you pay as a motorist pays for the roads, end of story… Car tax, tire tax, gas tax… How much did you pay for taxes that went to roads when you bought your bike? $0 my friend… “Motorist facilities” are paid for… so ditch the self entitlement and wake up and smell the coffee ;o)

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  • April April 4, 2010 at 12:16 am

    Dear Portland Biker and Driver:

    First of all: Take a look at the incredibly crowded bicycle racks at PSU and tell me no one bikes Broadway.

    Secondly: For a biker you're rather uneducated. Gas taxes are a drop in the bucket in terms of paying for roads. The vast majority of it comes from property and federal taxes, which we all pay, whether we ride bikes or drive cars. The fees you pay to the DMV? They just pay for the DMV.

    Because bicycles put far less wear and tear on the roads, but their owners pay the same in taxes, in some ways cyclists subsidize drivers. Let's not forget that in Portland specifically, 6% of all trips are taken by bicycle but we still get less than one percent of transportation funding.

    Last but not least: the "good roads" movement that pushed to get roads paved all over the USA, was started by cyclist clubs. So in the beginning, bicycles were the reason paved roads existed.

    In other words: you may be smug, but you're still wrong. How's that coffee smell?

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  • Ann April 4, 2010 at 6:34 pm

    It seems to me that as people start to use those cycle tracks more, the pedestrians and drivers will get more used to them and will behave better. I would much rather ride in a cycle track than with a bus or SUV looming at my elbow, ready to veer into me as the driver looks at their car radio. The cycle track and addition of the buffer on the regular bike lanes will appeal to a different group of riders than some of you all (like, more women) - and increase bike traffic as a result. It's planning for the future, and "if you build it they will come". :) Crossing fingers.

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  • jim April 4, 2010 at 8:50 pm

    Wher is the money for this coming from? My water/ sewer bill is up $50 bucks this cycle.

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  • ecohuman April 5, 2010 at 8:41 am

    "Bicycle facilities are not a luxury. Motorist facilities are. This is why you are only privileged to drive a car, but you have a right to use a bicycle on Oregon roads."

    You're wrong on both counts. And, bicycles *depend* on "motorist facilities"--roads, streets, and traffic direction devices.

    Paul, most people I talk to don't see it as a "bicycles vs. cars" issue. It makes for good drama and sycophantic play-acting, but thinking grownups know better. But as I read this blog more, I'm realizing that that false polarity is at the core of its proposition (and most of its commenters, it seems).

    As for this bike lane design--it deserves a lot of criticism. It's poorly thought out, myopic in several ways, and largely ignores how real humans drive, walk, and ride. I'm reading the praises of it, and they seem to focus on "cool video" more than any critical assessment. That "study" done on them is so unprofessional as to be silly.

    That said--why is the City almost $20 short of budget, yet taking $20 million in "efficiency savings" from sewer fnds to build boutique pet projects like these? Unless you're a "bikes at all costs" person, wouldn't you think that "savings" should first be applied to "shortfalls" so that, er, there isn't a shortfall?

    Or do you short both the overall budget *and* critical sewer projects so you can build bike lanes with bioswales?

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  • StuddedStupid April 5, 2010 at 12:03 pm

    Cycle track = Good
    Buffered Bike Lane = Fail
    more paved off street paths? = Huge win

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  • Paul Johnson April 5, 2010 at 12:09 pm

    As a truck driver and a cyclist, I'll say it again: Motor vehicle facilities are a luxury. We could put more people to work carrying the same goods by bicycle.

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  • ecohuman April 5, 2010 at 2:08 pm

    "As a truck driver and a cyclist, I'll say it again: Motor vehicle facilities are a luxury. We could put more people to work carrying the same goods by bicycle."

    The computer you're typing on came from Asia. I suggest you throw it away, and purchase one that arrived in the US by bicycle.

    And, I'd suggest you only send and receive US mail that is transported by bicycle.

    And that truck you drive? Give that up, too, since the "facilities" it uses are a luxury. All those goods going back and forth between heavy industry? give 'em up, Paul.

    And your lighting, and pavement and concrete, bulk shipments to restaurants, glass, most clothing (that used shirt frst came here by truck), printers, fax machines, computer servers that host your e-mail, all of it.

    And, of course, bicycles. All that aluminum, steel, rubber, plastic, synthetic materials, batteries, and so on? Got here on a road, mostly manufactured in other countries and shipped to a port where it eventually got delivered on a road, highway, and street. All those luxuries.

    In fact, bicycle manufacture is just as unsustainable, resource extractive, and abusive to the ecosystem as cars--the only difference is they use less mined and processed materials, so they take longer to do their damage.

    Let's do it, Paul. Let's give up those luxury facilities. I'll do it if you do.

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  • ecohuman April 5, 2010 at 2:25 pm

    "Last but not least: the "good roads" movement that pushed to get roads paved all over the USA, was started by cyclist clubs. So in the beginning, bicycles were the reason paved roads existed."

    Mostly wrong, though it's a popular fantasy. Bicycle clubs were only part of the effort, and they certainly didn't "start" it. The push to pave and improve roads outside cities largely involved a coalition of several groups--especially businesses. City streets (not rural towns, cities) were paved in America early on.

    This is easy to discover--unless, that is, you rely in Wikipedia as your main source of information.

    "Let's not forget that in Portland specifically, 6% of all trips are taken by bicycle but we still get less than one percent of transportation funding."

    Again wrong, because bicycles enjoy the benefits of city streets and roads, traffic devices, bridges, and other amenities. There is no direct "bicycle" part of the fund that fnds those things.

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  • Paul Johnson April 5, 2010 at 4:23 pm

    I like the buffered bike lane, but it could use some burly textures on the extra-wide lane line to help remind drivers that they're not in the right lane (ie, make it outright annoying to drive in that lane).

    Off-street paths aren't a bad idea, but given the high-volume use of most of them so far, they need a few things to make 'em better:

    1) Grade separation or preferential signalling. Cyclists shouldn't have to stop at intersections, so eliminate the intersections and give the cyclists the default green anywhere a bridge or tunnel can't be built.

    2) Lane markings. Remind folks to ride on the right, or in three-lane sections, give priority to the middle.

    3) Enforcement.

    @ecohuman still seems to be missing the point that given the population, we'd still have transportation infrastructure and facilities, even if most of it wasn't geared towards private motorists. 2 million people needing to go about their daily business is still 2 million people that need to get where they're going safely.

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  • ecohuman April 7, 2010 at 3:17 pm

    @ecohuman still seems to be missing the point that given the population, we'd still have transportation infrastructure and facilities, even if most of it wasn't geared towards private motorists.

    Which wasn't your point. Your point, repeatedly stated, was "Motor vehicle facilities are a luxury".

    If you want to discuss "missing the point", I'd start with the point of Portland being broke, in debt, headed further that way--but yet chasing some masturbatory dream of being a "world class biking city". The overt worship of "rankings"--put out by arbitrary bodies using arbitrary values--is for people (and municipalities) that have no internal sense of worth of their own.

    The bigger picture of a city like Portland is that it is inherently unsustainable. a billion dollars in bicycle paths does nothing to increase that sustainability--the city still consumes goods at an ever-expanding rate, still requires infrastructure maintenance at an ever-increasing rate, and still requires massive amounts of global and international trade to keep the kinds of goods that you and I love to consume flowing into the city.

    In other words, there's a much larger point here, which is this: Cities are not sustainable. They never have been, and never will. There is no magic potion, technology, or mode of transport that will deal with the problem inherent in every city like this: growth, extractive consumption, and an insatiable need for more.

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  • Paul Johnson April 7, 2010 at 3:20 pm

    Which wasn't your point. Your point, repeatedly stated, was "Motor vehicle facilities are a luxury".

    Your statement is fundamentally flawed because it assumes that language is literalistic and lacks connotation. Please come back when you have at least a 7th grade understanding of written English.

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  • Simple Living News Update April 12, 2010 at 7:02 am

    [...] City releases new video to explain cycle tracks, buffered bike lanes [...]

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