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The Monday Roundup (on Tuesday)

Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on January 22nd, 2013 at 12:40 pm

Welcome back from the historic (and long) weekend. I hope you all got the chance to watch the inauguration festivities. If you didn't, the big takeaways from folks in the bikeosphere are that Obama 1) walked on the new protected bike lanes on Pennsylvania Avenue and 2) mentioned climate change in a big way during his 20-minute speech. On that note, let's get down to the news from the past week shall we?...

— If you haven't yet reveled in the grandeur of seeing the first President to walk down a bike lane on inauguration day, Streetfilms has wrapped it all up with a bow for you.

— And as for that climate change mention, here's more from the NY Times.

— Hopefully Obama makes the climate change/transportation/bicycling connection. We've certainly known about the vast negative impacts of cars in cities for a long time — even here in Portland. Local historian Dan Haneckow remembered architecture critic Ada Louise Huxtable, who warned Portland and the nation way back in 1970 that too many cars would ruin our cities.

— The inauguration also fell on the day we celebrate the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., a man who fought great odds on behalf of racial and social justice. Anthropologist and transportation activist Adonia E. Lugo sees important parallels between King's work and the barriers and discrimination that exist around bicycling.

— A recent study showed that New York City's Safe Routes to Schools programs can be credited with a 40% reduction in traffic injuries.

— One of the benefits of having lots of people on bikes on our streets is that — because they're not enclosed in a steel box — they can hear and see much better than people in cars. One byproduct of that awareness is this type of heroic rescue.

— The Pennsylvania Ave. bike lanes didn't just get noticed during the inauguration, they also helped thousands of people get to the event. I love this headline in the Washington Post: For many, biking is the sane way to get to inauguration.

— Some in the industry and blogosphere think 2013 will be a huge year for fatbikes (I'm one of them). If you're unaware of what all the fuss is about, check out this story on NPR.

— Bike laws are a constant source of confusion and debate. Now the League of American Bicyclists has put together a state-by-state breakdown of all bike-related laws. It's a helpful tool for finding out the law where you live and comparing them to other states.

— It seems like for years now, we've been seeing major, mainstream media coverage of the urban bicycling renaissance in America. The latest is this video story from Al Jazeera which proclaimed that, "Car culture in many areas is starting to be replaced by one that encourages two wheels rather than four."

— What happens when a news journalist has their perspective shaken by a senseless traffic tragedy involving someone on a bike? They arrive at the same conclusion we've been sharing around here for a long time now: That investing in safe bicycle access should be above politics and that failure to do so is a failure of government to protect its citizens and project equal access to mobility.

— Looking toward the end of his reign as Mayor of NYC, Michael Bloomberg is fighting to save his street design legacy by publicly vouching for the many public plazas his DOT has implemented.

— While Bloomberg was sticking up for his plazas, the NYC DOT was busy cutting the ribbon on new improvements made to Willoughby Plaza, which was one of the originals. Ms. Sadik-Khan said in a press release, "With a down payment of just a few planters, seating and some shade, Willoughby Plaza became the anchor of a retail and dining destination, showing once again that better streets mean better business."

— Another week, another major PR hit for protected bikeways in America (thanks Green Lane Project!). This time the USA Today picks up on the theme of how protected bike lanes help urban economies and make cities more competitive.

— Minneapolis has released a bunch of bike-car collision data and the results show a correlation between higher rates of bicycling and a lower crash rate. It's being hailed as an excellent example of the "safety in numbers" phenomenon.

— This cold weather in Portland just won't let up. Ever wondered how it impacts your body? Dr. Allen Lim (trainer to many professional riders) goes into fascinating detail about how the human body reacts to cold while cycling.

— As Obama settles into his second term, we're watching his cabinet and the various transportation-related committees in the House and Senate. Just this morning we saw reports that US DOT Secretary Ray LaHood will stay "for a while." Also, earlier this week we learned that "pro-bike Republican" Tom Petri (R-WI) was named chair of the all-important House Highways and Transit Subcommittee. Rep. Petri spoke at the 2012 National Bike Summit and told us we were "doing God's work."

— With all the hullabaloo about Lance and Oprah this week, the thing I enjoyed reading most was this essay on Bikehugger from David Schloss. He made the great observation of how Lance's fall echoes a greater shift in the road bike world where it's less about hero-worship and more about ride-worship (and how companies like Rapha are leading the way).

— The Portland Tribune went in-depth on the forthcoming Westside Trail, which will be 24 miles long and will connect Portland to suburbs to the west once completed.

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  • Andrew K January 22, 2013 at 1:26 pm

    When I lived on the west side and worked in Tualatin that Westside Trail would have been a wonderful thing to have access to.

    About a year ago I actually changed jobs and moves into SE Portland in part because of the better bike access and ease of commuting to work.

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  • Lisa Marie January 22, 2013 at 2:51 pm

    Wonderful, comprehensive round-up! Loved the article/press from USA Today. Nice find!

    (and new today: the Oregon City bike tourism station was approved! http://twowheelsandalady.com/2013/01/22/bicycles-as-economic-engine-oregon-city-seeks-to-boost-finances-by-becoming-bicycle-tourism-hub/)

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  • Spiffy January 22, 2013 at 3:25 pm

    The inauguration also fell on the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

    sort of, both were observed on the same day...

    Martin Luther King, Jr., Date of birth = January 15
    United States presidential inauguration = January 20

    so neither event was observed on the actual day of the event... one day late for the inauguration, six days late for MLK Jr's birthday...

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  • are January 22, 2013 at 3:48 pm

    everywhere else on the internet some guy named godwin says i am not permitted to draw analogies between the civil rights struggle and the struggle to reclaim the public space.

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    • q`Tzal January 22, 2013 at 6:29 pm

      All hail OCP!!!

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    • Pete January 22, 2013 at 11:39 pm

      I enjoyed Adonia's article. I was once called a "racist" on this very site for saying that I felt that bicycle riders were the only minorities that it was still not politically incorrect to insult in mainstream media. I guess I used the word "minorities" incorrectly; I just happen to see it applying beyond the color of one's skin, sexual preference, etc. Irony?

      On Sunday while driving (gasp!) from Portland to San Francisco I stopped somewhere in NorCal (State of Jefferson - a red state sandwiched in between two blues) to get lunch and overheard a radio talk show: "Now what is all this hubbub about Lance Armstrong - who gives a crap? Bicycling is a recreational activity, not a sport, and those people don't belong on the road anyway!"

      Any time I'm lumped in with "those people" I consider myself the victim of a stereotype. Certainly not the victim of the social injustices that Dr. King struggled against, but I don't have to preach to this choir the type of crap we put up with by simply choosing to ride a bicycle on a road. I doubt that particular radio commentator would have gotten away with a similar comment today referring to Dr. King's "those people."

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  • are January 22, 2013 at 3:53 pm

    the item from the stranger slog is a bit more narrow than "investing in safe bicycle access," it specifically advocates "protected" bike lanes with physical separation. while it is true that a cycletrack would prevent most occurrences of the exact incident described in the slog, it would exacerbate others.

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  • Spiffy January 22, 2013 at 3:55 pm

    about the League of American Bicyclists state-by-state breakdown of bike-related laws...

    I thought that Oregon bicyclists were exempt from the DUI law because they're not "drivers" of their vehicle... I thought that the term "driver" applied only to motor-vehicle operators and not bicycle operators...

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  • are January 22, 2013 at 4:02 pm

    the item from USAToday is essentially a press release from the Green Lane Project

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  • Jeff Bernards January 22, 2013 at 6:12 pm

    Climate Change needs more than lip service. It's like taking someones tax break away, their break is the most important and using less oil is something someone else should do, it's not your oil use.
    We need a HUGE Carbon Tax (code name gas tax), we need to lower the speed limit on Freeways to 50-55. For every 5 mph over 50 mph you use 5%-7% more fuel. At 75 mph that's 30% more fuel. The only thing were going to be in a hurry for is to build a wall to keep the sea back. If we all drive slower were all made aware of the reality of climate change. It will effect the economy evenly because EVERYONE will have to drive the same speed.
    Just a cheap way to start tackling a huge problem before it's too late.

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    • Pete January 23, 2013 at 12:08 am

      Not exactly true. I used to commute (drive) tremendous distances for contract work (twice a week, while staying and bike commuting locally during my work week). Using the mileage computer and cruise control I discovered that my car actually averaged slightly better gas mileage at 75 MPH than 65 MPH and even (slightly) worse at 55 MPH - accounting as best as possible for head/tail winds. (I did these commutes weekly for a few years so had ample time to experiment). I think this was simply due to the torque curve programmed into my car's EFI computer.

      But yes, I see your point and I agree entirely that I was significantly under-taxed for my resource utilization. I personally believe the federal gas tax needs to be raised and the highway trust fund should be under a balanced budget (not in deficit as it's been since 2001). I admit that if that were the case it would be unlikely that the financial incentive for my aforementioned commute wouldn't have been there. I've since moved to a state with a better job market (for me), biking just 9 miles to my primary office and 3 to the airport. Unfortunately the taxes my company pays to fly me worldwide don't offset climate change either.

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      • Jeff Bernards January 23, 2013 at 7:34 am

        Pete, your test evades real science (like the climate change deniers) here's a link that may help you. http://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/drivehabits.shtml

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        • Pete January 23, 2013 at 11:00 am

          I don't need education on how to drive in a fuel-efficient manner, thanks. At the end of the day "real science" measures my fuel consumption in how often I have to fill my gas tank, which I'll bet is far less than most Prius owners. Look into the science behind the Prius's design, in fact, and you'll see that most fuel consumption occurs during acceleration - as your web site hints to.

          Climate change is another story, one in which I have as much emotional attachment to as religion (I'm agnostic, but not apathetic). I agree entirely with you that our behaviors are driven by policy (subsidies, as you term it), but I'm not about to kill myself which a ZPGer would ultimately equate to the best solution to my "abuse" of natural resources.

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  • q`Tzal January 22, 2013 at 6:33 pm

    <sarcasm>
    Darn it! Now that the president has been photo op'ed in walking in a bike lane everybody is gonna want to do that now.
    As if the hordes of aspiring joggers aren't bad enough now it'll be the hip place for a live video news segment.
    </sarcasm>

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  • Lynne January 23, 2013 at 10:04 am

    Right. We are often commuters. It isn't political. Except I'm not now - combination of getting hit on my commute and the possibility of ice. Maybe next week.
    http://lynnerides.blogspot.com/2013/01/well-this-year-started-off-with-bang.html

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    • Pete January 23, 2013 at 11:11 am

      Sorry for your loss! Better the bike and not you though - sun is tough hanging low this time of year, lots of shadows too. Hope you're back on your preferred number of wheels soon!

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    • Alan 1.0 January 24, 2013 at 10:39 am

      Reading your next posts after that, no argument that you are tough! I'm glad you are recovering so well, and sorry about the bike.

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