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Carnage: Three hospitalized in Foster wreck; Driver slams into house on Skidmore - UPDATED

Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on July 2nd, 2013 at 10:21 am

KATU jokes in their headline,
but this is no laughing matter.

The carnage on Portland's streets show no signs of letting up.

In the past 24 hours alone, three people failing to control their cars has led to serious injuries and significant property damage.

At about 8:15 pm last night, the Portland Police reported that two people driving in the intersection of SE 92nd and Foster (map) collided with each other. The driver of a Jeep then rolled his/her vehicle and it went up onto the sidewalk where two people were standing. Both people standing on the sidewalk appear to have been either riding bikes or standing their bikes and both sustained "serious but not believed to be life-threatening injuries." The driver of the Jeep was also injured and taken to the hospital.

We're waiting to hear more details from the Portland Police about this collision and will update the story when we know more.

SE 92nd and Foster is a popular intersection at the heart of Lents. We held a Get Together event at the coffee shop on the corner of the intersection back in 2011. There's also a plaza on the northwest corner of the intersection. It's worth noting that Foster is a designated High Crash Corridor, has the unfortunate nickname of "the Foster Freeway", and it's also currently being redesigned as part of a major streetscape project (which ends west of this collision at 82nd). I rolled down Foster back in January and was disturbed at how dangerous and unpleasant it is.

The location of last night's incident is also just four blocks away from where someone drove their car into former NFL player Joey Harrington while he was riding his bike back in August 2011.

Another case of someone unable to control their car happened early this morning in northeast Portland. KATU reports that, "A sedan collided with a small parked SUV early Tuesday morning before careening into a house near the corner of N.E. Skidmore and N.E. 42nd, damaging both vehicles badly but causing only minor damage to the house."

As I read that story I realized the homeowner was none other than Becky Morton, owner of the Bikeasaurus retail store. Becky, who I just chatted with at her booth at the Multnomah County Bike Fair on Saturday, told KATU:

"I didn’t hear any screeching... It was like getting louder and louder, and my bedroom window’s right next to the porch where he ran into and so it just sounded like he was gonna crash through my window."

Here's KATU's video coverage:

This is crazy folks. We need to get serious about redesigning our streets and we need new policies to control this carnage, and most importantly, people really need to take the task of driving much more seriously. While PBOT and ODOT remain reluctant to challenge the status quo that puts auto capacity and speed above all else, and people continue to drive without respect for its inherent dangers, innocent Portlanders are being hurt and sometimes killed. This is a crisis. We should treat it like one.

UPDATE, 7/3 at 12:00 pm: The police have cited one of the drivers involved in the Foster Rd collision. See the latest updates below:

Traffic investigators determined that a 2008 Toyota Siena van driven by 65-year-old Nang Nguyen ran the red light northbound on 92nd Avenue and collided with the westbound 1996 Jeep Grand Cherokee driven by 20-year-old Zachery Jones.

After the collision, the Jeep rolled and struck two bicyclists, 56-year-old Stephen Bruce and 31-year-old Jamie Drennen, who were standing on the northwest corner of the intersection, waiting to cross the street.

Both drivers and both bicyclists were transported to Portland hospitals for treatment to non-life-threatening injuries.

Nguyen was given a citation for Failure to Obey a Traffic Control Device. One of the bicyclists, Stephen Bruce, was given a citation for Possession of Methamphetamine, after drugs and paraphernalia were discovered in his possession after the crash.

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  • meh July 2, 2013 at 10:25 am

    Please stop using the word carnage improperly. There is no slaughter of a great number of people here. No one is dead.

    car•nage (ˈkɑr nɪdʒ)

    n.
    1. the slaughter of a great number of people.
    2. Archaic. dead bodies, as of those slain in battle.

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    • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) July 2, 2013 at 10:30 am

      Thanks for the feedback meh,

      Often in writing and reporting, there is room for taking stylistic liberty with certain words. In this case, "carnage" has become an accepted word to use when describing the vast destruction wrought by people driving automobiles unsafely. In other words, I'll continue to use it but I will consider your feedback and others and remain open to changing my mind if necessary.

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      • Help July 2, 2013 at 10:41 am

        ""carnage" has become an accepted word to use when describing the vast destruction wrought by people driving automobiles unsafely."

        For someone who's so caught up in the "victimhood" and "biased language" of cycling, I would think you would at least try to watch your language when using it with autos. Apparently not.

        And what's your plan for solving this issue? What's an ideal plan to minimize traffic accidents? What's a realistic plan to minimize traffic accidents? What's an acceptable amount of injuries/fatalities?

        If you want to have a discussion about it, then let's have a discussion as opposed to these constant "drivers suck" rants.

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        • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) July 2, 2013 at 10:51 am

          Help,

          Thanks for your comment. I disagree with you. I am not "caught up in victimhood."

          Please explain how you think any of the words I've used are illustrative of a bias against driving. I am simply stating facts. Many if not most of the collisions that happen are due to people's failure to control their vehicle. I include myself in this. I am a driver too remember.

          What's my solution?

          We need to get serious about discouraging the use of automobiles. We can do this many ways: make it more expensive to drive, less convenient to drive, and so on. We need to change our policies (about road design, speed limits, and so on) and have PBOT/ODOT staff willing to push against the existing ones that are outdated and that place the highest priority on auto speed and capacity.

          We need to change our funding priorities so that we spend money on the least cost solutions that have the best return on our investment (bicycling wins by a long shot in this regard).

          We need to stop accepting the carnage and consequences that come with our auto-centric policies and priorities and demand change. In other words, people need to stop patting themselves on the back and start getting pissed at how slow we are moving and realistic about how far we still have to go.

          Those are just a few thoughts. I can't make them happen but I can use the stump I've created on BikePortland to help push for them as best I can.

          Thanks for asking.

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          • Help July 2, 2013 at 2:35 pm

            The victimhood comment first:

            You've given entire diatribes about the bias against cycling because of language (a 9watts special by the way). Hell, you've had the gall to compare it to the plight of African-Americans over the last 400 years. Then you proceed to use the word carnage to describe a pair of accidents that didn't result in any carnage at all and then call it "stylistic liberty." Really? You don't see the bias there. You're smarter than that.

            The "real discussion" comment:

            Everything you mentioned is vague. How slow for speed limits? How different on road designs (what do you want)? How many accidents/injuries/fatalities are acceptable to you? Have you even thought it through?

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            • q`Tzal July 2, 2013 at 5:13 pm

              I'm sure the AP Style Guide says it's okay so all blame goes with them, right?

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        • SJE July 2, 2013 at 12:13 pm

          I think 30,000 dead and 100s of thousands injured is carnage. Perhaps colorful, but not inaccurate. Its also different to talking about "accidents" because characterizing a collision as an "accident" is a statement about a specific event and one that does real harm to a real person.

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        • El Biciclero July 2, 2013 at 12:38 pm

          Help--

          "Victimhood"? What do you call it when two innocent bystanders are rolled over by a car piloted by some driver who can't pay enough attention or acquire the competence to keep it under control? Are you suggesting that drivers are the "real victims" of this relentless onslaught of slanderous media attacks that results in such a backlash that drivers are afraid to go about in their cars? Or are you imagining that we need to put a stop to the scourge of "cy-killing" before we address "car-nage"? No matter how you slice it, there is no comparison.

          "And what's your plan for solving this issue? What's an ideal plan to minimize traffic accidents? What's a realistic plan to minimize traffic accidents? What's an acceptable amount of injuries/fatalities?"

          Asking this of Jonathan is like asking non-smokers, "if smoking is so dangerous, then what's your plan to reduce smoking-related deaths?" It's kind of not fair. If you recognize that irresponsible car use leads to thousands of (arguably "too many") deaths per year, then what's your solution? Your comments make it sound like it's a shrug and an "oh well". It's easy to see through your "what's an acceptable number of deaths" question to the fact that you are fishing for an answer of "zero", so you can again state that zero is impossible unless we ban all cars, therefore you bike people want to ban all cars. Even if every cyclist in the country did want to "ban all cars", do you really think that would happen?

          And as far as "drivers suck" rants, it is true that not all drivers suck--there are some very good drivers out there. But very few drivers take the responsibility of driving as seriously as the privilege warrants, and if just one driver does suck bad enough, the results are catastrophic if you compare to what happens when a pedestrian or cyclist behaves irresponsibly. One screw-up by a driver and multiple people can end up in the hospital or morgue, hundreds of thousands of dollars of damage can be done in seconds, and in at least a few recent cases, vital utilities or public services disabled for thousands of people.

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          • Help July 2, 2013 at 2:40 pm

            "It's easy to see through your "what's an acceptable number of deaths" question to the fact that you are fishing for an answer of "zero", so you can again state that zero is impossible unless we ban all cars, therefore you bike people want to ban all cars. Even if every cyclist in the country did want to "ban all cars", do you really think that would happen?"

            I'm not fishing for an answer of zero. Bikes have killed people too.

            But it's a legitimate question. I'm trying to start a productive discussion and nobody wants to engage in something substantive. Which tells me the post and the comments are simply anti-driver screeds.

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            • El Biciclero July 2, 2013 at 3:49 pm

              You've received answers to your question about "what solution do you propose" from me (comments on a different posting) and from Jonathan (above). What you have done in response to those answers is turn around and claim that either we are somehow lobbying to "ban all cars", or else not wanting to participate in your substantive discussion. I don't quite know what kind of discussion you want to have: cars in the hands of irresponsible drivers kill people and destroy property. As my own attempt to "be the change", I also try to drive as little as possible, and to drive as responsibly as possible when I do drive. Unfortunately, I can't control other people who have radically different attitudes about driving than I have. Some of those people have the attitude that "I don't care about other people and who I hurt with my God-given right to drive poorly".

              The only way to "control" people that have sociopathic attitudes toward operating two-ton machines in public spaces is to restrict their ability to operate those vehicles in public spaces. That can happen in one of two ways: restrict the spaces themselves, so that cars cannot enter them, or restrict certain individuals' access to cars. Jonathan's suggested solution of making the cost of driving a tad more realistic is a bit more proactive than mine, and focuses on all drivers, good and bad. My suggestion of harsher penalties for bad drivers--including confiscation and sale of their cars--focuses mostly on just the bad drivers. The most effective solution would probably be a combination of both.

              Limited space for creating roadways and parking spaces for cars is about used up within most cities. The only realistic solution is to collectively Just Drive Less. Americans are already driving less, and fewer teenagers are getting licenses than used to; why not help build that momentum by providing alternatives? To make driving less attractive (ambiguity intentional), we need to make alternatives more convenient and cost-effective. If one could walk or ride a bike to a transit center or bus stop, get on a bus or train to head into town--using transit time to catch up on reading, email, or what-have-you--avoid the hassle and expense of parking, and still get to their destination in a reasonable time, then wouldn't more people do it? If safer routes for cycling existed in more places, more people might want to try riding to more destinations. If more people did these things, then wouldn't there be more room on the road for the poor, beleaguered drivers who were left? If more safe options were available, would we perhaps feel more inclined to restrict the driving privileges of known bad drivers? How is that a bad thing? Fewer people die on the roads, more room is freed up for those that "must" drive, more visibility of alternatives attracts more people to try them, freeing up even more space on the road...

              If you're just interested in gathering people's opinions on "how many deaths are acceptable", then you're probably going to get about 35,000 different answers.

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              • davemess July 2, 2013 at 5:20 pm

                Just to play devil's advocate: Bicycling is going up, driving is slowly going down, and auto deaths are down from decades ago. Those numbers are all moving in the right direction. Sure we would all like to see them move faster, but this is a pretty conservative country and change takes time.

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              • Help July 5, 2013 at 3:12 pm

                Your answer is to get rid of "bad" drivers. There are good drivers who have moments of driving poorly or making a bad decision. In fact, I'd argue every driver (and cyclist) for that matter has done that at some point or another. Most of the times, there's no issue at all. Unfortunately, sometimes there is. Are there consistently poor drivers? Yes. But you don't know they're poor until they get into accidents, usually more than once. I'm not sure taking consistently poor drivers off the road (once they are identified) makes a dent into the injuries and fatalities, especially considering many of them do lose their driving privileges at some point.

                "If one could walk or ride a bike to a transit center or bus stop, get on a bus or train to head into town--using transit time to catch up on reading, email, or what-have-you--avoid the hassle and expense of parking, and still get to their destination in a reasonable time, then wouldn't more people do it?"

                Depends how "good" it is. Public transportation in every American city outside metropolitan New York sucks. What if I want to grab a bite on the way home that isn't on my transit route? Or go to the kids soccer game? You still lose the convenience unless the public transportation is world class. It isn't in Portland.

                "If more people did these things, then wouldn't there be more room on the road for the poor, beleaguered drivers who were left?"

                If infrastructure was left the same, but naturally if there were more cyclists there's going to a desire for more cycling infrastructure and road diets and the such which doesn't leave more room.

                "If more safe options were available, would we perhaps feel more inclined to restrict the driving privileges of known bad drivers?"

                We do restrict the driving privileges of known bad drivers. DUIs can land you in jail. Licenses do get revoked.

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                • El Biciclero July 5, 2013 at 4:09 pm

                  Yes, licenses get revoked, and a large number of traffic "incidents" are caused by or involve drivers who are driving suspended or revoked. Nothing stops suspended/revoked drivers from driving. That's why I suggest removing their cars. And the cars of anyone dumb enough to aid and abet a revoked driver by loaning them their car. Confiscate enough cars, and it might start getting too expensive/risky for suspended or revoked drivers to keep on drivin'. We could also lower the threshold of irresponsibility that gets your license suspended, while raising the threshold of competence one must demonstrate to get a license in the first place.

                  If you want to stop for a bite that isn't along your transit route, or catch a kid's game/play/concert at school one day, then arrange to leave work a little early, or...wait for it...drive that day, if it is more convenient and you have a car. I'm not telling you to quit driving. I'm only suggesting that if the options were better, then maybe on those run-of-the-mill days where you're just going to work and back, or have non-scheduled stops to make that could be done without a car, it might persuade some people to leave their cars at home more often. If your life is so overscheduled that you have to spend 3 hours in your car every single day (unless you drive professionally) just getting to all of your scheduled activities, maybe it's time to think about how many of those activities are really essential...

                  As far as "bike infrastructure" taking "car space" away, I'll give you one practice that, if abolished, would increase the size of 90% of our roadways by 25% to 100%. Ready? On. Street. Parking. If those who pay a measly $1.60/hr. for metered parking, or better yet, NOTHING for certain places or times of day to store private autos on public space were required to park in garages or lots owned by businesses, we could have gigantic roadways with plenty of space for those who wanted to use them for travel, not storage.

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          • MIke July 2, 2013 at 3:10 pm

            Just because a car can do more damage doesn't give a cyclist or pedestrian the green light to act like a jackass. If, when acting like a jack ass, you happen to collide with a car it is easy to point the finger away from yourself. That's a great mentality to have because it removes any responsibility off your shoulders.

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            • KYouell July 2, 2013 at 3:21 pm

              Is this attached to the wrong portion of the thread? Where was anyone saying that cyclists and pedestrians get to act like jackasses? Wanting respect, not wanting to be plowed over while walking down the sidewalk, are these jackass behaviors to you?

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              • Mike July 2, 2013 at 9:21 pm

                Alot of people here, when bad behavior of cyclists is even hinted at, point out the fact that since they aren't in cars they can't really do any damage. An old and very tired argument. It implies that it doesn't really matter how one rides a bike since it is the car that should always be feared. I see it again and again here.

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                • 9watts July 3, 2013 at 7:21 am

                  "An old and very tired argument."

                  Not sure I follow. How is the argument that people who bike are statistically an order of magnitude or even two orders less dangerous to anyone around them than someone in a car old and tired?
                  On the contrary, I think it is both relevant and largely true. When was the last time someone in Portland on a bike killed, maimed, or otherwise harmed another person in traffic, on the street, or sidewalk? You can go into plenty of what-if scenarios about the potential for someone on a bicycle running a stop sign and the evasive maneuver of someone in a car then kills grandma.... but these scenarios, imaginary as they typically are, say more about the desire of the imaginer to show parity where there isn't any than they do about actual risks to the public from people riding bikes.

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            • El Biciclero July 2, 2013 at 4:12 pm

              "Just because a car can do more damage doesn't give a cyclist or pedestrian the green light to act like a jackass. If, when acting like a jack ass, you happen to collide with a car it is easy to point the finger away from yourself. That's a great mentality to have because it removes any responsibility off your shoulders."

              This is another tired straw man that people love to try to use to divert attention from the real issue. I'm not saying at all that I somehow have a right to act like an idiot on the road on a bike, I'm only pointing out that if I do, it's probably not going to kill anyone else, and the dollar amount of damages won't be in the hundreds of thousands, I doubt I'd knock out power to thousands of households, and I'd probably fall over in the front yard long before crashing through someone's bedroom.

              In this country, we have a gun problem and a knife problem. Which one warrants more attention?

              This isn't about who to blame in the event of any given collision, it's about what causes the vast, vast majority of the death and destruction that happen on our roadways every day.

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        • Dan Kaufman July 2, 2013 at 1:02 pm

          Here is a simple plan. Put a governor on all cars that prevents them from traveling faster than 25 mph then remove all stop signs, traffic lights, etc, etc, etc, etc. Problem solved. No engineering necessary. 25,000+ lives and millions of debilitating injuries prevented.

          Or "Help" do you argue that we just accept the daily slaughter as the trade off for getting places faster? I, for one, no longer find it even remotely acceptable.

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          • dr2chase July 2, 2013 at 1:27 pm

            20. There's a real difference in ped crash fatality rates when you move from 25 (about a 15% risk, eyeball extrapolation) to 20 (5%). And that's if you crash, never mind the increased ability to prevent a crash in the first place.

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          • Help July 2, 2013 at 2:43 pm

            Do you actually believe in that and want that? If so, you essentially want to abolish the automobile as we know it. Which is fine, but let's call it what it is.

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            • KYouell July 2, 2013 at 3:04 pm

              Hell yes.

              The personal automobile that can be operated at too-fast speeds while changing the playlist on your iPod and eating something you bought at a drive-thru is killing humans. Damn straight I want that to stop.

              This doesn't mean abolishing the automobile. You said "as we know it" and that is what I'm wholeheartedly agreeing to. There are people who cannot move themselves about by their own power (I have a friend who has a son in a wheelchair and they immediately come to mind), but I think those of us that can should do so. Walk, bike, skate/skateboard, whatever. Next choose a shared mode: bus, taxi, Zipcar, rent a U-Haul, etc. Personal autos should be last on the list unless you have, like my friend, a reason. I don't agree that "I live too far" is very often a good reason because what "too far" means is different for everyone and frankly needs to be redefined for most of us.

              PS - In my experience people that say, "I'm trying to start a discussion" really don't like the discussion that is happening and want to derail it. Or they are trolling. 50/50.

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            • El Biciclero July 2, 2013 at 3:53 pm

              This is always your answer! That's why I said it was easy to see through your "how many deaths is acceptable" question above! You take any answer from anyone and turn it into, "See? You want to abolish all cars! Admit it!"

              That isn't a substantive discussion.

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              • Help July 5, 2013 at 2:35 pm

                He said he wanted to lower the maximum speed of automobiles to 25. That changes the automobile as we know it and effectively abolishes cars. Might as well use horse transport. If you disagree and think a car with a max speed of 25 is still a car, then you aren't bright enough to engage in this conversation.

                The answer is to do what the auto industry has done over the last 40 years ... make better, safer, and "stronger" cars that better protect the occupants. Will this work? Of course . . it has for the last 40 years.

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                • El Biciclero July 5, 2013 at 4:26 pm

                  Uh, how fast do you think cars could go when they were first invented and started appearing on our streets? Even at that low speed, they were first greeted with disdain and fear by citizens who thought they were monstrous death machines. Even the first "affordable" car, the Model T, had a top speed of about 40, which probably translates to a practical speed of 30 or below (how often do you actually drive your car at top speed?). Even in a car manufactured today, I often am forced to travel at 15mph on the freeway because of all the other drivers clogging it up. Speed limits in school zones and business districts are already 20 mph. Residential areas? 25 mph. Even at those hideously low speeds, guess what? I'm still rolling along with zero physical effort, faster than I could walk, in heated or air-conditioned comfort, with a stereo system to entertain me, and nice, soft seats to sit in, insulated from the noise and dirt that I myself and my fellow drivers are creating.

                  I would bet money that if given a choice between riding the bus, walking, riding a bike, or driving at 25mph in a car, upwards of 85% of people would still choose to drive.

                  Please don't tell me I'm not bright enough to realize that a car driven at 25 mph doesn't suddenly become something else...??

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            • Dan Kaufman July 2, 2013 at 5:09 pm

              Yes, I actually want that especially in dense residential and commercial environments. We might want to make exceptions for freeways and rural areas.

              My question is do you, Help, is do actually think the trade off for high speed automobile use is worth all the death and injury? We don't accept this kind of trade off for rail, air, or water transportation.

              I am willing to discuss a better idea if you have any.

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              • Help July 5, 2013 at 2:35 pm

                Idea is above . . produce better, stronger, and safer cars for the occupants.

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                • Caleb July 5, 2013 at 6:41 pm

                  That does nothing for the people who are outside the automobiles.

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            • dr2chase July 2, 2013 at 6:22 pm

              A universal 20mph speed limit is not a good idea, but any "place" that the density exceeds, say, 2000 people per square mile, the limit should be 20mph, unless it is a limited access highway. If your "place" is a census tract, places with 2000 people per square mile or more includes half the US population. (Yes, I have this data, you can get it from the census.)

              And I agree with other people's criticism of your style of "argument". It's trollish. Quit assuming that when someone says X "they really mean Y".

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              • Help July 5, 2013 at 2:39 pm

                You really believe a 25mph universal speed limit means that autos are still autos?

                "Dan Kaufman" said it and then confirmed it in a 2nd comment (making a possible exception for interstates and the such). If he doesn't believe it, then he needs to write better.

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                • dr2chase July 5, 2013 at 6:00 pm

                  I believe what I wrote. Did you read it? I wrote that a 20mph speed limit in dense places (and arbitrarily, I pick 2k/sqmi) would be a good idea, except for limited access highways. I think this because there is a substantial increase in pedestrian (and other safety) when the crash speed is reduced from 30, to 25, and even to 20mph. Furthermore, in many dense areas (and the ones I look at tend to be more in the 4k+/sqmi range cars don't move much faster than 30mph anyway, and average about 20, though obviously that includes lights and stops which are not likely to disappear entirely just because of the lower speeds.

                  I'm not sure that you can generalize your opinions about the paramount importance of automobile speed to the wider public. Other people, when comparing bicycles to automobiles, point out other advantages (both alleged and actual) that cars have -- they can climb hills with no effort; you arrive at work unsweaty; they can carry a week's worth of groceries; they are "safer" (if you myopically ignore diseases of the unfit, they are, slightly); they are climate controlled; they keep the rain off. And horses poop in the street -- cars (and bicycles) represent a big advance in street olfaction and sanitation.

                  But as I understand you, none of that other stuff really matters -- it's really about the speed, even small increments of speed, even when that speed puts other people at nontrivial risk and scares them off the roads.

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            • 9watts July 3, 2013 at 9:18 am
              • Help July 5, 2013 at 2:40 pm

                I'm sure there a ton of good jobs there for us all to move there and succeed.

                You are so far down the rabbithole I'm not sure you're ever coming back.

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                • Caleb July 5, 2013 at 6:44 pm

                  Contrary to popular opinion, jobs are not a survival requisite.

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            • 9watts July 5, 2013 at 2:47 pm

              Help,

              what is with the auto-speed fetish? Your car has to go faster than 25mph? You know, Ivan Illich long ago proposed a universal 15mph speed limit. You're right, of course, that at those speeds you might as well use something else - which is exactly the point. You should read Illich sometime. Lots to ponder.
              Here's a little to whet your appetite:
              http://www.preservenet.com/theory/Illich/EnergyEquity/SPEED-STUNNED%20IMAGINATION.htm

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      • Nathan Alan July 2, 2013 at 11:03 am

        "Often in writing and reporting, there is room for taking stylistic liberty with certain words."

        The same could be said about the word "accident."

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        • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) July 2, 2013 at 11:06 am

          Well sure. Writers can take whatever liberties they want. But when they use "accident" they are making a big mistake and I can create an argument as to why it's a big mistake.

          So, the liberties one takes must hold up to scrutiny. I think the words I use, for the most part, do live up to that scrutiny, while the insensitive — and frankly lazy — use of "accident" or "bicyclist" or "motorist" do not.

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          • Nathan Alan July 2, 2013 at 11:22 am

            I brought it up for the sake of argument.

            What bothers me about your usage ( ie, carnage) is the tabloid journalism aspect of it. While I wouldn't go as far as comparing it to the likes of the NY Post, I think it does more harm than good. You yourself say you don't want to scare people with a running list of crashes, what do you think this language does?

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            • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) July 2, 2013 at 11:25 am

              what do you think this language does?

              It scares people. I know that. Like I said, it's a balance. Sometimes I feel scaring is necessary, but I don't do it often and I try to be careful and justified when I do.

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          • Help July 2, 2013 at 2:46 pm

            What's great is how every one of those "liberties" are designed to be anti-car and pro-cycling. Hmmm.

            You're extremely biased. I don't have an issue with it, but let's stop trying to claim you aren't in your writing.

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            • Caleb July 5, 2013 at 6:51 pm

              Do you think yourself not biased? Do you think anybody not biased? Do you expect Jonathan to be less biased than yourself or anybody else?

              I'm under the impression Jonathan is very biased, but biased for people not dying due to automobile accidents, and thus have no issue with what I perceive as his bias. What do you think his bias is? If you have no issue with his bias, why do you persistently try to point out that he's biased without speaking at all to the nature of his bias?

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      • El Biciclero July 2, 2013 at 12:13 pm

        Just change it to CAR-nage (hyphenated) to emphasize that is is the destruction caused by cars that we are talking about, whether or not it results in actual death.

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    • Nate July 2, 2013 at 11:47 am

      As I recall, more people are killed in auto crashes than by anything else in our country. Carnage is regularly and appropriately used for numerous things, such as gun deaths. Why the double standard? Is it just that they don't show the mangled bodies on the news so you don't believe it really is causing deaths? Is that the change you are advocating for, that there are more graphic pictures of the human damage caused on a daily basis?

      I think it is pretty reasonable to consider 100 people per day, 40,000 or more deaths in a year carnage, and calling it what it is might help awaken people to the fact that something must be done.

      Let's start by slowing down and paying careful attention when we are wielding our 3-4,000 pound cars. It could save your life and that of those around you.

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    • Hart Noecker July 3, 2013 at 2:32 am

      "Please stop using the word carnage improperly. There is no slaughter of a great number of people here. No one is dead."

      Start your own blog **moderated**

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    • shirtsoff July 3, 2013 at 12:00 pm

      @meh

      Regarding usage of the word carnage in describing the damage brought upon human life via operation of motor vehicles.. "During 2011, there were a total of 32,367 traffic fatalities in the United States" (NHTSA 2013). Also, "in 2011, there were 171,000 children age 14 and younger injured" (ibid). What is a "great number of people"? 100? 1,000? 32,000+? 3 million? When the fatalities stretch into the thousands, I believe it is safe to say that a "great number of people" have died as the word carnage implies.

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    • Paul in the 'couve July 15, 2013 at 8:19 am

      It sounds like there were three fatal accidents over the weekend on Hwy 6 (July 12 -14) the same highway where a cyclist was hit 2 weeks ago. 11 total died on OR roads in the same 4 days.

      Carnage works for me.

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  • Timur Ender July 2, 2013 at 10:27 am

    This is a crisis and we should treat it like one. BAM. Nailed it!

    According to the CDC, the way to address a virus/crisis is to change behavior norms & interrupt transmission. This has been applied to homicides in Chicago thru the non-profit Cure Violence. It can also be applied to traffic collisions. Traffic fatalities are a public health crises, there is no reason why we cannot have a public health solution.

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  • Matheas Michaels July 2, 2013 at 10:41 am

    omg! aaahh! Becky!

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  • Ted Buehler July 2, 2013 at 10:45 am

    Be the squeaky wheel, folks. Get a stack of law enforcement requests in for your least-liked part of your ride.

    If you experience unsafe conditions on your street, or the streets you ride on, call it in. Ask for better law enforcement.

    * If a crime is underway, call 911
    * If a crime has occurred, call Portland Police nonemergency, 503-823-3333 or fill out a form online at http://www.portlandoregon.gov/police/cor/
    * If people are routinely speeding, ask for a "speed reader board" to go up -- one of those nifty readouts that tells cars how fast they're going.
    * Call or email your elected officials and tell them you want to see better enforcement of existing laws to save lives, prevent property damage, and prevent personal injury.
    - city council http://www.portlandonline.com/?c=28533
    - county commissioners http://web.multco.us/board
    - your state senators and reps http://www.leg.state.or.us/findlegsltr/

    Want to see less carnage? Call now and call often.

    Ted Buehler

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    • AndyC of Linnton July 2, 2013 at 6:35 pm

      I have found that this actually works on occasion. I have seen officers show up for speeding enforcements on my road -er, highway-and have gotten ODOT out to restripe some pedestrian crosswalks, after I have contacted these hotlines due to unsafe conditions.

      Ted Buehler, thanks for continuing to post these e-mails and phone numbers, diligence is absolutely(I've found) the key, and I'll try and start writing down places I feel need enforcement when out riding the bike.

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      • Ted Buehler July 2, 2013 at 10:25 pm

        Andy -- cool, glad its working. I rode up by Linnton last week, was appalled at the bicycling conditions. Shoulder dropping away to zero on US-30, no reasonable access to the left turn on to the St. Johns Bridge, etc. Thanks for any improvements you may have instigated in those parts.

        Ted Buehler

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    • Patrick July 2, 2013 at 10:40 pm

      While I would love for this to work, I've been a squeaky wheel on my street, calling the 823-SAFE number and emailing and finally have been given the cold shoulder. I was bluntly told by a PBOT head engineer to stop requesting changes (changes that included finding ways to SLOW PEOPLE DOWN!). Perhaps I live too close to 82nd, that bugaboo of a dividing line that separates Portlandia for the rest of the city.

      Departments of transportation should be re-named department of automotive transportation to clarify their true purpose. Oh, and finding ways to accomodate the transport of material goods by trucks. So many streets in Portland could use some traffic calming devices beyond the ridiculously stupid speed bumps that do nothing. We seem to focus on relatively calm streets that need little done to them so we can pat ourselves on the back or we do triage on the cut arteries like Foster.

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  • KYouell July 2, 2013 at 10:54 am

    I'm fine with the word Car-nage. I'm very tired of people acting like driving is dissimilar to unholstering a gun, taking the safety off, and waving it at other people out on the street.

    It's time for our "Stop der Kindermoord." Every person injured by a driver is somebody's child. One link to history for those that want to know more: http://www.aviewfromthecyclepath.com/2011/01/stop-child-murder.html

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    • Help July 2, 2013 at 2:48 pm

      Really? A car is not designed to kill other people. It's a transportation device.

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      • KYouell July 2, 2013 at 3:16 pm

        Really. I said why. Here's some more.

        We pretend people driving cars aren't killing people, but they are, and those people are just as dead as if they'd been shot. We accept that guns require training and special measures to be owned and operated safely and I want the same for cars. It's not the only transportation device out there and people pretend that there is no alternative so we should stick our fingers in our ears, singing la la la because that's just the way it has to be. Way too much "collateral damage" for my taste.

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        • Help July 5, 2013 at 2:41 pm

          So what's your answer to this issue for you? Give me a solution.

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          • Caleb July 5, 2013 at 7:14 pm

            When I ask someone a question wanting to know his/her/its answer, I don't briefly follow my question with a command for that answer. And when I am being provocative, I might preface that question with "So". Given these conditions and your repeated behavior of asking for solutions, I interpret your question here as commentary more than anything, as if you're trying to say that people who don't state solutions are just "complaining" or something along that line.

            The issue KYouell mentioned is behavior other people practice. What needs to occur for that issue to end is for those people practicing that behavior to stop practicing that behavior, which I thought was obviously implied by KYouell.

            If you're really looking for solutions, Help, what is stopping you from adding to the discussion by offering solutions to issues other people mention? Recognizing issues and thinking of solutions can't occur simultaneously, and each effort often requires much different mental patterns, capacities, etc. Furthermore, awareness of threats can sometimes be enough to prevent exacerbating or creating an issue. Please be patient with those who don't mention solutions to their issues.

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  • Psyfalcon July 2, 2013 at 10:56 am

    Is there a list of crashes?

    6-28 there was a crash at 92nd and Division where they pretty much closed Division and had someone leave on a board. I guess no one died since there was never any news story. It never showed up on the PPD incident blotter map.

    6-29 Crash at Foster and Powell between a Subaru and a CRV. The CRV ended up on its roof with major damage to a rear corner. Subaru had damage to the front end. Somehow the CRV slid 100 feet, probably on its side. Powell WB was closed.

    I'd count both of those as very dangerous, high energy collisions. They closed major roads, and were each responded to by several police, ambulances, and fire trucks.

    We need a list of these to make it clear what happens on the streets on a daily basis. 2 hours later, and you can drive through and not know anything ever happened.

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    • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) July 2, 2013 at 11:01 am

      Psyfalcon,

      I agree some sort of running list would be good. I have long wanted to do this but have stopped myself because of how the overall impact might scare people too much. For me, it's a matter of balancing the anger and spotlight on existing dangers, while encouraging people to bike and create the positive tone that is more likely to get them out there. I don't want people thinking they will be crushed at any moment once they leave their house and use their streets without a steel box around them.

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      • Help July 2, 2013 at 2:48 pm

        "Steel box." Is that unbiased term?

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        • KYouell July 2, 2013 at 3:17 pm

          Yes. "Steel cage" would be the inflammatory term.

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          • El Biciclero July 2, 2013 at 4:25 pm

            ...unless automakers want to use it as a selling point. "In the event of an accidental impact, the Juggernaut's steel cage and airbags protect you from any and all injury..."

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            • Caleb July 5, 2013 at 7:16 pm

              "Cage" has long been used to describe an automobile's chassis structure.

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        • dr2chase July 2, 2013 at 6:24 pm

          I prefer "armored wheelchair".

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        • Caleb July 5, 2013 at 7:18 pm

          People have bias, but terms do not, because terms are not conscious entities. A more accurate question would be to ask Jonathan if a particular bias of his prompted him to use the phrase "steel box".

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      • 9watts July 2, 2013 at 10:43 pm

        "I agree some sort of running list would be good."

        Personally what I'd find more useful would be a method of following up on some of the more dramatic events reported on here. Christeen Osborn, for instance, was run over 1 yr ago this week. I got quite a bit of heat at the time for suggesting here in these comments that nothing much of consequence was likely to happen to Wanda Cortese, the woman who ran over Christeen, who was wearing a neon safety vest in broad daylight on a straight stretch of Hwy 101.

        Finding out even a small bit about what if anything the DA did about this case, what charges were filed against Wanda Cortese, how Christeen is doing would I think be of considerable interest.
        http://bikeportland.org/2012/07/08/collision-on-hwy-101-south-of-cannon-beach-results-in-critical-injury-74403#comment-3064172

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      • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) July 2, 2013 at 11:23 am

        Thanks DJStroky,

        I'm well aware of that Streetsblog feature. Just keep in mind that BikePortland is very different from Streetsblog. We have different missions, styles, and business models. They are all advocacy all the time, while BikePortland is more of a general news site. As such, our readership demographic is different. That's something I don't want to lose.

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      • Psyfalcon July 2, 2013 at 11:52 am

        I like that, but my question is the same, where is the source info?

        Unless I listen to the scanner all day I don't think there is a way of finding that out. I didn't mean to imply that it needs to be posted here, or even all that prominently, but I do want to see a list somewhere on the PPD site, even if its buried a bit and only traffic geeks know its there.

        Date, time, 2 sentences on what happened, injuries, deaths, and amount of police/fire response.

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        • KYouell July 2, 2013 at 1:04 pm

          "On a google map" is all I would add. I want this too. Couldn't hurt with route planning.

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          • Greg July 3, 2013 at 12:17 am

            I'm working on this for historical data. So far I only have data from Burnside from PBOT - http://moulliet.com/bside/

            I'm currently working with ODOT to get crash data for the whole state.

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  • Joe July 2, 2013 at 10:58 am

    yes this has to stop and its way outta control all over the world!
    Portland riding is great but it you end up on a wrong street be ready :(

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  • Reza July 2, 2013 at 10:58 am

    Missing from this story is the crash last Friday evening where a Honda Civic driver ran a stop sign on SE 10th and Madison and collided with a Car2Go Smart car, sending the Civic into a utility pole. A passenger in the backseat of the Civic died on the scene from his injuries, a traumatic event for the many witnesses who had tried to render aid to the injured. Haven't heard an update on that crash from the media, but the driver will have to live with the guilt of killing his friend for the rest of his life, in addition to any criminal charges or civil suits he faces.

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  • A July 2, 2013 at 11:05 am

    Intense psychological screening for those applying for auto use licenses.

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  • kittens July 2, 2013 at 11:11 am

    I think its lame that apparently the only thing we can do to push for change is "write a letter". Yeah i have done that many times and so far as I can tell the only result is wasting my time. With today's email clients it is very simple (even automatic) to autosort and delete messages you dont want to see. See: Spam. There is no point. People do what they want and nothing short of education/experience will change their lifestyle and policy making. Everyone is in their own echo chamber. That is why politics is broke and so is our country.

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    • Ted Buehler July 2, 2013 at 12:11 pm

      kittens -- The real power comes in filing a complaint with the police or with PBOT. Those are all logged somewhere, counted, and have the potential to be used as a basis for policy.

      Ted Buehler

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  • JL July 2, 2013 at 11:18 am

    I got my speedometer checked in my car. It seemed to be broken for years but the shop said it is dead on.
    I suggest that all automobile owners get their cars checked, if mine is working correctly yours seem to be broken.

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    • El Biciclero July 2, 2013 at 12:51 pm

      That's funny. I seem to notice that even new cars these days are seemingly being manufactured with sub-standard light bulbs in the turn signals. Most of these bulbs seem to be burned out.

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  • Mitch July 2, 2013 at 11:19 am

    I agree with your points. We need more safety conscious drivers, and fewer drivers overall. One small correction to your article is needed, however. You say three people lost control of their cars. It's not clear from the police report on the Foster crash that both drivers were driving dangerously/illegally, or had lost control. One of them may have been driving properly and may have reacted properly to the impending collision, maybe even making the collision less severe than it really was. I would hate to indict someone of culpability in this tragedy if they didn't deserve it.

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  • Granpa July 2, 2013 at 11:24 am

    This is not an engineering problem, it is a behavior problem. I will grant that separate bike paths are desirable from both a safety and enjoyment perspective, but ill trained, distracted, impaired drivers are causing this problem. The affordable and ultimately effective solution will be serious training, staged licensing for drivers, enforcement of rules and serious punishment for those who break those rules.

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  • peejay July 2, 2013 at 11:32 am

    Frothing, boiling rage is the only logical reaction to this CARNAGE, but it probably isn't the most effective reaction. So, I silently scream every time I hear of another case, and I do whatever I can to change the culture within my corner of the world.

    Example: a waiter at a restaurant casually opining that red-light cameras were "stupid"; I said if I had my way, every intersection would have them, and that there'd be no getting out of it because the face isn't clear.

    Anyone who brags about how fast they go, how they got out of paying a ticket, or any other form of antisocial road behavior: these people need to be reminded that they are behaving like assholes.

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  • Dan July 2, 2013 at 11:34 am

    We have permanent blinking signs in our neighborhood that indicate when you are driving over the speed limit. I think they help quite a bit for the average driver, but some folks are just going to speed anyway. I often get buzzed in the mornings by a jeep that regularly drives 35-40 in the 25 mph zone.

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    • are July 2, 2013 at 12:00 pm

      if the same guy is doing this repeatedly, you should be able to issue a citizen citation
      http://portlandafoot.org/w/Citizen_traffic_ticket

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    • Ted Buehler July 2, 2013 at 1:22 pm

      Dan -- get a couple photos of cars buzzing past the speed reader board. Email them to PPB and ask for enforcement. cc whichever city councilor is in charge of police -- Hales? You can also call their staffers and ask for help in getting enforcement.

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  • Spiffy July 2, 2013 at 12:56 pm

    it's also currently being redesigned as part of a major streetscape project (which ends west of this collision at 82nd).

    actually... "...multimodal transportation Improvements along Foster Road from SE 50th to SE 90th"

    http://www.portlandoregon.gov/transportation/57866

    so they're improving it up to 2 blocks away from the crash... I'm excited for the change...

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    • Nick Falbo July 2, 2013 at 2:06 pm

      Yes, the streetscape project will make it to around 88th/90th (where Foster splits into the Foster/Woodstock couplet). The portion of the project east of 82nd is the most contentious, but it also potentially has the most to gain.

      I'm feeling good about the community support for a 3-Lane Foster west of 82nd, but east of 82nd is a total wildcard. There appears to be little consensus among the Lents-focused representatives, and this lack of shared vision could ultimately result in very little change on the ground for that segment of the project.

      I'd hate to see Foster enhanced to 3-lanes in the west, only to go back to 4-lanes in the east. That would only reinforce the barrier that 82nd is, and solidify inequities in the neighborhoods.

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    • Cora Potter July 2, 2013 at 2:34 pm

      The proposed designs in the Foster Streetscape update/plan really have no significant improvements east of 82nd. The area between 88th and 94th has been significantly upgraded as part of the Foster/Woodstock Streetscape project. So, unless folks advocate, we'll still have a pretty significant safety/livability gap between 82nd and the couplet.

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  • Chris I July 2, 2013 at 12:58 pm

    There is a hesitancy in our culture to take away driving privileges. This is generally due to the reality that it is difficult to function in many communities without the access to a vehicle. I believe this is the root cause of weak laws regarding DUI, reckless driving, and elderly drivers. We can't expect USDOT or even ODOT to take action on this, because they have so many completely car-dependent communities in their jurisdiction.

    However, in many of our cities, you can get around without a vehicle. The cities need to start taking the lead on this; working with the state DOT and police to increase penalties for bad driving. If you cause an injury accident, you need to have your license suspended until you retest. If you get a DUI or reckless driving, the suspension needs to be at least a year. As a society, we can't keep accepting this mayhem as a normal part of life.

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    • KYouell July 2, 2013 at 1:23 pm

      Agreed! Would you care to join our #peoplefor20mph movement? We have so far had one meet-up and a couple of twitter conversations, but more is on the way. I'm @kyouell, and @sarahgilbert, @lizbon, @amysue, @velvetackbar and @GoddardTara have been in the conversations. Our focus is on slowing down cars so that collisions are decreased and those that happen are more survivable. We welcome more minds to help us figure out how to bring about this change.

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  • Ted Buehler July 2, 2013 at 1:37 pm

    BTW, for those who define carnage by multiple fatalities, grab a hard copy of today's Oregonian. Pop it open to page B3. You'll read about a bunch of misbehaving motor vehicles that somehow killed their drivers.

    * a fatal head-on collision, Monday in Scappose. Details forthcoming.
    * David Guzman-Ramirez, 25, who died Monday "after his SUV ran off Sodhouse Lane on a curve..." near Malheur Lake. (should have sent that SUV to obedience school?)
    * William Hammon, 31, who died Monday in Jackson County when his "motorcycle missed a stop sign" on Highway 99 and broadsided a horse trailer, then got run over by a commercial truck. (motorcycle deserves a reprimand for that)
    * Alice Hancock, 79, died Friday when "her car pulled out from a stop sign... into the path of another car..." near Lakewood. (another faulty motor vehicle?)

    Its all in the language. Want the carnage to continue, and be swept under the rug? Get your news from The Oregonian.

    Thanks, Jonathan, for regularly bringing the motor vehicle carnage to our attention, and posting it on the top headline of the blog.

    Ted Buehler

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  • PdxMark July 2, 2013 at 1:47 pm

    Ted Buehler
    BTW, for those who define carnage by multiple fatalities, grab a hard copy of today's Oregonian. Pop it open to page B3. You'll read about a bunch of misbehaving motor vehicles that somehow killed their drivers.

    Thanks for posting. That's a sadly funny example of "active voice" writing rooted in a passive voice mentality... To avoid saying the drivers did those things, the vehicles are now magically in control...

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  • esther c July 2, 2013 at 2:30 pm

    I don't think the problem is the infrastructure. Its operator error that causes the problems. Thousands of people negotiate that intersection daily without mowing down people on the sidewalk and driving into that house.

    What we need is stricter testing before people are given licenses to operate a vehicle. Infractions need to be taken seriously. Drunk drivers need to be taken off our streets after the first offense and their cars need to be taken away from them so they do not have an opportunity to drive again.

    In certain areas our speed limits need to be lowered. 2 lane roads without a shoulder, there is no excuse for a speed limit above 45mph for example. Limited sight lines on hills need to have restricted speeds the same way curves do.

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    • Ted Buehler July 2, 2013 at 3:12 pm

      Esther -- those "shoulds" are all fine and rosy. But, to get them, someone will need to spend major political capital, there will be bloody battles, huge pushback, and if "we" win anything at the end of the day its usually only a tiny fraction of our original goal.

      Increased enforcement of existing laws, however, can be gained instantly. By request of the public. And there will be no public battles, no pushback.

      I'm not saying we shouldn't envision a perfect world. I am saying, however, that the fastest way to get there is to fight the easy battles, rather than marginalize the easy stuff in favor of possible larger, longer term gains.

      503-823-SAFE
      safe@portlandoregon.gov
      Send them all your comments, large and small, and they'll be tallied up. And, perhaps, acted upon.

      Ted Buehler

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  • esther c July 2, 2013 at 2:32 pm

    No double or triple trailers allowed anywhere. We do not need freight trains on our highways. We have railroad tracks for that. No tractor trailers or semis allowed on city streets except during certain we morning hours. Anything that can be delivered in a smaller truck can be moved to a smaller truck.

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    • Chris I July 2, 2013 at 4:16 pm

      I just passed a UPS triple on the lower deck of the Marquam last night, and all I could think as we rounded the curve (and he failed to maintain his lane) was: "This seems unacceptably dangerous. I can't believe we allow this on our roads..."

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      • jeff July 2, 2013 at 5:09 pm

        why didn't you wait to pass until the corner straightened out? defensive driving typically works to avoid the "dangerous" times. but you probably know this.

        are there many instances/examples of triple trailers tipping over? Oregonians voted to keep them on the road a number of years ago as banning them would produce more truck traffic.

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        • Chris I July 3, 2013 at 7:23 am

          So I can't use 3 of the 4 lanes on the Marquam bridge when one of these triple trailers is one of the two middle lanes? How is that going to reduce traffic?

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  • Kristi Finney July 2, 2013 at 6:08 pm

    This is a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration map of the Oregon traffic fatalities of 2011:

    http://www-nrd.nhtsa.dot.gov/departments/nrd-30/ncsa/STSI/41_OR/2011/Oregon_Map_1_GIS_DATA_2011.HTM

    My son Dustin's death is here, at the hour and location that it happened. Miky Vu. Dale Beacock...Very sobering to see all of them. Not that I'm not already very sober.

    "Carnage" seems exactly the right word to me. I've used it myself. "Indifferent" I use to describe most people's attitude toward the dangers on the road. "Complacent" seems to be the view most people take of their own driving/biking/walking habits.

    I think I want to scare people. Better scared than devastated.
    Collisions kill. They cause life-altering injuries. They break up relationships. They bankrupt. They destroy dreams. Etc. Etc. Etc.

    "If it bleeds, it leads." That's the media take, right? And the average person sees this, is appalled and shocked, and then forgets it by the end of the next story. I wish I had the answers on how to change things. I'm constantly thinking about it. I am outraged that my son was killed! I get more outraged every time I see other sons and daughters killed for no good reason.

    Could we make an impact if for just one day or a half a day or whatever per year, at the location of every fatal crash we put an image or symbol of the person(s) killed there. How would a person feel if they're driving/riding/walking/busing home from work 5 miles or so and they see multiple where someone has died?

    Just throwing an idea out there.

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    • KYouell July 2, 2013 at 6:36 pm

      I would ABSOLUTELY participate in an event like this. Perhaps on one day we get people to stand silently at each spot where a traffic death occurred (not in the road, I'm not *that* nuts) during the morning commute? Imagine that just here in Portland. Then imagine it spreading to other cities. The last loved one I lost to a traffic collision was my great-grandfather, long before I was born but I'd gladly stand with you. I bet there are lots of people me.

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    • Paul in the 'couve July 2, 2013 at 6:56 pm

      Thanks for the map. Unfortunately it only shows fatalities. I'd like to see ones that gives a bit more info and covers everything above a fender bender, or everything that the police respond to.

      I've been thinking for a while of compiling a running list of all cases I come across in the news of people driving cars into buildings. Things I'd like to see noted:
      - power pole taken out
      - power outage caused for #
      - Building hit
      - Pedestrian hit
      - Light pole taken out
      - Tree taken out
      - car rolled over
      - 3rd car hit by one of the main vehicles

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  • mark July 2, 2013 at 7:31 pm

    the thing about "making it less convenient and more expensive" to drive is that many people have to drive. either for a living (like myself) or because they need to cart their kids around and it's not practical for everyone to ride around on a bike carrying a trailer with their kids in it. I love biking and I encourage less vehicle use, but personally I wouldn't pull a toddler or baby around on a trailer or on the back of a bike, because I don't trust other drivers. Also in a car I have seatbelts, airbags, crumple zones, etc to protect my child. A lot of people forget the vast majority of the country doesnt have the fortunate advantage of living in a city where you don't have to drive that much, or you can choose to get around without a car. I know way more people who don't have a car, than people who do. And I love that about this city. However, it's just not practical for the whole country. It's more about breaking habits, and if you look at the studies, car use and car sales continue to decline, and I believe this will continue. Part of it is due to the increased cost of driving, licensing, and fueling your vehicles. But also because people are becoming more aware of the environmental impact and the unnecessary reasons for driving everywhere. That's what will make the most difference, changing people's habits, and I don't think we need to be forced into that due to economics.

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    • ed July 2, 2013 at 8:12 pm

      But we WILL be forced by economics to change our habits, whether any of us likes it or not. The question is do we start voluntarily and gradually now or do we procrastinate and deny until we are then forced into wrenching, chaotic and inevitable rapid change? The 20th century was automotive; the 21st will not be, as is obvious to anyone looking closely or clearly. Does anyone really think existing motorist infrastructure is sustainable much less expandable?

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    • Paul in the 'couve July 2, 2013 at 8:35 pm

      Mark, thanks for your comment. I hear similar sentiments frequently, including from my spouse LOL. Many of your points have some validity. My issue with them is that I think you aren't grasping the fullness of what myself and roughly 30% to 50% (if not more) of people here are advocating. Speaking for a group who might be considered aggressively moderate which is kind of a contradiction itself. Agressive in the sense that we are firmly convinced that urban transportation as it exists in every city in the USA is problematic. 95% mode share of private motor vehicles is UNSAFE, very unsafe, needlessly as well as inefficient, expensive, environmentally insane, etc.... Moderate in the sense that we fully recognize that private vehicle trips are not going to go to zero and in the moderate group I doubt we would really want them to go to zero. I don't even want to be car free myself. My wife isn't about to give up driving and I can't say I want her to do so. For agressive moderates it isn't that we want everyone or even most people to be car free. We know that isn't realistic and it might not even be desirable. Neither do we think that cycling will work as a major component of transportation for every family and every purpose.

      What I, as an "agressive moderate" am in favor of is moving the needle. Safety first and speed, driver accountability, and road design are the major components of increasing safety. On urban streets we need lower speeds overall. We need more accountability for drivers: better enforcement of speed limits, red light cameras, and stricter penalties and easier prosecution for causing accidents. With that, yes, fewer cars and fewer trips. NOT zero cars. The economics currently strongly encourage driving. We subsidize oil production in this country to keep gas cheap. We pursue a foreign policy that often prioritizes keeping gas cheap. We subsidize roads at every level. At the local level 97% or so of road construction and maintenance costs come from pools of money that are not user based. We require businesses to provide more than sufficient parking, and we provide free parking in the public right of way on streets, and build tax supported parking garages. Meanwhile we barely maintain any alternative as viable. SO of course, in the short term your points have validity.

      So, your points don't really address my vision of things. Firstly, they are valid primarily only in the short term.

      many people have to drive. either for a living (like myself)

      You don't define "have" as to whether you mean for getting to work or for the actual job? I assume you mean to get to work. If driving gets costlier (in dollars or time required) then economics will dictate that over the long term you will make choices about where you work and live to respond to that increasing cost. Even the expectation that driving is likely to get more expensive (again time or $$$) will cause you to consider that in your decisions about work and living arrangements. Further, enhancing other transportation options like rail, bus, cycling will provide choices that become more attractive as costs of driving increase.

      0r because they need to cart their kids around

      I have kids and I need to cart them around. I can make choices about how many places I need to cart them however. How many sports I enter them in, where I obtain day care, etc these are economic decisions. When driving isn't artificially cheap, I make decisions like not playing baseball in that league because it takes too many driving trips. There are some trips that are more important or less "optional" and I am not saying all car trips must be eliminated, but as the balance of costs (time and $$$) tips and the availability of alternatives increase I as a parent make decisions about where to live, schools to attend, and activities to pursue based on those economics. Right now I do think too many parents haul their kids around far too much. That is reflected in the fact that by a wide margin, the #1 killer children age 2 to 18 is automobile accidents. So much for air bags and such! If you spend 2 hours a day hauling kids in the most unsafe form of transit imaginable, ultimately many will be killed.

      it's not practical for everyone to ride around on a bike carrying a trailer with their kids in it.

      It is more practical if the streets are safer. It is more practical if when you decide to buy a house you buy in an area with accessible services. It is more practical if driving your car is costing more, or if you have decided to reduce to 1 vehicle instead of two. Already, in most places cycling with kids is practical for a tidy percentage of trips, maybe something between 5% and 20% of the trips a family takes. I have kids. I live in the zip code in WA that has the highest percentage of trips by car. I don't do anything extreme. But I make about 20% of my trips with kids by bicycle, including sports practices and most games.

      but personally I wouldn't pull a toddler or baby around on a trailer or on the back of a bike, because I don't trust other drivers.

      I agree. I don't actually use a trailer for kids, just groceries and riding with kids on my bike or on their own bikes makes me very nervous and there are a lot of trips I take by car because of this.

      BUT - isn't that what this conversation is about? We want the streets to be safer so that we can have choices. Many of your points are about how you don't have a choice. What we are suggesting is that it doesn't have to be this way. We need to change the streets and the economics so that people are more able to make choices - choices other than using a car for EVERYTHING.

      Also in a car I have seatbelts, airbags, crumple zones, etc to protect my child.

      As I mentioned above, driving with your kids is the most dangerous thing you do with them. It is false security. Also, as I mentioned, It is the best option sometimes and all too often - the way things are now. But that is what we want to change.

      A lot of people forget the vast majority of the country doesnt have the fortunate advantage of living in a city where you don't have to drive that much, or you can choose to get around without a car.

      I'm from Montana. I know ... but... Even in Montana more than 70% of the people live in decent size towns where a healthy percentage of trips and errands can be completed without a car. Yes, there is a large percentage of land in the USA that is not densely populated, but the vast majority - like 90% - of the USA population live in areas where at least a healthy portion of their trips are less than 2 miles. Further, as mentioned, I don't want to eliminate all car use. I totally recognize that cars will still be required.

      and I don't think we need to be forced into that due to economics.

      There is no neutral in the intersection of economics and public policy. Forcing is a strong word. I am enthusiastically for some changes. At the very least, currently, policy in this country at every level advantages driving with low costs for fuel, roads, parking and transit time. Meanwhile at most levels, and all levels in most places, every other option is discouraged by lack of safety and intolerable conditions created by auto centric urban design. This is the balance we need to adress and change.

      Certainly, I don't want to force everyone to give up cars. I do want to economically incentives real choice for alternatives.

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      • davemess July 3, 2013 at 8:40 am

        I think he meant "Drive for a living" as he drives for his living (i.e. truck driver, delivery, taxi driver).

        I think a lot of what you said has merit Paul, but I don't think many of the other posts on here share your rational tone. Mark also makes the strong point that very few places in the US even come close to Portland as far as transportation and bikeability options are concerned. Yes we all want that to change, but too many in this city keep the blinders on and either haven't been outside of Portland in a while or simply forgot what much of the US still is like.

        You write a great (long) post, and I think those are wonderful thoughts, I just wonder if the "outrage" at the "carnage" route is really the way to go about your ideas. (Note how much less bombastic and more calm your post is compared to the article and many of the above posts). In the end people need to make the choices for themselves, not just be told to do something. So yes we need to continue to advance and improve options for them, not just all of a sudden slap 20mph on any non-highway road law in their face. It's going to take time, and unfortunately "outrage" and time aren't necessarily always compatible.

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        • Paul in the 'couve July 3, 2013 at 9:40 am

          Thanks for the kind words. Just a few brief points. I agree with you mostly. Certainly I wouldn't live in the Orchards area for the reasons you mention or out in Hockinson. Washougal and Camas and much of Battleground and Woodland are actually walkable and bikeable. So it it isn't just density or location, it is a combination of those but also when the street grid was constructed and whether a downtown core ever existed. etc. etc etc..

          My points are these. Everything I said above is about moving in a different direction. Moving, over time. So..
          1) I see this as inherently a locally driven process accumulating over time as cities and residents make decisions that move in a different direction. Amsterdam didn't get where they are in 5 years. Portland has taken 20 years to get to 7%(ish) bike share. Rome wasn't built in a day. Local and time. The only federal / national policy change I would like to see is simply cutting the DOT and the FHWA to very minimal operations and eliminating oil subsidies.

          2) Stop building stuff that way! Again, this is mainly locally. I'm not going to change the way mid size cities in Missouri build. But Chicago, Seattle, Portland, Minneapolis and San Francisco and even LA are getting it. Some folks in Vancouver almost get it. Clark County doesn't get it. But what I'm interested in is local decisions about building roads and stores and neighbourhoods We need to stop building those neighbourhoods you describe that are impossible to live in without a car. I agree with some here (though not so extremely as "peak oil" and all that) that within 10 or 15 years housing values in those areas are going to be lagging far behind older, connected neighbourhoods.

          Everything else I think is clear from what I've said above.

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          • spare_wheel July 3, 2013 at 1:29 pm

            Portland's mode share statistic is completely different from Amsterdam's. If we actually counted mode share based on trips instead of census majority-adjusted use our mode share would be far, far higher.

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            • Paul in the 'couve July 3, 2013 at 2:17 pm

              Absolutely. I rode with a group from Vanc. to VeloCult last Thurs. and even though all are cyclists and two were car free, they hadn't ridden that much into Portland (transit and rides with friends for those trips) so they were very impressed with the numbers of cyclists we saw all over, but especially riding Going as Last Thurs. was getting over.

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          • wsbob July 4, 2013 at 11:37 am

            "... We need to stop building those neighbourhoods you describe that are impossible to live in without a car. ..." Paul in the 'couve

            In the U.S., for decades and decades, continuing to today, that's the way most people have wanted to live. It's the American Dream to live in an expansive, quiet place away from work, schools, store, industry, and other congestion associated with towns and cities. In the Metro area, the high density model seems to have established some footing, but it certainly hasn't supplanted the home away from congestion model, which by default, obliges motor vehicle use.

            So, justification for bringing more open land in the UGB persists. Expansive single family home developments such as Forest Heights, and a succession of similar cookie cutter developments, none of which have much, if any basic community elements within a walkable or bike-able distance from them, gradually spread outward along Skyline Drive.

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            • 9watts July 4, 2013 at 1:41 pm

              "that's the way most people have wanted to live."

              Not so fast, wsbob.
              Demand for stuff works in funny ways. Demand is also highly dependent on what is supplied, what is available. When I wanted to buy a house in Portland, the search capability then available (2002) allowed you to stipulate more than so and so many square feet, but not what I was looking for which was less than 800 square feet. You can claim all day that this is what people want, but you are not answering the questions: 'how do people who don't want this register their preference?' Do we know how many settle for something other than what they want? How do we distinguish those purchases from the others? In the late 1980s I wanted an 80 mpg car. Hard to register that preference here in the US. These days I would prefer that the bus schedules of the various counties in NW Oregon aligned. They don't. I take the bus anyway. Does that register as a vote for the current dreadful scheduling?
              Much of what you say about the American Dream is true, as far as it goes. But there are literally hundreds of elements that are not, strictly speaking, individual preferences (gov't subsidy of interstate highway system, mortgage interest tax deduction, white flight, redlining, Cold War paranoia, social class anxieties, and the list goes on and on) that have made it so.

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            • Paul in the 'couve July 4, 2013 at 2:22 pm

              I have further thoughts I may contribute later on, but happened upon this on the Seattle Transit blog http://seattletransitblog.com/2013/07/03/queen-annes-unique-opportunity/

              Queen Anne was where my love for urban neighborhoods began, as a junior high kid in 1980. I had grown up in Bellevue in the land of hourly buses, the nearest supermarket a mile away, and nothing but houses and a few apartments in between. One day I encountered a friend whose family had moved away to Seattle. I followed him on Bus 2 to its terminus, and found another world. I was floored by the half-hourly buses, whisper-quiet trolleybuses reminiscent of streetcars, his apartment next to the bus stop, a grocery store a few blocks away, the ability to walk to his friends’ houses all over the hill, Seattle Center just fifteen minutes away (where the kids went on Friday and Saturday evenings), and the shops and restaurants of Queen Anne Avenue just six blocks away. I had never heard of “urbanism” or “walkability” or “transit-oriented development,” but I saw the concepts in action, and decided this was the kind of environmentI wanted to live in./blockquote>

              I believe it is apropos. As 9watts alluded to, even people who want to (or are sold on) living in modern 80's type suburban areas don't necessarily want what comes with that. Many people growing up there are becoming very aware of the unforseen consequences and limitations of the suburban model as it has developed. [I do think that quite a lot can be done to "fix" these limitations even in some of the most sprawled areas.]

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            • Paul in the 'couve July 4, 2013 at 2:25 pm

              I posted this but it got sent to moderation so wait for the moderated post to appear for the link..... and the formatting was screwed up.

              I have further thoughts I may contribute later on, but happened upon this on the Seattle Transit blog

              Queen Anne was where my love for urban neighborhoods began, as a junior high kid in 1980. I had grown up in Bellevue in the land of hourly buses, the nearest supermarket a mile away, and nothing but houses and a few apartments in between. One day I encountered a friend whose family had moved away to Seattle. I followed him on Bus 2 to its terminus, and found another world. I was floored by the half-hourly buses, whisper-quiet trolleybuses reminiscent of streetcars, his apartment next to the bus stop, a grocery store a few blocks away, the ability to walk to his friends’ houses all over the hill, Seattle Center just fifteen minutes away (where the kids went on Friday and Saturday evenings), and the shops and restaurants of Queen Anne Avenue just six blocks away. I had never heard of “urbanism” or “walkability” or “transit-oriented development,” but I saw the concepts in action, and decided this was the kind of environmentI wanted to live in.

              I believe it is apropos. As 9watts alluded to, even people who want to (or are sold on) living in modern 80's type suburban areas don't necessarily want what comes with that. Many people growing up there are becoming very aware of the unforseen consequences and limitations of the suburban model as it has developed. [I do think that quite a lot can be done to "fix" these limitations even in some of the most sprawled areas.]

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          • Paul in the 'couve July 4, 2013 at 2:27 pm

            Wow the screener is holding up posts like crazy today... wondering what I said

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          • Paul in the 'couve July 6, 2013 at 2:51 am

            Headline in Seattle PI "Two young girls injured in Des Moines hit-and-run" Not mentioned in the headline, they weren't on the street. They weren't on the sidewalk. They were playing in yard! Playing in their beautiful "American Dream " suburban yard and hit by someone driving a "Very safe" SUV. Yep, sure-nuff the driver of the SUV safely jumped the curb, drove through a yard, hit two kids, and drove home. The coppers got him. I'm not posting the link to avoid getting filtered - look it up. 25700 S. 16th in Des Moines - one of those heavily car centric suburbs where allegedly absolutely no one can make even an occasional trip without a car - BTW my sister lived there, I've ridden in the area. Not great but many trips are indeed do-able.

            What really drives me nuts is how often I hear folks very concerned that "every day I see close call with cyclists almost hitting pedestrians" and people can get upset about that and THIS shinola happens every day. Every day cars kill people who aren't even on the road.

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    • dr2chase July 3, 2013 at 5:16 am

      "A lot of people forget the vast majority of the country doesnt have the fortunate advantage of living in a city where you don't have to drive that much, or you can choose to get around without a car."

      That minority is not as small as you think it is, and might only require changes to road use to make it larger.

      I've been looking at the density question with recent census data. If your unit of "place" is zip code, the median person lives in a zipcode that contains 1292 people per square mile. That's not that dense, but it's also not that sparse, and one third of us live in zipcodes more than twice as dense, 2786 per square mile. That's probably enough; in particular, there's cities and towns in the Netherlands with only about 2000 people per square mile that have bicycle 40% trip share. The other thing to note is that as density decreases, the "no room for infrastructure" argument tends to fall apart.

      If your "place" is a census tract, the median person lives in a tract that is 2000 people per square mile. The 1/3 person lives in a 4000 per square mile tract. A tract is not as large as a zipcode, so it might not support the same level of economic activity.

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      • wsbob July 3, 2013 at 8:13 am

        "...there's cities and towns in the Netherlands with only about 2000 people per square mile that have bicycle 40% trip share." dr2chase

        On flat terrain, generally for trips up to three miles in length, very possibly on road separated cycle tracks. If a 200'-500' climb was an obligatory part of Dutch bike commuting, over crummy infrastructure, that could effect the bike mode share.

        Here in the metro area, community and road planning hasn't been done similarly to that of the Netherlands. Much of the planning push is still towards managing road infrastructure with the objective of it being capable of bringing large numbers of people by motor vehicle from their homes far beyond the three mile bike commute said to be common in NL.

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      • davemess July 3, 2013 at 8:48 am

        Dr, that data is still not very telling. You need to look at the makeup of those square miles. In the Netherlands odds are that there are some shops/groceries/restaurants in that square mile. In many parts of suburban American that square mile is only going to contain .25 acre single family homes, with no desirable destination to bike or walk to.

        We have a couple of dutch folks at my work place and they are continually surprised at the size of the yards we have in the US (even in inner Portland). Most of Europe is just set up differently. Yes many areas might have the same per square mile density, but those squares will just not look the same (i.e. the square in the Netherlands might have all the people living on 1/4 of the square, with amenities close by).

        I agree that the planning that has gotten us to this point was both hasty and stupid, but that's where we're at now. Head out to Happy Valley some time and see how accessible to shops/grocery many of those houses are. You couldn't pay me to live there, but many call that their home, and have unfortunately bought into a car-centered lifestyle. And sadly there are a lot more Happy Valley-like areas of the US than there are inner Portland areas.

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        • dr2chase July 4, 2013 at 5:26 am

          Do you have any sort of a link or a reference to someplace I can read about that different makeup?

          I've been studying US census data, blog entry with graph here http://dr2chase.wordpress.com/2013/06/18/updated-cumulative-population-by-density-2010-census/ . One thing I've found is that if you shrink the "places" (from zipcode to census tract) that the cumulative population with density increases -- a graph I was playing with is here: https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/54487271/ZipTractPopDen.png

          I think it is much more about the infrastructure, which in some cases might just be paint striping given bikes (convenient!) room to feel safe. If you look at the Massachusetts towns and cities on that chart, you'll see that there is a blob of tremendous density, far higher than 2000 per square mile, and a whole lot of the middle is flat. Is Groningen, nominally 6.4k/sqmi, really denser that Cambridge, nominally 16.4k/sqmi, or Somerville, 18.4/sqmi? And the parking in those two cities is pretty grim.

          I say "convenient!" because Cambridge does in fact have bike routes, cycle tracks, and paths, they're often circuitous, or broken up into little bits, with unfriendly connectors (riding a bike through Harvard Square requires a particular love a traffic, or a willingness to say f-it-all and just ride on sidewalks through Harvard proper).

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  • Rob Chapman July 2, 2013 at 9:33 pm

    Paul in the 'couve, you are officially my favorite commenter here. Well said sir.

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  • esther c July 3, 2013 at 8:36 am

    If we had a usable bus and rail system people without cars could actually travel from place to place by bus. Greyhound is a mess.

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    • 9watts July 3, 2013 at 8:52 am

      Our intercity transport systems are a far cry from what they could be, but that is not a very good excuse for not using them. The attitude that we can't be bothered to use them until they have been fixed is pretty elitist, and, frankly, backwards. There are far more buses besides Greyhound, and they too have their limitations. But if people who aren't poor don't take them, make some noise, engage the authorities about why the schedules don't line up, etc. then the change you desire is unlikely to materialize.
      If you don't have a car you make the system we have rather than the system we'd like to have work.

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      • Help July 5, 2013 at 2:53 pm

        "Our intercity transport systems are a far cry from what they could be, but that is not a very good excuse for not using them."

        Yeah, it is. Outside of the New York metro area, there isn't one good public transportation system in this country. It takes 20 minutes to go about 10 stops on the Red Line in downtown. I can drive it in 5. I could probably walk it in 30. What's the point?

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        • ed July 5, 2013 at 5:24 pm

          And then what do you do with your car now you have it downtown Help? Put it in your pocket? You aren't comparing apples to apples here with your 5 minute vs 20 minute argument. (which is grossly inaccurate regardless as just getting though a few stoplights in a car downtown can take 10 minutes) But ok, you are there with your car. Now add both the time and expense of finding and paying for parking. You speak like someone who doesn't actually use the Max and really wants to drive their car everywhere. For you bikes and transit will always be half empty and cars evidently all full.

          You can keep pretending your preferences are a viable option (millions do, though keeping up the pretense is harder in places like Portland as you can see from how your ideas are rejected here) but the automotive age is ending, much as you might rail against that. And it will have very little ultimately to do with preferences. Your arguments are dead enders but useful to demonstrate the obtuseness we face, so thanks for that.

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          • 9watts July 5, 2013 at 5:42 pm

            "You can keep pretending ... the automotive age is ending, much as you might rail against that. And it will have very little ultimately to do with preferences. Your arguments are dead enders but useful to demonstrate the obtuseness we face, so thanks for that."

            Can't argue with that.

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  • Scott July 3, 2013 at 11:20 am

    A semantics argument. Awesome way to deflect addressing a topic.

    Keep Portland Passive Agressive

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  • Ayleen July 8, 2013 at 11:06 am

    "Failing to control their cars" Very well phrased, Jonathan.

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