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The Monday Roundup: Carfree, ‘Curbee’, car abuse & more

Posted by on June 30th, 2014 at 10:15 am

The “Curbee” footrest in action.
(Photo by Steven Vance/Streetsblog Chicago)

Here are the bike links from around the world that caught our eyes this week:

Cycling and social mores: Women in Afghanistan are seeking symbolic equality by the simple act of riding their bicycles. “For us, the bicycle is a symbol of freedom… We’re riding because we want to, because we love to, because if our brothers can, so can we.”

From crooked to carfree: Famous Lombard Street in San Francisco is now carfree on the weekends. And despite howling critics, the trial run went quite smoothly. What Portland streets could be improved by being carfree on the weekends?

An early American bike celebrity: Billie Fleming took to cycling in the 1930s and became famous for her adventurous and record-breaking endurance rides. One of her sponsors, Cadbury, paid her with 5 pounds of chocolate a month. She died this year at the age of 100 and her obituary is full of inspiring tidbits.

Vision Zero progress: A coalition of activists, advocates, and elected have made impressive progress on Vision Zero in New York City. Last week Mayor Bill de Blasio signed a package of bills to improve traffic safety.

Treating car abuse: Our problem in America isn’t cars, it’s that we use them way too much. While not seen as a deadly addiction, car abuse is exactly that. Now a doctor in the U.K. is treating car abuse patients with the same tactics used to treat drug addicts.

Bike share up, car use down: A new study published in the August 2014 edition of Transportation Research shows that most bike share systems lead to a significant decrease in auto use (vehicle miles traveled). However in at least one system, London Bike Share, auto use actually went up.

Bike share for everyone?: As bike share systems mature into bona fide public transit systems, cities want to make sure the bikes are an appealing option to all residents — regardless of social/cultural/economic/ethnic backgrounds. The Washington Post delved into how Capital Bikeshare is handling that issue.


$2.4 million award in dooring case: A woman in Philadelphia won big following a 2012 dooring incident, despite the jury finding she deserved 21% of the blame.

Transportation and civil rights: A report from a recent conference on civil rights leadership puts a fine point on the topic of equitable infrastructure investments. And as this Wired article points out, the point is being heard on Capitol Hill as Congress debates a new transportation bill.

Rest and respect in Chicago: It might seem like a small thing, but bicycle footrests make a profound statement: that a city respects its bicycle riders. In Chicago, Streetsblog’s Steven Vance worked with the city to install the “Curbee,” the nation’s first bicycle footrest.

Free auto parking is bad, here’s why: Vox has published a very helpful and clear explanation of why free parking is bad public policy.

Roads #1 cause of adolescent deaths worldwide: The World Health Organization’s latest report on adolescent health found that “road traffic injuries” were the leading cause of death in 2012 for people 10 to 19 years old. An estimated 330 young people die from injuries sustained in traffic every day.

What future do we want for Portland?: With our population expected to grow to three million people in the next 20 years, the way we choose to manage our transportation infrastructure will have an immense impact.

Non-helmeted rider causes stir in bike safety ad: A PSA by Cycling Scotland attracted attention because some of the riders were filmed not wearing helmets. The ad was initially banned after complaints from pro-helmet advocates, then that decision was overturned because there’s no law requiring helmets to be worn.

Kickstarter of the Week: We’ve all seen those balance bikes kids are riding these days. How about taking it one step further? The Jyrobike balances itself, which means it’s great not just for teaching kids to ride but also for kids with developmental disabilities. The project has raised over $165,000 so far, smashing its $100,000 goal with three days to go.

If you come across a noteworthy bicycle story, send it in via email, Tweet @bikeportland, or whatever else and we’ll consider adding it to next Monday’s roundup.


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  • Terry D June 30, 2014 at 10:36 am

    That is “grow to 3 million” not “3 million more people.” The expected growth to the Portland Metro is 600-700,000 (Current Population 2.3 million) with 400,000 planned to be in Portland proper.

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  • Dave June 30, 2014 at 10:57 am

    Is Billy Fleming going to berate Beryl Burton as a wimp in the afterlife?

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  • spare_wheel June 30, 2014 at 11:12 am

    What Portland streets could be improved by being carfree on the weekends?

    all of them.

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    • Gregg June 30, 2014 at 11:44 am

      Start with mine please.

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    • charlie June 30, 2014 at 11:45 am

      Sure, but we have to start small at first. How about the park blocks downtown?

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      • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) June 30, 2014 at 11:51 am

        South Parks Blocks are a natural choice. the North-south streets through Director park should also be off-limits to cars. Another thing I’d like to do is turn the block of SW 5th (transit mall) between Stark and Oak into an “eat street” where cars would not be allowed to travel. Instead, since the entire blockface is food carts, we could convert the lane into a seating area/public plaza space.

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        • wsbob July 1, 2014 at 12:27 am

          “…Another thing I’d like to do is turn the block of SW 5th (transit mall) between Stark and Oak into an “eat street” where cars would not be allowed to travel. Instead, since the entire blockface is food carts, …” maus/bikeportland

          The food carts on the perimeter of the block, use up only a portion of what is a surface parking lot. On the rest of this lot, there’s plenty of room for a generously sized seating area/public plaza space to be established, if people want to pay for that. Then, the street itself could continue to help meet travel needs it’s there to provide for.

          To pay for parking revenue lost in providing space on the parking lot for the seating area/public plaza, raise the rent of food cart vendors, who in turn, will pass that expense onto the cost of food they sell to people that are their customers. Actual restaurants located in buildings may appreciate the idea.

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      • Chris I June 30, 2014 at 12:52 pm

        and NW 13th!

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      • wsbob June 30, 2014 at 8:43 pm

        Just reverting to curbside parking only on the side of the street across from the park rather than directly alongside it, would be a great first step.

        When the city had that arrangement in the south park blocks prior to construction of the streetcar, it vastly improved both the aesthetics and the functionality of the park. It made crossing back and forth on foot between park and the other side of the street, much easier and safer.

        Maybe the city thinks it’s being so fiscally responsible by having parking on both side of the street and raking in the dollars from charging people to park there. So as some bikeportland readers may put it, ‘storing cars, i.e. parking them’, pays off in this case.

        From this perspective, car free streets on a broad scale, aren’t such a good idea either, because it’s more difficult to generate revenue from streets when the majority of road users that so far, still travel by motor vehicle aren’t able to use their cars on car free streets.

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        • 9watts June 30, 2014 at 8:51 pm

          “car free streets on a broad scale, aren’t such a good idea either, because it’s more difficult to generate revenue from streets when the majority of road users that so far, still travel by motor vehicle aren’t able to use their cars on car free streets.”
          You have it backwards. Streets are for people not for revenue generation. We need the revenue mostly because we have too many motor vehicles wearing them down, requiring us to build them to higher standards than we would/will without cars in mind.

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          • wsbob June 30, 2014 at 11:43 pm

            “…Streets are for people not for revenue generation. …” 9watts

            Streets are for people to use for travel and commerce. The revenue generated from the use of streets, is much of what pays for their construction and maintenance.

            I notice you want to believe the streets could be built less sturdily, for less money if the mode of transport they were built for, did not require they be as sturdy as they are today. Yet you do not suggest a mode of transport that could realistically and satisfactorily replace the major mode in use today.

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            • El Biciclero July 1, 2014 at 10:10 am

              “Streets are for people to use for travel and commerce.”

              Right on. But haven’t there been studies–or at least observations–that when “travel” is maximized by prioritizing speeding cars, “commerce” is reduced because the street becomes less attractive for shoppers/patrons of businesses? There are several medium/large cities (Edinburgh and Buenos Aires that I’ve been to) that dedicate miles of entire streets, at least part-time, to pedestrian-only use and those stretches of street are some of the busiest around–with people shopping and spending moolah at small businesses, supporting the local economy.

              “The revenue generated from the use of streets, is much of what pays for their construction and maintenance.”

              Let’s assume that the initial construction costs of a street have been paid. Let’s further assume that the revenue “generated” from a particular section of a street (from parking fees) isn’t quite enough to pay even for maintenance on that stretch of the street. Then if you remove the source of revenue by disallowing driving/parking you lose some fraction of what would be paid to maintain that part of the street–but you also get rid of nearly 100% of the destructive forces that bring about the need for “maintenance” in the first place. Just as an example, let’s say it costs $100 to maintain some street block for a year, and parking revenue brings in $25, bringing the net cost to $75. Now, if we get rid of the cars and parking, do we have to pay the entire $100 to maintain the street? No, because the maintenance costs just went down to $5 per year (for the sake of example). So if we allow my gross assumptions about maintenance costs, we would actually save $70 by closing the street.

              Feel free to show me actual numbers to refute this, but the only way closing a street to motor traffic would be a financial loser is if parking revenues exceeded maintenance costs for a stretch of the street. Even if that is really the case, one would have to balance the loss of parking revenue with the boost to local business, and also realize that most people are still going to drive and park somewhere, even if it isn’t on the closed street section, so would there be that much revenue really lost?

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              • 9watts July 1, 2014 at 10:29 am

                A beautiful example, El Biciclero. I think carhead explains most of the confusion around this question exhibited in these comments, and also around the Street Fee. By discouraging auto use with a financial instrument, we get a triple dividend:
                - less wear and tear on the streets which translates to reduced need for funds;
                - a large and potentially growing flow of funds directly indexed to the activity responsible for the remaining maintenance;
                - a favorable shift in mode balance which can be self-reinforcing;
                - a late but no less salutary run on doing without the fossil fuels which we will need to jettison in our lifetimes anyway.

                Well that was four, not three, and I’m sure there are quite a few more.

                wsbob: “you do not suggest a mode of transport that could realistically and satisfactorily replace the major mode in use today.”

                Actually I have, many times. And it is in the title of this blog. I realize that your challenge was worded carefully so as to make it appear unrealistic for bikes to qualify, but I’m happy to take your bait.
                I submit that un-electrified bicycles can substitute for 80% of the non-walking transportation and cargo-hauling needs we will continue to experience after we internalize the need to quit the fossil fuel habit. The remaining 20% can and will be handled by donkeys, electric assist, and a few other known means. You realize perhaps that a significant share of our present transportation demand is discretionary, is itself a function of a century of cheap and increasingly subsidized fossil fuels. Once we recognize the risks we are taking by continuing to burn these, our ‘need’ for Chilean apples in March, for Canadian toilet paper, for millions of plastic bits from China will disappear. We’ll figure out, as our grandparents did, that there are closer-to-home ways of sourcing or making or doing without those things.

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                • El Biciclero July 1, 2014 at 11:29 am

                  What?! Give up my Canadian TP??? Crap!

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                • GlowBoy July 2, 2014 at 1:39 pm

                  I’ll agree that we need our streets to support the delivery of goods. And I’ll agree that cars don’t contribute very significantly to road wear; i.e., trucks and buses do the overwhelming share of the damage.

                  I would even posit that if the majority of the population started getting around by bike, most goods would still be delivered by truck, and we would need a road network built to withstand truck traffic.

                  But here’s the thing: we have a far more extensive and dense network of roads, with more lanes, than we would need just to support commercial deliveries and moderate volumes of car traffic. All those extra road lanes built just to accommodate cars must still be built and maintained to a standard that accommodates trucks. That costs the taxpayers a stupendous amount of money.

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                • 9watts July 2, 2014 at 2:22 pm

                  “if the majority of the population started getting around by bike,”

                  and that’s the key: how are we going to achieve this most efficaciously? With a street fee that stiffs the bikey folk and further subsidizes the car-bound, or with a re-invigorated gas tax that reflects what we know about the relative merits and liabilities of the car and its alternatives?

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              • wsbob July 1, 2014 at 2:07 pm

                To date, American communities seem to continue to loathe to having their communities be walkable and bikeable as some of the commonly cited European cities and countries have done. The Portland Metro area is a typical example, including Washington County, where I live. Car free streets are a nice idea, but here, neither the current, prevailing community design, or the people living here, really support it other than as a novelty, fantasy idea.

                As to your ideas about street maintenance required, relative to the type of vehicles using them, I think you may be making huge assumptions without much if any, engineering information to support them. I don’t have the numbers to fill you in, but I suspect roads and streets are built to a level in sturdiness far exceeding that required to support use by walking and biking, because their longevity is vulnerable to other factors besides heavy motor vehicles. Environmental changes alone, of hot and cold, and precipitation, likely is a significant factor in how sturdy a road or street must be built to achieve a long life.

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                • 9watts July 1, 2014 at 2:58 pm

                  “American communities seem to continue to loathe to having their communities be walkable and bikeable”

                  I’m glad you included the word ‘seem’ in that sentence, because I couldn’t disagree more strongly with your interpretation. I can think of many reasons: inertia, carhead, weak leaders, scattered priorities, poor communication, lack of experience with the result, and the list goes on. Concluding that we, collectively, loathe this result to me seems highly implausible.

                  “neither the current, prevailing community design, or the people living here, really support it other than as a novelty, fantasy idea.”

                  I submit that this is not a fair conclusion to draw. How would you, realistically, gauge public support for something like this, when
                  (a) the result is not, fundamentally, something the vast majority of Washington County residents has any direct experience with, could be expected to have a hard time choosing or rejecting without that experience, and
                  (b) no one to my knowledge is offering a pathway to this goal, articulating how we might want to (or need to) transition away from cars or toward human powered locomotion.

                  The lack of imagination, inspiration, urgency on the part of our leaders when it comes to making the case for this kind of a revolution doesn’t help. Just look at most of the debates we have here on bikeportland. Instead of championing a thoroughgoing, world-class if you will, bit of infrastructure, each and every attempt by the agencies tasked with implementing the projects that fit this description get watered down, whittled away, adulterated, sometimes to the point of unrecognizability. With that sort of track record how can we–as you seem eager to–conclude that this state of affairs is the outcome of some democratic process (=a vote against) walkable, bikeable communities?

                  Would it not be far easier, and more accurate, to infer that the process is broken, that timid bureaucrats find themselves hiding behind a very substantial inertia borne of a century of subsidized oil and cars, and the habits these engendered?

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                • wsbob July 1, 2014 at 10:58 pm

                  9watts at http://bikeportland.org/2014/06/30/monday-roundup-carfree-curbee-car-abuse-108038#comment-5127143

                  It’s the market that determines what gets built, and as a market for housing, employment, services, recreation and all the other bits of the American way of life, communities are not really seeking to have their community be truly walkable and bikeable. Yet.

                  Gradually though, improvements in infrastructure may be moving in directions that will eventually allow communities to be walkable and bikeable. In the most recent edition of the Beaverton community newsletter, there was announcement that the city is proceeding with improvements to Millikan Way, east of Hall Blvd, through to Lombard, which borders the transit center.

                  The city’s intention, is that Millikan Way, and Broadway which roughly parallels it across TV Highway to the south, can serve as a sort of bike throughway, instead of having people struggle, dealing with huge amounts of motor vehicle traffic as they ride the bike lanes on Canyon Rd. Project completion though, is over a year away.

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    • q`Tzal June 30, 2014 at 3:06 pm

      Any street in a high density area where customers to the businesses on that street end up parking elsewhere either due to no parking or over-utilized on street parking.
      In these situations people are already used to walking a few blocks to get to those businesses (except for the lucky minority that scored the primo spot) so the area might just as well be a full time pedestrian mall… with specific allowances for people with mobility disabilities ONLY.

      I understand the utility of on street parking but if a business was dependent upon ALL CUSTOMERS having used on street parking on the same block as their business not a single one would be able to stay in business.
      On street parking use is a minority use case of the average customer demographic; everyone else is already walking.

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  • Cory Poole June 30, 2014 at 11:54 am

    If you got rid of the hand rail, skaters would strongly endorse the Curbee!

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  • GlowBoy June 30, 2014 at 12:08 pm

    “treating car abuse patients” links to the de Blasio article.

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  • rob June 30, 2014 at 12:14 pm

    The dooring article doesn’t explain what the 21% fault was. Just being in traffic on a bike??

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    • Dan June 30, 2014 at 12:27 pm

      Car owners are the majority in every jury.

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    • dan June 30, 2014 at 1:58 pm

      Riding in the door zone?

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      • rob July 1, 2014 at 3:16 pm

        I guess the expectation is to stay as far right as possible, except immediately before a door opens in your path.

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  • 9watts June 30, 2014 at 12:29 pm

    Donald Shoup: “My idea is simple: if somebody doesn’t have a car, they shouldn’t have to pay for parking.”

    Some of us have been saying the same thing about the ignominious Street Fee proposal for some time. “If somebody doesn’t contribute through their mode choices to the deterioration of the streets, why should they pay hundreds of dollars per year? Let those who drive pick up that tab.”

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    • Oregon Mamacita June 30, 2014 at 12:50 pm

      9 Watts, how many times do we have to explain that buses do quite a bit of damage, as well as the trucks that bring you and your dogs (they have a carbon footprint too) food. Do we want to fix the streets or engage in the usual, judgmental rhetoric?

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      • 9watts July 1, 2014 at 7:33 am

        Oregon Mamacita,
        I fully recognize that Trimet buses are heavier and do more damage (per wheel if not necessarily per passenger – someone can look that up) than a car or SUV). But I pay for my bus ticket, which keeps going up, and which you can be sure would continue to go up if we had a gas tax worthy of the name. As I said in response to Matt, I have absolutely no problem paying for our street’s maintenance, as long as there is a degree of proportionality involved, as long as the algorithm makes sense and doesn’t itself require new bureaucracies to calibrate.

        The Street Fee, as proposed, involves needless complexity, double-counting, and is a subsidy by those who don’t drive to those who do. Even Elly Blue, who back in 2008 was in favor of the Street Fee, noted this here on Bikeportland. I don’t think there’s any debate about that feature of the Street Fee, so let’s focus on the parts that are unclear.

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    • Matt June 30, 2014 at 1:55 pm

      That seems a bit Libertarian. I don’t own a car but I recognize the value of having good streets. My goods are delivered via streets. My food is. My Mom drives them etc. Paying for streets is not equivalent to parking. Streets get used in a fluid way. Parking is storage. Pay for storage if you use it. I don’t use it. But I don’t mind paying for good streets. That said, I do think if you choose to drive a Hummer, you pay more. Commercial trucks pay more. Ban studded tires. Raise the gas tax and dedicate more of it to maintenance.

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      • 9watts June 30, 2014 at 2:29 pm

        It isn’t Libertarian. It is called the Polluter Pays Principle.

        As a non-car owner a gas tax isn’t something I pay directly, but indirectly I do, and for all those services you listed. That makes sense to me, because it is proportional. The Street Fee is the opposite.

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      • Chris I June 30, 2014 at 2:34 pm

        Why should the government subsidize one mode of transportation over another? If your goods might travel more efficiently by rail, or by air. The cost of transporting your goods should be factored into the price. If the distributor uses a truck, they should pay for the infrastructure they use. You are paying your share when you hand over your money for the product. Let the free market decide which method of transportation is most efficient.

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        • 9watts June 30, 2014 at 2:46 pm

          “Let the free market decide which method of transportation is most efficient.”
          Yes, but.

          I think the point is that we need an elegant combination of state oversight and administration (how high to set the gas tax, what rate to index it to, etc.) plus what you’re talking about. As it stands, we’ve got lots of (free) market decision-making which takes full advantage of the subsidized fossil fuels. As Herman Daly famously put it “While the invisible hand looks after the private sector, the invisible foot kicks the public sector to pieces.”

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        • q`Tzal June 30, 2014 at 3:24 pm

          Yes, why is the United States government subsidizing oil, gasoline, coal and natural gas?
          They should definitely stop right now if only because each one of those business sectors is so shamelessly profitable that they have no justification for taking federal subsidies other than profligate greed.

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    • Mossby Pomegranate June 30, 2014 at 4:11 pm

      your hands are not clean. Any number of good and services you consume are somehow conveyed by a motor vehicle. It’s like saying an electric car has zero environmental impact. Wrong!

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      • 9watts July 1, 2014 at 7:38 am

        “Any number of good and services you consume are somehow conveyed by a motor vehicle.”
        I never said otherwise. But you may appreciate that those who are piloting those vehicles, or who pay for the gas they consume would be paying (the increased, indexed) gas tax. Those extra costs would, in any society I’ve ever lived in, be passed on to the individual or entity who is benefiting from that transportation service. Where’s the problem here? I’m not seeing how my proposals suggest that I’m trying to get away with something, am in denial that I benefit from the streets.

        All I’ve been saying is that the premise of the Street Fee is an absurdly complicated and unnecessarily data-intense formula to pay for something that we have already figured out how to charge for with almost no overhead.

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  • Dan Morrison June 30, 2014 at 12:55 pm

    That curbee is the single dumbest, laziest, and most wasteful thing I’ve ever seen. If one dollar of public money goes to install one of those, it’s a dollar wasted. You choose to ride but can’t be bothered to put your foot down?

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    • stacia June 30, 2014 at 1:15 pm

      yeah… and in the bike box where it’s installed, that’s pretty much the worst / least visible place to wait for the light to change.

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      • El Biciclero July 1, 2014 at 10:25 am

        Good point. It seems that these would work best in a “protected” bike lane or cycletrack. I tend to hug the left-most portion of the bike lane if I’m going straight through, although I’ll use a curb if there are no right turns allowed and I want to stay seated. Sometimes, a light pole works if I don’t want to take my foot off of the pedals, but I realized a few years ago that if I’m reaching out to lean against a pole, it could be mistaken by approaching drivers as me signaling a right turn. Then, those drivers who believe that they can execute a right turn alongside and at the same time as bicyclists (since “they have to stay in their bike lane, right?”) will be mislead into attempting to do so–to my detriment.

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    • wsbob June 30, 2014 at 11:55 pm

      It does though, open up possible ideas for some of the folks that stand at intersections with signs inviting donations. With a little footstool at their side, they could be ready, for a donation, to slip the footstool under the foot of some weary person on a bike, needing a little relief from the long wait for a traffic light to change.

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  • John Liu June 30, 2014 at 12:58 pm

    I agree. An unnecessary, pointless thing.

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  • Hart Noecker June 30, 2014 at 2:32 pm

    Way to park in the bike box, cager.

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    • John Lascurettes July 1, 2014 at 9:30 am

      Everybody in that photo is in motion for a green light – except the guy posing for the curbee picture. Way to jump to assumptions.

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  • Anne Hawley June 30, 2014 at 3:03 pm

    The Billie Fleming story is wonderful–and of course absolutely begs to make the correlation of her bike-riding glory and her 100-year life into causation. Inspiring!

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  • q`Tzal June 30, 2014 at 3:20 pm

    It would be really cool, and helpful to single parents, if they bike share programs could inject some bakfiets in to the mix.

    I think “ugly but very functional” is the way to go at first. Different form factors would work but the ugly-ification technique could be something as simple as making every cargo box on the bakfiets a rolling billboard for the sponsors and anyone willing to pay.

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    • was carless July 1, 2014 at 7:53 pm

      I would absolutely be onboard if they did that!

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  • TOM June 30, 2014 at 3:28 pm

    >>Rest and respect in Chicago: It might seem like a small thing, but bicycle footrests make a profound statement: that a city respects its bicycle riders.

    that’s funny. I spent some time in Chicago last summer. My estimate is that 99.9% of bikes were Walmart/Target $100 MTB specials. Don’t think i ever saw a helmet or gloves.

    Many riders going wrong way up bike lanes. BUT they seemed to have solved the bike theft problem. Bikes are left unlocked or small cable locked to a front fence , parked on the sidewalk overnight , seems nobody wants to steal one of those. :(

    It’s a very different bike culture than PDX. They didn’t seem very serious.

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    • gutterbunnybikes June 30, 2014 at 8:33 pm

      So what is a serious bike rider?

      Chicago is flat as a pancake, you don’t need gears, you don’t need a “serious bike”. A Schiwnn Cruiser is more than adequate for most people to enjoy a ride in Chicago—-or Portland for that matter.

      Heck I grew up in Michigan and rode about 10 miles a day (every morning at 12 years old) with 50-100 lbs of newspapers on board my Schwinn Cruiser. Honestly, it was the more reliable bike I ever owned.

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  • GlowBoy June 30, 2014 at 3:46 pm

    Funny, I guess we don’t all have the same experience in Chicago. I haven’t been to Chicago in a few years, but when I was last there I saw plenty of people on “better bikes”, including road bikes and fixie-type urban bikes. And on the weekend I saw lots of groups of roadies in full kit (despite it being March and still pretty cold out). All in places like Lincoln Park, Hyde Park and the Loop.

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  • chasingbackon June 30, 2014 at 11:07 pm

    Close Naito parkway from the steel bridge to clay or maybe even harrison. One sunday a month in the winter and most sundays in the spring and summer. great along the river ride and it ties in with sunday fair on the waterfront

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  • Joe July 1, 2014 at 8:49 am

    I support closing roads during weekends. :)

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  • Pete July 2, 2014 at 11:17 am

    wsbob
    9watts at http://bikeportland.org/2014/06/30/monday-roundup-carfree-curbee-car-abuse-108038#comment-5127143
    It’s the market that determines what gets built, and as a market for housing, employment, services, recreation and all the other bits of the American way of life, communities are not really seeking to have their community be truly walkable and bikeable. Yet.
    Gradually though, improvements in infrastructure may be moving in directions that will eventually allow communities to be walkable and bikeable. In the most recent edition of the Beaverton community newsletter, there was announcement that the city is proceeding with improvements to Millikan Way, east of Hall Blvd, through to Lombard, which borders the transit center.
    The city’s intention, is that Millikan Way, and Broadway which roughly parallels it across TV Highway to the south, can serve as a sort of bike throughway, instead of having people struggle, dealing with huge amounts of motor vehicle traffic as they ride the bike lanes on Canyon Rd. Project completion though, is over a year away.
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    Millikan Way is heavily biked with Max access at two stops and (rough) connectivity to the Beav TC; it’s problem is it just doesn’t serve much of Beaverton – SW Hall is where the real improvements could be made there, as well as Lombard and Allen. This is good news you’re sharing, thanks.

    I don’t know that Americans aren’t really seeking to have their communities be walkable and bikeable; personally I think this is being done more now than ever before. The problem I see in trying to accomplish those goals is that much of the damage has already been done, and undoing it requires change that scares everyone, like removing on-street parking or raising taxes to pay for this change. What I’ve also observed is that the ever-present goal of local governments is “business development” which means “jobs” (for increased tax revenue), which translates into building development that often competes for space with safe infrastructure, and the developers of those buildings have far more (and early) influence than the public – who mostly just react to what they read or see in news after the fact instead of getting involved in public meetings during planning.

    Case in point is the 49ers stadium that 60% of Santa Clara residents approved on the promise that none of their tax money would be spent on it. Now that it opens in a month, a popular youth soccer field has been displaced, nearby residents are concerned about parking overflows into their neighborhoods, and the publicly-funded San Tomas Aquino Creek Trail has not yet reopened and will remain closed every time there’s an event there. This is suddenly causing many residents to voice their concerns and organize, even though they were already warned about these impacts years ago.

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    • wsbob July 3, 2014 at 9:34 am

      “…SW Hall is where the real improvements could be made there, …” Pete

      Not sure if you’re referring to Hall Blvd’s bike lanes rather than to Millikan Way, but if you are, then yes, making Hall’s bike lane continuous past the light rail tracks all the way to Cedar Hills Blvd, has seemed to me for a long time, like a good thing to do. For that to happen, (and I got the word straight from the mayor.), city hall has to hear from the public that this is something people definitely want and are willing to spend their money on. I’ve mentioned this before in past comments to bikeportland stories.

      Lacking a big public request in that respect, the city instead, in its long term planning, envisions in planning its done to date, that side streets off the Hall-Watson couplet, such as Main Ave with Rose Biggi to the east, can serve as primary routes for biking. That may work well for people that bike, but those improvements likely are a long way down the road.

      I believe ‘economic development’ is the broad term most commonly used to describe where the city’s efforts are directed, with ‘business development’ being part of that objective.

      Beaverton does a great job of including increases in walking and biking infrastructure in its planning, but overall, those increases consist of a relatively minor effort towards meeting the city’s travel needs by means, specifically walking and biking, other than use of motor vehicles. I’m fairly sure it’s because people in a big voice as the public, aren’t asking for this sort of thing, that city hall isn’t taking such steps.

      Culturally, around here, I think it’s in most people’s mindset, that if they’ve got to do something, they want to first and foremost, to be able to drive to get it done. I think it also continues to be strongly and widely felt, that biking or walking may be fun and good exercise, for a change, but the motor vehicle is and should continue to be, the ‘go to’ means of travel. I think those values underlie and drive the character of planning Washington County and Beaverton feel they must direct their efforts to at present.

      I’d like things to be different than this, but in so many ways, they just seem not to be.

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  • Rob Anderson July 5, 2014 at 11:17 am

    For the record, there were no “howling critics” about closing Lombard Street to cars. In fact there were no critics at all.

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