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The Monday Roundup: The joys of snowy biking, Berlin’s bike vandals and more

Posted by on February 15th, 2016 at 10:29 am

First snow day of 2014-29
A rare snow day in Portland.
(Photo: J.Maus/BikePortland)

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

Snowy biking: People who ask why anyone would do it forget about its beauty, writes Anders Swanson.

Bike gang: A gang of masked vandals on bicycles has been demolishing expensive cars in gentrified Berlin neighborhoods.

Hit and run: The chief operating officer at Kaiser Permanente Dental Associates got a misdemeanor charge after fleeing (first by car, then on foot) the scene of a collision at NE Broadway and 24th that left a woman with a traumatic brain injury.

Robot drivers: They can now legally exist, according to the federal government.

2030 predictions: Ten percent of new cars might be shared and up to 15 percent might be self-driving, predicts McKinsey, but this’ll vary greatly by “city type.”

Partisan biking: The conservative Weekly Standard seems to be saying Rep. Earl Blumenauer’s proposal to scrutinize whether transportation projects would accelerate global warming is a bad idea because it might improve biking.

Road maintenance: Why is almost every city struggling to maintain its roads? Maybe because property taxes frequently fail to cover the cost of adjacent streets. (In Portland, this calculation is different, because almost no property taxes go to road maintenance.)


Brooklyn streetcar: Never mind the $2.5 billion price tag, the real threat is it’d remove parking spaces.

Bike lane parking: Apparently it’s legal in Vancouver, The legality of parking in a bike lane isn’t clear in Washington state law, but the city is proposing to change that (*see update below).

Two sentences: That’s how much coverage the New York Times devoted to 26,000 deaths, notes Brad Aaron.

2,418 fatalities: Lower gas prices have spurred more driving and caused approximately as many additional deaths in the first nine months of 2015 as the number who died in the Twin Towers. The 9.3 percent rise was the biggest one-year spike since 1946.

Oregon’s boom: The state had the nation’s strongest economy in 2015, Bloomberg calculated.

Dangerous crosswalks: The bicycle and pedestrian coordinator in St. Louis says that making crosswalks colorful might get somebody killed.

Biking in parks: Pittsburgh just legalized it.

Mechanical doping: Femke Van den Driessche should get a two-year ban for using a hidden motor, says a rival bike racer.

Good planet: The world is a much friendler place than he thought, says a British doctor who just spent six years biking around it.

MAMIM: Middle-Aged Man In Mud, of course.

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

UPDATE, 2/16 at 10:10 am: We just received this clarification from Jennifer Campos at City of Vancouver about the bike lane parking story: “Parking in a bike lane is illegal in Vancouver per different sections of the Revised Code of Washington (RCW). We are adding language to our code to make it clear and specific as the State RCW doesn’t explicitly say it is illegal.” – We regret any confusion.

— Michael Andersen, (503) 333-7824 – michael@bikeportland.org

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NOTE: At BikePortland, we love your comments. We love them so much that we devote many hours every week to read them and make sure they are productive, inclusive, and supportive. That doesn't mean you can't disagree with someone. It means you must do it with tact and respect. If you see an inconsiderate or inappropriate comment, please contact us and we'll take a look at it right away. Thank you — Jonathan and Michael

97 Comments
  • Tony T
    Tony T February 15, 2016 at 11:00 am

    Oh man. Through that whole Oregonian article on that hit and run, they refer to it as an “accident.”

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    • Sam February 15, 2016 at 11:18 am

      It’s an accident if you stay on the scene and show concern or remorse. This was assault.

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      • K'Tesh February 15, 2016 at 6:31 pm

        My email to the author of the article… I lifted most of it from crashnotacdident.com

        Before the labor movement, factory owners would say “it was an accident” when American workers were injured in unsafe conditions.

        Before the movement to combat drunk driving, intoxicated drivers would say “it was an accident” when they crashed their cars.

        Planes don’t have accidents. They crash. Cranes don’t have accidents. They collapse. And as a society, we expect answers and solutions.

        Traffic crashes are fixable problems, caused by dangerous streets and unsafe drivers. They are not accidents. Let’s stop using the word “accident” today.

        Especially when the driver leaves the scene, and elevates it to a criminal level.

        http://crashnotaccident.com/

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    • Ted Timmons (Contributor) February 15, 2016 at 11:21 am

      you’re surprised? Standard fare for the O while they search the couch cushions for pennies to keep their operation in business.

      The “penalty”: volunteer time, $100, no license for a year.

      Sigh.

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      • resopmok February 15, 2016 at 12:44 pm

        As such an upstanding member of the community, why should we hold him accountable for acting with such disregard to human life? He’s among the “protected” class, after all; this gives him special rights.

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      • realworld February 16, 2016 at 9:23 am

        Your overlooking the entire “penalty” he got 1 year license suspension, 2 years probation and 160 hours of comm service.
        That is a very harsh reality (and fair in my mind) for an upper middle class man to deal with, not only does he have to find the time to do the community service which will no doubt have an impact on his daily life and job expectations. He’ll then be faced with not being able to [legally] drive a car for a year and is faced with either public transportation or god forbid having to ride a bike to work everyday. (oh the horror of the carhead)
        And to top it off he’ll have to visit with a probation officer multiple times a year.

        And That is just the criminal side of the story, the victim is very clearly going after him personally in a civil suit and with a hefty criminal penalty she will be able to get a very large settlement from him and his estate… ouch that will hurt!

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        • Chris I February 16, 2016 at 1:29 pm

          You are basically stating that we should have a tiered punishment system based on income?

          Upper-middle class: license suspension, community service (gasp!), probation are enough
          Lower classes: Well, they already take the bus, so a license suspension won’t do. Jail time for you!

          Did I get it right?

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        • Dave February 16, 2016 at 2:48 pm

          After a hit and run, why should he ever be allowed to drive again?

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  • JV February 15, 2016 at 11:00 am

    I’m a staunch cycling advocate, but calling a masked gang that destroys things “activists” strikes me as being about as intellectually honest as calling the Malheur Wildlife Refuge militants “activists.” Words matter; call them what they are.

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    • Granpa February 15, 2016 at 11:12 am

      I was in Berlin in August. Fascinating city, but the presence of a young underclass is strong. After the country reunified it was almost deserted as people went to cities in Germany where there was a strong economy. The available housing became cheap and it attracted young people from all over Europe. There was lots of graffiti, lots of drinking on the street, and as a cyclist I have never seen more broken glass in city streets than I saw in Berlin. I thought hating on successful people was a deal in Portland, but in Berlin wins that ignominious competition.

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    • Hello, Kitty February 15, 2016 at 11:19 am

      Urban barbecuers?

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    • Michael Andersen (News Editor) February 15, 2016 at 11:43 am

      Good point. I was looking for something that conveyed that the message was political, but that’s pretty much implicit from the context. I changed to “vandals.”

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      • Granpa February 16, 2016 at 11:09 am

        Yea, 1.1 million dollars of damage. simple vandalism, like tagging a boxcar.

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        • Ted Timmons (Contributor) February 16, 2016 at 11:10 am

          m-w definition: “willful or malicious destruction or defacement of public or private property.”

          Not sure there is a dollar amount in there. Though there might be in the law.

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    • Louise Michel February 15, 2016 at 10:15 pm

      Comrades? More power to them honestly.

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      • Tim February 16, 2016 at 6:24 pm

        Until they take the next step and we march off to the Gulag.

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        • 37Dennis February 17, 2016 at 8:22 pm

          “Gulags” were/are in Russia, formerly the U.S.S.R..

          Recommended Thumb up 1

    • soren February 18, 2016 at 5:35 pm

      We have weekends and laws against child labor due to activists who destroyed “things”. Given how damaging internal combustion engines are to our shared environment, the term “activist” seems appropriate to me.

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  • Dan A February 15, 2016 at 11:29 am

    I don’t understand why conservatives dislike alternative transportation. Can anyone explain this?

    I found an article with an interesting take on it (http://www.forwardlookout.com/2015/07/cracking-the-conservative-transportation-frame/23669), but I’m sure it doesn’t tell the whole story:

    “A lot of liberals accuse conservatives of hating transit, bicycling, and walking, but the motivation for many conservatives is a little more nuanced: Conservatives are uncomfortable with the prospect of changing the built environment from what they learned to navigate as a young adult. The conservative aversion to new experiences is a well-researched topic by social psychologists. If you keep conservative social psychology in mind, seeing the motivation of their transportation arguments becomes simple.”

    What else am I missing?

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    • dwk February 15, 2016 at 11:50 am

      Conservatives just react to cycling as mostly a kneejerk against liberals like Blumenauer. Face it, I like Earl, but he comes across as about as elitist as they come.
      If cycling is framed as a purely selfish act, as done only for personal health reasons and as a time saver in urban areas it would sell much better with conservatives. I know plenty of politically conservative types who cycle for just those reasons and those reasons alone are plenty good enough.
      In fact, they are mostly why I cycle, because I can commute a dozen miles each way in this city in less time than driving. It can be as simple as that and is a much way to sell cycling than haranguing about climate change, even if it is correct.

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      • dwk February 15, 2016 at 11:53 am

        By the way, why are my comments like the one above always held “for moderation”.

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        • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) February 15, 2016 at 12:14 pm

          Hi dwk,

          The answer is.. I’m not sure. Our software isn’t always perfect and sometimes comments are held for moderation for reasons I don’t understand. I checked and you are not on our automatic moderation list, so it’s not that. If you find your comments always being moderated and not getting pushed through in a timely fashion, please email me jonathan@bikeportland dot org and I’ll make it happen right away. Thanks for participating!

          Recommended Thumb up 1

        • Joseph E February 15, 2016 at 7:43 pm

          Maybe the moderation software noticed words that are also used by trolls such as “selfish”, “kneejerk”, “haranguing”, and perhaps “liberals,” “conservatives”?
          Not sure, just speculating.

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          • Joseph E February 15, 2016 at 7:45 pm

            Hey, it worked! My comment got delayed for moderation too. So it much be one of (or all of?) those words.

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            • q`Tzal February 16, 2016 at 3:57 pm

              Most political words and phrases, profanity obviously, the user names of people who have their comments rejected often.

              Certain attemps to use unallowed html formatting.

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      • Dave February 15, 2016 at 12:17 pm

        I don’t understand why promoters of cycling and alt trans in general have not tried to appeal to conservatives by reminding them that we still buy oil from terrorist-funding Mideastern countries no matter how much we drill ourselves or buy from Canada–it’s still a world market and there are still US dollars going to Arab terrorism financiers whenever one of us steps on a gas pedal or twists a throttle.

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        • Reginald February 15, 2016 at 12:32 pm

          D,
          They understand that many ME nations support terrorism, but the argument may not get much traction since liberals always oppose all efforts to allow more production of domestic oil – Keystone pipeline for example – while it would supply Canadian oil from the messy tar sands, it would also reduce our dependence on other nations that are not friendly to us. So, liberals do not appear to REALLY care about supporting ME terrorist nations when they are not willing to help us produce more domestically.

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          • dwk February 15, 2016 at 12:39 pm

            Keystone has nothing to do with supply of oil……
            You really need to get some new talking points.

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          • Dave February 16, 2016 at 12:11 pm

            You’d have a point if all oil didn’t go into a world market pool. If the US nationalized it’s oil and banned all export of it, however, your argument would make sense. We drill it here–we keep it here.

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    • BB February 15, 2016 at 12:08 pm

      The irony of it all is that driving a car is one of the most heavily subsidized activities that you can partake in but these people think of it as some kind of freedom they’ve been granted rights to by god.

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      • Reginald February 15, 2016 at 12:35 pm

        We have been granted those rights by God actually. Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness……. Cars make people happy because they give us freedom that no other transportation option can compete with. They do come at a cost, but the consensus is that the cost is worth it. This is not just a USA phenomenon, but is the same throughout the world – in all places, given the option to own cars, if they are affordable people will own them.

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        • Dave February 15, 2016 at 12:48 pm

          And junkies, given a bag of powder, will keep shooting up until it kills them.

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          • B. Carfree February 15, 2016 at 5:40 pm

            But the poor junkies don’t get the kind of subsidies that those addicted to driving get.

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        • Dan A February 15, 2016 at 12:54 pm

          We’ve been given the right to drive by God? If so, then what gives us lowly mortals the right to take it away? Is there a provision in the bible for revoking licenses?

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          • El Biciclero February 15, 2016 at 6:26 pm

            No, I think the biblical solution is to light the car on fire.

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            • Opus the Poet February 16, 2016 at 12:16 am

              No, stone it until it’s undrivable, which is a lot of rocks, or one really big rock.

              Recommended Thumb up 4

        • El Biciclero February 15, 2016 at 6:39 pm

          “Cars make people happy because they give us freedom that no other transportation option can compete with.”

          Cars don’t give us that freedom; the dedication of nearly all roadway infrastructure exclusively to cars gives us that freedom. As I mentioned in comments on a different story a while back, imagine that freeways were for the exclusive use of buses, or bikes and buses (after all, they are usually the most direct, least hilly routes), and cars were only allowed on surface streets. Then would owning a car really be a ticket to “freedom”? Would driving a car around still make people happy?

          What other transportation options can’t compete with are the dollars and infrastructure projects focused on maximizing the speed and convenience of cars and only cars.

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          • B. Carfree February 16, 2016 at 8:45 am

            This one hits home right now. I am planning a trip to the Sacramento area to attend a May wedding. I am going to ride my bike and this time I’m going to stop over to visit relatives in Medford. If I was driving, I would just hop on I-5 and not have to plan at all. Since I’m cycling, it’s going to take me dozens of hours to research a route.

            I don’t mind that I’m going to be climbing a lot more hills and I don’t even mind much that many of my miles will be on unpaved roads, but I do mind that there are no clear routes to link our cities unless one is going to drive a motor vehicle.

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            • Reginald February 16, 2016 at 12:16 pm

              I’d go Sandy to Government Camp, south on 26 to Redmond, Bend, La Pine, Klamath Falls, Weed, etc. Then maybe Mt.Shasta, McCloud, Roseville?, Grass Valley, and down somewhere thru that country. Very nice. High desert, beautiful, not too hot normally, better likelihood of dry weather, etc….

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            • Buzz February 16, 2016 at 12:24 pm

              Actually, it’s perfectly legal to ‘hop on I-5’ with your bike everywhere in the state except in Portland and a short stretch in Medford.

              Recommended Thumb up 0

              • Dave February 16, 2016 at 2:49 pm

                Good network of frontage and county secondary roads along the I5 corrodidor in N. CA, too.

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              • El Biciclero February 17, 2016 at 5:42 pm

                [1950’s instructional film narrator voice]
                Yes, Mr. Bicyclist, you too can enjoy riding the freeways in style. Of course, that 70-mph traffic [chuckles] can be a bit noisy, and it does kick up a little dust, but you’re in for smooth sailing as long as you avoid the occasional cast-off car part here and there—and as long as you’re ever-so-careful crossing those exits! Don’t let the 18-wheelers intimidate you—you’re perfectly within your legal rights! Remember: freeways are for everyone!
                [fade out accompanied by warbly upbeat violin/woodwind/xylophone sountrack]

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          • Reginald February 16, 2016 at 12:18 pm

            Yes, in some world in our imagination that does not exist, cars might not give us freedom. In the world that we live in today cars give us freedom and people love it. I do recommend fuel sippers to limit our damage to the world but I do love roaming the Western US in a car.

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            • El Biciclero February 17, 2016 at 6:03 pm

              Ah. The “well, that world doesn’t exist” rebuttal. I’m not saying reality isn’t reality, but let’s be clear about from whence we derive the “freedom” of automobility. It isn’t from the mere fact that cars exist, it is due to the vast expenditure of public funds to create places for cars to go. And then to expand those places. And then to fight wars to keep oil cheap. And then to pay for the healthcare that is necessary to treat car crash victims and obesity-related diseases and asthma and heart ailments aggravated by car pollution. And to buy up swaths of neighborhoods where people lived and pave them over for cars. And to subsidize research into how to combat climate change. Parents tacitly agreed to give up more and more of their valuable time to shuttle their kids around in cars because it’s too dangerous to let them walk or ride bikes anywhere independently. And no, it wasn’t all paid for by gas taxes, so those who don’t own a car are getting the shorter end of the stick. And yes, we all know that even the carless benefit from roads, but those roads are far more bloated and much more crowded, filthy, and dangerous than they would need to be if only freight, emergency vehicles, and public transport vehicles ever used them. So of course, the system that we have created in the real world grants us the “freedom” to cheaply use our cars to drive across the country, or a quarter-mile for a quart of milk, but as we true patriotic Americans like to say, “freedom isn’t free”.

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              • Dan A February 17, 2016 at 6:17 pm

                FTW

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        • GlowBoy February 16, 2016 at 7:35 am

          LIfe, liberty, right to happiness, everything enumerated in the Bill of Rights and implied in the Ninth Amendment: these are all rights given by our Creator, not by government.

          That much is true.

          Driving is not among these rights. It is a revocable privilege granted by the government. Period.

          (Sadly, the failure to know this permeates Oregon culture deeply, because most OR drivers haven’t been required to take Drivers Ed. The biggest lesson I got from DE was not the rules of the road, but the two BIG rules that were repeatedly drilled into my head: 1. Motor vehicles are deadly weapons, and 2. Operating them is a privilege).

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          • paikiala February 16, 2016 at 10:21 am

            You left out a word. Pursuit. There is not right to happiness, only it’s pursuit, according to those that debated, then signed the document.

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            • GlowBoy February 17, 2016 at 3:00 pm

              oops, major typo. Thanks for catching that. Happiness is definitely not a right.

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            • El Biciclero February 21, 2016 at 2:14 pm

              Huh. I thought it was “purfuit”.

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        • Chris I February 16, 2016 at 1:32 pm

          Can you link me to the article of The Constitution that mentions cars? Is there a bible passage, perhaps?

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    • Reginald February 15, 2016 at 12:26 pm

      D,
      Probably one of the biggest objections to “alternative” transportation is when the cost is very high, such as for many light rail projects. Conservatives prefer to live within their means.

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      • dwk February 15, 2016 at 12:29 pm

        No they don’t….

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      • dwk February 15, 2016 at 12:33 pm

        Since the cost of cycling infrastructure is incredibly cheap compared to other forms of transportation, your premise is BS…..

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        • Reginald February 15, 2016 at 12:41 pm

          dwk,
          The car infrastructure costs nothing – it already exists. Just needs occasional maintenance. New bike infrastructure isn’t cheap and light rail costs are exorbitant and after they’re built they must be heavily subsidized to operate. Read the rules of conduct for comments above.

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          • Dan A February 15, 2016 at 12:56 pm

            The $70 million Woodburn interchange cost more than Portland’s entire bike infrastructure.

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            • Reginald February 16, 2016 at 12:22 pm

              It handles far more traffic than all the bike infrastructure in Oregon combined. Your bike was delivered thru that interchange.

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              • Dan A February 16, 2016 at 7:08 pm

                It’s an overpass that makes it easier to go to the mall.

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              • GlowBoy February 17, 2016 at 3:02 pm

                And that interchange was made necessary by excessive car traffic, not by the need to move freight.

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          • J_R February 15, 2016 at 1:15 pm

            “Just occasional maintenance.” Like the Sellwood Bridge with a price tag of $310 million. Is that a good example of the car infrastructure that costs nothing?

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            • dan February 15, 2016 at 2:57 pm

              Or the multibillion price tag for the proposed CRC?

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            • David Hampsten, now in Greensboro NC February 16, 2016 at 12:56 am

              You’ve fallen into a political trap: The previous Sellwood Bridge, the one falling to pieces, had gotten to the point whereby only cars, bikes, and peds could use it; other, heavier, vehicles, such as ambulances and fire trucks, as well as all freight, were officially banned by PBOT engineers (and the Multnomah County commissioners who owned the bridge.) The new bridge – and yes, it is expensive – is being built to accommodate heavy trucks, fire engines, buses, etc., which can’t use the old bridge. All bridges in Portland are built to accommodate heavy users – rail, light rail, bus, freight, emergency services – while bike users are lumped in with cars and peds as secondary users. Granted, over 70% of users are car drivers, but they are still secondary users.

              Would you like to debate the Steel Bridge? It’s owned by the UP railroad. The interstate bridges were built for freight (moving 40-ton tanks in fact).

              For me, a liberal is someone who can absorb all the facts and come to their own conclusion. A conservative is someone who is dogmatic.

              Howzat Tillicum Bridge these days?

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              • GlowBoy February 16, 2016 at 7:42 am

                That’s certainly not how the new Sellwood bridge was sold to us.

                And while you have a point about heavy users, much of the road construction of facilities that is ostensibly to support heavy users is necessary only because of the large volumes of car traffic. If the Ross Island, McLooughlin and Macadam weren’t jammed all the time, there would be little need for the Sellwood to accommodate heavy vehicles.

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          • Tony T
            Tony T February 15, 2016 at 4:04 pm

            Occasional maintenance that’s incredibly expensive.

            And then we have secondary costs. http://blog.oregonlive.com/commuting/2011/11/portland_areas_traffic_crashes.html

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          • resopmok February 15, 2016 at 8:37 pm

            A prime example of foot-in-mouth disease

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      • Adron @ Transit Sleuth February 16, 2016 at 10:58 am

        That’s the most LOLz thing I’ve read in a long time.

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      • BeavertonCommuter February 16, 2016 at 11:30 am

        Wow, quite the personal attack from Jeff. Is this really tolerated here?

        And his comment liked by 2 people already? Really?

        I mean, I guess there’s value is screaming at others that they’re selfish when you’re here in the echochamber. But notice how Jeff’s comment reeks of what I just posted earlier regarding whether Conservatives hate alternative transportation modes…

        Why must the person that Jeff disagrees with be motivated only be selfishness? As well, why is Jeff compelled to characterize all conservatives as selfish?

        I mean, is there no reasonable disagreement, no logical disagreement, no principled disagreement with what Jeff believes?

        Jeff’s comments are another reason why I can’t yet contribute to this website or the larger cycling community here in Portland. As a white, male, conservative, I feel alienated, unwelcome, and, generally, disrespected, simply because of skin color, gender, and political views. Maybe that’s the point and it sure seems that way given how so many commenters here, without moderation and so easily, demean personally those they have political disagreements with.

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        • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) February 16, 2016 at 12:05 pm

          Hi BeavertonCommuter,

          I deleted Jeff’s comment because I agree with you that it was unecessarily divisive.

          And please, like I’ve tried to explain to you several times, we welcome opposing viewpoints… However, I feel like you assume we are moderating you ONLY because you have an opposing view… When the reason is actually because your style is a bit abrasive and unwelcoming to others.

          So please, feel free to disagree and debate all you want. But please try and be respectful of others. Thanks.

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    • El Biciclero February 15, 2016 at 6:24 pm

      I think it’s also perceived as an attack on “freedom”, as in, if we start removing lanes and parking to make way for bus lanes or bike lanes, then drivers’ “freedom” to drive fast and park everywhere is being taken away. Also, there is the argument that motor vehicles are the only form of transport that drive economic prosperity. Nobody takes the bus or rides a bike to that important business meeting, and no “real”, successful company ships overland freight by anything other than heavy rail or OTR trucks. Also, again, if we remove lanes or parking to make way for other modes, then the “really important” people will be delayed in getting to their super-important jobs, and their very important time is worth billions per year in lost economic benefits because they were delayed on their drive to work by bicyclists or congestion caused by loss of lanes to bikes or buses. Plus, bikes are for kids and cars are for grown-ups.

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    • Tim February 16, 2016 at 6:32 pm

      I don’t get it either. Cycling is true conservatism – you conserve your money, you conserve your health, you conserve tax dollars (compared to cars), you use less public health, and it is about self reliance.

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  • Andy K February 15, 2016 at 12:18 pm

    Lower gas prices + speed limit increase on these roads March 1st could result in even more fatalities.
    https://www.oregon.gov/ODOT/COMM/Documents/Speed%20Increase%20Map.pdf

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    • Reginald February 15, 2016 at 12:44 pm

      I’d go for the 70 mph on the freeway – that’s only a 5 mph increase, and is still 5 to 10 mph lower than many western US states.

      The 65 mph on the 2 lane roads is too high. It should have been 60 mph – a 5 mph increase like the freeways. People already drive 60 so with 65 mph limit they’ll drive 70-75. Too fast for 2 lane highways in deer country – especially at night. Yes, that will cost lives.

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      • David Hampsten, now in Greensboro NC February 16, 2016 at 12:33 am

        What is great about these pointless speed limit debates is how little it actually applies to the Portland area. Here in North Carolina, they are building new highways and freeways constantly, so if you raise the limit to 75 or 85, people will naturally drive 10-15 mph over that – and the roadway will actually have the capacity to handle those speeds. But in the Portland area, at least on the Oregon side, no new freeway has been built since 1992 (when 217 was completed), in spite of a gain of over 1 million people since then. You can raise the limit all you want, but the local congestion now lasts for over three hours in both the morning and evening peaks, slowing traffic to a crawl, and to around 50 mph during the rest of the day.

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        • Dan A February 16, 2016 at 6:21 am

          “if you raise the limit to 75 or 85, people will naturally drive 10-15 mph over that – and the roadway will actually have the capacity to handle those speeds”

          Speed limits are being raised with the intention of driving 95-100mph? And road capacity is the only concern? Something is wrong with us.

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          • JeffS February 16, 2016 at 10:04 am

            I think he’s just saying that it’s possible, since you’re constantly building new roads and widening existing ones. The current max speed limit in NC is 70, with more serious penalties coming in for speeding over 80.

            I do think you run into theoretical limits though. I could drive to work in Raleigh safely going 60 in the 45, 80 in the 70. Whenever it rained though, there would always be at least one car to wreck into the median of 540 (6-10 lane outer loop). The drastically lower speed limits in Portland mitigate the damage a person could do, but the street design, on-street parking blocking visibility and general congestion make driving here a much more stressful event, at least for me; which partially explains why I don’t do it.

            I can say that if I wanted to drive a car everywhere, this is one of the last places I would have moved to. Compared to much of the rest of the country, it’s not conducive. I frequently wonder why dedicated motorists have chosen to stay here.

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            • Reginald February 16, 2016 at 12:35 pm

              Driving is no fun in most cities at rush hour. It’s stressful with the bumper to bumper traffic. It’s bad here, but its bad everywhere. BUT people still prefer to drive in the cozy comfort of their personal car – it’s convenient (no waiting on buses or trains) and they get some time alone, maybe listen to the radio, etc. In your car there is no catching ebola or some 3rd world disease that you might catch on the public transport – thanks to no border enforcement and generally unhealthy air in a can with people packed like sardines.

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        • paikiala February 16, 2016 at 10:25 am

          Clueless on how road capacity works. The peak of capacity, for any given number of lanes, is about 55 or 60 mph. After that, the safe distance between vehicles eats into that capacity. So until you have cars that can follow close to each other automatically, your perception of faster = more is an illusion.

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          • El Biciclero February 16, 2016 at 10:59 am

            “safe distance”. I just about schnarfed coffee out my nose there. The average motorist’s concept of “safe distance”, just from my observations while driving on the freeway myself, seems to equate roughly to “not touching”. Everybody thinks they’re a fighter pilot.

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        • dan February 16, 2016 at 11:32 am

          David, these are interesting points; could you please explain how your observations about building new freeways in your area contrast with Reginald’s idea that “car infrastructure costs nothing — it already exists”?

          And, really, I think it’s great for car-focused parts of the country to build more car infrastructure, I just believe it’s an exercise in futility — look how it’s worked out in Los Angeles. Why build yourselves into that?

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          • Reginald February 16, 2016 at 12:37 pm

            Why? Because people vote with their dollars and that’s what they vote for.

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            • dan February 16, 2016 at 12:45 pm

              But up top you said that “car infrastructure costs nothing — it already exists.” Which is it?

              People also vote with their dollars to eat themselves into obesity….

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              • Reginald February 17, 2016 at 5:20 pm

                LA infrastructure exists today because it was needed. It works. Their rush hour traffic isn’t much worse than ours because they have 8 or so lanes in each direction. It works.

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                • Ted Timmons (Contributor) February 17, 2016 at 10:14 pm

                  “Their rush hour traffic isn’t much worse than ours”

                  That’s entirely untrue.

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  • hotrodder February 15, 2016 at 4:10 pm

    This snippet taken from the article on winter cycling shouldn’t stand out as remarkable:

    “Whatever Oulu builds, it maintains. In the autumn, when freezing temperatures approach, machines that spit gritty materials of carefully chosen diameters head out early to lay the groundwork for a sandpaper-like surface in time for the morning rush. It doesn’t take more than a centimetre of the white stuff to fall before equipment is unleashed to plough, remove, pack and texturise every single pathway that needs it.

    In short, Oulu aims to have its cycling network ready and open for the people who want to use it. This not-so-revolutionary idea of caring about the needs of the basic users of the transportation system results in a populace that can rely on their city year round. Even in extreme weather, Oulu residents know that the bicycle will probably still be the most reliable form of transport since the pathways will usually be treated first.”

    We have a long, long way to go, and are in dire need of something that forces us into a collective attitude adjustment. Until that happens, the slightest weather event causes the government to tell everyone to just stay home.

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    • hotrodder February 15, 2016 at 4:12 pm

      I should have specified local government, (what with Bundyville still fresh in our recent memory.)

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  • Eric Leifsdad February 15, 2016 at 8:36 pm

    Road maintenance should be paid for by user taxes, not property taxes. Maybe sidewalk maintenance and street sweeping should come out of property taxes, but it makes no sense to require property owners to pay for road wear. When we run out of dirty fuel, we’ll need to tax tires, but that’s not necessary until we get to a $15/gal gas tax.

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    • Al Dimond February 15, 2016 at 10:30 pm

      An alternate view: transportation for most people is necessary to living a public life, and our transportation networks often double as public spaces and critical elements of the commons. They ought to be funded significantly by all citizens (in the broad sense of “members of a society”), in proportion to their ability to pay. The two biggest components of a person’s ability to pay are wealth and income. Ownership of real property is an imperfect proxy for wealth, but I don’t know of a better one that’s practical to assess.

      Imagine other critical elements of the commons, necessities for civic participation, funded mostly by user fees. Public schools could be funded by tuition and textbook rental fees! Polling stations could be funded by poll taxes (with only the small obstacle of the 14th, 15th, and 24th Amendments)!

      (This view is strongest for the elements that are most important to the public realm — strongest for local streets and paths, commercial streets, public squares, and parks, weakest for freeways.)

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    • paikiala February 16, 2016 at 10:27 am

      In Portland, sidewalk maintenance is the responsibility of the abutting property owner.
      Street sweeping is as much about keeping the pipes clear as anything else, so should be funded from sewer fees.

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  • David Lewis February 16, 2016 at 9:33 am

    With the exception of a citizen’s duty to care for the wounded, I see no difference between assault by automobile followed by flight and assault by automobile followed by staying put. Sensationalizing hit-and-run normalizes automobile use, which should be absurd on its own. We pay a year’s salary to operate a machine which we expect to leave anywhere we want for free. Nuts!

    Youtube is full of car crashes, and I encourage you to find one that is truly an accident. You won’t! Every single one is negligence at best.

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    • Al Dimond February 16, 2016 at 9:51 am

      Hit-and-run is exceptional in a couple ways. First, yes, in many cases it robs victims of their first opportunity to get an ambulance on the scene quickly. Second, hit-and-run increases the chances you’ll avoid the consequences of your actions: civil liability if your car is never linked with the damage, criminal liability if you can’t be positively identified as the driver, and offenses like DUI, where the evidence fades over time. Punishment for hit-and-run needs to be significantly more severe and more public in order to advertise to the public that trying to avoid these things is not worth the risk.

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      • David Lewis February 16, 2016 at 10:24 am

        I disagree.

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        • Chris I February 16, 2016 at 1:43 pm

          Imagine two scenarios:

          1. An inattentive driver hits a pedestrian in a crosswalk. They stop, quickly call 911, remain with the victim and blocks the roadway to create a safe zone. The pedestrian is taken to the hospital and survives with injuries. The driver is given a citation for failure to yield.

          2. An inattentive driver hits a pedestrian in a crosswalk. They panic, and drive home. Meanwhile, the pedestrian bleeds to death in the street. The police investigate and find a broken piece of the driver’s car at the scene. They link it to the driver’s car and charge them with hit and run.

          You believe these two drivers should be charged equally?

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      • Dave February 16, 2016 at 12:13 pm

        I would like to see hit-and-runs punished grade-school style. Many of us had the experience of a whole class being punished for the deeds of one child.
        I would impose collective punishments on all motorists in a city or county for too many hit and runs–the temporarily legalization of auto theft and vandalism, for instance.

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  • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) February 16, 2016 at 10:20 am

    UPDATE, 2/16 at 10:10 am: We just received this clarification from Jennifer Campos at City of Vancouver about the bike lane parking story: “Parking in a bike lane is illegal in Vancouver per different sections of the Revised Code of Washington (RCW). We are adding language to our code to make it clear and specific as the State RCW doesn’t explicitly say it is illegal.” – We regret any confusion.

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  • Lance P February 16, 2016 at 4:51 pm

    “says a British doctor who” I must have missed that episode!

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