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The Monday Roundup: Bike share is safer, speeding is pointless & more

Posted by on March 14th, 2016 at 8:49 am

Bike share ride with Oregon team-14
Safe and sound in Washington DC.
(Photo: J.Maus/BikePortland)

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

Bike share safety: Bike-share bikes are involved in 35 percent fewer collisions with vehicles than operator-owned bikes.

Exclusionary zoning: A New Jersey suburb is blocking construction of a mosque by requiring its parking lot to be twice as big as a comparable church’s.

Youth perspective: Matlock Grossman, the 11-year-old Angelino whose testimony on behalf of a road diet went viral last fall, has written a persuasive op-ed about transportation for the L.A. Times.

Speeding is pointless: Lifehacker explains.

Wanted “criminal”: A Pennsylvania man has been jailed and banned from his bike for 10 cases of “obstructing traffic” by riding in the middle of a lane.

Sharrow history: The Bicycle Story traces the embattled marking back to its inventor in audio interviews.

Preemptive surrender: New York City Police Commissioner Bill Bratton says that the city’s supposed target of zero traffic fatalities “will probably remain elusive.”

Retrospective victory: “The bike wars are over,” writes former NYC Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan in New York Magazine. “The bikes, and all New Yorkers, won.”

Simple instructions: Gawker draws on recent research to summarize the cure for San Francisco’s housing crisis in four words.

Mayoral regrets: Looking back at eight years leading London, Boris Johnson said he wishes he’d done more to make it easier to park a car. Wait, no he didn’t.

Tango by Bike: A local tradition gets its hour in the New York Times.

Data vs. profiling: Marco Conner argues in Streetsblog that “enforcement as it relates to race” is “the most pressing challenge” to Vision Zero in the United States. Among other fixes, he calls for data-driven targeting of “the most dangerous driver behaviors in the locations where they are causing the most harm.”

Poverty penalties: One Texas town hands out more traffic violations to blacks and Latino people … but the difference was explained by poverty-related charges like failure to carry insurance or an up-to-date ID.

Bike train: The San Francisco Bay’s Caltrain commuter rail system will add a third bike car.

Driverless cars: If they could mostly eliminate illegal driving, cities might be able to eliminate half their police force.

Food deliveries: Delivery people may bike for a living but that does not mean they are not people with legitimate interests, notes Brooklyn Spoke.

Night riding: Apparently it’s legal to close a federally funded bike path (like Portland’s Eastbank Esplanade) at night.

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.

— Jonathan Maus, (503) 706-8804 – jonathan@bikeportland.org

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148 Comments
  • 9watts March 14, 2016 at 9:06 am

    Why is it that when the logic deployed in the Gawker piece about housing is used in the context of traffic we (bikeportland readership, generally) are quick to dismiss it, but when it comes to housing we rally behind it?

    Is population growth any more inevitable than VMT growth or congestion? If so, please explain.

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    • Adam H. March 14, 2016 at 9:27 am

      How do you propose controlling population in an ethical manner? Free birth control is the only thing I can come up with. Instead of trying to prevent people from moving somewhere (unconstitutional) or controlling population (unethical), why not just try to use our resources in a more efficient manner? Biking instead of walking; using genetic engineering to increase crop yields; increasing housing density to share resources such as water, electric, sewer, etc. more efficiently; using renewable energy such as wind or solar instead of digging up polluting oil and coal; etc. There’s plenty of empty space on Earth, assuming we don’t destroy the planet from climate change.

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      • Hello, Kitty March 14, 2016 at 1:48 pm

        > How do you propose controlling population in an ethical manner?

        I prefer miniaturizing people. That way, they take up less room and consume fewer resources.

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        • B. Carfree March 14, 2016 at 4:51 pm

          Cue up Randy Newman.

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          • are March 14, 2016 at 5:46 pm

            or genesis, “get ’em out by friday”

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      • 9watts March 14, 2016 at 1:51 pm

        “why not just try to use our resources in a more efficient manner?”

        I’ll tell you why: Because efficiency, like density, is not an end in itself, though most of the people I know have spent their careers pretending it is an end. These are both ratios. Treated as policies in the absence of any larger framework, recognition of caps, limits, constraints, they are meaningless, or worse. We’ve been pursuing energy efficiency full steam for more than thirty years in this country. And what have we to show for it – that is relevant to Climate Change? Zip. We are no better positioned to do without fossil fuels than we were in 1980, and probably actually considerably worse off.

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        • resopmok March 14, 2016 at 3:31 pm

          What do you speculate the maximum supportable human population of earth is? What happens if we try to exceed it? Is it ethical to set reproductive limits (perhaps in a more humane manner than China) to prevent this limit from being exceeded? How do we determine who should reproduce and who shouldn’t? How do we adjust our findings to account for the ongoing effects of global climate change?

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          • 9watts March 14, 2016 at 3:51 pm

            I don’t get the sense that you are asking these questions in good faith, but here goes anyway:
            “What do you speculate the maximum supportable human population of earth is?”

            plenty of smart people have estimated this, and shown their work. Those I trust would say that our numbers have long since exceeded the sustainable carrying capacity of our planet. The Ecological Footprint is just one way to measure this. At something like 1.6 planets worth of biocapacity currently consumed each year you get the idea.

            “What happens if we try to exceed it?”

            Look out the window. 🙂

            “Is it ethical to set reproductive limits (perhaps in a more humane manner than China) to prevent this limit from being exceeded?”

            Is it ethical to pretend this issue does not concern us?

            “How do we determine who should reproduce and who shouldn’t?”

            There are many proposals out there for how to do this. Most start with making it possible, easy, legal for those who wish not to reproduce to do so. The US is very far from that point.

            “How do we adjust our findings to account for the ongoing effects of global climate change?”

            You tell me. 🙂

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            • resopmok March 14, 2016 at 4:25 pm

              The point is that the questions run far deeper than such short answers, and one who proposes self-imposed population control (as a species) ought to be ready to give persuasive answers. I am not persuaded by looking out my window that the earth is overpopulated or that the effects are negative. Have the “smart people” taken into account the amount of food which is actually wasted due to an economic system that encourages it? 1.6 times the current biomass on earth may be producible twice a year, couldn’t we then support twice the earth’s current population? Persuading people to your position won’t happen in one argument, but if your goal is to get people _thinking_ about the issue, you’ll need to dig a bit deeper.

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              • 9watts March 14, 2016 at 4:51 pm

                “The point is that the questions run far deeper than such short answers, and one who proposes self-imposed population control (as a species) ought to be ready to give persuasive answers.”

                Those answers were given in good faith. I am sorry you don’t find them persuasive or long enough.

                “I am not persuaded by looking out my window that the earth is overpopulated or that the effects are negative.”

                You are not alone. Why don’t you persuade me (see I can do this too) that those who are arguing that we are in overshoot, that the present population and consumption levels are well past anything that could be sustained don’t know what they are talking about. The 1972 Limits to Growth predictions for what would happen if we sat on our hands is basically on track, more than forty years on. I can provide links if you are not familiar with recent work on this.

                “Have the “smart people” taken into account the amount of food which is actually wasted due to an economic system that encourages it?”

                The question the footprint folks are looking at isn’t how to optimize what we have – others are looking at this – but rather to measure to the best of their abilities how what we use up, burn, waste, flush down the toilet sums to.

                “1.6 times the current biomass on earth may be producible twice a year, couldn’t we then support twice the earth’s current population?”

                Not biomass, but useful output measured relative to the regenerative capacity.

                “Persuading people to your position won’t happen in one argument, but if your goal is to get people _thinking_ about the issue, you’ll need to dig a bit deeper.”

                That is easy to toss out, but how about you dig a bit deeper in your exploration, your questions?

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        • Pete March 14, 2016 at 10:19 pm

          “We’ve been pursuing energy efficiency full steam for more than thirty years in this country. And what have we to show for it – that is relevant to Climate Change?”

          Interesting debate between both of you, thanks. This question got me to thinking about an answer – and only for the sake of debate. In terms of climate change, I’d say that’s an argument between the factions that have been trying to prove/disprove the human effect on it. In terms of energy efficiency alone I can tell you we’ve made tremendous strides in the amount of power produced by fossil-fuel-powered plants due to combined cycle designs alone, let alone improvements in measurement and computer-calculated optimization of operational parameters (i.e. real-time tuning, and the beginnings of the Industrial Internet of Things). We’re also managing the grid better, so power delivery has improved in spades. Couple that with Moore’s Law’s effect on the consumption end of semiconductors (and other such improvements, like flat-panel TVs/monitors), and we’re able to consume a lot more energy for far less money.

          So if anything I’d say that efficiency has been so improved that it’s driven costs way down (production/transmission/goods), which in turn has driven consumption up. Evidence the veritable super-computers at our fingertips, which we primarily use to transmit short bursts of ASCII for long distances… just to make our points. 😉

          (and yes, I got the power plant pun… full ‘steam’ – good one! :).

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        • jeff March 16, 2016 at 4:05 pm

          I would look into the concepts of Renewable Portfolio Standards both in Oregon and other states in the U.S. We are in fact much better off locally than we were 30 years ago. You just don’t see to know it.

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          • 9watts March 16, 2016 at 5:39 pm

            “We are in fact much better off locally than we were 30 years ago. You just don’t see to know it.”

            I am familiar with the renewable portfolio standards, and with lots of other programs and efforts. The problem is not with a lack of initiatives, it is with their efficacy. Let me ask you this: are we today in a better position to jettison our reliance on fossil fuels than we were 30 years ago? My hunch would be that despite the rhetoric, the money, the programs, the feel-good nostrums we’re actually no better off than thirty or forty years ago. But if you think I’m wrong, please show me the numbers.

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      • are March 14, 2016 at 2:43 pm

        technology is after all the answer to everything, including the overgrowth of technology

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        • Hello, Kitty March 14, 2016 at 2:47 pm

          There’s an app for that!

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    • Keviniano March 14, 2016 at 10:10 am

      Assuming you mean car traffic, it’s because having housing is part of basic human dignity, while having a car is not.

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      • dwk March 14, 2016 at 10:36 am

        Having a house in San Francisco is the car equivalent of owning a Ferrari.
        They are no obligated to provide one for everybody.

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        • Adam H. March 14, 2016 at 10:39 am

          How would you provide for the homeless people who live in San Francisco?

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          • 9watts March 14, 2016 at 10:49 am

            Adam –

            San Fransisco’s homeless are not the result of not enough residential construction, not enough accommodation. I bet you could build a million units of housing in SF and make no dent in the homeless population. There are homeless people in Medford. Is Medford also not building enough housing fast enough? We need to get out of this clunky framing of the situation where the answer to everything is build more housing.

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            • Adam H. March 14, 2016 at 10:55 am

              More housing is not the solution for everything, obviously, but it is the solution to a housing shortage. In SF and Portland, there is a greater demand for housing than the current supply, resulting in higher prices. Controlling the demand for housing is not a viable (or legal) solution, as it is for controlling demand for transportation.

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              • dwk March 14, 2016 at 11:13 am

                What are you talking about?
                What is illegal about not building housing?
                Why is it any different building roads vs. housing?
                Just because it does not fit your moral standard?
                How much housing should we build? 2 million people live here now, is 3 million the magic number? 4 million?
                Do we keep building housing until you are satisfied with the price?
                What price is affordable?

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                • Adam H. March 14, 2016 at 11:20 am

                  I said controlling housing demand is not legal, not managing supply.

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                • soren March 14, 2016 at 12:04 pm

                  current law in portland and san francisco does not make building housing illegal. it’s perfectly legal to build or remodel obscenely expensive single family homes favored by the upper income quintiles. on the other hand, less expensive housing favored by young people, new families, and lower income people is harshly restricted (to the enormous financial benefit of wealthy home/loan-owners).

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                • Adam H. March 14, 2016 at 1:55 pm

                  Building housing is not illegal, but restricting the amount of people moving to a city is unconstitutional. That’s what I meant by “controlling housing demand”.

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                • Pete March 14, 2016 at 3:09 pm

                  One thing to keep in mind about building new housing anywhere in California is the property tax assessment (due to prop 13). The rental rate for a new housing unit may be considerably higher in some cases than that of an existing, older building.

                  Also, increasing supply doesn’t always reduce demand, cost, or price. The article seems to have oversimplified the equation, and also neglected to factor in infrastructure support (as the first commenter to the article points out).

                  The thing that bothers me most about these types of articles is they frame the solution as if it’s so incredibly simple, that so many of the people who’ve dedicated their lives/educations/careers to actually solving the problem must be incredible morons (it even calls them that). Either that, or maybe the author’s missing some details in his “research”, or the situation would have simply solved itself by now. (These problems didn’t just appear overnight).

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              • JeffS March 14, 2016 at 11:55 am

                When we position housing as a human right, we still have the constraints of reality to deal with.

                Does everyone in the country have a right to affordable housing on the 14th block of NW Lovejoy?
                inner NW portland?
                west portland?
                portland?
                oregon?

                Am I being realistic, or heartless, to say that not everyone has a right to affordable housing in SF?

                I’m not anti-growth. I do, however, think that a city has a right and responsibility to plan their own growth and not have it forced on them by the market.

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              • 9watts March 14, 2016 at 12:43 pm

                “More housing is […] the solution to a housing shortage. ”

                Any more than building more roads is the solution to congestion? Please explain.

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                • Adam H. March 14, 2016 at 1:14 pm

                  Traffic congestion and housing shortage are caused by a demand to use the least efficient mode (cars and detached houses). The solution is the same: fitting more housing/vehicles in the same fixed amount of space. For housing, this is accomplished by building denser apartment buildings instead of single-family detached houses. For transportation, this is accomplished by using more space-efficient bicycles or trains instead of cars. Just as building more roads for cars won’t solve transportation issues, neither will building more detached houses solve the housing crisis.

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                • 9watts March 14, 2016 at 1:19 pm

                  I think that is a good analogy, but you have still (I think) refused to acknowledge that there can be too much of something, that it is not unreasonable to debate the possibility that there might be an optimum population, for instance, above which it is difficult if not impossible to imagine things improving, and far more likely that the general welfare will be decreased with additional growth in people. I happen to believe that and think that it behoves us to take certain steps to reduce the chances of reaching much less exceeding that threshold, for I think obvious reasons.

                  Given that I believe the above, the longer we refuse to have this difficult conversation, the harder it will be once we do accept these limits.

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                • Adam H. March 14, 2016 at 1:25 pm

                  I don’t believe Portland is in danger of reaching this limit any time soon. There are thousands of cities far denser and populous than us that operate without much problem. We either need to plan for increased density and more efficient transportation, or suffer the consequences.

                  Unless you’re arguing for a worldwide population control effort, which aside from distributing free birth control to everyone, is not something I can get behind.

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                • dwk March 14, 2016 at 1:31 pm

                  I keep asking, how many is enough and no one answers…..
                  How many units do we need to build?
                  How many people want to live here?
                  Should anyone who wants to move here be furnished with housing that he/she can afford?
                  I don’t even know how to answer any of these.
                  It seems much simpler to at least make the infrastructure we have in place work for the population before we discuss how many more people this area can fit in.
                  Since most here agree that the current infrastructure is sorely lacking for the current population, why do we want more?

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                • 9watts March 14, 2016 at 1:33 pm

                  “We either need to plan for increased density and more efficient transportation, or suffer the consequences. ”

                  What does that even mean?
                  Surely there are also consequences of doing as you say. Why suggest otherwise? I reject this sort of strong-arming. Why should this be the only conceivable route to take? I hear it here all the time but it baffles me that we lack the imagination or chutzpah to think past this narrow view of our options.

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                • 9watts March 14, 2016 at 1:36 pm

                  These are all good questions, dwk. But I can tell you from experience that folks here are unused to thinking along these lines, and I think it unlikely that an answer or acknowledgement of the validity of your questions will be forthcoming.

                  And the problem is much larger than this particular group. We have embraced growth, rejected limits for nearly as long as we have called this place America. It isn’t in our DNA. But that doesn’t mean we won’t need to befriend constraints, limits, carrying capacity, eventually.

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                • Adam H. March 14, 2016 at 1:42 pm

                  It means if we don’t have enough housing supply to meet the demand, then prices are going to increase and force out more people from inner neighborhoods, creating economic segregation. For a multitude of reasons, this is not a good thing for a productive city. For one, lower income people are forced into neighborhoods with less efficient transportation systems (read: car-centric) and this puts additional pressure on the transportation system. I’m not trying to strong-arm anyone here, but we are already feeling the negative effects of a housing shortage and we have an opportunity to slow that process.

                  I’m not really sure what your argument is here, but it seems that you are advocating for either population control or closing off our borders, neither of which I agree with. For one, the former is immoral and the latter unconstitutional. Even if there was a solution, it’s not something that could be done in the short term. The alternative is to not build anything and let Portland become a city only for the rich, which is a very likely scenario.

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                • 9watts March 14, 2016 at 1:48 pm

                  For every time I mention a longage of people there are at least a hundred mentions of a shortage of housing. See the imbalance?

                  “I’m not really sure what your argument is here, but it seems that you are advocating for either population control or closing off our borders, neither of which I agree with. For one, the former is immoral and the latter unconstitutional.”

                  We should have a seminar in which we read and discuss the Rockefeller Commission Report. I linked to it earlier today. It makes for good reading. There are lots of ideas, some of which you might even agree with. No need to pillory the imagined policies before learning a little about the subject.

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              • Bobthebiker March 14, 2016 at 9:06 pm

                Adam–Housing will always be in short supply and building more places to live will not help. I live in Southern California where they are still building like ants stocking up for winter, and who will have to share their water for those new homes. “Built it and they will come” and they do in droves. This insane growth and density manifesto must end and soon.

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        • Keviniano March 14, 2016 at 10:55 am

          Who said house? I said housing.

          As far as obligations, the obligation would be to the city’s own aspiration not to be a de-facto gated community. One of the main points of the article is that many of the folks creating the unaffordability of housing are otherwise left of center.

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          • dwk March 14, 2016 at 11:01 am

            So how much housing should San Francisco build?
            I would like to live there, so would millions of others.
            Are they obligated by your standards, to provide housing for anyone who desires to live there?

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            • Keviniano March 14, 2016 at 11:53 am

              Not sure why you’re making this about me and my standards. The valid point of the linked article (did you read it?) is that there is rampant hypocrisy in San Francisco with regard keeping housing affordable. The progressive objectives are right there in their city plan (see http://www.sf-planning.org/ftp/general_plan/2014HousingElement-AllParts_ADOPTED_web.pdf starting on page 234), but clearly the political will to achieve them is not.

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              • Granpa March 14, 2016 at 12:16 pm

                Would this not be Induced Demand?

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                • Hello, Kitty March 14, 2016 at 1:26 pm

                  That is actually a very interesting question, not one that I’ve heard expressed in this way before.

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    • Chris I March 14, 2016 at 1:06 pm

      So… you think increased housing supply increases fertility rates? Interesting.

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      • 9watts March 14, 2016 at 1:14 pm

        You mean fecundity.
        Fecundity is influenced by many things, including how easy it appears to support (feed, clothe, house) your offspring. While these feedbacks aren’t terribly direct, it is entirely possible to choose—as a country—to encourage fecundity or discourage it, wrestle with the implications of doing one or the other. And before you throw xenophobic epithets my way, please allow that lots of thoughtful people who were not xenophobes have looked at this question. Forty years ago a very impressive effort was winding down that came to be known as the Rockefeller Commission Report. Their conclusion?

        “After two years of concentrated effort, we have concluded that, in the long run, no substantial benefits will result from further growth of the Nation’s population, rather that the gradual stabilization of our population through voluntary means would contribute significantly to the Nation’s ability to solve its problems. We have looked for, and have not found, any convincing economic argument for continued population growth. The health of our country does not depend on it, nor does the vitality of business nor the welfare of the average person.”

        http://history-matters.com/archive/contents/church/contents_church_reports_rockcomm.htm

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        • Chris I March 14, 2016 at 3:45 pm

          You might want to focus your efforts on reproductive education, particularly in developing countries. Fighting housing density as a way to control population growth is treating the symptom of the disease, not the disease itself.

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          • Adam H. March 14, 2016 at 3:46 pm

            Free birth control and abortion services are a good solution.

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          • Hello, Kitty March 14, 2016 at 3:50 pm

            Are you sure 9watts is proposing a slow growth strategy in Portland as an attempt to curb population growth in general? I know he probably supports both notions, but I haven’t seen where he linked them in the way you suggest.

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            • Adam H. March 14, 2016 at 3:52 pm

              I am honestly not sure what 9watts is proposing other than too many people is a bad thing. Can you (9watts) elaborate? I’m honestly curious what your proposed solutions are.

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              • 9watts March 14, 2016 at 4:07 pm

                Really? I am quite sure Adam H. that you read as many comments here as I do. I’ve been writing about this subject here for a good while now. Most recently in the Jules Bailey interview comments (with you). I don’t think I’m being obtuse about what it is that I think about this or how I think we should proceed.

                For starters:
                http://bikeportland.org/2016/03/11/mayoral-candidate-jules-bailey-the-bikeportland-interview-177525#comment-6638825

                1 Recognize the biophysical impossibility of exponential growth
                2 Draw the inescapable conclusions
                3 Explore publicallly and honestly how we can solve this problem throughfully, honestly, without falling prey to xenophobia or easy answers.

                Alternatives to Growth Oregon already explored this territory almost twenty years ago. I’ve linked to their site many times:
                agoregon.org

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                • Adam H. March 14, 2016 at 4:33 pm

                  I understand what you are saying here. You seem to be arguing that we need to come to terms with the fact that unlimited growth is not possible and we need to come up with a solution. I’m just not seeing a solution proposed to this problem.

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                • 9watts March 14, 2016 at 4:44 pm

                  I don’t have and I don’t believe in solutions handed on a silver platter. I’m forsetting up a public process for the purpose of figuring it out. I’m under no illusions that it will involve tough decisions, soul searching, tradeoffs. Where I differ with many who post in these comments is in thinking that we can afford not to do something like the above, that we can just ignore these limits or let someone else figure it out.

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          • 9watts March 14, 2016 at 3:56 pm

            “particularly in developing countries.”

            This is classic. Let the others solve this problem for us. The problem is *our* overconsumption. Adding a person in an overindustrialized country translates to hundreds of times more impact than adding a person in the less industrialized countries.

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            • Chris I March 15, 2016 at 6:57 am

              Um… no. I say that because most developing countries have birth rates that exceed replacement. Most developed countries (including the US) have birth rates below replacement. If it weren’t for immigration, the US would be losing population each year.

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              • 9watts March 15, 2016 at 7:54 am

                You are missing my point. The burden on the environment (so called) is not from the number of people, per se, but from the product of people and their consumption. The most famous formulation of this is I=PAT.

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                • Chris I March 15, 2016 at 12:18 pm

                  I’m not missing your point. Your point is so far off-topic now that you are the only one talking about it.

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          • 9watts March 14, 2016 at 3:58 pm

            “Fighting housing density as a way to control population growth”

            I’m not fighting housing density or trying to control population growth in this manner. I am fighting the single-minded pursuit of more housing with no appreciation for how this sort of policy fits or doesn’t fit in with everything else that is going on.

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      • Hello, Kitty March 14, 2016 at 1:27 pm

        Increased housing supply could very well lead to increased in-migration.

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  • dan March 14, 2016 at 9:29 am

    The first comment for the SF/Gawker editorial pretty well sums it up…

    “You’re not taking into account capacity. You can’t just say “build more housing.” What does an increase in population do to the roads? The sewage? Trash services? Schools? Transportation? Food services?”

    Building more housing will do no one any good with out the required infrastructure.

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    • paikiala March 14, 2016 at 10:39 am

      Dan,
      Doesn’t your conclusion depend on doing things in the future the same way we’ve done them in the past?
      While I agree that drinking water is probably best provided via the current model, collecting rainwater to flush toilets or water the plants in our area is not unreasonable and would significantly alter potable water consumption used for (wasted?) on such uses.
      Green material recycling doesn’t require off-site transport.
      Grey water separation from black water with infiltration where the soil is porous is not unreasonable.
      Systems exist to filter and treat grey water for non-potable reuse.
      Then there are the NSF certified composting systems.
      Passive solar with super insolation standards.
      Active solar-electric.
      Public transportation *networks*, instead of our current system.
      Bike roads, instead of our current system.

      The list probably goes on quite a bit, but if you keep doing the same things we’ve always done, and expect different results…

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      • 9watts March 14, 2016 at 10:45 am

        You are correct. Carrying capacity can be expanded (or lost); it is not a fixed number. However before we can make any progress we have to recognize that there is such a thing as too much. Once we’re talking about carrying capacity, measuring it, comparing it to our population and to anticipated growth rates we’ve very nearly arrived. The problem I see is that around here almost no one is even willing to concede that carrying capacity is a real thing, a constraint, something that is at least as important as housing quantity.

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      • dan March 14, 2016 at 11:01 am

        Hi Paikiala-
        No, at least not in my mind – It depends on ensuring that adequate infrastructure is developed before additional housing is built- what ever that infrastructure turns out to be. Water in, sewage out.

        I’m all for lower impact (hopefully) BMPs for managing utilities and transportation, but building more units before having capacity is in my opinion the epitome of ‘knee-jerk’.

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        • paikiala March 14, 2016 at 2:51 pm

          Dan,
          Can you point to some referenced that indicates capacity does not currently exist? Or perhaps how new standards to better use what capacity exists, by, perhaps, reducing individual average inputs so that more people could live here are impractical?
          There still seem to be some assumptions not yet discussed.
          Perhaps you envision a world where living standards forever increase?

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      • Hello, Kitty March 14, 2016 at 1:36 pm

        Interestingly, I’m told the water bureau doesn’t want people to use rainwater for flushing or watering because of our seasonal variation in water supply.

        If everyone used rainwater this way, in the winter, when we have plenty of drinking water, no one would be using it (because they’d be using rainwater). But in the summer, when supplies are more constrained, and demand is higher, people’s rainwater would run out, and they’d turn back to the city system. The result would be bigger seasonal swings in demand, and less money in the system to pay for maintenance.

        This is not to refute the idea that we can do better, only to point out that it is not always as simple as it might seem.

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        • 9watts March 14, 2016 at 1:40 pm

          Correct.
          And the problem is actually much more acute for solar PV here in Oregon as we have a winter peak in our electricity load. Solar PV, by definition, exacerbates our seasonal peak. Both are problems, but the rainwater one is easier to solve. You just need to install enough storage to carry yourself through the summer drought. I have figured out what that volume is for my household and the tanks are already in place. 🙂

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          • Hello, Kitty March 14, 2016 at 1:43 pm

            People’s co-op also has a giant cistern under their front plaza for watering plants (and toilets too?) I don’t know if they collect enough water for use year round, but they’re probably doing about the best one can in this situation.

            One hidden downside of such a system is that the water needs to be lifted from the cistern to the point of use, and that takes energy, a cost that gravity fed systems don’t have.

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            • 9watts March 14, 2016 at 2:04 pm

              pedal power would suffice. Just ask Corey Little 🙂

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            • Chris I March 15, 2016 at 6:59 am

              Water cisterns aren’t very practical with our weather cycle. We get excessive amounts of rain 9 months of the year, and essentially no garden watering is needed. Then we are basically in a drought for 3 months in the summer, and that’s when all of the water is needed. Reservoirs make sense, rain barrels do not.

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              • 9watts March 15, 2016 at 7:58 am

                In case you missed it, we have been talking here about multi-thousand gallon cisterns/storage systems to get us through the whole year. No rain barrels here.

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                • Chris I March 15, 2016 at 12:19 pm

                  Good luck getting that permitted in the city limits.

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          • paikiala March 14, 2016 at 2:55 pm

            9,
            your ‘seasonal peak’ stumbling block seems to have the same solution as your rainwater one – storage. I’m not aware of any concerted effort to store energy during peak times for use later on anything other than a small scale (prius? ni-cad batteries at home?). I know some places pump water uphill to reservoirs to use later to generate power and have heard of air pressure systems, maybe capacitors, but nothing at a regional scale, let alone city-scale.
            seems like a missing puzzle piece.

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            • Hello, Kitty March 14, 2016 at 2:58 pm

              Build the water storage tank on top your house, pump the rainwater up when power is plentiful, and re-capture it as you flush your toilet.

              Two birds, one stone.

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              • gutterbunnybikes March 14, 2016 at 5:34 pm

                That’s funny because I’m currently investigating taking my water supply off-grid (or at least as much as code will allow) which means my backup water would be city supplied.

                So far (not done with the research) but it looks like my family of four would be serviced easily all year by a 1500 gallon tank with an approximate cost of 8-12k (not including the metal roof which I plan on installing in the next year or so on my house). ROI would be less than 10 years if water prices remain stable- which we know isn’t happening. The maintenance on the system would be less a year than one months of bought city water.

                Current tech can treat the rainwater in-house to standards which would be vastly superior to the EPA standards. And I want to do so before the laws change, it’s illegal in much of the west to collect your rainwater even for watering the lawn.

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                • Hello, Kitty March 14, 2016 at 5:38 pm

                  Intriguing. Where would you put your tank? And do you still need to pay sewer fees?

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                • 9watts March 14, 2016 at 5:38 pm

                  I found that calculating my summer demand (maximum storage) to be a little more involved than I at first assumed. I built a small spreadsheet model that tracked weekly usage and daily rainfall over the whole year by playing with those figures you can observe the dynamic volume you have left in your tank, which is different than simply calculating three months of usage, say, and sizing your tank accordingly. Our family of three without a flushtoilet comes to about 2,100 gallon to get through the summer. Your 1,500 gallons is most impressive if correct.

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                • gutterbunnybikes March 14, 2016 at 9:37 pm

                  As I said I’ve just started running the numbers, 1500 would be more than adequate for 3/4 of the year (and my post was off the top of my head might have been 2500 I’ll need to check my spreadsheet), there is a certain amount of guesswork involved – especially considering unpredictable drought patterns. However adding more capacity wouldn’t be much more expensive, the system I’m looking at is modular so expanding it would just be a few more feet of pipe and a bigger hole to dig.

                  Tanks would be buried in the back yard – electric pump to feed the house which will likely improve my pressure and lower my water usage), grey water system for toilets.

                  It’s been my goal to slowly make this house as self-sufficient as possible. All appliances are now electric, including electric heat pump (which runs backwards for AC when needed) on demand electric water heater for future solar panel installation. And once I get the roof done in standing seam steel (work I can do on my own) water recovery becomes much more possible and I’ll likely reinforce the roof for a solar array as well. Right now, I’m trying to determine which will have the faster ROI so that money saved after that install can be pushed to the other project. It get tricky especially with how the tax incentives for solar pay out. Either way, I plan on having both within a decade.

                  By the time I retire (and this has been my plan all along) I plan on having a nearly off grid house in the heart of the city. I’m excited that battery technology is finally catching up which is huge – especially with how PGE pays out for selling excess power.

                  My experiments in square foot and vertical gardening has been showing impressive yields the last couple years and I’m finally expanding my capacity and I’m expecting a year-round harvest this next year (with hoop frames, and drip irrigation coming soon – I’m not a green thumb kind of guy the more automatic I make it the better), I’ve started the backyard orchard techniques with a couple fruit trees which I plan on expanding a little every year. Depending how much my wife will allow, I’d also consider a small-scale trout farm as well, (did the chicken thing, but the eggs weren’t worth the lifetime supply of rats).

                  Though honestly, if I could afford to pay off the mortgage right now I’d most likely level this house in favor of a bermed sandbag (super adobe) structure using the design techniques and principles of Michael Reynolds Earthships.

                  Quite frankly, a lot of the discussions on how much infrastructure is needed for a house is already outdated. The Earthships have been around for 40 years with the same great results from the equator to the arctic tundras nearly 100% recycled material, nearly 100% self-sufficient, and they grow huge amounts of food year round. They make a mockery of LEED platinum status. But there is so much money tied up in keeping up the status quo, that changing everything needed to switch house design to make this design acceptable makes getting bike lanes on Barber look like a game of Candyland.

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    • soren March 14, 2016 at 12:09 pm

      Building more housing will do no one any good with out the required infrastructure.

      do you have any evidence that this is a problem here in portland?

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      • 9watts March 14, 2016 at 12:22 pm

        Soren,
        I’ve noticed that you tend to think of problems at the scale of the individual: your electric car, a new apartment building on Division. There is (still) some slack in the system such that no new wind turbines need to be built to power *your* car, or a new school or sewer line or fire station constructed to service the building on Division. But… those problems all arise when you try to scale this up. If everyone drove an electric car, we’d not only need hundreds of thousands of new wind turbines, we’d also need, for instance, the grid capacity to deliver those kWh from places where it is windy and no one lives to places where it is less windy and people like you and me live. That costs not only money but enormous quantities of resources that someone has to pay for and dig up. Same for infrastructure to accompany the kind of housing boom the author was calling for and many here demand.
        I have recommended this article here before. I’d be curious for your thoughts: http://articles.latimes.com/2004/jan/25/magazine/tm-growth04

        (It is about California’s inability to build infrastructure to keep up with population growth.)

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      • Hello, Kitty March 14, 2016 at 2:30 pm

        > do you have any evidence that this is a problem here in portland?

        Sure. Congested streets; public transit that is jam packed during commute hours; lack of parks and open spaces in the inner east side; sewer/stormwater capacity issues (as detailed elsewhere); chronically contaminated air; the list goes on.

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        • soren March 14, 2016 at 3:35 pm

          imo, congested streets are a feature, not a bug. the more motovehicle congestion, the better.

          transit mode share has been falling — you get the transportation system you pay for.

          air-quality issues are due to lack of regulation and have nothing to do with people moving into apartment buildings.

          when i moved here 16 years ago i was struck at how grossly unequal and insufficient public funding is in this city. how this city of miserly libertarians gained a reputation as a progressive city is beyond me.

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          • Hello, Kitty March 14, 2016 at 3:45 pm

            Congested streets impair transit (ref. BRT’s failure on Powell); I suspect you are in a small minority that sees traffic congestion as the ideal state of affairs.

            Air quality issues have everything to do with the question of whether our infrastructure is able to support high numbers of newcomers — placing more people within areas that have air laden with carcinogens seems shortsighted. The more people who are exposed, the more people who will get sick.

            Of course, congestion adds to air quality problems, so maybe the issues are connected.

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            • soren March 14, 2016 at 4:27 pm

              seattle voted for large increases in transit and active transportation funding due to congestion. hopefully, portland gets to this point sooner rather than later.

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              • Hello, Kitty March 14, 2016 at 4:32 pm

                Here they are canceling transit projects because of congestion.

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          • gutterbunnybikes March 14, 2016 at 5:38 pm

            This city until the 80’s was largely just hippies and rednecks. This weird Portland is actually a pretty new phenomenon.

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  • Dave March 14, 2016 at 9:51 am

    This has nothing to do with cycling, but the mosque story makes me very embarassed to have been born in New Jersey. Considering that Jersey has high Jewish and Italian and Irish Catholic populations, it shows that not a lot of people think about their own histories.

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    • wsbob March 14, 2016 at 12:29 pm

      Glad you mentioned this story listed in today’s Roundup. I checked it out and found this particularly interesting kernel of wisdom there:

      “…The township’s formula for church parking, one spot for every three people, “is not applicable to mosques, or for that matter, to ‘houses of worship,’” the board’s lawyer and planner wrote in a January 2013 memo. “By its express terms, this standard only applies to ‘churches,’ ‘auditoriums’ and ‘theaters.’” …” NYTimes http://www.nytimes.com/2016/03/11/nyregion/muslims-sue-over-denial-of-bid-to-build-mosque-in-new-jersey-suburb.html?smprod=nytcore-iphone&smid=nytcore-iphone-share&_r=0

      Did you get that? The idea that ‘churches’, aren’t ‘houses of worship’. To think, that all these years, I’ve been under the impression that the two were basically one and the same. Actually, I continue to think churches and houses of worship are one and the same, despite the arcane reasoning by whoever it is came up with the Jersey townships’ church parking formula.

      By the way…does this story really have nothing to do with biking? At 5000 sq ft and a 150 member congregation, by comparison, this mosque likely is quite a small church compared to many, I would guess. What of a given church’s congregation, makes their way from home to church by foot or bike? Isn’t this something that might reasonably be figured into planning board’s consideration of how big a car park lot should be required? The mosque could propose to provide great parking for bikes, strongly encouraging its congregation members to walk, bike, ride to the mosque, and strongly discouraging them from driving personal cars and parking on neighborhood streets

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    • Pete March 14, 2016 at 3:26 pm

      “This has nothing to do with cycling”…

      Neither do most of this week’s comments. 😉

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    • Adam H. March 14, 2016 at 3:40 pm

      I am not surprised. I have witnessed a lot of anti-Muslim hate speech coming from the Jewish community.

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      • are March 14, 2016 at 5:46 pm

        and the christian community. hell, even the atheists. i don’t see a lot of jews on the bernards township planning board.

        hey, adam, do you ever just decide not to hit “send” after typing up whatever comes into your head?

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      • lop March 14, 2016 at 5:54 pm

        “I will also add that just because I happen to be commuting by bike doesn’t mean I am personally responsible for the perceptions of all other people that also commute by bike. The onus is upon the person making the stereotype, not the member of the stereotyped group.” – Adam H.

        “Why is it that when one incident with a person cycling occurs, cries of “all bikers…” – Adam H.

        http://bikeportland.org/2016/03/01/southeast-portland-elementary-warns-parents-about-unsafe-cycling-near-school-176477

        It’s imperative that we fight the scourge of stereotyping cyclists. Every other ‘group’ is fair game though.

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  • Keviniano March 14, 2016 at 10:10 am

    Assuming you mean car traffic, it’s because having housing is part of basic human dignity, while having a car is not.

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    • Keviniano March 14, 2016 at 10:11 am

      Oops, this was meant as a reply to 9watts, above.

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  • bikeslobpdx March 14, 2016 at 10:20 am

    There are a couple of logical gaps getting to “cities may be able to eliminate half their police force”:

    1. The DOJ study cited by the Newsweek article (which is actually a repost from another site) is nation-wide. It does not break statistics out into urban-vs-rural. I’d expect the percentage of police contacts which are traffic stops to be lower in cities.

    2. Traffic stops are fairly short encounters (based on my limited experience). Even at 42% of police contacts, they don’t necessarily translate to 42% of expended police effort.

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    • Paul March 14, 2016 at 11:09 am

      And of course, humans are extremely ingenious. They’ll always find new ways to break the law, especially traffic laws.

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    • John Lascurettes March 14, 2016 at 11:58 am

      I’d also like to see that as “redistribute police force” rather than eliminate, particularly to make it such that Police to more direct community outreach work — something we’re always left with the impression of that they’re too busy to do more of.

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  • El Biciclero March 14, 2016 at 12:04 pm

    The speeding article is very interesting. I think everyone knows that on a road with traffic and more than a few signals, speeding will indeed save you next-to-nothing.

    However, some of the comments on the original article (I only read the first few) allude to a behavior that is common among most humans: even though we know (rationally) that the dice will likely not come up in our favor, we cannot resist the urge to throw them anyway. In my experience as a pedestrian and a bicyclist, one of the decidedly most dangerous times to be near a motorist is not after they are speeding, but just as they make the sudden decision to floor it and are beginning to accelerate up to whatever speed they’d like to be going. A lot of speeding is not motivated by the desire to make it to some final destination earlier, but by the momentary desire to make the next light, especially if that traffic light is stale.

    The gambling behavior elicited by the desire to “make the light” creates some of the most dangerous speeding because a) it is usually a split-second decision made with tunnel vision, b) it always takes place while approaching an intersection, and c) it is often accompanied by an abrupt lane change in an attempt to speed around other traffic. This kind of abrupt acceleration doesn’t even have to result in a driver exceeding the speed limit to be dangerous. It also doesn’t have to be done necessarily to beat a light. I see it done to get around a bicyclist to beat them to a right turn, I’ve seen it done by drivers attempting to get around “traffic” that is stopped for a pedestrian at a crosswalk, I’ve seen it done by drivers suddenly swerving into a bike lane to jet to the front of a line of cars so they can make a right turn, I’ve seen it done by drivers suddenly cutting across a bike lane to get into a parking lot to cut through and avoid a signal. In many of these cases it is the sudden lateral movement that creates the danger, rather than the speed, per se, but whether it is purely speed or some other dangerous action, the motivation is somehow to defeat or game a traffic control system.

    So, while traffic controls do indeed erase most of the “benefits” of speeding, they also tend to induce a fair amount of speeding, along with many other dangerous behaviors. Is there any way to counter the temptation to gamble with traffic controls?

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    • paikiala March 14, 2016 at 2:14 pm

      I don’t think you’ve given any convincing evidence that traffic controls induce speeding. I only need provide one example to counter the hypothesis. Per your hypothesis, no one would speed where there were no traffic controls. people speed on the freeway.
      As to the more basic cause: excessive selfishness.

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      • are March 14, 2016 at 3:00 pm

        it is nonetheless true, and everyone here has anecdotal evidence from probably within the past five minutes, that motorists accelerate through stale green and yellow lights. if no one has developed the data, it should be pretty easy to do. one answer of course is self-driving cars. another is much stricter enforcement. changing the social norms wouldn’t hurt either.

        but in the spirit of much of this thread, let’s look for a technological answer to a problem created by the red light technology itself. maybe if the whole thing was set up like bumper cars, where your car would simply stop running the instant the power was cut. some kind of radio interaction between the traffic control device and a governor in your car.

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        • Pete March 14, 2016 at 11:08 pm

          Hmm… someone should look into that… 😉
          http://www.its.dot.gov/safety/v2i_comm_plan.htm

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        • paikiala March 15, 2016 at 1:11 pm

          are,
          accelerating to make a yellow is not defacto speeding if the person driving was not already going the speed limit.

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          • are March 15, 2016 at 3:30 pm

            i am pretty sure i did not say it was speeding. it is an unsafe behavior, not to mention selfish. oh and also illegal.

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      • Eric Leifsdad March 14, 2016 at 3:19 pm

        The article makes a pretty good case for traffic enforcement of 30 in a 20 or 35 in a 25. The driver has a lot to gain by driving at 150% of the speed limit and not enforcing this makes it too easy. Nevermind those stats about 20mph collision survivability for people on foot or on bikes. Nevermind the noise levels, road wear, etc. Nevermind the entitled drivers or the moms in minivans who can’t imagine ever biking their kids to school in this environment. That thing about vision zero where we need to actually discourage driving? We could start with discouraging illegal and dangerous driving.

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      • El Biciclero March 14, 2016 at 5:16 pm

        Well, I never said that traffic controls were the sole cause of speeding. Sheesh. I merely said that they induce a “fair amount” of speeding, as well as other dangerous behavior. To state my “hypothesis” propositionally, what I said was, IF there are traffic controls, THEN speeding is likely. It is not logically equivalent to say the inverse, “IF there are NOT traffic controls, THEN speeding is NOT likely”. Granted my “data” comes from my own experience and observation, so it is not scientifically or statistically verifiable.

        In the absence of traffic signals or other controls, different motivations for speeding emerge.

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        • Pete March 14, 2016 at 11:04 pm

          Absolutely agree with your OP. Nowhere have I witnessed this more than in silicon valley (where I live now), or California in general. I even find myself having to exercise incredible self-control when facing a stale green here, because the cycles are so long. It’s anecdotal, sure, but California drivers just plain have this built-in need to accelerate hard, even when a red light is clearly just down the road. (Lots of Prius owners here; and you may recall I’ve commented more than once that the way people generally drive them here is exactly how the car was not designed to be driven).

          Off highways I drive at or under the speed limit, and I’ve had many occasions watching people behind me go ballistic… honking, waving, swerving violently, even in front of schoolyards filled with kids, simply because I’m driving at 25 in a 25. It’s one reason I enjoy biking so much more than driving.

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  • SE March 14, 2016 at 12:17 pm

    Re>>speeding is pointless

    As I’ve aged, my driving speed has slowed a bit. VERY often I’m passed on city streets by some moron “flooring it” . I usually note to my pax “watch where he is at the next stop light” . Often he is behind me.

    Being in the prime lane at a steady speed is far more productive than raw speed.

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    • bikeslobpdx March 15, 2016 at 8:16 am

      The best bit is arriving at the light as it changes, and coasting by at speed while he’s flooring it again to get back up to speed.

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      • gutterbunnybikes March 15, 2016 at 10:02 am

        It’s called timing the lights, and most of Portland lights can be timed at about 3mph below the speed limit, depending on where in the light cycle you get on the street, you’ll almost always hit a red light if you turn on the street on a green light.

        The hypermilers (car modifiers looking to increase MPH on their vehicles – some with pretty incredible results) who coined the term also have another great saying in that “the biggest problem to fix in your car is the nut behind the wheel”. Because the most effective aspect of hypermiling is driving technique over modifications.

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  • El Biciclero March 14, 2016 at 1:59 pm

    I find the article about David Smith, the bicyclist jailed for “obstructing” traffic somewhat disturbing. It’s kind of funny that this roundup has one article about speeding that explains how most law enforcement agencies “indulge” a 10-over cushion for drivers, and also this article that seemingly shows that agencies are willing to jail anyone who causes traffic to go too slow. We can’t really speculate with any accuracy what treatment a slow-driving [stereotypical] little old lady would get for causing the same kind of “obstruction”, but just the fact that a bicyclist would be thrown in jail for something like this is disconcerting. It sounds like he has some other “issues” besides people not liking his riding style, but jail seems a bit harsh.

    I read some of the “related articles” on this case, and I found one item in this article that made me wonder a bit:

    “Our argument for revoking his bond is we’re trying to save his life. If he keeps blocking traffic, someone is going to go postal on him.”

    — Assistant District Attorney Jim Hopson

    Hm. “We’re keeping you in jail for your own good.” Not because we’re citing a law that you broke that carries a statutory penalty of jail time, but because we’re afraid you might induce somebody else to “go postal”. So, really, “in order to prevent somebody else from committing a crime, we’re going to keep you in jail.” This makes me wonder what consequences a driver would face for “going postal” and running down Mr. Smith intentionally. Would it be regarded as the homicidal action that it would certainly be? Would claims of “it was an accident” be readily believed, the victim blamed, and case closed?

    I tend to worry more about the rationale for actions like this (keeping Mr. Smith in jail) than the actions themselves.

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    • B. Carfree March 14, 2016 at 5:05 pm

      I also found this to be a very disturbing article. I’ve ridden many county roads in Pennsylvania, although not for quite a few years, and with their four-foot passing law it would be impossible for a motorist to legally pass a cyclist while remaining fully within the lane. At that point, the logical and legal place to ride is the center of the lane.

      I’m frankly mystified as to how someone can be prosecuted for merely riding their bike. Where the %$#@ are we supposed to ride if not in the lane on substandard width roads? There’s clearly no legitimate public safety involved here, considering the relative number of fatalities caused by motorists and cyclists. If the DA was jailing scofflaw motorists, that would be interesting and he could make a sound case for such an action, but jailing someone for riding their bike in the only safe, legal and logical lane position available is simple bike hate.

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  • dan March 14, 2016 at 2:01 pm

    soren

    Building more housing will do no one any good with out the required infrastructure.

    do you have any evidence that this is a problem here in portland?
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    Have you noticed that on occasion raw sewage runs into the Willamette after heavy rains?

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    • Adam H. March 14, 2016 at 2:05 pm

      You can thank the Big Pipe infrastructure project for the “occasional” part of that statement. Before it was build, CSO events happened nearly every week.

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      • 9watts March 14, 2016 at 2:13 pm

        This is exactly the kind of massively-expensive-but-still-inadequate kind of investment that accompanies the pursuit of density we’re talking about here. It is a perfect instantiation of this problem of imbalance, of too many people for our slice of bioregion. Thanks for that example.

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        • Adam H. March 14, 2016 at 2:19 pm

          Not really. It was never a good idea to use the same pipes for stormwater as for sewage. It was just as big of a problem back in the 1800’s, only then people just died of Cholera.

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          • 9watts March 14, 2016 at 2:22 pm

            But you realize that the reason we have ‘overflow events’ is because of the volume of rainwater that hits the still growing area of impervious surface and is then channeled through underground pipes. The ratio of impervious to total surface is surely a factor here, and that is related to land use and population, not just engineering decisions from a century ago.

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            • Adam H. March 14, 2016 at 2:33 pm

              And a more efficient use of land results in less impervious surfaces per person.

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              • Hello, Kitty March 14, 2016 at 2:36 pm

                I’m willing to bet the important metric is impervious surfaces as a ratio to pervious ones; meaning paving over more land in the inner city may reduce the total amount of impervious surface, but also make runoff issues worse.

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                • Adam H. March 14, 2016 at 2:41 pm

                  Yes, but won’t more people put more pressure on the sewage system, regardless of the pervious/impervious ratio?

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                • Hello, Kitty March 14, 2016 at 2:47 pm

                  I thought we were talking about stormwater — sewage is not a function of impervious surfaces.

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                • Adam H. March 14, 2016 at 2:48 pm

                  Portland has a combined sewage system, where stormwater runoff and sewage share the same pipes.

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                • Hello, Kitty March 14, 2016 at 2:50 pm

                  Yes… so building bigger concentrations of impervious surfaces makes the problem worse. Spreading those surfaces out can make the problem better (because you have more opportunities to let the rain soak into the ground instead of flowing into the sewer).

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                • Adam H. March 14, 2016 at 2:54 pm

                  Yeah, that makes sense.

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                • paikiala March 14, 2016 at 3:10 pm

                  It’s much more complex. Certainly overflow events relate primarily to storm water going into sewer pipes. This is one reason BES is investing in rain gardens, etc. (stopping or delaying storm water at the source), but another is to not have to increase pipe sizes. If the storm water never gets into the pipes, or if it can be slowed down, then the pipes don’t have to be increased and side effects, like basement flooding, can be avoided.
                  However, the cost to treat sewage depends on the concentration of nutrients. If sewage stopped going into those pipes, via composting systems, another major component of the problem could be short circuited. Rain is seasonal, sewage not so much.
                  To further add to the complications, impervious surface in Portland is majority roads. So, those short blocks that make it easier to walk or bike to your favorite whatever are part of the problem. We could have superblocks like Seattle, but I wouldn’t like that much.
                  Looking again at why we pave what we pave, and reconsidering if we need to pave as much in the future as we have in the past, will help reduce impervious surface. PBOT and BES are already testing ways to do this.
                  SE Rex pervious parking lanes, and N Gay pervious street tests are good examples. The BES downspout disconnect program is anther. Skinny streets, shared use streets, low impact designs all these and more are strategies currently being employed to use what we have more efficiently.

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            • soren March 14, 2016 at 3:11 pm

              ironically recent new construction is an improvement on the older construction and empty lots that preservationists value. eco roofs, green space, and bioswales are cheap — especially in the long run.

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              • 9watts March 14, 2016 at 3:16 pm

                Yes – at the scale of individual lots. But the dude from SF whose article started this whole discussion wasn’t talking about one lot at a time, but a *massive* expansion, apartment towers, etc. That sort of thing isn’t well captured by your piecemeal view of infill.

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                • soren March 14, 2016 at 4:21 pm

                  a forest of high-rise buildings is not necessary. i have lived in charming european cities that were mostly row houses and low-rise buildings.

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    • soren March 14, 2016 at 3:16 pm

      a terrific argument for filling lots with new buildings with run-off mitigation and replacing some older buildings that have little or no run-off mitigation. the status quo is not something i want to “preserve” at all — it’s a recipe for societal disaster.

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      • 9watts March 14, 2016 at 3:19 pm

        We can – and surely will – tweak all kinds of parameters, from storwater runoff to shared vehicles and smaller apartments. But at the end of the day the demand for everything: food, water, energy, air, etransportation, schools, police goes up when you pursue this course. Efficiencies are all fine but they mostly allow you to squeeze more people in. At some point…. we’ll still be full. In fact a whole lot fuller than we are now. Then what?

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        • are March 14, 2016 at 5:55 pm

          rinse and repeat. but you might not want to be there for the rinse. something about four horsemen.

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  • dan March 14, 2016 at 2:25 pm

    Adam H.
    Building housing is not illegal, but restricting the amount of people moving to a city is unconstitutional. That’s what I meant by “controlling housing demand”.
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    What about letting the free market restrict the influx of people? Is that illegal too?

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  • Champs March 14, 2016 at 2:40 pm

    It is increasingly frustrating to hear that facile argument about supply. Irrespective of composition, building more will fix everything, end of story, LALALALALALA I can’t hear you.

    It is conceded that any construction eases the pressure on rents but that isn’t the whole picture. If you’ve shopped for an apartment in Portland lately, you already know the drill. There’s are countless older, modest homes for rent, but somehow they’re already six applicants deep before anybody has even seen the place.

    Most people are left with the Hobson’s choice between a brand new central city studio for $1500/mo or a soggy cardboard box in Aloha for $750. Homes aren’t hamburgers: unlike a Big Mac, you need shelter and will pay what it takes, whether or not you need or want a pet washing station, bike storage designed for LEED points instead of security, or a community rooftop to hang out with your neighbors instead of privately with friends. Whatever, you’re paying for it, thus “confirming” the demand. Let’s build more!

    Onward and upward to the new normal—if you can afford it.

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    • soren March 14, 2016 at 3:22 pm

      our city has suffered from decades of housing inequity and we will not reverse this socioeconomic disaster with a single policy. i believe we need a multi-pronged approach that includes inclusionary zoning, very strong tenants rights, social housing, and upzoning of large swathes of exclusionary inner PDX .

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      • 9watts March 14, 2016 at 3:25 pm

        Those all sound good to me too. But if you studiously avoid ever talking about carrying capacity, those on whose behalf you are fighting the good fight will still lose in the end. Why the categorical refusal to acknowledge that there is such a thing as too much? That we could not only solve inequity but also overshoot if we came to terms with this larger set of issues?

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  • dan March 14, 2016 at 2:57 pm

    Adam H.
    Yes, but won’t more people put more pressure on the sewage system, regardless of the pervious/impervious ratio?
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    That’s exactly my point. And no matter what engineering solution to mitigate that over capacity issue is adopted, it still needs to be functional before you can increase human density.

    FYI, things like previous pavement work out really well on paper, but it requires constant maintenance otherwise it clogs up very quickly and becomes as impervious as asphalt.

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  • paikiala March 14, 2016 at 3:16 pm

    Seems like the housing supply equation could be incentivized better. What if PDC ‘invested’ more in housing instead of parking.

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  • Bradwagon March 14, 2016 at 4:19 pm

    Adam H.
    …using genetic engineering to increase crop yields;…There’s plenty of empty space on Earth, assuming we don’t destroy the planet from climate change.
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    Haa Haaa Haaa yeah all those forests and natural landscapes, lets fill em with GMO crops! That will be good for the earth, er I mean people… in the short run, kinda. The earth is long past sustainability, we didn’t manage it as we grew, I predict we have 50-100 years before all of humanity suffers in a drastic way because of it.

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  • wsbob March 15, 2016 at 12:20 am

    The excerpt from Sadik-Khan’s new book, in the NYtimes mag, is great to read.

    Over the nine or so years she was transportation dept director there, how could NYC come about to start on such a transformation to streets more accessible and functional for travel by means other than motor vehicles? I suppose it’s happening must be laid some to an extraordinary combination of various key elements, like vision, determination, individual minded personalities, and coincidence.

    Does Portland have the combination of elements necessary to make major advances in the functionality of its biking infrastructure?

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  • Andy K March 15, 2016 at 12:06 pm

    There are many reasons why (reported) injury numbers are very low on bike share:

    The riders are risk averse.

    The bikes are brightly colored, VERY slow, and ridden primarily during daylight hours.

    Slow, wide tires for streetcar immunity.

    Crashes are primarily low speed with peds on sidewalks (and unreported).

    Riders are less likely to report a crash/damage b/c they don’t want to pay for damages.

    Being risk adverse, they stick to safe routes and sidewalks. (You won’t see any BIKETOWN bikes taking the lane on Market/Burnside/MLK or blowing through a red light at 25mph)

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    • Eric Leifsdad March 15, 2016 at 3:34 pm

      ITYM “blowing through a green light at 25mph”.

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