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The Monday Roundup: Planning while black, housing for cars, free bikes, sexism, and more

Posted by on October 31st, 2016 at 2:59 pm

We've reached peak car abuse epidemic.

We’ve reached peak car abuse epidemic.

LPI to LBI ASAP: New York City is eyeing a very sensible new law — it would allow bicycle riders to join walkers and other rollers to get a head-start at intersections via the “leading pedestrian interval” (LPI).

Fair? I’ll tell what’s fair!: We’ve all heard, “You damn bicyclists need to pay your fair share!” But how much is that exactly? Well, Streets.mn tried to find out.

Insights from a fellow roller: Remember Ian Mackay? He stopped in Portland on a 300+ mile ride on his wheelchair to raise awareness for good paths. Here are his final thoughts on the journey.

Transportation access and Black Lives Matter: An interview with two activists in Chicago illuminates how transportation activism intersects with our modern civil rights struggle.

Planning while black: Los Angeles bike advocate Tamika Butler challenged the planning profession to do a gut-check when it comes to race and privilege in her keynote speech at the recent NACTO conference in Seattle.

Biking up in Big Apple: A report from the New York City health authority says bike use is up throughout the city.

Straight dope on “infrastructure” spending: This very timely Bloomberg piece debunks some of the conventional political “wisdom” about “infrastructure spending.” It’s a must-read as Oregon leaders debate a transportation funding package.

A roof over your car’s roof: We’ve been covering the housing-for-cars phenomenon for months now and it looks to finally be going national. Bloomberg reports that the U.S. is building more three-car garages than one-room apartments.

San Diego, just like Portland: The California city of San Diego is at the opposite end of the west coast, but when it comes to the struggle of growth, land-use policy and transportation reform, we seem to have a lot in common.

Laws against “distracted walking”: Why don’t we have a general ban on unsafe use of the roads instead of continuing to debate and pass specific laws about distraction? I don’t care what you’re doing, if it’s unsafe, I want a cop to be able to cite (or arrest) for it.

Free bikes!: A teacher in a low-income area of South Carolina wants to buy all 650 students in her class a new bike. She’s already raised over $40,000 of her $65,000 goal.

Car abuse impacts: This is what we talk about when we talk about the negative impact car abuse has on our lives.

Out of control: Did you catch this KATU article about a place in southeast Portland where cars “careening” off the road is relatively common? Sheesh.

Cycling sexism: The former technical director of British Cycling seems to have told a female athlete to “go and have a baby” after he declined to renew her contract.

That’ll do it for last week. Make sure to send us your suggestions if you want us to consider them for next Monday.

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

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32 Comments
  • Eric Leifsdad October 31, 2016 at 3:38 pm

    SE Thorburn Street… “speed bumps”?! Really PBOT, get serious.

    This is a street with no sidewalks, bike lanes, or even shoulders in some places and the best they can come up with is a plan to install speed bumps?

    Incompetence or malice?

    Recommended Thumb up 8

    • Chris I October 31, 2016 at 9:10 pm

      The ROW is very narrow. At best, they might be able to fit a narrow sidewalk on one side. Speed bumps are still needed. And speed cameras…

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      • Eric Leifsdad October 31, 2016 at 11:52 pm

        Try a 4ft barrier across the middle of the road with space for only bikes and pedestrians to pass it. Plenty of room in the ROW, just too many cars using it as a through route.

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        • Chris I November 1, 2016 at 7:01 am

          Is it not a through-route? I live west of Mt. Tabor and occasionally use it to get to Mr. Plywood. Would you prefer I drive through the park?

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          • BB November 1, 2016 at 9:03 am

            Go around.

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            • Chris I November 1, 2016 at 9:26 am

              Go south to Division and then cut through neighborhoods to get back to Stark? Or cut through neighborhoods to get to Burnside? Or do you think we should go up to I-84?

              You should run for Traffic Tsar.

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              • bradwagon November 1, 2016 at 9:37 am

                Depending how far West you are 60th or Cesar Chavez would be good NS options. If using division, 82nd would be a good route for getting back north… This is an example of how local, feeder, and thoroughfare road types are intended to be used. It is much more obvious in suburban settings but even the grid system can be used this way.

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                • Chris I November 1, 2016 at 10:46 am

                  I don’t see a difference between Thorburn and 60th, and I think the city classifies them as the same kind of road. Both are neighborhood collectors.

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                • bradwagon November 1, 2016 at 11:13 am

                  Agree, was just addressing situation if Thorburn design was changed.

                  Unfortunately it seems the issue is people are driving on Thorburn like they do on Stark, Burnside or Division… instead of how they would drive on a similar road (60th).

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          • bradwagon November 1, 2016 at 9:11 am

            It seems that either Division or Burnside would be the dedicated through routes in the area. Thorburn route is clearly intended to route drives up to Burnside via Gilham… the fact that you can use that awkward intersection to get through on Thorburn doesn’t mean the route is suitable for it. Belmont effectively dead ends and I haven’t heard of issues with that area…

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        • bradwagon November 1, 2016 at 9:17 am

          I think a better option would be to route EB traffic up Pine into the neighborhood via a Do Not Enter blockade and not allow WB traffic to make the left turn onto Gilham / Thorburn. Residents can still get out either direction although it would mean they have slightly more limited options for entering the street…

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      • bradwagon November 1, 2016 at 9:41 am

        Remove the center lane striping and widen the northern shoulder. Just the visual change would enforce a mentality of shared use of the road. If someone sees a wide nicely marked lane to drive in they will drive faster.

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    • Eric in Seattle November 2, 2016 at 10:37 am

      http://www.strongtowns.org/journal/2016/10/31/ask-r-moses-does-center-line-striping-make-streets-safer?rq=striping
      Perhaps speed limit compliance would be a little better if they removed the striping.

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  • SE Rider October 31, 2016 at 3:57 pm

    “The latest crash happened Friday morning. A 17-year-old girl’s car came to rest in the front yard of a home, barely missing the house. The girl claims she was hit from behind, but police are investigating the exact cause. The crash only highlights neighbors’ concerns.”

    Just looking at the picture (where the car has a huge dent in the back (not the side in the bush/tree), I don’t think it’s crazy to think the girl is telling the truth about being hit from behind.

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  • Paul Atkinson October 31, 2016 at 4:37 pm

    “I don’t care what you’re doing, if it’s unsafe, I want a cop to be able to cite (or arrest) for it.”

    There’s ambiguity here that’s hard to get past. The word “unsafe” has two completely different meanings:
    a) Significant chance of hurting myself. Skiing is unsafe. Skydiving is unsafe.
    b) Significant chance of hurting someone else. Driving inattentively is unsafe.

    I don’t want police citing for a. I want them citing for b.

    Recommended Thumb up 9

  • Middle of the Road guy October 31, 2016 at 10:02 pm

    The “Fair Share” article is timely, JM 🙂

    Recommended Thumb up 0

    • Dan A November 1, 2016 at 7:01 am

      In a given year I might drive 12,000 miles and bike 3,000 miles. The article says driver should pay $0.12 per mile and cyclists should pay $0.0053 per mile.

      Driving fair share: $1440
      Cycling fair share: $16

      Someone who doesn’t drive at all and rides 10,000 miles a year would need to pay $53. Sounds good to me. When do we start issuing rebate checks?

      Recommended Thumb up 9

      • Dan A November 1, 2016 at 7:09 am

        I forgot to add in the additional $0.08 per mile for ‘imposed risk’, which is probably another $1000 per year for drivers.

        The article is pretty generous towards cars, BTW, not charging for any other external costs like air/noise/water/ground pollution, global warming, health problems, etc.

        Recommended Thumb up 5

        • El Biciclero November 1, 2016 at 10:11 am

          I kind of like the proxy of “cost of protection” (via infrastructure, it sounded like in the article) for “imposed risk”, but even though the author didn’t want to put a value on human losses, there is still that. And we actually could, I would think, put a value on the cost to respond and clean up after motor crashes, and we could attempt to put some average value on loss of time due to stalled and crashed cars blocking the way (which is vastly greater than any loss of time suffered by motorists at the hands of arrogant, road-hogging bicyclists).

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      • BB November 1, 2016 at 9:06 am

        I don’t want a rebate check, I want a full network of separated bike infrastructure that includes heated roads to prevent snow accumulation and twice daily clearing of sticks and leaves. They can keep my money, just give me something real in return.

        Recommended Thumb up 3

        • Dan A November 1, 2016 at 10:07 am

          Sounds good. Right now your money goes to redesigning highway interchanges and turning country roads into mega-wide arterials with token 5-foot bike lanes.

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          • GlowBoy November 3, 2016 at 12:07 pm

            Don’t forget it also goes to putting down sharrows on Barbur and the St. John’s Bridge.

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      • Middle of the Road Guy November 1, 2016 at 9:56 am

        I am more interested in Oregon funding, personally. Articles like this are nice but they are also generalized.

        As for rebate checks, I think we all know that is not how taxation works. There are other areas that we certainly benefit from disproportionately. Are you going to be cutting checks to others for that?

        Regarding the externalities comment, sure…we can try to assess that. But to be fair you also need to assess the benefits. I find there is a trend among BP commenters to only look at the costs of driving and not the benefits of it. For instance, I sincerely doubt that all of the devices we are using were biked in, so you have a lower cost on the things you buy because of the efficiencies afforded by motorized transport.

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        • Dan A November 1, 2016 at 2:59 pm

          I think the point is regarding the personal cost of motorized transport, not delivery. Drivers complaining about ‘fair share’ who are not actually paying their fair share.

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  • Terry D-M November 1, 2016 at 1:17 am

    On Thorburn, We got the speed limit dropped to 25 from 30 last spring. The Thorburn speed bump are actually fire engine friendly speed tables as this is a secondary emergency response route. These have only recently been approved for use after the Cornel experiment. The Thorburn project is privately funded by local donations and is the first step so it will be safe enough for some crosswalk reorganization And installation. There is not enough ROW for a sidewalk without an enormously expensive retaining wall including bioswales for water retention as it is a slide area. If we waited for public funding it would take years. I have been working with the local activist group, a half mile up the hill from me, from the beginning of organizing on this issue.

    Center medians can not be used as there are driveways…..the long term capital project would have to be in tandem with a redesign of Burnside as well as these together work as a cuplet. Then it would be possible to convert it to a one way and add pedestrian/bike facilities without extraordinary costs, but that requires funding of East Burnside as well.

    We had another phone pole taken out on 65 th at the curves just the other day. TSP Project 70010 $8.3 Million East. Burnside safe acess to transit and bike facilities.

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    • Chris I November 1, 2016 at 7:15 am

      How would a couplet with Burnside work? I get it on the east end, but on the west end, it seems like it would require people to go south on 60th before going east on Thorburn. Perhaps it makes more sense to just keep Burnside at 3 lanes (road diet: with turn lane) and make Thorburn one way eastbound?

      Recommended Thumb up 2

      • Terry D-M November 1, 2016 at 11:42 am

        I’m guessing traffic circles, but these ideas are embryonic at best. There is zero funding, even for preliminary engineering. I am however hoping to get a public meeting on the High Crash Corridor sometime this winter.

        Recommended Thumb up 0

  • David Hampsten November 1, 2016 at 2:58 am

    Straight dope on “infrastructure” spending: The article is interesting, as you say, for linking roadway performance with land use, but the author confused “environmental review” with physical land takings. Unlike sewers and water lines, roadways, including sidewalks and bikeways, are infrastructure we can see, smell, and taste. If built badly, the roadway can divide our communities, and often do.

    In transportation planning, “environmental review” primarily relates to how the infrastructure impacts vulnerable communities, both for users and for folks who happen to live along the way, be they visible minorities in Powellhurst-Gilbert, poor people in Glenfair, rich white bicyclists in the Pearl, or even the 70% of Portlanders who still drive alone to work every day. To many engineers, “performance” equals throughput. High performance roadways often equals freeways through poor black neighborhoods. This article needs to be read in the context of the other articles related to race and planning, as in Chicago.

    Recommended Thumb up 1

  • T.A. Barnhart November 1, 2016 at 7:53 am

    When McArdle quotes her father saying Clinton is “captive to those on the left” I knew I was reading political propaganda. Not myth-debunking.

    Recommended Thumb up 1

  • Mike November 1, 2016 at 8:34 am

    Buy a kid a bike. I remember living in Boise about 10 years ago when a group got together to buy poor kids bikes. The bikes were either stolen or trashed within a month. Still, the kids did have a few days worth of joy they didn’t have before. So go for it!

    Recommended Thumb up 0

    • Lester Burnham November 1, 2016 at 8:39 am

      People tend to not appreciate things just given to them.

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  • soren November 3, 2016 at 12:16 pm

    I don’t care what you’re doing, if it’s unsafe, I want a cop to be able to cite (or arrest) for it.

    Ironically, this same blog post links to an article that focuses on a behavior that is illegal but demonstrably enhances safety. I routinely violate the law at LPIs and encourage everyone else to do the same. Riding like a scofflaw is frequently the safest way to ride.

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