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Comment of the Week

Comment of the Week: Biking, fitness and weight loss are three different things

Friday, June 12th, 2015
East Sunday Parkways-33
Just a good time.
(Photo: J.Maus/BikePortland)

There are lots of reasons to have a great time on a bike. Weight loss can sometimes be one of them, but shouldn’t have to be.

So how is it that so many messages about biking get caught up in messages about body type?

That’s the argument from BikePortland reader Anne Hawley, responding to a conversation started by Vancouver, B.C., writer Cecily Walker about whether active transportation advocacy groups should avoid “the ‘obesity’ scare word” when talking up biking and walking.

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Comment of the Week: The real cost of having unsafe streets

Friday, June 5th, 2015
Eleni rides home alone-1
On her own.
(Photo © J. Maus/BikePortland)

Portland is, thankfully, a relatively safe city to get around. Even the United States in general, with our 30,000 road deaths every year, is full of hundreds of millions of people who aren’t getting physically hurt.

But the real cost of Vision 30,000 (as I saw a local transportation planner put it the other day) isn’t broken bodies. And it doesn’t have anything to do with biking in particular. It’s the fact that almost all of us spend our entire lives in a constant, low-level fear of losing our daughter, our son, our spouse, our best friend, to traffic.

How does that perfectly reasonable fear shape our lives? How does it lead us to shape theirs?

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Comment of the Week: What if there were a national campaign to shame people who drive illegally?

Friday, May 29th, 2015
Busted!
Busted.
(Photo: J.Maus/BikePortland)

Sex crimes are horrific, and — despite the concerns of some about civil liberties — many states respond to their horror by publicly shaming people who commit them.

Maybe traffic crimes should be punished similarly, BikePortland reader invisiblebikes suggested in a comment Wednesday beneath our post about the newly launched Vision Zero PAC, which aims to put a spotlight on politicians who defend unsafe driving. As invisiblebikes describes it, the government wouldn’t even be involved.

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Comment of the week: Portland’s road-diet deadline

Friday, May 22nd, 2015
IMG_8975
Southwest Naito Parkway, pre-redesign.
(Photo: J.Maus/BikePortland)

How long is it supposed to take to drive across town?

Your answer to that question probably depends, more or less, on how long it took to do so when you moved to town.

That’s one of the ideas behind a comment BikePortland reader Carl Abbott added to Tuesday’s story about this week’s experimental redesign of Naito Parkway. Extrapolating a bit from the Naito situation, Carl speculated that as Portland’s buildings fill in and grow up, its streets might start filling up, too.

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Comment of the week: On city streets, what is passing and speeding even for?

Friday, May 15th, 2015

One of the strangest things about so much of the anger and danger on our streets is that so much dangerous driving doesn’t even accomplish anything for the person doing it.

That’s the truth that reader GB captured perfectly on Wednesday with a simple dash-cam video of a completely futile moment of dangerous driving on Southeast Powell Boulevard.

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Comment of the Week: The joy of discovering bikes as a kid in Portland

Friday, May 1st, 2015
Vanilla's kids bike-12
Soon, soon.
(Photo: J.Maus/BikePortland)

As someone who didn’t really come to appreciate biking until I was in high school, my mind is sometimes blown by thinking about people born into biking life here in modern Portland.

A comment Wednesday morning from BikePortland reader Katherine, beneath Jonathan’s ride-along with a dad and his four-year-old daughter, conveys it better than I ever could.

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Comment of the Week: The five-ingredient recipe for a great bike city

Friday, April 24th, 2015
Mia Birk at Powell's Books-3
Birk at Powell’s Books in 2011.
(Photo: J.Maus/BikePortland)

If anyone in the country knows what it takes for a city to improve its bike transportation, it’s a woman whose entire business depends on cities doing so: Mia Birk.

Birk, the former Portland bicycle coordinator and senior local principal of Alta Planning + Design, was indirectly quoted in a comment this week from BikePortland reader Matt, who said he’d heard Birk’s theory about this in a conversation once.

Matt seems to have remembered it. It’s a memorably simple formula.

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Comment of the Week: When ‘bike culture’ bites back

Friday, April 17th, 2015
Priceless branding.
(Photo: J.Maus/BikePortland)

Biking has been a big part of the brand identity that has made Portland a come-from-behind economic success over the last 20 years.

But now that prosperity has arrived, at least for some Portlanders, where’s the love? And if it’s missing, do people who function as “props” in Portland’s triumphant narrative have an option to pull back?

That’s the question that BikePortland reader Kevin explored in a comment beneath our post Tuesday about a pair of Portlanders’ high-profile campaign to rescind the city’s “platinum” status with the League of American Bicyclists.

Here’s how Kevin put it, with a bit of emphasis added:

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Comment of the Week: The case for organized running advocacy in Portland

Friday, April 10th, 2015
I'm too clean-cut to be here in Portland with all these hippies. I think I should be in Kansas. Or maybe Salt Lake City.
Shared interests.
(Photo: Ed Yourdon)

Here on BikePortland, we love to switch focus around the many ways to enjoy bikes, from dirt-trails or the daily commute. And if you ask me, Jonathan’s inspired combination of sport, fun and policy is the special recipe that has made this site a viable business as well as a work of love for everyone involved.

So as reader Adam wrote this week, isn’t it time for someone to apply a similar approach to athleticism on foot?

Here’s what Adam wrote this afternoon beneath our post about the appeal of gravel paths to people running:

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Comment of the Week: Does Vision Zero require gravel freeways?

Friday, April 3rd, 2015
speed of light
A freeway outside Delft, Netherlands.
(Photo: Edwin van Buuringen)

The most important concept in American streets advocacy right now seems to suggest that all rapid car travel should be abolished.

That’s the perspective of BikePortland reader Tait, who argued semi-satirically this week that if preventing one person’s death is truly more important than fulfilling everyone else’s desires, maybe we should cut freeway speeds to 35 mph, or even lower.

In a comment beneath our post Tuesday about some Oregon legislators’ effort to raise cars’ freeway speed limit from 65 to 75 mph, Tait had this to say:

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