The Monday Roundup

Posted by on February 9th, 2009 at 9:56 am

Lots of news this past week. Here we go…

Memorial for Kevin Black in Ballard, WA
(Photo by Hugger Industries)

– Transportation for America reports that attempts to strip the transit funding from the federal stimulus package have been unsuccessful — for now. Transit funding still makes up only about 1% of the package, despite increasing calls for investment in rail rather than roads.

– Kevin Black was killed while riding his bike to work in Ballard (a suburb neighborhood in Seattle) last week. Black was a molecular neurobiologist and popular member of a local cycling team. Over 200 people turned out for a memorial ride, and advocates are mobilizing.

– In DeKalb County, Georgia, a seven year old boy was struck and killed by an SUV as he crossed the street in front of his school in a marked crosswalk where crossing guards were standing with flags and stop signs. The driver did not stop. Parents had been advocating for a stop light at that intersection for two years.

Story continues below

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– In local bike industry news — Jay Graves, owner of the Bike Gallery, tells the Oregonian that this January’s sales were up from the same month a year ago. And the Sellwood Bee has a feature about the popularity of cargo bikes in Portland, interviewing a manager at the Bike Gallery and one of the owners of Clever Cycles.

– The cargo bike germ is spreading… The Patriot-News in Pennsylvania features a roundup of kid-carrying bikes, highlighting the Madsen.

– New York City could soon require all new buildings to provide secure, indoor bike parking. Streetsblog reports on the progress of this effort — it is looking good.

– Denver is now developing a bike sharing program, inspired by the big success of bike sharing during the 2008 Democratic National Convention in the city.

– San Francisco bike advocates are feeling lukewarm about a recent concession from Caltrain to try to add a few more bike spaces to meet the growing demand on their commuter rail cars.

– The much-anticipated annual TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design) conference included a few transportation-related talks. Robin Chase, founder of Zipcar, talked about technology for road pricing (that’s congestion pricing’s next step). Jaime Lerner, former mayor of Curitiba, Brazil, discussed Curitiba’s innovations in transportation and urban space, particularly Bus Rapid Transit. James Howard Kunstler spoke on his trademark theme, the perils of suburbia.

– The UK’s Times Online has a really interesting little piece on a movement in China to “embrace austerity” — many people in China are taking a pledge to live on 100 yuan a week (that’s under $15 US), and the key to this is often giving up the car.

– David Byrne (formerly of the Talking Heads) says that he takes his bicycle on tour “so I can get around various towns on my own.” He’s currently in New Zealand, not famous for its bike friendliness.

– Ending the roundup on a fun note — a new nature documentary tracks the demise, and possible resurgence of an endangered species — the urban pedestrian.

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steveOh Word?Elly BlueDarren AlffMatthew Denton Recent comment authors
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a.O
Guest
a.O

Elly, Ballard is a Seattle neighborhood, not a suburb. Many Ballardites lament their annexation by Seattle (even though it happened long ago and Ballard is nowhere near the modern city limit) and want to secede from everything and form the Republic of Ballard. My guess is that the descriptor “suburb” might make them a little bitchy, just FYI.

And how about that intrepid reporting from the Bee, huh?

Why do you say NZ is not famous for its bike friendliness?

Ryan
Guest

The news of Caltrain was actually a success compared to the lack of cooperation from CalTrans to not open a lane on the San Rafael-Richmond bridge for cyclist.

Coyote
Guest
Coyote

Kunstler spoke at the TED conference in 2004. It is still worth a look.

The TED conference has been reluctant to embrace anything that looks like energy descent. The message at the TED conference is that technology can save the world. Kuntsler’s notion that technology cannot replace energy is not well received. Perhaps it has something to do with being sponsored by BMW?

Paul Tay
Guest

And, this from Tulsa. Tulsa’s Transportation Advisory Board is akin to a bicycle advisory committee on steroids.

At the Oklahoma State Capitol today, Rep. Sue Tibbs, Chair of the House Public Safety Committee agreed with a proposal to include bike ed with drivers ed. She championed Oklahoma’s three-foot passing rule. America’s first bike ed bill should be well underway in coming months.

John Reinhold
Guest
John Reinhold

Parents had been advocating for a stop light at that intersection for two years.

From the article:
(emphasis mine)

A crossing guard was on duty and had carried a stop sign into the street,

AND:

Drivers coming from the north pass a flashing school zone sign on a roadside post and a sign warning, “Stop for pedestrians in crosswalk” before traveling over a small hill just north of the school.

Within yards of the crosswalk, two more signs show pedestrian icons, one with an arrow pointing to the crosswalk.

I don’t think the streetlight would have helped.

steve
Guest
steve

As someone who has toured extensively in New Zealand, I would also like to know what on Earth would cause you to type – “He’s currently in New Zealand, not famous for its bike friendliness.”

New Zealand is known FOR having a bike friendly environment. Some of the best touring in the world and you are lucky to make it a day without being invited to camp in some ones front yard. Their drivers are courteous and overly friendly.

I sure miss Jonathan writing up things like this.

refunk
Guest
refunk

Aw, shucks, is too…
That is, NZ IS KNOWN for being bike friendly – among cyclotourists! Very much so. I was startled by that comment also.

Perhaps, Ms. Blue, you are referring to bike infrastructure specifically relating to metro-type presence (or absence)? ‘Cause otherwise, NZ is well-known among bike trippers as a desirable tour destination for its beauty and courtesy. It’s a mite ‘spensive to get there & back, but it’s on my wish list to ride there…

Otherwise, thank you for collecting interesting bike stuff from diverse sources for us.

steve
Guest
steve

You should read more. I did not find myself there by accident. i went there because it is recommended in countless articles and books. It is a cycling destination.

Thanks for being obstinate though, it is quite becoming.

matt picio
Guest

steve (#9) – it takes more than a single reply to be “obstinate”, and your personal insult “you should read more” doesn’t help your case.

Yes, I realize to a certain extent I’m being snarky, but: it’s perfectly ok for people on a blog (especially the post’s author) to give their reasons in direct response to a comment. Elly was in no way being rude, but simply stating her reasons for what she put in the article, and you’re coming down on her with major condescension.

steve
Guest
steve

The writer is presenting her factually challenged opinions as universally held truths.

Methinks you are picking a fight with the wrong person, Matt.

Zaphod
Guest

It’s interesting how [some] people post on the internet with a far different tone than one would if in the same room as the people they are addressing.

It seems to me that Elly writes some very good articles and covers a ton of information. In the case of NZ’s bike friendliness, there are many ways to define “bike friendliness”… is it urban infrastructure?, is it low traffic scenic routes? Is it off road opportunities? As a total aside, the mountain biking in NZ is superb.

BikePortland, Jonathan’s work, Elly’s work is not a given, something that we can take for granted and bash at will. These are real people who do real work. While I know nothing about their compensation, my guess is the primary driver in doing what they do is for the love of the work. If they received nothing but snarky complaints and moaning all the time, I wonder if it would continue to be worth it?

The good news, as I see it anyway, is that this site has some of the most respectful and intelligent discourse of any blog I’ve visited. I’m rather grateful for how Jon’s vision has turned into an institution and voice for Portland’s bike culture and it’s growing with the addition of Elly full time.

Opus the Poet
Guest

In the Ballard crash there is some controversy with the SPD report having the van and the bicycle 3 lanes over from published witness and the van driver’s accounts. SPD have the cyclist passing the van on the left from the bike lane while the van was in the left turn lane, while other accounts have the van blocking the bike lane. The SPD report made absolutely so sense (why would the cyclist move from a clear bike lane all the way into oncoming traffic to pass a van?) and also moved the van from mid-block to an intersection waiting at a traffic light. Something is up at SPD, either a pre-determined blame or just a plain outright tampering and falsification of an official police report. If I could call for an investigation I would. Oh wait, I already did in my blog…

Matthew Denton
Guest
Matthew Denton

“Not famous for its bicycle friendliness” hardly strikes me as an untrue statement. Compared to places like the Netherlands, Bogota, Paris, or China, how famous is New Zealand in the bicycle friendliness department? Not very. Sure, it may indeed be bicycle friendly, but they aren’t famous for it…

(And this section has always been written by Elly. Maybe Jonathan wrote a few while she was on the East Coast, but people should get their facts straight when they want to complain.)

Darren Alff
Guest

I’m just commenting on the New Zealand remark as I have no idea where that came from. From everything I’ve know, New Zealand is a great place for bike travel. Have you ever been there? Eek!

Your wording is horrible. You think you are saying that it not as friendly as other places… but the way it comes across to me is that New Zealand is not bike friendly at all. And others are obviously reading it that way as well.

I’d change it and apologize. Oops. Just bad wording.

steve
Guest
steve

No one called you a name, Elly. All that is being discussed are your misstatements in the original post.

I love that you are now deleting comments that disagree with you.

Oh Word?
Guest
Oh Word?

Speaking of cargo bike, have a look at these some of these 3 wheelers.
http://www.polarinertia.com/dec08/boxbike01.htm

steve
Guest
steve

Elly-

If there were such a ‘clear’ meaning, you would not have numerous people disagreeing with you.

The only thing that is ‘clear’ is that you are a wee bit obstinate and appear to not enjoy being corrected. Bad traits for a supposed journalist.