The Monday Roundup

Posted by on June 1st, 2009 at 7:06 am

Mapes in the New York Times, carfree NYC, climate change and public health, a celebrity bike activist speaks up, BRT in Salem, and a self-balancing unicycle.

This week’s news of bikes, transportation, and livability:

– David Byrne reviews local author Jeff Mapes’ excellent book, Pedaling Revolution, in the Sunday New York Times. The book is destined for the best-seller list. Congrats Jeff!

– Obama has appointed Polly Trottenberg as assistant DOT secretary; Streetsblog quotes a recent speech where she laments that state requests for federal dollars are so heavily weighted towards highway projects, despite the federal government’s commitment to sustainability.

– The dream of a high speed rail line between Eugene, Oregon and Vancouver, BC inched forward last week when the mayors of Portland and Vancouver, BC signed an agreement to work together to make it a reality.

– In the meantime, Washington State is requesting $800 million in stimulus funds to significantly expand existing passenger rail service between Portland and Seattle.

– More great photos and thoughts from Streetsblog on the newly carfree Times Square.

– Public health experts are calling on the United States to contribute money to efforts to alleviate the health impacts of climate change — of which the U.S. is the world’s number one driver — on impoverished populations which are disproportionately affected.

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– Matthew Modine, movie star and bicycle activist, is the latest to say that “Cars are Like Cigarettes.” And he says it well. (You might also want to revisit our thoughts on the matter from last fall.)

Bus Rapid Transit is coming to Salem.

– A Vancouver, Washington inventor has created the world’s first SBU — self-balancing unicycle.

– Portland mad scientist and welder Gabe Tiller’s coffin bike is featured at the top of a list of “20 of the freakiest custom bikes on the road.”

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Aaron DeVoreMark AllynSpencer BoomhowerChris SullivanDan Liu Recent comment authors
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Mark Allyn

And don’t forget. . . .

The icon of Amarican cars, General Motors, has filed for bankruptcy protection. . .


I’m kind of interested now in seeing David Byrne’s book, Bicycle Diaries that, according the the NY Times review, will be out in the fall.


Huh? I thought this was a blog about bicycles, not another bitter, anti-car blog.

Perhaps I was wrong.


I heard from a pretty reliable source that Mr. Byrne is planning on doing some riding in Portland during Pedalpalooza. His concert date is June 23.

Dan Liu

Oh wow, I really want to ride/ the Ross Island Explorer. That thing looks fantastic.

Chris Sullivan
Chris Sullivan

Maybe we’ll see him during Sunday Parkways on the 21st?

Spencer Boomhower
Spencer Boomhower

That SBU is pretty neat. I wonder if it would work with handlebars up front? Not so much for steering, but as a place to rest your hands… And hang your coffee-mug holder :). Though maybe you still need your hands free for the side-to-side balance? It looks like riding one would feel similar to riding a two-wheeled bike with no hands, which is maybe what’s making me want bars.

Mark Allyn

Congratulations Gabe!

Aaron DeVore
Aaron DeVore

I know that this is an old post/thread, but this must be said. There is already significant work being done on high speed rail in the Vancouver, B.C. to Portland corridor. By 2023 the trains will go up to 110 MPH. Portland-Seattle travel times will be 2:30, 10 times a day. Vancouver, B.C. to Seattle will be 2:37, 4 times per day. The improvements are incremental so we are seeing the results right now, not just later.

WDOT looked at putting in true high speed rail but it would have involved a lot of money, a new right of way, and only a marginal decrease in travel time. These improvements still cost a lot of money, but a couple billion dollars is nothing compared to, say, the California High Speed Rail.

The only leg of the journey that isn’t seeing many improvements is the Portland-Eugene segment.

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