The Monday Roundup

Autopocalypse; electric cars; greenwashing run amok; sticking up for the right to assault; Metro plans ahead; freeway gardens; tires from orange peels

Here are the news stories that caught our eye last week:

– The new US highway bill, which is hoped by many to herald in a new era of non-highway transportation spending, is now on hold while Congress tackles health care.

– Elana Schor at DC StreetsBlog has a good primer on the current state of wrangling over the transportation portion of the federal stimulus dollars.

– Living near a freeway is worse for your health than you thought (particularly if you’re in the womb) — and you don’t even have to live very near it. New research finds that the pollution corridor extends a full one and a half miles on either side of a freeway.

– A recent Australian report has found major economic benefits in cycling, both personal and public — primarily through health care savings.

– Columbia, Missouri’s newly passed anti-harrassment ordinance aimed at protecting people on bikes from assault is under fire and may not last long.

– In LA last weekend, the huge, monthly Midnight Ridazz ride rolled past a house party, where guests threw glass bottles at the riders and fired a gun into the crowd, shooting one man.

– Locally, Metro council has approved a thirty year plan for creating 15 high capacity transit in the Portland region. Examples include boosting transit on Powell, and increasing the speed of downtown Portland’s light rail. Chris Smith has the map.

– Metro elections are coming up, and it looks like Bob Stacey, director of 1000 Friends of Oregon and one of the leading public figures who oppose the Columbia River Crossing 12 lane expansion project, will run.

– GM is abandoning its auto plants, including hundreds of millions of dollars in environmental cleanup costs. And unsold cars are causing a major storage problem.

– Here’s how the auto industry is rebranding itself: embracing environmentalism and even supporting a gas tax to pay for “green” upgrades.

– Apparently Portland and San Francisco are engaged in a race to become “the epicenter of electric vehicle technology.” Meanwhile, those bike activists keep on playing the grinch.

– Another ultra-modern take on the automobile addresses the design shortcomings of private cars — by making them as much like trains as possible.

– A Japanese company has begun to sell car tires made of oil derived from orange peels rather than petroleum.

– Would you want to tend a community garden plot on a highway median? San Franciscans may soon have that option.

– Should broadband internet access be considered (and funded as) a mode of transportation? (via PortlandTransport)

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Elly Blue (Columnist)

Elly Blue has been writing about bicycling and carfree issues for since 2006. Find her at

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14 years ago

It’s interesting to try understand how Columbia Missouri could get to the point of approving such an ordinance in the first place. The newspaper the link leads to, ‘Missourian’, published a column by retired Marine Corps Colonel J. Karl Miller. He considers the ordinance unfair to motorists, and in his column, asks the following question:

“Why, may I ask, is it acceptable to yell at and honk one’s horn at a motor-vehicle operator who has executed a knucklehead stunt but not cricket for a miscreant cyclist?”

Seems like the colonel might be able to understand that the motor vehicle operator, encased within the car, has some protection from the horn’s blare, whereas the person on the bike doesn’t. But then, I suppose most Marine Corps Colonels are used to yelling and loud noises as a routine part of their military training.

El Biciclero
El Biciclero
14 years ago

“Why, may I ask, is it acceptable to yell at and honk one’s horn at a motor-vehicle operator who has executed a knucklehead stunt but not cricket for a miscreant cyclist?”

Besides no protection from the full blast of a car horn, there are two other aspects that make it not necessarily “cricket” to honk and yell at cyclists:

1) Things that many motorists consider “knucklehead stunts” by cyclists aren’t. Too many motorists think that taking a lane is knuckleheaded enough to warrant a horn blast. How many motorists have you heard express the opinion that just legally riding on certain streets is “suicidal”, and therefore deemed a “knucklehead stunt” worthy of a good honk.

2) Honking at another motor vehicle driver will rarely induce a rollover crash in which that driver is ejected from the vehicle and lands in the road–but the equivalent very well can happen to a startled cyclist who suddenly wobbles the wrong way and goes down.

I just about want to laugh any time I hear non-bike-riding motor-vehicle-only drivers say “no fair!”

14 years ago

El Biciclero:

Your #2 is spot-on. Most of the time I’m fine, but there’s been once or twice where I’ve startled really bad when honked at. Once while biking down the Clackamas River, and I startled bad enough to almost lose control of my bike!

14 years ago

Thank you Elly. I live for Monday’s, only because of your Roundup!

14 years ago

“The police aren’t going to charge a person with third-degree assault if a car swipes a bicyclist and he or she falls … they’re just not,” [Ian Thomas, executive director of the PedNet Coalition] said.

Sigh. If a motorist “swipes” me with intent, I’d sure hope a third-degree assault charge was a possibility. Many on this site would even argue for assault with a deadly weapon.

The comments on that article aren’t very encouraging, either. Lots of public education is needed.

Here’s to hoping Columbia gets things sorted to the benefit of all roadway users. Maybe they can look to Copenhagen, Amsterdam, New York, or even Portland for some inspiration.