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The Monday Roundup

Posted by on November 2nd, 2009 at 9:43 am

Here’s the news that caught our eye this week.

– On Tuesday, a cable on San Francisco’s Bay Bridge snapped. The bridge and its approaches have been closed since, resulting in transportation difficulties and rare photos of huge swathes of urban freeway completely empty of cars.

– In the midst of a mayoral election in which a primary issue is what to do about Seattle’s aging Alaskan Way Viaduct freeway, a public records request has unearthed a WSDOT video simulating what would happen to the Viaduct in an earthquake similar to one that occurred in 2001.

– Meanwhile, the US government spent more on electric car technology in the past six months than on transit in the past year.

– Portland’s libertarian think tank has issued a position paper closely linking miles driven with economic health.

– An interesting analysis of how much good it could do if police were to take the same approach to traffic crimes as to other types of crime, and a theory about why they don’t.

– The NY Times speculates on the sociology behind the theft and vandalism to Paris’s shared Vélib’ bicycle fleet. (But a similar article in the BBC back in February turned out to be a smart maneuver by Vélib’ management in negotiating their contract renewal.)

– Chris Smith wants to start a conversation in Portland about the connection between transportation, land use planning, and schools.

– You can read a full account of the testimony last week of the doctor on trial for a now infamous incident where he allegedly passed and then slammed on his brakes in front of a group out for a bike ride on Mandeville Canyon Road in LA. The jury is still deliberating.

– A coalition of rural road users in Boulder has proposed a set of ideas for easing tensions between two and four wheeled users.

– A good analysis in the NY Times of the recent study that suggests bike-related injuries are going up, as well as the safety in numbers phenomenon.

– In Australia, the road surface of the Sydney Harbor Bridge was transformed into a grassy park for a day; thousands showed up for a picnic breakfast (including some cows).

– A 5,000 year old road across England looks and feels a lot different than modern-day roads, and was built with different purposes and modes in mind.

– A school in China requires its students to stop and salute all cars that drive by them as they walk to school.

– Snow can pose a major threat to urban transportation; the mayor of Moscow proposes to nip that problem in the bud by controlling the weather, at least for the city’s major festivals this winter.

– In Slate, a heartwarming tale of how one man went without a car for daily transportation to finance the vintage project car of his dreams.

– Streetsblog got an overwhelming response to their call for photos of work bikes, and will be running several slideshows. Here’s the first (and it’s inspiring!).

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wsbobK'TeshDave ThomsonHeidiElly Blue (Editor) Recent comment authors
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The article about the cyclist-motorist working group shows a common sense solution that I’ve never seen implemented before. Too often I hear motorists griping about cyclists not riding in the shoulder without showing any willingness to spend more to keep shoulders wide, clean and safe for cyclists to use.

Imagine what other productive solutions can happen when we have discussions with folks who are willing to take our right to the road as a given. I see this as good progress.


I happened to be passing through SF on Wednesday during the afternoon commute and while many motorist just shifted to a different bridge, like the Golden Gate, the local transit seemed to respond thoughtfully with increased BART trains and bus and ferry service.

I am shocked whenever I am on freeways during rush hour (which is rarely)at the quantity of vehciles that are single occupancy. Despite the well publicized Bay Bridge closure and transit options Wed commute across the Golden Gate bridge was horrific – bumper to bumper, 4 lanes (more north of the bridge)of SOVs for many miles on both sides of the bridge – rather than take transit folks were sitting alone in their cars and inching forward toward home. Yes, I saw a couple of buses but they were surprisingly empty.


I couldn’t get the Seattle Transit Blog site to open so here’s a link to the Alaskan Way Viaduct video on YouTube.

Dave Thomson
Dave Thomson

According to BikingInLA Dr. Christopher Thompson was found guilty today on all 7 counts (6 felonies) stemming from slamming on his brakes in front of two cyclists. He is in custody after the judge denied his request for bail until sentencing.


Stop and salute? I’ve got a salute for that school… No points for guessing how many fingers.


It was very interesting to read excerpts of Dr. Christopher Thompson’s testimony in the article linked above. How is that people with intelligence, opportunity and education are nevertheless unable to restrain themselves from doing what he did? How this type temperament can meet the responsibilities a surgeon is obliged to bear is something I’d be very concerned about for anyone in the position of being his patient.