Splendid Cycles Big Sale

The Monday Roundup

Posted by on December 26th, 2011 at 10:34 am

Andando en Bicicleta en Cully (ABC)
will bring bike classes to NE Portland
(Image: Community Cycling Center)

Here’s the news that caught our eyes this past week…

– Gridlock is so bad in Murcia, Spain that city has offered a lifetime public transit passes in exchange for turning in your car. Instead of destroying the vehicles, the city is turning them into art installations designed to show the city’s commitment to reducing the number of cars in the city.

– The federal subsidy for driving a car to work in the US is on its way to increasing on January 1st, 2012. If Congress doesn’t take action before the end of the year, along with the bump for driving a car the federal tax benefits to public transit riders will decrease to about half its current level.

– After receiving a grant from the Central Northeast Neighbors, Andando en Bicicleta en Cully (ABC) is bringing bike maintenance training to Portland’s Cully neighborhood. ABC was started by a group of Cully-area residents (with the help of the Community Cycling Center and Hacienda CDC) and plans to start offering bike repair clinics in the summer of 2012.

– The Associated Press reports that the typical American household spent $4,155 on gasoline this past year, or about 8.4% of their total household budget. Families’ spending on gasoline was a higher portion their income than in any year since 1981.

– Seattle residents were shocked to see a video of Seattle Police Department officers mocking a critically injured victim. The man was hit by the driver of a semi-truck as he was jogging to work at the behest of the city, which was encouraging people to leave their cars at home while a major road was closed for construction.

– Separated facilities and trail systems are catching on in places outside the Portland-Metro area. Eighteen trail projects around Pennsylvania and New Jersey were awarded funding this year and another series of trails in their transportation network are expected to receive funding in 2012.

– Oakland, California (named a Bronze Bicycle Friendly City by the League of American Bicyclists) has laid down 18 new miles of bikeways in 2011. The new network of bikeways fall short of the city’s original goal of installing 32 miles, but much of the remaining 20 miles of new lanes are scheduled for installation in early 2012.

– Further south in the Bay Area, Palo Alto is moving forward with plans to build a bridge for pedestrians and people on bikes over Highway 101. The project, which aims to reconnect neighborhoods currently divided by the speed and volume of motor vehicle traffic on the road, has received virtually no public opposition to date.

– San Diego, California residents were initially concerned when they saw sharrows disappearing from city streets. After receiving numerous calls from citizens, a city representative issued a statement reassuring everyone that the sharrows were only removed in preparation for repaving. He confirmed that the sharrows have “really worked out well” and the city is eager to seem them back in place, just like everyone else.

– Plans for India’s first bike share system are moving forward in the city of Pune. Officials hope that the program will increase the number of bicycles on Pune’s roads but some people have raised concerns about sub-standard cycle tracks which should be improved before money is spent on the bike share program.

– Hong Kong is raising fees for bicycles on the Star Ferry. The increase will require passengers to pay about 80 times the standard fare if they want to bring their bicycle on board.

Bicycle Federation Wisconsin discusses the implementation of bike boulevards in Milwaukee and Madison, pointing out that neither city has implemented anything matching the quality of Portland’s neighborhood greenways.

– Elsewhere in Wisconsin, the city of Hull is trying to make walking and biking through the town illegal without specific government approval. Their plan to require “travel plans” from people wishing to walk or bike on city streets supposedly aims to reduce traffic collisions, yet the city hasn’t seen a single traffic incident involving someone on foot or on a bike in the last three years.

– The Iowa Bicycle Coalition is hosting its annual Winter Bicycle Challenge to show it’s possible (and fun) to ride a bike even when the temperature drops. Prizes for participants include plenty of warm, high-visibility bike gear.

– Looking to warmer weather for a second, a group of twenty-three organizations around the UK and Europe have announced their intention to run a joint Summer of Cycling program in 2012. The promotions and celebrations won’t be location based and may include forms of online participation or discounts.

– Couldn’t find a present for the bicycle enthusiast with everything? This bicycle PA system might be the belated gift you’re looking for. Combining two motorcycle speakers with an 8″ subwoofer, the backpack-like contraption will weigh you down a bit but it will certainly make your voice heard.

– If your friends and family are too fashion-conscious for a shoulder-mounted subwoofer they might enjoy a Gucci bicycle instead. Designed by the company’s Creative Director and build by Bianchi, the bicycles retail for over $5000 (USD).

Did you find something interesting that should be in next week’s Monday Roundup? Drop us a line.

NOTE: We love your comments and work hard to ensure they are productive, considerate, and welcoming of all perspectives. Disagreements are encouraged, but only if done with tact and respect. If you see a mean or inappropriate comment, please contact us and we'll take a look at it right away. Also, if you comment frequently, please consider holding your thoughts so that others can step forward. Thank you — Jonathan

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q`TzalJAT in SeattleMike3-speederWill Vanlue (Contributor) Recent comment authors
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SK
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SK

It’s Andando en Bicicleta! Just forgot a “d”.

Champs
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Champs

Every Google result about Hull’s planned prohibitions on non-automotive traffic seems to reference the same nonexistent article.

As much as I hate Wisconsin, this doesn’t seem legit.

are
Guest

the links are down on the stevens point journal, but the archive indicates that two articles on the subject did appear, which you could apparently access by paying money
http://tinyurl.com/7d6x7ep
http://tinyurl.com/7ofpzgv
however, there is a somewhat clarifying post at
http://www.bfw.org/2011/10/19/cure-for-the-bicycle-ban-virus-communication/

q`Tzal
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q`Tzal

First of all this happeded back in September 15, 2011 at Hull, Wisconson’s Public Safety Task Force meeting (Minutes – September 15, 2011).
Angry Hull town reaction to ridiculous proposal (Minutes – October 20, 2011)

That last link that “are” provided is the most informative, objective and non-reactionary article I’ve seen.

I followed the link to the naturalnews.com story and followed their dead link to Stevens Point Journal. Not only is the link dead but the article does nor show up in on site searches or in Google searches limited to the Stevens Point Journal site domain. My paranoid conclusion: erasure.

Like the town board of Hull we lack the same thing they did: education.
They reacted to concerns about safety motivated by petty inconviences.
We (the cycling community continually rage reactionally to threats to safety and freedom that don’t actually exist. The proposal was real BUT it is so inflamatory that even TWO MONTHS after it was shot down here we are getting spun up over link bait to inflate someone’s page count.

3-speeder
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3-speeder

Everyone calm down about the Town of Hull story.

First, I live in Stevens Point, WI, which borders upon the Town of Hull. I’ve been heavily involved with this issue since folks around here got wind of it.

Little substantive has occurred since the story went viral a couple of months ago, including the mention in BikePortland’s Monday Roundup from October 24. You can go there to read my comment from Oct 25 – not much is different now from what I mentioned then.

Actually, the language in the most recent version of the proposed ordinance, dated Nov 17, is far more reasonable than what had appeared before that. It still has problems, but it is better.

The permitting language is gone and has been replaced with language specifying that groups needing roads to be closed to motor vehicles for an afternoon (for example, YMCA fun runs, charity walks/bike rides, etc.) need to apply for permission.

The language of prohibiting bicycles from a roadway after holding a public hearing does remain in the proposed ordinance. However, this portion of the ordinance is already part of Wisconsin State Law (WI State Statute 349.23(3) for anyone who wants to look it up) and Hull does not need this language in a new local ordinance to permit them to hold such a hearing and impose such a prohibition. I don’t really know why they want to copy it into a local ordinance, but they do have the legal right to do so.

The Bicycle Federation of Wisconsin article that ‘are’ links to (the third one) does a good job of commenting on what was going on up until then (mid-Oct).

I believe the Stevens Point Journal’s online articles only remain freely available online for a couple of weeks and then they vanish. I don’t know for sure, but that is what I’ve noticed for many articles (most not bicycle related) that I’ve tried to locate online. So there’s no notable reason, q’Tzal, to be paranoid about the article’s absence.

By the way, Champs – Wisconsin is a beautiful state with many good things happening. Some not-so-good things have also happened, but no place is perfect. I respect your right to hate it, but I hope you keep an open mind about that.

Getting back to Hull: The minutes of the final scheduled Public Safety Task Force meeting (where they’ve been discussing the proposed ordinance) on Nov 17 is on the Town of Hull website – q’Tzal posted a link to it. I was at that meeting and had an opportunity to speak at some length (Bob Fisch in those minutes). They did not have a quorum, so the task force could not take any official action. As such, there is no recommendation to date from this task force regarding the proposed ordinance.

Hull Chair John Holdridge said at the Nov 17 meeting that any further action on the proposed ordinance would not occur until the Hull Town Board meeting in January at the earliest. I do not know when that meeting will take place – no agenda has yet been posted for it, but I’m keeping an eye out for such news.

Until there is any word that the Town intends to take some sort of action on the proposed ordinance, there is really little to do. I already wrote 5 letters to the Hull Public Safety Task Force in advance of the Nov 17 meeting in an effort to educate them on the perspective of someone who rides a bicycle for most of their transportation. Comments from the Nov 17 meeting suggest my efforts had some success. But until we know what Hull is considering for a next step, there is nothing new to react to.

I am aware that several others in the local community are tracking Hull’s actions as well. Nothing is going to slip under the radar.

I’ll likely alert Jonathan and Will if something relevant does show up the agenda of a future Hull meeting. And if something actually newsworthy occurs, I’ll include them in any report I send out to interested folks.

The Bike Fed of WI has also been following these events closely. If there is something to report, I suspect they’ll get a story up on their blog pretty quick.

So I hope that brings everyone up to date. You can put the torches and pitchforks back in your closet…at least for now.

q`Tzal
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q`Tzal

3-speeder:
Thank you, thank you, thank you.
Also thank you Internet for allowing 1st hand reporting to get everywhere fast and accurately.

3-speeder
Everyone calm down about the Town of Hull story.

The most irritating thing for me is the attempt to use this to galvanize a response for personal gain or page view count. Two flippin’ months old and it’s being passed around by blogs as if it were a new crime.
Far too reminiscent of 1984’s “Two Minutes Hate”.

3-speeder
So there’s no notable reason, q’Tzal, to be paranoid about the article’s absence.

<whiny>But I like a good conspiracy.
</whiny>
Seriously, when I started following links from here get the real story too much was missing.
I found it rather amusing when my searches of local and regional news outlets turned up ZERO stories.
I’ve grew up in many “countrified” rural settings like this one where if a news story was deemed to have been problematic or the Powers That Be simply didn’t like it – it never happened.

3-speeder
As such, there is no recommendation to date from this task force regarding the proposed ordinance.

When I was reading both the meeting minutes and the Bicycle Federation of Wisconsin story I was struck by how they are willing to dismiss infrastructure upgrades as too costly but don’t seem to understand that police enforcement is not free.
In a large town or city it would mean adding extra police; in a very small town it would mean pulling the single on duty police officer away from useful safety functions (like making sure no one drives home drunk from the one bar in town) to pull over an evil cyclist.

3-speeder
Guest
3-speeder

“In a large town or city it would mean adding extra police; in a very small town it would mean pulling the single on duty police officer away from useful safety functions…”

q’Tzal – Enforcement for Hull is even more problematic for Hull than you realize.

Wisconsin is generally rural with lots of farms and forests. Towns are not small cities – towns are essentially the _absence_ of a city. Towns have a government (a Town Board), but services offered are to a lesser degree than in a city – and local taxes are correspondingly lower. For example, volunteer fire departments are common.

The Town of Hull does not even have one police officer. All law enforcement in the town is handled by the County Sheriff officers. My understanding is that the Sheriff can only enforce state and county ordinances, and that the Town of Hull would have to hire Sheriff officers to work extended shifts during which they can enforce Town ordinances. Apparently, they currently do this on a limited basis (during AM and PM commutes to/from Stevens Point for speeders, and perhaps late to watch for drunk drivers).

I hear and share your expressed attitude about “how they are willing to dismiss infrastructure upgrades as too costly”. But the practical matter is that the state restricts how much the town can raise local taxes, and the state is not increasing their share of road maintenance money.

Town of Hull roads are “class B”, meaning they have (and somehow enforce) weight limits on commercial trucks. An overweight truck driving over a town road will damage it. They are not built to the standards of state and county highways. They also often do not have paved shoulders. Although it is easy to be critical, a different perspective is that their current local road infrastructure is the best they have been able to do (based on the prevailing political/economic environment spanning the past 50-100 years).

At least it can be said that almost all Hull roads are paved. This is not true for town roads in many other parts of WI.

I don’t say this to exonerate the Town of Hull for poor road infrastructure when it comes to bicycle and foot traffic. Instead, it is simply more constructive to acknowledge the town’s limitations and try to work within their constraints to create an environment of cooperation and education regarding how best to accomodate bicycle and foot traffic.

With regard to Hull’s proposed ordinance and the enforcement mechanism, it seems that the Town’s ability to enforce any potential bicycle prohibition on a town road is limited. (And please understand that the current proposed ordinance only states Hull’s option to impose such a prohibition – it does not propose any such prohibition. That hypothetical process would be further down the road.) As the Bike Fed of WI article indicates, Hull’s goal is to educate. Hull seems to be going down a path where educating is about making bad behavior illegal and then publicizing this threat.

I personally don’t agree with this approach, but then the proposed ordinance has not yet come to the Town Board for consideration. Enforcement is part of the threat, but it isn’t clear to me how the town could practically enforce any prohibition of bicycles from town roads, let alone how they could afford the subsequent legal challenge if they tried to do so.

Considering all this, maybe it isn’t so surprizing that your “searches of local and regional news outlets turned up ZERO stories”, because in actuality, to date there is no news. Hull’s primary fault so far might be its ignorance about how poorly communicated governmental process gets punished in today’s internet-connected world.

Hopefully we can forgive this cultural disconnect and let Hull go through its process (with input from us local citizens) before mobilizing bicycle advocates from around the country.

Be assured that if Hull decides unwisely and acts to restrict bicycle and/or foot travel on the public right-of-way, us local citizens will ask for such mobilization big time then.

q`Tzal
Guest
q`Tzal

And I thought I grew up in a small town. 🙂
It looked similar (on google earth) to the town nearest where I lived when I was in high school.

One Blink Town that it is:
was named after the long dead factory,
1 intersection,
made the front page of the STATE newspaper when the town finally got a full traffic light (*),
gerrymandered town line that stretched over 3 mile to the nearest interstate so that they could harvest speeding ticket money to fund their 2 man cop shack.

Enforcement is only free when there is no enforcement.

(*) SC’s biggest news paper, called simply “The State”, was less than 30 minutes drive from my small little town. We made the front page for getting a “real” traffic light but the photo was not even of our town!

q`Tzal
Guest
q`Tzal

“…Seattle Police Department officers mocking a critically injured victim…”

On police force mentality:
While temporarily augmenting the Security Forces at my USAF base I discovered a simple fact.

Some people become police because they want to serve and protect; they hold high the ideals of truth, justice and the American way.
The rest of the people in trained as military cops were “re-classed” because they failed at other more complicated training.

It seemed about to be about a 50-50 split: police that cared about the rules and ethics AND people unwillingly trained as cops who were to differing degrees angry at the world.

The political mechanisms are certainly different with a civilian police force but I expect that the pattern holds true.

Mike
Guest
Mike

I wouldn’t argue your experience in the military, I am sure that your observations are accurate across all branches (I,too, witnessed this during my tenure).

I do want to point out that one does not get reclassed as a civilian police officer. Becoming an officer is a serious commitment, more often requiring a degree and/or previous experience to even get considered for the job.

It’s not as though you can walk into a Seattle Police Department and say “I failed at short order cooking, thought I’d give this a try” and they give you a badge and gun.

JAT in Seattle
Guest
JAT in Seattle

Have you read the recent DOJ condemnation of the SPD’s use of force? I’m afraid the failed short order cook scenario might be exactly how things work up here. Thanks entirely to their own actions, their credibility and integrity is pretty much shot.

Keep in mind this runner was getting to work on foot because temporary roadworks prompted the city to beg us to use alternatives to single occupancy cars.

q`Tzal
Guest
q`Tzal

I concede the “reclass” point in regards to the civilian market.

And I make the next point delicately and with first hand experience of the phenomenon.
After getting married young and with my wife in college we easily qualified for food stamps. Back then the process involved waiting in large waiting rooms for long periods of time.
Naturally to reduce welfare rolls job postings were listed everywhere; most of these were police and corrections jobs. Very high pay versus menial entry level jobs.

Now, if there is any portion of society that is angry at the world and the hand that has been dealt to them it is very likely they would have turned up in a welfare office like this.

I’m not saying the poor are violent sociopaths – I’m saying sociopaths are more likely to be unemployed and drawn to employment were they get to abuse people.