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The Monday Roundup: Arrested for parenting, red lights for speeders & more

Posted by on November 25th, 2013 at 9:46 am

Jim Howe being handcuffed after deciding to make an
issue of his inability to pick up his kids on foot.
(YouTube screen capture by Howe Motorsports)

Here’s the bike-related news from around the world that caught our eyes this week:

Parent arrested: A Tennessee dad was arrested this month after being told he couldn’t pick up his children from school on foot; he had to wait in the line of cars with everyone else. For some reason, this upset him.

Red lights for speeders: If you’re speeding on this Philadelphia road (and almost everyone is) you’ll activate a red light up ahead.

Ride info on your glasses: “Strava for Glass makes it easy to track your rides, visualize your progress, and challenge your friends,” says Google, “all while keeping your hands on the handlebars.” It’s one of the first five apps for Google Glass.

Cars as prosthetics: A man walking across the world for National Geographic contrasts the “spacially crippling” effects of “Car Brain” with the experience of walking and its “natural, limbic connections that reach back to the basement of time.”

Fitness warning: “We are under-exercised as a nation. We look, instead of play. We ride, instead of walk. Our existence deprives us of the minimum of physical activity essential for healthy living.” That’s John F. Kennedy in 1961.

Bad traffic predictions: Private toll roads are in a slump around the country as projected traffic never shows up. (WSJ paywall)

Washington transportation priorities: Though the state’s new transportation bill is CRC-free, in general it’s the exact opposite of what people want.

NYC’s principles: The country’s most progressive transportation agency lays out five rules that guide its work.

Person-protected lanes: This cleverly protected bike lane in NYC, which has since been removed, doubled as public seating.

Oakland backpedals: Oakland has removed an NYC-style car-free plaza after its planning director, citing objections from “property owners and businesses,” said it had failed to attract people. Asked for data, she said she had none. A manager for the downtown association said a few businesses opposed the plaza but most liked it.

Gentrification and inequality: “Gentrification debates will go nowhere as long as they ignore capitalism,” writes Bill Lindeke in a piece reflecting on how to improve cities when investments like sidewalks are seen as a step toward displacement. “Gentrification is our word for how money controls our cities.”

Toronto mayor: Crack-smoking Rob Ford, brought to you by suburban perceptions of a “war on cars.”

Grim suburban future: “At best, suburbanites take a huge hit on depreciating houses; at worst, they’re stranded in decaying neighborhoods,” speculates Chicago Magazine in a nicely written piece that tries to explain some suburbanites’ fury about bike transportation. Added bonus: the photo captures an emotion on Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s face that scientists have described as something akin to happiness.

Illegal parade: A former Portlander who dared to approach a Minneapolis police car on his bicycle and tell them that they’d turned in front of him at an earlier intersection says the officers charged him with “unlawful parading,” a moving violation, because he’d pedaled into the intersection on a green light.

Get off my lane: With some California authorities misapplying the state law that requires bikes to ride as far to the right “as practicable,” there’s a new push to repeal the “FTR” law.

Hope for Los Angeles: One good thing about our second-most-car-dependent city is that its obvious failure to move its people efficiently is inspiring interest in other ways to do so.

More distracted driving: As many predicted when we learned that traffic deaths increased for the first time in years, distracted driving is climbing fast — distracted-driving-related deaths of people on bikes are up 30 percent in five years. For people on foot, it’s up 50 percent.

Tall bike tale: Unfortunately for the Internet, this story about a New Orleans tallbiker getting tangled in power lines is satire.

Decentralized bikesharing: Social Bicycle’s free-floating, stationless bikesharing could bring outlying neighborhoods more of a good thing.

Let bikes ignore reds: That’s the most interesting of eight “radical” ideas for improving UK bike safety.

Biking language: The word “cyclist” may be making biking more unsafe,” writes Gizmodo’s Alissa Walker.

Constant danger: “When you are on the street, your life is in someone else’s hands,” Esme Brauer, 11, said at a Brooklyn safety rally last week to protest five NYC children dead in five weeks. “And most of those hands are on the steering wheel.”

“Bike Lane Wars”: There’s nothing quite like a funny takedown of an absurd anti-bike-lane argument. Wash Cycle provides.

Seattle bike lane sweeper: Not to be outdone, Seattle has jumped on the bike-lane-sweeper bandwagon.

Mayor helps biker: Incoming Seattle Mayor Ed Murray got out of his car to help a woman who’d crashed while riding her bike.

In your video of the week, one of the country’s most interesting urbanists interviews video visualization pro Spencer Boomhower, one of Portland’s most interesting transportation advocates, about 3-D models of street design concepts.

If you come across a noteworthy bicycle story, send it in via email, Tweet @bikeportland, or whatever else and we’ll consider adding it to next Monday’s roundup.

Correction 10 pm: The “person-protected bike lane” pictured above has since been removed, according to a commenter on the site.

NOTE: We love your comments and work hard to ensure they are welcoming of all perspectives. Disagreements are encouraged, but only if done with tact and respect. BikePortland is an inclusive company with no tolerance for discrimination or harassment including expressions of racism, sexism, homophobia, or xenophobia. 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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wsbob
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wsbob

Re; the story of the Tennessee dad arrested for insisting it was his right by law to come to the school on foot, pick up his kids, and leave the school with them on foot as well. Through reading about the incident from story to which which the link is provided in this roundup, before everyone jumps to conclusions about who was wrong or right in this situation, here’s links to a couple other stories with more info about the incident:

http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2013/11/19/school-is-out-my-kids-are-to-be-given-to-me-dad-arrested-after-objecting-when-school-says-he-must-wait-to-take-his-children-home/

http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2013/11/20/we-arent-running-a-dictatorship-here-superintendent-backs-school-officer-in-dads-viral-arrest-over-student-pick-up-policy/

It’s an interesting situation. The school does appear to have a terrifically bad traffic situation to deal with, due in part to which the school does have a legitimate concern that led to their school policy about kids being picked up. The school seems to making an effort to work out the flaws in the policy. The dad seems like a smart, level headed guy.

Chris Sanderson
Guest

Is the Tennessee thing for real? Wow! This is car-culture at its ugliest!

Todd Hudson
Guest
Todd Hudson

There’s more to the incident than The Blaze (a right-wing news source) is reporting. It doesn’t mention his previous arrests for disorderly conduct following two other times he protested the school’s pick-up policies. It sounds like both sides could have worked something out in a better way.

spare_wheel
Guest
spare_wheel

“Let bikes ignore reds: That’s the most interesting of eight “radical” ideas for improving UK bike safety.”

I think letting people who bike ignore reds is hardly radical. Shared space, however, is a truly radical idea that is increasingly being used in europe:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-vzDDMzq7d0

Traffic signals and separated infrastructure are often akin to waving a white flag of surrender to the dominance of motoring. I strongly believe that a primary goal of alternative transport infrastructure should be to discourage individuals from motoring. IMO, we need less “protection” or “segregation” and more shared space.

AndyC of Linnton
Guest
AndyC of Linnton

The Bill Lindeke piece is pretty good. “Gentrification lingers over people’s heads like a fart in an elevator.”
I half-joked with some neighbors the other day, “Yeah, I’m thinking about doing some more activist approaches to making biking around here a little more pleasant. You know, so that eventually we can all be priced out of the neighborhood.”

Chris I
Guest
Chris I

The KOMO piece on the bike lane sweeper is classic local news “journalism”. They start with:

“SEATTLE — You could pay the Seattle mayor’s salary for about a year and a half; finance more than three new police officers for 12 months; even buy an entire town in California.

There’s a lot you could do with $225,000, including, city officials say, buy a special, slim street sweeper designed to clean bike lanes.”

And then they interview one local business owner (who conveniently happens to own an auto repair shop on the street) who, of course, complains about the new cycle track. And, of course, the article mentions nowhere that the sweeper will also be useful for narrow general purpose streets as well…

GlowBoy
Guest
GlowBoy

I could name a bunch of roads around here where we could use that “red lights for speeders” signal activation. Would be completely awesome.

CaptainKarma
Guest
CaptainKarma

RE: the person on the bike asserting his rights with the cops there; at least the cops didn’t shoot him. I wish I could mean this as a joke.

Indy
Guest
Indy

“Red lights for speeders: If you’re speeding on this Philadelphia road (and almost everyone is) you’ll activate a red light up ahead.”

I challenge anyone to find a street in this country where even 50% of cars obey the speed limit. As in, the exact limit, not one mile per hour above.

gutterbunnybikes
Guest
gutterbunnybikes

And for those in Multnomah county (that have a library card) that don’t wanna pay the NYT to read the article on toll roads you can visit the Multnomah library site and follow the links to “Research tools and resources”. From there going to “NYT 1980-present” then a search of the headline.

Adam
Guest
Adam

I’m confused about the photo accompanying this article. It randomly shows somebody being handcuffed, but I don’t see a link to a story about anybody being handcuffed.

?

Todd Boulanger
Guest
Todd Boulanger

Yes, nice link to the forgotten side of JFK, school physical education…the effort that made sure all grade school kids had it even if they rode a bus to school…at least until the current generation of cuts.

Todd Boulanger
Guest
Todd Boulanger

And the title for the NYC ped plaza buffered bike lane…the commenters wrote it has been removed.

Pete
Guest
Pete

I didn’t see the Cyclicious article describing any actual “push to repeal the FTR law”, I read Richard Masoner referring to the contradictory nature of the laws by pointing to an Orlando legal defense of a citation. I do encourage everyone to read and bookmark the CommuteOrlando article linked to by Cyclicious, though, as it makes excellent reference for the defense tactics in case of a citation like this.

From the same source, here’s an article on Menlo Park police opting to use the terms “collision” or “incident” to replace “accident” in their reporting system, just as CHP has done. This was pushed for using Twitter, but I encourage anyone involved with bike advocacy on any level to engage this same conversation with their police representatives.

http://www.cyclelicio.us/2013/menlo-park-pd-removes-accident-from-traffic-incident-reports

Todd Boulanger
Guest
Todd Boulanger

I do in general have to agree in spirit wight he intent of the policy…to institute order and traffic safety for student pick up by parents. In my many years of traffic observations …the traffic situation at most schools is very chaotic and an almost logrythmic decrease in safety the more recently the site was developed as a school and the larger the school size.

I would hope that the school board and PTA revisit the policy to implement a more nuanced approach such as: allow walking and cycling kids to have an early release, then bussed students and then driven students. With additional resources to establish alternative walking / cycling routes away from the main car entry points…assuming such can be established.

Todd Boulanger
Guest
Todd Boulanger

Here is the history of the elementary school facility in question:

In 1980, the new consolidated school called South Cumberland Elementary opened its doors to kindergarten through eighth grade replacing several smaller community schools. http://ccschools.k12tn.net/SouthCumberland.cfm?subpage=697725

—————–

From my analysis of Google Earth and Streetview…The South Cumberland Elementary School site (3536 Lantana Rd, Crossville, TN; ‎ (931) 788-6713 ) is pretty difficult to get to unless you are driven along the very narrow highways or bushwhack overland by foot. This school could have a great network of off street paths given the open land all around it..if the community vision were there. Perhaps now?!

School: 35°54’27.10″ N 85°03’49.89″ W

Versus the relatively walkable location of the Cumberland County School Superintendent’s office at 368 Fourth St, Crossville, TN ‎ (931) 484-6135

Todd Boulanger
Guest
Todd Boulanger

And in the Alexandria VA opinion piece against a bike lane on King St there was a “salute” to “our Portland”, Mrs. Goldberg wrote,

“The upshot saw the defeat of Sam Adams, Portland’s radically pro-bike mayor in 2012. Defeats do not deter bike activists, however, for they are sustained by a sense of moral superiority and historical inevitability. As with the adherents of any belief system, such as environmentalism—and indeed liberalism—they are impervious to facts and uninterested in practicality and rational discourse. Despite their small numbers, their audacity knows no limits…”

And yes “we” did have hope when Sam was elected…too bad he was not as radically bike successful as the far [transportation] right wing thinks so. ;-(

Todd Boulanger
Guest
Todd Boulanger

PS. Perhaps Sam’s third act at the City Club will be his best act! 😉

Chris I
Guest
Chris I
El Biciclero
Guest
El Biciclero

Regarding the TN school student pick-up policy story:
A. Whatever happened to school buses? I know locally, I still get brushed by them on my way to work (some of my closest passes have been by school buses), and I often have to stop and wait for masses of kids to get on them, and I see other masses of kids waiting for school buses, yet if I pass a school at the wrong time of the morning, it is a mass traffic jam of SUVs dropping kids off at the front door. WTH? If my parents ever drove me to school, it meant I was in some kind of trouble. Has the “zone of ineligibility” to ride the bus expanded such that the majority of students now must find alternative transport to school?

B. Any school that refuses to release my kids to me is going to have its principal charged with kidnapping.

esther c
Guest
esther c

the man is a horse’s ass. he got out of his car 2 days before and left it parked in the street and walked in demanding his kids, jumping the line and was refused. This day he came in demanding his kids ahead of everyone else and refused to sign the release allowing them to walk home.

I’ll bet you dollars to donuts that he parked his car around the block, and did not walk from home to pick them up.