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The Monday Roundup: David Bragdon, hands-free navigation & more

Posted by on February 3rd, 2014 at 9:11 am

Rails to Trails Conservancy meeting-4.jpg

Bragdon, left, at a Rails to Trails
Conservancy meeting in 2008.
(Photo: J.Maus/BikePortland)

Today’s Monday Roundup is sponsored by Portland real estate broker Leigh Perretta. In the spirit of Valentine’s Day, Leigh wants to show prospective home buyers a “love nest” in Linnton between the St. Johns bridge and Sauvie Island with river and mountain views that’s “just minutes from the City’s best cycling.” Contact Leigh via email for a private showing.

And now, here’s the bike news from around the world that caught our eyes this week:

Bragdon in Gotham: Four years after he fled to New York, calling Portland complacent and analysis-obsessed, former Metro President David Bragdon is saying nuanced things about both his cities — and about the “mysterious blend of arrogance and humility” that makes great leaders. Highly recommended. (Including the forelock-themed graphic.)

Hands-free bike navigation: CycleNav, which attaches to your handlebars, is “the first navigation device that, when connected to a smart phone via Bluetooth, provides audio commands and visual light indicators to direct riders to their desired destination.” $60.

Fat biking matures: As fat biking becomes “a real live sector” of the mountain market, it’s going to need some rules, an industry expert told the annual Fat Bike Summit.

Flying bike lights: “The product design firm that brought the world the Sony Walkman” has a new idea: flying drones that soar in front and behind road bikers to alert nearby drivers to their presence.

Simple protection: A row of inches-tall “armadillos” was part of the recipe for boosting traffic on one London bike lane by 40 percent.

Truck regulation: Every truck entering London will soon be required to have side guards to prevent people from being dragged under the wheels.

Theft recovery: We Bike Eugene has a twist-and-turny story from a man who used elbow grease, the Internet, an ounce of deceit and a bunch of good friendships to recover his stolen bike.

Uber dangerous: Better not get hit by someone using Uber, the turn-your-car-into-a-taxi mobile platform — if they get distracted while using Uber’s phone app to locate their next fare, the company will try to avoid covering their liability.

The littlest lawmakers: “Another reason I think it should be the state sport is because it is awesome,” Alysia Prentice, one of a contingent of Delaware elementary school students who showed up to lobby state legislators to honor bicycling.

Amazing road diets: A before-and-after sliding photo tool is the perfect way to show off 25 of New York City’s most transformative road diets.

Enforcement machines: Six speed cameras near New York City schools have issued 900 tickets in two weeks to cars driving more than 10 miles over the limit. Each ticket is $50.

Pothole lawsuit: Following on a recent British case, an Arizona man has won a $426,000 settlement from his city after a pothole in a bike path caused him to crash.

Not so green: As China cracks down on exports of rare earth metals, the search for tomorrow’s Prius batteries is now tearing up part of Quebec.

Slow car growth: In Multnomah County from 2002 to 2012, “the number of registered vehicles grew by less than 1 percent, even as the population grew by 11 percent.”

Freeway slayer: It wasn’t visionary officials that made Vancouver BC the continent’s greenest city: it was an anti-freeway movement led by an immigrant garment worker. High Country News has the inspiring story.

Atlanta’s disaster: Snow locked down Atlanta streets last week, but is snow really to blame in a metro area so wedded to the automobile? A longtime Atlantan blames her own city.

Conference fatigue: Mikael Colville-Andersen is ruefully familiar on bike conferences: “So, what do you think? Anything new?” he asked 10 random colleagues. “They all replied, ‘no, not really.’ But the meatballs were delicious.”

Efficiency infographic: I’m not sure how this infographic calculated the “efficiency” of 12 different types of pedaled vehicles, but it’s a nice concept.

Speed compulsion? Whether they’re on bikes or in cars, many people can’t seem to stop for an Albany rail crossing where a train killed a young man on a bike last month. A yard worker says he’s seen as many as 10 people run the gates in a single hour.

Bikeway nomenclature: Des Moines is using a simple, intuitive name for its first neighborhood greenway: a “quiet street.” Brilliant!

Dropout Club alumnus: Not only was the late Pete Seeger one of the many famous people to drop out of Harvard, he was one of the many famous people to bike across the country. In 1938.

Can you guess why one of our videos of the week was banned from TV in Scotland? I’ll post the answer as the first comment.

And for some fun, check out this hilarious “How to be a Road Biker” video put out by NSMB.com.

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.

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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Carl
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Carl

Love the forelock-themed graphic.

Criss Cross Crusade
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Criss Cross Crusade

Is this Trader Joe’s decision what Bragdon was talking about?

lavie.lama
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lavie.lama

RE:Uber
Wouldn’t having the company cover crashes caused by people using the app while driving encourage that behaviour? It sounds to me like like putting it on the driver is a good thing.

Scott
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Scott

too bad the video was banned. I think its brilliant.

CaptainKarma
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CaptainKarma

Any drone coming near me or distracting me will be netted, hosed, napalmed, radio-frequency overloaded, and apprehended. Its owner will be litigated.

longgone
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longgone

Pete Seeger on a bicycle, painting farmsteads, during the depression….fantastic. R.I.P.

Lenny Anderson
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Lenny Anderson

Great story from Vancouver. I once did a gig in Paonia, CO!
Portland has made a pretty good recovery from the freeway madness of the post war, but we still suffer from the Marquam Bridge and Eastbank Freeway. Time for them to go!…add a lane to 405, call it 5 and tear the suckers out.

Ted Buehler
Guest

re: the Vancouver freeway fight — while the article may well be correct in claiming that it was largely the preservation of Chinatown that saved Vancouver from getting the Georgia/Venables freeway constructed, there is a much larger story in why the whole city is the only major metro area with a freeway-free city center.

That lies first with the 1950s/60s funding model. The US federal government controlled the purse strings for transportation in the US. But in Canada it was the provinces. In the US, every city could build freeways with “free” money, that couldn’t be used for anything else. If a freeway was declined, all the $ went to other states. But in Canada, the cities were much closer to the provincial governments, and it was much easier to negotiate for declined highway funds to be applied to other projects in the same geographic area.

Another element is that downtown Vancouver only had one major freeway proposed, and it was blocked. Many US cities have blocked freeways, like Portland’s Mt. Hood Freeway. But most or all cities the size of 1965 Vancouver had several freeways planned, and only some of those were blocked.

And, after the 1970s, I suspect “smart growth” played a much more significant role in keeping the Georgia/Venables freeway from coming back to life as a zombie (like the CRC and many other freeways — 35E in St. Paul where I grew up, for instance) and eventually getting built. Vancouver could have just moved the freeway 8 blocks north to the industrial waterfront, or 8 blocks south along an existing RR corridor, but instead, the freeway died a peaceful death.

Very interesting article, though, and it certainly supports its claim that it was largely a small group of members of a single ethnicity that acted, and caused a positive reaction of a much larger magnitude that their original intention.

It’s a great lesson for activists everywhere. Form a clear position, rally the troops, be vocal, be logical, make a sympathetic case for the victims, and you too can shape the world, broadly and positively.

Ted Buehler

Todd Boulanger
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Todd Boulanger

Wow…sign me up for a drone escort …assuming I can upgrade to laser beam for safer lane “sweeping” and clearance of parked cars and other debris in the bike lanes.

Having a drone escort makes me think of the old traffic rules that vehicles travelling over 5 mph had to have a flagger precede them in the UK.

wsbob
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wsbob

The wnyc story on New York City using speed violation cameras to crack down on people exceeding posted speed limits when driving:

http://www.wnyc.org/story/city-speed-cameras-issue-900-tickets-15-days/

Sounds as though this is an initial effort after the NYC legislature apparently enacted a law allowing the use of the cameras for this purpose (link in the wnyc story, which I’ve yet to read.). May be too early for the city to look at data gathered to find how effective the measure is in actually reducing the rate at which people are driving over the speed limit.

At $50, I wonder if that’s enough of a fine to be sufficiently effective in deterring speeding, and whether citation issued only for more than 10mph over posted, is too lenient; easily changed, most likely. If it works, could be this would help reduce the kind of speed problems occurring on roads in the Portland area, such as Barbur Blvd.

Nick Skaggs
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Nick Skaggs

I’m gonna miss Pete Seeger. If anyone has a picture of him on his cross-country bicycle trip, please share it!

BURR
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BURR

Pete Seeger did many things, but biking cross country, as was falsely reported in many of his obits, was not among them. He did do a bit of biking around New York and New England, but his longer travels were by hitchhiking and riding the rails.

Rik Palieri interviewed Seeger for the Digital Folklife a few years ago. Seeger told him he didn’t take his banjo on his bicycle trip, but carried a watercolor set on a summer trip riding through New England and New York State. He never went hungry.

I’d sit in the cow pasture and paint a house that looked nice, put some pretty clouds in the sky, and often there was one there, and I’d knock on the door and I’d say, “I painted a picture of your house, would you like to see?” And the man’d say, “Hey, Ma, come look, somebody’s painted a picture of our house.” And then I’d say, “Would you like to have it?” And they’d say, “Well, gee, what do you want for it?” And I’d say, “Well, I’m camping out, and if I could get some food, eat some vegetables out of your garden, and it looks like it’s gonna rain tonight, could I sleep in your barn?”

After that, Seeger got around by hitchhiking and jumping freights.

http://www.bikingbis.com/2014/01/28/before-pete-seeger-had-a-hammer-he-had-a-bicycle/