The Monday Roundup: The homes Portlanders want, the rollin’ coal ‘movement’ & more

Paramount Apts at Flint and Broadway

An American dream for one in five.
(Photo: J.Maus/BikePortland)

With Jonathan exploring the state on Cycle Oregon and me in Pittsburgh for my other gig, this will be an unusual week here on BikePortland: We’ve been socking away enough to have one or two posts each day this week. And though we’ve got some great stories lined up, barring major events we won’t be posting breaking news. We’ll both be checking in on the site regularly, but this may also slow down comment moderation — our apologies.

But without further ado, here’s a particularly good crop of bike links from around the world that caught our eyes this week:

Housing preference: Even in a fantasy world where cost were no issue, one in five Portland-area residents would still prefer an apartment, condo or duplex. About one in four dream of life in a “rural setting.”

Harmless fun? The radio show Marketplace uncritically presented an interview comparing “rollin’ coal” to “stealing cookies when mom told you not to.” “It’s become quite a movement,” explains a proponent of deliberately running a diesel truck close to other road users and spewing exhaust at them.

“The punk rock of cycling”:The stars are definitely aligning for cyclocross,” writes Sports Illustrated, cycling’s “fastest-growing discipline in the United States.”

Drone zoning: With self-piloted commercial flying devices “approaching their Model T moment,” is it time for us to start writing them into zoning laws?

E-bike regulation: Should the maximum assisted speed for an e-bike be 15 mph? 20 mph? This archived webinar looks at the developing line between bikes and “bike-shaped objects.”

Prescribing Ciclovias: The Western branch of the World Health Organization is likely to recommend Sunday Parkways-style festivals as a public-health treatment for rising obesity.

Streetcar tracks: As modern streetcars spread, bike crashes are spreading, too. DC bike advocates are pushing for separated bike lanes to be installed on any street that gets a streetcar.

Sharing stickers: Neat idea from Switzerland: mailbox stickers that indicate the tools (including bikes) that a household is willing to loan to neighbors.

Bill Walton rides on: His carrot top has gone white, but the former Blazers star is still on his bike in Colorado. His nicknames in the cycling community there: “Always Lost” and “Crash.”

Biking while blind: It’s one of the many joys of tandems.

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Biking and solidarity: Last week we linked to a white guy’s account of how biking helped him understand the concept of privilege; this week, an undocumented Latino guy explores how biking helped him put his own privileges in context.

Diverters please: The Mercury’s anonymous rants column gives a peek into the experience of somebody who doesn’t know what to call a neighborhood greenway but knows that some in Portland have way too much car traffic.

Cheaper cargo bikes: The PDX Cargo Bike Gang has some great advice about “frankenfiets” and other affordable cargo bike solutions.

Sufferin’ Suffolk: “Shouldn’t the fact that New York City’s suburbs include the worst place to ride a bike IN ALL OF AMERICA negatively impact New York City’s ranking?” asks a dubious BikeSnobNYC.

Everybody wins: In NYC, lane narrowing and careful use of “left-turn pockets” on one-way streets has let the city add protected bike lanes while also reducing auto delay.

Designing for decline: “What I see with Ferguson is a suburb deep into the decline phase of the Suburban Ponzi Scheme,” writes Charles Marohn of Strong Towns. Last year, the racially charged city spent 16 times more on debt interest than on sidewalk repairs.

“They say it is not our right to ride bikes in the streets. We say it is. Then we speed off.” The trailer for a short documentary about Afghanistan’s new national women’s cycling team has dropped, and it’s your video of the week:

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.

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Lenny Anderson
Lenny Anderson
7 years ago

The link to Rex B’s website 2100 doesn’t land on the bike lane story. Nothing there either about big highway bridge expansions as a path to a cooler planet!

GlowBoy
GlowBoy
7 years ago
Reply to  Lenny Anderson

Also, the streetcar/protected-bike-lanes link instead brings up the Cyclovia-presecription story.

aaron
aaron
7 years ago

The Mercury rant on SE Salmon could have been about NE Going as well. NE Going turns into a parking lot on Last Thursday too… drives me nuts, all those cars just cruising for parking.

Pete
Pete
7 years ago

De-Californication? This gives me hope:
http://bikesiliconvalley.org/2014/09/proposed-changes-ceqa-guidelines-mean-bicycling/

Re: e-bikes, why do they need a maximum speed when automobiles don’t?

q`Tzal
q`Tzal
7 years ago
Reply to  Pete

Will Red Hot Chili Peppers perform this song too? 😛

Champs
Champs
7 years ago
Reply to  Pete

Why limits? Because I’m not at all high on the idea of sharing the bike lane bike-like objects hurtling up the hill at automotive speed with no license or insurance.

John Lascurettes
7 years ago
Reply to  Champs

And two wrong (no speed regulator) don’t make it right. Better question is “why don’t we have speed regulators on cars?” It would be a bonus to have the speed regulator match what the posted max for a stretch of road is.

El Biciclero
El Biciclero
7 years ago
Reply to  Pete

“Re: e-bikes, why do they need a maximum speed when automobiles don’t?”

It’s not a question of whether e-bikes can or should have maximum speeds, it’s a question of what kind of vehicle they are if they have increasingly motor-vehicle-like capabilities. I have experienced huffing my way uphill at 10 or so mph. and having someone pass silently on an e-bike at 20 mph. within a bike lane (which is quite unexpected while cranking up a hill); it can be startling. I know there’s a difference between “unnerving” and “dangerous”, but it decreases the comfort level of those around you when you are zooming past at double the speed in close proximity. I consider myself a “pretty fast” cyclist, and I’ve passed plenty of others while going uphill (always with feet of buffer space, in another lane if possible), but I’ve also hung back and followed when I could have (barely) passed, but the effort would not be worth the benefit. If the effort/benefit ratio is reduced to near-zero, and bike infrastructure remains as narrow as it is currently being designed, I can see how concerns would arise.

Again, the question is how powerful can a motorized vehicle be while still being allowed to use infrastructure designed for non-motorized vehicles and pedestrians? If someone wants an e-bike than can go 30 mph., and they are happy to ride it in the street with other motorized traffic, fine with me. But I freely admit I like to go fast because I can (with no motor), and I can’t help but think that I am not the only one who enjoys a brisk ride. But my brisk riding comes at a cost to me, and is only sustainable for a relatively short time, unless I “pace myself” by generally slowing down if I have a longer distance to cover. Take away the cost (i.e., required effort) for riding “briskly”, and we have to be very careful we’re not allowing yet another flavor of risk for the non-motorized to add to their plate.

Pete
Pete
7 years ago
Reply to  El Biciclero

Maybe we should apply the speed limit to the lane instead of the vehicle? I frequently descend at 35-40 MPH passing many slower bicyclists in a bike lane on my common training route. At this speed the differential is too high to ding a bell or say “on your left” so I take the lane because I’m near the speed limit anyway. In California motorcycles are allowed to filter, but their speed is limited by the differential with adjacent traffic. Many of the MUPs I ride on have 15 MPH speed limits but I’m frequently passed by other cyclists doing 20+, but I don’t think the speed of their bicycles should be limited. I’ve also frequently been a pedestrian on those MUPs being startled by those silent bicyclists.

Don’t get me wrong though, I see the logic here. Frankly I’m more in favor of limiting the top speed on automobiles than I am of not limiting it on e-bikes!

(When I get a GoPro I’ll have to send you footage of the elderly Asian gentleman on an e-bike that I often play leapfrog with – especially the big toothless grin he gives buzzing me on the uphills as we’ve come to recognize each other).

Dan
Dan
7 years ago
Reply to  Pete

MUPs around San Diego are limited to 8mph. They don’t specify bikes, roller blades, skateboards, whatever. It’s really slow if you’re trying to get somewhere, but if you’re on the boardwalk around there you already ARE somewhere, so what’s the hurry? If you want to go faster, go ride on the road.

GlowBoy
GlowBoy
7 years ago
Reply to  Dan

Even though I’ve considered getting an e-bike for my daily commute over the West Hills, I would fully support a 15mph maximum assisted speed, and a power limit of 500W rather than 750W. That would do a lot to keep e-bikes closer to the range of “normal” bike speeds, greatly reducing the potential for conflict with other riders, while still allowing them to be extremely useful and range-extending.

El Biciclero
El Biciclero
7 years ago
Reply to  Pete

“Maybe we should apply the speed limit to the lane instead of the vehicle?”

I’ve thought about this as well, and such a speed limit would have advantages and drawbacks. If speed limits were to be imposed specifically for bike infrastructure, I’ve always said they should be equal to the speed limit on any adjacent roadway, or 35 mph.—whichever is less. I don’t want to be artificially limited to some sub-10-mph. speed limit on a “bike path”, but maybe I can’t quite keep up with the 40-mph. traffic on the adjacent roadway; I want to ride somewhere in between. Regardless of how e-bikes of various power levels might be classified legally, personal responsibility must be exercised to keep one’s own use of power (whether e- or ATP-fueled) in check.

Ultimately, it comes down to courtesy for other users. Keep right unless you are passing, give audibles prior to passing when prudent, allow enough room for passing (proportional to speed differential), etc. I guess my main point in my previous comment was that e-bikes seem likely to bring about more frequent passing in unexpected places, because they make overtaking so very easy to do. With all the troubles we hear about with passing already, it just seems like making it easier, and therefore more frequent, will likely lead to more problems unless we can all learn to pedal a mile in someone else’s clips and show appropriate empathy for other roadway/pathway users. Who knows? Maybe those who are used to doing all the passing now will find out what it’s like to be passed in a variety of ways and perhaps adjust their own idea of what “buzzing” or “wheel-sucking” means–for the better.

Pete
Pete
7 years ago
Reply to  El Biciclero

It’s definitely a tricky analysis, which was kinda my original point (i.e. I have a car that can easily reach 150 MPH even though 70 MPH is the highest I’m legally allowed to around here – and even then the police seem to have a +10 MPH tolerance). As far as applying speed limits to MUPs, I can see the safety concern due to the mix (8 MPH is a bit too conservative IMO), but dedicated bike infrastructure would end up having limits imposed by the same people who say things like “the bike was going too fast” when hit by a car in a 35+ MPH zone.

In the end, it does indeed seem to come down to courtesy as you assert. Road rules can be (mis)interpreted in so many different ways, including being overridden by mass behavior (i.e. turn signals seem no longer required – even by cops around here), that it really comes down to mutual respect.

Man, this echoes of a conversation I recently had with a driver I followed into his cul-de-sac and driveway (unintentionally, to avoid hitting him) as he turned left in front of me while I was doing ~22 in a 25. Regardless of the fact there was NO other traffic around and he would have only waited just a few seconds more, his misjudgement of my speed was still justification enough for the risky move. We all know I would have been the one going too fast…

gutterbunnybikes
gutterbunnybikes
7 years ago
Reply to  El Biciclero

I personally have never understood the name “e-bike” mopeds are bikes with engines, but the term “moped” isn’t nearly as sexy as “e-bike”, nor does it cash in on the term “bike”.

Having yet to see anyone actually pedal one (e bike or moped—yeah some moped have pedals too), they should be called “e-mopeds”. And thus the debate is done. They’d have the same road use rules as mopeds, which is no bike lanes/ MUPS – not that that would stop them.

Opus the Poet
7 years ago

The regs for e-assist bikes are much more stringent than for mopeds. E-assist are limited to 750 Watts or 1HP, mopeds are limited to 50 cc ICE and 2 BHP, or 1500 Watts Electric. E-assist are limited to 20 MPH, mopeds are limited to 30.

So you can see that e-assist bikes are much closer to HP bikes than to mopeds. I think we should add the EU reg that requires pedelec control instead of throttle, or go with the TX reg that unlimits the speed (aside from posted limits) when assist is only available when pedalling. This plays heck with range but does reduce conflict with drivers, if they can’t catch you they can’t kill you. 😉

GlowBoy
GlowBoy
7 years ago

Most of the e-bikes I’ve seen are cargo bikes with Stokemonkeys. And they do require pedaling.

Not sure I’ve seen an actual diamond-frame e-bike on the road that meets the legal definition, though I’ve seen a few homebrew rigs with gas motors attached to them (which definitely do not meet the definition).

jeff bernards
jeff bernards
7 years ago
Reply to  Pete

you can have unlimited speed on ebikes, those just need to be registered like a car or motorcycle with insurance. No insurance or registration applies to the under 20 mph versions.

jeff bernards
jeff bernards
7 years ago
Reply to  Pete

you can have unlimited speed on ebikes, those just need to be registered like a car or motorcycle with insurance. No insurance or registration applies to the under 20 mph versions.

spare_wheel
spare_wheel
7 years ago

The NPR piece is unfortunately not atypical of their content these days. And don’t bother commenting — moderators remove critical comments in the blink of an eye.

Corporate-sponsored “public” radio.

Travis
Travis
7 years ago
Reply to  spare_wheel
spare_wheel
spare_wheel
7 years ago
Reply to  Travis

When I commented yesterday there were 15 comments. All of them were negative.

q`Tzal
q`Tzal
7 years ago
Reply to  spare_wheel

When I saw the comments section around 10:00am 09/08 there were 10 comments all negative. I added one, now (10:45am) it looks like all the original ones are gone and there are 4 comments.

NPR and public radio in general stopped any pretense at being impartial when Shrub got in to office. There has always been their partisan conspiracy that public media in general is the propaganda spearhead of the coming totalitarian regime /One World Government.
In fear for their money all the major public media outlets dropped neutrality in favor of pandering to those who would cut their funding.

q`Tzal
q`Tzal
7 years ago
Reply to  spare_wheel

Now some of the removed comments have been reinstated (13:03).

q`Tzal
q`Tzal
7 years ago
Reply to  q`Tzal

And more comments were deleted again.

q`Tzal
q`Tzal
7 years ago
Reply to  spare_wheel

How about this one? :

If APM wishes to do satirical pieces like The Onion they need to preface not just the segment but the entire show with a warning that they are no longer doing serious news.

Ignoring the moral and ethical reasons for not sympathizing and encouraging bullies and thugs: there are legal consequences to public news outlets that make felonies seem like legal fun.

MaxD
MaxD
7 years ago
Reply to  spare_wheel

I commented on Friday and it was removed very quickly

Chris I
Chris I
7 years ago
Reply to  MaxD

Why even have a comment section if you are just going to delete every single comment that is made on the story?

John Lascurettes
7 years ago
Reply to  spare_wheel

Interesting reply on the piece added by Diesel Tech Forum:

Diesel Industry Commenting Here:
We are extremely disappointed that a small segment of diesel pickup truck owners have chosen to tamper with the emissions and engine control systems to over-fuel the engine so as to deliberately produce black smoke emissions. Knock it off!

For the last decade, the industry has invested billions of dollars to produce diesel technology that is near zero in emissions and can be found today in new 18-wheelers, cars, and pickup trucks. That’s why they’re called clean diesel.

The latest generation in clean diesel cars and trucks is clean and very fuel efficient and none of those look anything like coal rollers.

Diesel engines have long been a popular option in heavy-duty pickup trucks because of their superior fuel efficiency and towing performance, not black smoke emissions. This practice of “rolling coal,” which has targeted drivers of hybrid vehicles, pedestrians, bicyclists, law enforcement, and others, is dangerous, bad for the environment, and illegal.

We suspect that the moment in the spotlight for coal rolling will be fading as local law-enforcement officials fully enforce all existing clean air and vehicle emission laws available to stop this unlawful practice.

John Lascurettes
7 years ago

Well, that comment lasted a couple of days but has been removed. Astoundingly bad move by APM.

q`Tzal
q`Tzal
7 years ago
Reply to  spare_wheel

This was the last national level piece for that writer.
Back to his hick backwoods for him.

Jeff
7 years ago

aaron
The Mercury rant on SE Salmon could have been about NE Going as well. NE Going turns into a parking lot on Last Thursday too… drives me nuts, all those cars just cruising for parking.
Recommended 0

The bike boulevards become more dangerous than they should be due to a combination of the following: (a) lots of people on bikes, (b) people in cars who are ignorant that they are/see advantages to driving on a bike boulevard, (c) the reflexive “see bike, pass bike” mentality of many who drive.

The “see bike, pass bike” is the piece that I don’t understand. I’m not surprised that it exists. I just wonder how for many, it takes priority over EVERY other input involved in driving. Speed of bike, speed of traffic, speed limit of road, road conditions, proximity to a stop sign, presence of pedestrians, red light ahead, person on bike signaling that they will be exiting roadway soon – none of these matter. They just HAVE to get in front of that bike.

wsbob
wsbob
7 years ago

A women’s cycling team in Afghanistan. That’s courage.

nuovorecord
nuovorecord
7 years ago

While down at the coast this weekend I saw a jacked-up truck with an “Oregon Coal Rollers” sticker on the tailgate. It was parked on the side of the road, hood up and emergency flashers blinking, with a glum looking owner standing nearby. I LOL’d.

q`Tzal
q`Tzal
7 years ago
q`Tzal
q`Tzal
7 years ago

Prescribing Ciclovias: The Western branch of the World Health Organization is likely to recommend Sunday Parkways-style festivals as a public-health treatment for rising obesity.

If you get enough people doing walking the streets it also becomes a cost savings measure as it becomes obvious to the general public that the transportation infrastructure we need is much less expensive than 16′ wide asphalt lanes engineered to carry 120,000 lbs.

Human scale infrastructure is much less expensive

wsbob
wsbob
7 years ago
Reply to  q`Tzal

“…the transportation infrastructure we need is much less expensive than 16′ wide asphalt lanes engineered to carry 120,000 lbs. …” q`Tzal

Lanes able to carry heavy weight, are still needed, until all the goods being brought in and delivered now by truck, are brought in and delivered by people walking and biking. It’s nice to dream, though for people that like to be able to put food on the table and a roof over their heads, being realistic as well, is essential.

Sunday Parkways, or ciclovias in more cities in the valley than Portland, could be a good thing though. Guessing from the participation in yesterday’s annual Bike Beaverton fun ride, very likely, people in Beaverton would enjoy them. Takes a lot of labor to make a event like that happen, but I do wish people out here were at least asking for those kinds of events.

q`Tzal
q`Tzal
7 years ago
Reply to  wsbob

You know what? I drive an 80,000lb truck these days.
And yes, there is a definite need for roads that can support that freight load on a 24/7/365 basis.

BUT
These heavy freight roads are not needed in dense urban environments where big trucks can’t fit and don’t go.
They are not needed in residential neighborhoods.
Basically anywhere that physical geometry (my truck can’t make that turn without causing property damage) use or density prohibit heavy trucks are places we could be saving tons of money by not laying down extra tons of road structure.

People walking on a Ciclovia type event are in an optimal position to be asked the transportation policy question “Do we really have a public need for big wide heavy trucks to come down this road?”

As for the self-congratulatory “If you bought it it came by truck” mantra: yes sure, maybe your stuff came most of the way by 53′ truck but in most cities the size of Portland and larger there are transfer warehouses where 53′ trucks offload the goods which are then reloaded on smaller lighter trucks that can more safely and efficiently deliver in the tight nooks and cranies of a city. These smaller trucks are lighter as well not requiring the massive road support that heavier trucks do.

Remember: the AASHTO load equivalency rule of thumb is “the damage caused by a particular load is roughly related to the load by a power of four”.
Restricting heavy truck weights by even the smallest increments therefore will reap huge monetary gains for transportation budgets.

wsbob
wsbob
7 years ago
Reply to  q`Tzal

More is needed than just saying ‘That just shouldn’t be.’, with little awareness of what the actual situation is.

Thinking of roads and streets out here in parts of Beaverton, I suppose it may be that neighborhood streets are routinely being built to carry 120,000 lbs, but I don’t think that’s something most people would know about. Can’t say I do. Any city or area of operation in them that relies on big semis or construction rigs bringing in goods and services, may need heavy load capacity roads constructed.

In Beaverton for example, that would be all the thoroughfares. Some of the big box stores are located on side streets off the thoroughfares, most likely obliging those side streets to be built to be able to withstand the weight of semis bringing building material stock in. I could see it possible that some neighborhood streets could get by with lighter load capacity streets, but they too have to be able to withstand at least the weight of fire and utility trucks, concrete trucks and so on.

q`Tzal
q`Tzal
7 years ago
Reply to  wsbob

wsbob
More is needed than just saying ‘That just shouldn’t be.’, with little awareness of what the actual situation is.

This made me smile. That’s what’s refreshing about the Internet: those that know me IRL long ago stopped doubting me because I seem to have a cyborg implant directly linking my brain with encyclopedic knowledge bases.
You have no reason to trust me so I have to prove that I know WTFrack I’m talking about.

wsbob
Thinking of roads and streets out here in parts of Beaverton, I suppose it may be that neighborhood streets are routinely being built to carry 120,000 lbs, but I don’t think that’s something most people would know about.

In general: NO – but this seems to be a regional freight influence and cultural issue. In heavily pro business area new residential streets are often overbuilt by the real estate developers as a “gift” to the tax base. This “gift” comes with greater maintenance costs and a permanently large “hole in the air” that freight interests will fight modification of even if it will increase safety for all users.
Culturally, areas like Los Angeles are dynamite for truckers: most streets are rated for heavy truck traffic except areas where terrain limit this. Even roads that are signed as being prohibited for heavy trucks are often plenty wide everywhere.

wsbob
Any city or area of operation in them that relies on big semis or construction rigs bringing in goods and services, may need heavy load capacity roads constructed.

Indeed, and this is one of the chief benefits of zoning laws. In matters of construction you build heavy freight zones, industrial and commercial, as contiguous with preexisting similar zones as much as possible while ensuring that such truck freight can make it to interstate highways with minimal incursion into human scale uses: residential, retail, offices, schools and similar. Freight zone roads must still be built with human scale use in mind. I say this currently (20140909T1707) backed in to a dock in a freight district in SLC, UT looking at a wide road built obviously for trucks with no bike lanes, no sidewalks and trucks parallel parked everywhere. Consider the railroad accessible real estate purchaser’s conundrum: find a parcel with preexisting rail spur or buy a cheaper parcel and spend untold sums getting a spur built if all governmental hurdles are cleared. It’s easier to buy one ready to go and so zoning should encourage with trucking.
In small North Dakota towns enriched with fracking dollars they are building bypass highways at great expense to reclaim their bucolic small town life. It’s a small town so it’s easy to see how trucking influences all parts if daily life. In even a small city like Portland it helps to get out and walk even one mile away to see how some visibly distant commercial enterprise is affecting their traffic safety and how that spillover in to your neighborhood has caused all the cut through speeders.

wsbob
In Beaverton for example, that would be all the thoroughfares. Some of the big box stores are located on side streets off the thoroughfares, most likely obliging those side streets to be built to be able to withstand the weight of semis bringing building material stock in. I could see it possible that some neighborhood streets could get by with lighter load capacity streets, but they too have to be able to withstand at least the weight of fire and utility trucks, concrete trucks and so on.

The freight accessible routes in WaCo are interesting. Their map pdf file is corrupted right now. Most of the heavy truck accessible routes are arterial roads, ODOT numbered highways or both. Zoning is working reasonably well in our UGB with few customers that require heavy truck access in residential neighborhoods; food deliveries to schools comes to mind.
While these and busses represent the majority of the routine tonnage on lower demand roads even adding in fire trucks and utility vehicles doesn’t require that a residential road be built to highway specs.
Weight damage is cumulative: the Sygma restaurant food truck to the school is only one truck and it isn’t there every day. The buses are there daily but they weigh much less than a fully laden food load (being mostly water food loads hit their weight limits long before the volumetric capacity of a trailer). Fire trucks can be excessively heavy but are by no account a routine load on anything other than an arterial road, same with utility trucks.
As for cement trucks: this is a case of poor/non-existent law enforcement. Under no circumstances are cement trucks supposed to be using residential neighborhood roads as cut throughs nor should they have been zoned in to an area requiring that they travel through residential areas.

wsbob
wsbob
7 years ago
Reply to  q`Tzal

It does seem you’re saying for the most part that building roads to semi capacity weight, is limited to arterial roads and streets, or as I wrote ‘thoroughfares’, rather than standard neighborhood streets. Looking at an overlay of a city’s streets upon which was marked what weight capacity they were constructed for, could be helpful.

If you really believe there is a problem of an excess of streets routinely or frequently being built to a width and weight capacity exceeding that of their actual need or benefit, I think you’ve yet to show such a problem exists. As for width, I think there’s plenty of situations all through the metro area, where, if they had it, extra road right of way could come in very handy now, whether or not the existing road is using the entire ROW. Much easier and less expensive to add walking and biking infrastructure as people come to decide this is something their community needs more and better examples of.

Not big concrete trucks used to haul big loads of concrete in for industrial construction, but standard sized for residential and commercial housing are the type neighborhood streets would need to be built to be able to withstand. Maybe not a lot of that type traffic, but some.

Good luck in Utah.

9watts
9watts
7 years ago
Reply to  wsbob

“Lanes able to carry heavy weight, are still needed, until all the goods being brought in and delivered now by truck, are brought in and delivered by people walking and biking. ”

Q-Ztal makes a bunch of good points. I’ll only add that much of what is today shipped around in 53′ semi-trucks we could do without or source locally. This (like most of the ones we focus on here on bikeportland) is a dynamic problem. The amount of freight we currently experience is probably 90% a function of a century of cheap fossil fuels, and the infrastructure they have bequeathed us. When that goes, so does our demand for much of that freight. This could not be further from a zero sum situation.

q`Tzal
q`Tzal
7 years ago
Reply to  9watts

Sadly, with our current technological and corporate run government paradigm, we will be stuck with heavy trucks (trailers longer than 40′ including doubles, triples and tankers) delivering at the very least to the outskirts of dense urban areas.

Rail is scientifically capable of meeting our freight transportation needs but the privately owned regional monopolies have no financial incentives to expand rail capacity and throughput to handle our national economy. The upshot of this is it is only economically sensible to ship your products to your customers by rail when your freight:
() can afford shipping times 2x-4x truck shipping times
() is very very heavy; usually commodities that you’ll see listed on the NYSE
() the customer has rail directly to their facility.
This last one is a clincher because it is very difficult to build new rail lines these days. The number of potential customers that have such access is a historically limiting number that is ever decreasing as many really useful industrial areas are in refurbished urban cores that are hip, new and fully paved over old rail lines. See The Pearl District in Portland. Do you really think the current property owners would stand idly by if a manufacturer wanted to move in and lower property values?

Of course our rail system is hobbled by so many century old business practices and systemic structures that it isn’t funny.

My sci-fi solution: consider an optimal marriage of high speed rail and standardized containerization managed by what Internet Protocol technology has taught us.
When the freight industry transitioned from break bulk transfer (what you see on old ships on Indiana Jones movies) to standardized shipping containers it vastly deceased costs and shipping times while increasing throughput.
If, and this is a Big IF, we can standardize shipping containers down to a palletized cube level (as FedEx does with their own fuselage shaped containers) the individual pallets can be sorted and routed by a local freight depot computer to rail containers heading to the same destination freight depot. Then these loaded rail cars are joined congruently so that as other local depots add rail cars they can split at rail junctions automatically, join with other cars heading the same way and continue without stopping repeating the process until they arrive at their destination depot for automated sorting on to small electric trucks or cargo bikes.
This does not strictly require high speed rail but freight packets like data packets at speed could be routed as more effectively if there were more route to the destination. If the main heavy haul rail lines had transit times measured in minutes rather than days multiple routing options around localized delays could alleviate the need for big trucks for all but the most strange items (blades for 6 MW wind turbine and thise are some truly skilled drivers)

All this requires electronic tracking devices on every container at least as good as state of the art RFID and, most importantly, getting rail unions out of the way of freight. They will balk at a lossmof jobs but this wouldn’t likely happen for at least 20-30 years. Adding red light cameras hasn’t allowed police departments to layoff police because it has always been a job of triage, always rushing to grease the squeaky wheel. Rail union workers will have jobs for many years cleaning up the freight packets that fail to route properly through the automated system. Electrons can go to the “bit bucket” but failed freight routing has to be dealt with manually.

I have written an obsessive amount of this mess out long form inspired by standards like IP over Carrier Pigeon, “sneaker net” and pneumatic tube transportation in hospitals for blood and tissue samples. All it requires is a massive government takeover of the rail system and an obscene amount of cash.

wsbob
wsbob
7 years ago
Reply to  9watts

“…When that goes, so does our demand for much of that freight. …” 9watts

Until the population changes accordingly, the demand for the freight will still be there. If people want to theorize ways required amounts of freight could be delivered in weight amounts that won’t require heavy weight road capacity of roads today, go for it.

9watts
9watts
7 years ago
Reply to  wsbob

“Until the population changes accordingly, the demand for the freight will still be there.”

I must not be saying this very clearly. The amount of freight we’ve become accustomed to demanding is entirely a function of our cheap fossil fuels. When those blow away so will our demand for all this freight. It has nothing to do with population and everything to do with the free energy slaves locked up in that stuff in the ground. What do you think the demand for freight was per person in Portland 100 years ago? I’ll bet you it was a small fraction of what it has become.

wsbob
wsbob
7 years ago
Reply to  9watts

“…What do you think the demand for freight was per person in Portland 100 years ago? I’ll bet you it was a small fraction of what it has become.” 9watts

Depends on what you’re saying, which you do not make clear. Much smaller population in 1914. Different culture, society, and market. Big difference between then and now, is that at the dawn of the motor vehicle era, the long haul trucking industry didn’t really exist.

Rail had long been in existence, and supported a strong consumer market. Trucks existing at the time were far lighter and smaller than semis today, negating the need for road construction of today, to support today’s trucks.

Champs
Champs
7 years ago

Tandems are also useful if your girlfriend sprains her ankle on a hike two days into your week long trip. Our bikes never left the car. The loaner from that hotel was a godsend.

WRT e-bikes, I do not want to share a lane with “bicycle” operators that have no obligation to observe normal traffic speeds, much less with a license or insurance. Not everything en vogue in Europe is necessarily better.

And please, enough about the stupid diesel trucks. Publicity of any kind only seems to make subjects like these more popular. You might call them “kardashian” (I’m coining that right now).

Pete
Pete
7 years ago

More recent news on the Gorge trail:

http://www.hoodrivernews.com/news/2014/sep/06/odot-submits-plans-new-historic-hwy-segment/

Also there’s a Facebook group gaining support to move this along more quickly in light of the recent killing of Ellen Dittebrandt. (I’m not on FB or I’d pass the link along, but I’d encourage you to seek it out if you’re interested).

maccoinnich
7 years ago
Reply to  Pete

Thanks for sharing. I went on an organized tour of the scenic highway work a couple years ago, and I can’t wait to ride out to Hood River when it’s done.

Pete
Pete
7 years ago
Reply to  maccoinnich

I can’t wait to ride out to Portland with the Chinooks at my back (whee!)… while avoiding I-84! 🙂

Will P
Will P
7 years ago

80% of respondents want to live in a single family house, yet only 65% can afford to. Millennials have an even greater preference for SFR at 88%. I would not of expected that.

Oregon Mamacita
Oregon Mamacita
7 years ago
Reply to  Will P

There is a big disconnect between what Portlanders want (look at the fights against no parking apartments, demolitions, etc) and the Comp Plan. Portlanders are having babies and dreaming of starter homes with backyard chickens, while the Comp Plans assumes a big shift to people wanting to remain single and childless and live in a small urban space.

John Liu
John Liu
7 years ago

There is what people want and what they can afford. A detached single family house is always going to be the most expensive type of housing. We need housing for people who can’t afford that.

Oregon Mamcita
Oregon Mamcita
7 years ago
Reply to  John Liu

John,

What is your solution, keep building units Portlanders say they don’t want?
SE PDX is full of great starter homes East of 52nd. But, perfectly good starter homes are torn down by builders who pay cash. The young families are bidding the same amount of money, but the banks and estates that own many small starter homes accept the cash offers. The difficulty younger Portlanders feel when trying to buy the sfh is a city-made problem.

BTW- there is evidence starting to accumulate (we will need to see November figures) but there is a sudden blip in out migration. As a long time resident, I felt that the cost of living and salaries are out of whack.
Also- who wants to pay 1500 for a small new apartment with a small kitchen and no air conditioning? People may be starting to vote with their feet.
If this trend is confirmed- will anyone change their mind about density?

John, you present your side well, and I am actually looking forward to your reply. My questions are not rhetorical. I am worried that the city planners have a utopian idea and that facts will not get in the way.

davemess
davemess
7 years ago
Reply to  Oregon Mamcita

I think there is desire and growth for both (density in inner neighborhoods and starter homes in outer ones (also skinny houses in outer neighborhoods)). There is a desire for just about ALL types of housing in Portland right now. Some don’t like others’ type of housing, but people are still buying them.

John Liu
John Liu
7 years ago
Reply to  Oregon Mamcita

As of Dec 2013 there were 15,000 apartment units proposed, under construction, or recently completed in Portland. I figure that represents about 3 years of development activity (the lapse from “proposed” to “completed”), so that is a housing growth pace of maybe 5,000 units/year. http://josephbernard.net/uploads/files/1363710025.pdf

There is something of a construction boom right now. Developers are trying to catch up from the last 5+ years of low construction rates. On a longer-term basis, from 1999-2008 (10 years) 32,900 units were built, making the long-term pace more like 3,300 units/year.
http://www.portlandonline.com/portlandplan/index.cfm?c=52039

The city’s population is about 609,000 (estimated 2013). So with apartment construction at the current pace, Portland could accomodate very roughly +0.8%/year population growth (5,000/609,000). At the long-term pace, maybe +0.5%/year (3,300/609,000).

But Portland’s population is growing more like +1.1%/year. http://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/states/41/4159000.html The Pacific Northwest in general, Portland in particular, is growing faster than the overall US’s rate of +0.7%/year.

So it looks to me like the growth of housing in Portland is not keeping up with population growth, even with developers energetically building apartment buildings at a boom-like pace.

If the city required developers to build single family houses (SFH) instead of multifamily dwellings (MFD), housing growth would be *much* slower than it is. SFH are inefficient in every way – they require vastly more land, the land has to be bought a few lots at a time (there aren’t many large undeveloped tracts in our region), they are built one at a time.

If Portland new housing construction were all SFH, my guess is the housing growth rate would be some small fraction of the current, already inadequate, rate.

Population growth far above housing growth means housing prices rise. As they have been in recent years, with apartment rents and house prices both climbing far above inflation.

The result, I think, is that more and more people would not only not be able to find housing, but they’d find themselves priced out of that housing. Maybe the average Portlander would like to live in a pretty SFH with land and chickens, but I think higher priority is to live *somewhere* and to not be financially crushed by the cost.

It is kind of a “want” versus “need” thing, I think.

Oregon Mamacita
Oregon Mamacita
7 years ago
Reply to  John Liu

It is a issue of democracy, imho. Between the neighborhood-by-neighborhood rebellions over demolitions and parking, and the recent Metro survey- it looks like the city planners are trying to force the public to choose a particular lifestyle- and people are saying “no.”

What if the out-migration trend continues; will we re-think density? Can we respond or will we have a city that acts on bad data? Agreed that we need to look at November data. The trend is not established- but must be watched.

“The moving company United Van Lines, which has mined its moving contracts for migration data for 37 years, said Portland was among the metro areas with the biggest moving deficits. Outbound moves outnumbered inbound moves 2 to 1.”

davemess
davemess
7 years ago

True, but many young people (or even lower-middle income people) moving into a city aren’t going to be using a moving service. So the demographics there might be skewing those data points.

9watts
9watts
7 years ago

“city planners are trying to force the public to choose a particular lifestyle”

Oregon Mam(a)cita, you like to talk about coercion, about authorities forcing people to do things they (presumably) don’t want to do. Can you explain how this works? Who, specifically are the people forced to choose something they don’t like? Are these folks already here? Yet to come? If they’re just arriving and the type of dwelling they might prefer is not available at the price point they’d like, whose fault is this, exactly?

wsbob
wsbob
7 years ago

“…it looks like the city planners are trying to force the public to choose a particular lifestyle…” Oregon Mamacita

Assigning to city planners, responsibility for the type of housing cities decide to go with is overly simplistic. National objectives of achieving higher density in urban neighborhoods are more likely responsible. Driving the realization of that category are many forces, groups and individuals.

High density living in high rise complexes really suits some people’s needs, but definitely isn’t for everyone. No question either that done not so good, or worse, poorly, this kind of housing, can deteriorate the open, airy quality of single family dwelling neighborhoods.

I’m not fortunate enough to own or live in a nice, stand alone single family dwelling, nor do I really need that kind of housing. Even though I don’t live in one, I very much enjoy visiting neighborhoods that consist mainly of stand alone single family dwellings. I think it’s important to be very careful about introducing high density to such neighborhoods, so as to not diminish the quality of experience they can offer everyone.

davemess
davemess
7 years ago
Reply to  John Liu

John, this isn’t true at all. We didn’t move to Portland wanting to buy a house, but ended up buying a house in outer SE after we saw how ridiculously priced rents were in closer in neighborhoods. If you’re talking a one for one comparison in the same neighborhood, than sure buying is probably more expensive. But there are a variety of neighborhoods and housing price points in this town. I’m sure my mortgage payment is less than the rent that many on this site pay.

You’re seeing slow gentrification in many outer neighborhoods because younger people are realizing this and slowing expanding outward toward (and past) 82nd.

John Liu
John Liu
7 years ago
Reply to  davemess

Buying a house is harder than renting an apartment. it isn’t just the monthly payment. The buyer needs a substantial down payment; good credit; a work history; a feeling of security and stability; no plans to move; more money for property tax, new roof, etc. Plenty of people who can pay $1500/mo rent don’t have those other things.

And outer SE is not the same as close-in. Many people want to live in a particular neighborhood or “type” of neighborhood. The person paying $1500/mo rent in, say, the Pearl probably values living in the Pearl instead of in Powellhurst – otherwise, he’d pay $700/mo in Powellhurst and pocket the difference. (I’m making up these rents.)

I’m curious to see how apartment buildings going up on the commercial corridors affects gentrification of the surrounding blocks of SFH. Perhaps increased density via MFDs on the commercial street attracts more businesses – cafes, restaurants, bars, shops – which then makes the neighborhood more appealing for the people living in a SFH 3-4 blocks in from the commercial/MFD street. Just a theory.

davemess
davemess
7 years ago
Reply to  John Liu

I’m just saying that “harder” and “more expensive” are not the same. I agree there is certainly a freedom and convenience to renting, but let’s not throw out affordability as the main driver of people living in apartments (esp. in this city where many apartments are pretty highly priced).

maccoinnich
7 years ago
Reply to  John Liu

The idea that you can meet demand for housing in Portland with single family homes alone is a complete fantasy. There is no land within the city limits that can accommodate a significant number of new single family houses. People have a choice of living closer in, more densely, or further out, less densely.

Joseph E
7 years ago
Reply to  Will P

Millennials are currently in peak kid-raising age, and a single-family home is nice for that. But single family residential can be an urban format: most pedestrian-oriented, Medieval cities were largely single-family townhouses, usually attached in Europe. Japan is full of tiny, urban single-family homes, where people can afford them

davemess
davemess
7 years ago
Reply to  Will P

And I think is surprising to some on this site.

spare_wheel
spare_wheel
7 years ago
Reply to  davemess

The actual numbers:

Age 18-34 (88%) and 35-54 (87%).

*Participation rate was low for 18-34s.
*18-34s that live in Multnomah Co had the strongest preference for urban mfrs.

davemess
davemess
7 years ago
Reply to  spare_wheel

And what was that preference percentage?

Mossby Pomegranate
Mossby Pomegranate
7 years ago
Reply to  davemess

Definitely. Home ownership is kinda frowned upon here it seems. If only we were more like other places where you are crammed into apartment buildings and trains.

Todd Boulanger
Todd Boulanger
7 years ago

As for rolling coal…I got a foul lung full today as I rode in Vancouver’s (WA) new up-hill sharrow lane on Columbia north of 4th Plain…the truck driver seemed happier once he stomped on the pedal and burned his fuel dollars going uphill.

Dan
Dan
7 years ago
Reply to  Todd Boulanger

Your fuel dollars. He’s paying less than 1/3 of the true cost.

Jonah
Jonah
7 years ago

Cyclocross racers with their thousands of dollars worth of gear sounds pretty punk.

davemess
davemess
7 years ago
Reply to  Jonah

Or come do the single speed race where a bunch of the bikes are cobbled together and some race in T shirts.

It’s Sports Illustrated, what do you expect?

Dan
Dan
7 years ago
Reply to  Jonah

It’s the only kind of racing I know of where you can snag a flaming dollar bill mid-race. If you can see straight.

Huey Lewis
Huey Lewis
7 years ago
Reply to  Jonah

Thanks Jonah. It annoys me also when something is called punk rock that is absolutely in no way punk rock.

davemess
davemess
7 years ago
Reply to  Huey Lewis

punk rock isn’t even punk rock.

Suburban
Suburban
7 years ago
Reply to  Huey Lewis

It’s a “tell” that the writer was born in the 1980s. just give em enough rope. Plus I hear this sport is really going to take off, in 1999 http://assets.seattlepub.com:8020/SuperContainer/RawData/BicyclePaper/Issues/1998-10

davemess
davemess
7 years ago
Reply to  Suburban

And it is (or even has) taken off.

Alan 1.0
Alan 1.0
7 years ago

Michael Andersen
…me in Pittsburgh for my other gig

Very nice work, and congratulations. I see that piece made it over to Streetsblog, too.

Chief
Chief
7 years ago

Can’t wait til “rollin coal” meets “the right to bear arms”.

Adron @ Transit Sleuth

I’d still like to buy a house that is on a road with streetcar/light rail, biking and pedestrians ONLY (and prospectively emergency vehicles). Where’s that option, I wanna know. I’d love for this option to exist, but alas, every house is tied into the street grid somehow. The best bet is to get it as close to the aforementioned options as close to a dead end near those things as possible… right?

…I’ve been looking, I’m interested in buying. The options aren’t there though.

davemess
davemess
7 years ago

I’m going to guess you are in a VERY small minority of people who also want that.

John Liu
John Liu
7 years ago

I’m not sure that exists in Portland, or in any US city. I’m not sure it exists in European cities either.

Phil T
Phil T
7 years ago

Funny, so even if cost is no object, meaning you can buy the nicest penthouse condo or apartment right on Park Avenue, still 80% of Americans say they want a house.

Yet your picture features a cheap first floor apartment. Very accurate (not).

Phil T
Phil T
7 years ago

Another point apparently missed: “And despite predictions from housing analysts that a younger generation might prefer renting apartments in an urban environment, respondents age 18 to 34 showed an even stronger preference — 88 percent — for single-family detached houses.”

The picture for this story is looking more and more misleading.

spare_wheel
spare_wheel
7 years ago
Reply to  Phil T

And this was not statistically different from 35-54s. Only the older demo showed a stronger preference for renting (not surprising since the kids have flown the coop). The fact that up to 20% prefer to live in an apartment/condo even if money is no object is a strong argument for allowing increased development of apartments/condos in desirable areas. Shunting development to arterials and the periphery is just one of the many ways in which our society unfairly subsidizes inefficient and wasteful single family detached housing (e.g. the gas guzzling SUVs of housing).

davemess
davemess
7 years ago
Reply to  spare_wheel

Actually 12 % prefer an apartment. 8% prefer a duplex or attached house.

davemess
davemess
7 years ago
Reply to  spare_wheel

“Shunting development to arterials and the periphery is just one of the many ways in which our society unfairly subsidizes inefficient and wasteful single family detached housing (e.g. the gas guzzling SUVs of housing).”

So Spare, what is your solution if in many of these areas made up for single family detached we lack infrastructures and amenities to make their lives decently livable without a car (and let’s not pretend that the entire population or even half the population is just going to bike and walk everywhere)?

davemess
davemess
7 years ago
Reply to  Phil T

It’s interesting how different media outlets have spun the Metro survey. The Tribune put out a headline that points out that the highest percentage of people wanted to live in the suburbs (granted they didn’t totally point out that “the city” was divided up into two categories (downtown and urban/neighborhood cores). This site points out that 1 in 5 want to live in Apartments/duplexes (granted that is a substantial minority). Surprisingly the Oregonian was kind of middle of the road.

I think everyone is trying to spin this data to their agenda. But it all stems down to people still like detached houses and people like different types of places to live.

*Also this survey covered 4 counties, 3 of which are made up of suburban/rural areas (probably why the rural percentages were so high).

GlowBoy
GlowBoy
7 years ago

Concentrating multi-family development along arterials and the periphery is what makes sense, though. You want mid-rise condos and apartments along the collector streets and maybe within a block, then mostly row houses within the next couple blocks, then a mix of residential types (including apartments and rowhouses) beyond that. That way the highest housing density is within the closest walking distance of the commercial development along the arterials, maximizing the vibrancy of the street.

I would actually argue that concentrating the single family detached housing close to the collector streets unfairly subsidizes them, and reduces the vibrancy of said streets. Except maybe in NW Portland and the Lloyd, putting 4 story apartment buildings on residential streets, more than 3 blocks away from the arterials, doesn’t make economic or any other kind of sense.

However, while I support concentrating the highest densities near the busy streets, I do also support increased density in the single family areas – including my own. Brooklyn is mostly a big swath of R5, which should be rezoned at least to R2.5, allowing more rowhouses, duplexes, quadplexes, etc., as you’d find in other cities I’m familiar with. My own 4000sf lot is on a corner and could easily be split, allowing for two decent sized family homes where there is one now (though of course eliminating the urban hobby farm we’ve created), if only zoning would allow it.

Lenny Anderson
Lenny Anderson
7 years ago

Piece on NPR about converting dead malls…one option is dense mixed use!

Psyfalcon
Psyfalcon
7 years ago

One thing. Of course people are going to prefer a single family detached. If price is of no consequence, I’ll buy one in a good location close to what I want. There are a couple double lots that still exist in SE…

But cost matters a lot. Millennial have seen the financial markets crash twice. Plenty of us expect to never see “money.”

Lenny Anderson
Lenny Anderson
7 years ago

I walked SE Division Street the other day between Chavez and 30th. What a transformation; what was once a funky auto commuter street actually feels like a place for people! Its what needs to happen to more and more of the old network of arterials and couplets created and managed for years by PBOT for auto commuters at the expense of local residents.
Still lots of construction both of buildings and the street which will have plenty of bio-swales, curt extensions, etc. But new stores are opening left and right and the many restaurants were busy.
Some questions: will the slower mixed mode street (20mph?) be friendlier to bikes? Will bike parking and Sharrows be included to make it clear bikes are welcome? Will the street trees be big and frequent enough to soften the boxy look of the new mixed use buildings? Will there be a good retail mix, not just a café every block? Will people rent these places? How fast will they fill up? Will nearby residents soften their feelings about the change when they discover the convenient retail on a lively street? Will the 4 bus get more mid day and late night service to handle the crowds? Will visitors ride? or will it take a streetcar!?

davemess
davemess
7 years ago
Reply to  Lenny Anderson

Another question is: With some of these arterials being “taken away” from more auto traffic, will we see a push sometime in the distant future to adding capacity on a more major route (like Powell)? Will we see something similar to the Mt. Hood freeway proposed again?

Lenny Anderson
Lenny Anderson
7 years ago

davemess, I believe the “rule” is: build it, and they will come, tear it down, and they will go away! So I expect no motorized commuter capacity will be imposed on SE Portland. People will move closer!
More thoughts on Division: it lacks the hundred year old commercial structures of old streetcar commercial districts…Hawthorne, Belmont, even Broadway, etc. These can soften the sometimes harsh modernist lines of new buildings. There was never a Division streetcar. Nor was redevelopment assisted by urban renewal, though the streetscape work is publicly funded. Alberta and Kenton got URA money.
No design review, or so I believe, and frankly when I compare the new structures on Division to the big project on NE Broadway @33rd, which was subject to endless city and neighborhood reviews that took years, they look pretty good. “Grant Park Village” has almost a Stalin-esque quality…what a bunker!
So what is the formula for making or remaking mixed use in the close in neighborhoods? Strong destination retail? Pok-Pok on Division? I think the Rebuilding Center was what made Mississippi happen; that and affordable for purchase housing of inner N/NE in the 90’s and 00’s.