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The Monday Roundup: Refugee rides in Berlin, backback biking tips and more

Posted by on November 30th, 2015 at 10:17 am


Here are the bike-related links from around the world that caught our eyes this week:

Biking refugee: “Soon I want to ride along the Berlin streets like the locals,” said a law student, pushed by warfare near her home in Syria to seek asylum in Germany, after a bike ride with a group of wecloming Berliners.

Highway origins: One hundred years ago this month, an auto-industry-backed road trip movie kicked off the 40-year campaign to build an interstate freeway system.

Backpack biking: If you must do it, here are two tips for doing it right.

Induced demand: Take it from California’s state DOT: new highways don’t cut congestion, they increase driving.

Predictive prevention: Microsoft scientists are developing software that can analyze video data in order to detect potential collisions before they happen. (In other words, they’ve figured out how to explain Vision Zero in a way that gets sci-fi fans excited.)

Bike architecture: The Guardian has a gallery of highlights from around the world.

Housing supply: A “tsunami” of 20,000 new apartments in Seattle are slowing rent hikes and might even start driving rents down in the central city where most new buildings are going up.

Walking awards: street-safety organizer Kristi Finney-Dunn, citizen activist Chris Smith, state Rep. Shemia Fagan, the Asian Pacific American Network of Oregon and Metro trail planner Mel Huie took home placques from Oregon Walks’ annual celebration and fundraiser.


Self-congesting cars: If we allow self-driving cars to circle the block during a shopping trip or drive home midday, we’ll be need fewer parking spots but still jam roads horrifically. (Don’t miss the smart comment thread.)

L.A. bikelash: The city seems to be retreating slightly from its bike-network vision, despite continuing political support.

Highway removal: Syracuse, Birmingham, New Haven and Buffalo are the latest cities to consider it.

Driving myth: The idea of the car as “a kind of beleaguered chariot of the poor … just doesn’t stand five seconds of examination of the actual facts,” says London’s cycling commissioner.

Driving drop: Despite the recent rebound in driving prompted by the stronger economy and lower gas prices, miles driven per person remains back at 1997 levels.

Development cliches: Here are “nine things people always say at zoning hearings, illustrated by cats.”

Breathing pollution: When you bike out of your way to avoid auto fumes, the additional distance offsets some of the benefits of not being near cars … so lung-friendly bike routes would be both car-lite and direct.

— Michael Andersen, (503) 333-7824 –

If you come across a noteworthy 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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GlowBoyAixe DjelalSpiffysorenEric Leifsdad Recent comment authors
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What?! Increased supply helps satisfy demand, thus lowering price? Someone needs to tell Portland’s anti-growth/lower the rent crowd.


A “tsunami” of 20,000 new apartments in Seattle are slowing rent hikes and might even start driving rents down in the central city where most new buildings are going up.

Most of those apartments would be illegal in Portland due to repressive zoning law that bans multi-family housing development in much of central portland. Seattle, on the other hand, has some of the most progressive multi-family friendly zoning code in the USA. I am ashamed of how conservative and classist Portland’s housing policy is.


I think Portland would need a *lot* more apartments than are currently being built in order to stave off further rent increases.

It’s going to take a long time to catch up from 50 years of bad zoning policy, resulting in no apartments being built until recently. What makes apartments affordable is that they are 10-20 years old or more. Portland does not have a decent supply of gently to moderately aged apartments. Seattle does.

Kiel Johnson (Go By Bike)
kiel johnson

That guardian photo gallery is missing the Tilicum crossing!


lung-friendly bike routes

The chronic toxicity and cellular damage caused by vehicle pollution would never be accepted in a school or work environment.


“Protecting” neighborhoods from the “evils” of multi family dwellings hurts everyone else (except a few white hairs in that neighborhood) in the long run.

Let’s just call it what it is: “protecting” neighborhoods from “them people”.

B. Carfree
B. Carfree

The juxtaposition of the L.A. story (removing planned bike lanes because of fears of impacting automobile traffic) and CalTrans acceptance of induced demand would be funny if it weren’t so tragic. Please don’t just laugh at SoCal and assume this isn’t going on all over Oregon as well.

Road space in most urban areas is a zero-sum proposition. Any space allotted to active transportation is unavailable for sedentary transportation. We’re overdue to give active transportation equal or greater access to our public road space, at least if we take seriously the varied threats of climate change, cancer, obesity, heart disease, diabetes, stroke, brain damage from particulates and such.

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor)

Thanks John. Sorry about that. Fixed it. Here’s that Microsoft article link.

B. Carfree
B. Carfree

The Lincoln Highway article is fun stuff. Many of parallels to the current state of cycling, including lots of aspirational labelling (the Lincoln Highway wasn’t a highway any more than LAB’s “Bike Friendly” locales are bike friendly) and infighting amongst various advocates. The parallel between supporters of farm to market type roads and other local pavement vs the long-distance road folks is similar to the dispute between the urban short-trip riders and longer distance riders, although I didn’t see any evidence of name-calling, marginalization and such amongst the car folks. I guess they were just more genteel than we are.

My 50 mile commute used to be along the dregs of the Lincoln Highway from Davis to Sacramento. I always hated the two LH markers that I would see because they reminded me that it would be a long slog to undo the car-driven mistakes we have made. Forty years later, we’re no closer to success than we were when I started passing by those things. Perhaps it’s darkest before the dawn.

Aixe Djelal

Re: Biking Refugee – Excellent on so many levels: social integration, freedom of movement, building confidence and, of course, the sheer joy of cycling!