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The Monday Roundup: America’s sorriest bus stops, mechanical speed limits & more

Posted by on June 27th, 2016 at 2:45 pm

sad bus stop

Last year’s winner: A very sorry bus stop outside St. Louis.
(Image via Streetsblog)

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

Sorriest bus stops: Streetsblog wants your nominations.

Mechanical speed limits: The National Association of City Transportation Officials has a six-point agenda to making autonomous cars work for cities, not against them. No. 2: cap speeds at 25 mph.

Minneapolis biking: The Guardian interviews Minneapolis city councilor Lisa Bender, co-founder of the Minneapolis Bicycle Coalition, about the country’s second-best big city to bike in. (Some guy from Portland is quoted, too.)

Detroit bike lanes: They’re rapidly spreading across the city.

Kalamazoo crash: The collision that killed five Michiganders on June 7 wasn’t unpreventable just because it was in a rural area.

Unfunded vision: As Toronto moves toward a formal Vision Zero proposal to eliminate road deaths, even the program’s backers say the budget is inadequate to the task.

Google city: Sidewalk Labs, the Google sibling that’s trying to create tech for “smarter cities” in exchange for loads of data, is offering to manage variable-price parking and public transit via Uber in Columbus, Ohio.

Consolation prize: Other “Smart City Challenge” finalists, including Portland, might also be offered early access to some of the same technology.

Glass ribbon broken: Lael Wilcox became the first American and the first woman to win the unsupported Trans Am cross-country bike race.

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Transit votes: San Diego, Los Angeles County and greater Seattle each moved to grab a share of November’s anticipated surge in liberal voters by putting tens of billions of dollars in transit funding on their ballots.

Bike share typology: The two basic types of bike share users navigate cities very differently.

Waze routing: The Google-owned wayfinding app is moving to reduce uncontrolled left turns onto busy streets, which are dangerous. This might cut driving on smaller streets.

Vancouver trail: The Columbian profiles a new segment along the west shore of Lake Vancouver.

Clinton on cities: The presumptive Democratic nominee seems to have little to say about cities that the current president hasn’t, so it’s hard to say how her national transportation policy would compare to his.

Holy helmet: Yes, that was the Dalai Lama in a Nutcase last week, reminiscing about biking in his youth.

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.

— Michael Andersen, (503) 333-7824 – michael@bikeportland.org

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38 Comments
  • Avatar
    9watts June 27, 2016 at 3:09 pm

    The piece on bike share user classification is great. Tourists in our Nation’s capita vs people who are going somewhere or even commuting. Anything to help us shed or complicate the longstanding biking-as-sport or biking-as-recreation legacy is salutary in my book.

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    tee June 27, 2016 at 8:47 pm

    Enjoyed the piece on Lael Wilcox winning the Trans Am bike race. Thanks for posting!

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    soren June 27, 2016 at 8:50 pm

    Unfunded vision: As Toronto moves toward a formal Vision Zero proposal to eliminate road deaths, even the program’s backers say the budget is inadequate to the task.

    $40 million is over a hundred times more than Portland has allocated.

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    • Adam H.
      Adam H. June 28, 2016 at 12:00 am

      The truth about a city’s aspirations isn’t found in its vision. It’s found in its budget.

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        Paul H June 28, 2016 at 9:25 am

        More accurately, in its spending — but I agree with the basic idea.

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        B. Carfree June 28, 2016 at 10:06 am

        The old adage that budgets are priorities has always held. The rest is just propaganda and hot air.

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      David Hampsten July 2, 2016 at 6:11 pm

      Keep in mind that the City of Toronto has over 4 million residents, as opposed to Portland’s 623,000. I’m not sure of Toronto’s transportation bureaucracy, but Portland’s budget does not include Federal/state highways (ODOT) nor most transit (TriMet.) The two cities are comparable in their inadequate budgets, IMO.

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    John Lascurettes June 27, 2016 at 10:44 pm

    The National Association of City Transportation Officials has a six-point agenda to making autonomous cars work for cities, not against them. No. 2: cap speeds at 25 mph

    Please oh please oh please!

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      soren June 28, 2016 at 8:47 am

      I for one welcome our new robot car overlords.

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      Spiffy June 28, 2016 at 10:31 am

      and hoping this means the speed limit will be 25 mph throughout the city…

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        John Lascurettes June 28, 2016 at 11:48 am

        With enough critical mass on SDCs, it would become the de facto speed. But yes, it would be nice if they added it as a blanket in-city-limits speed with few exceptions.

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        • Adam H.
          Adam H. June 28, 2016 at 3:13 pm

          How could the city use SDC funding to lower speed limits?

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            David Hampsten July 2, 2016 at 6:22 pm

            They could use transportation SDC to fund projects that add infrastructure that mechanically slows car/truck traffic to, add pedestrian capacity, allow slow bikes on sidewalks, AND reduce car lane width such as roundabouts, more signals, curbed-protected bike lanes, parking-protected bike lanes, curb extensions with bike/storm water cuts, wider sidewalks and new sidewalks along all collector and arterial roadways, TDM-designed diverters, and RFBs every 630 ft. PBOT could be a lot more aggressive on how it currently uses its $30+ million SDC surplus, especially with the new gas tax revenues.

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          soren June 30, 2016 at 11:11 am

          it would not take much critical mass if we designed our roads for people instead of multi-ton motor-vehicles (e.g. no more 4 lane roads). i drive ~20 mph most of the time and i manage to slow down traffic very effectively on two lane roads.

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        are June 28, 2016 at 12:52 pm

        or twenty

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      Tom June 28, 2016 at 11:22 am

      A critical mass of autonomous cats will effectively force the non-autonomous cars to drive the speed limit. If they are limited to only drive on 25mph streets though, then all the 30mph and above streets will keep their uncontrolled speeding. Many of these 30mph plus streets are useful for cycling and would receive no safety improvement. A 25mph max speed for autonomous would also force increasing amounts of car traffic onto greenways and residential streets.

      Be carefull what you wish for.

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        Dan A June 28, 2016 at 2:54 pm

        We have an autonomous cat in our neighborhood, and as best I can tell, he’s not doing much to get drivers to follow the speed limit, FWIW.

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          BB June 29, 2016 at 1:59 pm

          I love cats.

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        soren June 29, 2016 at 2:16 pm

        Ummm…the speed limit is a limit, not a minimum.

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          El Biciclero June 30, 2016 at 9:22 pm

          Not according to most drivers. Or police. The real speed limit is the speed minimum, er, I mean limit plus 15. The priority most of the time is to avoid or prevent slowing down speeding drivers, not to intentionally slow them down—unless they are going 15 over…

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    Ted Buehler June 28, 2016 at 12:14 am

    On the TransAm race —

    The experienced Alaskan bike packer rode from Astoria, Oregon across to Yorktown, Virginia in just a little over 18 days.

    4400 miles in 18 days is…

    244 miles per day. Not too shabby.

    Ted Buehler

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      Doug June 28, 2016 at 9:03 am

      I rode a couple rondos,200K was too dang far in November IMO. Then I got my first issue of the magazine from Randonneurs USA. It recounted the tales of riders doing a 1200 K ride in Montana and Wyoming. I saw that these guys are riding through Yellowstone at night.

      At that point I realized that these people priorities and my are opposite and retired my number. I want nothing to do with riding at night in the most beautiful place I’ve ever been. Paris to Breast what a missed opportunity.

      The problem with about 3/4 of cyclists are that they don’t know when to get off their bike (then when they do they stare at a IPhone).

      I see nothing admirable in riding across the country in 18 days. What was the damn rush? Think of all that they missed. It’s a disturbing trend, look at the behavior of the clowns on Oregon Outback and we see what a pernicious mess the word race somehow excuses. Race is a four letter word and contradictory to everything I ride for.

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        Dan A June 28, 2016 at 9:51 am

        Jeez dude, live and let live. If you can’t appreciate it when people challenge themselves and reach their goals, there is something sour in your soul.

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          Bike Guy June 28, 2016 at 10:03 am

          I don’t know. Although grouchy, he kinda has a point.

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            Dan A June 28, 2016 at 11:20 am

            Not that it matters, but I have no doubt that outside of participating in endurance ‘races’ (term used loosely) these cyclists do a crap ton of riding just for the heck of it. Probably a lot more than any of us.

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            Trikeguy June 28, 2016 at 1:22 pm

            No, he really doesn’t. I’ve had too many other trike riders tell me I “do it wrong” because I like to drop into a steady cruise mode and cover lots of distance, because I don’t stop and “smell the roses” all the time, because I go substantially faster than them.

            I usually don’t return the favor, I don’t ask people why they coast so much, why they stop all the time, why they move so slow, why they’re afraid to sweat apparently. I don’t care if they do it the way they like, I do it the way *I* like.

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        B. Carfree June 28, 2016 at 10:13 am

        I’ve ridden down the coast to Sonoma County more times than I can count, but the most beautiful trip was the one that my wife and I did almost exclusively at night. Crashing waves under a full moon from the cliff above are not to be missed. The bobcat that ran in front of us for a hundred feet on Jenner Mountain was also not a likely sight to see during daylight hours.

        I do lots of night riding. Sometimes it’s because I have a particular training or performance goal, sometimes it’s for safety reasons and sometimes it’s just because it’s such a glorious time to be out in beautiful places. Perhaps you should get out of town and try some night riding before you criticize it.

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        tee June 28, 2016 at 12:44 pm

        It is a race, not a tour. You do not win based on what you see, and neither do most people sign up for races based on scenery (if they are truly racing). There is nothing wrong with racing. Some people touring or racing, could make better decisions. It is huge that a woman won the race.

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          Dan A June 28, 2016 at 3:05 pm

          It is a ‘race’ in the face that they keep track of when you finish and whatnot, but there is no finish time cut-off. There is a 74-year-old on his way to Virginia who is averaging 48.5 miles a day and is just over a quarter of the way there. If he keeps up the pace he’ll be arriving at the end of August. Lots of time to check out the scenery that way.

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        Craig Giffen June 28, 2016 at 1:47 pm

        Biking across the US at a racing pace vs touring pace are two completely different experiences.

        I’ve done a lot of long distance hiking and biking, and some of my most memorable days ever were when I was pushing myself hard and covered great distances. At least with me, if is like the “record” button got pressed in my head due to the euphoria and I remember a lot of little details during those rides. If I’m going slow/smelling the roses, my mind wanders and I actually remember nothing about the surrounding area and what I’ve seen.

        Stopping and smelling the roses, meditating for two hours on your ultralite yoga mat, “taking it all in”, gets a bit boring after awhile if you do it to much…it is a lot more exciting to see what is around the next corner.

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        bradwagon June 29, 2016 at 8:29 am

        Lael and her boyfriend spent about 6 months of every year jobless and living off their bikes touring across different continents… I think they appreciate plenty of scenery. Her instagram account has more “once in a life time” experiences than the majority of us combined will ever have.

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        Pete June 29, 2016 at 10:11 pm

        It’s “Brest” if I’m not mistaken, but I like the way you think. 😉

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      Mike Sanders June 28, 2016 at 2:20 pm

      4400 mi. in 18 days is pretty renarkable, considering that most of the route between Astoria and Yorktown isn’t on a path separate from the road, and considering the way the route goes over the Rockies via Yellowstone National Park.

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    GlowBoy June 28, 2016 at 1:30 pm

    One odd piece of writing in the Guardian story about Minneapolis: ” … laughs when asked if the aim is to make her home the second most bike-friendly city in the US.”

    I don’t think there’s any question that Minneapolis is already at least the second most bike-friendly. The only open question is whether it’s first. (And my standard answer to that is that it depends on how and over how much geography you measure).

    And in response to Jon’s comment in the story, it’s a darned good thing Portland is launching bikeshare and a bunch of protected infrastructure real soon. Minneapolis is still behind in Portland on ridership, but charging ahead on infrastructure.

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    Josh G June 28, 2016 at 3:07 pm

    on google sniffing Portland’s parking data (and whether it should be open source) http://www.oregonlive.com/commuting/index.ssf/2016/06/google_affiliate_wanted_to_tak.html

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    CaptainKarma June 28, 2016 at 3:21 pm

    Everything in America turns into a competition. I can even see it with car drivers who have to get ahead of you (“I’m winning”) and will perform risky moves to do that.

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      El Biciclero June 30, 2016 at 9:43 pm

      Boy howdy. If only people would realize that when we try to compete on the road, everyone loses. People constantly confuse the position curve with its derivative, believing that they’ll somehow move faster if they could just get one or two car positions ahead. Meanwhile, merging is a complete disaster, and far too many crashes result from speeding, light-running, and other impatient maneuvers and drivers trying to “teach each other lessons” by tailgating, brake-checking, and cutting each other off, all the while oblivious even to the presence of bicyclists and pedestrians.

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    rubenfleur July 10, 2016 at 2:26 pm

    There it stood in the middle of SE Woodstock Boulevard, a 42-inch-tall orange breadcrumb surrounded by a bustling commercial district.

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