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The Monday Roundup: First aid tips, global road deaths, and Trump’s cycling trash talk

Posted by on August 8th, 2016 at 2:07 pm

Trump’s anti-cycling remarks could be the final straw. (Just kidding, obviously.)

This week’s Monday Roundup is sponsored by Hassalo on Eighth, Portland’s new neighborhood in the Lloyd District.

Here are the best stories from around the web last week:

From the Department of Duh!: Research shows that if states adopt tougher driving license laws for teens we could save hundreds of lives.

Riding for life, saving a life: A man on his daily bike ride across a New York City bridge talked a suicidal man off a ledge and embraced him until help could arrive.

Be ready for anything: Ever wondered what you would do if you came upon an injured rider? Bicycle Times has this — and several other what-ifs — covered in their Ready for Anything feature.

Sunday Parkways survey: The City of Portland needs your help to make the monthly carfree event event better.

Trump trash talk: In case you didn’t already have strong feelings about Donald Trump, did you know that cycling is the target of one of his many insulting “jokes”?

24/7 parks: An article on Strong Towns asked a good question: Why aren’t parks open all night? It’s an important issue, especially when you consider that many of our parks here in Portland also function as transportation corridors.

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Chicken and egg: This story about Toronto citizens fighting for safer crossings of a major arterial play out in cities all across the U.S. Get out your DOT engineer excuses bingo cards!

Changing the system: We think east Portland resident Nick Christensen has some important opinions about the debate over district representation on City Council. He says we should nearly triple the number of city commissioners so that each one has a closer relationship to their constituents.

Cutting global road deaths: The United Nations has a goal of 50 percent fewer road deaths by 2020 and it can happen if cities with the most carnage adopt creative and bold new programs.

Vehicle exhaust is heating up the planet: When it comes to greenhouse gas emissions, the transportation sector is not looking good. The biggest bump is in medium-sized trucks, the same ones that bring you all the bike stuff you order online. File this one away for the upcoming statewide transportation funding package debate.

Dems, the GOP, and bike stuff: The League of American Bicyclists has taken an interesting dive into how biking and transportation figures into the Democratic and Republican party platforms.

Another carfree success story: “People haven’t had this much fun in the city in a while.” That’s what a shop employee said after the huge success of a carfree street event in Boston.

Pokémon is still Go-ing: The hype might have died down but people are still playing Pokémon Go, and it’s getting more people to explore cities on foot than decades of planning and advocacy.

Read something you think should be in next week’s roundup? Drop us a line with your suggestions!

— Jonathan Maus, (503) 706-8804 – jonathan@bikeportland.org

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NOTE: We love your comments and work hard to ensure they are productive, considerate, and welcoming of all perspectives. Disagreements are encouraged, but only if done with tact and respect. 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

92 Comments
  • rick August 8, 2016 at 2:15 pm

    Really? Trump has built towers, but Hillary bailed-out the auto industry. Even Bernie pointed out Hillary bailing them out.

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    • dwk August 8, 2016 at 2:38 pm

      When did Hillary bail out the auto industry?

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      • David Hampsten August 8, 2016 at 2:57 pm

        When she was a senator for New York (2001-9), just as the great recession was hitting in early 2008. GM (fully) & Chrysler (partly) got bailed out, Ford sweated it out. It’s still in dispute if it did the economy any good.

        Mind you, Trump is an equal-opportunity hater – he seems to hate everyone, equally, except himself, of course. And as GB Trudeau of Doonesbury pointed out with irony, Trump has taken more stands than any other candidate for president, ever, both for and against. Often both.

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    • wsbob August 8, 2016 at 10:03 pm

      With dialup, I probably won’t get around to watching the trump vid clip…wah-h-h-h. Trump whines about biking, and people that bike? O’mgosh, what’s the world coming to? But…he probably doesn’t object to people doing that thing on a sorta bike in the gym, ‘spinning’. Maybe he does that form of physical activity himself, out of the polluted outdoor air, watching news bits of himself on tv, while chomping on a cigar and swigging old scotch.

      What about H? Does she bike? She could up her game with the people, riding one of those Dutch bikes. Not trump…if he wins, he’ll probably try to bring the big, honkin’ gas sucking combat style hummers back to peak popularity. It’s time to make America great again. I almost hate for Trump to lose the election (not that he will, of course.), because he’s a far more entertaining speaker than is Hillary. Maybe she could keep him on, as her Mr Hyde alter ego persona, for a boredom reliever, on those occasions when it gets dull in DC.

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    • Scott Owens August 10, 2016 at 10:56 am

      Bernie also campaigned for Hillary’s run for that seat and for Bill’s presidency.

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  • 9watts August 8, 2016 at 2:19 pm

    Don’t buy from Amazon.

    The decrease in industry-related GHG emissions, so defined, has I think a lot to do with offshoring of manufacturing. If we were to count the crap made in China that many of us now habitually buy the decline would look very different. Of course the bump in transport is also related since the stuff from China will get transported in many cases further once it arrives within our borders. Buy local, buy used, or fix what you have.

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    • David Hampsten August 8, 2016 at 3:05 pm

      Don’t buy bicycles or bike parts. Nearly all bikes are produced in China, including many “American” brands, Surly for example, while Shimano parts now regularly come from Malaysia or China, even high-end ones. Sunrace, Cheng Shin, Giant, and many others are Chinese brands or predominantly made in China. In fact, don’t buy any clothing either, since it also tends to come from China or other oppressive countries with few pollution controls. Check all the parts you buy or have – you can probably count on your fingers the number of parts or frames that are actually manufactured in the good ol’ USA, at least for anything made in the last 10 years.

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      • 9watts August 8, 2016 at 3:09 pm

        I can’t tell if you are being facetious.
        Notwithstanding your (apparent) disdain, it is possible, even salutary to eschew buying new, foreign made, fossil fuel drenched stuff. Most things worth doing are a little difficult at first, take practice.

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        • Middle of the Road guy August 9, 2016 at 9:09 am

          Is buying locally made steel frames any better?

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          • 9watts August 9, 2016 at 6:48 pm

            What do you suppose?

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          • Chris I August 10, 2016 at 12:17 pm

            If you factor in the carbon footprint of the people making your products, many local products are actually worse. A welder in Taiwan has a carbon footprint many times lower than a welder in Portland. Transportation of finished goods is not the only factor.

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            • Beth August 10, 2016 at 2:54 pm

              As long as you don’t factor in the subsidies for petroleum and the tax breaks to freight companies, then sure.

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      • Tom Hardy August 8, 2016 at 5:11 pm

        My bike is hand made in Italy with Columbus tubing, The components are Campy from Italy with the exception of the pedals, Shimano (chinese), that always keep breaking. Tires, Michelin, average 2500 miles between flats at 120PSI. tights made locally (not black). Jerseys, very colorful, made in Colorado. Shoes made in Indonesia.

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        • Lester Burnham August 9, 2016 at 7:04 am

          And it probably takes a lot more “evil fossil fuel” to get stuff here from Italy than it does China. But hey, I dig Italian gear too!

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      • Mossby Pomegranate August 8, 2016 at 5:17 pm

        What’s funny about BikePortland people is how they hate on anything China-made. But then when you offer up something made here (and more expensive) then it’s considered products for elitists.

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        • 9watts August 9, 2016 at 6:25 am

          Is that funny?
          Buying used skirts both objections.

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          • Catherine Feta-Cheese August 9, 2016 at 5:07 pm

            My bike was made in the United States in 1976. Rummage sale. I buy used skirts (& trousers) at thrift stores, too.

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          • Middle of the Road guy August 10, 2016 at 10:44 pm

            It’s difficult to find a custom, hand-made bike that fits me used.

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            • 9watts August 12, 2016 at 5:56 am

              Après moi le déluge?

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        • Pete August 9, 2016 at 10:50 pm

          What’s ironic is the amount of Asian silicon that it takes to propagate a comment recommending a boycott of products made in China.

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          • 9watts August 9, 2016 at 11:12 pm

            OK, you win!

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    • Chris I August 8, 2016 at 3:07 pm

      If I walk to WalMart, does that count as local?

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    • Josh G August 8, 2016 at 3:33 pm

      Am I alone in noticing way more Amazon Prime trucks idling on the residential streets of our fair city lately? They are so small. Makes me wonder how many are out there at any one time. Interesting sidenote on how Amazon fired subcontracted Seattle bike messengers with no notice, but will likely have to re-hire them to fill in the gaps in their truck network: http://www.thestranger.com/slog/2016/06/02/24157606/amazon-abruptly-lays-off-its-seattle-bike-couriers-it-was-not-a-pretty-picture

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      • Robert Burchett August 8, 2016 at 7:19 pm

        Idling? Look for the uber sticker. And do that cop I’m-not-touching-the-weapon thing

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      • Scott Kocher
        Scott Kocher August 8, 2016 at 8:41 pm

        Prime truck blew 2 stop signs and went wrong way thru the greenway diverter near me last week. No response from corporate.

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        • Middle of the Road guy August 9, 2016 at 9:11 am

          I see bikes do that all the time. So what if nobody was harmed? And stopping/starting uses more gas.

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          • Ted Timmons (Contributor) August 9, 2016 at 10:55 pm

            “uses more gas” was true in 1980. There’s a reason vehicles are going to stop/start systems. Sure, this isn’t a passenger car, it’s hard to debate it’s much different for a city delivery van.

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    • Mossby Pomegranate August 8, 2016 at 5:14 pm

      Nah…I love having Amazon Prime.

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      • 9watts August 8, 2016 at 9:48 pm

        Of course.
        And that is what matters.

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    • Ted Timmons (Contributor) August 9, 2016 at 12:18 pm

      Buy from Amazon. delivery vehicles don’t mean there’s less efficiency; you are eliminating a few steps in the consumer product pipeline.

      Want to be even more efficient? Make sure you are using a ‘popular’ delivery service. If UPS is delivering to all your neighbors, it’s more efficient than dispatch-style deliveries like a pizza delivery. The reason Amazon is in-housing the last mile is for efficiency; they are making enough deliveries to justify it (at least financially; I’m sure they aren’t worrying about the footprint).

      China is a tangental issue, but container shipping is amazingly efficient in terms of weight/volume per energy increment. That doesn’t mean it’s good, but correlating online shopping with China isn’t necessarily accurate.

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      • 9watts August 9, 2016 at 1:55 pm

        What a disaster this is. It seems you’ve already realized that efficiency is a poor proxy for what is decent, salutary, good. So why belabor the point?

        Amazon ruins everything that is worth holding onto in the pursuit of market share and profit, and we play along because we’ve become habituated to seeking the absolute lowest price. But this is no way to run things!

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          • Ted Timmons (Contributor) August 9, 2016 at 11:07 pm

            .. ultimately, the real problem with buying new from China vs buying new from USA (yes, ignoring the other options) is the lax emissions controls on factories and power plants. Not the transportation.

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            • 9watts August 10, 2016 at 11:36 am

              Really? Who decrees that there is only one downside? I can think of half a dozen, and emissions aren’t even in that list.
              hollowing out of local economies
              abuse of workers
              long distance transport
              coal
              irreversibility of economic dislocation at both ends and in between
              trade deficits
              inequality

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          • 9watts August 9, 2016 at 11:11 pm

            I recommend skipping the article and going straight to the comments. Did you read them?
            The article is premised on the population explosion juggernaut and makes the case for what David Brower referred to as Strength Through Exhaustion almost fifty years ago. This line of reasoning leads nowhere we want to be.

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        • Scott Owens August 10, 2016 at 11:07 am

          That’s actually not true. Third party FBA’s are what bottom out price on Amazon (Marketplace). If vendor’s use Amazon, they can set their MAP and Amazon will automatically shut down anyone below it. Also since brick and mortar don’t have a MAP for face to face transactions the stores can benefit from the brands they sell being on Amazon by offering in store discounts and bundling services.

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      • 9watts August 9, 2016 at 1:57 pm

        “correlating online shopping with China isn’t necessarily accurate”

        are you serious?
        How is that not accurate? Please explain your thinking.
        I’m going to wager that >70% of what folks buy online is made in China or other Low Wage Countries that function in an analogous manner in this globalized mess we’ve created. I just made up that share; I’d love to know a better number. My hunch is the true number is higher.

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        • lop August 10, 2016 at 10:33 pm

          What’s the number for brick and mortar stores?

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          • 9watts August 11, 2016 at 8:54 am

            No doubt also high and climbing. But we are as much to blame as anyone to the extent that we are addicted to the lower prices and refuse to recognize the costs (social, environmental, climatic, economic) that make those lower prices possible.

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  • jeff August 8, 2016 at 2:27 pm

    But remember the Tour de Trump? 😉 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tour_DuPont

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  • Anne Hawley
    Anne Hawley August 8, 2016 at 2:41 pm

    The New York Times story about the man on a bike who stopped a person on the verge of suicide is beautifully written and very moving. “Don’t do it. We love you, my heart,” he said. It saved a young man’s life.

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  • Adam H.
    Adam H. August 8, 2016 at 2:46 pm

    Regarding the 24/7 parks: the reason that parks are not open all night is primarily an anti-homeless tactic. The law serves to deter (and likely have cause to arrest) someone for being homeless.

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  • B. Carfree August 8, 2016 at 2:50 pm

    “Get out your DOT engineer excuses bingo cards!”

    Best line of the week. It inspires a fun(d) raising idea:

    Make some official BikePortland DOT Excuses Bingo Cards. Allow one card per month to each user name. Entry fee is $5 (or whatever) or requires a subscription. First to Bingo each month, using only articles on BikePortland, wins some token prize.

    Fun, cynical game.

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  • 9watts August 8, 2016 at 3:02 pm

    From the article on the UN campaign to halve road deaths –
    “Sao Paulo’s Life Protection Programme – which introduced diagonal crossings, pedestrian-only zones, and significant speed limit reductions – contributed to a 20.6% reduction in traffic fatalities in the city between 2014 and 2015.”
    article here: http://www.wrirosscities.org/news/reducing-speeds-sao-paulo-brazil-leads-record-low-traffic-fatalities

    and more:
    “Over this period, the number of cyclist deaths dropped 34 percent, from 47 to 31, and the number of pedestrian deaths dropped 24.5 percent, from 555 to 419. Similarly, the number of driver deaths fell by 16.9 percent, from 207 to 172, and the number of motorcycle deaths fell 15.9 percent, from 440 to 370. These reductions were the result of a shift from a focus only on private vehicles to a greater concern for all modes.”

    This is fascinating.
    Our own PBOT continues to blame pedestrians for (the majority of) their own deaths. Perhaps they should suck it up and take a page from Sao Paolo?

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    • 9watts August 8, 2016 at 3:06 pm

      Maybe Michael and Jonathan could do a whole article on this report – so much good stuff here:

      Additionally, the city implemented eleven “Areas 40,” which reduced the speed limited to 40 km/h (25 mph) on select streets in areas with high pedestrian and commercial activity. The first to be implemented, “Centro” recorded 71 percent fewer road fatalities and injuries after the new limits were adopted. As the Municipal Transportation Secretary, Jilmar Tatto explained, “We are focused on the mobility of people, not vehicles. We need to tackle the problem by reducing speed limits, increasing surveillance, providing safe infrastructure for cyclists, improving sidewalks and building dedicated bike lanes.”

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    • 9watts August 8, 2016 at 3:39 pm

      A refresher on how ODOT blames pedestrians for their deaths:
      In their statement about the See and be Seen effort, ODOT piles on a long list of statistics to make the case that when people are killed while walking in Oregon, it is usually their own fault.
      http://bikeportland.org/2011/10/25/odot-to-distribute-reflective-arm-bands-to-keep-people-safe-on-our-roads-61013

      And PBOT:
      the focus is on just what pedestrians can and should do; actions, requirements for those steering cars around the neighborhoods come across as afterthoughts.
      http://bikeportland.org/2014/06/20/pbot-ad-campaign-drivers-slow-107630

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  • reader August 8, 2016 at 3:03 pm

    I can’t wait for the next version of Pokemon:

    Pokemon No. Get A Life.

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    • B. Carfree August 8, 2016 at 3:09 pm

      I don’t play. However, I really enjoy seeing all the families and young people out and about collecting their Pokemon whatevers. It’s cute and healthy. Some of these people look like they haven’t been off the couch for their entire lives, but they are gamely strolling miles at a time to do whatever it is one does in that game. I love the results.

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    • Zimmerman August 8, 2016 at 4:13 pm

      I’m waiting for a guide on passive aggressive judgement techniques in the age of anonymous transportation blog comments.

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      • reader August 8, 2016 at 6:47 pm

        What was passive about my comment?

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        • Robert Burchett August 8, 2016 at 7:21 pm

          The fact that you haven’t grown any part of a name?

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      • reader August 8, 2016 at 8:59 pm

        The transportation blog featured a story about Pokemon. I commented on it.

        Tying it together, my last couple bike rides have featured oblivious Pokemon seekers on foot staring at their phones instead of their surroundings. If this is going on in cars? Wow.

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        • reader August 8, 2016 at 9:03 pm

          My name is Jayson. My phone autofills my name and email address and I never thought to update it.

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        • David Hampsten August 9, 2016 at 7:06 am

          Yes. I’ve seen cars stopped at a green light for 30 seconds, no other traffic, just sitting there, with the driver and passengers each with phones in their hands, sticking out in various directions. Same with cars stopped in the middle of the street. No reason, it seems. Drivers are sometimes black, sometimes white. Scary.

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    • Austin August 8, 2016 at 4:53 pm

      Isn’t it just a digital scavenger hunt? I’ve seen a lot of energy put into hating this game. If it was called “Portland Beer Guide” and you collected digital patches for every hidden digi-beer found in Forest Park, people would be going bonkers.

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    • wsbob August 8, 2016 at 9:35 pm

      I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many couch potatoes out on the streets of Beaverton, and in the nature park…before Pokeman Go made its debut. If the game could get some of those people to actually walk a little more than it seems to require they do, or bike, and actually look at their surroundings rather than almost exclusively at their little 4 inch device screens…that would really be quite an accomplishment.

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    • Tim August 9, 2016 at 7:43 am

      I have my own version of Pokemon – I count the number of people I see playing on my way home. There are noticeably more people out and about on foot. After years of sitting to play, people walk to play. This is a bad thing?

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      • Andy K August 9, 2016 at 8:57 am

        No it’s 95% good, but with it comes increased vehicle emissions, idling, and distracted driving.

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        • Pete August 9, 2016 at 9:26 am

          I think we got that with smartphones anyway, regardless of which app.

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    • q August 9, 2016 at 3:38 pm

      You could say that about hundreds of recreational activities people do. Some of the nicest things in life make no more sense than Pokemon. I live next to a park and love seeing the additional people out enjoying it (Pokemon, the walk, the park, their friends, and the other players they meet). The game takes some of their focus from the other things, but no more so than is true of tennis or soccer players, and it’s the game that got them out there.

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  • Alan 1.0 August 8, 2016 at 3:07 pm

    The Bicycle Times piece is a nice and informative article, and I encourage any and everyone to get first aid and CPR training (and refresher courses), but what especially caught my eye is the first piece by Jude Gerace, owner/founder of Sugar Wheel Works of Portland. Thanks, Jude!

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  • Scott Kocher
    Scott Kocher August 8, 2016 at 8:49 pm

    “…said Roger Browne, Toronto’s head of traffic safety.” Who is Portland’s head of traffic safety?

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    • David Hampsten August 9, 2016 at 7:12 am

      Probably one of these three people at PBOT:
      Steve Townsen, City Engineer/Group Manager
      Traffic Design – Lewis Wardrip, Division Manager
      Traffic Operations – Carl Snyder, Division Manager

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  • soren August 9, 2016 at 11:11 am

    EPA greenhouse emissions data is not trustworthy. The EPA has refused to update their models to take into account methane emissions from agriculture, waste, and mining for almost a decade.

    A few of many examples in the literature:

    http://www.nature.com/nclimate/journal/v6/n2/full/nclimate2804.html

    This observation is underscored by landfill disposal rates in the US significantly exceeding previously reported national estimates, with this study reporting 262 million tonnes in the year 2012 compared with 122 million tonnes in 2012 as estimated by the US Environmental Protection Agency3

    http://www.pnas.org/content/110/50/20018.full.pdf

    The results indicate that drilling, processing, and refining activities over the south-central United States have emissions as much as 4.9 ± 2.6 times larger than EDGAR, and livestock operations across
    the US have emissions approximately twice that of recent inventories.

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  • Global Warming Package August 9, 2016 at 1:34 pm

    “File this one away for the upcoming statewide transportation funding package debate.”

    A multi-billion dollar “investment” in increasing Oregon’s contribution to global warming is about to run over the state. Democrats and Republicans are squealing with delight and running to the transportation funding package trough. Almost all the money will go to increasing freeway capacity. Freeway spew is the state’s leading contribution to climate change. Most of our electric is hydro, so it’s mostly not about green building.

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  • Eric Leifsdad August 9, 2016 at 10:16 pm

    So this guy is 70-some years old and takes a bikeshare to get his groceries… Well, that probably wouldn’t involve a broken leg.

    I found room in question 31 of that survey to complain about the lack of any westside Sunday Parkways.

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  • Pete August 9, 2016 at 11:08 pm

    The LAB study of party platforms was quite revealing… if you think Trump’s comments on Kerry’s bike-handling skills are threatening, wait til you see what the GOP has in store for alternative transportation! I also encourage readers (even Soren! 😉 to participate in LAB’s policy survey.

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    • Pete August 9, 2016 at 11:10 pm

      Wait… we get emojis now but still can’t edit comments?? :/

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    • soren August 10, 2016 at 12:07 pm

      For the most part I’m a fan of the LAB’s advocacy work (just not their, IMO, outdated education program).

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  • wsbob August 10, 2016 at 8:47 am

    We live by a global economy. Countries around the world, trade with each other. That’s a way for countries to help each other out, and a way for people to get things they need, at affordable prices. What some people consider to be “…crap from China…”, is what other people find to be serviceable goods at prices they can afford.

    I love high end Italian bikes too. And Snap-on tools…but what do I have that I’ve been able to afford? A trek, and some old Craftsman tools. And most recently, the 32 pc six buck on sale screwdriver set from the local brick and mortar national chain Harbor Freight Because it was affordable for me, (compared to the prices of better products sold by more distinguished American companies.), this is the first time I’ve had a decent quality set of screwdrivers. No complaints from people at the store, about bringing my bike into store while I shopped.

    Can someone in Portland produce a similar set of screwdrivers, from raw materials to finished product, at a price not exceeding two to four times the price of the so called “crap from China”, so I don’t have to contribute unduly to ghg’s to get a hold of a such a set? If they could, I think I’d save up 24 dollars to buy such a set.

    If a person were to save up four times the cost of a dept store bike…say 600 bucks…so they could do their bit to reduce ghg’s by buying a bike designed and built locally from raw materials to finished product, would there be any such bike available? Will there ever be such a bike available?

    Greenhouse gas production, occurring particularly from the activity of increasing human population, is something to be concerned with addressed head on. On a personal level, reducing production of those global economy related gasses, is not so simple a thing as restricting oneself to only buying, exclusively locally, goods that are produced exclusively in the communities where people live.

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    • Pete August 10, 2016 at 7:44 pm

      Spot on, especially for those who shop at Trader Joe’s.

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    • 9watts August 10, 2016 at 8:30 pm

      “On a personal level, reducing production of those global economy related gasses, is not so simple a thing as restricting oneself to only buying, exclusively locally, goods that are produced exclusively in the communities where people live.”

      No one said it was, but where’s the harm in taking that step? Who knows, maybe the experience of doing that (little) thing inspires other actions that in turn ripple outwards.

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  • Scott Owens August 10, 2016 at 11:08 am

    That’s actually not true. Third party FBA’s are what bottom out price on Amazon (Marketplace). If vendor’s use Amazon, they can set their MAP and Amazon will automatically shut down anyone below it. Also since brick and mortar don’t have a MAP for face to face transactions the stores can benefit from the brands they sell being on Amazon by offering in store discounts and bundling services.

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    • 9watts August 10, 2016 at 11:25 am

      I have no idea what you just said. I suspect it is pertinent but perhaps you could say it again – in English? Your comment also didn’t nest so we don’t know with whom you are disagreeing.

      If you are trying to argue that Amazon is not the evil dictator some of us are suggesting then your: “Amazon will automatically shut down anyone below it…” doesn’t exactly disabuse me of that notion.

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      • Mike 2 August 10, 2016 at 12:40 pm

        “Amazon will automatically shut down anyone below it…” doesn’t exactly disabuse me of that notion.”

        You are not disabused because you do not understand what he said (which was in English). Just because you don’t understand it doesn’t mean it is incorrect or that you are right.

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        • 9watts August 10, 2016 at 3:25 pm

          I’m not sure why you’re being so obtuse. If it is clear to you that I didn’t understand something (and I asked for clarification) why not just explain?

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          • Alan 1.0 August 10, 2016 at 5:01 pm

            I had to look them up:

            FBA: Fulfilled By Amazon
            MAP: Minimum Advertised Price

            Lots of blogging about them, especially MAP, pros and cons. Scott makes some fair points. Seems to me there’s a rather large gap between sub-micro economics and super-meta, but hey, that makes room for discussion, right?

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            • 9watts August 10, 2016 at 6:01 pm

              Thanks, Alan 1.0.
              The scale of the economic issues we’re talking about, but I see the Amazon/world trade model hurting everyone, including the consumer who loves the low prices, who in favoring Amazon/China is no longer patronizing the local hardware store where their neighbors are paid living wages and are knowledgeable. The money exchanged circulates and is respent many times locally; much, much less so with Amazon.

              I find that I’m seeing only some of the comments to posts I’ve subscribed to in my inbox. Not sure why that is.
              Jonathan?

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              • Alan 1.0 August 10, 2016 at 9:10 pm

                I’m pondering the original agora…the public market and assembly place of a city/state. Saturday Market aside (infinitesimal), public space and markets are completely distinct, now. And for scale, how many transactions does Amazon do per day? How many were done in 1900 in New York? London? Shanghai? How many in the world in 1800?

                On topic: I love my $15 SuperCourse from a garage sale even though it did need a $10 front derailleur from CityBike. (I won’t mention the $100 German tires. 🙂

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              • 9watts August 11, 2016 at 7:52 am

                “I’m pondering the original agora…the public market and assembly place of a city/state. Saturday Market aside (infinitesimal), public space and markets are completely distinct, now. And for scale, how many transactions does Amazon do per day? How many were done in 1900 in New York? London? Shanghai? How many in the world in 1800? ”

                Say more.
                I have no doubt that the volume of transactions through Amazon or whomever is vastly higher than it once was. But are you suggesting that volume is here a proxy for happiness? the common good? consumer satisfaction? Personally I side with Kenneth Boulding who suggested—contra mainstream economics—that both production and consumption were not panaceas, not desirable in and of themselves but should be minimized.

                In the cowboy economy, consumption is regarded as a good thing and production likewise; and the success of the economy is measured by the amount of total throughput from the “factors of production,” a part of which, at any rate, is extracted from the reservoirs of raw materials and noneconomic objects, and another part of which is output into the reservoirs of pollution. If there are infinite reservoirs from which material can be obtained and into which effluvia can be deposited, then the throughput is at least a plausible measure of the success of the economy. The gross national product is a rough measure of this total throughput. It should be possible, however, to distinguish that part of the GNP which is derived from exhaustible and that which is derived from reproducible resources, as well as that part of consumption which represents effluvia and that which represents input into the productive system again. Nobody, as far as I know, has ever attempted to break down the GNP in this way, although it would be an interesting and extremely important exercise, which is unfortunately beyond the scope of this paper.

                By contrast, in the spaceman economy, throughput is by no means a desideratum, and is indeed to be regarded as something to be minimized rather than maximized. The essential measure of the success of the economy is not production and consumption at all, but the nature, extent, quality, and complexity of the total capital stock, including in this the state of the human bodies and minds included in the system. In the spaceman economy, what we are primarily concerned with is stock maintenance, and any technological change which results in the maintenance of a given total stock with a lessened throughput (that is, less production and consumption) is clearly a gain. This idea that both production and consumption are bad things rather than good things is very strange to economists, who have been obsessed with total income-flow concepts to the exclusion, almost, of capital-stock concepts.

                Kenneth Boulding, The Economics of The Coming Spaceship Earth, 1966
                http://dieoff.org/page160.htm

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              • Alan 1.0 August 11, 2016 at 9:42 am

                “…are you suggesting that volume is here a proxy for happiness? the common good? consumer satisfaction?

                Nope, just pondering, maybe with a sceptical nod toward 20th century economic theory. Your quote from Boulding is germaine. (published date noted!)

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              • Robert Burchett August 10, 2016 at 10:04 pm

                Local hardware store? I’ve shopped several. The huge majority of the items they sell are labeled Made in China. A few are strangely labeled Designed in the United States (just like athletic shoes). It’s possible to find a few specialized hand tools that are still made in the US. Of course as pointed out above the items that arrive by ship instead of by long distance truck may well have lower energy inputs for transportation. If you are shopping for a bulk hardware item, like nails or screws, no hardware store I have been to lately has anything that is not imported. And bearings? I have a bike that takes an off-the-shelf cartridge bearing available from local suppliers. The last time I bought some the clerk wouldn’t even talk about US bearings. The last ones I bought that weren’t from, yes, China, were from E. Europe. Yugoslovia? In which case they were pretty old.

                I can remember when ‘Made in Japan’ carried a stigma. Now it means the article is something pretty sweet. So this is not about people in China not being able to make good stuff, it’s about a screwed-up economic system that drives the price down to the minimum. We are making choices to have a lot of inexpensive stuff instead of a few things that work and last. Harbor Freight? That bed was burning when you laid down in it.

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      • Scott Owens August 11, 2016 at 1:23 pm

        So Vendors or manufacturers that take the time to work with Amazon and sell to them like any other store can set a MAP (Minimum Advertised Price) and Amazon is not able to go below that price. Where you get the bottom out price is from what is called and FBA (Fulfillment By Amazon). This is where someone sets up an LLC and buys product that is shipped directly to an Amazon fulfillment center where customers buy it at whatever price the FBA has set. Since being an FBA requires nothing more than a credit card and a computer, FBA’s find product that doesn’t have a set MAP, buy in bulk, and bottom out the price. However, since all FBA sell and fulfill through Amazon, if an FBA goes below MAP, software automatically senses that and freezes the seller’s entire store. If vendors and manufacturers take the time to set up an Amazon department, they can easily control the online price of their product and even create jobs and a new department. No one does it though. People seem to take the same approach city planners take to road deaths of ignoring it and hoping it will go away while loudly cursing its existence.

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  • Robert Burchett August 10, 2016 at 10:31 pm

    Nick Christensen’s piece on representation on the city council was great. If we did that perhaps there would be more variety in the people sitting at the table. Of course, white guys are now are minority– 😉

    I noticed that the article appeared in a local paper, the Tribune. I actually look for that paper now, as opposed to sometimes I see stray bits of the Oregonian blowing down the street.

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    • David Hampsten August 11, 2016 at 2:43 am

      I live in a city of 288,000 that has 5 district council persons and 4 at-large. Each district has between 53,000 and 55,000 people, but a varying percentage of industrial or commercial land. 2 of the districts are more than 80% black (and most of the poverty), 2 are over 75% white, and the 5th has most of the Asians, Hispanics, recent immigrants, and non-immigrant foreigners (European and Japanese engineers and managers at local Honda Aircraft and Volvo Truck plants plus university students), as well as a pretty good balance of blacks and whites. Oddly enough, District 5 is the only one with a conservative Republican council member; while one of the white districts has a liberal black representative, and one of the black districts has a white representative. Go figure.

      Overall, the city is 43% white, 40% black, 10% Hispanic, and 7% Asian (mostly Vietnamese). The large population of non-immigrant foreigners are not counted in these percentages.

      There are cases where Districts do gang up on each other, but with a mix of districts and at-large members, that is very hard to do. What actually happens is that the City Manager actually runs the city through the bureaucracy rather than through the Council, and everyone gets screwed. Voter turn-out here for Council elections is normally around 11% of registered voters. Yeah, 11%. Not good.

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      • Robert Burchett August 11, 2016 at 12:11 pm

        OK, it’s not simple. At present a Portland Council Member represents two or three times the population base that an Oregon state representative does (from the article). That seems strange. On the other hand, however you feel about Amanda Fritz, she does actually return emails.

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