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Pleas to drive more safely echo at ‘Rally to end unsafe streets’

Posted by on September 1st, 2016 at 12:12 pm

BTA Rally to End Unsafe Streets-3.jpg

Oregon Walks Executive Director Noel Mickelberry pushed back tears as she said the recent spate of deaths and injuries have been “debilitating” for her organization.
(Photos: J. Maus/BikePortland)

No matter what Portland does to address the fatalities and injuries on our roads, in the end safety comes down to one major factor: personal behavior. That was the predominant opinion of the speakers at a rally “To end unsafe streets” held in downtown Portland this morning.

The event was organized by the Bicycle Transportation Alliance (soon to be called the Street Trust). That organization’s Executive Director Rob Sadowsky reminded the few dozen people and handful of media crews that showed up that Portland has had 30 road deaths so far this year. An “enormous amount,” he said.

“If we had 30 deaths caused by an amusement park ride or from eating at a restaurant, that restaurant would be closed down. That amusement park would be closed down.”
— Rob Sadowsky, Bicycle Transportation Alliance

“If we had 30 deaths caused by an amusement park ride or from eating at a restaurant, that restaurant would be closed down. That amusement park would be closed down,” Sadowsky continued. “It’s time to figure out what the heck is going on and figure out how we are going to fix it.”

Sadowsky shared the story of his young stepdaughter Catania, who walks and bikes in Portland. “When I drive, I drive as though every intersection has Catania on it. I’m asking all of you to watch out for Catania.”

“We need to change the design of our streets; but we also need to change the way we drive,” he said.

Susan Kubota with Oregon and SW Washington Families for Safe Streets said she is “Extremely frustrated” over the recent spate of collisions. Kubota’s niece Tracey Sparling was killed in 2007 while biking in Portland. Tracey would have been 28 years old today.

BTA Rally to End Unsafe Streets-5.jpg

A few dozen people turned out for the event, which was held in the North Park Blocks.
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Susan Kubota who lost her niece Tracey Sparling in a 2007 collision, urged drivers to see better.

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ODOT Region 1 Director Rian Windsheimer also spoke.

Kubota said we’ve become desensitized to street violence and that, “We forget what dangerous tools our vehicles are” and that when used improperly, cars become, “Extremely powerful weapons that need to be controlled.”

The Executive Director of Oregon Walks, Noel Mickelberry pushed back tears as she read the names of people who have been recently killed or injured. “I say their names as a reminder of the humanity behind these crashes.” Mickelberry said that Columbia Boulevard, the road where Bradley Fortner was hit and nearly killed earlier this week, needs to be redesigned because, “It’s not made for people.”

Steve Novick is the Portland city commissioner in charge of the transportation bureau. He told the crowd that the city is grieving over the recent incidents and that they are working hard to prevent more collisions. “We have not been idle,” he said. “And I know that might be hard to believe. We are trying.”

Novick listed several measures the city has taken including: a new unmanned speed camera that just went up on Beaverton-Hillsdale Highway, the road diet coming to SE Foster Rd, a recent speed limit reduction from 35 to 30 on Burnside, and the city’s efforts to wrest speed limit authority from the state.

While Novick said they are trying to stem the tide of unsafe streets, he too mentioned the need for personal responsibility. “We need people to change their behavior.” When he hears Portlanders complain about increased delays on roads due to lane reconfigurations, Novick said his response is, “Consider that extra three minutes in rush-hour as an investment in the children who go to school along the street.”

There was a noticeable shift from advocacy and government leaders at this rally toward placing the blame on road user behaviors and away from our urgent need to redesign roads and have stronger policies. While everyone knows we need to approach road safety on many fronts, a tendency to focus on individual actions ignores the powerful role that the built environment — and the system in general — can play.

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

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Hello, Kitty
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Hello, Kitty

What did Windsheimer have to say? Did he perhaps talk about why ODOT will not contemplate lowering the speed limit on Powell where it passes by Cleveland, and cuts through a dense urban environment?

Eric Leifsdad
Guest
Eric Leifsdad

He held up their “Oregonian Crossing” poster and said everyone needs to be careful. Be careful to merge left on Barbur because the outer lanes are closed to cars through the woods — he didn’t say that.

BB
Guest
BB

Just like the talk that goes on whenever there is a mass shooting, that’s all this is: Just talk. None of this is going to result in any official action that changes the reality of the car culture that by now we have all lived with our entire lives. None of this is going to change the way people behave in public. Without drastic change in the laws defining our public space and the movement of large numbers of people, nothing will change. People will keep dying.

Dave
Guest
Dave

I keep hoping for a geopolitical convulsion in the Middle East that will provoke another oil embargo to us “infidel” nations. Nothing makes drivers behave like a gas price shock. Let the worst of them have to choose between fueling up the rig and paying the cell phone bill.

nport
Guest
nport

How about the bikers who zoom past pedestrian walkways and stop signs even as pedestrians try to cross? Not everything is the fault of car-drivers.

Dan A
Subscriber
Dan A

Yes, this is bad. How many deaths in the US have been caused as a result? We need to get right on this, with a proportional response.

nport
Guest
nport

So it is ok for bikers to violate laws until they kill someone?

Dan A
Subscriber
Dan A

Where did I say that?

nport
Guest
nport

You downplayed the fact that bikers flout laws as well. How about acknowledging that this is a problem to some degree? As a pedestrian I deal with this all the time.

Ted Timmons (Contributor)
Editor

Yep. Cyclists do this. So do car drivers, who kill at a higher rate and take up more of the crosswalk.

What I love about being on a bike (or on foot) is I can communicate with fellow pedestrians. I can use my face, a hand wave, or simply say something. More cyclists should perhaps do the same.

Dan A
Subscriber
Dan A

Um, no I didn’t. I said

1) “Yes, this is bad.”

See? I agreed with you.

2) “How many deaths in the US have been caused as a result?”

Let’s put a number to this. For cars, it’s tens of thousands of Americans every year, not even counting the people who die early due to pollution, which MIT recently put at around 200,000 Americans. Surely there’s a number out there for the number of American pedestrians killed by cyclists every year. If you care about this problem, maybe you already know this number?

3) “We need to get right on this, with a proportional response.”

Seems reasonable and rational to me. Are you arguing that we should devote the same amount of resources to preventing bike-on-pedestrian violence as we do for preventing car-on-everything else violence? Because that would be a completely disproportionate response.

Lizzy
Guest
Lizzy

The number of pedestrians hit by bicycles are very few compared to motor vehicle crashes with pedestrians and bicyclists. There is no comparison in numbers. The automobile is heavy, fast and dangerous with the over-whelming advantage in any crash. What I see in my city is more self-centered, distracted, angry drivers. Speed and getting there is more important than human life and this is a problem. Drivers of motor vehicles kill a huge number of people each year in our nation.

nport
Guest
nport

I never suggested that people who drive cars are innocent. That said, plenty of bikers are so hopped up on self-righteousness that they feel the laws don’t apply to them. Cutting cars off just to spite them and zooming past pedestrians who have the right of way is becoming more and more common.

KristenT
Guest
KristenT

Sometimes, what looks like “cutting off cars to spite them” isn’t actually spite, it’s that you in a car are moving much faster than the guy on the bike and he thinks he has enough time to make his maneuver before you run him over.

Sorry, I meant, before you catch up to him.

I’m sure a lot of people think I’m a totally douche when I ride, when really I’m just trying to avoid car crash debris in the bike lane, or glass in the bike lane from people throwing bottles in the bike lane, or gravel from the housing development construction that’s ended up in the bike lane, or I need to make a left turn up here and need to merge into the left turn lane…. I’m sure it looks like spite, but it isn’t– people in cars move a lot faster and never seem to adjust their speed for what other people need to do.

Dan A
Subscriber
Dan A

Drivers cut each other off all the time. Are you giving them a pass?

Chris I
Guest
Chris I

This is where there are a lot of similarities between gun control and vehicle “control”. We can’t make legislative changes after “tragedies” because we are “politicizing a tragedy”. Rinse and repeat…

Adam
Subscriber

I’m not convinced that press conference after press conference telling drivers to slow down will be at all effective. Do you think any of them were even listening to these speeches? Asking everyone to “play nice” will never be effective to stop the carnage on our streets. More talk, and no action.

The problem is simply, cars are not compatible with an urban environment filled with people walking and cycling. Therefore, the solution must involve taking back the spaces that the private automobile stole from us. Until Commissioner Novick announces his plan to create car-free streets, diverters every four blocks, protected bike lanes on every major arterial, road diets on any street 3 lanes or more, raised crosswalks, and wider sidewalks; these speeches will continue to fall on deaf ears.

Adam
Subscriber

Oh, and telling drivers to drive safely doesn’t work because everyone thinks they’re a good driver. They’ll hear this message and assume it is directed to “those other bad drivers, certainly not me!”

Spiffy
Subscriber

I used to think I was one of the best drivers.

Then I stopped driving and started taking alternate transportation.

That’s when I realized that most people, including me, were horrible drivers.

The penalties aren’t enough to keep the bad drivers off the road. The rules that affect vulnerable users are not highlighted. The accountability is not there.

Of course I didn’t know or care about any of this when I was driving everywhere. My whole life vulnerable users were bullied out of the way and so that’s what everybody thinks they’re supposed to do; stay out of the way.

You can’t un-see the kind of mass recklessness that we continue to see daily on the streets.

We can’t all stay out of the way of each other. The world isn’t getting any less dense.

Until it’s forced upon them drivers will continue to do as much as they can get away with, which includes murder.

rachel b
Guest
rachel b

Hear, hear, Spiffy. I’m a much calmer, better driver the rare times I do drive, now that I haven’t had a car for three + years. Driving regularly really brought out the worst in me.

wsbob
Guest
wsbob

“…Until it’s forced upon them drivers will continue to do as much as they can get away with, which includes murder.” spiffy

Perpetuating ‘us vs them’ mentality, isn’t going to help resolve common traffic issues all road users have to deal with.

I’d certainly not say I’m a great driver, but would say I’m a fairly competent driver, and far from being a horrible driver. As are, apparently, by the comparatively few collisions per hundreds of thousands of motor vehicles in operation…most people driving. On most streets, hundreds and thousands of motor vehicle regularly pass where vulnerable road users are present, and without mishap. And then, out of all those people operating motor vehicles near vulnerable road users, there is the occasional person operating, that makes a horrible mistake, resulting in serious injury or death to a vulnerable road user.

Infrastructure isn’t going to be able to fix or stop the occurrence of these incidents brought about by a very small percent of overall numbers of people regularly using the road. The successful approach to stopping tragic collisions, likely will be one that curbs bad driving by people lacking the skill, ability and disposition essential to driving competently.

More than by any other means, this probably would have to involve higher standards of testing as a condition for being licensed to drive. Doing this would be tough to accomplish because of how essential motor vehicles are to meeting the basic travel needs of so many people. The community planning and infrastructure that would allow people to meet their travel needs by means other than motor vehicles, just doesn’t exist, and if the green light to produce were turned on, now, it would like by years, decades, before it was sufficiently realized to be able to dramatically reduce the numbers of motor vehicle needing to be on the streets in order to meet the populations basic, day to day travel needs.

Jim A-W
Guest
Jim A-W

I believe that defining who is a “good driver” by who hasn’t collided with a cyclist or pedestrian is completely false. There is much more damage that occurs besides reported collisions. The amount of mental trauma, fear, bullying, abandonment of streets, etc. is beginning to be reported on, and is huge. These are all “mishaps” that are invisible to those not suffering them. Also, many deaths are caused by conscious decisions to use phones etc., and not caused by “mistakes”. A person who chooses not to pay attention is making an active choice, not participating in some kind of “mistake”.

Language is very important here, for so long language has been used to dismiss and diminish these concerns.

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

It’s the micro aggressions that get me.

Adam
Subscriber

Death by 10,000 cuts.

Dan A
Subscriber
Dan A

Just my opinion of course, but I think most of these seemingly random mistakes are not caused by a solitary lapse in attentiveness, but more a regular and consistent habit of poor driving. Regularly speeding, failing to signal, failing to look for people before turning, failure to be ready for a kid to run into the road, failure to have a designated driver, etc.

I regularly encounter drivers who fail to see me in the bike lane next to them, fail to signal, and then fail to yield as they turn directly in front of me. Because I expect them to do this, I have saved myself many times, and the driver has continued on, completely unaware that they could have killed somebody. If/when they DO hit somebody, it will seem like a completely random occurrence to them, but it’s not. If you regularly drive all the way over crosswalks before looking left and right, and then one day someone happens to be entering that crosswalk and you hit them, it’s not an accident — it’s the birds coming home to roost.

rachel b
Guest
rachel b

Well said, Dan. There’s something about getting into that driver’s seat that makes you feel a bit like a little godling, and definitely entitled to the road. I drive rarely these days but I speak for myself, here—the little godling. 🙂

Brendan Treacy
Guest
Brendan Treacy

I think it’s more just that driving requires a level of attentiveness that we can’t maintain as often as we drive. It’d be too stressful and intense to give the level of focus required to be truly safe all of the time. And we drive so much that it isn’t realistic. I agree with Adam H that we need to reduce the presence and speed of cars in the city.

Eric Leifsdad
Guest
Eric Leifsdad

“Infrastructure isn’t going to be able to fix … bad driving … higher standards of testing…”

Infrastructure as test: If you can get your 6.5ft wide car between these two hard immovable objects with an 8ft gap between them, you may continue carefully driving down our neighborhood street.

Collision with a traffic control obstacle is covered under ORS 811.100 (1) f. http://www.oregonlaws.org/ors/811.100

B. Carfree
Guest
B. Carfree

All motorists are the children of Lake Wobegon, above average.

Bankerman
Guest
Bankerman

Statistics indicate that people in general ARE good drivers. Automobile fatalities per vehicle-mile declined from 1920 to 2000 by a factor of 17. After leveling off in 2000, fatalities per 100 million vehicle-miles fell from 1.50 to 1.27 in 2008. Bike deaths caused by autos also declined – a 28% decrease from 1975 to 2014. Of course, those numbers are from national data. When comparing fatal bicycle accidents caused by automobiles, states range from 6.80 per million population down to zero (in 5 states that recorded no fatalities). The figure for Oregon was 0.76 with only two states that reported such deaths, reporting lower numbers.

Dan A
Subscriber
Dan A

What’s your definition of being a good driver? I don’t know how that could be defined simply by the statistics provided. I know a number of people I would consider to be pretty poor drivers, despite the fact that they haven’t killed anyone yet.

Ted Timmons (Contributor)
Editor

The problem with using VMT, rather than absolute numbers, is that it implies there’s an acceptable level of fatalities/KSIs. If people start commuting farther, the fatality rate may appear to go down (more freeway miles). That doesn’t mean there are fewer deaths.

We have approximately the same number of traffic deaths as we had in 1940.

Also, “accidents”.

Bankerman
Guest
Bankerman

I don’t believe anyone would think there is some acceptable level of fatalities, but to ignore that the risk of death via automobiles is much less now compared to years past can only be valid for someone trying to vilify cars no matter what the facts show. Somewhat akin to complaining when the news media states whether an injured cyclist was wearing a helmet because you believe it is not relevant even though statistics show helmets reduce injuries. However, if you have a problem using VMT, another measure is simply the number of automobiles on the road. The fact that there are the same number of deaths now, with close to 250 million cars in the US, compared to 32 million autos in 1940 indicates a substantial decline in risk. Any way you look at it, deaths caused by automobiles is declining in the US. Obviously much of that decline is due to safety improvements, but there is clearly much more emphasis on safe driving now compared to when I got my license in 1966. Back then there were no PSAs or billboards reminding drivers to slow down and drive defensively, except for the cost of an SR-22 insurance filing, driving drunk was not that big of a deal (in college my business law instructor used an entire class hour to talk about how to beat a DUI ticket), MADD did not exist, teenagers were tearing around in cars with way too much horsepower, and driver education was not required for anyone. In my opinion, drivers in general are doing a much better job of driving now compared to even 20 years ago.

9watts
Guest
9watts

Your statistics are valid, but why would we compare ourselves to our grandparents in 1940 (decades before Ralph Nader and all that his campaign spawned), when comparing ourselves to, say, Sweden in 2016 would not only seem more pertinent, but would suggest how far we have fallen behind the curve?

Dan A
Subscriber
Dan A

A decline in risk for who, the people inside or outside of the cars?

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

But if more people are driving, that means things are getting safer.

Bankerman
Guest
Bankerman

If more people are biking, that means things are getting safer.

There, fixed it for you.

RH
Guest
RH

At the rate things are progressing toward Vision Zero, it seems we are better off just waiting for self driving autonomous cars to hit the streets in 2020….

KTaylor
Guest
KTaylor

Autonomous cars are still bad news for peds and cyclists, though. They’ll still take up too much space, dictate how that space is laid out, ramp up heat island effect and contribute tons of toxic particulates to the atmosphere (even if they are electric – the crap generated by friction between their tires and the pavement is almost as bad for people to breathe as tailpipe emissions). They’ll still be huge – I can’t remember which auto company this is (BMW?) but someone is already developing a driverless SUV – and chances are, knowing humans (and Americans), and seeing how GPS has affected the way planes operate, they’ll be more tightly packed and moving faster than ever.

Even if they do stop on a dime, imagine what an itchy feeling it would be trying to walk or bike around the city with those things dominating the landscape. I wish people would ashcan the whole idea of driverless cars. They’d be better than what we have now, but the car is a seriously inefficient, blighty way of moving people around and needs to be phased out.

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

Nah, it will be great.

https://vimeo.com/106226560

KTaylor
Guest
KTaylor

Ha! That is hilarious! 🙂 What a beautiful world it will be.

Eric
Guest
Eric

Why is there honking? 😉

soren
Subscriber

and contribute tons of toxic particulates to the atmosphere (even if they are electric – the crap generated by friction between their tires and the pavement is almost as bad for people to breathe as tailpipe emissions)

this is the second time i’ve seen someone write this in the past few days. where are you getting this?

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

One source: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/cars/news/study-says-electric-cars-could-emit-almost-as-many-particulates/

>>>
…particulates can also be formed by other aspects of car use – for example, the wearing of brakes and tyres, which cause particulate matter to be emitted into the atmosphere. Indeed, it’s said that 90 per cent of larger, coarse particulates emitted by traffic are thought to be caused by this sort of activity, along with 85 per cent of the more harmful fine particulates.
<<<

KTaylor
Guest
KTaylor

Here’s the study by Peter Achten and Victor Timmers at University of Edinburgh:

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S135223101630187X

soren
Subscriber

The vast majority of PM comes from diesel emissions and this is definitely something that EVs will eliminate.

http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/10962247.2012.741055?scroll=top&needAccess=true

PM2.5 (the PM of most concern) is one of many air toxics emitted by ICE vehicles. The others will essentially be eliminated by a switch to EVs. The perfect is the enemy of the good!

http://www.ucsusa.org/clean-vehicles/vehicles-air-pollution-and-human-health/cars-trucks-air-pollution#.V8jBQrkrL8s

Moreover, I do not buy the assumption that EVs will be heavier than ICE vehicles. Cars and SUVs have increased in size in the past few decades largely due to the erroneous belief that heavy vehicles are safer. This motivation to increase vehicle size will disappear once the driver is taken out of the equation. IMO, the desire to extend range will lead to autonomous EVs being optimized for weight. I think that autonomous EVs will be the gateway drug to the end of low-occupancy vehicle use entirely. Why pay for something when shared vehicles are so much more efficient and inexpensive to use?

Eric Leifsdad
Guest
Eric Leifsdad

How much of the weight of EVs comes from the requirement to drive 100mph? (or 80 maybe) NEVs generally have a top speed around 30?

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

Gasoline cars also eliminate PM from diesel. The article suggests that EVs might be worse than gasoline vehicles from a PM standpoint. They are clearly superior to diesels (at least as we know them in America). But they are not emission free.

From a benzene standpoint, EVs are obviously better than gasoline vehicles (not sure about diesel). From a CO2 POV, EVs are probably superior, unless they are their electricity is generated by coal.

From an exotic materials POV, EVs are probably the worst, but that’s just a hunch and I have no data to back that up. I don’t really know how bad Li mining is, nor how recyclable the batteries are.

All of these questions are orthogonal to who or what is steering the vehicle.

soren
Guest
soren

and considering that EV-associated particulate pollution comes from tires, it is nonsense that evs which use the same tires as gasoline-powered cars are worse.

ev car batteries use no heavy metals and are almost entirely recyclable (although they are almost always reused before being recycled).

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

The article I read said EVs were generally heavier, and thus emitted more particulates from tires and brakes and such.

soren
Guest
soren

a nissan leaf has little weight optimization (heavy ICE steel frame) and antiquated batteries and weighs only ~25% more than a comparable vehicle. there is a huge drive to optimize weight because this is a primary determinant of range and efficiency. for example, the newly released bmw i3 EV weighs only 2.6 tonnes largely due to the use of composites.

moreover,the energy density of batteries is increasing linearly so a significant reduction in weight is inevitable as this prototype technology matures:

see fig 6 here:

https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/mrs-bulletin/article/the-energy-storage-frontier-lithium-ion-batteries-and-beyond/A0CE1F1D2F344EB6B362DA3C29DC2BD1/core-reader

Eric Leifsdad
Guest
Eric Leifsdad

2650lb =~ 1.2 tonnes

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

2650lb =~ 1.3 tons, 1.2 tonnes, and 1.18 long tons. Ain’t units grand?

rachel b
Guest
rachel b

Well said, KTaylor! And I think a lot about this–“They’ll still be huge – I can’t remember which auto company this is (BMW?) but someone is already developing a driverless SUV…” They’ll not only be huge, they’ll become TRUE little living rooms where you can do whatever your wee heart desires, human. And then stumble out and inflict your delightful self on the rest of us.

KTaylor
Guest
KTaylor

Heh!

gutterbunnybikes
Guest

I can’t wait!

Do you really think computers are going to be more dangerous than teenagers taking selfies or frantically texting while running “oranges” in their car, or suspended (gawd know how many times) DUI drivers swerving all over the road? Do you think they’re going take to the sidewalks on Broadway bridge? The MUPS of the Sellwood or 205? How’s about doing whippets through construction zones?

And once the fleets are unleashed (Fords announced it by 2021 and they’re not starting with individual sales for years afterwards, likewise Uber is testing in PA, and Singapore is living testing right now too), the number of cars will be reduced. Who’s going to own a car when you can have door-to-door chauffeured transport for around the price of bus fare. Fast food, grocery stores, convenience stores all come to you. You order, pay, and unlock the box with your order all from your phone when the vehicle arrives in your driveway.

If you really think it through the autonomous vehicles are going to change everything. Transport, delivery, commerce, urban planning, commercial and residential design- it will be nearly as transformative to society as the internet (which we likely still haven’t completely seen all the effects of) or the printing press.

9watts
Guest
9watts

“If you really think it through the autonomous vehicles are going to change everything.”

Except that before they come online climate change and peak cheap oil are going to change everything.

KTaylor
Guest
KTaylor

Hi gutterbunnybikes – I did say I thought they’d be better than what we have now – a car with a person behind the wheel is a great big temptation to abuse unearned power. I just don’t think it’s better enough.

I agree driverless cars will change everything, but in the process, they’ll likely stymie efforts to reallocate space currently dominated by cars. We’ll be more dependent on cars than ever. There will still have to be a lot of them for everyone to be able to get a personal ride whenever they want one, and to deliver all the crap we buy.

soren
Subscriber

A recent OECD ITF study suggests that self-driving cars could eliminate ~90% of urban cars:

http://www.itf-oecd.org/sites/default/files/docs/15cpb_self-drivingcars.pdf

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

This may or may not actually happen, but what will not happen is that there will be 90% fewer vehicles in use at any time. It is entirely possible that the number of vehicles could be greatly reduced, but our streets could be more congested than ever.

Ktaylor
Guest
Ktaylor

I agree with you, hello kitty. The one issue I could see alleviated by driverless cars (if people really do stop wanting to personally own them) is parking. It just doesn’t pencil out that there would be fewer cars active on the road at any given time if the population continues to increase as projected and everyone is still getting a personal ride from their door to wherever they want to go, without having to share.

GlowBoy
Guest
GlowBoy

“Who’s going to own a car when you can have door-to-door chauffeured transport for around the price of bus fare?”

Unfortunately, lots of people, unless it’s prohibitively expensive.

Even today, large numbers of people who could choose not to own or drive private automobiles still do so. I don’t see why that will change unless driving and/or fuel get really expensive.

Think about any car commercials you’ve seen lately. The pitch isn’t “hey! cheaper than a cab!” or “more convenient than the bus!” – or even “keeps you dry in the rain, unlike biking!” or “easier to take the kids to two different daycares in the morning than with a cargo bike!” Although these are the practical reasons people might cite as to why they drive, are not what car companies are selling.

Car companies are selling an image. To many (maybe most) people, their car is their clothing on the road, they way they project their style and self-image to the world. That image may be one of material success, or toughness, or aggression, or thrift, or quasi-environmental awareness, but it’s an image nonetheless. Even the first question many car salespeople are trained to ask when you know what model you’re looking at – “what color?” – is intended to make you feel like YOU are choosing the car and making it special just for you and how you want the world to see you.

And they’re selling the in-the-car experience. Not just the driving experience, but the feeling of being “taken care of,” of being cocooned in your car, seems to be a common theme nowadays. Both the outer and inner dimension of the the car are intended to be personal, to make the car buyer feel special, like THEY chose this car among many different choices.

We no longer live in a world where you walk into a coffee shop and order a cup of coffee. You can now have your latte (or other coffee-based beverage) customized numerous ways, with many thousands of different permutations. Same thing with a lot of pizza and burger joints even, these days. You are special, and your coffee drink – made just for you! – reinforces that feeling.

Does anyone seriously think all this “specialness” of individual car possession will suddenly go away with driverless cars? When I fire up the “Uber” app, will it ask me “what color?” right off the bat? Will it show up with the radio already tuned to my favorite station, and the HVAC set to my preferred temperature, baby seat already set up in back, ski rack installed for that trip up the mountain, with my preferred message plastered across the back in bumper stickers? I don’t think so. Sorry folks, people are still going to want these things if they can afford it.

Don’t get me wrong: I’m not a naysayer about driverless cars. They’re coming. And sooner than we expected. But I think a lot of individuals will still own them.

Many of us who’ve soured on the idea of driving all the time and weaned ourselves off a daily diet of driving may see cars as transportation appliances, just a way to get somewhere. Don’t assume everyone else will.

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

Some of that stuff would certainly be possible (and perhaps likely): radio station, A/C temp, etc.

Overall, you may be right, but I think it is really too early to tell. Things could develop in any number of ways, some of which might look very different than what we have today. Or they could stay very much the same.

BB
Guest
BB

I have never been to a coffee shop where you can’t order just a normal cup of drip coffee.

GlowBoy
Guest
GlowBoy

I didn’t say you can’t order a simple cup of coffee. But most people don’t.

BB
I have never been to a coffee shop where you can’t order just a normal cup of drip coffee.
Recommended 1

Not what I said BB, and missing the point anyway.

Buzz
Guest
Buzz

Just this morning I saw someone with ‘Share the Road’ license plates driving and texting at the same time….

Spiffy
Subscriber

maybe they were sharing the road via Facebook…

soren
Subscriber

The decision to use this as an advocacy slogan was truly awful.

Tom
Guest
Tom

What good does a speed camera in Hillsdale do to reduce speeding in Portland.

Will PPB be reducing speed enforcement when the fixed cameras start rolling out? I’m not sure fixed location enforcement would be better than random location enforcement. Dashboard infotainment or phone apps can easily warn the driver when they get close to a fixed camera. Driver will slow down for a few seconds then floor it again when the app says they are clear. Any affective enforcement needs to be able to stay ahead of Waze. I think only unmarked police cars could currently do that.

David
Guest
David

I am including an email below that I wrote to Rob shortly after the event–I wanted to get some thoughts out (and he actually replied about five minutes after receiving this). The reason I’m posting what I wrote him here is because I think that the message I wrote is important for the broader discussion on how we respond to tragedies like we’ve seen an uptick of in the recent past.

___

First, thank you and the BTA for pulling together an important group of transportation advocates and other professionals in response to the recent rash of death and injury on our streets. Something needed to be said; much more needs to be done.

The reason that I’m writing today is because I feel responsible, both a BTA member and as a donor, to share some thoughts about what I feel was a big missed opportunity.

Steve Novick, representatives from PBOT, TriMet, ODOT, and several members of the press were present, and I’m worried that the main takeaway they left with was: “Drivers need to pay better attention and slow down.” This is no doubt true, but I think we both know that without major redesigns to our roadways, education campaigns will soon be forgotten.

The beginning of your remarks began with what I think was a great comparison: how would we handle 30 deaths at an amusement park, or at a restaurant? This would not be tolerated, which was your point. But the end of your speech focused heavily on individual driving behaviors needing to change, with only passing references to our poor street design and the weak policies that help create those designs–things that our elected officials, PBOT, ODOT, TriMet, and members of the press desperately need to hear more of.

When we go to restaurants, we are not expected to bring our own E. coli testing kits, and when we go to amusement parks we are not expected to test the safety of the rides ourselves before getting onto them. We have policies and engineering controls in place in both instances to help maximize safety.

To me, it’s easy and less risky politically to urge drivers to slow down and be more careful. The more difficult, yet much more impactful, path is to put more pressure and focus on building roadways that naturally force drivers to be more alert and careful.

What I want to know is, did today’s remarks focused on changing individual driving behaviors reflect the BTA’s overall stance on how to achieve Vision Zero? Or will there be more of a shift toward bigger-picture changes in the future?

9watts
Guest
9watts

Those are great points. Thanks for writing that letter and for sharing it here. What did Rob say in his prompt reply?

David
Guest
David

I don’t feel it’s my place to paste the reply in directly but to paraphrase, he thanked me for my email, agreed that changing individual driving behaviors isn’t the most effective way to create change and that changing our roads is something that needs to be done. However, he reiterated that even with all the funding and political support in the world, we can’t build new roads overnight, hence the emphasis on reminding drivers to pay attention and slow down.

I definitely get where he and the BTA is coming from, but at the same time it’s tough because what we, the general public, see are the press conferences, action alerts, and similar. What we don’t see are the meetings and conversations with electeds and transportation bureaus. Also that work takes a lot more time.

So the BTA is, and has been, playing the long game (policy work, infrastructure, etc) while also working on individual behavior change. And I think that’s the main thing I’m not sure about. Is it the BTA’s role to put the focus on better driving behaviors? And if it is, does that take away from the long game? My hunch is yes, but I don’t have anything to back that up. And finally, what can we do to shorten the time span on seeing results from the long game?

buildwithjoe
Guest

The only long game the BTA is playing is playing cyclists that their donations are going to safety. On the theme of carnivals… The BTA is building a long game of relationships with people who may deliver safety in 10 years … Meanwhile the carnival is a death trap. We have fewer cyclists given our booming population data. Do the math.

David Hampsten
Guest
David Hampsten

I think the BTA is being realistic on its advocacy. David advocates for infrastructure changes, as do others, when the highway fund is broke, the state is broke, and the city recently passed a small 10 cent gas tax increase that pays $16 mil annually when they need $70 mil annually just to maintain what they have, let alone build new stuff. Until Oregonians are willing to raise their own taxes significantly, and focus the funds on transportation infrastructure (rather than schools, police, housing, ending homelessness, etc), about all you can do is have press conferences urging folks to drive safer, given your budget constraints.

buildwithjoe
Guest

David you are my hero. I was Fallon’s teacher. You actions heal. Novick just talks and fails to act with his massive powers being spent to fix potholes and hasten trip times. Novick is a killer in denial. His carnival rides let one driver kill another. A killer in denial is a sociopath. Vote out Steve Novick and vote for Chloe Eudaly

nport
Guest
nport

So you want Novick to collect gas taxes and not use that money to fix streets? You bikers get subsidized up and down, get unprecedented access from PBOT and still whine all day long.

9watts
Guest
9watts

“You bikers get subsidized up and down, get unprecedented access from PBOT and still whine all day long.”

Funny thing. Every now and again someone finds their way here who spouts this kind of nonsense. I know it is fun to say such things, but let me suggest that before the urge overcomes you the next time to brush up a little on the economics of transport. No better place to start than here: http://www.vtpi.org/whoserd.pdf

Dan A
Subscriber
Dan A

What’s your mode of transportation? Let’s compare subsidies.

nport
Guest
nport

I walk. Next question.

Dan A
Subscriber
Dan A

I’ve noticed there’s no shoe tax to cover the cost of sidewalks.

nport
Guest
nport

So you choose to ignore my point since you have no point to make.

Dan A
Subscriber
Dan A

My point is, most of us already pay federal taxes, which are used to build all kinds of facilities, and the most expensive of them are not even open to cyclists. The facilities that we DO have built for us are very cheap compared to the things built for cars, and oh by the way, are only needed because of the existence of cars.

You’re saying cycling is subsidized, so please demonstrate how. And no, you don’t get to use the ‘gas tax’. Gasoline is subsidized at around $8 a gallon, and then ‘taxed’ at 50 cents.

OrganicBrian
Guest
OrganicBrian

Cyclists subsidize automobile infrastructure, not the other way around. A person who bikes but doesn’t use a car pays more than their share, if they have a job and live in a home.

http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2015/10/driving-true-costs/412237/

This is ultra-detailed:
http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2015/10/driving-true-costs/412237/

B. Carfree
Guest
B. Carfree

I wish he would have pushed the carnival ride and restaurant analogy to its logical next step and asked that cars be removed from streets where they have killed, just like a restaurant would be shut down or a carnival ride would be closed.

The closures can be temporary while we figure out what it takes for cars to be able to use those roads safely and implement those steps, or permanent if some roadways are such that cars will not be able to safely operate on them. It would have been fun to see the reactions of the other participants, if nothing else.

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

He probably wants to get reelected, so I can see why he might have stopped short of what you suggested.

Bret Hooper
Guest
Bret Hooper

I am in Sweden presently. The culture couldn’t be more different. Bikes and Pedestrians have right of way and it is totally honored. No question, no impatience. We get what we deserve because there is no enforcement of any driving rules or traffic decency such as speed limits, crosswalks, not even in the case of elderly, handicapped, kids, or whatever else. Vision zero requires a culture that we do not have and can’t wish into place. It will take a generation at least and must start with education and enforcement of basic expectations. To embark on a solution the City of Portland must mobilize to educate and enforce every expectation that is desired from our automobile drivers. Enforcement everywhere. Ticket every violation. Allow education to suffice as payment, etc. etc. You get the idea. Tears and pleas will not fix this. Only brass knuckle enforcement of expectations will work.

Bikeninja
Guest
Bikeninja

Appealing to drivers best intentions will not work, if it did things would be getting better and not worse. We either need to adopt Madd’s play book and push for Draconian penalties for violating vulnerable road users safety and then up enforcement. Or Band together interested parties and create Social Pressure ( think creatively here) to in incentivize Scofflaws not to misbehaive

Eric Leifsdad
Guest
Eric Leifsdad

On the way home from this, 6 drivers turned across the bike lane on Broadway right in front of me — 4 of them with turns signals, albeit at the last second. None of these drivers were there to hear our leaders ask them to drive safely. The message they got was: plenty of places to turn across the bike lane, probably some free parking. I stopped counting thorny vines at eye-level in the Terwilliger bike lane after 20 or so.

We need to move the discussion away from expensive, long-term plans toward immediate defensive measures with rubber curbs, sand-filled or water-filled barriers/barrels, steel posts, boulders, planters, etc. Put the risk of impaired, distracted, and reckless driving primarily onto the drivers, or at least their cars. Make sure an errant or speeding vehicle hits at least 5 inanimate objects before it could reach a person in the bike lane or on the sidewalk. If we’re serious about getting to zero, 30 deaths should mean closing lanes and scrambling to defend people.

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

Broadway is a super dangerous bike lane. When I ride there, which is daily, I always make sure to “prepare for my turn” as early as I can and get the hell out of there.

Metal posts won’t fix the problem you describe, which cyclists proceeding straight to the right of drivers turning. It’s a fundamentally broken design.

Adam
Subscriber

I take the lane on Broadway. Way safer than that door zone taxi loading embarrassment the city calls a bike lane.

Eric Leifsdad
Guest
Eric Leifsdad

Well, be careful.

Adam
Subscriber

Are we talking the protected bike lane near PSU or the door-zone one further north? I was referring to the latter.

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

I was talking about further north.

Adam
Subscriber

Okay, yeah. I honestly don’t even consider that a viable bike lane because the right stripe is missing, as are the bike stencils in a few spots. It’s usually full of taxis unloading to the hotels anyway. Portland’s most useless bike lane?

David
Guest
David

Or Portland’s best loading zone?!?

rachel b
Guest
rachel b

Hah! I think you just did Norman Vincent Peale proud, David. 🙂

Eric Leifsdad
Guest
Eric Leifsdad

Posts wouldn’t solve it, but they would help (perfect is better than good is better than horrible.) Yes, it is a hazardous thing to have drivers turning across a bike lane. If we’re not going to close the cross street or prohibit turning cars, we could at least place a definitive point about which drivers must turn and give people in the bike lane a clear escape. A bollard, barrel, curb, or something to make the turns more predictable than a bit of paint. The excuse about cyclists hitting them is solved by dressing the bollard in a high-viz vest and foam hat.

The main thing we’re missing is the will and courage to make drivers do the right thing when we’ve already asked them quite nicely to follow the law and be careful.

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

My problem is not that people are turning too soon, but rather they are turning without seeing an approaching cyclist to their right. A post is the wrong solution for this — rerouting the bike lane so that right-turners don’t cross it while they are turning is the correct one; similar to how the right-turn lanes work on Stark (there is a defined cross-over area, but when vehicles are actually turning, there are no conflicts).

One thing at a time, and everyone is where you expect them to be.

Adam
Subscriber

In my experience, the “right-turn lanes work on Stark” by drivers using the bike lane as the turning lane. At any rate, those merge zones only move the conflict further up. Better would be for the Stark lane to hug the curb, with a separate signal phase for cyclists that prevents turning movements for cars.

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

Depends where you are. In some places, the right-most parking has been removed and the space is a dedicated right-turn lane.

I would not want bikes and cars to have separate phases. It would make riding downtown excruciating.

Adam
Subscriber

Just separate turning phases. The green wave can still work for riding straight, and drivers/cyclists would use the same phase (preferably with a 5 second head start for cyclists). How often are you making turns downtown that this would slow you down considerably?

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

If cars are turning right while cyclists are traveling to their right and going straight, there will be conflicts; there’s simply no way around that. To solve that by timing would require letting one group go while holding the other group back. Giving one group a 5 second head start will not address the conflict.

Adam
Subscriber

No, you give cyclists a five second head start for straight movements only. For turning movements, the signals should be set up to prevent cars and bikes from turning at the same time, as well as cars from turning while cyclists are going straight. Either everyone is turning or everyone is going straight. Since the bike lane wpd already be to the right of the car right turn lane, there is no need for anyone to cross lanes.

A simultaneous green for cyclists while drivers are held to a red at all directions (as well as no turns on red) can also work here (and honestly is probably easier).

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

So the light turns green, bikes get a free movement for 5 seconds, then both cars and bikes can go straight, then straight moving cycles stop while cars turn right, then everyone stops to let the cross street traffic move, is that right?

Are you sure all that can fit into a single cycle? Remember there are pedestrians crossing which will add further delay to right-turning vehicles. Lengthening the cycle would slow traffic flow. Stopping every 200ft or so would suck as a cyclist.

Adam
Subscriber

You’re right, it’s far too complicated. Better just ban all cars from downtown.

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

Good. Now that we have a realistic plan, we just need to get people to sign on. Why don’t you pitch it to the PBA, and I’ll chat with the mayor.

Spiffy
Subscriber

but if we just ask them nicely ONE more time I’m SURE they’ll comply!

Kyle Banerjee
Guest

I ride Broadway 5 days a week — I don’t mind that street at all.

The lights are timed in such a way that getting greens all the way up the hill and across the highway past PSU is guaranteed. While doors opening, people coming from the left and turning from the right are regular occurrences, drivers play better here than in most areas of town and the movement is both relaxed and predictable.

Having said that, working with the drivers is necessary to get through this area smoothly. A lot of cyclists don’t do this, and I’ve seen a lot of people get hooked.

JeffS
Guest
JeffS

It’s probably much easier to “win” government money if you’re not criticizing the government.

I fully believe that motorists are mostly to blame, but blaming and shaming is going to accomplish nothing. Some people simply cannot function without a deterrent, and we, as a nation, have little. Portland has even less. There’s not many places in the county where you can kill someone with your car and drive away without so much as a ticket.

SD
Guest
SD

The most clear and direct public service announcement or message for people to drive more safely would be mass implementation of speed limit reduction across the city.

Of course, enforcement and many other elements are important, but to capture the attention of people and the media, a high impact change has to happen. Targeted infrastructure improvements one piece at a time are awesome, but go unnoticed many drivers (which is probably a good thing.)

City hall would have both support and push back on implementing this making it perfect for Hales to stand behind it before he leaves office.

Adam
Subscriber

20 mph city-wide.

Spiffy
Subscriber

with an empty promise of raising them again once drivers proved their safety…

nport
Guest
nport

So you want the city to lie?

Dan A
Subscriber
Dan A

The path to the 2030 bike plan is full of empty promises.

nport
Guest
nport

So more lies will make things better?

Dan A
Subscriber
Dan A

They’ll stop lying when they stop talking 🙂

RH
Guest
RH

I agreed…slow down everyone. Can’t someone crunch some numbers that show driving the speed limit only adds like 30 seconds to the average commute vs speeding and getting numerous red lights, etc…

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

I don’t think people drive too fast based on a rational calculation of how late they are and how many seconds they’ll save. It’s more a habit, done without thought, coupled to a general sense of impatience that is shared by most of us.

kittens
Guest
kittens

There is a lot of bullying on the streets too. Try to go the speed limit outside of rush hours, and in many places you are inviting harassment and intimidation.

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

I’ve heard other people say that, but my experience is much different. I drive about twice a month, and frequently it involves Powell in some way. The speed limit is 35. I typically go closer to 30, and I have never, not once, had a problem with other drivers. In fact I am often surprised to see other people going at the same speed. And I’ve been driving on Powell for decades.

Spiffy
Subscriber

glad you’re not noticing it…

I also drive legally on Powell (it’s 8 blocks from my home) and if there’s any traffic at all people are usually tailgating me and cutting me off…

if the roads are clear and they have all the time and space they need to get around me in the other lane then it’s not an issue… but once anything at all gets in their way to slow down their illegal speeding then the car obeying the speed limit is the one getting all the aggression…

soren
Guest
soren

Try driving 20-25 mph on Powell in the right hand lane during heavy traffic (100% legal) and see what happens.

Oregon Basic Speed Rule: http://www.oregonlaws.org/ors/811.100

Edward
Guest
Edward

And now I’m imagining a mash-up protest: “Try driving 20 …” combined with techniques from Critical Mass. Just keep sending out plugs of two to four cars driving in formation at precisely 20mph.

SD
Guest
SD

It would be great to see a behavioral experiment that takes a shot at measuring the impact of the pressures that drivers feel from each other.

Anecdotally, it is the last car in a line of cars that stops to let me walk across the street. I have often thought that this is because they feel more comfortable stopping when no one is behind them. I think this pressure to keep moving increases significantly at speeds above 20 mph. – Both the fear of inconveniencing the driver behind them and the risk of being rear-ended.

Dan A
Subscriber
Dan A

When I’m biking, I love to stop for people using a crosswalk. It gives me pride to do the right thing, and to maybe make a good impression on a pedestrian. But I really hate doing it when there is a car behind me…

paikiala
Guest
paikiala

to this I would add that many, if not most, have not been in a crash to know how fast things can go sideways.

Chris I
Guest
Chris I

And even if they have, they deflect responsibility onto anything other than themselves. They can’t admit that their speeding or inattentiveness contributed to, or caused the crash.

KristenT
Guest
KristenT

The math is easy– getting people to understand, really understand, the numbers is much harder.

Incremental distance multiplied by 60, divide by speed. For instance, this block is .10 miles long at 25mph will take you .24 minutes (14.40 seconds).

Time feels subjective, everyone has a different perception of how long 10 seconds actually is. Or isn’t.

Spiffy
Subscriber

speaking of the road diet coming to SE Foster… I just saw the freight route map today due to an earlier article (thanks Hello, Kitty) and Foster is a freight route and over-sized freight route, yet they were able to get a road diet there…

if we can get a road diet on a freight route that many people commute on then we can get one on any street in the city…

Edward
Guest
Edward

I thought Vision Zero was supposed to be about re-engineering unsafe streets to make them actually safe. You can’t enforce people into behaving “correctly” in an environment which makes them unsafe in the first place.

Some people think the focus on enforcement has … other problems too.

http://www.citylab.com/commute/2016/09/black-lives-matter-and-vision-zero/497495/

Dave
Guest
Dave

Black road users are just as vulnerable. This is triage–stop the bleeding first.

paikiala
Guest
paikiala

While a successful VZ program includes multiple points of attack, leaving out enforcement won’t help. I drive through a small town on the way home and I know to slow down because they enforce well. Portland has, in the 20+ years I’ve observed, never adequately staffed the traffic division to sufficiently encourage good behavior.
New PSA: “Drive like you could kill someone, because…” (victim photos below the text)

Brian
Guest
Brian

Agreed. When you drive through Bingen, WA you KNOW to drive the speed limit or less. I have never seen anyone speed through there because everyone knows damn well it’s ticket time if they do. I would add that social pressure to not drive like a jackass helps, too. Try driving through downtown Hood River and not stopping for people crossing the street.

9watts
Guest
9watts

How about: “DON’T drive like you could kill someone, because…”

Dan A
Subscriber
Dan A

You don’t normally just obey the speed limit?

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

Not when I’m on my bike. I can’t ride 55.

BB
Guest
BB

If you’re going under 55 you’re obeying the speed Limit aka the Maximum speed you’re legally allowed to operate a vehicle under ideal conditions.

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

I think you misunderstood. I said: I can’t ride 55.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RvV3nn_de2k

Dan A
Subscriber
Dan A

Do you think every question is meant for you?

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

Yes!

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

Sorry… that was meant for me, right?

Dan A
Subscriber
Dan A

*sigh*

Yes.

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

As I posted elsewhere recently, if there is a problem with the police, the solution is not less law enforcement, it’s to fix the police.

soren
Guest
soren

Perhaps our law enforcement system is broken beyond repair and starting over is a better option than more token “reform”.

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

Great idea. What’s your proposal for starting over, and who will run things during the transition?

soren
Subscriber

new leadership is relatively straightforward. new training will take some time but i suspect that virtually all of our current law enforcement officers could be sacked or retired in a few years:

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/09/01/nyregion/camden-turns-around-with-new-police-force.html?_r=0

Bankerman
Guest
Bankerman

Reading the article you linked, I note it did not explain how Camden was able to get rid of its entire police force; try that in Portland and you’ll likely spend the foreseeable future in court trying to negate the union contract. Also, Camden is a much smaller city (less than 80,000). Also, Portland cannot even hire new officers to fill the current vacancies, primarily because other local municipalities pay better than PPB.

Kristi Finney Dunn
Guest

After now five years of educating myself in a trial and error type of way on road safety, I have within just the past year come to the conclusion that people -road users, every mode- are not going to change on their own without being forced. And apparently the powers that be -more people- also need to be forced to force change on the others. I’m not sure how to do this quickly yet, but I’m still searching for answers. I learn a lot from people here, other advocacy groups, reading, and our government as well.

But what is difficult for me to get away from is that my son was killed by a MAN, a man who consciously chose to impair himself, to borrow a car, to drive that car, to flee in that car after hitting two people and leaving them in the road like possums, and to lie to the police when they caught him that he was car-jacked and was a victim himself. The PEOPLE who loved him loaned him a car and at the crash scene also said he was car-jacked and didn’t do it, with my dead son just 300 feet away covered by a blanket and his blood, his hair, and his belongings all over the road.

A MAN did this, his FAMILY tried to help him get away with it. A man who had already gone through treatment, who was underage to drink at all, who tried to escape all responsibility for his actions, killed my son. Yes, the streets need to be designed differently, the laws need to be more strict, but PEOPLE need to be called out for their selfish, complacent behavior. There is no way in hell that I am going to forget or excuse that one so-called HUMAN BEING did what he did to another human being, Dustin. I am not going to stop talking about PEOPLE’s responsibility and their irresponsibility. Do I think it often falls on deaf ears? Yes, because it’s true, most people think I’m talking about someone else, not them.

On an emotional level, as a mom who lost her son, it hurts most to me that a MAN made the choices he did and it cost Dustin his life. So, I have to stand behind every single person who addressed the culpability of PEOPLE. Just as we are quick to say a car didn’t kill someone, the infrastructure did not force this MAN to drink and drive and speed and care so little about other people that he didn’t even stop to get help.

kittens
Guest
kittens

Well, I hope everyone involved feels like they did something positive, because certainly that is the only benefit to a media event like this. With the disaggregation of media and more platforms than ever, the impact will be negligible.

I think we need 70% enforcement, 30% better facilities. Spoken as a designer, I do not think design is the main culprit here. It is the entitled, lawless manner many people drive.

RH
Guest
RH

I agree! It seems if Portland hired 10 new officers just for traffic enforcement, the fines generated would be far greater than the salary for the police officers.

I never understood why the Portland Police advertise when they will do crosswalk enforcement, etc….

Eric Leifsdad
Guest
Eric Leifsdad

It would seem that we need the Multnomah County Sheriff to write the tickets. Supposedly because state law says Portland cannot have a municipal court, tickets don’t pay their own way here like they do in Beaverton.

Laura
Guest
Laura

I am not convinced that facilities are the main culprit either. We need better enforcement. We also need better licensing procedures. I had brutal fights with my parents over driving. They were driving manual cars, despite some physical and vision impairments. They were in their 80’s, without any re-testing except for vision, on licences issued when they were in their 30’s. Laws change, cars change, communities change. I think we need to have harder written and behind-the-wheel tests and that BOTH need to be done every renewal. That way, someone from an oddball state can’t say “oh…crosswalks are only at the intersections with stripes.” (fail!!!)

Susan Y Kubota
Guest
Susan Y Kubota

Jonathan I want to clarify that my point was not for just drivers to see better. We all need to take responsibility for our action whether we are grieving a car, cycling or walking.
I am not trying to add fuel to the motorist versus cyclist fire. We all need to change behavior and philosophy. We cannot achieve these changes without education, infrastructure reminders and strict enforcement.
I am disappointed to see that some e-readers just felt like this was just purely a lip service feeble gesture to improve safety in our streets.
And I hope they are doing more than just refereeing from the sidelines commenting on your blog and are doing their part in achieving a solution.
My understanding and agreement to speak at this rally was not just to plea for drivers behaviors to change. It was to promote Vision Zero.
For your readers who are unaware of the vision zero movement, it is a multinational road traffic safety project that aims to achieve a highway system with no fatalities or serious injuries. Vision zero was started in Sweden, where they realized a road safety thinking needed a complete change in perspective. They have summarized in one sentence, “ no loss of life is acceptable” This approach has been highly successful in Sweden so it is being adopted worldwide. One of the actions we members of families for safe streets in Southwest Oregon and Washington are trying to achieve is for Oregon to be the first state to commit to this new vision, in addition to the individual cities like New York and Portland.
We believe the adoption of this revolutionary philosophy will promote legislation which ultimately will lead to funding.
Very little can happen without funding. It takes funding for the physical changes needed on our roads and in our communities to change our behaviors. It takes funding to inform and educate everyone. It takes funding to allow enforcement to occur.
To get the legislative change to fix the laws and fund the process we need everyone to get involved with the movement.
A good first step is to actually make the effort to go out and vote for the people who will fight for change.

soren
Guest
soren

I love the work that OR and SW Washington Families for Safer Streets is doing but I find the lack of dedicated funding from the city at this stage of the process to be outrageous. In a similar vein, Commissioner Novick and Mayor Hales slashed funding for safety in the transportation package that was funded via the gas tax at the behest of the Portland Business Association. I agree we need new political leadership and I am optimistic at the potential of a city council with Wheeler and Eudaly.

Mike G
Guest
Mike Gilliland

I really agree Laura, I am strongly for stronger education, training, testing and stricter vehicular user licensing standards. Education on how to use this infrastructure that we are trying to change is the foundation of addressing these sad tragedies.

Yes, infrastructure needs vast improvements, and ‘accidents and recklessness create wrecks’. It is because of these conditions, general users too need to be more highly educated to understand the dynamics of sharing the roadways. Not understanding the dynamics of road surface adhesion; the distance of braking; sight lines; eye contact; interpretations of velocity, and lack of communication (i.e. eye contact) lends to a lot of inexperienced road use, and at times tragedies.

There are free videos and writings on bicycle safety and user conditions available online and in the libraries. These help in educating all users how to empower yourself by creating empathy for user conditions.

Now, defensiveness has to be the rule for pedestrians, cyclists, motorcyclists and vehicles, with a tacit assumption in all cases ‘that the other guy or gal’ probably isn’t aware of what could happen.

But you have to be.

rick
Guest
rick

When driving, people often drive at the speeds with which they feel comfortable. Just check SW Allen Blvd and 5th Street in Beaverton.

Andy
Guest
Andy

Steve Novick says, “we’re trying,” then pivots to talk about personal responsibility. Classic political deflection. He’s the Transportation Commissioner and doesn’t want to be accountable.

Most of us don’t have the opportunity to excuse nonperformance by saying we’re trying. We need a new Transportation Commissioner with fresh ideas.

Adam
Subscriber

“We’re totally working on Vision Zero, look we installed one speed camera!”

joel
Guest
joel

how come in downtown seattle and in vancouver canada drivers stop for pedestrians at intersections more than portland

David Hampsten
Guest
David Hampsten

Culture. In Seattle and Vancouver, pedestrians normally wait for the light before crossing. In Portland, they regularly cross against the light, and take pride in it.

Alex Reedin
Guest
Alex Reedin

Huh, I have a different perspective. When I moved to Portland from the East Coast via Southern California, I was struck by how many people waited for the lights when walking compared to the other places I’d lived. It may be less than in Seattle and Vancouver, I don’t know, but by most big-city American standards Portlanders are pretty darn law-abiding on foot.

MaxD
Guest
MaxD

I would add that in Seattle, in the late 0’s, the police very actively enforced no jay-walking with tickets, warnings and being yelled at from a police car loudspeaker. I lived in Vancouver, BC and I credit some the driver politemness there to enforcement as well. he cops routinely patrolled in unmarked cars of varying makes/models (old minivans, for example) and were very quick to pull over anyone speeding or driving aggressively. They also set up checkpoints and check everyone for DUII. Another successful tactic was to reserve 4 or parking spots on the streets. An officer with a radar gun would stand on the side of the road and just motion people who were speeding, running red lights, or driving aggressively to pull over. Once all the spots were filled, the officer would write a batch of tickets and start over. Driving culture is definitely shaped by enforcement.

nport
Guest
nport

So pedestrians and drivers are always wring but the holy bikers are perfect? Boy, this blog is one echo chamber.

Catie
Guest
Catie

If anyone is seriously talking about changing driver behavior and culture as one of the legs of Vision Zero, there better be a thought out public outreach plan. Maybe some well designed billboards reminding drivers about stopping at crosswalks would be a start. But certainly more than one press conference…. Personally I don’t think culture will change until the roads do.

Edward
Guest
Edward

You know what would change driver behavior? Stop letting DMV help people hide behind their license plate. I don’t want to have to file suit on every bad driver (and what a waste of time), but there’s a lot of times I’d like to send a post-card: “Hey, you almost killed me today.” Or send a photo/video to their insurance company.

But that’s just one part of the legal eco-system that encourages people to be rude in their cars. Defeats the purposes of license plates entirely.

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

That would be awesome — when you saw some hot dude (or chick) you could find out who they were! That could make things spicy!

rachel b
Guest
rachel b

I’ve daydreamed of dozens of people lining SE 26th holding signs that say, e.g., “You are not going 25mph.” Or, “Speedometer broken? 25mph.” Or, “No, after YOU!” Or “Don’t mind the school kids.” Or “25mph. 25mph. 25mph.” Or “Honk if you’re in a hurry! It works!” I take my sweet time when I cross the street. And I glare.

SD
Guest
SD

It only takes two cars side by side going 20 mph to make 26th a safer street.

Maybe slow cars are the new critical mass.

rachel b
Guest
rachel b

All for that, SD! Though as I read through this thread, it’s clear the real answer is “enforcement, enforcement, enforcement.” It’s what we don’t have and desperately need. The lack of it has led us down the slippery slope we’re currently on. Accountability has gone the way of the dodo. Complacent, self-entitled, careless people need to be held accountable for their actions. No one is going to self-police for the community’s sake in this day and age of the Almighty Individual.

CaptainKarma
Guest

I used to see cops down south (gulf states) drive the speed limit side-by-side down the freeway often. It was hilarious, but poingant, to see the massive backup from the normally 15-20 over the limit crowd. Of course, they all had to make up time as soon as the patrol cars exited.

Dan
Guest
Dan

Brilliant!

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

So is one car going the wrong way, or are they driving in the bike lane?

rachel b
Guest
rachel b

They’re drag racing. Verrrrry slowly.

SD
Guest
SD

Ooops. Thanks for noticing. I said 26th but was thinking Hwy 26 /Powell.

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

I’m sure you wouldn’t get a ticket or anything.

SD
Guest
SD

It would be worth the irony of getting a ticket for going slow while cars are speeding and not getting tickets. 5-10 mph below the limit would probably be effective without the risk of a ticket.

Bikeninja
Guest
Bikeninja

We could replace part of the police department with a fleet of self driving cars that would systematically cruise the streets at 20mph causing all traffic to drop to that speed, the important add-on would be missiles to “reeducate” scofflaws who attempt to pass so they can continue dangerous speeding behavior

SD
Guest
SD

Beginning now we could also just pay people 15$ an hour to have Car2go parades on several dangerous roads at certain times of the day. Inexpensive and educational.

David Hampsten
Guest
David Hampsten

… and encourage fast drivers to cut through residential neighborhoods, since with their GPS unit that most cars have now, they know which streets are fastest. Gosh knows we don’t want fast traffic on main streets, do we?

rachel b
Guest
rachel b

We need a Waze disabler. A Whaze Whacker.

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

I could go for good waze whack about now.

Adam
Subscriber

I ride my bike around and mark random “road closed” hazards on the Greenways in Waze. Seems to work well. 🙂

SD
Guest
SD

Every traffic calming effort attracts this criticism: The list of roads that PBOT is currently asking for lowered speed limits, road diets, increased enforcement, speed cameras, etc.

However, the greatest impact on traffic times and cut through traffic is the increase in the number of cars on Portland roads. This number is projected to continue to increase and will continue to undermine the convenience of driving. The days of quickly zipping around Portland in a car are coming to an end. All of the policies that support increased density in Portland are accelerating this process. Access for alternate more efficient modes of travel like walking and biking needs to be built now, not when the city has reached daily extended gridlock. It is naive to think that leaving the fast roads fast will preserve low traffic “neighborhood” roads.

The fast roads where pedestrians have been seriously injured or killed like 82nd or Columbia are streets that the people who live next to them have to cross. The argument that these streets need to remain high speed arterials despite the increase pedestrian traffic so that “residential” streets can be preserved is the same as saying that Portlanders have to be able to afford safety. “If you can’t afford to buy a house surrounded by safe streets, then you don’t deserve safe streets.” It is in the best interest of the city distribute safety in an equitable manner.

Slowing traffic to the speed limit or just below it and preventing cars from racing from one red light to the next while weaving around each other is not too much to ask. Preventing increased traffic in “residential” areas is also important, but will not be accomplished by keeping fast roads fast.

Eric Leifsdad
Guest
Eric Leifsdad

Freeways can stay (mostly) fast, though they flow better if everybody drives the advisory speed and cooperates to zipper merge instead of screeching to a stop and causing a wreck. Sometimes that might be 15-25mph, but it will still be faster than driving through a neighborhood while following the law (which most cut-through drivers don’t, which is why we need to close those roads to through traffic and/or make it next-to impossible to speed through without scratching your paint on a traffic control device.

Ted Timmons (Contributor)
Editor

Cars don’t belong on shared-use roads. They should only be allowed on special car roads. We’ll designate them with numbers and they’ll generally be made out of concrete.

There is a license requirement but we should also have a safety hat requirement.

Also, I see cars on sidewalks.</fritzing>

MaxD
Guest
MaxD

The slow car movement could start immediately if all publicly owned cars were required to drive 2 mph max on all City streets with an exception for emergency vehicles using their flashers). Next, commercial vehicle could likely be compelled to drive at or below the speed limit through outreach/enforcement. All the SOV’s will be the last/hardest to slow, IMO

Kyle Banerjee
Guest

That got implemented years ago. Every rush hour is living proof of that.

nport
Guest
nport

So you intentionally cross slowly to piss off drivers. No wonder the culture on our streets is so poisonous.

Dan A
Subscriber
Dan A

That’s the reason?

nport
Guest
nport

Partly, yes.

Ted Timmons (Contributor)
Editor

nport, do you live in Portland? We should meet for coffee. I’m curious about where this anger comes from.

nport
Guest
nport

Not angry, just looking for some reasonable balance. All I see on this blog is bashing of people who drive without acknowledging the fact that all of us are in it together. And yes, often, bikers are so certain about their righteousness, that they break laws too (albeit while not causing as much carnage as car-drivers). My wife bikes to work, so I am a strong supporter of the biking community. The tone on this blog is so negative and so exclusive, this feels like a Trump rally, honestly. I have tried to present a different perspective and all I have seen is dismissiveness.

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

I have also offered mockery!

You are not the only person to have made that observation. I like to think there are still a few realistic people around here.

9watts
Guest
9watts

“The tone on this blog is so negative and so exclusive, this feels like a Trump rally, honestly.”

I don’t think you’ve been to a Trump rally, or hung out here very long. We disagree with each other, vociferously, every day here. Things are alive and well in Bikeport – Land, Johnny Grump Latelies notwithstanding.

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

People love me so much, I could literally walk out into the middle of Hawthorne, and shoot someone, and I would still get a +3 for this comment.

rachel b
Guest
rachel b

…and there it is! 3! SO adorbs! 🙂

And I agree w/ 9watts about all the disagreeing, though—truthfully—I generally agree with 9watts.

nport
Guest
nport

Tes: Sorry I forgot to answer your main question. I do live in SW Portland, pay MultCo taxes, have no sidewalks and my wife has to be extra careful given the lack of bike lanes here.

rachel b
Guest
rachel b

Dear nport–not going to deny that I’m fed up, but I cross slowly because I want to remind speeding drivers that this is a neighborhood first, with a ton of foot and bike traffic–and with a school, right there. It is not their personal freeway.

The limit on my street is 25mph. I could live quite happily with the traffic if drivers would obey the speed limit, which they rarely do. In fact, it wasn’t that long ago that drivers were much more law abiding and courteous toward pedestrians and cyclists here, and it was a far more pleasant existence for all concerned. I frequently hear honking at peds and cyclists (and other motorists) on my street now, too–a relatively new phenomenon.

I’m no fan of scofflaw cyclists or pedestrians, either–I understand your frustration with them. But the havoc they wreak is negligible compared to the increasing danger (and injury and death) presented by careless, fast and impatient drivers in Portland, now.

KristenT
Guest
KristenT

I cross at my normal walking pace. I’m sure it looks like I’m slowly walking on purpose to piss you off.

I will not run across the street to scurry out of the way of people driving who are required to stop for the crosswalk. I have the right to cross the street, and I’m not required to do it at a run for your convenience.

You know what makes the culture so poisonous? Impatient people. That’s drivers, bike riders, pedestrians, skateboarders, segway riders, etc.

Maddy
Guest
Maddy

We desperately need an East-West bicycle freeway extending from Gresham, though Portland, and ending in Hillboro. The major employment centers are not in Portland, and most of my friends at some point have ended up making an unanticipated job switch to the suburbs. The Max and bus take forever, and there is no good bike route.

I think addressing the daily traffic to and from the suburbs is throttling the streets in Portland proper with good (fast) bicycle infrastructure would really help ease traffic in the city.

Eric Leifsdad
Guest
Eric Leifsdad

Why don’t we build solar-powered covered bikeways alongside the highways with a nice fresh 60oF tailwind?

rick
Guest
rick

Sullivan’s Gulch trail. The railroad beside deadly TV Highway needs a trail alongside it.

Mike Sanders
Guest
Mike Sanders

That freight rail line is hardly even used. Replacing it with a trail, in an area where sidewalks are rare on TV Highway, is a must.

Dan A
Subscriber
Dan A

Where, specifically, are you trying to travel? Maybe we can help. I agree with you that a couple of ‘bike highways’ to help people quickly traverse longer distances would make a big impact. The hwy 26 bike path is pretty far out of my way, but it’s a no brainer to use it for the safety and ease it provides in covering a fair bit of ground.

GlowBoy
Guest
GlowBoy

There is no good route between the Portland and the westside. I know, I did it for over 10 years and explored nearly every possible combination of streets to do it.

It is possible to put together a relatively safe route over the West Hills. But it will necessarily involve a lot of steep climbs and a lot of sweat. For those who aren’t in Olympian shape (and those who are do NOT get to shame everyone else for being slower!) that adds many minutes to the trip.

It is also possible to get over the West Hills fairly expediently, without too many detours onto quiet side streets or up steep hills. Several possibilities: Beaverton-Hillsdale. Or Multnomah, combined with Oleson and possibly Hall. Even the 26 bike path combined with the shoulder of 26 to the Canyon Road exit, if you’re eastbound.

Oh wait, anyone else see what’s wrong with my list of expedient routes?

That’s right: they are ALL FREAKING DANGEROUS! Not for their entire lengths, but they all have major safety problems in spots. I have ridden them all, many many times. Even after becoming aware of their dangers, I often rode them anyway. You know, being in a hurry to get back home with my family, and maybe cut my trip down to AN HOUR.

if Portland wants its vaunted bike-friendliness to be something other than a sick joke, one of many things it needs to do is develop a good (meaning both safe AND direct) bike route between Portland and Beaverton – not to mention beyond, to Gresham and Hillsboro at each end.

Adam
Subscriber

I have ridden over the west hills a few times. 26 path is actually really nice, safe for a few push-your-bike hills. However, riding through Washington Park is awful. My preferred route through the hills is the MAX tunnel.

Dan A
Subscriber
Dan A

Wha?

Riding through Washington Park is a treat!

Unless you are on a 40lb upright bike.

Eric Leifsdad
Guest
Eric Leifsdad

PBOT is supposed to be adding some rubber curbs on BH Hwy for a few blocks around 35th. That will improve a small fraction of the problem, obviously we should have fixed it or shut the whole thing to through auto traffic years ago. But apparently “we don’t want to”?

Kyle Banerjee
Guest

Totally agreed. These areas are rideable on a daily basis only for a small percentage of riders.

Much of the area is not easy riding. But for reasons I still don’t understand, we tend to focus on streets that are already bike friendly.

Alex Reedin
Guest
Alex Reedin

Well. For one thing, many volunteers care more about the areas where they ride than about other areas, and all volunteers can speak more fluently and without being accused of carpetbagging about areas where they ride, and BikeLoudPDX is all volunteer (though it was not the only organization working on Clinton for sure). For another thing, you can get the same number of additional riders at a heck of a lot lower cost (both monetary and political) by improving riding conditions sufficiently in inner/mid Portland enough to get ridership from 10% to 20% mode share than you can in, say, all of suburban/exurban Clackamas County (which houses a similar number of people as inner/mid Portland) from 1% to 11% mode share.

Kyle Banerjee
Guest

I get that.

But what I don’t get is why some of these streets that represent the best option for a considerable distance are so consistently represented as dangerous.

You still have to get to and from these corridors from wherever your start and end points are, and people will only go so far out of their way (especially if those paths are dodgy). The threats cyclists face when they’re not in these areas facing all the attention are both more numerous and serious.

I understand that the bang for the buck proposition is high if you already have lots of cyclists on a road. But in my mind, that’s part of the problem — accessibility is only improved for those who already have the most accessibility.

Dan A
Subscriber
Dan A

So….a tunnel?

David Hampsten
Guest
David Hampsten

The Burnside protected bike way. Dream big.

Maddy
Guest
Maddy

I get your point, but I had a nearly 20 mile round trip commute from St. John’s for years that was far faster than driving. The distance was not an issue.

A high percentage of the better paying jobs are in the suburbs, and there is no real way to get there by bike. A small portion of the traffic heading from East to West is actually headed to downtown, but it clogs up the city, and contributes to the unsafe roads.

Dan A
Subscriber
Dan A

You want to bike commute from Gresham to Hillsboro?

Kyle Banerjee
Guest

I met a guy who does just that about a week ago. Why wouldn’t you do it since it’s faster and more fun than a car or public transit?

I commuted by bike from Monmouth to Corvallis and Salem (40+ miles RT) for 10 years. Even though that was along unimpeded highway where cars go 60+, driving doesn’t save that much time by the time you factor in parking logistics.

Dan A
Subscriber
Dan A

Oh, I’m not questioning it, just trying to understand the complaint.

Chris I
Guest
Chris I

I don’t think people realize how many high-paying jobs are downtown, especially with the tech boom.

GlowBoy
Guest
GlowBoy

True Chris I, and good advice for those looking for jobs. But not everyone can change jobs like underwear, and many people are stuck with longer commutes.

Forum Law Group LLC - Bicycle Law
Guest

Big thanks to Kristi and Susan K and all the FSS folks for their leadership.

pruss2ny
Guest
pruss2ny

insurance company sponsored apps on your cell phone for drivers…uses gps to monitor position and speed…generates discount on premium for x-miles driven at or below speed limit, generates penalties for x-miles over speed limit.

no..not everyone has a smart phone.
but really why isn’t this being done already in some form?
I can’t imagine why insurance companies wouldn’t want to compel people to do this.

Kyle Banerjee
Guest

This has been around for awhile. My company does this.

pruss2ny
Guest
pruss2ny

figured as much, but why not standardized? meaning instead of relying on police to enforce a nearly traffic laws, rely on our pocketbooks to encourage us to observe traffic laws

soren
Subscriber

very few insurance companies do this and even when they do the discounts are laughable — a farce. essentially people like me enormously subsidize people who drive the most.

Ted Buehler
Guest
Ted Buehler

Folks,
If, perchance, you were unable to make the 10:30 am weekday rally, you might consider sending a note to the civil servants, elected officials and community organizers who spoke, and tell them you regret that you were unable to attend, and appreciate their attendance, and want them to do their damnedest to make Portland’s streets safer for you and your peers.
Just sayin,
Ted Buehler

eddie
Guest
eddie

Since tens of thousands of people are going to move to Portland over the next decade, and most of them are going to bring their cars, and most of them are going to use those cars for nearly all their transportation needs, I simply can’t see how the death and injury toll is not going to exponentially rise. Is there any way in the world it can’t? Is there a precedent for any city anywhere in the US for actually reducing automobile caused death and injury during such a population surge?

Personally, i cheer when I see traffic jams and I secretly rejoice when my car driving friends complain about being stuck in traffic all the time. Serves em right for driving.

nport
Guest
nport

Yeah, good on you for cheering the misery of your friends.

Dan A
Subscriber
Dan A

Misery? Seems like those folks would rather sit in a traffic jam than get to work any other way. Must not be miserable.

nport
Guest
nport

You do realize people don’t choose to sit in traffic any more than bikers choose to be cut off by drivers…

9watts
Guest
nport
Guest
nport

I can show you stats where folks often live too far away from work to use anything but a car. Also, how is a family of 4 supposed to go out to dinner? On your bike?

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

If a family of 4 even touches my bike, I’m going to have some cross words for them. Keep off!

nport
Guest
nport

No one wants to touch your bike. You are either obtuse or deliberately pretending to miss my point.

9watts
Guest
9watts

nport –
There is your point: bikes-as-transport? Eek!

…and then there is what you wrote. Can hardly fault Hello, Kitty for responding to what you wrote.

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

Oh, I got your point alright… You want to steal my bike!

rachel b
Guest
rachel b

nport–HK was just making a funny. 🙂

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

Stealing my bike just so he can take his family out to dinner is no joke.

rachel b
Guest
rachel b

Har. 🙂

Eric Leifsdad
Guest
Eric Leifsdad

Our family of 4 can ride on my electric cargo bike, but taking a toddler out to dinner is generally a bad idea and the rest of the people in the restaurant don’t enjoy it either. Nonetheless, you’re imagining a situation which accounts for a small fraction of our peak-hour auto traffic. A family of 4 can’t go to dinner at 4:30 in a car anyway.

nport
Guest
nport

So you will now decide how people should travel and whether or not they should take their toddler out for dinner? The rest of the world does not exist to abide by the value system of the Bike Portland cult.

9watts
Guest
9watts

You blunder in here and proceed to insult everyone. Is this how you conduct yourself everywhere you go?

rachel b
Guest
rachel b

Eric–I officially adore you for the toddler/dinner out observation. 🙂

9watts
Guest
9watts

“how is a family of 4 supposed to go out to dinner? On your bike?”

O. M. G.
That is the most difficult thing you can imagine accomplishing by bike?

You must not live in Portland. A family of four is actually no longer a representative household size in the US, but if that is your difficulty threshold, why stop at four – Emily Finch manages to take her five kids (maybe six?) on her bike (by now I suspect many of them ride their own bikes, but who’s counting?)

Besides, how is any of this going to dinner by bike gotcha responding to my previous post about how it is the folks in cars that are generating the traffic they are complaining about being stuck in?

nport
Guest
nport

Traveling by bike may not be possible for everyone for a whole host of reasons. Not everyone can live like you. I am not mocking your ability to use bikes as transport but you, as a member of this echo chamber, fail to see how anyone can live life differently than you.

nport
Guest
nport

I did not blunder in here. I offered solid arguments that you Trumpesque bigots have no answer to. So you choose to insult me. No wonder the biking mafia in this town fails to change any minds even among those who should agree with what you are trying to accomplish (less traffic, pollution).

OrganicBrian
Guest
OrganicBrian

She took 6 kids around on a cargo bike, for years. They’re mostly propelling themselves these days.

Dan A
Subscriber
Dan A

How does your family go out to dinner? Do you walk there?

nport
Guest
nport

None of your business, but unlike many bikers, we follow the law when we travel.

Dan A
Subscriber
Dan A

It’s only my business if you want to back up the “You bikers get subsidized up and down” comment. But otherwise I don’t really care.

Adam
Subscriber

Ever tried walking to dinner?

soren
Subscriber

There are some people who are not fit or well enough to use transit, walk, skate, or bike but the vast, vast majority of people *CHOOSE* to sit and fume in traffic, literally and figuratively. And as far as I am concerned the worse those jams get, the better for all of us. Society’s transportation and consumption choices are threatening our future.

Al Dimond
Guest

Rooting for congestion is like rooting for high gas prices — either one can be the result of low supply (of road space or gas) or high demand. From the environmental perspective, the low-supply case is good and the high-demand case bad; the price, or congestion level, is meaningless by itself (in recent years we’ve tended to see low coal prices due to diminishing demand and low oil prices due to increasing supply, for example). But we’re best off with low supply and low demand.

Dan A
Subscriber
Dan A

I root for high gas prices as a result of realistic gas taxes.

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

In this political environment, realistic gas taxes will not result in high gas prices.

Eric Leifsdad
Guest
Eric Leifsdad

HK, you’re thinking about “politically realistic”, which (at least in ‘murka) is completely different from “economically realistic”, “scientifically realistic”, or “realistically realistic.”

Hello, Kitty
Guest
Hello, Kitty

At least for the time being, we’re on an “economically realistic” course. When that changes, expect “politically realistic” to change as well.

“Scientifically realistic” can mean anything; if it is a reference to global warming, then yes, we’re on a bad course. But I expect restrictions on auto use to be something we’ll only see after we’ve tackled the bigger and more politically palatable emitters, such as power plants and other industrial users.

I’m no denier; but unless you see a viable route to changing the status quo, I don’t know you can say alternatives are at all realistic.

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

In other words, if it can’t go on for ever, it won’t.

Dan A
Subscriber
Dan A

Really, I think we can drop the gas tax altogether. Just start charging the actual cost of gas, minus all of the government subsidy (or include that in the cost of the gas, whatever).

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

What “subsidies” would you want to stop, and how does that fit into your view of what’s “realistic”?

There are some tax breaks given to mineral exploration and exploitation companies that benefit oil companies that I would end, but I think those would have a negligible impact on the price of gasoline. Also, those aren’t “subsidizing oil” so much as they are a historic remnant from an earlier era; enough money that benefactors will fight hard to keep them, but not enough that everyone else is willing to fight to get rid of them.

Dan A
Subscriber
Dan A

There’s a fun video in here, for those of you not using dial-up.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/06/22/true-cost-of-gas-video_n_882323.html

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

That video is all about the externalities of gasoline (of which there are many). I am all about internalizing the externalities, but those aren’t subsidies, and they are not a problem limited to oil consumption.

9watts
Guest
9watts

You say that an externality is not a subsidy, but what is an externality that has been recognized but not internalized for generations? I think it is fair to say that there are winners and losers in that situation, and I’d be inclined to say that the winners (those who buy gas) are receiving something much like a subsidy from those who have seen fit not to internalize those costs.

What do you think?

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

I do differentiate between an externality and a subsidy because they are very different things. I agree that externalities create winners and losers — the winners are those who don’t pay for part of their costs, and the losers are those who do pay but don’t receive the benefit. I do not like externalities; they distort prices and impact behavior. (This is one reason I oppose developers externalizing the costs of their tenant’s car use onto the surrounding neighborhoods — it shifts some of the costs of car ownership from the owner onto others.)

The winners do not get a subsidy because that’s not what a subsidy is, so I oppose your point on semantics alone.

That said, I do not think gasoline producers/consumers should be able to externalize their costs, which is one reason I strongly support a carbon tax, as a way of capturing some of those externalized costs. However, I also recognize that I am in a minority on this position, and do not anticipate a meaningful carbon tax in the foreseeable future.

Bankerman
Guest
Bankerman

Most people I talk with say that traffic can be bad (in other words, they are probably not sitting in a traffic jam every day), but public transportation would add even more time to their commute. My wife used to drive to Milwaukee from our home in North Portland; typically 30 to 40 minutes. She checked Tri-Met’s website and found the same commute would take over 90 minutes including several transfers.

Ktaylor
Guest
Ktaylor

90 minutes to commute clear from N. Portland to Milwaukie is not bad. Then again, I haven’t had a car since 1990 (a savings over that time of about $283,000, factoring in bike maintenance, bus tickets and cab fare), so my idea of a reasonable commute reflects that. I know everyone is tight on time, and understand the frustration with delay, but if someone offered me $10k a year for an hour of my time 5 days a week, I can’t imagine not taking it. That’s $38 an hour.

9watts
Guest
9watts

Preach it!

That is we we come here, for some refreshingly clear thinking.
Thank you!

nport
Guest
nport

You come here not for clear thinking but for validation by the like-minded vocal minority that confuses itself for a representative majority.

KTaylor
Guest
KTaylor

I don’t think anyone here confuses people who don’t own cars with the majority. Otherwise, there would be no point in saying these things.

9watts
Guest
9watts

And you – it isn’t quite clear what you’ve come here for. To set us straight perhaps; show us what dopes(/dupes?) we all are?

dwk
Guest
dwk

Did you mistake this forum for Car & Driver?

KTaylor
Guest
KTaylor

Thanks, 9watts! 🙂

KTaylor
Guest
KTaylor

Illich a good read – – thanks 9W!

pruss2ny
Guest
pruss2ny

*i’m guessing the 30-40mins # was one way?….if so, you are talking about closer to 2hours/day 5days a week…making the 10k/yr not $38/hr but $19.
*10k/yr? u can lease a 70k/car for 10k a year…back that down to factor in gas and parking, i’m guessing most people operate a car for substantially less than 10k/yr…altho you can use whatever assumption you want to hit whatever # you want
* as someone who probably has the worst commute of anyone, and for whom time is precious to be around family, if i assume 7hrs/sleep and 8hrs/work per day, that leaves 9hours to be around family…blowing >20% of that on extra commute time is not worth $38/hr…not worth $100.

KTaylor
Guest
KTaylor

My numbers come from this article in ‘The Atlantic’:

http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2016/04/absurd-primacy-of-the-car-in-american-life/476346/

I used the ones for ‘normal car’ as opposed to SUV, which is higher. They don’t have a notation, but I believe the numbers are from a USPIRG study that came out a few years ago. Since then, AAA has put the cost (with lower gas prices) at between $9000 and $11,000 a year on average. For someone making $45,000 a year and living in one of the most expensive cities in the US, that’s a big deal.

Add to that the vast subsidy motorists are getting in the form of maintenance and new construction of car-dominant or car-only infrastructure not covered by motorist licensing and fees (motorist licensing and fees paid for 48% of the transportation budget in 2012, and that number keeps going down as costs rise and licensing/fees don’t) and on-street parking that is either free or way below market rate. Factor in environmental degradation, health problems caused by emissions and people directly killed by cars and a whole society of people getting around by car becomes very expensive indeed.

It’s all a matter of what you are used to. If cars were off the table (and they really should be), 90 minutes would not seem like a big deal to travel from way north of town to way south and back every day. Also, unlike driving, time spent on transit or biking is not lost, dead time. When I’m on the bus or train, I use the time (as rachel b astutely pointed out) to take care of stuff I’d otherwise have to do at home or the office. When I ride my bike to work and back, I don’t have to find an extra hour every day to exercise. Long and short, if you didn’t have driving every day as an option, I don’t think you’d balk at a 90-minute commute way out of town. You’d just think ‘well, it’s far away – nothing to do about that.’

The other consideration is that it WOULD get faster/better/more convenient if there was more pressure on the City from people who live here to make it that way. That would require thinking of other people, though, instead of focusing solely on one’s own convenience, so it is hard to see that happening. The depressing thing about Americans is how we’ve allowed ourselves over the past 30 years to be turned into consumers instead of communities.

9watts
Guest
9watts

Yes, yes, and yes.
And just to add two more things you didn’t mention.

(1) It is entirely possible to tax the automobile user enough to pay for all it demands. The Germans raise fully 400% of the amount of money it takes to build and maintain a transportation network we can’t even begin to imagine. The rest is plowed into goodies like health care and post secondary education. And… they keep raising the taxes and fees on auto-related stuff.

(2) As Ivan Illich pointed out forty years ago, the distances everyone laments are A FUNCTION of our auto dominance. The car creates all the distances which then necessitate the car to overcome. So it is a bit rich for nport to implicate those of us not driving for the mess we’re in.

I’ve supplied this link many times but it is always fun to re-read:
http://ranprieur.com/readings/illichcars.html

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

Regardless of where they came from, the distances are here so we can’t just pretend they don’t exist.

Eric Leifsdad
Guest
Eric Leifsdad

Electric bikes flatten hills and shrink distances, which will be really useful between now and whenever we finally build over all of these parking lots.

rachel b
Guest
rachel b

Plus–you can read! Or knit! Or play parcheesi! Or build a fort! When using mass transit, I mean. I hope people aren’t trying to do those things in their cars…

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

Last time I built a fort on the bus, the transit police came in with full-on riot gear and tased the crap out of me. Not recommended.

Bankerman
Guest
Bankerman

If you are lucky enough to get a seat. Try doing all those fun things……standing. Back in the ’80s I took the bus to work downtown; because I live in the southern end of North Portland, the bus (even the big articulated ones) were full by the time it got to my stop. That is one reason I opposed extending LR to Vancouver; as I pointed out to my neighbors, the MAX train will be full before it even gets to Jantzen Beach.

KTaylor
Guest
KTaylor

Well, but the freeways are full too…

Ted Timmons (Contributor)
Editor

“Nobody goes there anymore. It’s too crowded.” – Yogi Berra

rachel b
Guest
rachel b

Believe me, Bankerman–I know! I take the (shudder!) #4. But I’m heartened at the thought of more buses coming soon w/ the “Rapid” (hah!) Bus Transit plan.

We REALLY need 1) more buses, more frequently, 2) more MAX cars, and 3) dedicated bus lanes. If the city would simply commit (to #3, esp) we’d have a chance of actually getting people out of their cars.

A cab driver once told me he thought the plan to get everyone in Portland riding mass transit was doomed (and his job security assured) because all people had to do was look at buses and MAX as they went by, at everyone squeezed in like vienna sausages, and they’d vow never to set foot on bus nor train.

Adam
Subscriber

Ted Timmons (Contributor)
“Nobody goes there anymore. It’s too crowded.” – Yogi Berra
Recommended 1

Nobody drives in Portland; there’s too much traffic!

KTaylor
Guest
KTaylor

Parcheesi!

rachel b
Guest
rachel b

And Yahtzee!

pruss2ny
Guest
pruss2ny

KTaylor: 2 issues..those numbers assume depreciation around 30% of the annual cost…for an accountant that may make sense, but for the average person, they are only looking at what hard out of pocket expenses are on an annual basis, and that is much closer to 5-6k/yr for a 35-45k car.
this is a pretty detailed accounting, and it adds 2-3k/yr on depreciation–again, not a hard out-of-pocket cost https://www.nerdwallet.com/blog/loans/total-cost-owning-car/

And while you and rachel b are creative with time spent on public transportation, its disingenuous to think that you can convince people to spend 90mins transferring on buses 1-way when they can make the trip in 30mins in a car.

NOT SAYING THAT THE CAR ISN”T a stress on the environment (physical and mental), just pdx has a poorly executed public transportation infrastructure. telling someone who gets to see their family from 5pm to 9pm that “oh, hey…a 3hour daily commute within pdx city limits really isn’t thaaaat bad” is a really tough sell.

9watts
Guest
9watts

“its disingenuous to think that you can convince people to spend 90mins transferring on buses 1-way when they can make the trip in 30mins in a car.”

I get this line of thinking and don’t disagree with it. But I want to add a different wrinkle, which is that, going forward, I don’t think it will be so much about convincing but about conceding. Time moves on, and what worked yesterday may not work tomorrow. We’re so used to, in this country, getting out way, lording it over others, throwing our weight around, pushing through our fossil fuel drenched agenda. But the time will come when we can no longer get our way, where we’ll take what comes and figure it out.

Brendan Treacy
Guest
Brendan Treacy

My 2-year-old daughter chased a soccer ball into the road Sunday when no one was looking and a woman saw her and stopped. All it would have taken to ruin my life was another person who was checking their phone or speeding down my street. It occurred to me that the reason ‘outside’ is dangerous is almost entirely down to the presence of cars. What a beautiful thing it would be if my 2-year-old could play outside without the spectre of death 30 feet from our door at all times.

Adam
Subscriber

What we need to all be asking ourselves is if the convenience of car travel is worth the lives of the 38,300 people that were killed by traffic last year. Are we willing as a society to allow 38,300 people to die so that we don’t have to sit next to a stranger on the bus? Should we be okay with 38,300 dead people because “not everyone can ride a bike”? Are 38,300 needless funerals simply “the cost of doing business”?

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

Apparently, the answer is yes. The streets have always been dangerous, and are safer now than earlier times. Still far too dangerous, I agree, but, as a society, we have answered your question.

9watts
Guest
9watts

But Hello, Kitty,
aren’t you eliding the question of who gets to answer the question, whose voices count and whose do not? Big Oil has a loud voice, ODOT has a loud voice, the car companies who spend hundreds of millions advertising have a loud voice. Does Kristy Finney’s voice register as loudly as Exxon’s? And if not then what does that say about your answer?

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

The problem is not Big Oil, the problem is that people drive too fast and are careless and exhibit all the bad behaviors that lead to traffic fatalities.

The problem is a broad societal one, and will therefore require a broad societal response. There are certainly voices calling for change, but not nearly enough to overcome the huge inertia of driving habits and the sense that things are ok they way they are.

So, like I said, we, as a society, have spoken, even if it’s not what all individuals in that society would choose.

9watts
Guest
9watts

“So, like I said, we, as a society, have spoken….”

But you’re so glib about this. Power works in particular ways. Those with money have lots; those who are poor and have asthma, or whose daughter was killed by a drunk driver tend to have much less. What you are metaphorically calling speech isn’t really the democratic thing you are implying, but a very lopsided, troublesome thing that has changed and continues to change. Citizens United being just a recent chapter. To say, as you keep doing, that society has spoken glosses over all these to my mind rather pertinent asymmetries that help us understand what is being (not) said, and by whom, and why.

“…even if it’s not what all individuals in that society would choose.”

That is putting it mildly.
You say this like we’re close, but our system for tallying is imperfect. Really?!

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

I am glib about it because it is tiring to read all the completely unrealistic demands for change (PBOT needs to put steel posts in every intersection!!).

My point has nothing to do with free speech, or political speech. It is more a sense that the majority of society does not believe there is a structural problem, so getting them to change their ways to fix it is going to be challenge.

I don’t think we’re anywhere near close to a critical mass on this issue, even in Portland, let alone the entire state or country.

Pruss2ny
Guest
Pruss2ny

This gets thrown around alot…and its hard to disagree without sounding like an ass. 0 disrespect to anyone who has lost someone to a vehicle crash (or any any regard), but drinking kills 90k/yr and smoking kills 400k+…are we outlawing those too?

Two deaths don”t make a right, but given the massive improvements in auto safety and decline in mortality rate vs population growth, its hard to get fired up that the roads are somehow a killing field

Ted Timmons (Contributor)
Editor

I call this the “starving kids in Africa” argument. Why are we spending money/resources on, say, Amtrak when there are starving children in Africa? Why are we talking about sidewalks when there are starving children in Africa?

Closer to home, why are we talking about Hawthorne when we should talk about Division and pretty much every street with three digits in its name?

These are arguments that are distractions. PBOT and ODOT can’t do much about gun deaths/suicides or cancer, but it’s within their domain to stop manslaughter on the streets.

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

If you want PBOT/ODOT to build safer streets, they’re going to need a lot more money (and, in the case of ODOT, an attitude adjustment). Where is that money going to come from? On some level, we need to be willing to pay more. And it’s not just you and me (who are willing), but will have to include a lot more people who are, shall we say, less inclined.

Adam
Subscriber

Where is that money going to come from?

The money is never the problem. The problem is primarily political. If PBOT/ODOT actually had the determination to really fix our streets, then they would find the money. If ODOT managed to find plenty of money to build a two mile highway extension, surely they could find some funds to build bike infrastructure if that was something they actually had political will for. Why isn’t PBOT using SDC funds to build out bike infrastructure?

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

The problem is entirely political, but the fix is not at the agency level. There’s no magical pot of money that cigar chomping agency heads are sitting on. It will take increasing taxes, which means it will, most likely, take a vote of the people.

Rebuilding everything isn’t going to be cheap.

Adam
Subscriber

When Commissioner Fritz’ husband was killed in a head-on car crash on I-5, ODOT almost instantly found the funding for safety improvements and built a steel cable in the median to prevent this from happening again. ODOT did not have to raise any taxes to fund this. I find it doubtful that ODOT would have done this if the victim wasn’t related to a high-profile politician. When the political pressure is there, things get done.

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

You’re right. If we want to fix any particular intersection or stretch of road, we won’t need to raise taxes. If we want to fix them all, we will.

Adam
Subscriber

Okay, I agree with you, but I’m not sure why you keep asking “where is that money going to come from?” since you seem to have the answer already, which is by raising taxes.

9watts
Guest
9watts

“There’s no magical pot of money that cigar chomping agency heads are sitting on.”

I’m afraid it is worse than that. About a dozen years ago some brilliant bureaucrat proposed changing the rules so that ODOT can now borrow money to do its projects. Which means that now a sizable chunk of the money raised through taxes isn’t going to fix roads or anything useful; it is servicing that debt.

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

Yes, raising taxes, which in Oregon means getting a lot of people to agree. And therein lies the problem.

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

Adam H., I wanted to add that you make it sound almost corrupt that ODOT promptly fixed the issue that contributed to Fritz’s husband’s death (high profile politician that she is…) I just wanted to say that she gets absolutely nothing from that fix; she (and her husband) have paid the price, and we should all be glad that ODOT was willing to fix the problem to prevent the next person from suffering the same fate.

Adam
Subscriber

I did not mean to imply any corruption, but merely meant point out that because a Portland City Commissioner wanted ODOT to get something done, it got done. If it was just you or I asking ODOT, they would have brushed us off. This was an example of a politician giving weight to an issue and getting it done, something they do not seem to be doing for Vision Zero.

9watts
Guest
9watts

“we should all be glad that ODOT was willing to fix the problem to prevent the next person from suffering the same fate.”

Except this is how power works, isn’t it?
Did Kristy Finney-Dunn get $7M in tax-payer funded improvements within 90 days, when a drun