Harvest Century September 22nd

The Monday Roundup: Buzzbikes, rolling coal, Tamika Butler & more

Posted by on September 6th, 2016 at 10:40 am

This week’s Monday Roundup is sponsored by Hassalo on Eighth, now leasing in the Lloyd District.

Hope you enjoyed the holiday weekend. Now it’s time to put your thinking caps back on. Here are the stories that caught our eyes this past week:

New twist on bike share: Two business partners have launched a novel new bike promotion scheme in London: Riders can get a free ‘Buzzbike’ only if they agree to ride to work at least 12 days per month and park the bike in a public place.

Rolling coal goes primetime: Regular BP readers know all about the “rolling coal” menace; now people all over the world are just finding out about it thanks to a front page story in the NY Times.

Road rage across the pond: A road rage video posted online by British journalist Jeremy Vine has the UK talking. Guardian reporter Peter Walker explains why it’s not a surprise to everyday riders.

Bike share and real estate: New research says home prices rise in neighborhoods near bike share stations — just like other transit stations.

Cargo bikes in cities: New study out of Germany says the potential of cargo bikes to transport goods in urban areas is far beyond what most people realize.

Neighborhood arterials: Research out of Denver, Colorado offers fascinating insights into how large arterials with fast traffic and no human presence have negative impacts on surrounding residential areas — even in suburban developments with low-traffic streets.

F you AASHTO: When tens of thousands of Americans spoke up to tell the US DOT that new traffic performance measures should include people walking and biking, the notoriously conservative American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) dismissed the comments.

NACTO’s call to action: Formed in response to AASHTO (see above), the National Association of City Transportation Officials says the worrying uptick in U.S. traffic deaths is a call to action and government’s must offer citizens better street designs.

Portland’s Jekyll-and-Hyde parking policy: It’s baffling: Portland leaders want to spend millions on putting a roof over soon-to-be useless and little-used private automobiles while we have hundreds of humans who need shelter. PDX Shoupistas breaks down the insanity.

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Seattle has similar problems: Our neighbors to the north are also grappling with the fact that city leaders tend to support housing cars over housing people. A recent dust-up about “parking benefit districts” where neighborhoods reap financial rewards from meters (an idea strongly supported by affordable housing advocates) is a prime example.

Killing a freeway: Rochester New York is filling in their 1950s era “inner loop” freeway mistake and taking back their city.

Fossil fuel subsidies: How silly is it for governments to give tax breaks and other subsidies to oil and gas-related industries? The “dumbest” of all, says Bloomberg.

Tragedy in Denver: A Denver Post reporter was killed while biking. Six years ago she wrote a feature story about ghost bikes.

Amsterdam and Giant: Did you know Amsterdam’s Bicycle Mayor (yes, they have that) has a day job at Giant Bicycle?

Bad apples > bunch: Yes it’s likely that one reason road rage persists is that the minority of poorly behaved bike riders poison the waters that we all must drink from.

Climate change is here: Not breaking news at all, but we found it quite appropriate that this NY Times story on coastal flooding shows someone driving through water on a submerged road.

Embarrassing record: While activists organize and governments scramble, the world is noticing how the richest country in the world has the worst traffic safety record.

‘Share the Road’ falls again: Columbus, Ohio is the latest U.S. city to phase out ‘Share the Road’ signs in favor of “Bikes may use full lane”.

Change-maker recognized: Executive Director of the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition Tamika Butler is a force to be reckoned with and her approach to bike advocacy is must-have knowledge for everyone in the field.

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

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50 Comments
  • Avatar
    Craig Giffen September 6, 2016 at 10:50 am

    No mention of a pedestrian being killed by a drunk driver on SE Division?

    http://www.oregonlive.com/portland/index.ssf/2016/09/police_man_who_struck_and_kill.html

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      Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) September 6, 2016 at 10:59 am

      Craig,

      the roundup is usually reserved for non-Portland stuff. In this case i feel like a story like that is too important/sensitive for such a brief mention in a roundup post like this. I would rather work that story into its own post or include it in other coverage we are doing. thanks.

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        Craig Giffen September 6, 2016 at 12:02 pm

        No worries, I was just surprised to not see it at least acknowledged and that more coverage was to follow.

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      bradwagon September 6, 2016 at 12:37 pm

      Also a woman killed in Beaverton crossing Baseline. Reports making point to emphasize she was not in a crosswalk but “near” a lighted crosswalk. Look at the picture in this article (http://www.kptv.com/story/33030750/police-id-woman-hit-killed-crossing-beaverton-street), shows multiple ped crossing signs leading up to incident site. I guess you literally have to be on the white stripes or you shouldn’t expect drivers to stop for you.

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        Teddy September 6, 2016 at 2:24 pm

        If I am at serious risk of hitting a jaywalker I am willing to skid to a stop, but I will be tooting my horn at you. Just use the legal crosswalk that is nearby please.

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        Spiffy September 6, 2016 at 2:25 pm

        one site says she was jogging, but not where… another site says the car is a white Mustang… I can see a white Mustang in the photo…

        who thinks somebody driving a Mustang was going under the speed limit?

        were they driving west into the sunset around this corner? their car is facing towards the crash scene as if they turned around…

        why is this 2 lane road through residential signed at 40 mph?

        they always give you just enough info to draw several wrong conclusions…

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        wsbob September 6, 2016 at 5:47 pm

        I haven’t been to the scene of the collision yet, but will soon. It’s very near where I grew up, a half mile from Nike…formerly a rural area, but fast within the last 10 years, becoming densely residential…new apartments going up right now.

        Despite this change in area use, with many more people on foot and bike along and crossing the road than in earlier years, two lane Baseline Rd continues to be posted for 40 mph. Also, the road, right where I’ve been told the collision occurred, has a kind of wonky curve that tends to reduce road users’ vision of each other when approaching from opposite directions.

        There is a pedestrian activated flashing beacon to the east, aiding people crossing Baseline to and from the Westside Trail. It’s common though, for people on foot, approaching Baseline from 166th, to want to cross right at the intersection of the two roads where the difficult curve is, rather than walk 300-400 feet to either the beacon crossing, or the standard signaled crosswalk over on Jenkins.

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          Chris I September 7, 2016 at 6:55 am

          Sounds like a terrible design by Washington County.

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            Dan A September 7, 2016 at 6:14 pm

            Well, Washington County really hates to spend money on pedestrian/cyclist infrastructure and only does so when they have to. So I’d say this design is exactly what they are going for.

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            wsbob September 9, 2016 at 9:44 am

            Looking at a current map, it’s possible to get some sense of what I’d say is probably irrational road design for this area. Baseline Rd begins at 158th, and runs east west, all the way to Hillsboro. The road’s alignment up until some 10 years ago, used to run on a basically straight line to and past 170th; no curve. Until some developer, planners, whoever…got the bright idea to allow residential development to take over a short section of the roads’ alignment at 166th.

            This necessitated, with a curve, a realignment of Baseline Rd in a southwesterly direction to intersect with Jenkins Rd, which ends at this intersection where Baseline resumes its east west alignment. The result was a short, less than half mile long section of Baseline Rd between 158th and 166th at Jenkins-Baseline…passing by long term hotel housing, apartments, single family dwelling residential housing, light retail, restaurants, Costco, Nike, The Westside Trail…posted for a 40 mph speed.

            Recognizing that this road does pass through a densely populated…and becoming a more densely populated area with each new month, area, why should any reasonably minded road user need to have their motor vehicle attain a speed of 40 mph over the half mile long section of this road between the intersections of 158 and Jenkins-Baseline at 166th?

            Allowing this road to be posted with such a high mph speed limit, is not good judgment…it’s dangerous judgment, that neglect over time unfortunately now, may have been allowed to prove the bad judgment to have been a contributing factor in someone being killed in a motor vehicle-pedestrian collision; still awaiting more details and conclusions from investigation.

            Anyone living in the area described, or that drives, rides or walks in the area…and I’m certain a number of bikeportland readers do… I suggest they study for themselves, firsthand, the road situation I’ve described. See what you think. If residents of Washington County with its increasing population, are to have road infrastructure that’s functional for use by means in addition to motor vehicle, and that’s not adverse to people living next to it, road design and regulation of it such as that between 158 and Jenkins-Baseline at 166th, is, or should be, obsolete.

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    Eric Leifsdad September 6, 2016 at 11:27 am

    The small minority of poorly behaved humans ruin everything for everyone. Those people are “those bikers”, “those drivers”, “those walkers”, “those diners”, “those parents”, “those politicians”, “those executives”…

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    • Adam H.
      Adam H. September 6, 2016 at 11:57 am

      You forgot “those BikePortland commenters” 😛

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        jered September 6, 2016 at 12:05 pm

        TRUTH.

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    Phil Richman September 6, 2016 at 11:33 am

    I and many others were coal-rolled outside Leadville, CO during Ride the Rockies in June. The fact that the ride had support by Colorado State Patrol evidently made no difference. It was by far the worst part of my Ride the Rockies experience. This has to stop.

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    Teddy September 6, 2016 at 11:53 am

    Why is there no mention of VW and Mercedes passenger vehicles (the only ones that I can think of off the top of my head) that also Roll Coal? Some of the plumes are big enough I suspect it is intentional.

    Is there going to be an article about the fatal pedestrian versus vehicle collision in Beaverton?

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    SE September 6, 2016 at 12:05 pm

    Re: Bad apples > bunch

    I was stopped at Springwater & 82nd yesterday when a scruffy (homeless ?) rider came flying past me and crossed 82nd with not a turn of his head or regard to traffic. Motorists were slamming on their brakes to avoid him.

    Was thinking at that point that I hope drivers differentiate 1d1ots from the more responsible cyclists & and not lump us all together when complaining.

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      highrider September 6, 2016 at 2:19 pm

      That bad apple article, well I don’t know but I think those same ragers hate me when I’m driving too- for slowing them down. People tailgate me impatiently almost daily when I drive. I think ragers just hate strangers no matter what they’re doing.

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      Spiffy September 6, 2016 at 2:33 pm

      sometimes when you’re trying to decide between a cement doorway, a ditch along the Springwater, a jail cell, or a hospital bed you don’t have to care about trivial things like traffic…

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    Work Account September 6, 2016 at 1:17 pm

    Sorry to spoil things for the rest of you. I’m just so preoccupied checking if the road I’m crossing is clear, I seldom notice the light. I’ll come to a dead stop at a green light if I feel like someone might not stop for their red in car, often times my suspicions are confirmed, and they do not stop.

    I spend so much energy checking if I can safely cross the road, that I hope you’ll forgive me for neglecting the legal and public relations repercussions for our group, that my choices carry.

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    • Hello, Kitty
      Hello, Kitty September 6, 2016 at 10:55 pm

      >>> I’ll come to a dead stop at a green light if I feel like someone might not stop for their red in car, often times my suspicions are confirmed, and they do not stop. <<<

      That was you? I thought you were being super polite and yielding your ROW to me!

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        Work Account September 7, 2016 at 8:57 am

        Aha, but I was not waving spastically and smacking myself in the helmet, as is the traditional indicator.

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        • Hello, Kitty
          Hello, Kitty September 7, 2016 at 10:48 am

          Sorry, my bad.

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    JeffS September 6, 2016 at 1:31 pm

    I’m not really following the logic of the autonomous car crowd. Every discussion seems to start with the assumption that these cars will eliminate the need for parking. I see no evidence presented that this will be the case.

    Are we assuming that people will not want to own cars if they don’t have to drive them?
    If not, where will the owned cars go until they’re needed again?

    Transportation as a service is far from a new thing. These cars may possibly be cheaper than current offerings, but cheap enough to change the behavior of virtually everyone? I doubt it.

    My position is that these vehicles will drastically increase the vehicle miles driven, even more so if forced to circle the block indefinitely because parking is nonexistent.

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      John Lascurettes September 6, 2016 at 1:35 pm

      Not to mention that we can have all sorts of autonomous vehicles, but if they’re all single-occupancy at commute time, we still get gridlock.

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        Mick O September 6, 2016 at 4:02 pm

        That probably depends on how much of gridlock you attribute solely to physical volume of vehicle traffic as opposed to driver decisions on speed, follow distance, disadvantageous lane changing, need for reduced merge speeds, and the like. Those factors may actually be responsible for significant aspects of what we call gridlock.

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          John Lascurettes September 6, 2016 at 6:16 pm

          Sure. But the number one factor is the number of cars on the road at commute time. If it was any other reason, we’d have gridlock at other times too. Then again, when autonomous cars succeed in reaching a critical enough mass that intersections don’t get plugged by stale-light runners that would make an improvement.

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      KevinR September 6, 2016 at 1:39 pm

      But “almost everyone” isn’t really the bar that we have to meet, right? What the linked article talks about is that it doesn’t make sense to spend a bunch of public money building a new parking structure. Even if there is a marginal decrease in private cars (let’s say 10%), that would mean a big difference in the amount of parking needed and make new structures unnecessary.

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        lop September 6, 2016 at 1:54 pm

        Is that 10% decrease you’re talking about absolute or per capita?

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        JeffS September 6, 2016 at 1:55 pm

        10% would not accomplish “the end of parking”, “greatly diminish demand” or facilitate the removal of on-street parking. Then there’s the obligatory empty parking deck picture…

        Either way, my comment was more of a general one than a comment about this one widely rambling article. Surely we have all seen this assumption made numerous times – that it will be a major, groundbreaking change.

        Then again, I like parking decks. I think all cars entering into an urban core should be funneled directly to them. I would remove on-street parking and close many roads entirely to automobile traffic. Even the shoupistas view removing on-street parking as a pipe dream, and always the last to go.

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    • Adam H.
      Adam H. September 6, 2016 at 1:46 pm

      The primary constraint in cities is space. It’s why buses will always be more efficient per person than the most efficient self-driving car.

      Here’s a good article on this matter.

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        soren September 6, 2016 at 2:40 pm

        buses in north america are not efficient because occupancy is low during off-peak hours (btu per passenger mile on a urban transit bus is about the same as the typical car trip). fortunately, there are inexpensive solutions to this lack of efficiency: electrification and a range of vehicle sizes. interestingly, portland had one of the largest electrified trolley-bus systems in the usa:

        http://www.cafeunknown.com/2006/10/off-line-too-soon-portlands-electric_09.html

        and contrary to the link you cite, i think elon musk gets this:

        “With the advent of autonomy, it will probably make sense to shrink the size of buses and transition the role of bus driver to that of fleet manager,”

        Musk said the buses would also take people all the way to their desired destination, and that “summon buttons” at bus stops will allow people to call a bus if they don’t have a smartphone.

        http://www.techinsider.io/elon-musk-tesla-master-plan-electric-driverless-buses-2016-7

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        • Hello, Kitty
          Hello, Kitty September 6, 2016 at 11:06 pm

          Elon Musk is also the inventor of an emissions-free transportation mode used widely in many third-world areas, the musk ox. These too can be partially automated, and have consequently led to reduced parking requirements around most of the hyperloop stations in Hydrabad.

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      Chris I September 6, 2016 at 2:17 pm

      The autonomous future, as envisioned in that article, is a pipe dream. For “parking to go away” we need shared public-resource autonomous vehicles, and that just isn’t how America works. We will be getting autonomous vehicles, but they will start out as a play thing for the rich, will eventually decrease in price and become attainable by the middle class, but will never (at least in our lifetime) fully replace normal vehicles. To do that, we would have to somehow buy back and crush (or retrofit) all existing vehicles.

      Crashes will be reduced, but the benefits that are most often touted (reduced traffic, parking, etc) will never be fully realized. Autonomous cars could potentially make traffic worse. What would keep someone from having their car drop them off and then circle the city until they are ready to be picked up, so they can avoid paying for parking?

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        B. Carfree September 6, 2016 at 4:14 pm

        Rewrite your comment from the perspective of someone a century earlier as a response to the prospect of single occupancy vehicles. Hmm…you don’t need to make many changes.

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    Paul Atkinson September 6, 2016 at 2:52 pm

    The negativity I see on BP about autonomous cars looks very much like the negativity I saw on other sites about Biketown. “It’ll never work, people won’t use it, the impact will be tiny…”

    Maybe, yeah. Maybe it’s a non-starter. But maybe not, right?

    We’re going to have a large fleet of autonomous electric cars on the road soon. It’s happening. The question is how we can best integrate that into a Vision Zero future, not how we can best rail against it and demand its irrelevance. So let’s look at the possibilities we can encourage rather than the impossibility of this technology helping at all.

    Imagine you’re a person who (gasp!) *drives* to work today, but you buy into an autonomous car service next decade.

    One electric autonomous vehicle picks you up and brings you to work. Even if you’re alone that didn’t make things worse, but because your ride can team with others gridlock is vastly reduced. Also, your service rate may drop if you share the ride, and you won’t have to do anything except opt in; no negotiating a pickup time or location, not even having to share with the same person every day…just opt in, and your ride gets shared. You choose with how many people. Perhaps some of these cars will even have options for private spaces so shared commuters can avoid eye contact.

    After dropping you off, the car leaves — maybe picking someone else up, maybe not — and heads back out to fetch another inbound commuter. or two Once out of riders, or when in need of a charge, the car heads for a charging station. Each car has, during this commute, replaced several individual vehicles. Trips are reduced somewhat by carpooling, and each trip is both faster and safer as the vehicle travels more efficiently and safely through the streets (e.g., by teaming with other vehicles and performing optimized route planning).

    The need for ubiquitous parking diminishes because your car can drop you off where you want to go, move to a parking / charging facility reasonably close by (or leave on other trips), and can return when you need it (if you even get the same vehicle). Entire lanes full of parking on every street gradually become unnecessary.

    Like with Biketown, change is gradual. First they’re playthings. Then some mass-market fleets become available and a few people start using them as primary transportation. As they become more trusted, carmakers start selling subscriptions (alongside vehicle sales); instead of owning a car, you just own a membership. Many — perhaps most — of those using this will not be people “giving up their cars,” because they won’t ever have owned one.

    Within our lifetime, some significant auto infrastructure will be made off-limits to human drivers (think HOV lanes).

    A perfect scenario? Not at all. There are plenty of problems, most centered around the remaining cars under direct monkey control, some around luddites screaming about control and culture change, but most around security and infrastructure hacking. It’ll take a lot of work to resolve those, but discounting the potential benefits is short-sighted.

    I don’t know about you, but I’m anti-violence. I’m anti-pollution. I’m anti-climate change. I’m pro-safety, I’m pro-health, I’m pro-clean. And all that may *seem* like I must necessarily be anti-car, but I’m not. I’m anti-the-cars-we-currently-have. Those don’t work. I think we can do better. This may be what “better” looks like.

    Maybe? Maybe.

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      John Lascurettes September 6, 2016 at 4:40 pm

      Autonomous vehicles will definitely help with collision rates. But if too many people insist on using them by themselves at commute hour we’re still going to have gridlock.

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        Paul Atkinson September 6, 2016 at 5:08 pm

        If *literally everyone who currently drives* uses an autonomous car alone, every day, exactly as they do now in their cars, they’ll only reduce gridlock by the amount caused by all the bad monkey decisions that block auto traffic today.

        So take current gridlock and remove the effect of crashes, people blocking the box, inefficient merging, poor route choices, etc.

        If people don’t use them alone then things get even better, but just getting monkeys out of the cockpits seems like a big win for smooth, predictable traffic flow. Would it *remove* gridlock? Meh. Don’t know. How soon do autonomous cars make traffic lights obsolete?

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        GutterBunnyBikes September 6, 2016 at 7:12 pm

        People switching lanes slows the drivers they’re cutting off, how many within “x” number of minutes in so many miles can this happen before there is a significant drop in traffic speed on the highways? And as it slows more people start swapping lanes making the problem worse. Let’s not even get to those that cross multiple lanes at the last minute to get to their exits and bring it all to stand still momentarily.

        Downtown, people get “caught” in the intersections, blocking a lane of perpendicular traffic – which might actually end up blocking them as traffic from around the block is held up. How many lanes blocked like this downtown cause failure of nearly the whole system – again frustrated drivers end up being more likely to be the next one “caught”.

        Running a red light limits the number of people that turn left through an intersection – especially if it doesn’t have a designated turn signal. If there is no left turning lane, how many cars are held up behind the left turning driver that can’t get through, how many cars does s/he hold up when they too are forced to run the reds to make the turn?

        There have been very few if any studies on how traffic flows can be affected by driver behaviour . About half my working life was driving professionally, and my observations are that driver behaviour (other than errors which cause collisions) is likely the biggest factor in slowing traffic flow, even more so than road capacity and traffic volume.

        Which is why some of us that are excited about autonomous cars it will take these behaviours off the road – which will allow for better efficiency of the existing infrastructure, and make it safer since every single scenario I allude to is also a collision waiting to happen.

        That doesn’t include the fact that autonomous cars could easily tailgate each other extremely close (the lead car basically acts as the engine of a train while those that following acting more like train cars) and fit more vehicles through lights than people could. They can easier adjust their speeds to time the lights requiring fewer stops at lights. They can be programmed to drive at levels of efficiency that humans can’t even come close to.

        Likewise, the cars will be lighter, there will be no need to sell overpowered engines to a gullible public. They could be smaller too, perhaps even made just big enough to hold a single person, which means they’d take up just a little more space than you on your bicycle. So even if they are single occupancy, you could have two of such cars driving side by side within a single car lane, 4 of them taking up as much lane space as an SUV. In such a case, you’ve potentially quadrupled the capacity of the current road system. And of course, lighter vehicles means less wear and tear on the road surfaces freeing up the ever tightening tax dollars our system gets to do the work they do for us.

        Now think about this too, you assume they’re all going to be single occupancy, but why wouldn’t some of the bigger employers (especially those that are downtown) have their own fleet of vans which picks up employees on a schedule? Would be an awesome perk to offer employees – as well as a way to control tardiness. Or perhaps even the building which the company rents their space offer this fleet service to their tenants – after all if successful they could then convert potentially a large portion of their parking to more profitable leasable office/residential spaces.

        Then of course with big data, you could opt for a cheaper ride if it is shared, and the data could match you to neighbors that work near where you work with similar interests, television and radio preferences. If female you could opt for only other women passengers, or LGBT – or whatever, there is a wide array of potential when integrated with the rest of the tech.

        And all this is just as far as people traveling, cargo is a different story, as is shopping. Convenience stores will slowly disappear, grocery stores will become intermediate warehouses for grocery delivery, fast food restaurants become small vans that make you food and deliver it to where ever you are.

        Parking will still be an issue, but most the parking issues with recharging will likely be done at auto dealerships converted to recharge and service stations.

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      9watts September 6, 2016 at 5:58 pm

      Um, what do you think these vehicles are going to run on?

      And if you say electricity, I hope you will specify what fuel was used to generate that electricity and whether the grid infrastructure is in place to supply those kWh.

      Thanks.

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      JeffS September 6, 2016 at 8:34 pm

      Thank you for making my point. You jumped directly from autonomous car to the assumption that people will be using them as a service. They seem to me to be unrelated things.

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      q`Tzal September 8, 2016 at 3:50 pm

      A person trained to shoot a firearm is much more likely to own firearms that someone with no firearms experience.

      The Automated Driving lifestyle that is coming, no matter how much some may wail and lament.
      Many, perhaps entire generations of potential car owners, will never learn to drive a car to any level of skill higher than is required to operate an elevator.
      Into this we have decreasing standards of living, disposable income, increasing urban density and increasing cost of operation (energy and insurance).
      The ability and even desire to own a car is dying even now. The car worshipping infrastructure that we are stuck with will lead linger much longer.

      There are certainly ride sharing market paradigms that would allow impatient subscribers to pay more for more immediate and faster service. For example an autonomous limousine or European super car service that would monitor the subscriber’s schedule and location sending a vehicle minutes in advance to wait because that person has paid extra for it. They would still get the time benefits of ownership without the cost of storage, maintenance and liability when these road monsters hit something or someone.

      It is coming.
      Cost of ownership of cars is part of what is pushing American citizens back towards a 3rd world standard of living.

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        wsbob September 9, 2016 at 8:58 am

        “…The ability and even desire to own a car is dying even now. The car worshipping infrastructure that we are stuck with will lead linger much longer. …” q’tzal

        To what degree, and in what types of communities, is the ability and desire to drive a car, dying? Maybe in some inner city semi-self contained neighborhoods where residents don’t have to walk more than 500′ to work, buy groceries, go to school, play, church, and so on.

        It seems to me that a vast number of people, a majority in the U.S., still want to have a motor vehicle to meet at least some of their travel needs. Because of purchase, maintenance and insurance costs, they all may not be able to afford a car, but many can, and many more have to budget to have one to stay employed.

        Certainly, there are people that do love much of the marvelous technological and design elements that go together to create a motor vehicle, just as many people love similar things about their bikes. The bigger motivating factor leading people to buy and have a car, is that in most of today’s communities, cars are a practical necessity.

        People have to be able to get and keep jobs, and the relative freedom to travel that motor vehicles offer, allows them to do this. To meet this practical reality of day to day life for most people in the U.S. the country’s road infrastructure design must be prioritized to facilitate as efficient as possible travel by people in their cars.

        Slowly, communities are redesigned so not as many people must have motor vehicles to meet their basic travel needs. Even in ideal conditions though, a personal car is a marvelous practical convenience for persons that are too laid up to walk or bike, but can drive well, or when it’s cold, raining, snowing, etc.

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          q`Tzal September 10, 2016 at 3:22 pm

          Please read this Atlantic article about the automobile industry’s recent celebratory insanity: http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2015/04/millennials-not-so-cheap-after-all/391026/

          The crux of it being that driving and car ownership patterns have changed permanently as a function of fewer jobs, lower paying jobs and massive uncertainty all around.

          The rebounding economy right now has freed up demand from Millennials constrained by lack of employment and money. All other market segments are shrinking or slowing.

          Cars are not an annual purchase so after this 2015-2016 millennial purchase spike we should see some demand see-sawing for the next few years until it levels off to “the new normal”. If we assumed that ALL of any group bought a good that lasts 10 years on average with a 10% annual failure rate then year 2&3 will be lean sales years as demand has been filled and few failed yet.

          In to this are numerous converging societal factors that have been slowly building for decades favoring anything other than car ownership: employment uncertainty, real estate costs, global warming, energy costs, time costs, assisted driving getting better daily, technological jobs not needing a set location.

          It’s slow, like the cost per megawatt for electricity from wind or solar versus coal. There have ALWAYS been some remote areas where even in the 1970’s very expensive solar PV was less per megawatt than the remote grid. This remote-ness has been creeping in silently for decade where in 2015, without subsidies, wind power provides electricity for less per MW than base load coal. Solar PV is rapidly approaching this as well.

          The century’s long migration from agrarian life to urban life seems unnatural and fadish to those of us who grew up in younger times but simple math, time, population growth and resource scarcity ensure that everyone will cram into cities over the next 50-100 years.

          The pressures on public road capacity can barely stand the load now and it promises to only increase.

          The exact consequences are as outside our frame of reference as is the physical distance to the next star system but we do know that all the current car “problems” will only increase.

          The automobile is, after all, an agrarian tool used to solve the distance problems of agricultural distances. Even when first invented they were seen as unnecessary and harmful in urban areas. This has not changed but the farm life is dying.

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    Mike Sanders September 6, 2016 at 3:31 pm

    The Bkue Ridge Pakway and Natchez Trace Parkway started using “Bikes May Use Full Lane” signage at the encouragement of Adventure Cycling, the Rails to Trails Conservancy, and others a couple of years ago as an experiment. It’s worked out so well that the National Park Service, which administers both parkways, is now considering adopting the practice in other national park properties as well. ODOT and Oregon State Parks should follow those footsteps, too.

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      B. Carfree September 6, 2016 at 4:24 pm

      I believe New Hampshire has been phasing out STR signs for a year or so and replacing them with Bicycles May Use Full Lane. It sure would be nice if ODOT would follow along and get rid of these horrid STR signs. Maybe we can be the tenth state to make the change and still pat ourselves on the back and claim to be leaders.

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    q`Tzal September 8, 2016 at 5:31 pm

    To AASHTO:
    Your “let them eat cake” attitude has been historically proven to lead directly to rolling heads. There are consequences for your unwillingness to heed the cries of the dying under your “guidance” of the public that “wallows in ignorance”.

    YOUR actions and inactions will be all the proof needed when your time comes.
    Prepare for the end of your reign: it will arrive before you know it.

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    • Hello, Kitty
      Hello, Kitty September 8, 2016 at 5:33 pm

      Death to AASHTO! All hail Hello, Kitty!

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    Eric Leifsdad September 10, 2016 at 11:32 pm

    That Bloomberg article about eliminating fuel subsidies which mainly benefit the rich served me an ad for a Lincoln, of course (9 is the classiest mpg). I was thinking about yacht fuel but I guess land yacht.

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