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The Monday Roundup: Santa Rampage, headphone-blaming, car bans, and more

Posted by on December 12th, 2016 at 11:22 am

Paris waited too late to strengthen auto use regulations.

Paris waited too late to strengthen auto use regulations.

Welcome to Monday.

This is our last full week before the news cycle slows way down. So let’s get to it, shall we? Here are the best stories we came across last week…

Death by headphones?: A coroner in Yorkshire had no evidence a woman was listening to music prior to being run over by a truck crashing her bike near a truck — but he put the blame squarely on her anyways. And The Telegraph piled-on with a biased and irresponsible article.

Design saving commutes: The bad news is people’s work commutes are getting longer (see next item). The good news is, according to The Economist, the free market and urban designers are stepping in to make them more enjoyable.

Going further: More lower-income Portlanders are moving further away from their jobs and other important destinations in order to afford a place to live.

Anti-bike NYC police strike again: It seems like the biggest barrier to transportation reform in New York City is the police. After they spread anti-bike lane propaganda through a tabloid, our friends at Streetsblog did a proper smackdown.

Who’s losing the ‘War on cars’?: Short and to-the-point blog post from Dan Savage shares important truths about the so-called ‘War on Cars’.

How the Dutch do it: As we debate how to tame big streets here in Portland, here’s how it’s done in the Dutch city of Utrecht.

Cycling’s status symbols: The idea that luxury bike brands like Pinarello and Rapha are equal parts fashion statement and functional gear has been cemented now that the former just sold a majority stake to Louis Vuitton and the latter is rumored to be doing the same.

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All ‘vision’, no action: It took Portland 18 months just to pass a plan for Vision Zero, in New York City their mayor said their effort “is just getting started” three years after committing to it, and now from D.C. comes a report that one year into Vision Zero there has been no decline in deaths.

A cautionary tale: One of the greatest cities in the world waited too long to regulate auto use and now smog is at a crisis level. In response, Paris plans to seriously curtail auto use and ban it altogether in some parts of the city.

No more private cars: Portland wants to eliminate traffic deaths in next nine years. In Helsinki they’re focused on the root of the problem and want to eliminate all private cars in about the same amount of time.

Carfree Broadway in NYC: NY Times editorial nails it: “Perhaps it’s time to embrace a more radical solution — to think bigger, not smaller… why not close off Broadway to traffic for a far longer stretch — perhaps even from one end to the other — creating an unfettered corridor for bicycles and pedestrians that would slice across much of Manhattan?”

School trip analysis: The first comprehensive survey of its kind in San Francisco showed that 56 percent of the city’s more than 45,000 students are driven to school and just 3 percent arrive by bike. The report (PDF) is full of interesting data — including the fact that 40 percent of those who drove who said they’d love to explore an alternative.

Unprotected bike lanes: TransAlt in New York City is demanding more investment in protected bike lanes after a Citi Bike user was hit in a section of street left “unprotected.”

Win for bikenomics: President Obama signed a new bill into law that takes into account the outdoor industry — which includes cycling — when calculating the country’s gross domestic product.

One tough bike race: Any time the New York Times gives feature story treatment to a bike race, it’s worth taking a look.

Santa cycling: The Santa Rampage Ride in Milwaukee, Wisconsin looks fantastic. I’m surprised we don’t do this in Portland.

Tweet of the Week: If you don’t think America’s car abuse problem has reached epidemic levels, please watch this:

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

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Pat Lowell
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Pat Lowell

Actually it seems from the Telegraph (not Guardian??) article that the cyclist was not “run over” by the truck as you describe. It sounds like she was distracted, skidded out trying to avoid the truck at the last second, and hit hear head on the ground. There was no contact between her and the truck. It also sounds, sadly, like the helmet she wasn’t wearing that day could possibly have saved her life (I know that will be an unpopular opinion here).

soren
Guest
soren

like the helmet she wasn’t wearing that day could possibly have saved her life (I know that will be an unpopular opinion here).

in my opinion, your comment is worse than walking up to a woman who has been catcalled and telling her to stop wearing a short skirt.

Pat Lowell
Guest
Pat Lowell

A skirt was not designed to prevent rape. A helmet was specifically designed to mitigate head injuries if the wearer falls from their bike, which appears to have been the case here.

I will agree that a helmet is not designed to say, protect the wearer from being struck from behind by a drunk driver, nor does it prevent the rider from making a mistake while distracted, but I continue to believe that it would have lessened the injuries suffered during her crash.

soren
Guest
soren

from the article:

and fell fracturing her skull and spinal cord.

are helmets designed to prevent fractured spinal cords? your omission of this suggest bias to me.

afaict, there is no evidence that a helmet would have made a difference in this case. moreover, there is very little evidence that helmets reduce health or mortality risk in the context of transportation cycling.

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

Yours is a very extreme position. Helmets are not exactly hijabs.

Kyle Banerjee
Guest

@Pat, your mistake was implying the cyclist had any responsibility in the tragedy that unfolded or that people should take a modest safety precaution that has been widely accepted for decades.

Here we take it as given that cyclists and peds can’t make mistakes or bad decisions — only motorists can.

BradWagon
Subscriber

A cycling or pedestrian mistake in and of itself so very rarely results in death I would be surprised if the risk was significant in a statistical sense. Much more likely a correlation… the presence of vehicles (contact made or not). If my presence on the road riding a bike indirectly caused cars to make mistakes that led to death or injury… I’d probably try and blame their radio or lack of anti lock brakes also.

Kyle Banerjee
Guest

Crashes rarely have a singular cause. There may be a primary cause, triggering cause, and other factors that work together. However, except for the purpose of determining responsibility, it’s not particularly useful to focus on fault or on any particular cause.

What’s much more interesting is what we can do moving forward to prevent other accidents (a more encompassing term than crashes). Some things are under your control and some things are not. In your example where you do something that contributes to a crash, hopefully you’d be more mindful in future of your movements since you’re now aware people are inadequately equipped and hopefully others are more mindful of their driving practices/equipment and make appropriate adjustments so they’re ready for similar situations.

In this forum, attention focuses like a laser on what everyone else needs to do to make things better and what’s wrong with the infrastructure. These factors are both real and important, but being safe requires people to be ready for whatever they actually encounter.

Our ability to influence drivers and the environment is minor, but our ability to prepare for and respond to these things is huge.

Safety cannot depend on waiting for an entire population of drivers to change their behavior or for an infrastructure that barely exists to be built.
To place too much emphasis on these things makes cyclists less safe, discourages new cyclists from a mode of transport they perceive to be too dangerous, and contributes to the marginalization of cyclists.

q
Guest
q

Except when people here don’t, which is often.

soren
Guest
soren

has a “mistake” by a pedestrian or cyclist ever killed someone?
i support strict liability for drivers because they are source of all the risk on our roads.

lop
Guest
lop

Bike-ped deaths are rare, but yes. They do happen.

>i support strict liability for drivers because they are source of all the risk on our roads.

A large share of risk. But it’s absurd to take your absolutist position that they are the source of all risk.

Dan A
Subscriber
Dan A

I wouldn’t say ‘all’.

But considering that drivers are the source of the vast majority of risk, it’s even more absurd to talk about equal enforcement or penalties for cyclists or pedestrians.

JRB
Guest
JRB

The article said a skull fracture contributed to her death. Skull fractures are exactly what helmets are designed to prevent. Would it have saved her life, we don’t know from the information given, but it is not reasonably disputable that it would have improved her chances. If she had died of a broken neck, a helmet would have been irrelevant.

Dick Button
Guest
Dick Button

Did we just call the NY Post a tabloid? Well done!

X
Guest
X

“Oregonian Comes Out As Tabloid”

Dave Reid
Guest

The Santa Rampage is one of Milwaukee’s great bike events (The Riverwest 24 is amazing too)… It’s really it’s own holiday.. Santas all over town.

Paul H.
Guest
Paul H.

Concerning the school in the Tweet of the Week: Just look at the feeder road! It’s narrow and has no sidewalks or bike lanes. I’d certainly think twice (or more) about using active transportation to get there. Sad, too, because the countryside looks very nice.

B. Carfree
Guest
B. Carfree

At least the traffic is pretty much at a stand-still at the start and end of the school day.

Dan A
Subscriber
Dan A

Here’s a lovely rendering of BSD’s ‘New High School’:
comment image

and here’s the location in reality:

https://www.google.com/maps/@45.4266104,-122.8535599,3a,75y,175.51h,70.05t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1sMOIZPjSh-657N0NlyseTSw!2e0!7i13312!8i6656!6m1!1e1

Spiffy
Subscriber

they need to stop putting schools so far away from kids…

El Biciclero
Guest
El Biciclero

Wow, complete with butterflies…Delightful.

BradWagon
Subscriber

Picture of parking lot vs picture of main intersection on other side of school… seems fair.

Dan A
Subscriber
Dan A

Maybe you’d prefer this delightful fantasy of the adjacent road?
comment image

Chris I
Guest
Chris I

Someone is going to get killed in that crosswalk.

BradWagon
Subscriber

Fortunately that crosswalk won’t exist. It’ll be up at the intersection or much more protected and signaled if it does cross scholls ferry into the new housing development.

BradWagon
Subscriber

That is less misleading yes.

Dan A
Subscriber
Dan A

Doesn’t quite line up with this:
comment image

BradWagon
Subscriber

Looking at that image I don’t see any curb buts in the new sidewalk that match the concept drawings location.

I’m not disagreeing with you in principle (it’s a nightmare of an intersection to put a school at)… just that using these examples seems a little nit picky. Of course conceptual renderings look well… unrealistic. Thankful this rezone puts my son at southridge (well if it’s still the same in 13 years) where the only main road he needs to cross is Brockman. This school will be bounded by 6 lane behemoths and will be the worst school in the district for non-car transporation.

Dan A
Subscriber
Dan A

Here’s a rendering for the middle school.
comment image

I don’t think I’m being nitpicky at all. What is the school district doing to make the roads near these schools suitable for walking & biking?

BradWagon
Subscriber

The New Middle School on 118th is a much more reasonable area for a school. Yes they don’t seem to be doing anything to the road to make it more bike / walk friendly but that area is already much better than the new high school as it is. Agree that the cyclists in the rendering are very unrealistic.

Sad thing is that 118th is really just a corner cut of Barnes / Cornell. Would be nice to see it dead end into the school from both directions, eliminating it as a thru street and making it car free right in front of the school.

BradWagon
Subscriber

Actually, lookin at the plan they are adding a lane to Stone Mountain Lane right outside the “Plaza” now kids are bounded by 3 lanes on both sides! Nice.

Dan A
Subscriber
Dan A

That’s what Washington County calls ‘improving’ a road — adding more lanes. I’m glad they have improved the roads around our elementary school.

Dan A
Subscriber
Dan A

Sorry, I mean ‘glad they haven’t‘.

Brifter
Guest
Brifter

That’s fairly typical for a lot of suburban/rural America. The roads have been there longer than most people alive today and bicycles were not a consideration when they were built. The sparse population probably does not provide enough tax money to build bike infrastructure; but the sparse population is what people who live there prefer.

BradWagon
Subscriber

Tweet Translation from French if anyone’s as uncultured as me “A Primary School in the United States”

BradWagon
Subscriber

On a personal opinion note: That is insane.

Bjorn
Guest
Bjorn

The school video was discussed on the shoupistas group, apparently that setup was a trial as they were attempting to prevent the line of cars backing up onto the highway. It didn’t work so they stopped doing it. That school is an elementary school near Charlotte NC.

BradWagon
Subscriber

Wow, yeah that video still shows huge lines down the main road. As an industrial engineer the process frustrates me… haha

BradWagon
Subscriber

Hmm a second look at the school and area seems to show that the only change they made for this test was to route traffic through the parking lot making a bit longer snake. Looks like area has been setup to have drop off traffic perform the main S bend (per 2007 and 2014 street views). You can even see where they gated the old main entrance and added the S bend, parking lot and paved a new long exit road.

To be fair the school draws from a rural area that’s roughly 5 miles by 10 miles in size. No sidewalks anywhere, the nearby high school has as much parking lot as school real estate… although this outward facing circular bus staging concept is an interesting use of space (https://www.google.com/maps/@35.0933833,-80.4913352,193m/data=!3m1!1e3) With so much open rural space how are there not wooded bike paths everywhere?!

John B
Guest
John B

“With so much open rural space how are there not wooded bike paths everywhere?!”

It looks like farmland to me. It would probably be too expensive to buy the land to build the paths. A private landowner wouldn’t want a path on land they still own as that opens them up to lawsuits if someone were to get injured on their land.

Pete
Guest
Pete

That makes sense given how orderly and well-behaved drivers were as opposed to what I regularly witness at the schools I ride by. Thanks for the clarification.

MaxD
Guest
MaxD

Do they not have bus service?

rachel b
Guest
rachel b

My thought too. Does nobody ride the bus anymore? I asked this here once before and I forget the explanation for all the parental chauffeuring in Portland…

resopmok
Guest
resopmok

My understanding is that there is not as much money for buses anymore, though that could simply be an effect instead of a cause (bus funding is cut as more children are driven to school). The other explanation is that there is excessive concern about children’s safety when they aren’t under the direct supervision of an adult, prompting parents to prefer wasting their time by driving their kids rather than sending them on the bus.

BradWagon
Subscriber

I think a huge part of it is the time kids spend on buses in rural areas getting to school. When a bus has to take a long route many of the kids have to get out the door 30 minutes or an hour sooner. A big reason I would love to see a shift from Buses to 12 or 15 passenger vans. Better fuel economy and smaller routes / quicker trip times for kids.

El Biciclero
Guest
El Biciclero

But more drivers to pay for… Would there be enough savings on vehicles/maintenance to offset that? Could a district store an adequate number of smaller buses in the same space they store the big ones?

BradWagon
Subscriber

Driver cost would likely be the biggest inhibitor here. Capacity for a standard bus is on average 54 but I am very skeptical of that high of ridership. I think conservatively you could replace each bus with on average three 15 passenger vans (minus two front seats = 39 seat capacity). May not make sense for suburban areas but for rural routes where ridership is lower and travel is longer a van that gets in the 20’s mpg vs a bus that gets 7 means even an increase in ridership requiring 3 vans would be a wash. Maintenance may be higher on 3 vans vs bus but I’d be surprised if by a significant amount. Length of standard bus is 45 ft vs 22 ft of a vans so would need more space to park but vans would allow for tighter lots and reduce the need for giant turning radius.

Would likely only be a good option for rural schools. Good things cost money, whether it’s through a provided bus service, or the opportunity costs associated with parents driving or time spent on long bus routes. Gotta start making the costs of private transport more tangible to parents.

Vans would help a lot too with activity buses. I can remember taking 40 min rides home with only 10 other kids on a full size school bus after sports practices. I lived 15 minutes from school. Smaller vehicles would just offer so much more flexibility.

Dan A
Subscriber
Dan A

It seems strange to me that schools need to budget for bus transportation. I’d rather see that come straight from city/county budgets.

BradWagon
Subscriber

Yes, current model continues to support the “rich get richer” aspect of demographics between school districts.

Dan A
Subscriber
Dan A

Schools only have to bus children if they live more than 1 mile (elementary school) or 1.5 miles (secondary school). If your route to school is not considered ‘safe’ they will bus children living closer than that, but the district’s definition of ‘safe’ is different than ours. Is there a sidewalk and a signaled intersection? It’s safe! Oh, nevermind that it’s a 5-lane road crossing a highway onramp, there’s a walk light!

BradWagon
Subscriber

Bus service has an entrance on the other side of the school. You can see a few pull through in the video but it does not appear to be busy at all.

Adam
Subscriber

City Council will never vote to remove cars from any streets as long as they all live in the car-dependant West Hills. I wonder how our incoming Commissioner Eudaly is planning on getting to work.

meh
Guest
meh

Who knows how Eudaly gets to work, I want to know how she sleeps. Closing her bookstore the minute she gets that sweet $108K city salary. Would like to know how she plans to make things more affordable for employees that are no longer working.

Gary B
Guest
Gary B

So she complied with a law requiring her to not own the bookstore? I don’t know any of the details about her decision, but I can’t see a rational person closing a business when there was a plausible (potentially profitable) way to transfer ownership. So I’m going to take her statement “I realized that it really cannot stand on its own two feet without me” at face value.

X
Guest
X

So, in Portland, a relatively humble city council person can’t carry on their one-lane bookstore, but in another sphere (licks third rail) it’s another thing entirely

Chris I
Guest
Chris I

It’s because it was barely profitable. I don’t think anyone would have bought it.

B. Carfree
Guest
B. Carfree

It alway pains me to see elected officials show up to meetings and events in cars. It makes it very clear what their perspective is (windshield). How can someone show up to a ride of silence or a climate change protest in a car and be taken seriously?

Middle of the Road Guy
Guest
Middle of the Road Guy

It’s entirely possible they have different demands on/during their workday that makes a bicycle unfeasible.

B. Carfree
Guest
B. Carfree

No doubt that is the case some of the time. All of the time for all meetings? No way.

Carlsson
Guest
Carlsson

How does Novick get to work? He lives in “The West Hills”, but I believe he’s a bus commuter. Could be wrong though…

Eric Leifsdad
Guest
Eric Leifsdad

I think he said he drives down Barbur with his wife. Funny how most people who live on the I5/Barbur corridor (served by at least 5 car lanes in each direction) feel like their “only” option is to drive a car.

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

Or, in this case, a carpool.

Spiffy
Subscriber

How the Dutch to it: “In general, there is no parking on main roads in the Netherlands.”

BradWagon
Subscriber

Also loved this part:

“Roads with multiple lanes no longer serve a purpose in a dense city. In the past, they made it possible to overtake slower vehicles, but nowadays all vehicles are capable to reach the blanket speed limit, (50km/h in Dutch cities) which makes that unnecessary.”

Never thought of it that way, later they mention that it is often intersections that dictate capacity, not road space (cc: ODOT, re: St Johns Bridge).

B. Carfree
Guest
B. Carfree

ODOT knows, so to speak. Traffic engineers take great pains to add even more lanes at the intersections whenever possible so that the throughput per signal time is maximized. Of course this just makes the intersection that much more hazardous, but it’s not like they care about that sort of thing.

Mel K
Guest
Mel K

I see more people using the “protected” bike lanes not knowing what they are. I think if any state government is to implement more of these it might be a good idea to let people know by new reports or something. And in trouble spot have a cop or 2 sit there and watch people use the new bikes lanes as another lane. Example 16th and Marshall (4 way stop).

Spiffy
Subscriber

Santa Cycling: the Dropout Bike Club has Cheer & Socksgiving… but it’s not as big as Milwaukee’s Bike Fed…

https://www.facebook.com/events/976997119073092/

Caitlin D
Subscriber

I would love a big Santa ride in Portland! Thanks, Spiffy, for the link to the Cheer and Socksgiving event.

Todd Boulanger
Guest
Todd Boulanger

Looking at the Oregonian article on rents and income – I agree folks are “biking” further to reach affordable rents but some of the visual relationships in the data may be too simplistic…

…rents in our downtown have increased [mine increased >50% between 2010 and 2015..but the map shows green – this “drop” in proportion of income allocated to rent is due to folks with higher incomes coming into the area again (it happens in waves every 5 years – rippling up from Portland etc.).

rachel b
Guest
rachel b

Re: smog-choked Paris

“Cars 20 years and older have already been banned from Paris roads from July 1, 2016 and some 120,000 stickers have been distributed. But participation in the scheme so far has been voluntary and enforcement scarce.”

How Parisian we are in Portland! “…voluntary and enforcement scarce”…Laissez faire, all the way. Yes. We’ve found that works.

Also laughing over this choice in phrasing:
“as clouds of pollution hang over many European cities due to a lack of the winds that normally blow in off the Atlantic Ocean.”

Yes, yes…clouds of pollution mysteriously choke European cities mainly “due to a lack of the winds…” Evil, evil non-winds, making pollution, as if by magic! Think of the innocent humans! Dammit!

p.s…didn’t this same thing happen last year in Paris? Really lazy reporting by Reuters…

(from the article)
“It is only the fourth time in 20 years that Paris has imposed such a ban and the first time it applies for consecutive days.”

Here’s what they didn’t report. Apparently three of those four bans occurred in the past three years. That’s rather significant and, I think, worth reporting. What with climate change and all.

2015
http://www.latimes.com/world/europe/la-fg-france-paris-smog-20150323-story.html

…and 2014
http://www.latimes.com/world/europe/la-fg-france-paris-smog-20150323-story.html

rachel b
Guest
rachel b

oops–wrong second link. Here’s the right one:

http://www.economist.com/blogs/charlemagne/2014/03/car-ban-french-capital

Mike
Guest
Mike

Countries worldwide are finding it increasingly hard to solve even their most basic problems and address their most pressing needs. IQs worldwide have been declining for the last 40-odd years, and, in America, life expectancy, already low, is beginning to fall even further.

Can’t help but feel there’s a natural plan in all this. Is Mother Nature prepping humanity for extinction? Will the Big One eliminate Portland’s never ending housing and congestion problems in a brief five minutes?

Stay tuned.

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

I’m going to guess that after the Big One, Portland’s housing problems are going to be A LOT bigger.

soren
Guest
soren

recent peer-reviewed scientific publications suggest that the consequences of anthropogenic climate change will make the big one look like a 1950s era suburban bridge party. i also find it darkly and painfully comical that the USA is about to adopt policy with the explicit goal of emiting more GHGs.

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

We’ll see what policies come out of the White House, and what their impact will be, but you’re on target in being deeply apprehensive about the consequences of climate change.

soren
Guest
soren

trump’s picks for his administration telegraph truly awful policy when it comes to climate change..

B. Carfree
Guest
B. Carfree

About a dozen years ago there was a hypothesis that climate change, with its resultant rise in sea levels, would cause a rash of big earthquakes. I don’t know what the status of that hypothesis is today, but it sure seems like we have seen a lot more large quakes along the Pacific plate in recent years.

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

More than the normally high numbers?

BradWagon
Subscriber

Actually, lookin at the plan they are adding a lane to Stone Mountain Lane right outside the “Plaza” now kids are bounded by 3 lanes on both sides! Nice.

BradWagon
Subscriber

Whoops, reply to Dan A regarding middle school.

Dave
Guest
Dave

That elementary school is a missed opportunity for some cops to set up an ambush/sting and probably write a truckload of tickets for cell phone use while driving.