Support BikePortland - Journalism that Matters

The Monday Roundup: Hairdryers, the folly of “fixing congestion”, Sweden’s bike-friendly apartments, and more

Posted by on February 27th, 2017 at 9:38 am

Ominous cloud: In what appears to be the most tangible impact so far of Trump’s influence on infrastructure, his administration has cancelled a project that was set to electrify a popular commuter rail line in the California bay area.

DIY anti-speeding trick: A town in Scotland has happened upon a novel method of cracking down on fast drivers: Hairdryers.

Don’t widen roads. Please: As Oregon appears set for another road-widening binge, it’s worth brushing up on your reading about why this method of “congestion relief” is a bad idea. We came across two great explainers this week: One from The Plaza Perspective and one from Driving.ca.

More housing = less congestion?: As Portland girds for freeway widening debates, it’s time to consider the link between congestion and the lack of affordable housing.

No to red light cams: As Portland expands its automated enforcement programs we’re watching how other states handle the issue. In Florida, a place with the worst road safety record in the nation, a ban on red light cameras is moving forward.

Truck speeds: Another thing we’re following is ODOT’s puzzling interest in raising truck speed limits from 55 to 60 mph while research shows it will lead to more deaths and injuries.

Advertisement

Carifornia: Looks like California — a state that, like Oregon, likes to bank on its eco-friendly reputation — is clueless and carheaded when it comes to transportation (also like Oregon).

Idling engines are the Devil’s playthings: I get peeved at all the people who stare at their phones while idling in traffic or a parking space — so I was glad to see some research aimed at changing that behavior via a Jedi mind trick.

‘OhBoy’ is right: The “bicycle house” apartment building in Malmö was built with complete bicycle access in mind. Take a tour via Copenhagenize.com.

New energy source, same old shit: Why don’t we get excited about electric cars? Because for all their environmental benefits, they do nothing to improve road safety. And despite all the additional subsidies they take from taxpayers, the people who make EVs glorify the same dangerous behaviors that gas-guzzlers have displayed for decades.

It works: Seattle successfully tamed one of its major arterials by simply re-striping the lanes in a way very similar to what PBOT has planned for SE Foster.

Transit matters: Streetsblog shares new numbers that tell the story of how transit ridership is down in most U.S. cities — except where significant investments were made in bus service. (Hi TriMet, we’re waiting.)

— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and jonathan@bikeportland.org

BikePortland is supported by the community (that means you!). Please become a subscriber or make a donation today.

NOTE: We love your comments and work hard to ensure they are welcoming of all perspectives. Disagreements are encouraged, but only if done with tact and respect. BikePortland is an inclusive company with no tolerance for discrimination or harassment including expressions of racism, sexism, homophobia, or xenophobia. If you see a mean or inappropriate comment, please contact us and we'll take a look at it right away. Also, if you comment frequently, please consider holding your thoughts so that others can step forward. Thank you — Jonathan

116
Leave a Reply

avatar
19 Comment threads
97 Thread replies
0 Followers
 
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
28 Comment authors
PetewsbobDan AlopDavid Hampsten Recent comment authors
  Subscribe  
newest oldest most voted
Notify of
Teddy
Guest
Teddy

I hear Oregon reached peak car registration in 2004, but yet, ODOT still wants to widen the Interstates. I sometimes wish I-205 was 4 lanes wide in each direction and 3 lanes wide south of Oregon City, but it is too late for that. I do not see how ODOT can widen the Interstates without causing more traffic backups and Eminent Domain.

9watts
Subscriber

That piece about building housing reducing congestion is pretty iffy. He points to all kinds of interesting and subtle relationships that are good to keep in mind, but the headline is misleading. Without caps (on people, on gasoline sold, etc.) it is foolish to predict declines in key parameters that we recognize as coupled to these trends. Growth is our religion. As long as we refuse to quit that habit we’re going to be disappointed.

9watts
Subscriber

Criticizing the electric car predictably ruffles plenty of feathers, upsets the liberal orthodoxy that seeks, celebrates, & defends solutions to our large societal problems which leave our lifestyles basically intact. Most people I’ve met don’t have a stomach for the kind of disruption we’re steering toward, prefer to deny it (sometimes angrily) by lashing out at, for instance, critics of EVs.

rachel b
Guest
rachel b

I am buying a black hair dryer today.

9watts
Subscriber

Hey, how come the reply/nesting function in the comments has been curtailed? Two levels is all we get?! That isn’t a good move/smart place to save in my view.

BradWagon
Subscriber

The center turn lane restriping is desperately needed along SW Allen in Beaverton. It’s a 4 lane speedway with horrible sidewalks, no center turn lane, and no bike lanes. That it cuts through mostly residential areas and in front of a school makes the design nearly criminal. Very few places for Peds to cross and feels dangerous even driving with no center turn lanes and a curb hugging the right hand lane.

4 lanes & grass strip need to become 2 lanes with center turn lane and grade seperated bike lanes.

Matthew in Portsmouth
Guest
Matthew in Portsmouth

Re: road congestion. I may be insane, but if we keep doing the same thing over and over again, eventually we’ll get a different result.

9watts
Subscriber

Hello, Kitty: no one is going to rip up highways….

Hm.

Harbor Drive?
the Head of the Iowa Dept of Transportation a few years ago (Monday Roundup) disagreed with you; he said we’d one day soon run out funds to pay to maintain the highway grid we already have, never mind the expansion on the books.

9watts
Subscriber

Hello, Kitty: “Muscle power just doesn’t work for a large segment of society. It works for you and for me, and that’s great, but it simply doesn’t for too many.”

It is easy to dispense platitudes like this from our office chairs in 2017, but perhaps you’d agree that for 99% of human history muscle power in fact did work for everyone. We didn’t have the expectations a century of fossil fuels have habituated us to, but this is circular – physical resources, infrastructure, political priorities, not to mention global inequality are required to translate our sense of entitlement vis-a-vis transportation into cheap gas and ubiquitous automobility. The whole edifice is massively fragile, and once it goes, our sense of entitlement—our attitude that muscle power simply won’t cut it—will blow away as quickly as cheap gas on ever corner.

9watts
Subscriber

I don’t think that phrase means what you think it means –
kick the can down the road
phrase of kick

1.
US informal
put off confronting a difficult issue or making an important decision, typically on a continuing basis.

lop
Guest
lop

Some of those bus improvements were done in Portland decades ago.

http://humantransit.org/2012/08/portland-the-grid-is-30-thank-a-planner.html

9watts
Subscriber

An end to pronatalism would be a start.
The obvious answer to your question would be to have no kids at all. That sounds harsh, absurd, ahistorical, and just about everything else, but a Malthusian dieoff would by most all accounts be far worse.

The math is not hard; what is hard is coming to terms with the possibility that it all could go very badly.

Plenty of smart people understand this, but our system rewards those who take your advise and—take your pick—kick the can down the road, play ostrich, put their hands over their eyes and shout you can’t see me!, or smear honey in our ears.

Trikeguy
Guest
Trikeguy

soren
and then there are people like me who maintain that adopting a carbon negative lifestyle is a moral imperative* have come to believe that EVs represent a necessary tool in our quest to move away from the current global tragedy of the commons (based on evidence including LCAs that account for manufacturing, use, and grid maintenance) .
*and transportation choices are only one aspect of this. our food choices, housing choices, and consumption choices also matter greatly.
Recommended 0

Unfortunately my trike’s engine is not entirely emissions free – just ask my girl friend 🙂

Ted Buehler
Guest

On the hairdryer trick —

1) Downtown Macy’s is closing. I was there a week ago, mannequins were in the $75 range. Buy one, move it around your neighborhood every few days with a different hairdryer.

2) Or, make a “scarecrow” with a hair dryer. Out of plywood, wire and straw, whatever works.

I’d like to see a crowd of scarecrows and hair dryers on our streets…

Ted Buehler

Joseph
Guest
Joseph

Hi Jonathan,

Slight correction about the last item on your list. You said bus ridership improved in cities with “significant investments in bus service.”

Seattle may have made such an investment, I know they have passed (the city and Sound Transit) a few ballot measures to raise the sales tax (city-wide and in the Sound Transit jurisdiction) to fund transit service expansion. The bus service increase that the article is talking about is the City of Seattle buying extra service from Metro.

As for New York, Detroit, and Milwaukee, I’m not sure about their investments.

Houston, however, did not make any investment. All they did was restructure their network to the form of a grid to make it easier to make crosstown trips (something that the Trimet bus system already does). They also focused more on high ridership routes versus coverage routes.

Jarrett Walker worked on the Houston network redesign, and he states that it was done without increasing operating cost. You can read about it here:

http://humantransit.org/2014/05/houston-a-transit-network-reimagined.html

Just wanted to say that the “significant investments” bit is misleading. Also, according to Trimet, service is at least at pre-recession levels:

http://news.trimet.org/2015/06/trimet-restores-max-frequent-service-on-weekends-beginning-sunday-june-7/

I’m a regular reader of your blog and enjoy your coverage of local transportation issues. Cheers! And happy Monday.

B. Carfree
Guest
B. Carfree

I had to laugh at the apparent surprise that Gov. Jerry Brown is a motorhead. During his first two terms, long ago, one of his claims to fame was his dedication to the Dodge car that he had taken out of the state motor pool. More recently, he vetoed a three-foot passing law for motorists overtaking cyclists, twice, before finally signing a very watered-down version.

Jerry just hates bikes. I don’t know why and it is contrary to other values he appears to hold, but it’s there. Perhaps growing up in SoCal back during the car boom of the ’50’s had an impact on him.

wsbob
Guest
wsbob

“New energy source, same old shit: Why don’t we get excited about electric cars? Because for all their environmental benefits, they do nothing to improve road safety. …” bikeportland

I think most people that buy an electric car, or a hybrid, which is semi-electric, are driving them moderately, because they’re looking to extend the car’s range and mileage. High speed performance of electric cars, is I think, mostly a marketing gimmick. The marketing claims of power that electric cars can have to a limited extent, might have a buyer feel less bad about having a car some people might regard as wimpy, but I think they may be driving those cars, worst case…no faster than any gas powered cars they buy.

Still have to generate the energy to power electric cars, somewhere, but it’s kind of nice having that happen miles away, instead of right out of a tail pipe in traffic where I’m trying to breathe while using the road.

Stephen Keller
Guest
Stephen Keller

Hello, Kitty
What do automated electric buses give you that automated electric taxis don’t?

More passengers per square meter of roadway.

lop
Guest
lop

http://www.kgw.com/news/local/experimental-stop-sign-in-pearl-district-frustrates-drivers/416338889

http://i.imgur.com/t8RwtQO.jpg

KGW doesn’t like the new stop sign, and completely ignores the SUV with a tinted plate cover blocking the bike lane during the whole segment.