Urban Tribe - Ride with your kids in front.

The Monday Roundup: Best carfree cities, school choice and mode choice, helmet law repeal, tolling, and more

Posted by on March 13th, 2017 at 3:21 pm

This week’s Monday Roundup is sponsored by The Bike Index, the nonprofit tool and community that has recovered thousands of stolen bikes.

Here are the best stories we came across last week…

Doing it right: Former (that’s important) Bicycling Magazine editor-in-chief absolutely laid into the infamous cycling “Rules” kept by Velominati.

Paying to drive fixes congestion: This NY Times column argues that all the technology in the auto world won’t solve congestion. The only thing that will is making driving more expensive.

Bikeway widening: Instead of widening auto-only highways, smart cities are creating more bike-only “highways.” Berlin is building bike “superhighways” hoping to mimic success of the concept from London.

Car ads kill: A regulatory body in the UK ruled that a Jaguar ad encouraged dangerous driving. We’d love to see similar actions by the US government, but we aren’t holding our breath.

The unpaving movement: Omaha, Nebraska made a bold move to address its street funding shortfall. Instead of repaving projects, they’ve opted for unpaving projects.

The toilet plungers worked: Remember the story we shared earlier this month about the use of toilet plungers as a DIY way to bring attention to the need for a protected a bike lane? It worked.

Mandatory helmet laws are dumb: BikeBiz (UK) reports that Bosnia has become the first-ever country to repeal a mandatory, all-ages helmet law.

Advertise with BikePortland.

Living without a car: Real estate company Redfin used Walk/Transit/Bike Score data to determine the best American cities for living without a car. For some reason Portland didn’t even make the list.

Blaming victim advocates: A lawyer in Brooklyn laughed off a plea deal for the man who hit and killed a bicycle rider, saying the 15-year prison sentence was politically motivated by, “Vision Zero, the bicyclist lobby, the advocates.”

More school choice, less mode choice: Too many people driving kids to school is a huge problem nationwide and school choice policies make it worse.

Blacks, Latinos, and fear: Important reading from the Better Bike Share Partnership explores research on how fears of racial profiling manifests in the decision to bike or not among Blacks and Latinos.

Wednesday Night Spins: In Crystal City, Virgnia a new weekly racing series has taken off. The appeal? A chance to race in a large group on the smooth concrete of a multi-level parking garage.

Better streets, faster: The City of Boston has a new program that empowers neighborhood residents to organize and petition for traffic calming projects. The hope is improvements will happen much quicker if the City can hit the ground running.

Staying in front of AV hysteria: Some good advice for cities grappling to stay ahead of corporations and lobbyists that want autonomous vehicles to become the mode of choice in urban areas.

Parking in bike lanes: It seems like an intracable problem, but advocates in the Washington D.C. area might have found a good way to tackle it: a combination of ParkingDirty.com, traffic-cams, and crowdsourced data-gathering.

— 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 productive, considerate, and welcoming of all perspectives. Disagreements are encouraged, but only if done with tact and respect. If you see a mean or inappropriate comment, please contact us and we'll take a look at it right away. Thank you — Jonathan

75 Comments
  • ejfinneran March 13, 2017 at 3:40 pm

    Another story about congestion pricing: Stockholm started taxing cars driving into the city center in 2007. They saw a reduction in traffic but also childhood asthma rates dropped by 50%.

    http://health.usnews.com/health-care/articles/2017-03-07/city-tax-on-cars-cut-pollution-kids-asthma-risk

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  • Dan A March 13, 2017 at 3:49 pm

    Huge fan of the superhighway plan.

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    • wsbob March 13, 2017 at 5:03 pm

      re; ‘bike superhighways’: Story reports: “…likely be longer than five kilometers (3.1 miles), …”, and “…at least 13 feet wide—or just under 10 feet wide in one-way tracks to allow for safe overtaking. …”. No cars or pedestrians.

      Where in Portland could there be such a thing for biking? Or Beaverton? Portland has its inner city neighborhood land, already staked out and developed for other travel modes. A lane reconfiguration (so called ‘road diet’.) on one of the city’s major thoroughfares, ex; foster, powell, division, hawthorne, burnside, sandy, …doesn’t seem likely, plus, those streets have intersections with a lot of use by people on foot, as well as by people driving.

      Out in Beaverton, or in any city where there remains lots of yet undeveloped land, something like a bike superhighway between existing development and proposed development on the undeveloped land, could theoretically be planned and implemented by the public, the city and developers, prior to development. And it seems to me the South Beaverton development in progress out on Scholls Ferry Rd, was in a perfect position to do this some several years back. Possibly might have been able to counter some of the inevitable motor vehicle related congestion this development is sure to produce.

      Didn’t happen. Orenco to Tanasbourne might have been a location for a bike superhighway too. Also didn’t happen,

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      • 9watts March 13, 2017 at 5:31 pm

        You’re funny.
        “Where in Portland could there be such a thing for biking? Or Beaverton? Portland has its inner city neighborhood land, already staked out and developed for other travel modes.”

        Do you think Berlin was planned out yesterday, didn’t have it’s space already allocated? By the standards of European cities, cities like Portland and Beaverton have probably three or four times more room already allocated for transportation than they ever did (Georges-Eugène Haussmann notwithstanding).

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        • Hello, Kitty
          Hello, Kitty March 13, 2017 at 5:38 pm

          Many grand European cities have wide boulevards that make our comparatively narrow streets look like dark alleyways.

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          • 9watts March 13, 2017 at 5:46 pm

            That was the reason for my hat tip to Haussmann. But those boulevards are exceptions.

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            • Hello, Kitty
              Hello, Kitty March 13, 2017 at 5:50 pm

              The article says the new bike highways will be along abandoned rail beds and perhaps under existing bahn tracks, and the photo shows one along what appears to be a very wide street. Until I learn otherwise, I think Berlin’s plan would not work in Portland, at least not until UPRR picks up and leaves town.

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              • David Hampsten March 13, 2017 at 6:51 pm

                Minneapolis also developed its bike system using abandoned RR lines. Portland has a few – Red Electric, Springwater, Burnside east of 90th (now used by MAX), but nothing like Midwestern or east coast cities which often have many unused or abandoned RR rights-of-way. You might also consider underused Interstate corridors, like I-205 or the abandoned I-80 (Division St).

                Personally, my preferred alignment for an east-west corridor would be along Division. For inner Division, no on-street parking; BRT-only on the center lanes; local access only for cars (to park in driveways); in tight ROW areas, bikes share lane with local-access car traffic. For outer Division beyond 80th, parking-protected bike lanes when needed in certain commercial districts, but otherwise no on-street parking, a continuous 2-way protected bikeway on both sides of the street, plus two lanes traffic on 10-foot lanes and a 10-foot wide turn lane, and barrier crossings at least every 630 feet, with barriers in between lanes too.

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              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty March 13, 2017 at 6:54 pm

                Given the (relatively) recent build-out of inner Division, I see no prospect of bike facilities there.

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              • David Hampsten March 13, 2017 at 6:58 pm

                Do you have a preferred alternative?

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              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty March 13, 2017 at 7:00 pm

                No — I see neither the willpower nor money to do any radical re-purposing of city streets.

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              • 9watts March 13, 2017 at 7:05 pm

                Of course you’re right – as far as that goes – but how do you explain the money and willpower in these other places?

                It is curious, this shrug that enters the conversation here fairly regularly. Fortunately for us, some people in our past didn’t just shrug but demanded we do things differently, reprioritize, ask ourselves the tough questions.

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              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty March 13, 2017 at 7:07 pm

                Popular demand is what builds willpower and generates money. I don’t see that here; I see exactly the opposite. Even Berlin is pursuing “low cost” (to the status quo) options; they are not re-purposing major roads or anything like what would be required to do something similar in Portland.

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              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty March 13, 2017 at 7:09 pm

                Unless, of course, you count greenways as being an almost-there solution.

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          • 9watts March 13, 2017 at 5:49 pm

            As for comparatively narrow, I beg to differ.
            We here in the US have opted to stuff rows of immobile motor vehicles down both sides of many of our streets, chopping off half or more of their transportationally usable width. But I’d submit that that is a matter of policy and priority rather than a matter of street width.

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            • Hello, Kitty
              Hello, Kitty March 13, 2017 at 5:52 pm

              Most streets in Germany have on-street parking, and areas that are particularly parking constrained have large parking garages. Germans drive plenty.

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              • 9watts March 13, 2017 at 6:01 pm

                All true, but the fact remains that the *standard* lane width on surface streets in German cities is *much* narrower than it is in the US.

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              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty March 13, 2017 at 6:12 pm

                I don’t care about the average in the US… what matters is our local infrastructure. Where can we build something like these bike highways in Portland?

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              • David Hampsten March 13, 2017 at 6:30 pm

                Never mind the space, where’s the money going to come from? these things ain’t cheap. London is spending $1 billion and Berlin is spending at least 320 million Euros. The entire PBOT budget is no more than $250 million in any given year, including for personnel, and only a tiny portion goes to bike/ped stuff.

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              • 9watts March 13, 2017 at 6:44 pm

                Priorities. The Brits and Germans don’t spend all their money on the military.

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              • David Hampsten March 13, 2017 at 6:53 pm

                Very true. They let the Americans do it instead. Very cost-effective.

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              • 9watts March 13, 2017 at 6:54 pm

                Not sure about the ‘let’ part. I mean we do… but it isn’t as if they asked us to.
                I grew up in Germany, and the daily flyovers of military fighter jets were *not* appreciated.

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              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty March 13, 2017 at 7:14 pm

                If Germany wanted us out, we’d be out.

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              • 9watts March 13, 2017 at 7:16 pm

                That is an easy phrase to toss out. The Okinawans and the Puerto Ricans and about a hundred other country’s populations have been trying for decades, to not much avail. I’m not at all sure why you are so confident in this instance.

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              • 9watts March 13, 2017 at 7:22 pm

                “Where can we build something like these bike highways in Portland?”

                How about we start by taking a lane from Hawthorne Blvd in each direction? And from Sandy and Foster and Barbur and Powell and Chavez and 82nd and Lombard and MLK and …..

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              • David Hampsten March 13, 2017 at 7:30 pm

                Would you recommend taking out the parking lanes on each side, to create parking-protected bike lanes? Or taking out the center two lanes and restricting left turns, to create 18-30 foot bike spaces?

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              • 9watts March 13, 2017 at 7:35 pm

                Those are good questions. The details matter, and we should wrestle with those, but if you ask me, here, right now – I’m not sure.
                What I do know is that—if we knew what was good for us—we wouldn’t spend another dime on cars-only infrastructure, start the process of wholesale conversion of our current infrastructure to a post fossil fuel, post motorized transport system.
                I know…ridiculous. Plenty of naysayers, detractors, mopes.

                But the discussion of how to do this should start immediately and we should throw everything we’ve got at it, involve everyone, crowdsource the best ideas, implement them locally, with local materials and labor. What could we lose?

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              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty March 13, 2017 at 7:45 pm

                Actually, inner Hawthorne (39th to 12th, maybe to the river) might work, but doesn’t really go anywhere on the E end. Your other suggestions are fantasy. A nice one, but a fantasy nonetheless.

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              • 9watts March 13, 2017 at 7:47 pm

                The difficult we do right now; the impossible just takes a little longer.

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              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty March 13, 2017 at 7:47 pm

                RE Okinawa — many Okinawans want our bases out, but a good many want us to stay (good jobs, big economic impact). The real factor is that Japan clearly wants us to stay, particularly in Okinawa, which is conveniently distant from the mainland.

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              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty March 13, 2017 at 7:49 pm

                On Hawthorne, I’d take out one or two travel lanes, no question. It would make the street much safer to cross.

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              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty March 13, 2017 at 7:52 pm

                RE Getting started: Probably the only way to move such a program forward is to get someone to win a seat on Council running on that agenda. It would need at least one, probably two people with a clear mandate (and probably at least some mayoral support) to push changes like that through.

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              • wsbob March 13, 2017 at 8:13 pm

                “On Hawthorne, I’d take out one or two travel lanes, no question. It would make the street much safer to cross.” Hello, Kitty March 13, 2017 at 7:49 pm

                As Portland neighborhood community planning stands…lots of low story housing, single family dwellings, employment far away…the city couldn’t well do that because a road like Hawthorne serves a lot of out of neighborhood commuter traffic. The road needs those lanes to avoid the stop and go traffic that just a single lane in each direction would produce.

                If it was just local traffic…people driving back and forth from Downtown to the neighborhood, taking out two of the four main travel lanes to create a bike superhighway, might pass approval because the distance people traveled, driving, wouldn’t be so great that some stop and go on Hawthorne would be too difficult to deal with.

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              • 9watts March 13, 2017 at 9:05 pm

                “The road needs those lanes to avoid the stop and go traffic that just a single lane in each direction would produce. ”

                You’re forgetting that those people now habitually putting their right feet to the pedal wouldn’t be doing that anymore but (in my scenario to which Hello, Kitty was responding) would be putting both their feet on the pedals on that bike superhighway. Induced demand and all that.

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              • wsbob March 13, 2017 at 9:06 pm

                “…what matters is our local infrastructure. Where can we build something like these bike highways in Portland?” h kitty

                Yes, the infrastructure Portland and other cities in this area have, is a very important consideration relating to the question of where these b-super (my abbrev for bike superhighways) can be built.

                The description in the article, of what they are, is important and exciting, basically: at least 10′-13′ wide, three and a half or more miles long, and not people on foot or cars. A bike facility like that in Portland’s close-in neighborhoods would be a radical departure from any currently existing bike infrastructure in town.

                It would support mph speeds of 20 mph easily, maybe faster, with few stops in between. For example, from way out on 82nd to Downtown, that could be quite a fast trip on a bike. If it weren’t the multi-use path it is, the Springwater Corridor trail might be closest, but still a long stretch from it…to what a bike superhighway in Portland might be.

                Big problem in our area, I think: very, very few people even think to seriously envision such a facility anywhere in the tri-county area. Got to dream first before there’s a chance of realizing something much better.

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              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty March 13, 2017 at 10:21 pm

                I am highly skeptical that making driving more painful will meaningfully increase bicycle mode share. People need to want to ride; they can’t be forced into it.

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              • 9watts March 13, 2017 at 10:24 pm

                “People need to want to ride; they can’t be forced into it.”

                On May 21, 2011, the people of Joplin, Missouri didn’t think they would stand for their town blowing away either. Or the Cubans, when their Soviet oil unexpectedly stopped flowing. Sometimes we face situations that run counter to what we think we’d settle for. And unlike the Cubans or residents of Joplin we can see this one coming.

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            • Pete March 13, 2017 at 7:13 pm

              True dat. Barcelona is a city that I think does diagonals right: put surface rail in the middle, then cycle tracks, then sidewalks, then two car lanes, then sidewalks again on the building sides – all with appropriate grade separations. Then supplement connecting roads for cars with car-free boulevards (with trees, playgrounds, and seating in the middle).

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            • wsbob March 13, 2017 at 7:50 pm

              “Never mind the space, where’s the money going to come from? these things ain’t cheap. …” David Hampsten March 13, 2017 at 6:30 pm

              Lack of space on the road for motor vehicle travel, could gradually become the big factor in people being willing to pay for the major expense that building a bike superhighway in Portland may represent. Once that happens, the money becomes secondary. Portland’s SE, NE and N close in neighborhoods to Downtown to me seem like the best candidates for one of these b-supers.

              Washington County, could be and seems to me, should be planning these b-supers. Much easier to do out here than in Portland. There should be one between Beaverton and Aloha, Orenco, South Cooper Mtn (could use a tunnel $$$), and Hillsboro. I realize it would cost a lot of money to do these type of projects, even in the comparatively undeveloped urban land in this county, but that people out here don’t seem to even be considering such ideas, kind of has me wondering.

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            • wsbob March 15, 2017 at 12:08 am

              “I am highly skeptical that making driving more painful will meaningfully increase bicycle mode share. People need to want to ride; they can’t be forced into it….” Hello, Kitty March 13, 2017 at 10:21 pm

              People need also to be able to ride, for them to seriously consider riding. Of the people reading here, I wonder how many of them have family members currently driving, that would, or could start riding instead, if say the motor vehicle capacity of all practical road routes they are able to use for their daily travel needs, traveling with their motor vehicle, was cut by half; example: four lane roads/two main lanes in each direction…reduced to just a single lane in each direction.

              It can be a hard reality to grapple with, but people’s ability to ride is affected by age and/or infirmity. As I’m often inclined to mention, community planning is another big reason that for many people, biking isn’t a realistic option.

              The ‘bike superhighway’, is a very appealing idea though, in some ways. Out near the Columbia River, the Marine Dr. bike path seems like it might be located in enough of a right of way, yet undeveloped, upon which a 13′ wide bike super might be built…but that’s more or less out in the sticks…what could it connect with? Troutdale to Vancouver? That shopping center where ikea is?

              Closer to Downtown is where a bike super H could really be helpful. Here’s a way to spoil some people’s plans: cover I-405, passing from NW through SW, as has been talked about for some time now, but instead of or in addition to a lot of nice housing, shops, business space, parks…put a bike super H on the freeway cover.

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          • wsbob March 13, 2017 at 6:04 pm

            “Many grand European cities have wide boulevards …” h kitty

            And your meaning in writing this is? Originally, I intended to write that the article linked here in the roundup, about Berlin’s plan for bike superhighways, was slim on details, but then I changed my mind about saying this, thinking other people reading might have some ideas as to how Berlin is going about the plan:

            …the routes planned for the bike superhighways, what type of districts they’re planned to pass through, and who and how they’ll serve the people living within and at each end of the ‘bike superhighways’. Also, what is the population density of the area of the city the bike road passes through, and what is the volume of motor vehicle use on adjoining streets. The article might have addressed some of those things, which could in turn have given a better idea of how well this type infrastructure can be expected to serve the travel needs of people in Berlin.

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        • David Hampsten March 13, 2017 at 6:19 pm

          Berlin is a relatively “new” city by European standards. Although founded in the 1400s, it didn’t really grow until the 1600s and 1700s when it was the capital of a highly militaristic society, Prussia. It was built to accommodate marching soldiers, traffic to and from factories, etc, with very wide boulevards. Add to that the city was largely razed in 1944-5 and rebuilt to “modern” standards afterwards, as were numerous other German, Polish, and Russian cities, as well as London, Rotterdam, and some other industrial cities, there’s a long list of major cities in Europe than can accommodate such bike superhighways. And then again, there quite a few cities that are still densely packed and that weren’t alas ravaged by WWII bombing, and thus can’t easily build such bikeways without substantial investment in tunnels and elevated roads, such as for example Rome, Lyon, Madrid, etc.

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          • Stephan March 13, 2017 at 8:53 pm

            Aside from being totally unrealistic given current transportation priorities — do we really need bike superhighways here? I use greenways for my daily commute and they get me pretty quickly where I need to go.

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            • 9watts March 13, 2017 at 9:06 pm

              “current transportation priorities ”

              whose priorities are we talking about? And are they long for this world?

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              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty March 13, 2017 at 10:14 pm

                You know, the general population. If you took a poll of people in, say SE Portland about whether they wanted to turn traffic lanes on Powell into bike superhighways, what percentage do you think would support the idea? Ignoring all those who use the facility but live elsewhere, of course.

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              • 9watts March 13, 2017 at 10:16 pm

                You answered my first question. How about the second?

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              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty March 13, 2017 at 10:22 pm

                Yes, probably most of them are.

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            • wsbob March 14, 2017 at 1:56 am

              Do U.S. cities need such a thing? Don’t know if a city like Portland needs one, but the availability of something like the article describes, would eliminate the motor vehicles, people on foot, running, jogging, pets, that a lot of people biking or thinking about biking seem to feel is a major drawback to this mode of travel. Plus, they would be spacious, and single direction. And they could connect central parts of town with fast, efficient travel by bike.

              When I read ‘bike superhighway’, what comes to my mind, in terms of what the city may need, or could use to ease traffic congestion, is in the best sense of the word, the equivalent for biking, of a highway like Hwy 26 before it became the congested mess it is today. Something for biking that could provide for point to point 20mph uninterrupted travel by bike, in town. If that’s what Berlin is able to do, it sounds like a very interesting idea.

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            • Dan A March 14, 2017 at 6:58 am

              I’m sure greenways are great for those who have access to them. I’m picturing longer connectors to make cycling more attractive to those who don’t. I don’t think would have started bike commuting without the Hwy 26 MUP — the alternatives are considerably more dangerous.

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      • Fourknees March 13, 2017 at 9:49 pm

        Probably not going to happen, but another tunnel (like the MAX) through the west hills from Portland to Beaverton for bike/ped only would be awesome.

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        • Chad March 14, 2017 at 8:04 am

          Such a facility could be awesome and incredibly useful. More likely, it would soon make the Springwater encampments look like Club Med in comparison. I can’t imagine the safety and security nightmare a tunnel like that would become.

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      • Mark smith March 14, 2017 at 8:47 pm

        I checked a map. There are roads everywhere. Turn one side of it into a bike superhighway. Pretty straight forward.

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  • GlowBoy March 13, 2017 at 3:49 pm

    “For some reason Portland didn’t even make the list.”

    My guess: they analyzed average bike, walk and transit scores for the entire city. No doubt, Central Portland would have scored very high on the list and easily broken the top ten. But once you start including places like the West Hills, SW Portland from Burlingame and Hillsdale on down to the Sylvania area, and the vast annexed area east of 82nd, you will see much lower scores for many of those areas.

    Those neighborhoods are also part of Portland. A lot of people live there, and way too many of them lack safe access to amenities by foot, bike and transit. I don’t think it’s any secret – at least on this website – that Portland needs to work on this.

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  • Adam H.
    Adam H. March 13, 2017 at 4:03 pm

    For some reason Portland didn’t even make the list [of the best American cities for living without a car]

    Not at all surprising. Living car-free in Portland is a significant challenge – especially if one has to rely on TriMet. Buses are infrequent and don’t connect well. And the low density of Portland’s neighborhoods outside the city center means that there are usually only a handful of places to walk to from home. Major streets such as Powell, 82nd, etc. create significant barriers to all forms of transportation except driving.

    Cycling in Portland is better than most American cities, but walking and public transport are far, far worse than any other American city I’ve seen.

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    • rachel b March 13, 2017 at 4:45 pm

      I’ve found it’s pretty easy, if you live downtown or close-in. Not always convenient, but pretty easy. Harder if you have kids, of course.

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  • 9watts March 13, 2017 at 4:10 pm

    velominati – list – doing it wrong?
    Who are these clowns?
    I get the impression US cycling is still stuck in the recreational phase or this wouldn’t cause such a stir.

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    • Hello, Kitty
      Hello, Kitty March 13, 2017 at 4:27 pm

      Those “rules” were quite obviously not meant for anyone who rides without a shirt covered in advertisements.

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    • hotrodder March 13, 2017 at 5:26 pm

      HTFU!!!

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      • Pete March 13, 2017 at 6:37 pm

        Peter Flax has no respect for the V. I bet he wears tall socks!

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  • Mossby Pomegranate March 13, 2017 at 5:41 pm

    “Helmet laws are dumb”…yeah maybe, but discouraging people from simple things that could save their lives is also dumb.

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    • Hello, Kitty
      Hello, Kitty March 13, 2017 at 8:16 pm

      Who is discouraging helmet use?

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    • 9watts March 13, 2017 at 8:18 pm

      repealing a (widely recognized to be counterproductive) law = discouraging helmet use?
      That seems kind of like a questionable claim to me. Does it actually work that way?

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    • Dan A March 14, 2017 at 6:59 am

      We should mandate eating more garlic.

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    • Dave March 14, 2017 at 8:00 am

      If enough people who vote had fallen off their bikes without helmets, then Trump might really have won the popular vote!

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    • Dan A March 14, 2017 at 12:12 pm

      “discouraging people from simple things that could save their lives is also dumb”

      I agree with this. Discouraging people from riding bikes is dumb. Which is exactly what helmet laws do.

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  • Champs March 13, 2017 at 6:24 pm

    How many times do I have to sigh about The Rules?

    You’ll get by better in society than knowing the beatitudes of the Bible and Quran than not, and the same goes for your new Cat 5 license, The Rules, and a marked course. Zealots can take anything too far, but that doesn’t discredit the entire work.

    These are the guidelines inside which we choose to draw and color (or not). The point is not that your picture look like Papa Smurf or Smurfette, but that it isn’t Gargamel.

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    • GlowBoy March 13, 2017 at 9:19 pm

      Somehow I’ve managed to survive quite fine, even being a bit of a bike nut for nearly 20 years, without hearing of the Velominati or that they had written down a list formally called The Rules. Like Champs, I have to just shake my head and sigh.

      Don’t get me wrong: I’m not ignorant of these rules. I’ve encountered them and been ridiculed for their violation many times. Never once have I changed my behavior because someone told me I was “doing it wrong” (unless I actually was). A favorite example: I’ve been told to wear baggy shorts for mountain biking and Lycra for road riding. But I find the exact opposite works for me: Lycra shorts are less likely to get caught on the nose of my saddle while mountain biking. And baggy shorts have pockets that let me carry my stuff in my shorts on road/street rides, instead of a special shirt with pockets in the back, and also allow me to not look like an obvious cycler at my destination.

      Favorite example #2: on Cycle Oregon, my wife put streamers on her handlebars and brightly colored plastic doodads on her spokes. One road rider who clearly had “The Rules” nailed looked down his hose and her bike and with a straight face sniffed, “that’s not very aero.”

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      • Gary B March 14, 2017 at 9:21 am

        Someday I hope to have an experience like your wife’s. I’ll let the other rider know to HTFU as he’s suddenly dismounted from his fabulously stylish bike.

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      • oliver March 14, 2017 at 9:53 am

        Not everyone is as humorless as they look.

        “That’s not very aero” sounds exactly like something i would say.

        But that humor would be pointed inward, not ridiculing someone for doing it wrong, but in the self reflective stance that I’m wearing 500 dollars worth of uncomfortable multicolored stinky technical bicycle clothing and someone else is having just as much fun (or more) and at the end of the day will be getting to the same destination that I am.

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        • GlowBoy March 14, 2017 at 2:55 pm

          I was there, saw the guy’s face, heard the tone in his voice.

          It’s possible that the person who said that had some internal cognitive dissonance about that, but they certainly did not reveal it. The tone was clearly one of condescension, maybe combined with a bit of bafflement that anyone on a 350 mile ride would do something un-aero.

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  • Craig Giffen March 14, 2017 at 12:02 am

    I didn’t even know there was a thing called “The Rules”, but good lord…this is why I could never take up road biking in a group. It is like high school again, but on bikes!

    I remember doing the Summit to Surf ride one year with some friends. I was in pretty good shape then and was on my touring bike and loaded down a bit carrying everyone’s crap. I was also wearing a t-shirt and cutoffs, with a stereo on the back playing the Ramones. I received a few snarky remarks from people, but then it was completely awesome passing them and their expensive bikes during the climb up to Timberline. I ended up being one of the last people in and people were cheering me, but it wasn’t that I had a hard time, it was that I kept stopping at yard sales on the way.

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    • Dave March 14, 2017 at 7:59 am

      Anybody who is riding to a stereo blasting the Ramones is riding according to MY rules!;)

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  • RB March 14, 2017 at 10:58 am

    Re: “The Rules”…lighten up Francis…

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  • q`Tzal March 14, 2017 at 10:42 pm

    Re: plungers –
    Attach a single craft store jingle bell to the top of each.
    Now cheaply provides a unique audible alert to vulnerable road users on impact.

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