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The Monday Roundup: Biking as wonder drug, driving privilege in Charlottesville, bike tax metastasis, and more

Posted by on August 14th, 2017 at 9:33 am

This week’s Monday Roundup is brought to you by Chrome Industries, who recently moved their headquarters to Portland and they’ll celebrate by having a Warehouse Sale with deep discounts on last season/sample bags, apparel and footwear. Sales runs 8/18 – 8/20 at old Shleifer builder at 224 SE 2nd Ave.

Welcome to Monday. Before we start another big week, let’s not forget the most interesting stories from the past seven days…

Driving privilege and racism in America: Transportation reformers and racial justice advocates see disturbing parallels between our overly permissive car culture and the accused murderer who intentionally drove his car into a crowd of people protesting against a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville over the weekend.

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Rapha and Walmart: High-end apparel brand Rapha (whose U.S. headquarters are based in Portland) was bought by an investment firm owned by Walmart heirs. Expect big growth from Rapha, don’t expect them to go downmarket.

Cycling is a wonder drug: A UK study found “staggering” health benefits from people who biked to work — as much as a 41 percent lower risk of death compared to people who drove or took public transit to work.

Best bikepacking: The newly minted Oregon Timber Trail made Travel Channel’s list of “10 Best” bikepacking routes in the U.S.

ODOT’s propoganda machine: Joe Cortright over at City Observatory has dismantled the latest ODOT freeway expansion propoganda.

Little thing, big consequence: A jury ordered a Portland business to pay $291,000 because they let a tree grow over a stop sign. A judge ruled their trimming negligence contributed to a traffic fatality.

Velotopia: Our friend and author Steven Fleming imagines what a city would be like if it was built for bicycles from the group up.

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Outside perspective: A British bike blogger spent her holiday biking in Portland with young children and found our bikeway network to be relatively relaxing and low-stress (even after being dinged with $20 fines for locking Biketown out of the service area).

Welcome e-bikes on multi-use paths: WashCycle has a solid defense of electric bikes on non-motorized paths.

Models shmodels: Another reason why Portland’s recent backpedal of its bike commute mode share is wrong-headed: Research showing that “positive utility” of modes — like health for bicycling — isn’t captured in travel demand models.

Bike tax metastasis: That Colorado politician inspired by Oregon’s ill-advised bike tax now sees a similar measure as a way to fund a pre-existing pledge by that state’s governor to raise $100 million for bikeways.

Kabul’s bicycling postman: The NY Times shared a wonderful video-laden story about a man who uses a bicycle to deliver letters on the roads of Kabul, Afghanistan.

More affordable tri-bikes: Tualatin-based A-Squared is a new company that offers a more affordable triathlon bike in an effort to increase participation in that discipline.

Thanks to everyone who sent us recommendations. Don’t forget you can now sign up to receive this Monday Roundup in your inbox.

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

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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. Also, if you comment frequently, please consider holding your thoughts so that others can step forward. Thank you — Jonathan

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Bjorn
Guest
Bjorn

I have never tried to park a biketown outside the service area, is there any kind of warning on the display that you are about to get hit with a 20 dollar fine and an option to not end the trip? Car2go definately makes it clear if you are outside the zone that you are outside the zone and can not end the trip where you are. Biketown should try to do something similar as it would have been cheaper to pay for the bike to be rented through the visit at velocult rather than ending the trip for that hour.

Bjorn

John Liu
Guest
John Liu

The app clearly shows the limits of the service area and when you are outside it. I don’t think the bike’s little display shows it, but have never had the opportunity to check.

Middle of the Road Guy
Guest
Middle of the Road Guy

Do the transportation reformers and racial justice advocates see any parallels between terrorists who use cars to kill people? I mean, like in France?

Buzz
Guest
Buzz

Gordon Price from Vancouver BC has given several excellent presentations over the years in Portland explaining why you can’t build your way out of congestion, and lane miles added can never keep up with growth in motor vehicle ownership. These presentations have been sponsored by both PBOT and the PSU School of Urban Affairs; therefore PBOT should know better than to just go along with whatever ODOT wants, even if it is conjured up with smoke and mirrors.

https://pricetags.wordpress.com/

Oy
Guest
Oy

“driving privilege in Charlottesville”

Jonathan, your desire to conflate the issue of a f@scist rally and a n@zi terrorist murder to a “car culture” bike issue is frankly disgusting and insulting. Please stop trying to make this a bike thing.

bikeninja
Guest
bikeninja

RE: Oy,

While this was a tragic and barbaric event I think Jonathan is correct in analyzing the part played by the deadly use of a motor vehicle. When mass shootings take place, many well meaning people question the part played by the easy availability of firearms. When innocent people are killed by the criminal use of a motorcar it is equally reasonable to examine the role played by the weapon of choice. It does not diminish the role played by the hate-filled groups involved nor equate automobile culture with violent far-right groups. But any time there exists in society the opportunity for deranged, or manipulated individuals to cause great harm to others. that is well beyond that which they could cause with their hands or a kitchen knife, we owe it to future innocent victims to examine ways to minimize such mayhem.

Joe Hand
Guest
Joe Hand

It is a car culture issue. Look how dodge advertises their cars:

“Roadkill nights, powered by Dodge”, happening at same time of Charlottesville:comment image:large

Full thread of aggressive ads: https://twitter.com/DrivinHere/status/896853173524197376. “keep the streets mean”, “ultimate aggression”, “street menace”, etc.

Kate
Guest
Kate

While I understand and see the connections between racism and tribalism that we experience on the streets, talking about this incident in through the lens of car culture violence feels a bit like responding to “Black Lives Matter” by saying “All Lives Matter”. And hopefully we can see why that’s a problematic response…

Mossby Pomegranate
Guest
Mossby Pomegranate

But all lives DO matter. Don’t they?

Big Knobbies
Guest
Big Knobbies

Wrong.

Edward
Guest
Edward

The blurb on the $291,000 is factually wrong. You should consider changing it.

It was a civil jury that ruled that the business was responsible for causing a death. This is a jury verdict — not what we usually refer to as a “fine”. Also, the judge did not make the ruling. The jury did.

Dan A
Subscriber
Dan A

“it sounds like excessive speed for the condition was the real issue”

Ah….someone should tell the police about this law.

bikeninja
Guest
bikeninja

It is amazing that city governments are willing to spend so much to fix a traffic congestion problem via road widening when there is no good evidence that such a scheme will even work. It is like modern transportation planning has fallen in to its medieval phase where black magic and incantations are used in place of logic, research and foresight. Perhaps automobiles are civilizations version of a monkey trap. In a monkey trap a banana is placed in an earthen jar with holes only big enough for the monkeys bar hands to enter. When they grab the banana, they can’t get their hand out, and only letting go of the banana will allow them to go free. But in most cases the monkey keeps ahold of the banana until he is captured and loses his freedom or worse. Private automobiles are our version of the banana in a jar. We can only solve our real problems by letting go of the banana.

wsbob
Guest

Highway re-configuring on a very short section of highway for improved traffic flow…limited to that specific of the highway, such as in the Rose Quarter project, exchange, or whatever it’s called, is not really ‘road widening’, highway or freeway widening, though some people try to persuade others that’s what it is.

Generally, I think it’s inescapably obvious that the travel needs of an increasing population such as urban areas in the Willamette and Tualitan area continue to experience, can’t be satisfactorily met by corresponding increases in road, highway and freeway width and motor vehicle carrying capacity. Increased emphasis on infrastructure supportive of modes of active travel will have to be made in co-ordination with community design to support it.

Still, I think the public will expect that some of their money continue to be spent to clean up road configuration congestion points that don’t allow relatively easy flow through those points…even if such improvements don’t reduce travel time over an entire adjoining highway or freeway commute route.

bikeninja
Guest
bikeninja

So, your saying that useless but symbolic acts are needed to appease the auto driving mob. Sounds a little like ancient Mayan civilization. Not sure that ended well.

Middle of the Road Guy
Guest
Middle of the Road Guy

It’s almost like funding a light rail system that very few people use.

Adam
Subscriber

Have you ever ridden the Blue Line during rush hour? Please tell me again how no one uses MAX.

bikeninja
Guest
bikeninja

Do you even live in Portland M.O.R.G? The lines I ride daily ( yellow, red, blue) are all packed for several hours each morning and night. Tri-met claims that the blue line carries a third of all rush hour traffic on hwy 26. But I have done my own calculations using train frequency and passenger counts and during the peak of rush hour the red and blue on the hwy 26 corridor carry as many commuters as all the personal motorcars on the hwy. Solid historical experience and logic have shown that light ( and heavy) rail are the best ways to carry large volumes of passengers in a dense urban environment. In the 90’s when the blue line was first built it may have been marginal as to usefulness, but it shaped Portlands growth and only gets more and more useful and relevant as Portlands urban density increases, as opposed to the private automobile which only gets more irrelavent as density, and congestion increase. Lets make choices for the future and not just to appease the automobile cavemen ( and women) jumping up and down waving clubs and demanding more dinosaurs.

9watts
Guest
9watts

“light rail system that very few people use.”

?

widening highways and buiding light rail equivalent? Please explain.

wsbob
Guest

“So, your saying that…” bikeninja

I’m not sure that what you’re saying, has anything to do with what I wrote in my comment. Maybe you can explain what’s on your mind.

Portland’s gradually expanding light rail system is fine for what it does. True, during rush hour, the trains are often packed…conditions that have me not want to ride the train during those hours. In terms of the system’s ability to meet the travel needs of people in Portland and surrounding towns and cities? Far from being able to meet those needs.

Compare Portland’s system to NYC’s, the latter of which to say the least, represents a far greater and longer term investment than Portland’s. Many more trains run per hour, in and out of NYC during commute hours. I’ve been reading bits of a continuing NYtimes series published I think over the last couple weeks. Excellent series. A very sobering reality, is, extensive as it is, NYC’s system, according to that reporting, is in trouble in terms of being able to meet needs being placed upon its system.

With such a circumstance happening, how can there be a workable plan involving elimination of motor vehicle use on roads to and from and near where people need to go?

JJJ
Guest

RE: Oy

We have seen terrorists again and again use cars and trucks to create mass casualties.

The fact that in the US, the authorities will allow vehicles unrestricted access to areas with large gatherings of people, especially political gatherings, is a sign of car culture run amok.

IE: Boston Marathon, which was a terrorist target. Any bicycle locked to a public space within 2 blocks of the route gets (illegally) cut and hauled to a central area in the name of safety. And yet any terrorist could ignore the “do not enter” sign and plow into the spectators if they wanted to, because nearby roads are kept open since car travel is “essential”.

Or look at what NYC does. On the Brooklyn Bridge, they place 3,4, 5 officers on the pedestrian path because of “terrorism”.

10 feet away there are 6 lanes of traffic where 18-wheel trucks that could be loaded with bombs have unrestricted access because heavens forbid we inconvenience drivers.

JeffS
Guest
JeffS

Are you proposing that we close the roads any time a group illegally takes to the streets?

If we have already chosen not to enforce rules, I don’t think more rules is going to accomplish anything.

Middle of the Road Guy
Guest
Middle of the Road Guy

We’ve seen terrorists use whatever is handy to kill people.

9watts
Guest
9watts

Sure.
But this opportunism doesn’t negate what JJJ and others have pointed out here, which strikes me as rather sobering.
Again, I’ll not that I have trouble following your point. I’ve learned from probing that you do have a point, perhaps even an interesting one, but you manage to bury it with your terse style to the point that it ends up sounding to me like jeering.

Big Knobbies
Guest
Big Knobbies

Believe it or not, 99.99999% of Americans have access to crowds of people in their cars; and could, if desired, run over a whole bunch of them; yet only a very small number choose to do it deliberately in the USA. In Europe it is becoming more common, but that’s for different reasons.

9watts
Guest
9watts

Lots of residents of the US have access to guns (more than in any other nation I think), and while the vast majority of them don’t use them to kill others, thankfully, many still do.
Guns and cars are unlike guitars and clocks when it comes to misfortune & the statistics which describe it. Haven’t we had this discussion before?

Champs
Guest
Champs

The $291k is not a fine, it’s a civil judgment. That’s the tree’s share of a settlement that has more to do with someone blindly crossing SE Madison at 10th doing 35 miles per hour.

The city couldn’t get them to fix it after two notices and even doing the work themselves. Gotta wonder when people will seriously take the liability of obnoxious landscaping on sidepaths and in front of traffic signs.

Mike Sanders
Guest
Mike Sanders

Seems like ODOT has adopted the outdated mindset that widening freeways with little or no active transit options (ped/bike paths, etc.) must be considered to be the solution that gets considered first – while alternates to car travel get shoved way down the list. They tried widening I-405 in the LA area last year and it failed spectacularly. Don’t they get it? The developers, I think, are putting huge pressure on ODOT to ignore the ped/bike option (and the MAX/streetcar option, too) and force them to obsess on freeways, freeways, freeways. How do we counteract that? That’s the $64,000 question.

B. Carfree
Guest
B. Carfree

Let’s pause to remember that CalTrans, at least, appears to be taking baby steps towards understanding induced demand, unlike ODOT which refuses to acknowledge that we can’t just build our way out of congestion. I’d say we should be ashamed for being behind CA, but that is where bike lanes started and it still has the best bike lane and bike path standards in the west (though CA still allows door-zone bike lanes, ugh).

https://www.citylab.com/transportation/2015/11/californias-dot-admits-that-more-roads-mean-more-traffic/415245/

Adam
Subscriber

though CA still allows door-zone bike lanes, ugh

Honestly better than most Portland commercial streets though, which don’t even have bike lanes at all.

B. Carfree
Guest
B. Carfree

We’ll probably just have to agree to disagree, but I’d rather have no bike lane at all than have a dzbl, especially if the local traffic folks have put up a few “bikes may use full lane” signs and sharrow markings (in the right places).

When there’s a dzbl, I won’t ride in it because it is a hazardous condition. State laws in both CA and OR allow me to ride outside a bike lane that has a hazardous condition, but not one motorist in 10,000 is aware of this. Thus, a dzbl gives me the unpleasant choice of having many very hostile encounters with motorists who think I should be in the defective bike lane or riding in the door zone, which is a recipe for eventually winning the door prize (perhaps lethally). Even my 57-year-old wife, not exactly a fast, aggressive rider, prefers sharrows in commercial districts to dzbls.

wsbob
Guest

“…State laws in both CA and OR allow me to ride outside a bike lane that has a hazardous condition, but not one motorist in 10,000 is aware of this. …” b carfree

Out of ten thousand people that drive, you don’t think even one of them is aware that people biking have the right, acknowledged by law, to avoid hazards in bike lanes or anywhere on the road? Interesting idea to speculate on, though I doubt its true.

Could more road users, those that only drive, those that only bike, those that do both, and those that only ride in motor vehicles, or walk, be better familiar with the range of rights to use the road, of people that bike? I would say ‘yes’. If other people agree similarly, why is there not more of a concerted effort to better acquaint everyone with these rights?

Despite how much it is that some people feel they need to object to the existence of ‘door zone bike lanes’, or ‘dzbl’s’, as you’ve simplified the name, dzbl’s can actually do a fair job of providing a little more safe margin of use of the road, than if there was no bike lane at all. If…people riding understand how to use this type of bike lane, and the rest of road as well, according basic road use principles, and the law. Their manner of riding demonstrates that far too many people biking, don’t know or don’t care about either of those three things.

Big Knobbies
Guest
Big Knobbies

I have not seen even one video on the Charlottesville incident yet, but I did hear that the driver may have been surrounded by ANTIFA fascists who were attacking his car and thus he may have been in fear of his life; so the actions he took could be defensible. That’s not the general consensus I know, but, he’s innocent until proven guilty.

Adam
Subscriber

Just please go away already.

Big Knobbies
Guest
Big Knobbies

Tell that to the jury.

9watts
Guest
9watts

oh, I didn’t realize you were standing trial already.

Big Knobbies
Guest
Big Knobbies

Oh yes, Adam is ready to lock me up and throw away the key.

Big Knobbies
Guest
Big Knobbies

Here is one video. I would have been in fear for my life. ANTIFA surrounding the car at low speed, start to hit car, so he floors it……..might be reasonable per this video:

https://streamable.com/21gc9

Big Knobbies
Guest
Adam
Subscriber

I’m sure “Department of Memes” is a totally reputable source…

Spiffy
Subscriber

this video clearly shows the crowd moving around and past the car before it plows into the crowd… driver is not in any danger… crowd is not focusing on them…

http://www.tmz.com/2017/08/14/charlottesville-car-attack-drone-video/

Big Knobbies
Guest
Big Knobbies

Neither of the 2 videos in that link show what was happening to the car of the accused before he plowed into the burgundy vehicle. The second video (not the drone video) did show that his vehicle was being attacked at least after it appears he hit some people – his car was being destroyed by ANTIFA, so he put ‘er in reverse and hit the gas taking out a few in reverse. Can’t make any conclusion of guilt from your link.

Big Knobbies
Guest
Big Knobbies

This one clearly shows at least one person hit the rear of the car with a bat-like object. Driver may have thought it sounded like a firearm, who knows. Can’t tell if others were hitting the car, but if they thought he was the enemy, they probably were. If I were him, I’d say my car was being pummelled and I was in fear for my life. Very well could be true. He walks.

Big Knobbies
Guest
Big Knobbies

forgot the video link: https://streamable.com/21gc9

Alan 1.0
Subscriber

This source may be too liberal for you, but it shows Fields’ Challenger exiting an empty intersection, heading for the crowded intersection, chirping its tires as it accelerates through the crosswalk. I wonder why your source edited out that first part of the video?

Big Knobbies
Guest
Big Knobbies

Yes, I saw that video on youtube. The camera does not show much at the beginning – can’t tell what is really happening, but my pure speculation is: the car was being hit by protesters so the car was stopping/starting unsure what to do, sped up to get away, slowed as it approached the big crowd, then was attacked by the bat from behind, and it sounds like maybe rocks are hitting the front of the car, and I’m assuming that’s when the driver decided his life was in danger so floored it to get away; and based on another video, rear-ended another vehicle, and then backed up as the crowd was destroying his car as warm-up for destroying him. That’s what it looks like to me.

Alan 1.0
Subscriber

In the Fox version, 0:13 to 0:16, it is clear that no one is behind the car, a few people on the sidewalk are in no way threatening the driver who accelerates down the unoccupied part of the street toward the crowded intersection. The people with bats (clubs of some sort) appear after ran into the crowd and the vehicle in front of him. The sidewalk where he spun his tires is part of a pedestrian street which was not involved in the protest (4th & Main, https://goo.gl/maps/mex6Sp2h1mn).

Would you be defending similar action if the perp was not of your political persuasion?

Big Knobbies
Guest
Big Knobbies

A1.0,

We have no idea what is occurring before the chirp of the tires. And I don’t know what made the tires chirp – it may be that he ran over the bump so fast that the car was airborne – kind of makes a similar sound as he is backing up over that bump near the end. That might indicate he was going fast to hit people and did not expect the bump to be there. So, perhaps he did do it on purpose. Here you can watch it on youtube without the fox commercials and can start/stop it when you want. You may be right – I assume a jury will decide:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sn5f5qyf7io

My guess is that if the accused did it on purpose, he will probably admit it.
I have no idea what his politics are – I’ve read nothing about him; so no, his politics don’t affect my opinion of this incident. My guess is that even if he did act justifiably in self-defense, he will be convicted due to our PC justice system, just like this guy was who, clearly, drew a gun legally in self defense to keep a threatening crowd away but was convicted and put in jail for 40 days and had his right to own firearms illegally taken away:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D_0MQdpBIF0

Alan 1.0
Subscriber

We know protesters were not at the Main and 4th intersection. We know the Challenger was not moving fast when the video started. We know there was no one in the area immediately behind the Challenger, and the only people on the sidewalks were not threatening it or the driver in any way. That’s all shown. We know that the protesters were down the block at 4th and Water, and we know that the Fields accelerated the car in that direction, ramming into the crowd very hard. There was no one in pursuit of him anywhere in that block, at least not until after he plowed into the crowd. The video shows that.

I find it difficult to believe that you are unaware of the politics of either the victims or the perpetrator in that crime. It’s disingenuous to say otherwise. I hope you’re right that he admits it.

If you were Judge Ryan, your opinion on Strickland’s gun use would be relevant.

Big Knobbies
Guest
Big Knobbies

A1.0,

We do not know what, if anything, occurred in the ped crossing before the start of the video. We cannot say there were no people there – it isn’t shown in the video.

I think the legal protesters (with a permit) were protesting for free speech – they wanted a Civil War statue to remain is what I heard. I think they were some kind of white nationalists. The ANTIFA protesters, from what I hear, did not have a permit. They have been causing a lot of problems for quite a while, threatening people, assaulting people, rioting….. so the result this time was predictable. I’d expect to see more of the same unless they wise up.

The Portland judge obviously used poor judgment. Hopefully the verdict will be appealed and overturned.

Chris I
Guest
Chris I

Just stop. You are really going to side with this white nationalist? ***portion of comment deleted because it was mean***

Big Knobbies
Guest
Big Knobbies

By the way, I’d looooooove to live in Idaho. Up around Stanley or Sun Valley would be nice. Idaho is a very beautiful place.

Big Knobbies
Guest
Big Knobbies

OK, if you want me to move to Idaho, why don’t y’all set me up with a go-fund-me account so I can buy a nice little place over there. I found this one – looks about right for me and you’ll be happy to know you cannot access it by automobile in the winter. Click on the picture of the house and view the photos:
https://www.zillow.com/homes/for_sale/Stanley-ID/land_type/2106765484_zpid/36215_rid/globalrelevanceex_sort/44.587533,-113.913116,43.609234,-116.044464_rect/8_zm/?

Adam
Subscriber

I’d be happy to invent you a time machine so you can travel back to 1940’s Europe…

Big Knobbies
Guest
Big Knobbies

***comment deleted – Big Knobbies, if you’d like to continue commenting here you need to be more tolerant and nicer to others. — Jonathan***

Adam
Subscriber

Yeah, good thing America allowed those “conquering hordes” in back in the 1930’s or I wouldn’t be here today.

Your thinly-veiled racism is getting tiring. Why did Jonathan turn off automod for you?

Steven Fleming
Guest

Thanks Jonathan for mentioning my new book Velotopia! I appreciate you helping get the word out about my previous book, Cycle Space, back in 2011 as well. Velotopia won’t be in the US until October, I think, but can be bought as an eBook. https://www.nai010.com/en/publicaties/velotopia-e-book/130530

Pete
Guest
Pete

JM, the snarky personal attacks have gotten out of hand on your blog. It’s become ridiculous. Alternate opinions and ideas and observations exist, and people should deal with that as adults.

Chris I
Guest
Chris I

It’s hard to avoid insults and snark when faced with a commenter who spits out dozens of comments defending a racist monster who used a car to murder an innocent person. If he won’t moderate this offensive propaganda, people will respond in negative ways.

JJJ
Guest

He’s “just asking questions”