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The Monday Roundup: Montreal’s $150 million bikeway bet, reckless cycling, tinted windows and more

Posted by on September 18th, 2017 at 11:01 am

Here are the best stories we came across in the past week…

$150 million for bikeways in Montreal: Montreal is planning to spend $50 million a year for the next five years to build the projects in their first citywide bike plan.

The Pedestrian’s Tale: Portland transportation engineer and planner Brian Davis performed this poignant and entertaining poem at a recent conference held at Portland State University.

A lot of miles: 24-year-old Amanda Coker rode a record-setting 86,573 miles in the past year. That’s an average of 237.19 miles per day for 365 straight days. Dang.

Indianapolis upgrading paint-only bike lanes: Paint is not an adequate material for bikeways. Portland needs to get inspired by Indianapolis and start upgrading our existing bike lanes into something more permanent — and as this Urban Indy blogger astutely points out — something less controversial.

AV future: How will autonomous vehicles impact Portland streets? Will we see the “hell scenario” as described in this dispatch from Atlanta?

Public distrust in AVs: While the auto industry and city leaders are eager to find a new car-oriented solution to our car-oriented problem, there’s reason to think people aren’t ready to let software do their driving.

Bike to transit resource: Tons of excellent inspiration and advice in Alta Planning’s deep dive into why so few people bike to transit stops — and what cities can do to reverse the trend.

Why not dockless too? Required reading about how a private, dockless bike share company (Spin) is eyeing the Manhattan market currently monopolized by Citi Bike. We have a similar situation in Portland.


Seniors for safe streets: In San Francisco, senior citizens are at the forefront of transportation reform activism.

Who benefits? Transit Center uncovers the vast, taxpayer-funded government subsidy for single-occupancy vehicle users who cash in on the “commuter parking benefit”.

Skin color and air quality: A new study from the University of Washington found that due in large part because of where we’ve put our freeways, people of color suffer from a disproportionate amount of polluted air.

Dueling I-5 Rose Quarter editorials: Healthy earth advocates say we don’t need a wider I-5 freeway, while the Oregonian Editorial Board says we do.

Bikes save the day again: We see this after many disasters; the simple and humble yet sophisticated bicycle emerges from the ashes as a hero.

Anti-road diet backlash: Activists in Los Angeles want to recall a councilman who they say is threatening their way of life with his support of road diets.

Tinted windows are no joke: An LA Times reporter got ticketed for having tinted windows (and driving 88 mph), a pet peeve of mine because they prohibit communication between road users that’s vital for safety.

Helping riders: Hartford Connecticut funds free roadside assistance for bicycle users. Ironically, the organization that performs the service is the equivalent to our Downtown Clean & Safe, which is funded by our historically anti-bike Portland Business Alliance.

Reckless cycling: Another city in Connecticut passed an ordinance to crackdown on “dangerous bicycle operators” and police in Toronto spent months trying to find a wheelie-popping marauder only to pull him over while driving.

Tweet of the Week: Goes to Seattle Bike Blog for cleverly responding to this absurd headline about Park(ing) Day…

Thanks for all the submissions! Keep them coming and we’ll include the best ones right here next week.

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

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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

  • Jason H September 18, 2017 at 11:09 am

    Speaking of a lot of miles, Mark Beaumont completed his Around the World in 80 days challenge a day early today in Paris smashing the old 123 day record.

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  • John Lascurettes September 18, 2017 at 11:43 am

    $150 million for bikeways in Montreal: Montreal is planning to spend $50 million a year for the next five years to build the projects in their first citywide bike plan.

    $50 million/year x 5 years = $25 million.

    The article does corroborate the $150 million number and the 5 year plan, so that’s an average of $30 million/year. I’m still jealous.

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    • Hello, Kitty
      Hello, Kitty September 18, 2017 at 11:57 am

      “$50 million/year x 5 years = $25 million.”

      Or something like that.

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      • John Lascurettes September 18, 2017 at 12:09 pm

        hahah. $250. Ooops. Either way, it didn’t match the $150 Million. Egg on face.

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        • Ted Timmons (Contributor) September 18, 2017 at 4:08 pm

          In any case, “Investments of $15 million per year for the next 15 years will be added to the amount already planned to be spent annually… over the next five years more that[sic] $150 million will be dedicated to improving the city’s bike system”.

          It doesn’t add up to $250mm but it doesn’t add up to $50mm/year either.

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  • Huey Lewis September 18, 2017 at 11:52 am

    I too can’t stand heavily tinted windows. But with all the SW/Sun Belt refugees moving here it’s an unfortunate fact of life. I sat at a light next to a driver in a car just this morning, rain pouring down, couldn’t see who was in the car. Ridiculous.

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    • Jason H September 18, 2017 at 12:16 pm

      Actually funny enough, OR/WA law allows up to 35% on the front side windows, while CA allows none at all.

      Part of the design beauty of bike boxes or being able to wait in front of the line of cars at an intersection is being able to look back and make eye contact with the driver through the (almost never tinted) windshield, if you can’t get them to look at you that way then they are certainly completely distracted and you have the wherewithal to plan your “escape”.

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    • Dan A September 18, 2017 at 12:52 pm

      Tinted windows are great if you want to smoke a bong while updating Facebook on your way home.

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    • B. Carfree September 18, 2017 at 1:17 pm

      I spend a lot of time in NorCal. I have always seen way more tinted windows in Oregon than in California. I always assumed that people in the PNW are trying to buffer those few months of sun to reduce the shock.

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      • Huey Lewis September 18, 2017 at 1:54 pm

        So you’d probably guess that more cars in Oregon have dark tinted windows than say, Los Angeles, San Diego, Phoenix or Las Vegas? Makes sense, right?

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        • B. Carfree September 18, 2017 at 5:21 pm

          Like I said, I spend a lot of time in NorCal. SoCal and southern Nevada are entirely different places. That does make sense to you, doesn’t it?

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    • Chris I September 18, 2017 at 3:40 pm

      Window tint should be illegal on driver/passenger windows and windshields, and it should be illegal to operate a business that provides this service. Trying to fight this scourge on the back-end is a waste of resources and does very little to solve the problem. Stop it at its source.

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    • wsbob September 18, 2017 at 7:35 pm

      I enjoyed reading the LAtimes article about the reporter’s window tint citation misfortune. He or she as the case may be, has a sense of humor. One tip the reporter gained from the experience: officers don’t cite for this violation, unless the person driving is doing something else stupid, such as grossly exceeding the speed limit.

      Must be a lot of Californians, driving, doing stupid stuff, and getting cited for it, because the article gives a Jan 2015 through Aug 2017 statistic for window tint violations: 193,025 tickets. Well, that’s almost three years. Doesn’t seem quite so bad, spread over three years. Only 65K citations a year.

      Basically, I kind of despise tinted windows on driver and passenger windows. Back window too. Side rear window tints aren’t too objectionable. The article says that some people with sensitive skin get prescriptions from their doctor for tinted windows…which to me, seems a basically acceptable reason, as long as people don’t grossly abuse it like some people here in Oregon have for a long time abused this state’s permits for wheelchair parking.

      Privacy, and protection of the upholstery from the sun, are the other reasons the article offers for why people want their windows tinted. Not ever having lived in a place as sunny as California or Arizona, and so on, I don’t want to say sun protection is not a valid reason for tinted windows there.

      When riding, the motor vehicles with tinted driver’s windows definitely give me concern. I feel like some of my safety in using the road while riding a bike, depends on being able to see directly what the person behind the wheel is doing…whether they’re alert and scanning the street…or asleep…or drinking…toking…fiddling with their electronic device, whacking their dog or fussing with a kid.

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      • RMHampel September 19, 2017 at 9:26 am

        I once had a young male patient request a letter to the DMV to allow him to have tinted front windows on his car for a bogus medical reason (he did’t have the condition he said he did and it wouldn’t have been a valid reason anyway). I refused his request. He just went to another doc in my practice for the same thing. I think he got it. He was “that” 20-something rich kid with BMW wanting to be cool. Did I say I hate tinted front windows?

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        • wsbob September 20, 2017 at 5:03 pm

          Thank you! Are you a physician, and if so, have you heard of people having skin conditions that make tinted windows valid protection for such conditions?

          Actually, I should have thought of this earlier: my father has been treated for skin cancer for quite a few years. He wears long sleeves, hats, etc, and lots of sun screen. Does not have tinted windows on the car. At least not even close to the degree of tint that’s so dark it’s virtually impossible from outside, to see who is inside the car.

          I’ve got an old pickup that came from the factory I think, with slightly tinted side windows. It’s such a light tint, I hardly notice it.

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  • Hello, Kitty
    Hello, Kitty September 18, 2017 at 12:07 pm

    “This absurd headline”… Oh, the outrage! I actually took a look at the article in question, and it seemed very matter of fact, explaining, not criticizing, the event. The tweet feels very manufactured, as so many are.

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    • B. Carfree September 18, 2017 at 1:14 pm

      But it was a beautiful scene depicted in the tweet.

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      • Hello, Kitty
        Hello, Kitty September 18, 2017 at 3:41 pm

        Indeed it was. Why taint it by trying to start a fight?

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  • B. Carfree September 18, 2017 at 12:11 pm

    I had to stop reading the piece on Alta’s proposal to get more people walking and riding to transit when I saw those horrifically dangerous proposals for how to deal with slip lanes. Egads, that would increase a cyclist’s odds of being creamed by an astronomical amount. Was Alta too gutless to propose converting the slip lanes back into normal intersections, or do they live in some alternate America where motorists actually behave themselves?

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  • John Lascurettes September 18, 2017 at 12:27 pm

    That window tint article is factually wrong. It is legal to have front side tinting in California as long as 70% of light still is transmitted through:

    It’s similar for Oregon:

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    • John Lascurettes September 18, 2017 at 12:27 pm

      Still hate riding around tinted vehicles though.

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      • B. Carfree September 18, 2017 at 1:13 pm

        It also seems like the people who have tinted windows also drive more aggressively. And if you try to report things like a motorist speeding up to try to hit you in a crosswalk? You have to be able to identify your assailant, not just the weapon used, which is impossible with tinted windows.

        We should either outlaw the tint or make the owner responsible for any crime or infraction committed with the vehicle, imo.

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        • Pete September 19, 2017 at 7:43 pm

          I’m always careful around tinted windowed cars; no way to know if they have more weapons than just the car. Last one I sat next to at a light had his window rolled down with a very clear “Nortenos” tat on the arm he had hanging out the window.

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    • Jason H September 18, 2017 at 1:08 pm

      They have revised that statute then. At least as late as the mid 00’s no front tint at all was allowed and anything in the rear sides and back aka Limo tint. I know as I got a ticket once for very light 80% transmittance film.

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      • John Lascurettes September 18, 2017 at 2:37 pm

        Having spent my early driving days there, it was always understood that you’d “get away” with it (even if pulled over) if it was several shades lighter than the back windows — I guess they just codified that into law later. In fact, before the law, it just encouraged people to just tint the back ones even darker (to mask that there was tinting up front). Still, most of my muscle car driving friends in high school would roll their windows down if pulled over as a defensive maneuver.

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        • John Lascurettes September 18, 2017 at 3:19 pm

          Oh, and IIRC the “dark as you want” on the back windows and rear windshield was orginally a lobbied exception for the car-for-hire industry, that is, limos and town cars.

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  • 9watts September 18, 2017 at 12:34 pm

    Regarding the two editorials on the Rose Quarter freeway expansion, reading them back to back is pretty revealing as to which side has done its homework, has an argument, makes sense. All the editors of the O have to offer is that growth (that we of course can’t say not to) requires all sorts of familiar spending, not that any of it actually leads to the results promised. Who put those clowns in charge?

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    • bikeninja September 18, 2017 at 12:49 pm

      I don’t think the clowns in the editorial department of the O are in charge of much of anything. I think when your business model has dwindled down to reporting high school sports scores, paid for by adds from auto retailers and the real estate industry then your opinions will certainly tilt in that direction.

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    • wsbob September 18, 2017 at 8:10 pm

      Members of the O’s editorial board, write and think reasonably well. If they’re “…clowns…” as watts refers to them in his comment, they write very well. They write, showing they have some grasp of the interstate highway use in Portland problem that has brought the idea for this project about. Maybe not a full grasp of the problem…though the problem is complex, which may partly explain why they don’t fully grasp the problem, if that’s the situation.

      I’m not sure anyone fully understands the problem. Portland probably will not be able to just do nothing about the congestion that in-city use of the interstate highway by its residents and visitors to the city, is causing on this short section of I-5. As the RQ expands and gets ever busier, lacking viable alternatives to using this section of the highway by people that aren’t traveling state to state or city to city, as the interstate highway is designed for, the part of the highway congestion the RQ is producing, will likely become a bigger problem.

      Writers of the counterpoint opinion piece in the O, do not have a viable alternative to this freeway project to offer. They write, expressing humanitarian concern for people in the area of this section of the intestate highway, but do not write as though they understand the transportation needs and problems that people using this highway have to deal with, and which many people in the state, ordinary citizens, elected officials and department personnel, realize they’re obliged to come up with answers for.

      From opponents and proponents, I’d like to see more specific exploration of alternative, viable ideas to the project as it’s designed at present, than are offered in either of the two opinion pieces.

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      • 9watts September 19, 2017 at 7:56 am

        “I’m not sure anyone fully understands the problem.”

        Well we understand all sorts of dimensions of it –

        we understand how growth works and for whom it does/doesn’t;
        we understand how induced demand works and that it also works in reverse;
        we understand how transportation spending can either strengthen automobility’s death grip on our society (US) or diversify the options (all the countries we look up to here at bikeportland);
        we also know how much useful stuff $450 million will buy, and how quickly it evaporates as soon as it gets spent on infrastructure that serves only those in cars.

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        • wsbob September 20, 2017 at 4:54 pm

          ““I’m not sure anyone fully understands the problem.”

          Well we understand all sorts of dimensions of it –

          we understand how growth works and for whom it does/doesn’t;
          we understand how induced demand works and that it also works in reverse;
          we understand how transportation spending can either strengthen automobility’s death grip on our society (US) or diversify the options (all the countries we look up to here at bikeportland);
          we also know how much useful stuff $450 million will buy, and how quickly it evaporates as soon as it gets spent on infrastructure that serves only those in cars.” watts

          Do you consider the “we” to whom you’re referring, to exclusively be the people opposing this project without offering or attempting to offer viable alternatives to address the traffic challenges people using this section of I-5? face on a daily basis during commute hours?

          Where are this ‘we’ groups’ viable alternative ideas for meeting the travel needs I-5 is being made use of, related to travel within the city by city residents, to and from the RQ and other destinations within the city?

          I believe most people that have used I-5 on occasion, understand quite a bit about the problems affecting I-5 as it passes by the Rose Quarter. I don’t think though, that any of them fully understand the problem to the extent of having ideas for a viable answer that really will be able to sustain I-5’s ability to function as an interstate highway through Portland, past the bottleneck the RQ is causing it to be.. Activity at the Rose Quarter, likely is detracting significantly from I-5’s ability to function well as an interstate highway’s. So are people within the city, using this highway exclusively for in-city travel.

          This project at least attempts to grapple with these problems affecting I-5 at the RQ.

          Since they don’t like this project, opponents of this project should come up with some viable alternative ideas for meeting the travel needs of people using this section I-5.

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          • 9watts September 21, 2017 at 9:40 am

            “opponents of this project should come up with some viable alternative ideas for meeting the travel needs of people using this section I-5.”

            You have this backwards.

            The proffered solution—more lanes—is no solution, it just appears (to a few pencil necks) be one. Automobile congestion, as Ivan Illich pointed out more than forty years ago, is the inevitable and predictable result of the self-defeating and unfulfillable promise of the auto: entitlement to get wherever you want to go faster than the other guy. In this regard the auto is entirely unlike the bicycle: More of us biking doesn’t make things worse for everyone else, it improves things. Positive returns to scale. When is the last time you heard this said about the automobile?

            The way out of this mess is to back out, concede defeat, throw in the automotive towel, and reprioritize our infrastructure spending on human transport. By now the reasons for doing this are so numerous as to not need listing.

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            • wsbob September 25, 2017 at 12:58 am

              Backwards? If you have an idea of how so, you’re not saying.

              Restating some of what I’ve already written, it seems apparent that many people opposing this project, do not understand that Portland’s increase in activity in the Rose Quarter, is a, if not ‘the’ main reason this project has been put together. Remove the activity at the RQ, and much of the problems occurring on this section of I-5 would be reduced.

              The additional lanes and exits between I-5 at I-84, and the RQ, including the Lloyd District next to it, that are proposed to be built, are prompted by, and will work to support extended Downtown activity that gradually has been actively built up to include the RQ and the Lloyd. Without this project or a feasible alternative that does not require adding to this section of I-5, a couple additional lanes and exits needed to support activity across this part of Downtown, growth of that activity likely will be limited.

              If you and other opponents of this project don’t like the idea of adding to this section of I-5, lanes and shoulders required to support extended Downtown activity…then come up with some good, feasible alternatives to this project. Portland really can’t just do nothing to address the problem it has played a large role in creating.

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              • 9watts September 25, 2017 at 7:00 am

                “Remove the activity at the RQ, and much of the problems occurring on this section of I-5 would be reduced.”

                One word: tolls.

                Or two words: gas tax

                Or three: induced demand reversed

                There are hundreds of ways to accomplish what you write in the quoted sentence. But the idea that it is up to me/us who see the end of automobility on the wall to advocate for these is absurd. We already know that adding lanes does nothing to ‘solve’ the problem, so why keep doing it anyway? Burning hundreds of millions to satisfy some corporate funders? Car head? Because we are lazy?

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  • Todd Boulanger September 18, 2017 at 3:08 pm

    Jonthan – not sure your subtitle for the road diet article was correct with the message:

    Should “Anti-road diet backlash” instead read “Road diet backlash” or “Anti-road diet recall” etc. Since “Anti-road diet backlash” reads like a double negative…?

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  • soren September 18, 2017 at 4:06 pm

    Public distrust in AVs

    I feel the same way about the driving “public”.

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  • Champs September 18, 2017 at 4:11 pm

    I’m going to have a quibble with dockless bike share if there’s another Thursday night like I had last week.

    It is not an exaggeration to say that we got the *last* open staple at Portland’s original bike corral on Mississippi & Shaver or that BIKETOWN occupied nearly all the rest. It’s fine that other people can’t use their stations but taking almost half of everyone else’s is a problem.

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    • John Liu
      John Liu September 18, 2017 at 10:26 pm

      The dockless bikes don’t get locked to anything. They have kickstands and rear wheel locks. The users just leave them wherever.

      I suspect that dockless bike share in Portland will bring Biketown down and then eventually fail leaving tens of thousands of stolen, abandoned, broken dockless bikes littering the city.

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      • B. Carfree September 19, 2017 at 10:55 am

        But think of all the bike rack space that will be freed up when Biketown goes down.

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  • Andy K September 18, 2017 at 9:44 pm

    I’m glad they caught the wheelie rider in Toronto, now the streets are finally safe!

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    • Dan A September 18, 2017 at 10:45 pm

      Maybe if we can get a bunch of wheelie riders like that in Portland they’ll have to do something to get them off the streets. Like, I don’t know, open up FP to some singletrack.

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  • Dave September 21, 2017 at 9:24 am

    Los Angeles is paying the piper for having ripped up and junked up an extensive light rail system that existed until the mid-1950’s. It was called the Pacific Electric Railway; if you’ve ever read Raymond Chandler, Tenessee Williams, or Jessamyn West you’ve read references to it. A first-class light rail system was replaced with a patchwork of half-assed bus companies and the road to auto centric hell was then paved. I grew up there, left @40 years ago, and have been watching the situation get worse at a distance. Portland, heed the warning–increasing freeway space to reduce traffic congestion is like a junkie getting bigger veins put in their arms so they can quit heroin.

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