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The Monday Roundup: Equiticity, beating bike theft, Montreal’s new mayor, and more

Posted by on November 13th, 2017 at 11:49 am


This week’s Monday Roundup is sponsored by Urban Tribe cargo bikes, which are now 15 percent off for BikePortland readers.

Here are the best stories that came across our desks last week…

Middle finger hero: Here’s the story behind Juli Briskman, that woman who flipped off Donald Trump’s motorcade last month.

“Equiticity” for mobility justice: The founder of Chicago’s “Slow Roll” movement has started a new group whose first project will be dockless bike-share libraries in communities of color.

Side guards in Seattle: Our northern neighbors are not just talking about side guards on trucks like we are, they have actually began to install them (and from a local manufacturer to boot!). (H/T Seattle Bike Blog)

Beautiful streets: Seattle has a new street design manual that looks really fantastic.

Montreal’s new mayor: People are buzzing about Valérie Plante and her potential to make biking better in what has traditionally been North America’s most bike-friendly city.

End of the automobile era: When a former VP of General Motors says cars as we know them will be obsolete in five years to make way for autonomous modules, it’s probably worth hearing him out.

E-bikes are a revolution: At least that’s the feeling of one reporter from The Economist who used one around London for a week.

Encouraging distraction: Why the hell is the Arizona DOT sending traffic alerts via text message to people’s phones?

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Get out of our bike lanes! People who drive for companies like Uber and Lyft think they can park anywhere. A San Francisco lawmakers wants to establish clearly marked pick-up zones to help fix the problem.

Treat them right and hold them accountable: An employment court in London has ruled that Uber drivers are employees — not the independent contractors the company has always insisted they are.

Beating bike theft: Vancouver BC has embraced Project 529 and put in the necessary work to make a significant dent in bike theft.

Great streets don’t have cars: Inspired by the City of London’s plans to make Oxford Street carfree, Citylab has this how-to guide for how we could do the same thing here in Portland. Burnside? NW 13th? Sandy? Pick one!

GOP tax plan: We already know the petty move from the GOP to axe the paltry Bicycle Commuter Tax Benefit; but did you see how they also carved out a loophole for auto dealers?

Victim blaming bill: A lawmaker in Chicago wants new fines for people who use cell phones while walking across the street. Thankfully he’s not being taken serious. Yet.

Wool giants merge: Smartwool’s parent company has bought Icebreaker.

Video of the Week: Even in bike utopias like Nijmegen there are still tactical urbanists at work (and they use duct tape!):

Thanks for all the submissions folks.

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

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Lester Burnham
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Lester Burnham

Flipping someone the bird makes you a hero? Sorry that’s pretty weak.

bikeninja
Guest
bikeninja

“Everyone will have 5 years to get their car off the road or sell it for scrap”

I couldn’t agree more Bob. But i don’t think it is for the reasons you think it is. The curtains are being drawn on the 100 year era of happy motoring and selling our cars for scrap is the least of our challenges.

CaptainKarma
Guest
CaptainKarma

I want that motorcade T Shirt. I’ll make my own if I have to!

Todd Boulanger
Guest
Todd Boulanger

I would rather see this tax loop hole closed…but if it cannot be politically achievable…perhaps expand it to ALL vehicles: like bicycles (assuming IBDs pay similar fees): “The proposal also applies to dealers of RVs, motorcycles, boats, and farm and construction equipment.”

Toadslick
Subscriber

Burnside? NW 13th? Sandy? Pick one!

I’ll never forget the experience of riding a bike down Sandy car-free for this year’s WNBR.

It was a fast, convenient, and direct connection from NE Portland to downtown. Nothing at all like the indirect, meandering, and unnecessarily hilly greenway routes that the city would usually have us take.

In a real “Vision Zero” city, roads like Sandy and Foster would be given fully to buses, bikes, and pedestrians, and it would the drivers that were relegated to the few sparse crossings of these roads.

SD
Subscriber

Every quadrant/ sub quadrant in Portland should have a car-free street (AKA plaza) that is at least partially covered and dry in the winter.

mran1984
Guest

Walking across the street while completely focused on your device is not victim blaming. Why should I pay attention to the present when YOU don’t feel the same responsibility? This is insane. Be present in the world you live in. Your phone is no excuse for anything.

Joe
Guest
Joe

place I work at seems to have lotta folks walking head down w/ cell phone so riding around these types is nerve racking at times.

Todd Boulanger
Guest
Todd Boulanger

Great news about SDoT integrating truck side guards as part of its VZ effort…the NYC is even further along, as I was just chatting with their VZ lead on this very topic last week, per NYC they said,

“Over 1200 [truck side guards] installed. Local law passed requires installs on qualified nyc fleet units and private sanitation vehicles by 2024. We started with one vendor and now have five so prices down and options of style and materials up.”

So CoP…what’s up with y’all?

bikeninja
Guest
bikeninja

To keep the Ubers and such from parking in the bike lanes I like those giant unremoveable windshields stickers the Russians use on cars that drive on sidewalks and bike lanes.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LPxDHN7aLo4

Dan A
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Dan A

I’ve bought good and bad products from both companies. I have a midweight long sleeve Icebreaker T and midweight long tights that are my favorite winter baselayers, a midweight short sleeve T that goes pretty well under a jersey and a short sleeve lightweight T that I thought would be awesome for backpacking, but the stitching on the sleeves shrank so much after one wash in cold water that I haven’t been able to wear the shirt a second time. And I own tons of Smartwool socks, a few beanies, and a balaclava. Come to think of it, I guess I’ve had better luck with Smartwool overall. Icebreaker seems to have better lightweight stuff, but I haven’t been daring enough to test my luck again.

bendite
Guest
bendite

wsbob
“It’s a form of victim blaming because it’s shifting greater responsibility away from drivers and encourages the theme of “they need to be more careful” to compensate for bad driving. …” bendite
There are people, distracted on their phones and otherwise, walking across streets, right out in front of approaching traffic, without looking first to see what the traffic situation is.
Doesn’t seem like there should be any question that people walking have some responsibility for looking out for their own safety when crossing streets, but apparently, some people do have questions about what is the extent of that responsibility.
If you think asking of people walking, that they look for approaching traffic before leaving the curb to cross streets is too much responsibility to be asking of pedestrians, perhaps you might share with readers here, your thoughts about what is a reasonable level of responsibility to ask of them.
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Bob, the law that people look before crossing the street is already in place by making sure drivers will be able to stop safely. Laws like this cell phone law are designed to further lower the bar for drivers.

hotrodder
Guest
hotrodder

Boy, no kidding. Icebreaker guarantees their socks for ever for any reason. Will Smart Wool end that practice?

B. Carfree
Guest
B. Carfree

Am I the only person who is unimpressed by Seattle’s road design manual? Five foot bike lanes with “protection”? Really? We lose the ability to make left turns and have increased intersection woe and are only given five feet? That’s a design for failure. Ditto for two-way bike lanes at any width but especially for the ten feet proposed.

Also, I found no meaningful discussion of the potential downsides and why one would not want to do “protection” in many circumstances. It reads like a manual to stay in single-digit cycling mode numbers, which is hard to get excited about. This will lock in many low-grade designs and will hold Seattle back, imo.

Seattle has been sitting at 3.5-4% cycling (ACS) for nearly a decade in spite of doing a number of these treatments. Does this approach sound familiar? Of course, like the businessman who loses money on each sale but is determined to make it up in volume, Seattle, and Portland, will push on with more of the same shoe-horn separation and be certain that it will work just fine.

GlowBoy
Guest
GlowBoy

I’ve had good results with both brands, which is why I’m not happy to hear about a merger. Less competition will not be good for the consumer.

Al
Guest
Al

I don’t know where to start with the Bob Lutz article. Let’s set aside the fact that Uber and Lyft don’t want to own vehicles as they mostly rely on exploiting their drivers.

Lutz seems to be extrapolating the fantastic progress that has been made in autonomous vehicle technology the last 5 years but fails to recognize the fact that this pace of progress is based on solving the easiest problems. Companies have literally picked the lowest hanging fruit and are projecting that the rest will be just as easy to pick. Good luck with that.

Think about this for just a second. Neither rail nor shipping have automated navigation yet. Trains on a closed rail network that can be entirely computerized still have drivers! Ships still have crews to navigate them! When either of these systems show signs of full autonomy, then we can get excited about autonomous vehicles that operate in a much more complicated environment.

We are living in another economic distortion much like the dot com bubble. This is not normal. Companies like Uber, which are struggling in this petri dish of an economy almost as if it were specifically designed to foster such companies will utterly collapse at the next correction.