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The Monday Roundup: Bike highways in London and Cleveland, blaming bad driving, a bike racing lifer, and more

Posted by on December 11th, 2017 at 9:07 am

Here are the best things we came across last week…

This week’s Monday Roundup is sponsored by Tigr Lock, a strong and lightweight solution to protect your bike from thieves.

A bike racing “lifer”: Bill Elliston’s lifelong dedication to racing bikes and helping other people get into the sport is worth every word of this longform piece from Peter Flax at CyclingTips.com.

Meet Seattle’s top advocrat: Seattle’s chief traffic engineer Dongho Chang got a profile in the Seattle Times for his work to, “to make Seattle’s streets safer, more efficient.” (He’s also a fun follow on Twitter at @dongho_chang.)

Blame it on the rock: I’ll just leave this here: “Drivers can’t seem to stop hitting a giant rock in a suburban parking lot, despite it being an inanimate object surrounded by yellow-painted curbs.”

Fewer cars, more bikes: TreeHugger has a good roundup and overview of why most of the world’s great cities are making moves to restrict private auto use and promote cycling.

Cleveland’s big bike news: A “system of bicycle highways” in downtown Cleveland got a big boost with millions allocated for two physically protected cycle tracks.

Christmas traditions in the ‘Couve: Bike Clark County gave away over 600 bikes to kids at the 18th annual event that has been renamed after community leader Scott Campbell.

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Blame anything but cars: The always good 99% Invisibile podcast delves into the history of auto safety with a look at how automakers tried to ignore and obfuscate the role their cars had in thousands of deaths and injuries.

Bikelash sabotage: Victoria, Canada has been investing in bikeways and the city’s mayor thinks someone tried to sabotage her bike due to anger about it.

Free bikes post-fire: Sonoma County’s bike advocacy group rounded up 700 bicycles to give away free to people who lost theirs in recent fires.

Toll-paying psychology: People following our local congestion pricing efforts should read up on how people reacted to new dynamic tolling on a freeway in Virginia that reached a high of $40 during peak periods.

Enough is enough: Nothing that NHTSA, FHWA or USDOT says about traffic safety should be taken seriously until they get tough on automakers who are building even more distraction into their cars’ “infotainment” systems.

How London built support for real bike lanes: This must-watch Streetfilms vid not only shows the impressive transformation of cycling in London thanks to high-quality protected bikeways, it also explains how an advocacy group’s work to get business support helped make the lanes successful.

London Cycling Works: How savvy campaigning got 180 employers to support bike lanes from STREETFILMS on Vimeo.

Adding life to a “Boulevard of Death”: One of New York City’s most dangerous streets is undergoing a transformation thanks to lower speed limits, safer crossings, and fewer driving lanes. A model for PBOT’s work on outer SE Division?

And Streetfilms has a video on the “block-by-block transformation” of Queens Blvd:

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

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Lo
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Lo

Looks like Dongho Chang’s handle is @dongho_chang.

Dan A
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Dan A

Officers noted that the rock was using its cell phone during all 3 incidents.

Eric U.
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Eric U.

I have used the congestion pricing lanes in Northern Virginia on 95. It was worth it, but during rush hour it can be hard to merge back in at the southern terminus of the lanes. I recall that the area that the new lanes refused expansion of the subway to their area because of an irrational fear of criminals coming out from D.C.

Matthew in Portsmouth
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Matthew in Portsmouth

I wonder if the technology exists to automatically police variable HOV occupancy and dynamic tolling. What I mean by this is, I drive a Mazda CX-9 which can seat seven. Most of the time it seats one – me. I think that HOV 2+ lanes (i.e. driver and one passenger) should be changed to HOV 50% (i.e. at least 50% of seats being occupied, in my case that would be four of seven seats). All cars have a license plate and the technology exists to read those, which gives access to vehicle make, model and year – so the tolling authority would know that my car has the capacity to seat seven, and if I am in the HOV lane, I should have four people in my car. It is the counting of the four people that is the issue – there are truck scales that can measure weight as the truck is moving – so if my car is carrying weight equivalent to four average people that would be fine (scofflaws might load their vehicles up with freight to bring the weight up, but most people would not take the hit in fuel consumption). I haven’t seen any technology that could count the occupants as the vehicle passes a camera, but maybe it is just around the corner.

Opponents might say they’ll take seats out of their vehicles, but I think a law would be written to state that it is the seats noted for that vehicle make/model/year – so even if I took out the third row (which I mostly have folded flat) my car should still be counted as a seven seater. If vehicle weight is used to test occupancy people will argue that the system won’t be reliable because some occupants might be children or weigh more or less than average – for 95% of vehicles it would be sufficiently accurate.

The upshot is that I think HOV lanes should be for high occupancy, someone driving a 7 – 8 seat SUV should not get a free ride in the HOV lane because they have one passenger – if they have three, that’s a different story. I think that dynamic tolling should favor vehicles higher occupancy rates.

I would like to see the proceeds of dynamic tolling used to improve the speed and density of public transportation. In my experience, public transportation is most successful when it is faster and a lot cheaper than private transportation.

Bjorn
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Bjorn

The 40 dollar toll price might be a little misleading since any car with at least 2 people in it is allowed to use it for free. I have a feeling most of the cars are carpools with maybe a few people paying 40 dollars. I have heard they are considering making it free only for 3+ person carpools instead of 2+.

bikeninja
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bikeninja

The Giant Rock is similar to what I saw on hwy 26 friday afternoon. Odot had a large flashing sign placed to the right of the highway westbound just beyond the tunnel. It said ” Zoo Parking Lot Full, Use Overflow Lot”. This I assumed was due to the crowds driving to Zoo Lights. But the right hand lane of 26 was still jammed with a line of cars at standstill hoping the sign was wrong and they could still find parking, instead of continuing up to the Sylvan Exit and the overflow lot, or going to the sunset transit center and taking max. Ignore they giant flashing sign (rock) because the world owes you easy parking for your automobile.

Mike Reams
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Mike Reams

Regarding the ever-expanding infotainment systems: If you have the money to put in more computer-whiz-bang stuff to help the driver, you have the money to put in a camera that will record the drivers actions on a 30-second loop. If the car gets in a crash, the police can use this video to determine whether the driver was engaged in unsafe behavior prior to the crash. Disabling or blocking the camera could be used as evidence of driver misconduct.

eawriste
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eawriste

Queens Blvd is a dream! Can’t wait till NYC DOT connects it to Jamaica! Can Portland Borrow NYC DOT for a few years?

Andrew Kreps
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Andrew Kreps

Regarding the article about Cleveland- where, precisely, is Portland, Oregon’s “extensive protected bike lane system”? I ride all over town and I’ve never seen one.

wsbob
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wsbob

“…An employee of the nearby bottle depot, which opened in mid-October, said the rock was placed there to prevent motorists from driving over the curb but it’s now going to be removed by Riocan, the company that manages the retail complex. …” cbcnews canada

The Sage Hill Rock, instead of a steel or wooden pole, isn’t a bad idea to dissuade people driving from cutting the corner too sharp. Nicer looking than a steel or wood pole, but it being only about 2′ high and out of place, not part of any designed landscape along with plants that people would be more inclined to notice than a single rock plopped into an asphalt wasteland, it’s not a big surprise that some people are failing to notice or remember the rock is there just before they turn.

Riocan ought to consider replacing the rock with a taller one that people driving can see from their driver’s seat through the passenger side window, just at the point before they make turns.

oliver
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oliver

“Drivers can’t seem to stop hitting a giant rock”
We need more of these, everywhere. #teamRock #dontCut

Brian
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Brian

Great piece on the lifer, Bill Elliston. I loved the quote, “The only difference between the rides we do now and those a couple years ago are that we cover a bit less ground and have upgraded from recovery shakes to beer.” Thanks for posting.

Ken
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Ken

I like the quote from the London video,
“I have the right to get to work, safely”

Mike Quigley
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Mike Quigley

I’m surprised not a mention about CRC rearing its ugly head again. Seems that Washington now want to huddle with Oregon to get it done. Same problem though. No money and little interest in Washington’s Senate and Oregon’s just about everything.

mark smith
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mark smith

When will Portland have a bike super highway? They could have built them with new max lines simultaneously ….but nope. Lost opportunity.

caesar
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caesar

mark smith
When will Portland have a bike super highway? They could have built them with new max lines simultaneously ….but nope. Lost opportunity.Recommended 0

Do what London did. Get big business on your side and bring the forces of the market to bear on the politicians. London’s success shows that it can happen.

Pete
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Pete

Clearly the solution to drivers hitting that rock is not to eliminate it entirely, but to replace it with a much taller, larger rock. We all know how ‘threat assessment’ works for those behind the wheel…