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The Monday Roundup: LA’s freeway follies, Vision Zero’s policing problem, a rail vision, and more

Posted by on February 12th, 2018 at 11:02 am

Welcome to the week.

Here are the most important stories we came across in the past seven days…

Vision Zero’s dilemma: Police statistics in Chicago show that 56 percent of all bike-related traffic tickets were issued in neighborhood with a majority of black residents — compared with 18 percent in white neighborhoods. (via @schmangee)

‘Bike Hunters’ strike gold: Bike company Vanmoof literally went the extra mile to catch the thief of a customer’s bike and uncovered a multinational bike theft ring in the process.

Toddlers-eye view of cities: A new film series follows toddlers while they discover urban streetscapes on foot. (via @awalkerinLA)

Transit use growing in Vancouver, Canada: Any transit experts in the audience know why metro-areas in Canada — especially Vancouver — are kicking butt with ridership while most U.S. cities are seeing a decline? (via @Dale_Bracewell)

Math-inspired myth-busting: Urban planning consultant Brent Toderian offers this handy guide to common transportation myths that are easily dispelled by using mathematics.

Origin of ‘jaywalking’: None other than Merriam-Webster offers more clues about the origin of the word ‘jaywalker’. (Unfortunately they think the reason it survived and its precursor ‘jay-driver’ disappeared from use is a mystery, when we all know that the reason is due to a coordinated propaganda campaign from the auto industry.)

Go ahead, split my lane: I like to see how motorcycle users are treated in our legislative system because there are often interesting cultural parallels to bicycle users. The struggle to pass lane-splitting laws is one such example.

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$1 billion: After spending a billion dollars to improve congestion on I-405 in Los Angeles, traffic data shows it has done very little to accomplish that goal.

LA doing what LA does: In what the LA Times calls a “throwback” move, for the first time in 25 years Los Angeles County plans to build a new freeway — despite the fact that it’s 2018. At least this time people are already expressing concerns about the toll it will exact on communities and the earth.

Danger zones: Five of the 10 most dangerous sections of roads in Oregon — based on based on crash rate, frequency and severity of the crash over the past three years — are on either SE Powell or 82nd.

Portland’s sordid past: A history gem uncovered by KOIN and architecture writer Brian Libby depicts a grim, car-dominated downtown Portland landscape in 1970.

Rail rules: We are fully behind the “Cascadia Rail” vision for a high-speed line that would connect Vancouver BC to Portland. (via Seattle Transit Blog)

Video of the Week: Be inspired not just by the quantity of bikes and the quality of behavior by the people who ride them — but wait for the 37-second mark for a big surprise. (via @why_not_bikes)

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

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maxD
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maxD

I-5 in the Rose Quarter is no even in the top ten most dangerous roads in Oregon! How is ODOT and our City representatives justifying spending 450 million dollars here?

9watts
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9watts

There was a surprise for me already at the 29-second mark.

9watts
Guest
9watts

Vanmoof case is a beautiful illustration of what can happen if you prioritize something, take bike theft seriously. Good for them.

Mick O
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Mick O
Momo
Guest
Momo

Canadian cities tend to have much better transit ridership for a very simple reason. They spend way more money on operations, so they have more “service hours” (number of hours that transit vehicles are on the road) per capita than we do. Basically, you get what you pay for. Even with the recent payroll tax increase for transit, we’re way behind Vancouver, BC.

wsbob
Guest
wsbob

I think it’s fine to take positions to oppose reconfiguration of existing highways and the addition of new highways and freeways, if viable ideas and alternatives are offered. Population continues to grow, so while the likelihood of fewer motor vehicles on the road may not be likely, staying with the current transportation infrastructure, traffic flow on highways and freeways may be improved with projects like the Rose Quarter project in Portland proposed by PBOT and ODOT.

Better community planning that doesn’t have residents rely so heavily as it does today on motor vehicle travel, could possibly help to keep up with traffic needs arising from a growing population, but there doesn’t seem to be much reason to figure that road congestion will go away, even with better community planning. If the traffic flow on congested roads, highways and freeways, can be improved significantly from what it is now, by way of redesigning parts of that infrastructure, travel could become more efficient, less stressful, and people will be happier.

Even if the projects required to accomplish that traffic flow, are expensive. Follow the continuing unfolding story of New York’s dilemma with NYC’s world renown subway system, originally conceived and constructed to provide for the transportation needs of the city’s population starting a century ago. Over following decades to today, that system continues to serve a population’s travel needs that reliance on highways and streets alone with motor vehicles simply could not meet. The subway system is broken down and needs to be fixed, and it’s going to cost a lot of money, which nobody in that state seems to be able to figure out a good way to get.

Portland lacks a subway or a public mass transportation system on a scale anywhere close to NYC’s, but it has its own transportation challenges to meet the travel needs of a growing population. Portland, if it doesn’t go for the RQ project, does have to do something to meet that challenge. If there was a chance that congestion pricing would be the means, I’d say go for it. Doesn’t sound like it can be though, at least not by itself.

soren
Guest
soren

Any transit experts in the audience know why metro-areas in Canada — especially Vancouver — are kicking butt

I’m not transit expert but…

One major difference is that Vancouver treats tenants like human beings who deserve stable housing. For example, Vancouver has rent control and just-cause eviction.

“https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/housing-tenancy/residential-tenancies/during-a-tenancy/rent-increases

http://tenants.bc.ca/evictions/

In contrast, Portland and most large USAnian metro areas are seeing accelerated displacement of those who are most likely to use transit to areas that are not well served by transit (or not served at all).

http://www.governing.com/topics/transportation-infrastructure/gov-public-transportation-riders-demographic-divide-for-cities.html

Pete
Guest
Pete

On motorbike lane splitting, sad to see the AZ Gov who vetoed it “citing concerns… motorists would have enough time to be educated properly about the changes.”

Here in California we don’t educate drivers about motorcyclists, bicyclists, speeding, stopping before turning right on red, etc., and motos split lanes just fine. I agree with Gish; the bikers who surprise you are the ones doing more than +10 MPH speed differential. Generally in CA traffic, by doing 10 MPH or less than cars, bikers give drivers the chance to see them and give them space. In my experience driving here, it’s like watching a wave… drivers are quite friendly to bikers and they pass through with little difficulty. (Lanes are wide here, so I suspect that helps).

I hate to see it so difficult to get legislation past the ‘cars-are-the-only-safe-things-on-the-road’ mentality (i.e. Idaho Stop Law, left turn on stuck red, etc.).

Spiffy
Subscriber
Jim Lee
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Jim Lee

Utrecht:

No helmets

One derailleur

Everybody sits up straight.

Really brilliant left turns!

Rick
Guest
Rick

My brother lives in Vancouver BC and I have used the transit system a bit when I visit and these are my thoughts. The trains are driverless and very frequent. If I recall maybe 7 or 8 minutes wait between trains compared to 15 or 20 minutes here. The stations are well laid out and don’t stop every two blocks. Getting through downtown PDX can take 20 or 25 minutes because the stops are so frequent. When living on the east side I found getting off at Lloyd center and riding my bike through town to Goose Hollow I could skip ahead two or three trains. Parking and congestion when driving can be a hassle so taking the train really is convenient and being so frequent it isn’t a big time suck either.

SD
Guest
SD

That “video of the week” should be played on loop in city hall and pioneer plaza to counter balance the lifetime of car indoctrination that is stifling smart transportation choices.

bikeninja
Guest
bikeninja

When I looked at the picture of Portland in 1970 it struck me that the PBA ( Portland Business Alliance) must have been in heaven back in those days.

mark smith
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mark smith

Regarding filtering (no, it’s not “splitting), carfirst! mentality is the driving force typically disguised as “safety”. The fact that cars are permitted to cross a yellow line to pass a bicycle notwithstanding, there is minimal relevant and current data that conclusively shows that filtering is any less safe (or more safe for that matter) than passing a bike on a double yellow (which no state has performed any real study of). In fact, even when it’s shown that that California has had (where traffic is 10 times that of any western state) minimal issues and in fact, it helps…yeah no. Cops love to write $400 tickets.

Source: I filter in Oregon and got a ticket doing…wait for it…10 mph through lanes. So slow that, the cop almost ran me over in the breakdown lane “catching” me. Then threatened me with “Reckless”.

Point is, carfirst! mentality makes it a carnal sin to now allow the car first, nor make everyone wait behind the car. We must all enshrine traffic..and when there is traffic…”make it wider! It’s unsafe!”.

Hence, the .5 billion dollar boondoggle proposed on I-5.

Carfirst!/Mefirst! Me big car! Me more powerful! Me run you down and say I was choking on a coke!

Yeah.

B. Carfree
Guest
B. Carfree

While I’m delighted to see some organizing and enthusiasm behind re-establishing rail in the PNW, things have changed a bit since we last had decent regional rail connections. The primary change is that the region is simply bigger. It is foolish to not work in connections to California, which has been rapidly expanding its rail system for the past dozen-odd years, to transform I-5 back into a freight corridor not packed with interstate passenger cars. While we’re at it, let’s acknowledge the growth on the dry side of the Cascades and begin to plan a parallel route there.

Okay, I’m feeling a bit demanding because I just finished a round trip on the Coast Starlight which simply takes forever. We’ve got to do better than that.

Mike Quigley
Guest
Mike Quigley

The only thing Trump and I agree on is toll roads. Queue ’em up and sock it to ’em. Gridlock? Stick around for the fun.

RobotGirl
Guest
RobotGirl

Steve Scarich
Slightly off-topic, but I could never figure out why school buses stop every 2 or 3 blocks, as if the kiddos could not walk an extra block or two. And, these are not in dangerous (traffic or perv) neighborhoods.Recommended 0

I think maybe they’re required to have an adult meet the bus and they’re selling the parents on the idea that it’s pretty much ‘at their door’.

Mary
Guest
Mary

B. Carfree
While we’re at it, let’s acknowledge the growth on the dry side of the Cascades and begin to plan a parallel route there.Recommended 3

I agree, I wish there was rail service connecting Portland through to Pendleton, La Grande, Baker City, and Boise. Amtrack used to have a line through there (till the 70’s I think) and has been wanting to get it back up. Maybe if there were fewer coal and oil cars running there would be more space for passenger trains.

Dave B
Guest

As other have said, it’s far more expensive to own a car in Canada and parking downtown isn’t cheap. And think about your last drive into Vancouver – the freeway ends a long way out, making driving downtown a lot less attractive to locals
https://sfb.nathanpachal.com/2018/02/transit-ridership-growing-faster-than.html

Seattle transit ridership has also been growing – by 4.1% – apparently better service, like BRT, signal prioritization adds up.
https://www.citylab.com/transportation/2017/10/how-seattle-bucked-a-national-trend-and-got-more-people-to-ride-the-bus/542958/