Splendid Cycles

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.


$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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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

  • maxD February 12, 2018 at 11:29 am

    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?

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    • Dave February 12, 2018 at 11:37 am

      For the convenience of whining white suburbanites, of course!

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      • billyjo February 14, 2018 at 7:57 am

        yes, they should listen to the whining white urbanites instead!

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    • David Hampsten February 12, 2018 at 2:40 pm

      The headline should be the top 10 ODOT roads, not the top 10 roads in the state. For example, 122nd & Division is excluded, the most dangerous intersection in Portland.

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  • 9watts February 12, 2018 at 11:43 am

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

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    • B. Carfree February 12, 2018 at 8:02 pm

      I have a hard time being impressed by these videos. None of the ones I have seen has ever come close to the volume of bikes against a near-absence of cars, on roads open to both, that Davis achieved forty years ago. It did it almost exclusively with zero-tolerance traffic law enforcement conducted by cops who lived inside the city.

      I’ll never forget the glory of looking down street after street where the bikes outnumbered the cars by large factors. I’ll also never get over the pain of our having let it disappear by thinking more separation was an adequate substitute for local cops enforcing traffic laws.

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  • 9watts February 12, 2018 at 11:51 am

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

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  • Mick O February 12, 2018 at 11:59 am

    If you wanted the link to the Chicago ticketing story, it’s here:


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    • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) February 12, 2018 at 12:33 pm

      Thanks Mick ;-). Sorry for leaving that out. I’ve added it back to the post.

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    • Smarty Pants February 12, 2018 at 7:12 pm

      It may be that the greater number of tickets in those neihborhoods is because that’s where the cops happen to be patroling most, based on need.


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      • B. Carfree February 12, 2018 at 8:43 pm

        I’ve got to wonder why the cops are issuing citations to people on bikes at all. Have they got a rash of cyclists killing innocents in Chicago? Has their traffic division so completely tamed the killing car operators that they are now seeking out people on bikes just to stay employed? No to both. What a waste of resources that could be used to improve and save lives.

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        • Hello, Kitty
          Hello, Kitty February 13, 2018 at 9:51 pm

          I’d bet anything these stops are pretextural, and are not intended to enforce traffic laws.

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      • Dan A February 13, 2018 at 7:13 am

        Police have a lot of leeway for who they stop and who they don’t. It wouldn’t surprise me to learn that they intentionally enforce traffic violations more strictly in certain areas…

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        • Hello, Kitty
          Hello, Kitty February 13, 2018 at 9:51 pm

          I wish they’d enforce them more in my neighborhood…

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          • Matt S. February 14, 2018 at 5:49 am

            Need more police officers. The PPB has had the same staffing levels for the last 20 years but Portland’s population has grown 100 thousand plus. No wonder traffic enforcement takes a backseat.

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            • 9watts February 14, 2018 at 7:19 am

              This is a familiar but I think problematic assertion. The PPB trots it out every chance they get, but it conveniently omits the fact that there is no ‘natural’ relationship between population and the need for policing. As we all know, crime, as measured by common metrics, is dramatically down across the country over this same time period (>50% since 1991). Yet this is never mentioned in the context of PPB staffing levels.


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              • Matt S. February 14, 2018 at 11:09 am

                Many of the police calls in Portland aren’t about crimes, but people dealing with mental health crisis’. Using crime as a metric to gage staffing numbers is an antiquated measure. IMO

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              • 9watts February 14, 2018 at 1:07 pm

                Many of the police calls in Portland aren’t about crimes, but people dealing with mental health crisis’.
                which, in our system, then leads to situations in which the police commit crimes. Ahem.

                This is a complex subject. I’m not suggesting any reductionist logics, just questioning the math you and the PPB like to invoke. What metric would you suggest?

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              • Matt S. February 15, 2018 at 5:30 am

                Call wait times. Everyone knows higher priority calls will get filled, but I imagine lower level calls probably hold for a long while. And I believe the city asks its police officers to first take calls then engage in traffic enforcement. If the lower level calls aren’t getting filled for some x amount of time, then there’s not going to be any time to stop a person driving too fast in the neighborhoods.

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              • 9watts February 15, 2018 at 7:06 am

                Interesting. I don’t know enough about the operational challenges of running a police dept. to know of that is a good one. I think this is a question for those who study policing across different jurisdictions, countries. Perhaps they can offer some insight? My interactions with the police almost uniformly occur through the Neighborhood system, and there the refrain is always ‘we’re understaffed’ which comes across to me as a boilerplate recitation that is more strategic than necessarily accurate. What are their own metrics for determining this? Are there other police departments that make do with the same number of officers-per-population who don’t crow about staffing, who get the job done and enjoy high standing with their publics?

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  • Momo February 12, 2018 at 12:08 pm

    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.

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    • David Hampsten February 12, 2018 at 2:15 pm

      It helps they also have significantly higher gasoline prices. According to http://www.globalpetrolprices.com/gasoline_prices/, the average price per liter in the USA as of Feb 5th 2018 was $0.76 USD, while in Canada it was $1.11 USD. Obviously the price varies place to place, but I dare say the west coast of Canada is more expensive than average, much like the USA west coast.

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    • soren impey February 12, 2018 at 2:33 pm

      Your point does not explain the recent bifurcation.

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      • B. Carfree February 12, 2018 at 8:24 pm

        But it might explain why none of the cities in the comparisons are even close to the transit numbers of San Francisco (at 34%).

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        • Dave February 13, 2018 at 10:59 am

          Because SF is a bloody miserable place to drive a car and everyone there knows it. It ran out of room for private motor vehicles around 1960.

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    • Smarty Pants February 12, 2018 at 7:15 pm

      As far as I know, there are no hours I need to be going somewhere that buses or MAX aren’t running. They just aren’t convenient in most cases.

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      • Dan A February 13, 2018 at 7:19 am

        There are 10 flights arriving tonight where everyone is going to miss the last MAX train.

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      • GlowBoy February 13, 2018 at 10:20 am

        Ha! Try getting around TriMet (as I do) on the westside in the evening. Sure MAX is running, but buses are another story. To access the parts of Hillboro-Beaverton where I often stay in hotels, I rely on the 48, 47 and 67 buses (actually, a combination of those and MAX, which due to the infrequency of buses often leads to loooong transfer waits, not fun at night).

        #48 has the best service of the three, and it stops running about 10pm (or 8pm on the western half of the line). #47 stops about 9pm. #67 stops at 8. The latter two don’t run at all on weekends, any hour of the day.

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      • Pete February 13, 2018 at 10:41 am

        Bingo – it’s all about convenience. Make driving more inconvenient and one will start to maneuver more flexibility into one’s travels.

        I found driving in Vancouver incredibly difficult because of the light timings and bike lanes and sheer numbers of peds and cyclists. I often missed light cycles waiting to turn right across endless flows of peds crossing on their walk signal. Parking is a bitch too, just finding it let alone affording it. And the cost of housing is insane; most folks I worked with there couldn’t afford to live downtown so had places in Burnaby, etc., and took light rail in. They found it clean and convenient, and once Alaska changed some of their flights and I figured out how I could combine work with Whistler trips without driving up from Portland, so did I.

        Unfortunately in SF, if I want to spend a late night out, Caltrain stops running at midnight. Last time I saw Jerry Joseph there, the band went on at 11.

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      • El Biciclero February 13, 2018 at 12:35 pm

        Yes. And that inconvenience is designed right into the system. Do we make driving cheap and easy because “that’s just what people want to do”, or do people prefer driving because we’ve made it so cheap and easy? What if only buses were allowed on the freeways, or there were two lanes for buses and only one for private cars? And what if there were enough buses running to keep those lanes pretty full—what would be convenient then? What if we charged for residential street parking? If you want to block 1/4 to 1/3 of the usable roadway by storing your car, shouldn’t you pay for creating a hazard and reducing the public benefit of the street no matter where you do it?

        We create our own reality in this realm, and pandering to the desires of exclusive drivers and their oversized vehicles is starting to bite us back “big league”.

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    • GNnorth February 13, 2018 at 7:53 am

      They spend more money on operations here because the hourly wage is higher. There isn’t a single thing to brag about transit up here, at all. Riding the bike is really the only option worth its salt, the bus just sucks, no way about it.

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      • GlowBoy February 13, 2018 at 10:20 am

        OK Gnorth, so why is ridership so much higher then?

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        • GNnorth February 13, 2018 at 3:16 pm

          Because there isn’t any other option, have you seen the cost of gas here? Or insurance? Poor people may have it even tougher here than in the states, it isn’t easy.

          I took the bus home again about two weeks ago after getting a pair of massively large punctures in my rear tire and decided this would be a good lesson, 1 hour and 48 minutes later I was at my door. Riding time for the same 23 miles, 1 hour and 45 minutes.

          Buses from where I live near the border are packed also due to a MASSIVE amount of homes being built, and transit service has been so woefully inadequate for decades that each run of the 351 is full at peak times. Translink is so far behind, and the only thing they really do down here is shuffle the buses to make it seem like the route is “optimized”.

          Don’t even get me started on the “high-speed rail” line, what a joke. I guess solid transportation choices like a traditional passenger train just doesn’t cut it with the younger crowd. Quit buying all the hype people!

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          • Hello, Kitty
            Hello, Kitty February 13, 2018 at 9:56 pm

            But we need your hype! Copenhagen is completely sold out, and the Dutch just jacked up their prices.

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  • wsbob February 12, 2018 at 12:13 pm

    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.

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    • Todd Boulanger February 12, 2018 at 3:32 pm

      Per the NYC subway system, yes it is a product of its early 20th Century service area [and new struggles to serve newly prime areas outside of Manhattan], as a way to sell developed property (early TODs) and that is why there is often “over capacity” in some areas due to the original (2) private operators (and 1 public) competing to bring customers into the same high value destination zones…then the City bought out the private franchises in 1940 but the die was cast.

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    • 9watts February 12, 2018 at 6:39 pm

      “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.”
      This framing presupposes that what is being proposed by the cheeses is viable. We know that it is not. Nothing about perpetuating automobility is viable (any more, if it ever was).

      “traffic flow… may be improved with projects like the Rose Quarter project in Portland proposed by PBOT and ODOT.”

      Except that this goes against everything we have learned – that too-much-auto-traffic is in all cases self-defeating.

      “there doesn’t seem to be much reason to figure that road congestion will go away, even with better community planning.”

      Oh it will go away all right, but probably not because we get our act together and attempt to thwart it but because of constraints that bear down on it and render it unviable on its own terms.

      “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.”

      If wishes were horses….

      “Portland, if it doesn’t go for the RQ project, does have to do something to meet that challenge.”

      No it doesn’t.
      Autodom will destroy itself following its own inherent logics. It is called the Do Nothing Alternative.

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  • soren February 12, 2018 at 12:28 pm

    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.



    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).


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    • Kyle Banerjee February 12, 2018 at 2:39 pm

      Interesting to use Vancouver as a positive example. Their housing values are totally insane even by Portland standards and rent is hardly affordable for people who don’t earn well.

      Rent controls take a variety of forms and sound great, but they have issues that economists across the spectrum agree on. For starters, only some renters get a good deal while others face even higher prices because it restricts the supply of housing further (those benefiting from rent control are incentivized not to move). Landlords are incentivized to maintain properties as well, and developers are incentivized to cater to the high end market. The net effect is that those who have little means and are just starting out are among those hurt worst by rent controls.

      That people are forced to move into areas not served by transit is another issue as is the level of support for transit in these places.

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      • soren February 12, 2018 at 4:47 pm

        “but they have issues that economists across the spectrum agree on”

        some form of rent stabilization and/or control is actually a norm in modern democracies. some day, the usa will become interested in democracy…

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        • Smarty Pants February 12, 2018 at 7:27 pm

          We tried price controls in 1971. It produced shortages. Why build an apartment building if rising material and labor costs make it unprofitable because of rent controls?


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        • Spiffy February 13, 2018 at 10:05 am

          “some day, the usa will become interested in democracy”

          I sure hope not… I don’t want to live in that world… the anti voices are already loud enough, we don’t need to give them power…

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      • soren February 13, 2018 at 11:04 am

        so on the one hand you acknowledge that rent regulation covers an enormous spectrum of policy but you then go on to insist that it has “issues” that [all] economists across the spectrum agree on. this cognitive dissonance may be illustrative of the depth of your knowledge in this housing policy area…

        one of the things i’ve learned as a tenant organizer is that many of those who have the strongest knee-jerk negative reactions to “rent control” know the least about this housing policy…

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        • Hello, Kitty
          Hello, Kitty February 14, 2018 at 12:39 pm

          All rent control is, at its heart, an attempt to keep housing prices below the market value they would otherwise have. It is not dissonant to acknowledge the breadth of policies that attempt to do this, while at the same time pointing out that most have side effects such as discouraging mobility and rewarding incumbency, that are generally regarded as bad.

          I think we would all agree an unregulated housing market is highly flawed, as are most attempts to control it. That doesn’t mean it can’t be done, but I have yet to see a scheme that is generally effective without major undesirable side-effects.

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          • soren February 15, 2018 at 10:02 am

            “market value”

            a radical thought: perhaps unfettered free markets* are not the best way to manage housing, medical care, or education.

            *a myth because “winners” always fetter those markets to their advantage

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            • 9watts February 15, 2018 at 10:38 am

              comment of the week?

              Although we rarely have this discussion I think it is so important to highlight the degree to which market encroachment wreaks havoc, generates externalities, produces suboptimal outcomes.

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            • Hello, Kitty
              Hello, Kitty February 15, 2018 at 10:52 am

              It’s one thing to say that, and quite another to propose a workable alternative.

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              • 9watts February 15, 2018 at 12:00 pm

                A workable alternative, you say?

                Sure. There have been lots of interesting alternatives proposed to what we currently have. Banks are a big part of the problem, as is the institution of positive interest rates. I haven’t looked into this in more than twenty years, but it is a fascinating topic. Here’s an overview of alternatives to our money system I just found:

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              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty February 15, 2018 at 1:56 pm

                Changing monetary systems! Sounds workable!

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              • q February 15, 2018 at 2:17 pm

                Other countries have housing systems much different than ours, which prove other systems can work.

                In the meantime, at a minimum we could stop doing things that push things the wrong direction. For example, a high percentage of homes in my neighborhood have been converted into short-term rentals. (The last house that went up for sale here was put on the market, then taken off and remodeled before being put on the market again–at a much higher price–to create a separate semi-unit that was then marketed as “ideal for an airbnb”.) So now people who want to buy a house here aren’t competing just against other buyers who want to live in the house, or against investors who want to rent the house out to long-term dwellers, but now are competing against investors who will run the homes as hotels. And they can make so much more doing that than renting it to long-term tenants that they can offer much more and still have a feasible investment. That turns houses into investments that don’t even provide housing anymore. Portland has even been giving fee waivers for people building ADUs to use as short-term rentals. At least we could stop those turn-your-house-into-a-pure-investment incentives.

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              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty February 15, 2018 at 6:06 pm

                If we in fact have a housing emergency, why does the city still permit short term rentals? Banning them until the emergency has passed seems like a pretty obvious step to take. I am always surprised that more people aren’t calling for this measure.

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              • soren February 15, 2018 at 10:30 pm

                with all due respect, h, k, this is whataboutism. tenant advocates have been calling for the city to reign in or ban short-term rentals for years (to largely deaf ears).

                limiting rent increases to some multiple of inflation is actually the norm in many capitalist nations. only in the USA do we view 20,50,100% rent increases as some sort of inalienable right.

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              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty February 16, 2018 at 12:17 am

                It’s not. My comment was mostly directed at the city, who declared an emergency, but declined to take such an obvious measure. I am less informed about what tenant advocates say, but advocates for development, many of whom comment here, have been largely silent.

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  • John Lascurettes February 12, 2018 at 12:51 pm

    Missing the link for the Toddler’s Eye View story. Here it is: https://www.curbed.com/2018/2/8/16981456/kids-cities-walking-film-jacob-krupnick-young-explorers-club

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  • John Lascurettes February 12, 2018 at 12:54 pm

    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.

    Oh, you mean the ODOT controlled highways through an urban area? Yeah, let me recover from my shock here. Okay, done.

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  • Pete February 12, 2018 at 1:54 pm

    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.).

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    • dan February 12, 2018 at 4:53 pm

      I was in CA over the weekend and had a motorcycle pass me, splitting the lane, at a very high speed differential, I would guess 20+ mph. It is startling as hell, but I realized that he’s got a lot more skin in the game than me, so…fine by me, I guess?

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      • John Liu
        John Liu February 12, 2018 at 6:28 pm

        Motos should absolutely be permitted to split lanes. There should be speed and speed differential limits. Motorcyclists who flout those eventually remove themselves from the population.

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      • Pete February 13, 2018 at 10:48 am

        Truth be told, I hear them absolutely flying around the roads here at night – it would be easy for me to generalize. When I walk on the Bay Trail (which is dirt), I am often startled by cyclists riding CX and MTB whizzing by me – also easy to see how emotions and generalizations can take over. CA only recently made it technically legal by enacting it as law, whereas before it was just accepted practice guided by statements put out by Highway Patrol. If the biker who passed you was exceeding your speed by more than 10 MPH, they were breaking the law.

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    • Spiffy February 13, 2018 at 10:08 am

      as a 2-wheeled motor vehicle driver I don’t split lanes, not even where it’s legal… I don’t think it’s safe… there should be a carpool lane on every freeway that motorcycles can use so they can safely have an entire lane…

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  • Spiffy February 12, 2018 at 2:13 pm

    Toddler’s eye view of cities: link missing, likely this one: https://www.curbed.com/2018/2/8/16981456/kids-cities-walking-film-jacob-krupnick-young-explorers-club

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  • Jim Lee February 12, 2018 at 2:15 pm


    No helmets

    One derailleur

    Everybody sits up straight.

    Really brilliant left turns!

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    • k7ty February 12, 2018 at 2:45 pm

      No Lycra
      No dropbars

      Love the little painted ped island

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      • Dan A February 13, 2018 at 7:24 am

        Let me know when Portland has been flattened out and smooshed together.

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      • El Biciclero February 13, 2018 at 12:49 pm

        “No Lycra
        No dropbars”

        …no trips longer than 3 flat miles
        very few cars…and they go slowly…

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      • BradWagon February 19, 2018 at 11:10 am

        The entirety of Utrecht metro area is 5 or 6 miles across. Let me know the style of bike and attire when folks make 15miles / 1hr commutes…

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  • Rick February 12, 2018 at 2:57 pm

    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.

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    • John Liu
      John Liu February 12, 2018 at 6:31 pm

      The routing of MAX through downtown on surface streets creates problems. But not insoluble ones.

      For a city our size, Portland has a nice head start on a really good transit system. We need to keep it up. Both rail and bus. Similar situation with biking. Many cities would love to be where we are. But if we don’t keep pushing, we won’t get to where we need to be.

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    • Steve Scarich February 13, 2018 at 8:47 am

      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.

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      • Spiffy February 13, 2018 at 10:12 am

        I walked a mile to the bus stop in high school… the mile home was uphill… in the winter is was snowing… no complaints… spent that time talking to friends who lived farther up the hill…

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      • Dan A February 13, 2018 at 12:59 pm

        Buses are not the problem. If anything, we could use more buses to reduce the number of parents driving.

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      • John Lascurettes February 14, 2018 at 4:25 pm

        Probably has to do with density of the pickups. I mean, there are busses like #8 that stop every other block on NE 15th between Broadway and Killingsworth.

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  • SD February 12, 2018 at 3:06 pm

    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.

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  • bikeninja February 12, 2018 at 4:24 pm

    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.

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  • mark smith February 12, 2018 at 8:32 pm

    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!


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    • Pete February 13, 2018 at 10:53 am

      Yes, filtering, thank you, I stand corrected.

      What were you doing not being in a car to begin with?? 😉

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  • B. Carfree February 12, 2018 at 8:39 pm

    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.

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    • 9watts February 12, 2018 at 8:42 pm

      “the Coast Starlight which simply takes forever. We’ve got to do better than that.”


      Because every other industrialized country does?

      I think high speed rail would be a land use disaster for our region as it would encourage/reward sprawl 100x more than our current situation.

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      • Matt S. February 12, 2018 at 10:14 pm

        Self driving cars are going to take care of urban sprawl. Wake up, get ready, get in car, nap for an hour until you park in downtown lot. Who cares about traffic when you’re sleeping. People will live 60 miles from downtown…

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        • 9watts February 12, 2018 at 10:17 pm

          That is a rather partial and privileged perspective on this prototype, don’t you think?

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          • Matt S. February 13, 2018 at 6:10 am

            Privileged or not, I worry about the technology disrupting the dense housing progress made within the urban core.

            I imagine there’s only a handful of options to deal with current traffic patterns (when commuting into the downtown core): 1) deal with long commute times 2) take transit / bike commute 3) telecommute 4) find work closer to home 5) move closer to work.

            Self driving cars negates 2-5, especially if one can work while they “drive.”

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            • Pete February 13, 2018 at 10:58 am

              Self-driving cars don’t negate 1 or 2 when they are single-occupant. Mass transit does.

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        • David Hampsten February 12, 2018 at 11:51 pm

          If the car is self-driving, why leave it at all? Fit in a bed, an AMTRAK toilet, and your latest computer gadgets and you have yourself a mobile home-office. Suddenly our highways will be re-purposed as residential offices on-the-move, going nowhere fast.

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          • Matt S. February 13, 2018 at 6:11 am

            My work requires that I be “onsite” to complete my job related tasks.

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        • BB February 13, 2018 at 3:46 pm

          Self driving cars don’t exist today and won’t exist in the way you imagine for another hundred years, if at all.

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      • B. Carfree February 12, 2018 at 11:51 pm

        I disagree. I could easily just mosey over to the local airport and be in any city in the west in a few hours and it’s cost competitive with trains. Is that causing sprawl? If not, then reasonable 21st century train service wouldn’t either. If planes are already inducing sprawl, then why fret over rail?

        Land use is a state and local issue that is generally mishandled because of a lot of things, but blaming transit seems like a reach to me.

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        • Chris I February 13, 2018 at 10:37 am

          Add in security time, and connections on both ends, and you’re looking at 2-3 hours from Portland to Seattle for about $100 on Horizon. Total trip time on Amtrak is about 4 hours, for $30.

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          • q February 13, 2018 at 11:09 am

            Or take a Bolt bus for $17 to $19 one way from Portland to Seattle, with a total trip time of 3:30 to 3:45, with a schedule offering several trips per day.

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            • GlowBoy February 14, 2018 at 10:28 am

              Although I very much like riding Amtrak, I just did BoltBus to Seattle last month for the first time. Cost less than $40 round-trip, and the return leg back to Portland took 3 hours flat, sidewalk to sidewalk. Best-case scenario to get between central Portland and central Seattle by air is about 4 hours.

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              • q February 14, 2018 at 10:45 am

                Yes, it’s a good service. I like the concept of high-speed rail, and go to Seattle often myself, but wouldn’t use it instead of driving for several reasons. I wonder what benefit high-speed rail has for users over buses? Would faster travel make that much difference to them? When people say they’d use rail, but currently don’t use the bus, I’m a bit skeptical that they’d really use rail much.

                When I think of high-speed rail, I think of what else could be done with that money that to me would be a higher priority.

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      • John Liu
        John Liu February 13, 2018 at 1:17 am

        Uncontrollable sprawl, like Europe and Japan?

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        • 9watts February 13, 2018 at 7:27 am

          Land use and density in Europe is completely different than what we have going here. There are those who have called the ICE (InterCity Express) trains of Germany as Central Europe’s street cars. The idea that introducing vastly faster and more convenient long distance travel has no effect on land use and commuting patterns is ridiculous.

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          • Spiffy February 13, 2018 at 10:24 am

            I’d rather all the people currently commuting to Portland from Vancouver and Salem be on a train rather than the freeways…

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  • Mike Quigley February 13, 2018 at 6:01 am

    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.

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  • RobotGirl February 13, 2018 at 12:52 pm

    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’.

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  • Mary February 14, 2018 at 4:38 pm

    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.

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  • Dave B February 19, 2018 at 12:06 pm

    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

    Seattle transit ridership has also been growing – by 4.1% – apparently better service, like BRT, signal prioritization adds up.

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