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The Monday Roundup: AV myths, Team Sky high, Hype-PR-loop, and more

Posted by on March 5th, 2018 at 10:56 am

Welcome to the week. Before we get going, let us not forget the stories that came before…

Show us your Portland!

— Enter the Biketown Design Challenge. Deadline is March 7th!

(*advertisement)

Fast and dirty: You had us at, “cut the project time of a new protected bike lane by 90 percent and the cost by 75 percent.”

The truth about AVs: They can’t solve urban transportation problems says this visually-appealing, truth-telling, myth-busting NYT Opinion piece.

Not heroic: The fact that the media and others think a criminal who destroyed a speed camera is a “hero” is everything you need to know about America’s dysfunctional and dangerous road culture.

Idaho stop in Utah: While Oregon’s legislature was busy expanding the bike tax, Utah lawmakers were supporting a change in the law that would make it legal for bicycle users to yield at stop signs and treat signals like stop signs.

Legal clarity: While Oregon’s legislature was busy expanding the bike tax, Seattle lawmakers passed a bill that clarifies the legal standing of electric bicycles. As the fastest growing segment in the bike market, Oregon needs to address this issue too.

Non merci: A dockless bike share company has pulled out of Paris after the bikes suffered “mass destruction” by vandals. Just proves that you can’t copy/paste solutions from one place to the next. Local culture matters.

It’s not the weather: Turns out a major reason people don’t bike in winter is the same reason they don’t bike in summer: because the infrastructure sucks even more.

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Hype-PR-loop: This cautionary post about the PR machine behind the Hyperloop could be applied to big highway mega-projects too. Just remember: The more PR it takes to convince of how good something is, the less likely it is to be needed.

Let’s keep arguing about parking spaces: Scientists are “alarmed” by a startling rise in temperatures in the arctic. (h/t to @BrooklynSpoke for that intro)

Safer trucks: Very happy to see that NACTO is working with the US DOT to develop best practices for big trucks that operate in cities. (For some reason Portland isn’t on the list of cities taking part in the effort.)

About time: The Tour de France says they’ll end the practice of having “podium girls” stand on stage next to bike racers.

Team Sky high: The pro bike scene can’t seem to shake widespread use of performance-enhancing drugs.

Why so many walking deaths?: NPR covered a new report from the Governor’s Highway Safety Association that found the number of people killed while walking has reached a 33-year high.

Dangerous cycling consequences: The UK government is debating a new law that would make it a crime to cause someone’s death by “dangerous or careless cycling.”

Tweet of the Week: We hear you Dena…

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

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103 Comments
  • Spiffy March 5, 2018 at 11:08 am

    Non merci: if people start vandalizing cars in Portland will companies stop selling them here?

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  • 9watts March 5, 2018 at 11:09 am

    What can we do to get the ‘subscribe to comments’ button back?
    I am sure I’m not the only one who misses it.

    And while we’re at it, I’ve always yearned for a way to subscribe without having to post first. Not knowing anything about programming I have assumed this would not be hard to make happen. Am I wrong about that?

    Thank you.

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    • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) March 5, 2018 at 12:29 pm

      thanks 9watts.. I’ve forwarded your feedback to our web guy and we’ll work to restore that functionality asap. This site takes constant tweaking and updating to keep it working well! thanks for being a bikeportland supporter! your contributions help pay for continued design and functionality upgrades.

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      • 9watts March 5, 2018 at 1:24 pm

        Thank you, Jonathan –
        And the button is back!

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  • Spiffy March 5, 2018 at 11:16 am

    Legal clarity: sounds like the biggest thing was allowing them on sidewalks… clarity? it was already clear if you looked up the laws… same as our laws here… do we need to be able to take our ebikes on the sidewalk? yes, but only because they won’t give us any safe places to bike… will people bike too fast on sidewalks and paths? yes, just like they drive too fast in their cars…

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  • Spiffy March 5, 2018 at 11:19 am

    Not heroic: if you get caught posting things online that are critical of your job you will likely lose your job… anyone caught posting that this is heroic should lose their license… it’d be an easy thing to add to the DMV laws… and there’s no freedom of speech issue because you have no right to a driver’s license…

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    • Hello, Kitty
      Hello, Kitty March 5, 2018 at 1:47 pm

      >>> and there’s no freedom of speech issue because you have no right to a driver’s license <<<

      Interesting argument, and one highly unlikely to prevail, to say the least.

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      • paikiala March 6, 2018 at 10:54 am
        • Hello, Kitty
          Hello, Kitty March 6, 2018 at 10:59 am

          Interesting:

          >>> “The right to travel is a part of the liberty of which the citizen cannot be deprived without due process of law under the 5th Amendment.” <<<

          I wonder how that works in the age of no-fly lists and other secret travel prohibitions.

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        • GlowBoy March 6, 2018 at 12:46 pm

          Bear in mind that many lawyers have a vested interest in representing those accused of DUI and may not be unbiased when it comes to the issue of states withdrawing people’s driving privileges. Just because a legal opinion comes from a lawyer doesn’t make it right: as a group they are rather notorious for being able to make a logical case for anything.

          The concept of driving being a privilege rather than a right is pretty well established, as is the concept of travel in general being a right. In fact, I’d like to see more cases being made in the courts that emphasizing automobile travel (a privilege) over bicycle travel (a gray area) or foot travel (inarguably a right) is a gross violation of the Equal Protection Clause.

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          • Hello, Kitty
            Hello, Kitty March 6, 2018 at 1:01 pm

            Whether driving is a privilege or a de-facto right, having the government revoke it because you wrote that an act of vandalism was heroic is simply a non-starter.

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            • GlowBoy March 6, 2018 at 2:39 pm

              Well, of course.

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            • Spiffy March 8, 2018 at 9:40 am

              they’re talking about taking away the guns of people that post disturbing content online…

              right now if you take your legally concealed gun to a place that they’re prohibited and you’re caught and charged then you risk losing permission to carry concealed… what if they took your license for driving in a bike lane too often?

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  • bikeninja March 5, 2018 at 11:21 am

    The Myth Busting NYT opinion piece should be required watching for anyone getting a job or elected position in transportation in this country. It should also be on a continuos loop on a big screen on every floor of every ODOT office in Oregon.

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    • q March 5, 2018 at 12:04 pm

      Yes. I loved the shared use images. When I’ve questioned ODOT about streets they control here, esp. in regard to pedestrian crossings, their view has invariably been that pedestrians can only be accommodated if it doesn’t mpede vehicle flow. It’s not even that they disagree about the degree that pedestrians should be accommodated. They don’t even try to justify lack of accommodations to pedestrians. It’s as if once they say that vehicle flow would be impeded, no matter how little, then every sane person’s response would be, “Oh, well of course we can’t have that. I hadn’t realized what I was proposing would cut vehicle flow by .001%. Can’t let that happen!”

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    • q March 5, 2018 at 12:42 pm

      Coincidentally, I was just looking at diagrams of block patterns of cities in the U.S. and elsewhere. Portland touts its small (and they are quite small compared to most other cities) 200’x200′ blocks as being positive–more daylight for buildings and streets, more human-scaled buildings, etc.

      But what stood out in the diagrams–with their black blocks and white streets, with all cities shown at the same scale–is that Portland at least looks like it has a much higher street-to-block ratio than almost any other downtown.

      Seeing that, then just now seeing the mixed-use street images in the NYT piece, is a graphic reminder that Portland could take several blocks worth of streets downtown, convert them into true mixed-use streets (where auto use is scaled way back in favor of more area for biking, walking, transit and even trees and small plazas) and still keep as much auto-centered street area as most any other U.S. city.

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      • David Hampsten March 5, 2018 at 7:52 pm

        The city could also save quite a bit on wear-and-tear of its pavement, focusing traffic onto fewer streets and building them stronger.

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    • B. Carfree March 5, 2018 at 1:54 pm

      One thing it ignored about AV’s is that once cars are no longer driven by unqualified dangerous humans, people will very likely be much more willing to walk and bicycle, which will indeed lead to less traffic.

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      • 9watts March 5, 2018 at 1:57 pm

        not at all sure about that.
        You may be skipping over the intermediate 30 years when there’s anticipated to be a mix of what we have now and these AV fantasies. That evolving mixture doesn’t inspire calm in me as a human powered individual, not that I mind cars all that much now when I’m biking.

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        • B. Carfree March 5, 2018 at 6:55 pm

          Thirty years? I think not. As soon as AV’s cross over about 5% of sales, insurance companies are going to quickly realize that all their pay-outs are caused by human operators and rates will be set accordingly. We might even see a few forward-thinking states push this thing along (I’m looking at you, California). Like many social/tech phenomena, I expect the transition to be about five years.

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          • David Hampsten March 5, 2018 at 7:56 pm

            I still see typewriters in government offices. It will be a long time before heavy machinery, large vehicle fleets, and emergency vehicles are converted, not to mention retro pickups and Prius cars with confederate flags. For every California, there will be several Texas and Floridas.

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          • Jim Calhoon March 6, 2018 at 2:52 pm

            Have you been to California lately? I have spent 5 of the last 8 weeks working in Ontario. Here is a state that actively promotes using more electric cars than any other state. But in those 5 weeks I have not seen one Tesla where in Portland it is common to see 1 or 2 a day. I have seen more charging stations around Portland than I have down there. So if you think Californians are going to give up there current vehicles for AV in 5 years I would say you are very optimistic.

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        • KTaylor March 7, 2018 at 12:14 pm

          Just a note about those intervening 30 years – I work with people who are in the business of developing urban frameworks for AV, and I think change will happen a lot more quickly that originally thought becuase the corporate giants who own the fleets will make it happen. At this point, it’s looking like consumers will not own these cars, simply because people can’t be relied on to maintain them in safe working order (the AV hardware is extremely expensive, and procrastinating on repairs or updates would have disastrous results). As public-private partnership (a terrible idea that should perish from the earth) becomes more common, Uber and other tech companies will pile all their idle cash into infrastructure projects designed for AVs – which can handle narrower tolerances than human-driven cars. Funding for human-driven infrastructure (which comes from our cash-strapped governments) won’t keep up, so soon we could have an AV-optimized roadway system that won’t be safe for human drivers – and we’ll have paid through the nose for as the ‘public’ part of a partnership with Uber.

          I am really happy that the public’s AV utopia wet dream is finally dying down – at least to the extent that NY Times would publish this excellent slideshow.

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    • Asher Atkinson March 5, 2018 at 10:15 pm

      I suggest those interested in transportation and the changes AVs may bring aim higher than a slide show of an opinion piece and pick up the latest Economist magazine. https://www.economist.com/printedition/2018-03-03

      Here you’ll find a thorough, thoughtful, and insightful series of articles, ranging from how the technology works, to safety implications, to social control. The Economist is a wonderful resource covering transportation all the time. I wish their pieces got more mention in the roundups on Bike Portland.

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      • Hello, Kitty
        Hello, Kitty March 5, 2018 at 10:49 pm

        A great set of articles, as you would expect from the Economist.

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      • paikiala March 6, 2018 at 10:59 am

        I also thought the idea that all AV’s would end up being the same size as today’s cars a bit odd. AV’s could end up being a lot smaller, 2-person size or less, as well as bus size, both of which reduces average square foot per person moved.

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        • Hello, Kitty
          Hello, Kitty March 6, 2018 at 11:02 am

          I’m guessing many would be the size of Smart car, which works for two people without too much stuff, or one person with a lot. Vehicles get more efficient as they get lighter, so if you are managing a fleet, you have an incentive to go small.

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          • 9watts March 6, 2018 at 11:06 am

            “Vehicles get more efficient as they get lighter”

            I wonder if you could flesh that out a bit?

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            • Hello, Kitty
              Hello, Kitty March 6, 2018 at 11:14 am

              I could, but to what end? If you’re angling for bikes are more efficient that even the lightest of cars, I would fully agree. If you’re going for something else, I’m not sure what it is.

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              • 9watts March 6, 2018 at 11:15 am

                I was angling for you to talk about denominators.

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              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty March 6, 2018 at 11:30 am

                Smaller is better, except when you want bigger.

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    • GlowBoy March 6, 2018 at 12:48 pm

      My favorite part of the Mythbusting piece is where they question the widely held assumption that most AVs would be shared. You’d have to be pretty ignorant of the history of the auto industry to hold that position, if you really think about it.

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  • Kyle Banerjee March 5, 2018 at 11:22 am

    I’d be careful about relating the value of hyperloop and PR efforts — a similar argument could be made for cycling.

    I am also skeptical about the specific project mentioned in the article. However, if hyperloop could be used to move freight along a few major routes (freight is more compelling application than people IMO), it could remove countless smoke belching diesels from the roads which would improve safety and air quality.

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    • Spiffy March 5, 2018 at 11:59 am

      isn’t freight rail already one of the fastest modes? you’ve got miles of mostly straight path with right-of-way stopping anything that crosses its path… and yet it’s still not enough with roads being so cheap…

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      • paikiala March 6, 2018 at 11:01 am

        Lowest cost, maybe, but heavy rail works for lower cost, or heavy, items that travel between major hubs. Higher cost transport works for items of high value or where time is an issue, similar to aircraft.

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      • Hello, Kitty
        Hello, Kitty March 6, 2018 at 11:16 am

        Given the huge amount of freight that is moved by rail, the cheapness of roads doesn’t seem to be the limiting factor, especially when you consider the cost of drivers.

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      • GlowBoy March 6, 2018 at 12:49 pm

        Heavy rail isn’t as fast as it could be. Rail cars (even loaded ones) spend a lot more time sitting in yards than actually moving from city to city.

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    • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) March 5, 2018 at 12:31 pm

      yes and no kyle.

      difference if this was a bike PR effort is that we’d actually have the benefit of facts and reality on our side… Since the value and effectiveness of cycling is easily proven and known to everyone who’s willing to acknowledge reality — the PR effort would come from a completely different place.

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      • Hello, Kitty
        Hello, Kitty March 6, 2018 at 11:08 am

        If value and effectiveness were really what people value, we’d see much higher cycling rates. I can only conclude that most people value other factors more highly (comfort, ease, cargo capacity), and are willing to pay a considerable amount of money to get them.

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        • 9watts March 6, 2018 at 11:14 am

          “most people value other factors”
          Could be, but, again, it is important to remember that people aren’t making these choices in a vacuum, without strings, unencumbered by the lopsided terms of our transportation system.
          You and I can’t, for instance, choose many of the options the average resident of a European city has available to him/her. Our shrunken choice spectrum is the result not merely of what products are on offer: bike, skateboard, car, bus, but the systems into which these products are embedded.

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          • Hello, Kitty
            Hello, Kitty March 6, 2018 at 11:37 am

            Would it be better if I had prefaced my statement with “given the environment we live in”?

            With a different built environment, of course people would make different choices. I would take a fast moving subway if that were an option; I would ride on a dedicated bike trail that went directly from my house to my destination if I could; I would take the hyperloop to San Francisco if it were built and affordable; I would take the ski train to Mt. Hood if we had one.

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            • 9watts March 6, 2018 at 11:52 am

              this is something wspob and I argue about to – what can we conclude from the fact that cars are dominant here? What does it mean to point to preferences as the explanation?
              (a) people prefer cars, duh;

              (b) preferences aren’t that meaningful because the alternatives to the car aren’t on the same level, aren’t comparably choosable for reasons that have deep roots.

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              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty March 6, 2018 at 12:02 pm

                Does it really matter? We are where we are. Understanding how we got here can be useful, but it doesn’t change the present. You can say people might make different choices if the environment were different, and I might agree, but it doesn’t change the fact that people are choosing what they’re choosing. Let’s look at building a different future, but I don’t care to debate what a different present would be like.

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              • 9watts March 6, 2018 at 12:09 pm

                “Let’s look at building a different future, but I don’t care to debate what a different present would be like.”

                Curious you would parse this like that. I don’t see how we can conceptualize a different future without interrogating how we got to where we are.

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              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty March 6, 2018 at 12:15 pm

                I parse it like this: “Understanding how we got here can be useful.”

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    • bikeninja March 5, 2018 at 1:54 pm

      I don’t really understand the attraction of the Hyperloop ( even if it buildable and operational). It doesn’t seem to promise much beyond speed. Almost every time we have placed speed above everything else we have not made the world a better place. From the standpoint of energy efficiency, sustainability and scenic value old fashioned canals have everything else beat. Thinking of an entire transportation system made up of canal boats and cargo bikes makes me smile, but speeding underground in lightless sideways elevator does not.

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  • 9watts March 5, 2018 at 11:39 am

    …speaking of pedestrian deaths, has anyone else checked in at distraction.gov lately? It seems to me that things have kind of gone quiet over there, the useful tabs on the home page for research and statistics have been removed. And the latest data is from 2015. Maybe I’m imagining things, but something seems fishy; and with the general approach the federal government has taken toward its internet presence I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that no funds are being spent on this nascent effort. Anyone?

    For comparison, here’s a link to the site from a year ago, courtesy of the wayback machine:
    https://web.archive.org/web/20170201225023/https://www.distraction.gov/stats-research-laws/facts-and-statistics.html

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    • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) March 5, 2018 at 3:00 pm

      that’s because the Distraction push from USDOT was a pet project of the former Transpo Sec. Ray LaHood and it’s no longer being pushed by the Trump admin or its sec Elaine Chao.

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  • Spiffy March 5, 2018 at 12:01 pm

    Why so many walking deaths?: why no political spine? this is insidious side of democracy creeping into our republic… masses of people getting their (wrong) way by appealing/whining to the few people who can make the changes needed… we need a bulldozer in charge, not a pair of sewing scissors…

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    • Hello, Kitty
      Hello, Kitty March 5, 2018 at 1:57 pm

      What would make the difference would be masses of people asking for change. And that we don’t yet have.

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      • 9watts March 5, 2018 at 1:59 pm

        Really?

        Last time I checked, Bernie Sanders got 13m votes in the primary, even though the machine did its best to marginalize his candidacy.

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        • Hello, Kitty
          Hello, Kitty March 5, 2018 at 2:01 pm

          Probably all advocates for restricting cars, right?

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          • 9watts March 5, 2018 at 2:04 pm

            I was responding to your post upthread. You didn’t specify what type of change, and since we didn’t get to choose Bernie in the election we may never know what sorts of changes a Sanders presidency might have brought.

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            • David Hampsten March 5, 2018 at 4:40 pm

              Anyone can choose Bernie. I did. It’s called a write-in candidate. It made no difference in my state, as Trump still got 52% of the vote, but you can still do it in any election.

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              • GlowBoy March 6, 2018 at 12:58 pm

                Voting is heavily biased in favor of the candidates actually listed on the ballot. The recent Presidential election is a classic case study in why conduct of primary elections is the business of the state, not the parties.

                At least Oregonians can be glad the state runs your primaries. Here in Minnesota the general elections are clean as a whistle, but the state lets the parties run their own caucuses as they see fit, and we’ve seen a disturbing amount of corruption. For my own legal self-protection I’m not going to give examples on a public forum.

                FWIW, despite this Bernie won the caucuses here in a landslide, mostly because they were held before the media and the superdelegates’ thumb on the scale decided he wasn’t viable.

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  • bikeninja March 5, 2018 at 1:09 pm

    I wish the article on Paris Bike-Share vandalism had some background on what might have motivated the vandalism to these bikes. Where they parked in places that offended people? Where they perceived to take business from taxi’s? Did they have offensive advertising? Did they transport tourists to places they were not welcome? Or is just that much pent up anger ,violence and lawlessness in the city of light?

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    • Middle of the Road Guy March 5, 2018 at 2:48 pm

      While we can never really know what motivates vandals (like the ones who vandalized the Nike Bikes last year), I think we can all agree that destroying the property of someone else is not a constructive behavior. I don’t care what their motivations are – their actions are wrong.

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      • bikeninja March 5, 2018 at 2:56 pm

        True, but understanding the motivations of vandals helps improve the implementation ( or relocate) future projects of this type.

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      • 9watts March 5, 2018 at 4:32 pm

        “While we can never really know what motivates vandals (like the ones who vandalized the Nike Bikes last year)”

        – actually I think we know exactly why the folks here did what they did, and would assume it possible to figure out what went on in Paris too.

        “I think we can all agree that destroying the property of someone else is not a constructive behavior.”

        – I know many who disagree with that blanket statement. There are long and proud traditions of interfering with, disabling, or ruining the machinery of war* or of economic destruction,** or mechanization*** by people who feel the only option they still have is to physically intervene. I’m not saying the folks who vandalized the bikes hew to this tradition and I also don’t know enough about them to say they don’t see in those bikes something comparably problematic.

        “I don’t care what their motivations are – their actions are wrong.”

        – let’s find out first what their positions are.

        * https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plowshares_movement
        ** https://theanarchistlibrary.org/library/various-authors-ecodefense-a-field-guide-to-monkeywrenching
        *** https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Luddite

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        • Hello, Kitty
          Hello, Kitty March 5, 2018 at 4:42 pm

          Are you saying that if a person feels sufficiently passionately about an issue, vandalism is acceptable? Or are you saying that it is only OK if they are sufficiently passionate about an issue, and you agree with their beliefs?

          To make that concrete, do you support the vandalism of the Malheur refuge by a group of passionate people who believed they were fighting an oppressive government that was illegally claiming ownership to the land?

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          • 9watts March 5, 2018 at 4:51 pm

            While I think your questions are interesting, let me say that vandalism isn’t the first word or even the sixteenth that comes to mind when talking about the recent occupation of the Malheur refuge. That was an armed takeover, which has about as much in common with the Ploughshares’ or Valve Turners’ tactics as Tom Metzger’s gang did.

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            • Hello, Kitty
              Hello, Kitty March 5, 2018 at 5:23 pm

              But in defence of human liberty, fighting an oppressive, hostile, occupying government force. The standoff was essentially non-violent; though, to be sure, the threat of force was certainly lurking.

              Of course, that thread is incidental to the main point — do you support vandalism as a tactic for causes that are both heartfelt and disagreeable? Because if you support it for “your” cause, you probably need to support it for “their” cause as well, unless you can find some clean way of separating one from the other.

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              • 9watts March 5, 2018 at 5:40 pm

                I support nonviolent direct action.
                I suspect there may be varieties of such action where I don’t agree with the politics, but, again, I don’t feel your example of the Bundys fits this description. Brandishing guns has never to my knowledge been a hallmark of nonviolent direct action.

                The role of property destruction and its relationship to (nonviolent) direct action is not uncomplicated, see –
                https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Direct_action#Controversy_over_destruction_of_property

                I admit to not being familiar with nonviolent direct action by people whose politics I oppose but am curious to learn of some.
                In the case of the Bundys, I think it is instructive to think of their claims in light of others’
                “When they talk about returning land, I know they didn’t mean us,” she said of her tribe. “When [the US government] wanted us to give up the land, we didn’t do it. We have never given up our aboriginal rights there. We do as well feel there – because this is still our land.”
                https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/jan/06/oregon-militia-malheur-wildlife-refuge-paiute-indian-tribe-sacred-land

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            • Middle of the Road Guy March 6, 2018 at 10:20 am

              Regarding the Malheur occupation…they did not see it that way. So it seems we can all view actions of another in a different way. You might see it as expression and I might see it as destruction.

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              • 9watts March 6, 2018 at 10:22 am

                “they did not see it that way”

                are you suggesting there is no way to arbitrate, judge among competing claims, reference some standard against which to measure these?

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        • Middle of the Road Guy March 6, 2018 at 10:18 am

          It’s all cool until it’s your stuff.

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          • 9watts March 6, 2018 at 10:20 am

            corporations are not people

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            • Hello, Kitty
              Hello, Kitty March 6, 2018 at 12:07 pm

              They are owned by people.

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              • 9watts March 6, 2018 at 2:48 pm

                Only if you consider homo economici to be people.

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    • David Hampsten March 5, 2018 at 4:43 pm

      Might it be the super-narrow sidewalks in most of Paris, outside the touristy areas? Bike clutter, trash bins and dog s**t on the sidewalks, cars parked everywhere, and a 20+% youth unemployment rate? Gosh, who knows?

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      • GlowBoy March 6, 2018 at 12:59 pm

        My own experience of Paris’ sidewalks is that dog excrement is by far their biggest problem. (No, I’m not being sarcastic).

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  • Paul March 5, 2018 at 1:39 pm

    The NY Times piece mentions that cars have been privileged over other road users, but I think that is only partially correct. It’s the PEOPLE who buy cars who have been privileged, as well as the businesses and employers who require people that drive. In fact, in far too much of the U.S., the local economy is driven by (pun!) drivers. The technology is only part of a larger and more complex socioeconomic problem.

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  • wsbob March 5, 2018 at 1:53 pm

    Re; demise of Tour de France podium girls. This is part of a great, new, continuing trend, I guess. No more young lady pin-up types on the podium to hand out prizes for tour winners. Ok though, for guys with sexy bare legs to be standing up there for the world to see. Shouldn’t they be covering up, to avoid sexual objectification by the world’s people that find such sights arousing? Or, is the issue with the podium girls that the prevailing view taking the dominant position today, is that they’re only up on the podium with the winners, to sell the event with sex? As if there was nothing else appealing about the girls handing the prizes, than the potential they provide to sexually arouse, thereby drawing greater numbers of people to attend the event and watch it on television?

    A couple days ago, I had to be doing some work with the family. In the shop, television going, what happens to be on? Women’s beach volleyball. Anyone reading here know what I’m talking about? Women wearing little skimpy shorts and tops, moving, jumping and twisting around, jane be nimble, jane be quick. Lots of those pro’s skin visible. I think I’ve seen the awards part of a competition a couple times, years ago. Don’t remember for sure if they had some kind of good looking guy handing out awards. Maybe they do, maybe this is the end of that too.

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    • Middle of the Road Guy March 6, 2018 at 10:22 am

      Is anyone making them do those thing?

      I mean, I see women at the coast in bikinis (when it’s warm enough) and nobody is making them do that.

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      • GlowBoy March 6, 2018 at 12:59 pm

        Pretty sure they’re not doing it for free.

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  • Hello, Kitty
    Hello, Kitty March 5, 2018 at 1:55 pm

    That NYT article starts out by saying the old chaotic systems worked, and that newer, more organized systems were inferior, but then proposed a new, even more organized system as the way forward. Given a big enough pile of money, it would be interesting to try rebuilding the street network in an area, and see if it lived up to its promise.

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    • q March 5, 2018 at 2:46 pm

      The space alongside the tram station and the building to the south is probably not even considered a “street” but maybe it should be. It’s the closest thing around here I can think of to the future street image in the article. All that’s really missing is a few cars driving through there. Otherwise, it’s got mass transit plus people biking and walking.

      The tram area is the one I think (along with the PSU plaza with light rail running through) when people are freaking out about mixing modes within the same space instead of forcing people onto sidewalks.

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      • Hello, Kitty
        Hello, Kitty March 5, 2018 at 3:39 pm

        I find that whole area very frustrating to bike through, and just as bad to take the (slow, plodding) LRT through. It’s bad enough for a few blocks, but a whole city like this? It simply couldn’t function.

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        • David Hampsten March 5, 2018 at 5:06 pm

          And yet many cities do function like that, often quite well, not just in the Netherlands and Denmark, but in France, Japan, China, Italy, etc. The key, as in Portland, is to “live” that lifestyle, to not be in such a hurry, to bike slower and walk faster.

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          • Hello, Kitty
            Hello, Kitty March 5, 2018 at 5:31 pm

            Small areas in the cores of those cities do operate that way, sort of. For the most part, transit routes around pedestrian zones, which are ringed by largish roads carrying lots of car traffic.

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            • David Hampsten March 5, 2018 at 8:13 pm

              For the oldest cities, you are certainly right, especially those founded before 1800 and not bombed back into the stone age in the 1940s (as Rotterdam, Hamburg, Bremen, and Antwerp were). But there are many other cities, some quite large, that were founded after 1800 or very small until then, usually very industrial, where some sort of railed vehicle serves the city center and most people walk or bike, and driving is difficult. For example, Nancy and Lille France; Birmingham, Manchester, or Sheffield UK; Mannheim Germany.

              My point is that in our culture, we are born and raised to be in a hurry, to get someplace as fast as possible, and our transportation system ethic reflects this. Go to another society, and that ethic may be missing and replaced with one that isn’t in a hurry. When I take AMTRAK across the USA, as I’ve done since I was a teenager, I expect it will take forever and be late, so I plan accordingly and bring much to entertain myself; imagine my surprise when we arrive into our terminal destination 30 minutes early, but most passengers are still tense and in a hurry to get there.

              As the band Rush say, the point of a journey is not to arrive.

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  • soren March 5, 2018 at 3:10 pm

    Fast and dirty: You had us at, “cut the project time of a new protected bike lane by 90 percent and the cost by 75 percent.”

    Implementing a bike lane without extensive public outreach (e.g. a 2+ year process of hearings and open houses) that ends up being a significant fraction of the total project cost is OUTRAGEOUS.

    This proposal goes against every tradition we have when it comes to Portland transportation planning. HOME-OWNERS who tend to drive more on average and have “roots” ($$$$$) in the neighborhood, must be allowed to use our neighborhood association system to obstruct and delay any infrastructure that might improve the lives of people who bus, walk, or roll.

    This is just the way we do things in Portland.

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    • Hello, Kitty
      Hello, Kitty March 5, 2018 at 3:34 pm

      The reason outreach is so expensive is that PBOT keeps screwing it up, so they end up repeating the process several times. I believe that doing it once, and getting it right the first time, would reduce its cost and timeline significantly. It would also build trust for future projects, making them easier to implement. If people know their concerns will be heard without shouting, the whole process will be calmer and more orderly.

      Residents absolutely should have a voice in what happens in their neighborhoods.

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      • Toby Keith March 5, 2018 at 4:38 pm

        Agreed. Making home owners out to be villians is an interesting take, but I guess everybody needs somebody to blame.

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        • soren March 6, 2018 at 8:57 am

          this is only strange if you are unaware of the built-in classist discrimination in pbot’s outreach process. pbot’s mailers are typically only sent to people who live within a block or so of a proposed facility and most of pbot’s proposed facilities pass through single-family residential areas that are disproportionately populated by home owners (who tend to be wealthier and whiter).

          i should note that renters outnumber homeowners overall in portland and by a large margin in most communities relevant to pbot’s recent transportation outreach.

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          • Hello, Kitty
            Hello, Kitty March 6, 2018 at 9:09 am

            One of the problems PBOT keeps repeating is sending mailers too narrowly, and targeting them primarily at property owners, not residents. But it’s hardly surprising that in wealthier neighborhoods, a wealthier population is contacted.

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            • paikiala March 6, 2018 at 11:05 am

              Evidence?

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              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty March 6, 2018 at 11:12 am

                Of what? That the mailers are too narrowly targeted? (evidence: the redo of the mailers to a wider area on Lincoln/Harrison) or that people receiving the mailers reflect the demographics of the community to which they are mailed? (an obvious statement for which I need provide no evidence)

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      • David Hampsten March 5, 2018 at 4:58 pm

        The article made me wince too. It reminds me of the old FHWA “DAD” model of public decision-making: The public agency makes a DECISION on behalf of the public, after consulting their engineers, planners, designers, and senior management. Then the public agency ANNOUNCES the decision. And then, of course, they spend years DEFENDING the decision after the outcry. As Truman once said, “the most efficient form of government is a dictatorship.”

        These are public funds, we all should have a say on how they are spent, as well as a voice on projects that connect us to jobs and other places that pass through other neighborhoods and cities. The DAD decision model was the norm in the USA up through the 1990s and is still common in more conservative places; I’m deeply saddened to see such types of decisions now taking place (again) in “liberal” cities such as San Francisco and Portland. Democracy in this country seems to be dying everywhere. Sad.

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  • joan March 5, 2018 at 4:18 pm

    Great news about the Tour! I’m guessing it became incredibly uncomfortable for them to continue this sexist tradition in the #MeToo era. Next step: a full women’s Tour! (I’m not holding my breath.)

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  • Timothy Moss March 5, 2018 at 4:51 pm

    I love the bike lane sized snow/gravel/debris-plow When do we get one?

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  • Jim Lee March 5, 2018 at 5:05 pm

    Why do Vandals always get the bad press?

    Who knows–it might have been Visigoths, Ostrogoths, Gepids, even the always despicable Huns!

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    • Middle of the Road Guy March 6, 2018 at 10:25 am

      If I had to Pict one, it would be the Gauls.

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  • B. Carfree March 5, 2018 at 7:17 pm

    I certainly hope Utah manages to add the Idaho stop to its laws. If Oregon would follow suit, it could create the momentum to make this a national trend (at last).

    I do like that the argument has focused on the fact that cyclists are most vulnerable when stopped and slowed at intersections rather than on how unfair it would be to allow cyclists to roll along while motorists are supposed to be stopping.

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    • Hello, Kitty
      Hello, Kitty March 5, 2018 at 7:36 pm

      The “fairness” argument, if it has been used, is completely nonsensical.

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    • GlowBoy March 6, 2018 at 1:01 pm

      Can we call it Utah Stop now?

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  • Tim March 6, 2018 at 6:51 am

    Team Sky High Is anybody actually surprised about “Doping” happening in pro-cycling or pro-sports, or in major college sports for that matter?

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    • Dan A March 6, 2018 at 1:23 pm

      Twig-like man with asthma recovers from a parasitic infection to ride with a train of super-human cyclists and win the TdF four times? I’m completely shocked to learn something might be amiss.

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  • GlowBoy March 6, 2018 at 2:10 pm

    Re: Winter infrastructure: YES! The quality of winter infrastructure makes all the difference. Nowhere is this more obvious than here in MN, where the weather is rather … impactful. Especially this year, where after 4 winters I’m finally experiencing one that is (historically) relatively normal in terms of both cold and precip with about 45″ of snow so far.

    During and after a major snow event (and we just had one last night), the streets are cleared with clockwork precision, in 3 phases over two days, with the arterials and collectors cleared in the first phase and the quietest side streets in the third phase.

    About half our bikeway network consists of separated facilities (100 miles of paths and protected bike lanes in the city of Mpls), plus another 100 miles or so of on-street facilities (bike boulevards and traditional bike lanes). The contrast in maintenance between these two halves could not be more dramatic.

    The separated facilities get priority plowing, same as the first wave of street plowing.
    As a result they get quite a bit of bike use, even in the depths of winter. *If* you can get where you’re going on these routes, winter biking here is truly awesome and you can ride just about every day of the year.

    On-street bike lanes, on the other hand, are often completely ignored in winter, and don’t get much use either. Plows don’t clear all the way to the curb and/or steer around parked cars, leaving half a bike lane or less. Boulevards are a mixed bag, often getting higher priority plowing but their safe usability depends on the level of car traffic.

    With the on-street bike lanes, we actually have a fairly complete bikeway network … for 8 months of the year. In winter, though, we don’t, and that’s a big part of why our overall mode share is about 2/3 that of Portland’s. In the warmer months our bikeways are easily as busy as Portland’s, if not busier.

    Obviously our climate would prevent us from having Portland’s mode share in winter, but better maintenance of the onstreet bike lanes (or conversion to protected lanes – which IS happening at a good pace) would make a big difference.

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