Gravel - Cycle Oregon

The Monday Roundup: NYC’s special sauce, right-hook research, a moral dilemma, and more

Posted by on August 13th, 2018 at 12:29 pm


Welcome to Monday!

Hope you had a chance to pedal through the nice cool weekend. Who got caught out on a ride without a jacket?

This week’s Monday Roundup is sponsored by Efficient Velo Tools: From inflators and wheel-building tools, to the EZ-Lift Repair Stand, Portland’s Efficient Velo Tools offers tools for the pro and home mechanic! Learn more about their great products here.

And with that, here are the most noteworthy stories we came across in the past seven days…

How NYC does it: From road redesigns that put bikers and walkers first, to tough speed enforcement laws, New York City’s progress toward Vision Zero is getting much-deserved attention.

Plan for racial equity: One of America’s leading active transportation planning firms, Alta Design, has published a plea for more people in their industry to address how their work impacts people of color.

Push for automobile green light: In London there are traffic signals that default green to walkers and force auto users to trigger a change.

Bright side of ridesharing: While rideshare vehicles like Uber and Lyft clog our roads and raise VMT overall, they are also credited with reducing drunk driving.

Rideshare regs: NYC is about to lower-the-boom on Uber and Lyft by capping the amount of cars and requiring licenses and minimum wage pay for drivers.

Right-hook research: A PSU researcher is among the authors in this new study about right hooks that found the worst-case scenario is when the auto user is focused on cars around them and the bicycle rider approaches from behind.

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More on bad drivers: Research from University of Toronto found that a majority of auto users don’t scan for bicycle users or walkers before turning right.

Biking while black: The leader of a bike advocacy group in Oakland was stopped during a group ride because police felt his music was too loud. The man, who is black, ended up in jail.

Cars are the problem: A shopping district in an Los Angeles neighborhood wants to improve its retailing vibe and encourage more shopping and hanging out. Their solution? Get rid of the cars.

From parking to housing: An architect writing for Fast Company has great ideas on how cities can build parking garages that are future-proof and can be easily adapted into useful things like housing.

It’s the street design, stupid: If we really cared about safety we’d put a higher priority on street designs that slow people down, than hoping and praying that high-tech robo-cars will be the solution.

Report = deport: Interesting debate on Streetsblog Chicago after a woman on a bike was injured by a careless road user, yet decided to not report the incident because the driver was using an expired green card and she didn’t want to subject her to immigration authorities.

Serious activism: In Bangladesh a reckless bus operator hit a group students on the side of the road and the incident sparked a “revolution” with people taking to the streets to demand safety.

The curious case of “Mr. X”: This is the absolutely bonkers tale of journalists trying to track down the author of an anti-cycling Facebook campaign that gathered major steam. Goes to show you should always view FB content from unverified sources with extreme skepticism.

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

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43 Comments
  • bikeninja August 13, 2018 at 1:17 pm

    I think a better idea than building parking garages to become future housing is to just not waste land or resources building any more. When these structures are no longer needed the future residents will have such a bad taste in their mouths from the environmental destruction, waste, lives lost and social degradation caused by the automobile ands its single purpose storage edifices that they will not want to see them or live in them. They will become monuments to a crazy and wasteful time when humans trashed the planet and almost ended our voyage on spaceship earth in our quest for the good life.

    Recommended Thumb up 7

    • Hello, Kitty
      Hello, Kitty August 13, 2018 at 1:41 pm

      If there is sufficient demand to pay for parking garages, developers will build them.

      Furthermore, I think there is a need for more parking garages near transit stations; many fill up early, meaning there are people who want to take transit who can’t.

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      • Chris I August 13, 2018 at 1:50 pm

        Parking garage spaces cost $20k-$50k per spot to build. I’d rather Trimet spend that money on new transit routes with dedicated ROW. MAX is packed during rush hour anyway. We don’t need to spend insane amounts of money to attract people who choose to drive to transit.

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        • Hello, Kitty
          Hello, Kitty August 13, 2018 at 1:52 pm

          Better that they drive all the way into the city?

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          • 9watts August 13, 2018 at 2:00 pm

            This car-bound mindset is fogging your vision.

            Recommended Thumb up 9

            • Hello, Kitty
              Hello, Kitty August 13, 2018 at 2:03 pm

              You’re probably right. I suppose most people, when seeing that there is no parking at the transit center, are driving home, getting on their bike, and riding in.

              Sorry to be so blind to reality!

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              • 9watts August 13, 2018 at 2:43 pm

                My point is that if we focus on the well-entrenched proclivity toward relying on the car, we’ll never get anywhere, make any sort of inroads. e.g., as in your example build more parking garages ostensibly to incentivize transit use(?)
                Better to jump clear of this messy incrementalism and be done with the auto-only infrastructure cum stranded assets.

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              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty August 13, 2018 at 2:56 pm

                In principle, I concur. In practice, I prefer practicality to purity.

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              • 9watts August 13, 2018 at 3:34 pm

                Do those two terms really capture the dilemma here?

                If what you call practicality makes things worse, just postpones the day of reckoning until we have X times more people who have by then become habituated to the car, then how practical was it really?

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              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty August 13, 2018 at 4:35 pm

                Getting people to do half their trip by transit seems to be moving in the right direction compared to driving the whole way. If you want to build good habits, more parking garages might be the way to go about it.

                Recommended Thumb up 6

              • 9watts August 14, 2018 at 3:39 pm

                But that is a whole lot of speculation about how habits are changed, or even whether additional parking garages sprinkled about the landscape will have this (desired) effect. We are a generation too late to retire the automobile, and here we are arguing over how many *new* parking garages to build. Yikes.

                No matter how convoluted your reasoning, you can’t tell me with a straight face that the message a new parking garage sends is that we should be done with cars, should take transit more, that climate change is breathing down our collective neck and we’ll soon all be under water.

                People take cues from what officialdom sanctions. Expanding the Rose Quarter, building more parking garages, building new, expanded car dealerships on the outskirts of town, all send the reassuring message that everything’s going to be OK, that we will get through this… with our Subaru. Nothing could be further from the truth.

                Even Oregon’s Global Warming Commission is enthralled with this nonsense. Can’t make up its mind to speak forthrightly about the fact that we’ve waited too long.

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          • Chris I August 13, 2018 at 2:23 pm

            Better that we spend the money building transit to places that will draw more riders. Why aren’t you concerned about cost-efficiency?

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            • Hello, Kitty
              Hello, Kitty August 13, 2018 at 2:43 pm

              If it was, in fact, more cost (and energy) efficient, to do that, I’d totally support it.

              Recommended Thumb up 1

        • Buzz August 13, 2018 at 8:13 pm

          I’d rather have people parking in garages than on the street, especially if you want to see on-street parking converted to bike infra. IMO it is the solution to bike access on Hawthorne and other major arterials that deserve bike infra.

          Recommended Thumb up 1

          • Buzz August 13, 2018 at 8:14 pm

            …and if the developers are willing to pay for it, all the better.

            🙂

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        • Allan Rudwick August 14, 2018 at 10:33 am

          if they passed this cost on to customers then they could at least recoup some of it. currently free parking only. why?

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      • Johnny Bye Carter August 14, 2018 at 4:06 pm

        You assume those people won’t get to work without driving. It’s possible to find other ways to get to work without driving when the parking garage at the train station is full.

        Recommended Thumb up 1

    • rachel b August 13, 2018 at 4:06 pm

      Please forgive my Apocalypticality but…I would agree no one would want to live in parking garages, except for factoring in climate change. Everyone’s going to want to go underground. Only Montreal and the like are perfectly prepared for this. I’m thinking parking garages–esp. the subterranean ones–are going to become coveted living spaces in our “all summer, all the time” sizzling future. Even the above ground garages stay cooler, due to all that concrete and sunlessness.

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  • soren August 13, 2018 at 1:46 pm

    “plans to spend $1.6 billion US by 2022 to make the city’s roads safer”

    SURE……but portland drafted an excellent vision zero plan* that was unanimously ratified by council and highlighted at multiple planning conferences!

    *not being sarcastic — it is a good plan.

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    • David Hampsten August 14, 2018 at 4:04 am

      $1.6 Billion isn’t all that much for a city of 8.5 million, especially when you factor in federal and state funding as part of the mix. The equivalent for Portland of pop 640,000 would be $120 million, including ODOT, PBOT, & TriMet funding. From ODOT’s distorted point of view, the $450 million being spent of fixing I-5 at the Rose Garden will “make the city’s roads safer”.

      Recommended Thumb up 1

      • soren August 14, 2018 at 11:25 am

        1) The $1.6 billion represents new funding. NYC has already spent hundreds of millions on vision zero.
        2) Portland passed a vision zero plan with absolutely no dedicated infrastructure funding.
        3) PBOT is unwilling to provide information on how much of its budget is specifically allocated to vizion zero.

        Recommended Thumb up 1

  • Chris I August 13, 2018 at 1:47 pm

    I wish we could deport anyone who caused injuries by driving carelessly.

    Recommended Thumb up 3

    • 9watts August 13, 2018 at 2:01 pm

      Whither? Australia?
      On what basis would you defend exporting our problems?

      Recommended Thumb up 2

      • Chris I August 13, 2018 at 2:27 pm

        Sure. That seemed to work for the Brits.

        The constitution is pretty clear about promoting general welfare (Article 1, Sec. 8)

        Recommended Thumb up 1

  • Matthew in PDX August 13, 2018 at 2:03 pm

    My concern about converting parking garages into residential or commercial is that automobile fumes are a toxic cocktail of nasties, I am not sure you could ever remove those from the concrete structure. We worry about radon in our homes causing lung cancer, how much more would we worry about a structure that marinaded in auto fumes for several decades.

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    • Hello, Kitty
      Hello, Kitty August 13, 2018 at 2:46 pm

      I don’t know of any pollutants emitted by modern vehicles (i.e. ones that don’t used leaded gasoline) that would be a concern in this respect.

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      • Matthew in PDX August 13, 2018 at 3:26 pm

        See the next article on Bike Portland regarding the impact of a widened I-5 on Harriet Tubman Middle School.

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        • Hello, Kitty
          Hello, Kitty August 14, 2018 at 12:18 pm

          The concerns at Tubman are exposure to airborne pollutants; I’ve not heard anyone suggest they would seep out of concrete (or other) surfaces once direct exposure was stopped.

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          • GlowBoy August 14, 2018 at 10:41 pm

            I would presume that toxic substances accumulate in concrete, because it’s highly porous, and seep back out gradually.

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  • Mick O August 13, 2018 at 3:52 pm

    Whenever I hear NYC’s Vision Zero commercials on the radio during Yankee games I get very sad that Portland does not share a similar “vision.” I wish I could find them online somewhere, but they are quite direct and clear, speaking to drivers about responsibility, not some generalized messaging.

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  • Dave August 13, 2018 at 4:02 pm

    If I was the Chicago lady, I’d have no trouble telling the driver something like “give me your keys and title or I’ll turn your ass into ICE.” No trouble whatsoever.

    Recommended Thumb up 5

    • Bella Bici August 13, 2018 at 6:45 pm

      Thank you! I needed a laugh, and reason to smile today. :))

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    • Matt August 14, 2018 at 1:48 pm

      So… You’re a proud committer of the crime of extortion?

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      • Johnny Bye Carter August 14, 2018 at 4:35 pm

        Paying a penalty for your crime is not generally considered extortion.

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        • Hello, Kitty
          Hello, Kitty August 14, 2018 at 5:29 pm

          “Penalties” are administered through the legal system, not by threats on the street.

          It is also interesting that, given what you’ve posted elsewhere, you appear to support using someone’s nationality and legal status to gain power over them in order to take their car to administer “street justice”. That’s wrong morally and legally.

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  • Bald One August 13, 2018 at 4:03 pm

    Right Hook problems when bikers and not where they are expected to be, especially when approaching in a counter-flow direction on the wrong side of the road. Now, applies for eScooters too. It sounds like the scooter rider recently hurt on 122nd was scooting like a salmon in the bike lane and got hit by a turning driver. And the city seems to want to increase use of counter-flow curb-lane bike lanes (scooters too!) across drives and intersections along busy and high-speed roadways.

    When you have counter-flow bike/scooter traffic, right-hook can also mean pulling out of a driveway and hooking a bike approaching to your right (because the driver didn’t look right or the cyclist came up quickly and the driver was trying to quickly merge out into traffic. And, this will also apply to left-turning vehicles moving into driveways and intersections that don’t see a counter flow cyclist coming up from the left and behind. Clearly, encouraging traffic patterns with counter flow sidepaths for bikes in the roadway across drives and intersections is dangerous in these road designs based on typical driver behaviors. The right hook just got a lot of new potential scenarios.

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  • John Liu August 13, 2018 at 9:01 pm

    Parking garages would make terrible converted housing, because so much of the floor area is deep in the interior, far from any window. More likely to be usable as commercial, industrial or retail space, because users don’t demand natural light (or they want it but no-one cares – cubicle farms etc).

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    • Johnny Bye Carter August 14, 2018 at 4:39 pm

      When I think of a parking garage I think of ramps in the middle with parking spaces all around. So most of the usable floor space is next to a “window”.

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  • Johnny Bye Carter August 14, 2018 at 4:01 pm

    I have an issue with the sponsor’s link in this article.

    https://www.efficientvelo.com/home/safezone/buy-now/

    It links to the “SAFE ZONE HELMET MIRROR” product rather than to the company’s main page.

    This product buys into the “bicycles are dangerous” trap trying to sell us on the “safety” of the ability to look behind you.

    Admittedly, I used a mirror for a couple years when I started riding regularly. But then I found that it was simply a source of stress. There’s no reason I need to look in a mirror. Very seldom am I crossing so many lanes of traffic that a turn of my head is insufficient to see what’s there. I rarely need to see what I’ve already passed.

    Mirrors are for cars so you don’t kill somebody. As a cyclist my adventure is in front of me.

    Recommended Thumb up 2

    • 9watts August 14, 2018 at 4:06 pm

      One word: HFB

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    • Hello, Kitty
      Hello, Kitty August 14, 2018 at 4:57 pm

      Seriously?

      Recommended Thumb up 4

    • Pete August 14, 2018 at 11:09 pm

      Wow, I couldn’t possibly disagree with you more. I frequently ride in dense, fast traffic and my drop-bar mirror allows me to quickly judge gap timing, prep for turns, see when other riders want to overtake me, and just gives me improved overall situational awareness. I still turn to look (and double-look), but I feel it’s made riding tremendously more comfortable for me.

      Recommended Thumb up 2

    • Alan 1.0 August 15, 2018 at 9:35 pm

      Gumball Rally, First Rule of Italian Driving: https://youtu.be/AjGXn249Fc0

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