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The Monday Roundup: War on Cars podcast, biking to birth, Portland history, and more

Posted by on August 20th, 2018 at 10:00 am

Welcome to Monday.

I’m out of town at the moment on vacation with my family (typing this after everyone has gone to bed), so I’m even more grateful than usual for everyone who has flagged great stories for us this week. I’ll be back at 100% bike blogging power one week from today (8/27). Please hold down the fort while I’m gone.

Before we share the best stories from the past seven days, let’s give a shout-out to this week’s sponsor: Mark your calendar for September 2nd because Portland’s fun and fully-supported, multi-pub ride — the Tour de Lab — is coming!

And here are your stories of the week…

Portland’s future?: This article from Grist about e-bike share in Seattle is full of interesting nuggets and it’s framed through the lens of one of Lime’s 50 rebalancers.

East Portland history: Multnomah County Commissioner Jessica Vega Pederson shared an excellent and readable history (via a Twitter thread) of how Portland added its eastern territory. Remember this the next time we cover a project or issue that impacts people who live east of 82nd.

From gridiron to open road: Legendary retired NFL running back Emmitt Smith is a verifiable bike nut — he’s even started his own fondo event.

SUVs kill: Most of you have probably read about how SUVs are deadly by design — but we’re including this in the Roundup because it’s notable that the source this time around is the American Association for Retired Persons (AARP).

It’s the transit, stupid: While it’s good to see NYC limit ride-sharing vehicles and it’s also a positive sign to see talk of congestion pricing becoming more mainstream; at the end of the day, Bruce Schaller, former Deputy Commissioner of Traffic and Planning at the New York City Department of Transportation says, the best solution is to simply make transit better.

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War on Cars Podcast: Three of the sharpest transportation reform activists we know — Sarah Goodyear, Doug Gordon, and Aaron Naparstek — have teamed up for a new podcast.

Checking in on “peak car”: “Owning a car is too expensive with all these alternatives around,” says more and more people who live in cities.

A big jump for bike share: Streetsblog NYC says the groundwork is there and the timing is right for the Big Apple to go bike for bike share.

All quiet on the scooter front: Besides a bit too much sidewalk riding, police in Dallas, Texas report that e-scooters and e-bike share are no big deal so far.

Scooter evangelism from the NY Times: The Times Editorial Board loves scooters and they want NYC’s Mayor to build more protected bike lanes for scooter riders to use.

Bike to birth: A New Zealand prime minister biked to the hospital to have her child and both love and hate that this is a major headline.

Portland should do this: In an effort to provide, “a legacy for future generations,” the city council of Edinburgh, Scotland will prohibit driving on one Sunday every month in parts of its downtown core and outlying commercial districts.

— 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 welcoming of all perspectives. Disagreements are encouraged, but only if done with tact and respect. BikePortland is an inclusive company with no tolerance for discrimination or harassment including expressions of racism, sexism, homophobia, or xenophobia. 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

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Middle of the Road Guy
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Middle of the Road Guy

Hope you have a great and well deserved vacation JM and for the forum you provide for all of use to bitch about stuff.

Aaron
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Aaron

Quick comment on the New Zealand thing. The article doesn’t say that the prime minister biked to the hospital to give birth. It was actually the minister for women and associate minister for health and transport Julie Anne Genter.

ktaylor
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ktaylor
Johnny Bye Carter
Subscriber
Johnny Bye Carter

Bike to birth: The hospital (Kaiser Sunnyside) would only let us leave with our baby in a motor vehicle.

GlowBoy
Guest
GlowBoy

Interesting development in the state of dockless transportation: I got an email the other day from Spin (one of the three dockless bikeshare companies in Seattle, for which I’d signed up back in January) saying they are getting out of the bikeshare business — so they can focus exclusively on scooters.

That’s right, they think scooters are the future. I can see why they would: I don’t recall Spin’s pricing, but Lime (which I use frequently) charges $2 for a one-hour ride on a conventional bike, versus $8.50 for a scooter or an e-bike. Despite the battery-charging hassles, there’s a lot more money to be made on electrified vehicles. And scooters are a lot cheaper than e-bikes, so there you go. Scooters it is, at least for one company.

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

From the ridesharing/transit article:

>>>
We should recognize the practical limits to [congestion] pricing. Even with $12.50 rush hour tolls on Hudson River tunnels, traffic backs up every morning and afternoon. Congestion pricing for Manhattan was expected to increase traffic speeds by 9 percent, only a fraction of the 22 percent decline in traffic speeds since 2012.

We all know about the political limits too. Congestion pricing has proven to be the steepest among all the hills we might choose to climb.
<<<

He then goes on to make the case (briefly) for improving transit. In short, he argues that making things better for people who are not driving is a more effective strategy than making things worse for people who are. And suggests congestion pricing may not be a panacea, and comes with a large political pricetag.

David Hampsten
Guest

The history of East portland I found extremely laughable, worthy of potus. I’m surprised how often the Oregonian was cited given their jingoistic support for annexation at the time and utter contempt for East Portland ever after, up though the present day. As early as the 1974 Downtown Plan had Portland strive to annex as much suburban area as possible, to use collected taxes to build their downtown pet projects like light rail and the bus mall. EP is still subsidizing inner Portland, according to county auditors, giving far more than they are getting back.

98% of EP annexation, aside from Lents (1913) and Pleasant Garden (1960s) was between 1986 and 1992, with only a few remnant acres added later on. The “plume” was in the underground water table, as the city has never used Columbia River water for drinking, and was later determined to be caused mostly by the aluminum smelters in Camas and Troutdale, agricultural chemicals, and a WW2-era munitions factory in what is now Argay and Parkrose, very nasty polluters.

When EP was annexed, most residences were already hooked up to underground household sewer systems, but they were part of the Hazelwood, Rockwood, and Powellhurst water districts, not City of Portland (now PWB), who each had contracts with either Troutdale or Portland for treating that sewage. Those few households not hooked up had septic systems in their (usually back) yards. It is extremely unlikely that they would collectively generate the “plume” outlined by the Oregonian. (Rockwood is still a separate water district by the way, giving their Portland residents the lowest rates in the entire city by a large margin.)

And of course the city promised much more by annexing EP, promising to build streets, sidewalks, etc. Much of which they still haven’t done.

In many ways East Portland is like Washington DC: they pay lots in property and gas taxes, but get no representation at city hall. Taxation Without Representation.

Jon
Guest
Jon

So Lime uses a fleet of 13 vans to re-balance the ebikes and replace depleted batteries. I would like to see how that impacts the energy and emissions that they bragged about reducing later in the article. It starts to smell a bit like greenwashing when big gas guzzling trucks move the bikes around and recharge them. I guess if you want to feel good about using the system don’t dig too deep into how it works.

bikeninja
Guest
bikeninja

It seems like these e scooters and e bikes are a kind of traffic time shifting scheme. They allow people to skoot or ride the last mile or so during the day, possibly reducing traffic during that period, but then they add a new traffic flow of juicers and rebalancing vans at night and in the wee hours. Not sure how sustainable these are if they depend on a late night fleet of happy motoring cowboys to keep them going. Are they fooling us in to thinking we have accomplished something only collapse in to a heap as the age of motoring fades away.

Tim
Guest
Tim

“SUV’s Kill…” uh, I think it’s the people driving them…

Jim Lee
Guest
Jim Lee

Hello, Kitty
You obviously haven’t seen Stephen King’s excellent documentary Christine.Recommended 0

Only 1958 Plymouth “Furys” were so blessed.

My 1965 Plymouth “Barracuda” and I never harmed anyone. To the contrary, we were brutally attacked 3 times, once by a lumber truck that put a load of reinforcing bars through that lovely rear window.

Sounded like a nuke! Any residual enchantment was blown away.

Andrew Kreps
Guest
Andrew Kreps

City-wide all-day Sunday parkways, anyone?

Todd Boulanger
Guest
Todd Boulanger

Just back from Seattle. All things bikeshare have really changed in the last year (And I am not talking Pronto)…Seattle has almost become a bike share desert – except for Lime Bikes, though seemly fewer on the street than before (more dispersed?) – now that OFO is way gone and SPIN has announced its retreat. No real crowing of sidewalks in the CBD or SODO or U District.

Andy K
Guest
Andy K

Two thumbs up on that podcast!