The Monday Roundup: Winter biking tips, Merkley’s EV dreams, deadly trucks, Rapha woes, and more

Posted by on December 10th, 2018 at 10:14 am

Welcome to the week! Here are the most noteworthy items we came across in the past seven days…

Winter biking: Lynda Lopez shares her experience trying to stay joyful while riding in very cold temps. Don’t miss the comments full of great winter riding tips!

Sensible subsidy: The Canadian town of Banff offers its residents a subsidy so they can buy studded bicycle tires and keep riding in winter.

Minneapolis FTW: Our friendly rival city just laid down the gauntlet: Their newly passed comp plan outlaws single-family zoning. Woah.

WashDOT head gets it: Someone needs to get WashDOT’s Roger Millar on a train to Portland ASAP to tell our leaders that making it easier to drive on freeways by expanding them is a waste of money.

I-5 bridge meeting: State lawmakers from both sides of the Columbia river will sit down for talks on how/if to replace the I-5 bridge. Is this is a serious attempt to start talks? Or, as the article reports, just a last-ditch effort to avoid paying a $140 million bill owed to the Feds in planning fees from the CRC debacle?

Merkley’s EV push: U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley isn’t just eyeing a run for president, he’s also keen on phasing out the sale of gas-powered cars.

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F*** these trucks: Jalopnik sounds the alarm about the trend in truck design towards absurdly large front-end grills. Everyone who cares about traffic safety should be alarmed by this.

Meanwhile, in the EU: EU lawmakers have passed new regulations that will make cars safer — not just for people inside but for those outside as well.

Rocky road at Rapha? A UK retail industry publication reports that Rapha — a high-end cycling apparel brand with its North American headquarters in Portland — lost $25 million in sales in the first six months of 2018.

Fareless country: In a bid to reduce congestion and entice commuters out of their cars, Luxembourg wants to make transit free for everyone.

Truth hurts: A stinging satirization of bike un-friendly Los Angeles has been served up by The Onion, who says that city has created lanes where bicycle riders can roll around in agony while recovering from being hit.

A lost voice of cycling: Paul Sherwen, a well-known and respected commentator of the Tour de France and other major cycling races, has died.

Tweet of the Week: Watch to the end…

Thanks to everyone who sent us links!

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

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66 Comments
  • Avatar
    9watts December 10, 2018 at 10:29 am

    ZEV has a nice ring to it, but if we hope to substitute electric for gas powered vehicles we have to face up to the fact that we currently produce most of our electricity from fossil fuels, and are struggling to drive down the share of our electricity so produced without taking transportation into consideration. If we also wish to electrify our transportation system, this will necessitate a substantial expansion of the electricity sector, which will not automatically come from clean renewables, even as we may hope and wish it to be so.

    It will be physically impossible to try to maintain the present level of energy consumption by merely shifting to renewables. What we need to do is first scale back our consumption by 80-90% and then switch what is left to renewables, which, let’s not forget, are themselves made of and with fossil fuels every step of the way.

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      Jon December 10, 2018 at 10:56 am

      “Most” is still an accurate way of characterizing the electrical power consumed by Oregon but just barely. About 48-49% of power was generated from renewable sources in 2014-2016 according to the state of Oregon. https://www.oregon.gov/energy/energy-oregon/pages/electricity-mix-in-oregon.aspx
      The percentage of renewable electricity used in Oregon is steadily increasing so electrifying transport is a huge boon for reducing carbon emissions. Electric vehicles also are more efficient about turning energy into useful work so a similar sized electric vehicle will take less than half the energy to travel the same number of miles as a gas or diesel vehicle.
      Look at the trends no just what is in front of us today. Renewable energy is increasing in share of the electricity produced so more electric transport. It is not the entire solution but it is a step in the right direction.

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        9watts December 10, 2018 at 11:10 am

        This gets into the weeds pretty quickly. We’re on the hook to start taking dams out, not adding hydro capacity.
        Also:

        “hydropower is becoming less reliable due to changes associated with climate change, such as extreme weather events, reduced snowpack, high or low spring runoff volumes, and droughts.”
        https://www.oregon.gov/energy/energy-oregon/Pages/Hydropower.aspx

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        9watts December 10, 2018 at 11:28 am

        Hydro as a share of US electricity generation has been declining for generations. From 30% in 1950 to 6% in 2016. Other (non-hydro) renewables have now surpassed hydro, but still represent a mere 8%. Coal and natural gas each represent a third of the total.
        https://www.flickr.com/photos/eiagov/25867246611

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          Pete December 10, 2018 at 11:55 am

          Hydro dams play an important role in grid strategy because they black-start, meaning they can produce power instantaneously (with the right equipment). There are large investments in retrofitting some of the northwest hydro dams for this reason.

          Smaller dams are becoming more efficient, but their adoption is growing more in emerging regions (like Brazil) and not in the US for both economic and environmental reasons. Pumped storage is also seeing broader adoption elsewhere, but not the US (construction/capital is too expensive).

          For better or worse power has become a commodity to be traded on the open market, selling for a higher price where it’s more demanded (i.e. hotter climates, industrialized regions, etc.). I’m more likely to draw power from the Shepherds Flat wind farm in Arlington (the country’s largest by power output, for now) when I’m in silicon valley than when I’m down the street from it in the gorge.

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            9watts December 10, 2018 at 11:59 am

            Yes. All true.
            My point is a different one. If we are going to electrify private transport we better have a much better, much more thorough, understanding of where all that extra power is going to come from than the term ZEV implies.

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              Pete December 10, 2018 at 3:48 pm

              True dat… there really is no such thing as “zero” emissions when it comes to human beings.

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          paikiala December 11, 2018 at 9:26 am

          9,
          Mathwise, one part of the pie will always shrink as a percent of the whole when the other portions increase while the one does not.

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            9watts December 11, 2018 at 10:38 am

            Yeah. Sure.

            But what I was getting at is that there is nothing automatic about renewables taking over, without other changes, especially on the aggregate demand side.

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              Pete December 12, 2018 at 2:17 pm

              Just a note that climate change is not the primary driver for growth in renewable energy, low cost of operation is. (A secondary factor is availability of fossil fuel not just cost; this is often the case in Israel, Brazil, Pakistan, India, Turkey, etc.).

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        pruss2ny December 10, 2018 at 1:47 pm

        “About 48-49% of power was generated from renewable sources in 2014-2016 according to the state of Oregon.”

        …that 48-49% optimistic estimate is over 80% hydro..not exactly an ideal renewable resource.

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      Champs December 10, 2018 at 12:37 pm

      In the long run, we are all dead. Efficiency is low hanging fruit for now but it is hard to say that it will be forever. Whatever the balance is, it will need to come from somewhere. We know that we are at a dead end with fossil fuels. Electrification with renewables appears to be the longest runway we’ve got.

      ¿Por que no los dos?

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      Al December 10, 2018 at 12:43 pm

      Wind power, as percentage of total power generation, didn’t really take off in the US until 2005, solar until 2015. These are very cost effective now and growth continues.

      Also, EV’s aren’t going to increase peak power demands because most EV charging occurs in the home off peak. This means that the current generating infrastructure can accommodate a lot of EV’s. Smoothing out demand in power also makes the entire system more efficient. The fear of shortcomings in the grid infrastructure are also being tampered by the switch to LED lighting which is reducing home power demands considerably.

      And as Jon already pointed out, EV’s still reduce carbon emissions even in regions reliant on carbon based fuel sources because electric motors are 90% efficient in generating kinetic energy compared with combustion engine efficiencies in the low 30’s.

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    9watts December 10, 2018 at 10:54 am

    The article on Roger Millar highlights something else we would do well to pay more attention to:
    “About 71 percent of the state’s gas tax revenue is consumed by interest payments to pay off previously completed projects…”

    ODOT is following in the footsteps of WAshDOT in this regard.

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    GlowBoy December 10, 2018 at 10:55 am

    Thrilled that Minneapolis passed the 2040 Plan. I wasn’t sure whether or when it would finally pass, or in what form, but it’s the law of the land (so to speak) here now. The original proposal was watered down only slightly, still allowing triplexes (as opposed to fourplexes in the original version) on [i]every residential lot in the city[/i]. From what I’m hearing we’re the only city in the country (other than Houston, which has no zoning) that has abolished single-family zoning.

    Although that aspect of the plan got the most attention, there are several other aspects of the plan worth mentioning:
    – The zoning plan is much simpler than before. Previously lots had both a “base” and an “overlay” zoning code, with dozens of possible combinations, and I personally found it difficult to understand the system. Now there are just 13 zoning codes, all readily understandable to most people with an interest in urban development.
    – Most of the residential lots on the city are still limited to 3 units, at least on standard-sized lots. In about half the city that limit applies regardless of lot size, while in the more “core” half of city larger buildings will be allowed on large lots.
    – Maybe the more impactful change is that multi-unit buildings will now be allowed along nearly every transit line, with greater density on busier routes and near major transit stations. 7 of the new 13 zoning codes apply to these areas to allow a fine gradient of what’s allowed where.

    So let’s make clear, since many people will panic at the headline: the city has NOT abolished single-family housing, by any means. Bulldozers are not going to start leveling whole blocks of SFHs, and multi-unit apartments are still not going to be allowed on most interior blocks away from transit. It’s just that residential blocks can now contain townhouses, duplexes, triplexes and accessory dwellings, where they couldn’t before.

    It’s also worth noting the political process. In our 2017 municipal elections we threw out a whole bunch of old-guard city councillors (our city council is much larger than Portland’s, with 13 wards) and elected a slate of new blood. The demographic change to the city council (2 of the new members are transgendered – one male, one female, both black) got the most press, but what a lot of people didn’t notice was that most of the new concillors are strongly pro-urbanist, pro-transit and pro-density.

    In other words, democracy worked. We got what we voted for.

    It also helped that supporters of these changes actually got somewhat organized into a group – called Neighbors for More Neighbors – and this is a potential lesson for Portland if you really want to defeat the NIMBY minority and strike a blow against exclusionary zoning. Get organized! Although the opponents of the plan had a lot more yard signs (probably because they gave away their signs for free, whereas you had to make a $15 donation to NFNM to get one of their signs), they still lost.

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      GlowBoy December 10, 2018 at 11:26 am

      “most of the new concillors are strongly pro-urbanist, pro-transit and pro-density.”

      I should also add, although it’s somewhat implied: pro-bike and pro-walkability.

      I have sensed an increase in the “bikelash” here as we’ve been building out our protected bikeway network (there was an op-ed in yesterday’s paper that was so hideous I won’t link to it here), but most of our city council are strongly supportive of the changes we’ve been making to improve bikeability.

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      David Hampsten December 11, 2018 at 10:41 pm

      I live in a city in the South that is predominantly SFR, including large swaths of SFR that is 90% black, including rich leafy districts, numerous middle-class and working-class areas, and poor areas with a lot of SFR rentals. However, apartment complexes MFR & PUDs are all over the city, including in a lot of traditionally white areas, but they predominate in the mixed-race areas between the white and black areas of town. Apparently many of our factory owners wanted to make sure there was plenty of good-quality housing of all types for both workers (who were predominantly black) and the middle-managers (mostly white but a lot of blacks too.)

      The problem with the assumption that SFR is the exclusive preserve of whites, especially in the North, is that it assumes that any white with a lot of wealth was welcome to move to those SFR areas with big lots. But we all know that anyone who was Jewish, Italian, Latinx, or otherwise not a blueblood was specifically excluded from the areas not only with covenant and code restrictions, but also because realtors wouldn’t take such clients to those areas. So SFR isn’t racist as much as it discriminates against class and ethnicity. Which of course can and does still occur with the new Executive-Housing apartment complexes in inner post-industrial areas like the Pearl District.

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        GlowBoy December 12, 2018 at 11:50 am

        I don’t think anyone in Minneapolis is assuming SFH-dominated neighborhoods are the exclusive province of well-off white people. Although that’s largely true in South Minneapolis, most of North Minneapolis is also SFH-dominated, but mostly black – and was heavily Jewish decades ago. Meanwhile, Northeast Minneapolis (another of our – as in Portland – five “quadrants”) was for most of its history largely populated by eastern and southern Europeans who would have been called “ethnic” until recently.

        So even historically, SFH domination was not completely a tool of empowering white northern Europeans over everyone else – plenty of African Americans, Jews and Poles were part of the system of SF dominance in various parts of town. But – as you point out – the scheme was certainly a big part of the larger historical system of keeping racial and ethnic groups separated.

        Bringing your point about SF zoning not just being overtly racist, but about discriminating based on class and ethnicity, to the current timeframe: that’s exactly the situation now in Minneapolis, and in Portland. By severely limiting apartment development for decades, it’s led to a rental-housing shortage, much of it in the so-called “missing middle”. Both cities got along okay for many years, thanks to a base of apartments that predated SF zoning but were no longer legal to build. But that base became inadequate when you combine (1) an increased demand for urban housing as younger generations gravitated a little more towards the city and a little less towards the suburbs, (2) natural growth, (3) a booming economy and demand for workers, plus (4) a significant post-2008 shift from in housing demand from owning to renting … and now we are thousands of units short of what the market economy would need to provide to keep rents reasonable.

        Those with the means to buy a house aren’t so bad off, especially here in Minneapolis where median incomes are high and home prices – while high by Midwestern standards – are quite a bit less than in Portland.

        But it’s tough for the renting majority, in a relative sense maybe even more than in Portland, because Minneapolis rents are not much lower than Portland rents. Probably a good part of why pro-density folks are a little more organized here.

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          David Hampsten December 12, 2018 at 1:06 pm

          Our rents are less than half of Portland’s, but alas so are our wages. I serve on my local transit authority as a board member and it’s excruciatingly difficult to provide a fast reliable transit service if only 25% of your residents live in widely-spaced MFR apartments and PUDs, surrounded with over 75% of your residents who live in SFR-zoned housing, including lots of poor people in rented houses. 53% of our population lives in rental housing, but it’s often SFR that is poorly maintained, owned by out-of-state hedge funds. So you can understand how impressed I am by Minneapolis, a city not much bigger than ours (415,000 vs 290,000) can make such a huge move to eliminate an entire class of low-density zoning – it gives us a bit of hope.

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    GlowBoy December 10, 2018 at 10:56 am

    By the way, for anyone who wants to geek out on the new zoning code, here’s a color coded map of the entire city:
    http://www.startribune.com/find-out-how-your-block-could-change-in-minneapolis-2040-plan/489889431/

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    Matthew in PDX December 10, 2018 at 11:17 am

    My impression is that a substantial number of truck owners rarely use the flat bed of their truck and rarely, if ever, tow anything. Trucks are a popular choice for reasons other than their utility, although many will tell you they need the utility of a truck to carry stuff to their office job and work on their 5,000 sf suburban lot. While the Ford F-150 remains the single most popular motor vehicle on the road, we are going to have a problem. Most F-150 drivers could have their needs satisfied with a Ford Ranger, but their wants are what is driving sales.

    In Europe trucks aren’t as popular, not because Europeans don’t desire the bigness, but because the fuel taxes make driving such large, thirsty vehicles prohibitively expensive.

    To cut the number of trucks on the road is going to be very difficult. American have resisted increased gasoline taxes, and automobile manufacturers will fight tooth and nail any attempt to regulate the types of vehicles consumers may own and drive.

    Adding standards for pedestrian safety may be the best way to reduce the size and number of trucks on the road. That and making sure that motor vehicle owners carry enough liability insurance to adequately compensate any person injured as a result of their negligence. When I lived in Australia, there was a compulsory scheme in each state that provided AUD 20 million in liability coverage for each registered vehicle. The amount was so large because the liable driver/registered owner is responsible for the medical care of those injured (the single payer government medical system does not accept responsibility for car crash victims except as a last resort). I think addressing the liability insurance issue could be a game changer.

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      Pete December 10, 2018 at 12:02 pm

      Sadly many of these pickup (and truck-based SUV) owners neglect to weight the rear of their vehicles in the winter. There is a curve on highway 35 south of Parkdale where we’d count these vehicles off the side of the road, often upside down. (This may sound like a non-sequitir but to your point, there is a larger cost these vehicles impose).

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      Champs December 10, 2018 at 12:04 pm

      Jalopnik, again, can explain why the small pickup is more or less dead: https://jalopnik.com/5948172/how-the-government-killed-fuel-efficient-cars-and-trucks

      TLDR: rule changes in response to the gaming of CAFE perversely encouraged the production of larger, less efficient vehicles.

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        John Lascurettes December 10, 2018 at 1:04 pm

        Marketing from the auto companies and dealers played a big role too. They pushed these higher-profit-margin vehicles at us for more than a decade and most Americans lapped it up. I remember when I was looking for a Honda Fit when they first hit the market (2007) — mind you they had been in Europe for years as the Jazz — I couldn’t find a single dealer in the Portland area that had one available to test drive. It was the utilitarian vehicle, with good emissions and MPG, that I wanted. One or two dealers might have had one on their interior showroom floor, but they weren’t willing to pull it out for a drive. And no one was carrying them in inventory. Most of the sales bros kept trying to push the SUVs or Trucks at me I kept emphatically saying “no!” to them.

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          bikeninja December 10, 2018 at 1:16 pm

          Big traditional SUV’s and Trucks ( body on frame construction) are a joke the industry has played on the gullible consumer for decades. Underneath the latest chrome goodies and zippy sound systems they are ancient designs for which the tooling and production systems were paid for decades ago. People think they are getting a good deal because a medium sized car costs $35,000 but a giant pickup is only $50,000 and so they think it is a better bargain. They don’t realized that it only has an extra $600 worth of steel in it compared to the car lacks much of the modern technology such as crush zones, etc. But in the end it is a joke on all of us, that we will regret in the future.

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        Pete December 10, 2018 at 3:52 pm

        There are also tax exemptions – the so-called “Hummer loophole” is far from closed.

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      bikeninja December 10, 2018 at 2:07 pm

      We may have another solution to these dangerous giant vehicles soon. Coming soon is an event that analysts in the Petroleum industry refer to as “Peak Diesel” Conventional crude oil production in the U.S. and the rest of the world is in decline and has been since 2005. The only growth has been from non-conventional sources such as tight oil ( fracking) and NGL’s ( natural gas liquids) . These lighter grades of oil can not be refined in to two very important products ( diesel and jet fuel) but can be made in to gasoline. On top of this is a massive change in the way the worlds cargo ships are fueled. Due to strict new emissions regulations for cargo ships the use of very heavy “bunker C” is being phased out unless the ship is equipped with expensive and sophisticated engines and emissions control devices. The consensus is that will force most cargo ships to a kind of fuel oil which is a close cousin to Diesel and comes from the same oil feedstock. These two things will probably cause Diesel to become expensive or in short supply around the world. Because Diesel is so crucial to agriculture and freight it may be inevitable that its use be restricted to these uses and the “Diesel Bro’s” and Diesel powered monster truck fans will be left in a lurch.

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      Al December 10, 2018 at 2:14 pm

      Overuse of truck growth hormone is a problem that was foisted on customers, not a response to the market. My wife drove an S10 because that was literally the smallest new truck on the market. It was discontinued and replaced by the Colorado a much larger vehicle. We ended up buying a Dakota only to see it discontinued as well. We were considering a Tacoma to replace it as that was the smallest truck in the US market until the Ranger was revived but I haven’t seen the specs on that yet.

      But I think that’s all about to change as electric trucks hit the market in the next 3-5 years. People will want the utility but physics and economics of batteries will force designers to provide that in smaller packages. So Jalopnik may be describing peak truck growth.

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        Pete December 10, 2018 at 3:54 pm

        Indeed… try buying a decent wagon in this country.

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        Matt S. December 10, 2018 at 8:59 pm

        I just hope they place charging stations out in the woods.

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          Al December 11, 2018 at 1:30 pm

          Range extended electric trucks would make the most sense. I’ve been waiting for GM to reboot the S10 with the Voltec drive train used in the Chevy Volt. That would sell like hot cakes. Imagine driving on battery only for 40 miles and then getting 40 mpg for the rest of your trip… IN A TRUCK! Charging stations? Who needs them? But you’d have the option to charge at home for your commutes.

          I think the reason GM didn’t do such an obvious thing is that this would cannibalize their existing truck sales and completely upset their dealer network as electric vehicles, even range extended ones, require practically no maintenance. It’s probably why it will take new companies, like Rivian and Workhorse, to bring electric trucks to market.

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            soren December 11, 2018 at 3:30 pm

            The Chevy Volt was cancelled.

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              Al December 11, 2018 at 11:03 pm

              Because it was about to become $7,500 more expensive next year. Not a big deal for a Tesla X, but for a car that sold for $35K…. no, sticker priced for that and really, actually sold for almost $30K not like the Tesla 3 which you can’t buy for under $50K.

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                soren December 12, 2018 at 8:57 am

                It was cancelled because there is little interest in EVs and because our charging infrastructure is a complete joke. It only works for rich people, some of the time.

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                Al December 12, 2018 at 4:21 pm

                Range extended electric vehicles like the Volt aren’t dependent on charging infrastructure because there’s no range anxiety. You get the benefit of electric performance and cost without the need for the charging infrastructure to support every conceivable trip you might make.

                While a $35K Tesla Model 3 is still vaporware, GM has been selling $30K Volts until their federal credit ran out.

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                Pete December 12, 2018 at 6:42 pm

                All good points. Without incentives, EVs still face an uphill battle against cost, range, and cheap gas. This is where hybrids and PEVs make sense to me, but judging by the offerings not to most other Americans. When my wife was shopping for a car last year I tried to interest her in the Kia Niro, but she found the Soul more desirable. We looked at the electric models and the price was more than double, the range too short for many of the trips she actually drives (she bikes locally), and many incentives invalid because we were looking at used cars.

                People frequently ask me why I don’t drive an EV; after all, they point out, I ride a bike everywhere and work in renewable energy so I must be “green.” I drive to haul things, cover long distances, or both, and I still see no viable options in the $30K or under range. (One of my friends said I should consider the Jaguar iPace because he got a great deal at $60K after rebates!).

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                Pete December 12, 2018 at 6:46 pm

                There is a place called Santana Row in San Jose, CA full of upscale shops. It’s a place to be “scene”, if you know what I mean, and of course there’s a Tesla dealership in the shops. If you’ve spent any time in silly valley lately you know that Tesla is the new Porsche. Anyway, I have literally seen two men fist-fighting over a charging station at this mall.

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                soren December 13, 2018 at 12:05 pm

                apart from profound deficits in charging infrastructure (many of the small number of quickchargers in the portland area are chronically broken), EVs/PEVs only make sense for people who are wealthy enough to own a home and pay someone to install a dedicated charger. i do not know of a single renter who has gained permission from their landlord to charge an EV and I organize in this space.

                EVs are often touted as some sort of panacea for the 40% of green house gas emissions associated with transportation but EV sales growth has been pathetically slow and driving-associated CO2e emissions continue to increase. As of 2017, electric vehicles represent only 0.2% of registered motorvehicles in the USA. When it comes to climate change the belief that EVs will “save us” is a form of denial.

                https://www.eia.gov/todayinenergy/detail.php?id=36312

                And i say this as an early EV adopter who still occasionally drives a used 2012 Nissan Leaf charged with renewable energy credits (to replace trips in other people’s ecocidal ICE vehicles).

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    SilkySlim December 10, 2018 at 12:18 pm

    Impressed!

    And I couldn’t agree more that encouraging density along key transit lines is a crucial move for the future. I’ve been keeping a close eye at the MAX orange line in SE, and have cringed far too many times at “misses” in development. Two storage facilities popped up in prime spots (ok, one is a bit close to the stench of the Darigold facility to entice even me), and other absolutely prime spots just seem to be lingering there. SE 17th should be the next town hot spot!!!

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      SilkySlim December 10, 2018 at 12:19 pm

      Oops, meant to nest this under GlowBoy’s comments!

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      PS December 10, 2018 at 12:36 pm

      Agreed, but in SE, in Sellwood/Westmoreland in particular, the NIBMY component is very strong. The amount of graffiti on buildings under construction indicating the increased density is not desired is pervasive, let a lone more subtle approaches through the land use committee of SMILE. Check out SMILE’s land use committee notes though, and some sites you may think are lingering, may be in predevelopment and just waiting for city approval of design/plans for shovels to be in the ground. Regardless, without a major financial crisis, SE 17th is going to look a lot different in the next 5 years.

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        SilkySlim December 10, 2018 at 8:46 pm

        Good info! Is there a place online to scope those SMILE land use committee’s notes? I’d definitely check that out. Thanks in advance.

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          PS December 11, 2018 at 9:45 am

          Here is a link for the land use committee, scroll down and there is a link for meeting minutes as well as a pipeline of development activity, current as of November 4th.

          https://www.sellwood.org/land-use/

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      doug B December 10, 2018 at 10:47 pm

      I agree 100%, its crazy to see those self storage units pop up in areas next to transit and decent bike routes. Is that really the best use of that land? Are storage units even a good idea? Anything in those is destined for the landfill, we all buy/have too much sh%^! There is also the one that popped up on the Springwater at Johnson Creek. To me they seem like a symbol with what is wrong with our society.

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        David Hampsten December 11, 2018 at 10:48 pm

        Perhaps you are right, but they also reflect a lack of storage space in many new units. Long gone are the days of 1,200 square foot apartments with walk-in closets. If your apartment is 400-600 sq ft, then what are you gonna do with all your extra crap you brought with you from NY/CA?

        In fact, I see the sudden proliferation of storage facilities in a neighborhood as a sure sign that the neighborhood itself is gentrifying rapidly and that rents are about to double there within the next 5 years, if they haven’t done so already.

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    Steve Sanow December 10, 2018 at 12:19 pm

    I once drove across I-80 in Iowa in a snowstorm, having grown up there it was what we did. Front wheel drive and all season tires was all that was required. Along the way, we started noticing that all the vehicles (there were many) that had gone in the ditch or median and couldn’t get back out, or had rolled over, were trucks and SUVs. I have owned several S-10 light trucks and they served every need, including towing, moving house, hauling dirt, economically and efficiently. But I wouldn’t drive them in bad conditions. Cars are safer all-around, something the auto industry specically lobbied to get trucks exempt from.

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      Pete December 10, 2018 at 3:56 pm

      Certain folks don’t want you to know you don’t need studs or 4WD to survive winter.

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      Chris I December 11, 2018 at 9:03 am

      1. Driver ability
      2. Tires
      3. Drivetrain/Vehicle stability

      I have been in conditions on Mt. Hood where you need all 3 of those to get up the hill, but they are very rare. A FWD vehicle with a competent driver and studless snow tires will get you pretty much anywhere you need to go in the winter.

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        psyfalcon December 12, 2018 at 7:02 pm

        My issue right now is unplowed alleys out here. Dragging the front end through all the icy ruts. Ground clearance does count for something, but to make the mpg the cars get lower as the trucks get higher.

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    PDXCyclist December 10, 2018 at 1:44 pm

    Jonathan–the WashDOT article is great and love the head of their DOT but it’s from July. Not sure if that counts as “news.” I’m guessing you ran into the article on twitter by someone who recently posted it and may have missed the date.

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      John Lascurettes December 10, 2018 at 2:50 pm

      I realize in the blizzard of news always being pushed on us that we expect up-to-the-minute news (damned be its quality for the sake of quantity), but I appreciate this article being posted here and from the authority it comes from. I had not seen it, but it mirrors the things I’m constantly telling my friends who vehemently resist the notion.

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      paikiala December 11, 2018 at 9:30 am

      And shouldn’t that train go to Salem?

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    yarp December 10, 2018 at 2:14 pm

    And the ‘tweet of the week’ is video from a trial that happened in Feb of 2017…

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    yarp December 10, 2018 at 2:15 pm

    The woman also only served one night in jail.

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      Pete December 10, 2018 at 3:58 pm

      It’s too bad you can’t sentence Internet commenters for this…

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    q December 10, 2018 at 2:33 pm

    Truck design is just sad today. “Mid-size” trucks today are as large as full-size ones of a few years ago. Large ones are caricatures. American manufacturers are destroying what used to make trucks desirable–simple, inexpensive, utilitarian alternatives to poorly designed, expensive cars.

    My guess is manufacturers noticed people were buying trucks who didn’t really need trucks, and decided to start “styling” them to appeal to what they thought people wanted. So they’re making them look more “trucklike”, in the process killing what made them appealing to all but overcompensating poseurs who will never haul anything or leave pavement.

    I know a lot of contractors and tradespeople, and I don’t think it’s a coincidence that they all seem to be driving either traditional utility vans, or new, Sprinter-type vans. Those are the vehicles that now have the utilitarian characteristics that trucks are losing.

    I heard about a Ford executive bragging a few years ago that Ford truck buyers have the highest incomes of all truck buyers. Then people pointed out that that was because Ford had priced everyone else of their customer base.

    It’s almost pathetic to me seeing the bandwagon owners who hop down from trucks now. Even people I know who still have legitimate uses for full-size trucks are becoming embarrassed by them.

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      Matt S. December 10, 2018 at 9:09 pm

      The truck has become the new family vehicle.

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        q December 11, 2018 at 11:17 pm

        There certainly seem to be a lot more extended cab trucks, especially the crew cabs with full rear doors and full-size rear seats, and with small truck beds, maybe since nobody actually needs to haul anything much in the beds.

        It seems (just personal observation) like there are fewer new, giant SUVs and more smaller, sporty, almost station wagon-like new SUVs (Subarus, etc.). Maybe 2-car families are moving from having a car plus a large SUV to having a small SUV plus a large truck. Or maybe they’re moving to car plus SUV plus truck.

        It also seems like today’s giant truck is a new version of yesterday’s red sports car or European luxury car or Harley for the midlife crisis set.

        Maybe people are getting heavier and not fitting into cars as well.

        Today’s giant new trucks will be tomorrow’s used cars. The depreciation could be enormous when they go out of favor.

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          9watts December 11, 2018 at 11:38 pm

          One factor that may play into this, but in any case is my all time favorite statistic because of how it upsets notions many of us surely have long held, is that in the US now more than 60%(!) of all households are 1- and 2-person affairs. Not that we design much of any consumer products (appliances, autos, houses) to align with this demographic shift but there you have it. And this US-wide distribution obviously varies somewhat by zipcode & census tract.

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      Chris I December 11, 2018 at 9:05 am

      The looming auto loan crisis and increased fuel costs will hopefully have an impact. I’m not sure anymore, though. The “truck culture” is so ingrained now, these people will sacrifice nearly everything to keep their cultural status symbols.

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        David Hampsten December 12, 2018 at 12:42 pm

        So ingrained that Surly’s most popular model is the Long Haul Trucker.

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    Mike Sanders December 11, 2018 at 6:56 pm

    Phill Liggett and Paul Sherwen have been the TV voices for the Tour de France for over three decades, starting out at the old Outdoor Life Network, now NBCSN. They were a terrific pair, making the TDF (and bike racing in general) understandable to millions. In part because of that, we now have the Tiur of California at the start of each Grand Tour season. Replacing Paul’s insights (he was a racer, too) to work with Phil will be very hard. It’ll be a different feel in France next summer. Let’s give Paul a bit of love, too. Take a bow, Phil. You’ll be much missed.

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    David Hampsten December 11, 2018 at 11:03 pm

    I remember biking in ND. Snow, ice, slush, biting wind. Horrible. Riding on packed snow at minus 20 makes the same sound as walking on Styrofoam. And walking out the door to a sudden 90 degree drop in temperature sure cleans out the sinuses.

    However, as for the woman in Chicago, you do the best you can in the conditions you have. I did in fact bike in temperatures as low as -20 degrees, dressing in 3 layers all over including Gore-Tex to keep the wind out and Thinsulate gloves, with a snowmobile helmet with extra holes for ventilation (I sounded like Darth Vader in it.) I had a wired Cateye cycle computer that was good to zero degrees. 2.5″ tires with sheet-metal screws in the knobs, lower pressure, and the same screws on the bottom of my boots, to deal with ice and packed snow.

    Riding in slush during the spring was even worse, as the slush would freeze and jam up the chain, miking my bike an effective 1×1 gear. I still get stomach cramps thinking of those rides of horror, 4 miles between home and work each way with black ice on every corner, during the long dark of winter.

    Which is why I was happy to move to nice tropical Portland (and now sultry North Carolina, though ironically we have 6 inches of ice-crusted snow outside right now…)

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    psyfalcon December 12, 2018 at 7:23 pm

    I want a truck, but they’re not making one I want. I do not need to tow 7000lbs. I need it to fit in my garage, I want to put my motorcycle in it, and my pedal bikes. I’d prefer to keep garden compost out of my hatchback.

    I justifications are probably similar to most people buying trucks. I could rent a truck for the 3 times a year I carry compost or want to take my motorcycle out of state, but if I am already owning a car, what does a truck cost me over a car? Maybe $500 – 1000 in gas if I dont drive much. Bought new, they cost more than a small car. It would be convenient to not worry about picking up a rental, and putting the bike on the rack every time. ..

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    Dan A December 13, 2018 at 6:58 am

    92-year-old holocaust survivor killed by driver in Hillsboro. As described in the Hillsboro Tribune:

    “Officers from the HPD responded to a crash involving a car and a pedestrian on Northeast Century Boulevard — to the north of Northeast Brighton Street — at 4:57 p.m., said HPD spokesman Eric Bunday.

    Wiener, who was 92 years old, was wearing dark clothing as he was struck by a southbound Honda Accord, Bunday said.

    “Dad was struck by a car at high velocity and was killed instantly; the medical examiner assured us he felt no pain,” Wiener’s son Ron posted on his father’s Facebook page. “He was heading to the grocery store, was dressed in dark clothes on a dark, rainy night, and crossed in the middle of the street. The driver simply did not see him.”

    The 50-year-old driver of the Honda Accord remained at the scene of the crash and cooperated with investigators. He will not face any charges or citations, according to Bunday.”

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