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The Monday Roundup: Chaos in utopia, a ‘bicycle beltway’, Oslo’s big move, and more

Posted by on January 7th, 2019 at 9:44 am

We haven’t done a roundup since before the holiday break. So let’s get going…

Netherlands bike lane problem: The Guardian reports on a chaotic mix of e-bikes and other types of micro-vehicles that are causing confusion and major safety issues in the legendary bikeways of Amsterdam. Buried in that story is a startling rise in e-biking deaths.

A “bicycle beltway”: I love how D.C. is talking about cycling in the same way they talk about driving. That’s how you change the status quo. And guess what? It’s inspired largely by the success of their bike share program.

End RTOR: More good things from D.C.: They plan to end right-turn-on-red at 100 intersections this year. The law that emerged in the 1970s as a gas-saving measure is falling out of favor because of dangers posed by right-turning drivers.

Power of bikes: The East Side Riders Bicycle Club is helping keep kids in Watts, California stay away from gangs and other bad stuff.

Don’t penalize, subsidize!: A large city in Italy plans to pay people to ride bikes and will even subsidize their purchase of a new bike. Take that all you supporters of Oregon’s absurd $15 bike tax!


Hello, Oregon legislators. Anyone home?: A report from the state-appointed Global Warming Commission says greenhouse gas emissions are on the rise in Oregon primarily because people are driving too much.

Rep. Power gets it: Oregon House Rep. Karin Power who represents parts of southeast Portland and Clackamas County, shared an opinion in The Oregonian about the urgency of passing laws in 2019 that will limit the impacts of climate change.

Oslo ups the ante: “We’re doing this to give the streets back to the people,” says Oslo’s vice mayor for urban development in a NY Times report on their plan to remove all auto parking spaces from the city center.

Florida’s bad behavior: The “Panhandle State” is statistically the most dangerous place to ride bikes — and the local experts say it’s largely because of a traffic culture that only respects driving.

Portland is off-the-back: Our once-leading bicycle city is glaringly absent from the People for Bikes list of 10 best new bikeways of 2018.

We’re growing fast: Since 1990 the population of the Portland metro area has grown by 61 percent, or 929,000 people! See how that compares to other cities in this tweet from Michael Andersen.

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

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  • Pat Lowell January 7, 2019 at 10:18 am

    Re: Netherlands – It’s not stated explicitly (although could be inferred from the rest of the story) whether the big jump in number of e-bike deaths might result from a proportionally big jump in number of e-bike riders.

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    • Pat Lowell January 7, 2019 at 10:19 am

      (I.e. the death *rate* may not have changed.)

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    • B. Carfree January 8, 2019 at 9:48 am

      It’s also not stated how those e-bike riders met their demise. Dutch-style separated infra still has intersection and visibility issues and is designed for speeds of about 10 mph, so someone riding twice that speed would be more likely to be struck by a motorist. The extremely narrow nature of their infra also means there aren’t many escape hatches when things go south.

      This is something we really need to wrap our heads around as we set out to build more bike-specific infrastructure here in Oregon. If we are going to increase our modal share, it’s going to be because we have gotten motorists onto e-bikes (I’m already seeing this happening 🙂 ). We need to make sure our designs work well for inexperienced people on e-bikes going 20 mph or faster AND for large numbers of them (plan and build for success!).

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      • X January 10, 2019 at 12:41 pm

        Agnostic on e-bikes here. Waiting for the definitive study that shows converts are coming out of cars as opposed to, say, old farts with a left hip thing and back-of-the-right-knee thing. People who groan when they get up. Don’t ask me how I know about this.

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  • ADD January 7, 2019 at 10:41 am

    Rep. Power is a bike commuter, too! I’m proud she’s my representative.

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    • B. Carfree January 8, 2019 at 10:28 am

      I was disappointed that she called for us to prepare for disaster, but didn’t call out how we’re helping bring that disaster about. I would have liked to see her call out car addiction as a big part of the problem and offer up a proposal to tame it here in Oregon so we can lead by example.

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  • bikeninja January 7, 2019 at 10:42 am

    Its ironic that the state that treats cyclists the worst will be the first to be made uninhabitable because of the rising seas due to climate change brought on partially by its motoring dystopia. As they say “Payback is a Bummer*”. * word changed to reflect the standards of BP.

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    • B. Carfree January 8, 2019 at 10:26 am

      Hmm, this blog and many other bikey folks constantly call for more separated facilities as the standard for bike friendliness. There’s even a link in this round-up lauding such builds. Meanwhile, Florida has over 800 miles of rail-to-trail and seemingly uncountable miles of separated paths and is called out as the worst of the worst.

      Yes, Florida has a large number of cyclists killed. It also has a lot of people in general (third most populous state) and a lot of them riding bikes year round, so exposure is much, much higher than in Oregon so it’s not surprising that the cycling death rate in FL leads the pack.

      Perhaps a big part of the traffic culture is the result of all those bike paths. Even people who ride bikes in Florida now believe that bikes don’t belong on roads, only on paths. That’s something to be aware of going forward: If we keep insisting on separation, it’s only a matter of time before we have effectively lost the ability to use the roads to get around on bicycles. Be careful what you wish for.

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  • Alex January 7, 2019 at 11:20 am

    No huge surprise that we are falling off of cities that are “pro-bike”. What infrastructure has been added in Portland lately that would be note-worthy? I still don’t understand how we maintain a platinum rating among League of American Bicyclists – should’t have gotten it in the first place from what I can remember.

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    • Matt S. January 7, 2019 at 11:41 am

      Platinum status, because the rest of the country is, just, that bad…

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      • Alex January 7, 2019 at 11:44 am

        That’s not really how it went down…pretty sure there were some promises made that never came true. Wish they could downgrade us to reflect reality.

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        • David Hampsten January 9, 2019 at 3:16 pm

          You need to get out more and explore other US cities by bike, like Charlotte NC, Atlanta, Houston, Pittsburgh, Columbus, and Phoenix. Lovely cities all. Unless you are bicycling. Not only do they lack much bike infrastructure, but they generally lack cyclists as well…

          Matt S is right, the rest of the USA is pretty dismal compared to the worst that Portland has to offer.

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    • Mike Quigley January 7, 2019 at 12:48 pm

      Was the League of American Bicyclists paid to list Portland as platinum? A few year ago when I lived in Boise, Nampa paid $25,000 to some outfit to have it named one of America’s Most Livable Cities. It’s a crime-ridden, smelly, run down agricultural town.

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      • Hello, Kitty
        Hello, Kitty January 7, 2019 at 2:26 pm

        C’mon… stop whitewashing it. What do you really think?

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        • Chris I January 7, 2019 at 3:40 pm

          It can’t really get any whiter.

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          • X January 7, 2019 at 5:21 pm

            Well, it’s 71.5% “white alone”. It’s fun to make jokes about places in Idaho, but it actually could be whiter.

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  • I'll Show Up January 7, 2019 at 11:50 am

    People for Bikes is trying to encourage cities that are not friendly to bikes to get friendlier. For example, the Tilikum Crossing wasn’t listed on their top ten list the year it was built while plastic wands on the street were listed. Makes no sense in any scientific way. Like all of these lists there’s tons of subjective measures that are used to forward the list maker’s goals.

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    • Alex January 7, 2019 at 12:44 pm

      I would argue that Portland isn’t super bike friendly – I guess for the US, but not for the rest of the world.

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      • Matt S. January 7, 2019 at 3:06 pm

        I grew up biking in Albany, Oregon, which wasn’t great. And then Corvallis, which was leaps and bounds better. Then I moved to Portland, ehh, I suppose you can say is in between the two, however a much larger city. I went from the minors to the majors. Portland isn’t a city for the timid-casual cyclist. It can be done, but to get from N Portland to deep SE, it’s a trek and not always the safest. I guess, start small and work your way into longer commutes. Ride with veterans to learn.

        Bike commuting and Portland’s economy are very similar: It’s best to gain the work experience in a smaller, less busy city and then move to Portland for work. Versus, moving here with no experience and trying to make it – you’re probably going to struggle at first.

        I learned how to ride confidently in a small city and I was prepared when I moved here.

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        • Alex January 7, 2019 at 3:25 pm

          I have been commuting in Portland for over 15 years and have biked in many different cities/continents around the world, both on and off-road. In fact, I just got back from Patagonia where I was mountain biking, have completed ultra endurance events and hit up the skateparks every now and again. I feel pretty comfortable on a bike pretty much anywhere in Portland.

          My comment was less to do with me and more to do with the fact that there are many other cities in the world where cycling is much more respected and the infrastructure and people show it. I don’t believe there are really any great cities to ride in, in the US. Santiago was surprisingly good, Brisbane was also good and not to mention the more obvious Euro cities. It really is a change in attitude that needs to happen and the only way that happens is by the city/community actually giving it the respect it deserves.

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          • Middle of The Road Guy January 8, 2019 at 8:23 am

            ” It really is a change in attitude that needs to happen ”

            That is exactly it. And I believe we are moving in the opposite direction of what is desired.

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          • Tim January 8, 2019 at 9:43 am

            Even in bike friendly Europe the infrastructure may be dubious (cobble stone bike paths), but attitude makes the difference.

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        • Pete January 8, 2019 at 4:02 pm

          I lived and biked in both towns in the late 90’s. I was riding to work in Corvallis once when three people were biking at me on both the sidewalk and bike lane on 99. I wasn’t quite sure where I was going to go (they didn’t seem intent on stopping) when a police car pulled in front of me with the lights on and stopped them. When Officer Friendly got out he stepped into the travel lane to stop cars and motioned me around his car and I said “thanks” and he said “have a good day.” It was like a weird Utopian dream where the cops were actually there when you needed them. (I also got stopped in Albany for mooning my boss from the back seat of a coworkers car, but that’s a different anecdote).

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      • I'll Show Up January 7, 2019 at 3:17 pm

        Feel free to argue whatever makes you feel good. It’s the most bike friendly place I’ve ever lived. That’s also a different point. My comment is about a list of bike improvements on specific pieces of infrastructure, not the overall biking experience.

        If a street in a town with no other infrastructure gets on the list, so should the largest car-free bridge in North America. If that’s not a top ten project, then the list is being driven by internal goals to build the momentum for cities that haven’t previously been recognized.

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        • Alex January 7, 2019 at 8:01 pm

          I will, thanks! My point is, we have a long ways to go and it is only sort of friendly to commuters – roadies and mtbers aren’t overly welcome. I hope one day you get to other cities and places that really embrace more cycling and other mods of transport rather than cars.

          Have a good night!

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          • I’ll Show Up January 7, 2019 at 9:00 pm

            Your made up insult made me and my partner laugh. Thanks!. I lived car-free for five and a half years in Portland and every vacation in the past 10 years have been car-free.

            Also, the article is about a list of 10 of the myriad awesome bicycle projects from around the whole country. My comment was that those lists can be influenced by politics and gave the example that the Tilikum Crossing was not on the list as an example. The Bridge (not the route leading to it – those need fixed!). Just the car-free mega bridge in the middle of downtown has to get on a list for something. I’d put it on the top ten of the past decade actually.. It’s amazing.

            Not sure how that turned me into a car-head?

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            • Hello, Kitty
              Hello, Kitty January 7, 2019 at 9:06 pm

              The Tilikum is on my list of the top ten things that are not in the middle of downtown.

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              • I’ll Show Up January 7, 2019 at 9:23 pm

                Is that really what you took away from my comment? That we disagree about how close the bridge is to downtown? Are you saying that I shouldn’t think it’s amazing because it’s not close enough to downtown?

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              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty January 7, 2019 at 11:34 pm

                I wrote it because it struck me as funny. No other reason offered or needed.

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              • Middle of The Road Guy January 8, 2019 at 8:25 am

                HK, some people just can’t handle humor at their own expense. Even when it is funny.

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              • I'll Show Up January 8, 2019 at 11:26 am

                Sorry I didn’t catch the humor. Still don’t, but glad you guys got a laugh. It felt hostile to me, maybe because of other reactions I’ve gotten on this thread that said my view is that of a demolitionist (HK) that doesn’t know about bike lanes in cities (Alex) because I don’t want to spend every thread complaining about Portland. It’s not fun to comment here.

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              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty January 8, 2019 at 12:28 pm

                Maybe I should clarify it was not intended to be humorous in a mean-spirited sort of way, so I’m sorry if it seemed like that. It just seemed an amusing turn of phrase given the fact that the Tilikum is not really even in downtown. Now that I’ve explained this, I imagine you’ll agree it was quite clever.

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              • I’ll Show Up January 8, 2019 at 12:32 pm

                Thank you for that clarification. Still not getting it, but totally feel better knowing where you were coming from.

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              • David Hampsten January 9, 2019 at 3:29 pm

                From the point of view of most US cities, the “downtown” of Portland spans from the south part of South Waterfront north to Greeley, and from SW Vista to NE 20th – it’s all the built-up area of 5 stories or higher. It’s not the area within the I-5 & I-405 freeways, it’s the whole area served by those freeways, on both sides. It’s only local Portlanders who identify a much smaller area, given their small-town provincial outlook – they like to pretend that Portland is still a small folksy town of 300,000 rather than a major fast-growing city of 650,000+ in a 3 million metro area.

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            • Johnny Bye Carter January 9, 2019 at 4:15 pm

              That bridge is the worst of the bridges with bike facilities due to the slope.

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            • Alex January 10, 2019 at 10:59 am

              Kind of like how I laughed at you when you were talking down to me and telling me how to feel comfortable riding a bike on Portland’s streets. That made-up aggressions was fun, too! thanks.

              I am so proud that you have lived car-free for five and half years in portland. Yay you.

              If you read what I wrote, I didn’t accuse you of being a “car-head”. Yay for reading comprehension!

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  • I'll Show Up January 7, 2019 at 11:52 am

    Portland region is growing quite fast. The 61% number includes East Vancouver which is not even part of our regional government. It’s always misleading to call the region “Portland”, especially when there are such big increases in parts of the “region” that are not the growth that will address future climate change and population growth. Now the NIMBYs can say that we are the fastest growing city in the country when it’s just not true.

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    • Hello, Kitty
      Hello, Kitty January 7, 2019 at 2:28 pm

      Now the demolitionists can say that we are the fastest growing city in the country when it’s just not true.

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      • I'll Show Up January 7, 2019 at 3:19 pm

        Demolisionist? Did you know that the Urban Growth Boundary just got expanded by 2,200 acres. That’s going to demolish 2,200 acres of forest and farmland. So, yes, the demolitionists are indeed going to say we are growing too fast. The NIMBYs that create sprawl by fighting housing for people while fighting for housing for cars will demolish away so they can get rich and keep the riff raff out. Demolitionists indeed.

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        • Hello, Kitty
          Hello, Kitty January 7, 2019 at 4:53 pm

          I know. I don’t think those looking for suburban single family houses are the same as those looking for urban apartments, condos, and plexes. But my real complaint is that demolitions prioritize the destruction of our most affordable housing to make way for much more expensive options.

          Maybe you should listen to why people actually oppose unrestricted demolition rather than resorting to insults and invective. For most people, it has very little to do with being evil, greedy, or stupid.

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          • Paul January 7, 2019 at 6:08 pm

            In my opinion it is because their understanding of economics is faulty, but there may be some room for rational disagreement there.

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            • Hello, Kitty
              Hello, Kitty January 7, 2019 at 6:31 pm

              Of course there is; which is why it’s so annoying when people don’t address the actual issues, but instead argue with a caricature.

              There is currently a surplus of housing for people who can afford new construction. What Portland needs is housing for low-income people. That’s what we should be focusing on; preserving and creating new options for group rentals is one way to serve that need. But groups of people living together is so untidy and “unurban”. Ironically, it is the so-called NIMBYs who want to preserve those houses most suited for group-living and, because they tend to be less well maintained, are also the most attractive redevelopment sites.

              Add incentives to preserve existing housing stock to the RIP, and I’ll support it.

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          • I’ll Show Up January 7, 2019 at 9:18 pm

            Are you saying that you weren’t pointing the word “demolitionist” as an invective? Please illuminate how I should take that as a constructive criticism.

            Did you see the PSU market study that determined that the Residential Infill Project will result in many more homes and literally half the rent as staying on the path we’re on? Do you support RIP? Or do you have a different idea for how to make our city affordable and taking better care of each other? What we’ve done so far isn’t working.

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            • Hello, Kitty
              Hello, Kitty January 8, 2019 at 12:18 am

              Of course I was, mostly to illustrate that your statement was an unprovoked and unnecessary (and, frankly, illogical) insult.

              I support many aspects of the RIP, especially its limitations on the size of new construction (which I suspect will be ruled a “taking”, creating a huge mess, but which I support nonetheless, and would even want strengthened), but overall I oppose it because I believe so strongly that increasing the rate of demolitions, without consideration of context or prior planning, will do great violence to much of what I love about our city.

              I also believe that because we are becoming part of a larger west coast housing market, prices for market rate housing will continue their path toward equalization with other west coast cities no matter what we do. Demand is, for our purposes, infinite, and we will never be able to sate it for long.

              It is therefore more important to me to preserve opportunities for affordable living where we can (and also to create new opportunities where possible, which is why I supported the Metro housing bond). By encouraging demolition of less expensive properties, which are those developers prefer for obvious reasons, I believe the RIP will only reduce housing options for those who need it most.

              I agree what we’re doing isn’t working, but I believe the RIP is only going to exacerbate the problem for those at the bottom of the ladder. To them, the difference between a $500K plex unit and a $700K house is academic, but the opportunity to rent a room in a shared house for $600 is a lifeline.

              I have not seen the PSU study, and if it shows how the RIP will preserve and increase options for the most needy, I’d read it with an open mind and reconsider my position.

              If you want to do something now, that will help for at least a little while, ban short term rentals of any unit that could be a standalone apartment. That would create, overnight, a large new source of small, less expensive rentals. The longer we wait, the harder this will be (many new houses contain ADUs, and I believe a short-term income stream is used to justify a higher sales price, making a ban painful).

              If the RIP were really about lower housing cost for anyone other than those who are already doing quite well, a short-term rental ban would definitely be part of the proposal. Instead, it’s about chasing an urbanist fantasy that I do not share, by making promises I believe cannot be kept.

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              • I'll Show Up January 8, 2019 at 11:36 am

                Thank you.

                The market study is on the RIP web page and also in the local media a couple of weeks ago.

                Are you at all concerned about hotels? There are 1000s of hotel rooms being built in the middle of downtown. Wouldn’t that be a bigger target for lost housing? In the best place for affordable housing to be in the state.

                I don’t know what affordable single family homes you’re talking about. Good luck getting enough home owners to rent to enough individuals to turn their home into group living to have a real impact on housing prices. I just don’t see it.

                Check out this article about demolitions from Michael Andersen. Is that really the problem that should make it so we can’t build more housing for people?

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              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty January 8, 2019 at 12:15 pm

                I’m agnostic on hotels, but I do not think big hotel-sized affordable housing units really make sense from a societal point of view. I think cities work best when people of all stripes interact, and so I’d prefer affordable housing be distributed throughout the city in a way that fosters people interacting with their neighbors and reduces the stigma of “oh, you live there”.

                Before dismissing the idea of shared housing, I’d suggest talking to people threatened with displacement and see if it would have an impact on them. Yes, it’s happening even without the RIP, and to some degree is inevitable, but accelerating the process will not help. People can adapt, but the more time they have to do it, the easier the transition will be.

                The RIP will be a financial boon to property owners (like myself, and if all I cared about was money I would totally support it); it will be good for upper middle class people looking for “urban living” opportunities; it will be great for developers; I don’t think it will be particularly good for anyone else, and I don’t think it will change where housing prices will ultimately end up, though it will flatten the curve for the better off and steepen it for those who are not.

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            • I’ll Show Up January 8, 2019 at 12:50 pm

              I’m surprised you don’t have feelings about thousands of fancy hotel rooms being built instead of affordable housing. Or that some hotels were affordable housing before they were hotels.

              Definitely don’t dismiss group living. It’s a great way to live for many people. I’ve lived in a group home and it was great. I just don’t think there’s enough opportunity there to actually change our affordable housing crisis. RIP is projected to make 38,000 new homes and can’t see the math work in that way from “simply” changing the way we’re using the homes we already have.

              I also accept that demolitions happen in cities. All cities for all of human history. If you take a look at Michael’s article I linked to, you’ll see the data he used to talk about how demolitions affect the housing market. That doesn’t make me a “demolitionist”. I just think it’s imprtant to learn from history and alternative ideas that have worked in other places when we’re having so much trouble with such an imprtant basic life need. I’m even sad when some places change. But I don’t see every old structure as historically important and I see new buildings that positively contribute to the character of the neighborhood.

              Right now Seattle has increasing population and rents are decreasing. They did that by building a lot more housing for people. Sure there are business people who make money in the process. But the outcome is a more affordable place for normal people like you and me.

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              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty January 8, 2019 at 1:16 pm

                I told you — I don’t think concentrating low income housing is a good idea. It would be much better to get all those short-term rentals onto the long-term market to increase the diversity of our neighborhoods. I do think, however, that the SRO hotel model could be helpful to serve the immediate needs of many of the homeless, and I would totally support building more of those. I am a bit dubious of the notion that demand for high-end hotels are what’s holding us back from (re)building SROs.

                Yes, of course demolitions happen. That will never change. It’s the destruction of viable housing stock that bothers me, not tearing down a house that is beyond salvage. I agree that some old buildings offer nothing, and some new ones are great. But most new residential structures I see are, unfortunately, pretty ungreat, and even much new commercial development is bland and uncharacteristic. The RIP could support an increase of density without demolition by encouraging creative rebuilding and other strategies that would enhance our neighborhoods without changing their fundamental nature. I want the density, I just want to do it creatively, though I admit I would not go as fast or as radical as urbanists would like. Like I said, I think the endpoint in terms of housing cost is going to be the same regardless, so we’re mostly talking about character and trajectory.

                Rents are even falling in Portland as well, if you can afford them — pretty good for people like us. And that’s who the RIP will help. People who don’t really need it. (And last I checked, Seattle had a pretty hearty homeless problem of its own, despite falling rents.)

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              • I'll Show Up January 8, 2019 at 1:33 pm

                It’s nice to know how close we are on this issue. It didn’t feel that way in the beginning of our chat. There were 700 new hotel rooms that opened in December alone. If even one of the three new hotels were SRO that would be a big win. I don’t think SROs are ideal because I agree with you that mixed income is way more preferred. But, they still matter and we’re still building a bunch of large luxury hotels instead of housing at a scale that means we’re building thousands of hotel rooms instead of thousands of housing units.

                Seattle is not a utopia by any stretch. But, things are improving. And, things are starting to improve here as well. Not nearly enough yet, but it’s finally not getting worse. The market analysis of RIP showed that rents will be $1800-$1900 with RIP and about $4000 without in twenty years. Still not utopia, but way more affordable than without RIP. I still urge you to read it. It’s really nice to have real economic numbers. Also, I think if you read RIP, you’d find out that it’s actually very creative by shrinking the footprint of new homes and allowing more smaller units within them. Have you seen that part of the policy? It seems like something you would like based on the comments you’re making here.

                I know that you see the same problems as I do and care. I guess I’m a little less patient here because there are so many people without homes, getting priced out of where they live, or not being able move here for a job. Across the street from my house, there’s a man sleeping in a tent. I just feel like we can’t be patient when that’s our current reality.

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              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty January 8, 2019 at 1:52 pm

                I am not convinced that, if not for the hotels, we’d be building housing. I suspect that, given the softening of the market in the slice of the market that developers want to serve, hotels are displacing office space. Or food carts.

                I’ve read the RIP, and support the shrinking footprints — that might help a little. As I said in my earlier post, I don’t think those limits go far enough. I support a great deal of the RIP, actually, so find it frustrating that we don’t just focus on the less controversial parts, which will improve things, but won’t running roughshod over decades of planning. Or why we can’t find room in there for anti-displacement policies. Or for limiting the short-term rentals that take so many small units off the market.

                We agree on the travesty of people getting priced out; we disagree about whether increasing the pace of redevelopment will help those people. I think it will make things worse. And there is nothing at all in the RIP that will help your neighbor in his tent.

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              • I'll Show Up January 8, 2019 at 2:20 pm

                OK. Let’s agree to disagree on parts of this. Thank you for what’s turned into a good conversation.

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              • Q January 8, 2019 at 2:25 pm

                Rents are absolutely not decreasing in Seattle, but thanks for playing.

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              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty January 8, 2019 at 3:08 pm

                That’s fine. This is a good example of the danger of dismissing people without considering what they have to say, which is where we started this conversation. Most people have more interesting and nuanced views than the labels put on them would suggest, and I think there is a lot of middle ground if people can get past those. That’s kind of the story of our whole country right now, actually.

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              • I'll Show Up January 8, 2019 at 3:26 pm

                I agree and am not sure when you think I dismissed your ideas. It may be worth some self-reflection. My impression is that you haven’t looked at any of the data I’ve been sharing about the impact of these policies. While we’re on the subject, that feels quite dismissive. For example, you out of hand dismissed that hotels could have been housing instead. No data, no reasoning, just dismissed. So I feel ya and am sorry if I did the same thing to you.

                Also, Q you may have missed the recent news.

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              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty January 8, 2019 at 5:00 pm

                NIMBY is a dismissive insult. I fully realize it wasn’t directed at me, (just as demolitionist wasn’t directed at you), but that word should be eradicated from the lexicon of all good people.

                I have looked at quite a bit of data (though not the PSU study you cited), have read the RIP, and have been involved in numerous planning efforts in Portland in various ways. I’m not quite a “wonk” but nor am I uninformed. I also have enough relevant professional experience to be skeptical of all economic models, especially those that forecast behavioral trends well into the future. They are (probably) better than nothing, but people give them weight and ascribe precision that is simply not warranted.

                As for hotels, I question (but do not dismiss) the idea they are displacing housing at this time because the housing market is slowing a bit (the upper end is somewhat sated for the moment, making it harder to justify projects, and no one really cares about the rest of the market), and I am unaware of any built housing being replaced by hotels. Maybe I’m wrong. If you want to ban new hotel construction, I won’t argue with you, unless you use that as an excuse to do nothing about the short-term rental problem. I just don’t see hotels as much of a threat.

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              • soren January 10, 2019 at 11:13 am

                “The market analysis of RIP showed that rents will be $1800-$1900 with RIP and about $4000 without in twenty years.”


                Most rental units are in…drumroll…apartment buildings. RIP has nothing to do with apartment buildings. RIP also has little to do with “rent” because it favors production of owned housing, not rental housing. IMO, when it comes to rental housing affordability RIP is not even a rounding error.

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              • I'll Show Up January 10, 2019 at 11:47 am

                Good grief that’s condescending, Soren. Drum roll? I was wrong that it’s a PSU study. It’s Johnson Economics. However, drum roll (?)…. people rent places to live that are not in apartment buildings and RIP has to do with the entire housing market, owned and rented.

                The market analysis:

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          • Middle of The Road Guy January 8, 2019 at 8:28 am

            Profit is bad – unless I profit 🙂

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    • Todd Boulanger January 7, 2019 at 5:38 pm

      I agree: best to call it the Vancouver/Portland Metro area.

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      • Hello, Kitty
        Hello, Kitty January 7, 2019 at 6:50 pm

        Too wordy. Just call it “Vancouver”. Less cool that way.

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      • Chris I January 7, 2019 at 9:21 pm


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        • Hello, Kitty
          Hello, Kitty January 7, 2019 at 11:35 pm

          I think we have a winner!

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  • Lester Burnham January 7, 2019 at 12:19 pm

    Portland deserves to be snubbed. All this city has done is encourage intolerable growth and density without any changes to infrastructure. We’ve only been going backwards recently.

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    • Middle of The Road Guy January 8, 2019 at 8:29 am

      Portland is a victim of its own success with marketing itself.

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  • soren January 7, 2019 at 12:21 pm

    Maus’ editorial claim of a “startling rise in e-biking deaths” was based on this statement from the Guardian:

    “The figure was up by 17 on 2016, accounting for more than one in four of all cyclist deaths.

    The problem is that this is not startling because e-biking has exploded in the Netherlands and now accounts for…drumroll…about one in four of all bike trips 2016:

    Almost a quarter of the Dutch population cycles every day. The exact figure is 24%. When you look at the under 50-year-olds it is 27%.

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    • Gary B January 7, 2019 at 12:35 pm

      You are correct, but the quote you provided doesn’t match your statement. In the comments, the author provides this translation from a Dutch report:
      “The use of electric bicycles has increased in recent years. Almost a quarter of all cyclists now uses an electric bicycle. “

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      • soren January 7, 2019 at 12:40 pm

        thanks…i grabbed the wrong quote when i searched for “quarter”…should have been this:

        This part is also important:

        “However, when the analysis is corrected for the use (the users of an electric bicycle cycle more distance on average and more often than other cyclists), for age and for gender, it becomes apparent that the probability of an accident on an electric bicycle was not higher than on other types of bicycles”

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  • BikeRound January 7, 2019 at 1:26 pm

    I have spent quite a bit of time biking around in the Netherlands. While there is certainly some truth to the concerns touched upon by The Guardian article, the article is also sensationalist and hastily written. Most importantly, the issue is not that the bike lanes are “increasingly crowded,” since even in Amsterdam during rush hour bicycles do not create traffic jams like motor vehicles are notoriously prone to doing. Insofar that there is a problem, it is that different types of bikes tend to go at increasingly divergent speeds due to the rising popularity of ebikes. Gas-powered mopeds were always somewhat of a problem, but at least in Amsterdam, they are not allowed on the bike paths anymore.

    Further, while four-wheeled electric vehicles were always technically allowed on the bike paths, I have encountered exactly one such beast during all of my travels on Dutch bike paths (in a rural area, and I actually was quite surprised at what the heck is that thing).

    The article missed the most stupendous set of fact about transportation in the Netherlands: in 2017, there were 613 traffic fatalities, which was a slight decrease compared to 2016, and a major decrease from the 750 fatalities in 2008, not to mention the 1,235 in 1997. So while U.S. traffic fatalities have started to rise alarmingly in recent years, the Dutch trends are in the opposite direction. And while fatalities among occupants of motor vehicles have been decreasing faster, fatalities among bicyclists have also been dropping. ( All figures are from the Centraal Bureau voor de Statistiek .) Rather than focusing on the challenges, the article would have done much better to highlight the continued success of Dutch transportation policy.

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    • USbike January 7, 2019 at 4:10 pm

      With the 4-wheeled electric beast, you must be referring to one of those 45 Kph “cars” that are meant for people with disabilities. But since you only need a scooter license to operate one, it’s popular with some youth. I haven’t actually encountered one on a bicycle path yet, but they are indeed allowed to go on the more-rural roads and especially the N-roads that have speeds of 80 or 100 Kph. The gas-powered scooters can be very annoying and the Dutch government is really dragging it’s feet on dealing with that.

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  • Gary B January 7, 2019 at 1:33 pm

    Florida: “a traffic culture that only respects driving.”

    Having just spent a week there, that’s the f’ing truth. I didn’t bike while there, but witnessed it in every way imaginable as a pedestrian–drivers are selfish and entitled, beyond the degree normally encountered elsewhere.

    One anecdote: a group of a dozen of us walked from my mother’s house to the community pool. We had 5 children, ages 3-7, in the group. Forced to cross a 35mph road with drivers doing well in excess of that at a point of poor visibility, several of us had to stop because of an approaching car after some were fully across the road.

    We stopped and began retreating. The car, luckily, saw us and slowed down. I thought surely they were stopping to let us cross, recognizing the precarious situation we were in. But no, at this point, with us barely out of the lane but still on the road, and with a 3yo and a 4yo in tow, the driver chose to accelerate and continue their drive, coming far too close to us on the shoulder of the road. It was unfathomable to me that any socially-functional person wouldn’t just come to a stop and let us cross.

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    • MTW January 7, 2019 at 2:51 pm

      I’m sure the driver had to get home as soon as possible; TV won’t watch itself

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    • Chris I January 7, 2019 at 3:00 pm

      They are raised to be sociopaths when behind the wheel. I would go as far as saying that Floridian driving culture doesn’t respect anyone or anything.

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      • meh January 8, 2019 at 7:59 am

        Considering you are dealing with mostly transplants from other states including Oregon, does that mean all Americans are raised to to sociopaths while driving?

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  • Jim Lee January 7, 2019 at 3:38 pm

    Chris I
    They are raised to be sociopaths when behind the wheel. I would go as far as saying that Floridian driving culture doesn’t respect anyone or anything.Recommended 0

    Except Dave Barry and Carl Hiassen

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  • Rivelo
    Rivelo January 8, 2019 at 6:39 am

    I love riding bikes in Portland. It’s great here.

    Now, if we could just get rid of the blinding strobes, I’d be *even* happier….

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    • Dan A January 8, 2019 at 7:42 am

      That’s your top concern?

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      • Rivelo
        Rivelo January 8, 2019 at 8:39 am

        Being a bit tongue in cheek, of course, but it *is* the thing that bugs me on my evening rides. That, and close-passers without friendly bells.

        I’d love to ban cars from city center, have more dedicated no-car streets, drop all speed limits to 20 miles an hour, and dramatically increase enforcement.

        In the meantime, I mostly avoid the busy bike lanes, take the neighborhood greenways and other idyllic “side” streets, and have very enjoyable, non-stressful commutes.

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        • X January 10, 2019 at 1:08 pm

          It seems that maybe the word about bright lights on multi-user paths may be getting through. I see a fair number of people spilling their lumens in front of their wheel, as opposed to the tree tops. I appreciate that.

          Boaters get it about no-wake zones, maybe civility will break out over the close-passing issue as well. Bells are good because they can be used at a distance. I’m not a huge fan of the stalk-sprint followed by a last-minute ¡On your left!

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  • X January 10, 2019 at 12:21 pm

    Portland, bikes, The Good Place or The Bad Place?

    I put it to you that the way we do transit in Greater Portland is a significant part of why bicycle mode share is going sideways in the greater Portland metro area. A list of topics:

    –trolley tracks on major streets (such as MLK) instead of bike infrastructure
    –a major bridge built as an alternative transportation route with muddled bike approaches, which scores only so-so compared to a flawed existing bridge (the Hawthorne)
    –limited accommodation of bikes on transit (no triple racks on buses, “TriMet says denial of tricycle as mobility device is supported by federal regulations”)
    –grudging progress in melding bike traffic flow with transit platforms, stops, and signals
    –a near-cultish attachment to a light rail system that is very expensive, requires a lot of right-of-way outside of built-up areas, and is dysfunctional (slow) inside built-up areas.

    There, I’ve said it: I love trains and I hate trains. For the price of the Orange line, what kind of bike infrastructure could we have had, over a much wider area and in a much smaller footprint?

    (This is nothing about TriMet operators. It’s been quite a while since I’ve seen the sort of bullying movements by bus operators around bikes that used to be a commonplace. I’m pretty sure that reflects safety training and also less pressure on operators to make a schedule at the cost of everything else. I’d also like to think that bike riders are working with the operators more.)

    What would I like to have, for a lot less than a billion five? How about a regional effort to identify places where existing built surface roads are scary for bike users and bridge those gaps with a transit mode that is primarily intended to shuttle bikes users through the dead zone?

    For example, why not run a short bus with a bike rack trailer between, say, St. Johns and Cedar Hill Blvd, over Cornelius Pass.* It would be ADA compliant and pedestrians looking for a transit connection could use it too. It would open up a link to many workplaces, allow recreational access, and help relieve car traffic through some over-taxed old roads that weren’t built for commuting.

    You could operate two buses for a year on that route for the kind of money that people suggest, straight-facedly, as the price of study** of some pet project or another. It would carry a lot of people, generate at least some revenue, and furnish amazing data on the demand for such a service. If you arbitrarily make it cost $5 on Monday, $10 on Tuesday, $15 on Wednesday, $20 on Thursday, Fridays are free! –you’ve just discovered what such a service is actually worth to real people.

    *similar scenario, Highway 43, Lake Oswego/Lloyd District
    **speed boat ferry

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    • X January 10, 2019 at 1:24 pm

      Two real-world scenarios that I think support my suggestion: The success of the valet bike parking service at the bottom of the OHSU tram, and Zoo Bomb, still going after how many years? Build it and they will come.

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