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Opinion: Portland’s scooter success exposes stark double standard

Posted by on January 18th, 2019 at 8:57 am

Scooter riders in the mix of traffic in downtown Portland.
(Photo: Jonathan Maus/BikePortland)

*This post is by Joe Cortright and was originally published by City Observatory.

Data shows Portland’s scooter experiment worked. Maybe it’s time to critically appraise the failed, 110-year experiment with cars.

Why doesn’t PBOT apply the same approach to private cars that it has to scooters?

Starting in July, Portland, Oregon began allowing fleets of e-scooters, as an experiment, to see how they would work. Portland’s Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) just released its 36-page report on the city’s 120-day trial of allowing fleets of electric scooters on the city’s streets. It’s profusely illustrated — more like a sales brochure than a government report — and it has mostly favorable things to say about the city’s recent experience with scooters.

In four months, scooters went from nothing, to providing more an average of 5,800 trips per day. About 30 percent of city residents rode the scooters at least once during the trial period. The city estimates that roughly a third of scooter trips substituted for private car trips, helping to reduce traffic congestion. Scooters also tended to be used most during peak travel hours, with 20 percent of all trips taking place between 3pm and 6pm on weekdays. City surveys indicate that six percent of scooter users reported getting rid of a private car as a result of scooter availability. In addition, the city’s survey’s also suggest scooters effectively expanded the market for non-automobile transportation by attracting users who haven’t ridden bicycles for transportation. The survey also shows that 60 percent of Portlanders have a positive or somewhat positive view of scooters.

As transportation innovations go, this seems like a pretty wild success.

Scooters are a clean, green, fiscally-responsible alternative for making lots of short trips in dense urban areas. They’re overwhelmingly popular. Thanks to GPS, web-based applications and data sharing requirements, we have a clear picture of where and how scooters are used. If this is a data-driven process, the data clearly make a case for bringing scooters back–and widely expanding the program as well. Which is something that the Portland Bureau of Transportation indicates it will do later this year – although unfortunately, and inexplicably, only as a second trial period.

So that’s all to the good: The city regulated scooters, took a close and careful look at their impacts, and found that they work. But that got us thinking: Why are we applying this standard of scrutiny just to one tiny element of our transportation system. Why isn’t the Portland Bureau of Transportation taking this same careful, deliberate and detailed approach to analyzing all aspects of our transportation, especially the dominant mode of transportation: private automobiles?

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The Double Standard: Why aren’t we holding cars to the standard applied to scooters?

We plainly aren’t applying the same standards to cars that the city has applied to scooters. That’s abundantly clear both in the framing of the report, and in the substance of the questions asked. Consider the first paragraph of the report’s executive summary:

E-scooters emerged in 2017 as a new shared mobility service in the United States. Less than a year after their debut, e-scooters were operating in 65 U.S. cities. They did not arrive without disruption; companies Bird and Lime began operations in 43 markets without government permits or consent. Several cities responded with cease and desist orders, fines, or both. Portland chose a different, proactive path, creating the E-Scooter Pilot Program. With the pilot, the Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) focused on giving Portlanders access to this new transportation option while also ensuring that e-scooters would support Portland’s fundamental policy values

There’s an almost insufferable tone of condescension about the idea Portlanders have any right to use scooters on the public streets. It is as if the mandarins of PBOT have deigned, for a brief period, to suffer to allow the presence of these scooters on their streets. The report’s opening paragraph sets the tone: while scooter companies set up shop without asking permission in many cities, Portland strictly regulated their presence. And, as if to remove all doubts about the bureau’s hegemony of public streets, it terminated the operation of scooters entirely on November 20. The New York Times applauded Portland’s aggressive approach to regulating the entry of scooter companies into the city.

We’re waiting for a similarly incisive assessment of the city’s policy of allowing these vehicles to run rampant in the public realm.

One is left to wonder, at what point was it determined that small, personal two-wheeled electric vehicles required special bureaucratic dispensation (and per trip fees paid to the city), and that large gas guzzling, polluting, frequently deadly four-wheeled ones were allowed to roam free in unlimited numbers?

What if BPOT took a similar attitude, not to the paltry 2,000 scooters that operated on city streets for a few months, but instead at the hundreds of thousands of motor vehicles that have inundated the city over the past century? We’re waiting for a similarly incisive assessment of the city’s policy of allowing these vehicles to run rampant in the public realm. If we applied even a fraction of the scrutiny to cars that PBOT has applied to scooters, and applied even a tenth as stringent a standard to their performance, we’d be looking to have radical change. When will PBOT do a similarly rigorous assessment of the climate, health and safety, fiscal, equity and land use impacts of unfettered car use on the public streets?

Let’s focus just one issue: How much do scooters and cars pay to use city streets? The PBOT report indicates that the city levies a charge of 25 cents per trip for each scooter. The average length of a scooter journey, according to PBOT, is 1.1 miles. This means that scooter rider is paying 21.8 cents per mile to use city streets.

(Chart: City Observatory)

How does that compare to what people pay to drive cars?

Let’s take the gas tax, which is the major source of state and local road finance. Oregon’s gas tax is currently 30 cents per gallon, and the City of Portland has a gas tax of 10 cents per gallon. With the average vehicle getting about 20 miles per gallon, this means that the average automobile pays about 2 cents per mile (40 cents divided by 20 miles per gallon equals 2 cents per mile). And it has to be added that these are total taxes paid to city and state–the city receives only a fraction of the state imposed gas tax to pay for its streets. Bottom line: Scooter riders pay ten times as much in fees per mile traveled on city streets as car drivers pay in gas taxes.

And as we’ve pointed out before, its vastly unfair to charge scooters more than cars. Whether proportionate to vehicle value, the space vehicles take up on the roadway (in use and when parked) weight (and therefore road wear and maintenance costs), or pollution generated, cars should be paying anywhere from 10 to 1000 times more for use of the roadway. Instead, they pay ten times less.

Why doesn’t PBOT apply the same approach to private cars that it has to scooters? Why doesn’t it impose a cap on the number of cars in the city, to be sure that cars don’t overwhelm the street system? Why doesn’t it impose a fee of 20 cents per mile on car trips? Why doesn’t it require that cars operating in the city have electronic speed governors that keep vehicles from being operated at unsafe and illegal speeds? Why doesn’t it require that every trip by automobile be reported to a centralized database operated by PBOT: After all, if we can insist that the operators of 35 pound, $500 scooters share detailed telemetry on every trip taken in the city, why shouldn’t we have similar data about the two-ton, $20,000 or $50,000 vehicles.

There’s a clear double standard here: Scooters have been put to the test, and they’ve passed. Scooter operators have provided detailed data, have electronically limited vehicle speeds, reduced traffic and pollution, and paid the city generously for city streets. When will PBOT ask the same questions or impose the same standards on our car-dominated transportation system? We’re really looking forward to that report.

— Joe Cortright, @CityObs on Twitter.

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  • Middle of The Road Guy January 18, 2019 at 9:03 am

    There’s an almost insufferable tone of condescension with this article.

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    • Chris I January 18, 2019 at 10:25 am

      Agreed. It is justified, though. Most Americans think of scooters and bikes as toys, so it is only fair.

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    • John Lascurettes January 18, 2019 at 1:42 pm

      Irony much?

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    • Brendan January 18, 2019 at 9:29 pm

      As someone who is multimodal I really cannot stand a tribal approach to transit. I walk when its suitable, ride my bike when its suitable, ride a scooter when its suitable, take a bus when its suitable, take a train when its suitable, take a plane when its suitable, take a cab/lyft/uber/car2go/reachnow when its suitable, and drive a vehicle when its suitable. I am traffic in any form that can be described.

      I lived for many years of my life without a car and used a bike for 90% of my transit. Now I’m a bit older and life has changed. I don’t bike as much as I used to and feel bad about it, but I also know that for many people it is not realistic to have them biking for half their journeys. I did it for a decade and people looked at me funny. I get it.

      There is not a single way to solve transit, many modes are the way forward. I personally think bikes are an elegant and efficient solution but I also know those who think they are the domain of hipsters and hippies.

      I’m a big fan of mode split harm reduction. If somebody drives a vehicle solo, if they can start to walk, take the bus/max, or bike/scoot on a day they would have drove its progress. Let us be inviting those who try rather than having purity as the only way forward.

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      • 9watts January 20, 2019 at 10:37 am

        “Let us be inviting those who try rather than having purity as the only way forward.”

        That is a laudable stance.
        I’m not sure I would characterize Cortright’s stance as purity, but a more strident approach than waving carrots does seem warranted by the state of affairs. Climate Change waits for no one, may or may not leave us much time for niceties. I think it is at least incumbent upon us to not mince words, be clear about the gravity of the situation we face, specifically in regard to transportation. Currently almost no one seems willing to face the music.

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        • Hello, Kitty
          Hello, Kitty January 20, 2019 at 9:57 pm

          The yellow vesters show us what can happen by relying too heavily on the stick.

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          • 9watts January 21, 2019 at 4:19 pm

            It seems only fitting to point out that the yellow vesters have become your favorite stick with which to beat your sparring partners here on bikeportland.

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            • Hello, Kitty
              Hello, Kitty January 21, 2019 at 4:30 pm

              Indeed — they show what happens when the government of a democratic society gets too far ahead of its citizens. It provides to me the perfect illustration of why our leaders don’t “just do” what we want them to when it would prove generally unpopular.

              Imposing things (like barring cars from downtown, charging for parking in residential areas, etc.) is hard when you have to answer to the people you are imposing them on.

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              • 9watts January 21, 2019 at 5:49 pm

                Too far ahead of its citizens?

                They are mostly asking for standard issue (European) left demands: raise minimum wage, pay equity for women, wage subsidies for young workers, an end to fiscal austerity), and some not so standard: reduce all taxes, get rid of senate.

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              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty January 21, 2019 at 6:15 pm

                Too far away from its citizens. Behind, ahead, beside.

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              • 9watts January 21, 2019 at 6:34 pm

                OK, now you’re talking.

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    • Kristof January 19, 2019 at 5:18 pm

      “Almost insufferable?”

      Had it been a fraction more insufferable would it have done Mr. Cartwright in?

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      • Hello, Kitty
        Hello, Kitty January 20, 2019 at 3:43 pm

        8% more, by my estimation.

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  • billyjo January 18, 2019 at 9:18 am

    I wish you had your chance to ban cars entirely. The backlash would be swift and brutal.

    I don’t understand people like this. Why can’t you function in realty? Instead of wasting so much time in la la land? You just make everybody look bad. Ever wonder why so many people immediately dismiss bikers?

    cars aren’t going anywhere. Trying to figure out a way to work within the parameters that we have would be so much better.

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  • Doug Hecker January 18, 2019 at 9:27 am


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  • paikiala January 18, 2019 at 9:28 am

    One of several errors in this opinion piece is the confusion of private autos with rental vehicles owned by a private company seeking to operate their business within the public rights of way. All private companies that do so pay fees to the people of Portland to use the people’s space in such ways. If Mr. Cartwright was comparing the scooter companies with Hertz or Enterprise, it would be apples to apples. Considering his stellar reputation for economic analysis, this clear error reveals bias, IMO.

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    • soren January 18, 2019 at 10:29 am

      *Uber was accepted permanently by the city after a temporary pilot.
      *Uber increases congestion and is associated with decreased transit use.
      *Uber was caught cooking its data in an attempt to intentionally deceive regulators.
      *Uber does not adequately insure its employees.
      *Uber does not pay fair wages and has a track record of abusive labor practices.
      *Uber has a track record of not adequately addressing abuse, harassment, and assault of and by its employees.

      The City of Portland charges a paltry 50 cent fee for each Uber ride.

      How can PBOT possibly make the claim that a scooter trip has half the negative externalities of an Uber trip?

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    • Hello, Kitty
      Hello, Kitty January 18, 2019 at 10:44 am

      Car2Go would make a better comparison than Hertz. Especially if they parked on the sidewalk.

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      • q January 18, 2019 at 11:51 am

        My neighbors and I had a dispute with car2go a few years ago, centered around car2go turning the street, private property and a park parking lot into its 24/day storage lots–totally illegal and disruptive to the park users and everyone else. PBOT told me to work it out with car2go–said it wasn’t a PBOT issue.

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        • Sigma January 18, 2019 at 1:17 pm

          Well, “private property and a park” are explicitly not PBOT’s responsibility.

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          • q January 18, 2019 at 2:13 pm

            The whole car2go program was overseen by PBOT. PBOT also was allowing car2go to store its cars on City streets, with special exemptions from time limits, etc. The whole program relied on contracts between PBOT and car2go. Yet PBOT wasn’t even willing to tell car2go to stop parking illegally in the park.

            And you left out the third location I mentioned–“streets”. City streets are certainly PBOT’s responsibility.

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  • Isaac Hanson January 18, 2019 at 9:31 am

    This is fascinating. It’s similar to how, if alcohol were a new drug introduced today, it would be banned worldwide. We’re inured to the death, injury, noise and pollution of motor vehicles.

    Twenty-seven emergency room visits a day due to traffic crashes (during the trial period) is considered normal. It’s hard to spark safety improvements with this level of complacency. But one idea mentioned here – speed limiter devices on cars – is a great practical way to start. Some public service vehicles in the UK already require these devices. They would save lives if made standard in new vehicles.

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    • Hello, Kitty
      Hello, Kitty January 18, 2019 at 10:46 am

      And let us not forget that cars provide a transportation service that no other modes do, and that many people find they are well worth the cost.

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      • X January 18, 2019 at 12:31 pm

        To me the scooters looked pretty inadequate as a transportation option. People who are committed to cars find bikes to be sort of a toy (big stack of anecdotes behind this, accumulated in 25 years of riding a bike on the street) and from a bike saddle that’s kind of how scooters looked to me: a toy that’s pretty expensive on a per-mile basis.

        One reason for my opinion would be that they have a fairly small wheel for operating on real-world pavement. My worst crash on Portland streets was caused by a pavement repair failure that left a divot which trapped the 26-inch front wheel of a bike with 1.75 inch tires. You never see the one that gets you.

        In spite of the fakey aspect of scooters, their limited abilities and rapid depreciation, their debatable safety features and relatively high cost, they were still fairly widely accepted by a large number of people. To me that indicates a pent-up demand for alternative transportation. I don’t really believe that 6% of scooter users sold their cars but it’s an interesting claim to make.

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      • Todd Boulanger January 18, 2019 at 1:58 pm

        Yes and no. I totally agree with your statement in rural / ex-urban areas but in areas, such as Portland, with a decent multimodal & transit then I would beg to differ.

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        • Hello, Kitty
          Hello, Kitty January 21, 2019 at 6:52 pm

          You disagree that they are worth the cost, or that others think so, which is what I was saying.

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      • Glenn the 2nd January 18, 2019 at 5:18 pm

        Of course they do, because almost all the costs are borne by people other than the driver.

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      • El Biciclero January 24, 2019 at 10:32 am

        “many people find [cars] are well worth the cost.”

        I think this is another thing people have become inured to. Many people don’t realize the cost of owning/operating a motor vehicle, or feel they have no choice but to keep a motor vehicle, so they shrug it off.

        Speaking of cost and inurement, I might try more “alternative” modes, e.g., bike share, scooters, ride sharing, etc. if they all didn’t virtually require a smart phone and app to use. Those of us who refuse to start down the road of paying for an expensive tracking device are rather left out of many alternatives.

        “We’ll put trackers on everybody—we’ll be able to see who they talk to, what they watch, what they buy, where they go—and the best part is they’ll pay for it!”

        Sorry, I went a little Orwellian dystopia-crazy there…

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        • Guy M January 29, 2019 at 8:36 pm

          Hmmm Orwellian or just modern day Google / Apple? Orwell couldnt even imagine how much we give to our overlords and we happily pay for the privilege.

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  • Jim Lee January 18, 2019 at 9:39 am

    I eat mandarins for breakfast.

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  • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) January 18, 2019 at 9:43 am

    I’ve been hesitant to make this comparison.

    The big difference between scooters and cars is that the scooters are owned by a private company that is putting them on the street without any infrastructure, laws, education, etc.. in place.

    Whereas cars are owned by individuals (banks too, but that’s beside the point) and we already have an entire system of education, infrastructure, and laws to deal with them.

    That’s why I think PBOT has a more protective, careful approach with the scooters — not to mention as a gov’t agency they must be careful of public opinion, political optics, and so on.

    That being said, I do think the way PBOT handles scooters is interesting given the relative hands-off approach they take to cars.

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    • soren January 18, 2019 at 10:57 am

      the double standard is not between cars and scooters but between uber/lyft and scooter rental companies.

      why is it that pbot staff publicly mocked scooter users on social media? and why have pbot staff gone out of their way to deride scooter users as scofflaws for the most trivial violations (e.g. not wearing a helmet)?

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      • David January 18, 2019 at 12:04 pm

        Completely agree with this assessment. When an Uber/Lyft camps out in a bike lane (or better yet, darts into without a signal) to drop off, pick up, or find a customer there’s no specialized website abundantly publicized to the community to note this. Same with when one of these drivers drives aggressively, cutting off people on foot and bike to get through an intersection without having to wait. There is no report to the community to balance the value of this transportation option versus the negative feedback received and experienced by people in the city, no outreach or equity requirements either.

        While I am not a huge fan of scooters, they definitely have a place and this series of pilots is what happens when no one wants to spend political capital on something beneficial but isn’t willing to say “no” either (see: Naito, Better as another example of this delay by pilot and analysis). The $0.218/mile from scooters is going to continue being chewed up by administration of these overly comprehensive pilots rather than funding improvements and policies (like allowing scooters in parks on paved trails) that would make our transportation system more robust and efficient.

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        • soren January 18, 2019 at 12:40 pm

          I have ZERO personal desire to use scooters but I support their use because they represent an attractive alternative to driving. Moreover, any issues with their embedded CO2e or resource use are addressable via regulation in ways that the negative externalities of automobiles are not addressable (at least without regime change).

          I feel the same way about bike lanes, neighborhood greenways, mups/trails, protected bike lanes, bike signals, or sharrows. I have ZERO personal need for any of these things but I support them enthusiastically because they encourage alternatives to driving.

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    • 2Na January 21, 2019 at 12:33 am

      Yeah, I would say the real difference between them is the SCALE.
      To wax metaphorical for a second: You don’t get to put a .22 rifle on the same footing as a 155mm howitzer, or a Crocodile with a Salamander. The general idea may be the same, but scale changes the context completely.
      The scale of infrustructure necessary to accomodate them.
      The scale of damage they cause when mishandled.
      The scale of utility they provide.
      The scale of technical knowledge necessary to operate as intended, safely.
      The scale of cost/benefit as well as accessibility.

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  • SD January 18, 2019 at 9:54 am

    It is important to consider the societal value and cost of cars compared to other forms of transportation despite the fact that they are very common. This article provides a valuable perspective on the costs of cars that are often overlooked or taken for granted.

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    • Chris I January 18, 2019 at 10:35 am

      I’m sure that many would argue that cars are a necessity of modern life. This is basically true, because we have designed and built our lives around them. How would someone living in Battleground get to his construction job downtown if all of the cars in the world suddenly disappeared?

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      • 9watts January 18, 2019 at 12:53 pm

        The point, surely, is that a piece like Cortright’s shifts the perspective, allowing us to appreciate the absurdity of what we all take for normal.

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      • 9watts January 18, 2019 at 1:31 pm

        “How would someone living in Battleground get to his construction job downtown if all of the cars in the world suddenly disappeared?”

        Ah, a favorite trope: a car-zapping authority!

        The problem with this sort of hyperbolic inference is that it distracts from what could happen, is likely to occur, which is that the viability of automobility will dry up and blow away, not overnight, but it could be rapid. We would do well, not to jeer at the prospect, convince ourselves how ridiculous, unthinkable it would be, but rather give some thought to how we might stave off the damage to our wellbeing if we aren’t prepared for this eventuality.

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        • Matt S. January 19, 2019 at 7:09 pm

          I’m soon going to be working in construction. Last thing I want to do is hall all my tools on a bus…

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          • 9watts January 19, 2019 at 7:13 pm

            Yeah, better you don’t.
            To work in construction without a truck you’ll want to bring a different attitude.

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            • Matt S. January 19, 2019 at 8:05 pm

              I’m not sure what you mean by this?

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              • 9watts January 19, 2019 at 8:10 pm

                If you want to work in construction and are determined lots of non-car options are possible. I’ve done it (heavily reliant on several bike trailers), Chris Sanderson (Builder By Bike) did it, as have others (plumber, arborist, etc.).

                The key is to cater to customers close to home, and plan ahead. Not for everyone (at this still fossil-fuel-drenched) moment in our history, but one of these days everyone will do it 🙂

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              • Matt S. January 19, 2019 at 9:35 pm

                I have thought that maybe I can leave my car that with my tools locked in the trunk and ride my bike and and forth to the job site. Would have to be concerned about break ins, but could work if I could “camouflage” my car to look just like another vehicle parked on the block.

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      • Fred January 18, 2019 at 2:00 pm

        Portland had wonderful train and street car service until about 1930, when automobiles put all of the passenger railroads and trollies out of business. We could bring them back.

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        • 9watts January 18, 2019 at 3:06 pm

          The actual history is quite a bit more complicated than that. Less of a tidy parable of greed and skulduggery.
          Though I agree with you that most any alternative to the car juggernaut would be worth (re-) considering at this stage.

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        • Hello, Kitty
          Hello, Kitty January 18, 2019 at 10:11 pm

          We did, but we call them buses now.

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          • 9watts January 19, 2019 at 11:02 am

            Fixed rail (trolley, streetcar, light rail) is not equivalent to bus service. They share some traits, but there is more to know than that. Otherwise how to explain why the city has brought back the streetcar?

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            • Hello, Kitty
              Hello, Kitty January 20, 2019 at 9:03 pm

              Mostly, as far as I can tell, to screw with cyclists.

              What do you see as the main (non aesthetic) differences between bus and trolley?

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              • 9watts January 21, 2019 at 7:36 am

                Historically, due to having visible wires or tracks or both that signal to anyone its (fixed) route, a trolley represents a more stable, dependable commitment to serving the public within its range. Unlike a bus line, which cabin be cancelled, re-routed, or head ways increased, the investment in the trolley infrastructure discourages or precludes such shenanigans. Some of the tracks were also run down the center of the street, offering additional multi-modal benefits. Finally the propulsion has typically been either horses, wood, or some other fuel transmitted from an offsite plant via electricity. These days we recognize some additional benefits to this propulsion system.

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              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty January 21, 2019 at 2:25 pm

                I’ve heard this explanation for years, but I don’t buy it. I think a catenary powered bus with raised (and therefore permanent) platforms would not have the same allure as a streetcar (which is noisier and less appealing in some ways). And anyway, it’s not like the bus along Division is just going to get removed and rerouted elsewhere because it has no tracks. That bus is as permanent as any streetcar (and, indeed, streetcar lines are themselves not permanent as we well know).

                I think it mostly boils down to image/class of different modes. Streetcars are aspirational and upper middle class; buses… not as much.

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              • Paul January 22, 2019 at 1:59 pm

                They have higher capacity generally, and they are smoother riding. They can require less space to operate in their own right of way too; 2-way tracks can fit in not much more than 1 car lane. I think Portland did it wrong. Ride a tram in any European city and they are very fast and efficient at moving lots of people, and I’ve lived in may cities there.

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              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty January 22, 2019 at 3:15 pm

                More capacity, yes, but we have the space for buses, so that’s not really an issue. And the extra capacity can’t possibly justify the higher construction price.

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              • q January 22, 2019 at 4:01 pm

                The route flexibility of buses is important. You can shorten a route on a streetcar, but you can’t easily lengthen it (at either end of the line) or move it to another street, as you can with buses.

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              • soren January 22, 2019 at 5:21 pm

                Trolley buses have fixed routes and were widely used in Portland ( and still are in SEA and SF).

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      • SD January 18, 2019 at 5:43 pm

        Cars are a necessity [for some trips for some people] because we have designed and built our lives around them.

        Understanding the degree to which we subsidize cars and their hidden costs compared to better travel modes will help us invest in better options that can replace them. Then we can build our lives around less harmful transportation modes.

        The “Subaru Fallacy,” which states that “the mode of transport that can be used in rare circumstances must be used in all circumstances despite the cost to the individual and society” is stopping us from building an efficient, sustainable, enjoyable transportation system. A system that handles the majority of VMT cleanly, without all of the car problems and uses specific tools like cars only when they are needed would be better.

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  • q January 18, 2019 at 9:56 am

    “About 30 percent of city residents rode the scooters at least once during the trial period.”?

    I must be out of touch. I personally know only one person who I know rode one, and that was once, for a couple minutes. Isn’t 30% about 150,000 people?

    In articles here about the pilot program, people have pointed out very believable reasons the statistics don’t paint as positive a picture as PBOT concludes, and pointed out reasons the review of the pilot project was skewed in favor of scooters. What I don’t like about this piece is the apparent blind acceptance that the pilot was incredibly successful and conclusive.

    And I’m generally a fan of scooters.

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    • soren January 18, 2019 at 10:40 am

      “people have pointed out”

      pure anecdote.

      i could argue equally anecdotally that voluntary surveys would show a negative bias because people who have had an acceptable experience are less motivated to fill them out (e.g. the “yelp” effect).

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      • q January 18, 2019 at 12:30 pm

        Maybe I should have said “people commenting HERE pointed out things that I MYSELF found believable.

        As I’ve said, I’m a fan of the scooters, and would like to see more done to help their use–eliminate the helmet rule, allow them in parks, etc.

        I still believe (speaking for myself) that PBOT’s handling of the survey and its interpretation came across as rah-rah cheerleading. That wasn’t necessary, and it had the result (again my view personally based on my seeing comments here and talking with people I know) for some people of making them feel that PBOT was biased in favor of the scooters.

        I agree totally with you about Uber and Lyft. I also agree with the main premise of the opinion article above, that cars should be scrutinized similarly to how the scooters are being scrutinized. But I think the author would have been more convincing about that main point if he’d toned down his praise for scooters and PBOT.

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        • soren January 18, 2019 at 1:42 pm

          If PBOT were genuine ra-rah cheerleaders they would have dispensed with the second pilot.

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          • q January 18, 2019 at 2:17 pm

            If they were more extreme, yes.

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    • Gnuut January 18, 2019 at 2:42 pm

      Complete nonsense. That is not even close to reality – I’d guess 5-10% maximum.

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  • Orig_JF January 18, 2019 at 10:01 am

    STATS! 99% of the statistics I generate only help my argument 43% of the time.

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  • Scotchbreath January 18, 2019 at 10:16 am

    Clearly whoever wrote this article should go to a doctor because they have a blood clot that seems to be restricting air to the brain. For those of us who have actually seen the scooters in use know the truth. Piles of junk thrown into people’s Lawns and all over the streets not to mention the river and the only people riding them are drunk people who crashed everywhere if anybody said that they were a helmet they were lying and so many injuries went unreported. Also whatever happened to walking? Seems the Youth and the new to town just continually get more and more lazy. Try to convince people to ride the bus or their bike not pick up a dangerous toy and get themselves killed. And speaking of bikes it’s about time that the city took action and Required licensing for all bicycles and license plates and helmets and lights and reflective gear so dangerous riders can be held accountable ,and pay their fare share for using main streets and causing delays and accidents. Hate to think of restrictions on bikes but 80% of the horrible bicyclists on the road give the the rest of us a bad name.

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  • Hello, Kitty
    Hello, Kitty January 18, 2019 at 10:36 am

    >>> six percent of scooter users reported getting rid of a private car as a result of scooter availability <<<

    How many have since repurchased a car now that the scooters are gone?

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    • rick January 18, 2019 at 10:46 am

      what about people who bought their own, private scooter last fall ?

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    • Champs January 18, 2019 at 11:30 am

      Not everything is a straight line of cause and effect.

      There is also loss by attrition. Scooters are just one nudge among many when deciding whether your next bill for repair/insurance/parking is worthwhile.

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    • soren January 18, 2019 at 1:50 pm

      I see quite a few people on my local greenways using personal scooters.
      Amusingly, there are also some inventive people scooting on hacked lime and bird scooters .

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      • 9watts January 18, 2019 at 3:08 pm

        By hacked, what do you mean?
        Dug out of landfills? Scalped on Craigslist? I would have thought these would be crushed, carefully kept out of circulation much like car prototypes used to be.

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        • soren January 18, 2019 at 4:27 pm

          bypassing the lime/bird controller by replacing it with the stock xiaomi m365 controller (avail for ~$15-30 on alibaba).

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          • 9watts January 18, 2019 at 4:38 pm

            OK, but where do the scooters come from? I wasn’t aware of a market channel by which someone might end up with a (hackable) one.

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            • soren January 19, 2019 at 12:26 pm

              the lack of a “market channel” is exactly what i found amusing.

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  • bikeninja January 18, 2019 at 10:41 am

    Not sure it is really condescension, but logic applied to a failing mythology that has been engrained in peoples psyches and the culture at large for the last 100 years. If perfectly objective transportation engineers from another planet were to land here and be tasked with evaluating our transportation system they would make the exact same observations. Cars are not human rights, or religion (some people think so) or real culture values, they are just an outdated and wasteful way to get around that people have become emotionally attached to. If we are to solve the many resource and pollution problems that our society is faced with we will have to subject our “auto habit” to the bright cold light of scrutiny and logic and move passed worrying about the feelings of the auto addled.

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    • 9watts January 18, 2019 at 6:49 pm

      Preach it, brother bike ninja!

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    • Scatterly January 18, 2019 at 6:52 pm

      So, what you’re saying is “f” me for having a job where I have to have a car because I work with the disabled. I should scooter them everywhere. I can just put them in a wagon and tie them to my waste with rope. That seems logical and fair.

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      • GlowBoy January 24, 2019 at 11:03 am

        No, no one is saying “f” you … they’re just questioning why car users pay so much less for their enormous use of public infrastructure than other people do, especially considering all the problems cars cause: pollution, congestion, 40,000 deaths per year, hundreds of thousands of injuries, delays to ALL OTHER modes because of overbuilt car infrastructure and busy roads, high taxes, paving over more of the land than otherwise necessary.

        Just because 90% of people drive doesn’t make that any less true.

        It’s always interesting the messages we get from first-time posters to threads like this. Any attempt to reduce motor vehicle use and at least place other modes on a level playing field is always met with this “WAR ON CARS!!!!!!” paranoia.

        Unbunch your panties, folks. NO ONE (except maybe 9watts?) is talking about taking away your cars. They will probably always be a tool in our toolbox, but it would be nice if it weren’t the only tool and we stopped smashing everything around us because the only tool we have is a hammer.

        I personally do not envision a future in which privately owned automobiles disappear, nor I think do most people here. What I do envision is one where people on foot, or bikes, or scooters, aren’t unfairly delayed, endangered, diminished and taxed to make things cheap and convenient for people when they choose (and it is a choice) to drive. We are a very, very long way from that.

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        • Hello, Kitty
          Hello, Kitty January 24, 2019 at 11:19 am

          >>> car users pay so much less for their enormous use of public infrastructure than other people do <<<

          Car users pay so much less to use public infrastructure than whom, exactly?

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        • 9watts January 24, 2019 at 2:39 pm

          “NO ONE (except maybe 9watts?) is talking about taking away your cars.”

          Haha. Funny.
          I’ve never once advocated, suggested, taking away anyone’s car. The idea is (to me) laughable.

          What I have said, and stand by, is that if we keep pretending all these crises bearing down on us, on automobility, are of no concern to us we’ll end up with what are called stranded assets, cars that are worthless, that we can’t use to go anywhere. The conditions that make automobility viable won’t last forever. But this is nothing like the silly trope of ‘someone taking my car away.’

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  • Jordan January 18, 2019 at 10:53 am

    This article truly reads like it was written by someone who couldn’t possibly fathom that people might not be able to afford a $1400/month studio in The Pearl and that life exists East of 39th Ave. One of those people that thinks “just take the bus!” is an adequate solution for, say, someone trying to communite between outer SE and NW despite the fact that they’ve probably never set foot on a bus. This is honestly such a tone-deaf, privileged article.

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    • Alex Reedin, now in Albuquerque, NM January 18, 2019 at 3:21 pm

      Although the idea of copious driving as the refuge of the poor has an intuitive appeal based on some parts of Portland, it’s simply false as a generalization. The rich drive more, on average. The poor drive less, on average. Even in Portland.

      I’m still in favor of progressive carve-outs or rebates or what have you for low-income folks coming part and parcel with policies to make driving more expensive and/or difficult. The carve-outs or rebates or whatever are needed to address the *disproportionately small* subset of poor folks who drive a lot, not because policies that make driving more difficult and/or expensive are inherently biased against the poor. The exact opposite, in fact – our system of socialized almost-free driving and parking is, on average, a sizable subsidy to the middle class and rich.

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      • soren January 18, 2019 at 5:22 pm

        I strongly support subsidizing the driving of car-dependent folk at the expense of car-independent folk.

        One model:

        A “just transition” will require proactively reversing transportation inequity during the transition.

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        • Alex Reedin January 18, 2019 at 5:32 pm

          I strongly support everyone else subsidizing *low-income* car-dependent folk. Folks like me who have plenty of money and, like me, choose to live in places that cause car dependency, can and should pay both higher mileage taxes *and* much of the cost of subsidizing car use for low-income folks who need it.

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          • 9watts January 18, 2019 at 6:45 pm

            That is also pretty much how it works around the world, or at least in most of the countries we might otherwise be tempted to compare ourselves.

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          • soren January 18, 2019 at 7:12 pm

            “Folks like me who have plenty of money and, like me, choose to live in places that cause car dependency”

            That’s a choice, so it’s not car-dependency.

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          • soren January 19, 2019 at 12:34 pm

            i will also note that the fact that many middle class people consider themselves to be “car-dependent” is an example of classism.

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            • Hello, Kitty
              Hello, Kitty January 20, 2019 at 8:49 pm

              I’ll note that diluting the meaning of classism to the point where the word has no meaning is also an example of classism.

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            • Alex Reedin January 22, 2019 at 9:16 am

              I see both sides of this issue. On the one hand, my experience is that “car-dependent” is almost always used in the way that I used it, and indeed is defined that way on Wikipedia, and used either that way or in an ambiguous fashion in each of the first page of Google results of my search for “car dependence.”


              On the other hand, I can’t think of a pithy term other than “car dependency” to describe the condition of people who literally can’t fulfill their daily needs without a car and truly have no other choice even if they made major life changes, given their income, physical abilities, family situation, etc.

              The way words are defined in society at large may well be classist, and I do see this as a sort of classism that merges my privileged and, TBH, lovely current life experience with the much less lovely and privileged experiences of people who are truly trapped into car use. However, we do have to be understood when writing/speaking, otherwise it’s pointless. Maybe the way to go is to always distinguish between “voluntary car-dependence” and “involuntary car-dependence”?

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              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty January 22, 2019 at 10:17 am

                There are very few people who are, truly, and literally, dependent on cars, and have no options or possibility to eliminate their car use. If you count relying on services that use cars, we are all “dependent” on cars. I think that trying to draw lines between very fine gradations of auto use/dependency would tell us little and lead to endless debate.

                So let’s draw some lines!

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              • soren January 24, 2019 at 3:03 pm

                H,K: “There are very few people who are, truly, and literally, dependent on cars”

                That’s an easy position to take when one lives within walking distance of half a dozen bus lines and grocery stores.

                Outside of bougie inner Portland, many people live in communities that do not have sufficient local jobs and are chronically under-served by public transportation. Many of these folk are literally and truly car-dependent.

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              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty January 24, 2019 at 3:10 pm

                You misunderstood my point. I know that on a practical level, plenty of people need a car to live their daily life. Most, however, could restructure their life (perhaps in an extreme fashion) so that they didn’t need one. Is that reasonable to ask? You don’t think so; I don’t think so; but some here do. That is the difference I was trying to draw out. Theoretically possible vs. “yeah… thanks but no thanks.”

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    • SD January 19, 2019 at 8:00 am

      …written by somebody who wants to see more affordable and enjoyable transportation options for people who don’t live in the Pearl.

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  • ugh January 18, 2019 at 11:01 am

    As others have stated, this article is based on ridiculous and uneven comparisons. The city is looking at rental companies, not scooters in general. Get a personal scooter and off ya go.

    Additionally, private cars are heavily regulated (though poorly enforced). Insurance requirements, tags, registration, fees, taxes, licensing and a thick book of laws.

    This may be one of the worst articles ever put on this site(and that is saying something!). I happen to hate cars and scooters. Somehow I also now dislike this author…

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  • Ovid Boyd
    Ovid Boyd January 18, 2019 at 11:02 am

    I love this SO much. You

    I even love how it rattles a less than pro-car audience so much

    To be totally fair, we ought to ban cars until we can be quite sure they’re a safe and equitable mode of transport? And if we find that they injure and kill people and pollute? Certainly we wouldn’t allow them back 😀

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    • X January 20, 2019 at 1:49 pm

      Remember how quiet it was after 9/11? (At least until the fighter jets made another low pass.) Pollution, in this case noise pollution, is normal until for some reason it goes away.

      I forget what air really tastes and smells like until one of my seldom trips to the mountains, or when the occasional storm blows through and we get fresh air from the Pacific and the stars actually shine a bit through the gaps in the clouds.

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      • q January 20, 2019 at 7:30 pm

        I’m glad you mentioned noise (of course air also).

        When I walk my dog on busy streets (meaning lots of auto traffic) two things I’m always aware of are 1) how loud the traffic is, and 2) if my dog went into the street, he could be killed instantly. Those things are just accepted as part of our world. I love heavy snowfalls because they show how different the world can be without that noise and danger.

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  • J_R January 18, 2019 at 11:40 am

    As many others have pointed out the comparison of scooters to private autos is inappropriate.

    Another minor point: What’s the reason for excluding the federal gas tax component from the mileage tax burden comparison? Most of that money comes back to local communities including federal contributions for non-highway projects as well as operating and capital funding for mass transit projects.

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  • X January 18, 2019 at 12:12 pm

    “Isaac Hanson”

    “. . .Twenty-seven emergency room visits a day due to traffic crashes (during the trial period) is considered normal. It’s hard to spark safety improvements with this level of complacency. . .”

    I’m interested to know where that figure came from, the context seems to suggest it is due to injuries in car crashes? Perhaps in the Portland metro area? Certainly if there had been that many injuries from scooter crashes we would have heard about it.

    One source, above, says the average cost of a trip to the ER is $1917. Multiplied by 27 that would be $51,759. Another hidden cost of car transportation.

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  • Spark97 January 18, 2019 at 12:15 pm

    You seem to be missing the fact that these scooters belong to a private company, which are in turn rented by consumers. Comparing these to privately owned vehicles makes no sense when analyzing fees paid to the city. The scooter fees are in place for a private company looking to make an earning through the use of public roads. Residents already pay for use of public roads through local taxes, pay fees to DMV for license and registration, have their vehicles regulated for pollution through DEQ, and pay these (ridiculous) gas taxes

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    • GlowBoy January 24, 2019 at 11:19 am

      Residents already pay for use of public roads through local taxes, pay fees to DMV for license and registration, have their vehicles regulated for pollution through DEQ, and pay these (ridiculous) gas taxes

      “Residents already pay for use of public roads through local taxes.” Yes, and that segment of tax revenue for roads (general taxes are the largest source) is also being paid by scooter users.

      As for user fees (the DMV/DEQ/gas tax costs you mention), well that doesn’t even pay for half the cost of roads. Those of us who drive less are subsidizing those who drive more.

      So about those “ridiculous” gas taxes: in Oregon they total 49 cents per gallon – federal and state combined. Even in this era of cheap gas (thanks to a temporary glut due to overproduction, which will disappear later this year) only about 20% of the price at the pump is going to taxes. The rest is oil-company profit, and exploration/development costs because excessive car use has already used up all the cheap, easily extracted oil. If you’re feeling pinched every time you fill your F-150’s tank, more of the blame belongs with the oil companies and with fellow drivers for using the stuff up too fast.

      Or, if by “ridiculous” you mean “ridiculously cheap“- in the sense that drivers aren’t paying their fair share for the staggering costs of roads, let alone compensating for all the other harm that excessive car use causes – then I agree with you. Gas taxes are ridiculous.

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  • Bj January 18, 2019 at 12:18 pm

    Yes let big brother dictate more of your choices in life!

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  • mran1984 January 18, 2019 at 12:38 pm

    Private profit on a public space. If your life is confined to the Internet and a few square miles around your tiny house scooters with motors are perfect for your single existence. Stay off the sidewalk and the Esplanade…oh, I forgot that ZERO traffic laws are enforced in Portland. The opinion has little to do with fact.

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    • q January 18, 2019 at 12:42 pm

      There must be thousands of examples of private businesses profiting on public spaces–auto companies, for one.

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      • Hello, Kitty
        Hello, Kitty January 18, 2019 at 1:23 pm

        Also the manufacturers and sellers of kites.

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  • 9watts January 18, 2019 at 12:55 pm

    Hello, Kitty
    >>> six percent of scooter users reported getting rid of a private car as a result of scooter availability <<<How many have since repurchased a car now that the scooters are gone?Recommended 2

    I know.
    That has to be the most ridiculous of the many whoppers in the PBOT survey, which had its share.

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  • Gil Johnson January 18, 2019 at 1:27 pm

    I’d like to see the methodology of the survey and the sample size, because a 60% approval rate for scooters seems awfully high. I live in the People’s Republic of Inner SE PDX, and I’d say maybe 25% of the people I encounter liked them.

    I suppose if Joe’s dream comes true and the city could drastically reduce auto use, scooters could fit right in, but during the trial period they were a hazard to pedestrians and bicyclists, often ridden on sidewalks or in bike lanes.

    If they are to be allowed permanently, the city needs to reduce their top speed to 12 mph (some go 20), which thus conforms to the traffic light frequency downtown and is more in line with the average bicyclist.

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  • Sheilagh January 18, 2019 at 1:49 pm

    Go give feedback at their online open house survey!

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  • Scatterly January 18, 2019 at 6:44 pm

    I have to drive. It is a prerequisite for my job working with the disabled. Trust me, they do not pay well. Any further car expenses would hit me hard. Also, I am physically incapable of travel by scooter or bike. This is a privileged and abilist diatribe.

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    • 9watts January 19, 2019 at 7:55 am

      “This is a privileged and abilist diatribe.”

      I’m sorry you took it that way.

      We have a peculiar and very unhelpful way of reading pieces like this in this country. We obsess over the costs, the perceived slights, the inconveniences, the authoritarianism, all the while completely missing the other half: the reasons for considering any change, the benefits, the things we could instead be spending out public and private monies on. Just look at any other country with a real gas tax: they have funded real, meaningful alternatives, the likes of which we can hardly fathom out here in the boonies.
      No one is suggesting we zap all the cars overnight, and leave everyone who has become dependent on automobility stranded.
      Though if we take your angry objections to heart, we could easily find ourselves unprepared for just such an eventuality that could overwhelm us without any help from authoritarian forces.

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    • SD January 19, 2019 at 8:07 am

      No one wants to take away cars from people who have to drive a car or price them out. The point is to equally support people who don’t need to drive a car. One way of doing this is to stop subsidizing excessive driving.

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      • 9watts January 19, 2019 at 8:43 am

        And then there is the dynamic aspect, which (could) have relevance for the majority in the middle: those who out of habit or because their peers do it rely overly on the car, but by refocusing on alternatives could be won over to shrinking their reliance on the car, to the benefit of everyone.

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      • Hello, Kitty
        Hello, Kitty January 20, 2019 at 8:56 pm

        How do you distinguish “excessive” driving, which should not be”subsidized” from the necessary kind, that presumably should?

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        • 9watts January 20, 2019 at 9:10 pm

          One way to find out is to stop subsidizing it. 😉

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    • GlowBoy January 24, 2019 at 11:22 am

      Some people will always need to drive. This argument that we need to keep massively subsidizing driving just because of that is ridiculous.

      If anything, getting a lot more people out of their cars would make it easy for you to drive. Funny how so many people have blind spots about that. I guess suggesting that excessive car usage causes public harm, and should be reduced – NOT eliminated – makes some people morally uncomfortable.

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  • X January 20, 2019 at 1:29 pm

    Hello, Kitty:

    “cars provide a transportation service. . .well worth the cost.”

    Mr. Cortwright would be among the first to point that the cost to users (motor vehicle operators) is a small part of the cost to other people. To society. To us. It might cost a person an additional $2.00 to make a trip to the store but they’re not paying me to breathe the fumes from their exhaust. They, collectively, are not paying the residents of a fishing village in Lousiana threatened by sea level rise as well as by the historic operations of oil companies. The Maldive Islands? Bangladesh? Forget about it.

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    • Hello, Kitty
      Hello, Kitty January 20, 2019 at 9:56 pm

      I would also be among the first to point out that there are huge uncaptured external costs to driving, perhaps even in line before Mr. Cortwright. As with most externalities, the best way to reduce them is to internalize them, which anyone who has read my comments on this forum knows I fully support.

      However, that is a completely different issue than why people prefer driving over other modes — it does things that other modes (most of which have their own externalities to contend with) do not. It will be a challenge to get people to voluntarily change to a transport mode that serves them less well, especially if it requires more time and effort.

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  • Scott January 25, 2019 at 12:42 pm

    This has got to be the oddest article I have read. Let’s start first with the claim that this is an experiment. 110 years ago we did not all of a sudden go “Lets invent cars and experiment for the next 110 years to see how well it goes”. What has happened as been a 110 year evolution of motorized vehicles being integrated into society and creating rules based on the time.

    So why are they treated different? Because there were no scooters 110 years ago to integrate into society. And bikes never filled the growing demand of speed and efficiency for transportation in a day and time where you did not have amazon or Walmart delivering your new Iphones to your door step. The laws have been wrote, adjusted and enforced over the whole time based on the needs of the society at the time. To say that its unfair suddenly when you have the majority of modern society dependent on that vehicle for job, health, school, etc is very short sighted.

    As for the point on the cost, please also include the price of title and registration, insurance, driver’s license cost and all the fees associated. If you want to make this all fair, then all vehicles that use the road or designated paths should have their bike, scooter and car all titles, tagged, have collision and liability insurance, and take a moving vehicle license to drive the bike, car, scooter, etc. Now that you have put that all the same level, now the laws and regulations can be adjusted to include all vehicles.

    It would be better to encourage a shift in the laws to bring all regulations modern. But this would mean that if a scooter hits and damages property, another scooter, car, bike, etc that they have insurance to cover that cost and are current on all title, registration and tags for their scooter. This would be the exact same for a bike. Now the playing field is level. I drive a car and ride a bike and if I want to have the same rights on the road, then I should be willing to have the same standards and regulations for all of them. This also means obeying all the same rules for road safety.

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    • q January 25, 2019 at 7:42 pm

      I walk on and across streets and paths. Should I also be be licensed, insured, etc. to “level the playing field”?

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      • 9watts January 25, 2019 at 9:06 pm

        I’m glad you got there first, q.
        Nothing to add.

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      • Matt S. January 26, 2019 at 11:25 am

        Yes, you should have identification and health insurance on you at all times.

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        • q January 26, 2019 at 1:37 pm

          You left out the several other requirements he mentioned, and even cutting it down to just the two you left still doesn’t make sense.

          Would children also need to carry their ID and health insurance info?

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          • Matt S. January 26, 2019 at 2:23 pm

            Say you’re walking across the street and you get hit by a car and left unconscious, the driver flees the scene of the crash. First responders arrive and they have no way to identify you because you don’t have ID on you. Sure, you’ll still receive care but once you get to the hospital, the staff won’t be able to access your health records (if there’s any) nor your emergency contacts.

            Second, say you’re walking on the Eastbank Esplande and a biker crashes into and breaks your arm, the biker flees the scene. You go to the hospital and don’t have insurance, you thus have to pay an exuberant hospital bill that will follow you for a very long time. If you can’t pay, it gets past on to other consumers in the form of higher premiums.

            And for children, parent’s should have their health insurance info along with their child’s basic identifiers memorized: weight, hight, hair color, eye color, allergies, and social security number.

            I was issued a middle school ID when I was in 6th grade and carried it everywhere with me. I also had a copy of my mother’s insurance card with my name on the card as a dependent. And even further, I carried a contact card that had my address and my mother’s cell/work phone on it.

            I understand not all adults can afford ID’s or insurance, but if they don’t, they should make it a priority to work towards acquiring these. There’s plenty of social service programs in Portland that help people obtain a driver’s license and OHP.

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            • q January 26, 2019 at 2:38 pm

              I understand the benefits of carrying ID and insurance. I was asking Scott if the legal requirements he wants to apply to people riding bikes should also apply to people walking.

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              • Matt S. January 26, 2019 at 7:19 pm

                A cyclist ran into the back of my car and left two large dents in my trunk where his brake hoods collided. I wish he would have had bike insurance. I didn’t pursue anything because he was young and obviously didnt have the money for repairs. But theoretically, this could have been a scenario requesting ID and insurance.

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        • soren January 27, 2019 at 11:49 am

          Having universal access to healthcare is akin to having universal access to potable water. A requirement for “health insurance papers” is profoundly immoral.

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          • Matt S. January 27, 2019 at 12:53 pm

            I agree, healthcare is a fundamental right and our system is flaud. And I agree again, a person shouldn’t have to carry papers under some Oregon statute. I think we’ve both landed on the absurd idea that the required documentation/registration for car drivers shouldn’t be applied to scooters, bikes and definitely not walkers. However, I tried to highlight the importance of having identification and health insurance on person at all the times, because I believe you’re safer when you have these items: not only safer from bodily harm, but from financial harm as well.

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  • Tom January 28, 2019 at 4:16 pm

    Since this article was written, a study about high accident rates has been published. Before going gung ho on scooters, we need to better understand why people are getting hurt.

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  • Clark in Vancouver February 9, 2019 at 9:35 am

    All the cars in the world will not disappear.

    In Vancouver I’ve seen many construction workers with their tools on the bus and Skytrain going to and from work. (A toolbag is smaller than a stroller.) I know a few people who are general handymen who bike and bus to work, renting a van on those days when they need to bring supplies or dispose of garbage. There’s one guy who uses a cargo bike with a secure box for his tools.
    People are pretty inventive when they look at their options.

    Chris I
    How would someone living in Battleground get to his construction job downtown if all of the cars in the world suddenly disappeared?Recommended 13

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    • Matt S. February 9, 2019 at 12:10 pm

      If these guys you see on the bus had other options, I doubt you’d see them on the bus.

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      • q February 9, 2019 at 12:55 pm

        Isn’t that true of every mode of transportation? Who takes the second best option for themselves to work?

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        • Matt S February 9, 2019 at 1:28 pm

          Bicycle, walk, scooter, carpool, drive, Lyft, Max, streetcar, bus.

          For me, if I can help it, the bus is the ninth option.

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          • q February 9, 2019 at 1:48 pm

            My point was that if they had better options than driving, they (not saying all or even most) wouldn’t keep driving.

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