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The Monday Roundup: The costs of car culture, enforcement skeptics, tired pros, and more

Posted by on July 29th, 2019 at 10:12 am

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

Must-read: From oil wars and road deaths, climate change and racism; the New Yorker presents a compelling case for questioning our relationship with cars.

The price we pay: On a similar note as above, the Washington Post reports that since the year 2000 we’ve lost more people to fatal car crashes than we lost in both World Wars.

Get to work: Portland ranked 8th in a new report on how good the bike network connects people to their jobs.

Skin in the game: For years bicycle riders have been scolded for “not paying their fair share” of road taxes, now that same question is being asked of electric car users.

Climate action: Crosscut says if Seattle wants tackle the ravages of climate change city leaders must start with the number one polluter: the transportation sector.

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Where bikes are public transit: The Netherlands’ nationwide bike share system OV-Fiets doesn’t grab as many headlines as their legendary cycling mode share; but its success is arguably just as impressive.

The case against enforcement: Portland isn’t the only city in America that’s ambivalent about the role of law enforcement in Vision Zero efforts: Here’s why advocates in Minneapolis are against it.

How do they do that?: The Tour de France is one of the most grueling endeavors on the planet. VeloNews took a closer look at how the pros deal with crushing exhaustion and fatigue.

Bill “Vision Zero” De Blasio: Facing a mounting death toll and pressure from activists, New York City’s mayor and presidential candidate Bill De Blasio said it’s time for Vision Zero to go national. De Blasio also promised $58 million in road projects as part of a bike safety plan.

Tweet of the Week: This is the future of some Portland streets (and on others, replace the bus with bike riders):

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

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80 Comments
  • Avatar
    soren July 29, 2019 at 10:55 am

    “Portland isn’t the only city in America that’s ambivalent about the role of law enforcement”

    I think ambivalence about enforcement is the status quo. Enforcement has a long history of racist and classist oppression and there is absolutely no evidence that “this time would be different”. Moreover, enforcement is, at best, a marginal and sporadic approach.

    It’s refreshing to see advocates forcefully oppose enforcement as a strategy to move towards safer and sustainable transportation systems.

    As far as I can tell, I’m the only person who posts on bike portland who sees traffic enforcement as a false solution (and as a crypto-authoritarian form of cognitive dissonance).

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      dan July 29, 2019 at 12:56 pm

      Speed cameras and red-light cameras at high-crash areas are objective and there could be signs advising drivers of their presence. How is that enforcement unfair? Infrastructure can never resolve 100% of drivers’ self-centeredness, as you know if you’ve ever seen someone (for instance) drive around the bollards intended to prevent continuing through the intersection at Lincoln & 50th.

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        Stephen Keller July 29, 2019 at 2:30 pm

        Jon
        I am not in support of a per mile fee for cars because a per mile fee is an incentive to drive vehicles that are not fuel efficient.

        I think any per-mile fee, needs to take into account the efficiency and weight of the vehicle. If the fee were calculated inversely according to the vehicle’s energy-per-mile and gross weight, then you could imagine a system that would incent the use of lightweight, energy-efficient vehicles.

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          J_R July 31, 2019 at 8:46 am

          If the fee were calculated inversely to the weight, that would mean as the weight went up the fee would go down. I think it’s best to simply describe a fee structure that rewarded, rather than penalized, vehicle efficiency, small size, and low weight.

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            9watts July 31, 2019 at 11:00 am

            Except that we have dawdled forty years too long. Vehicle Efficiency is no longer relevant. We are on the hook to leave the remaining fossil fuels in the ground, not argue over whether to burn them in our vehicles over the course of ten years (inefficent) or thirty years (efficient).

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            • Hello, Kitty
              Hello, Kitty July 31, 2019 at 11:41 am

              Efficiency buys us a little time while we figure out what to do. I know you know what to do, but the rest of us could use the time.

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                9watts July 31, 2019 at 11:51 am

                “Buys us a little time”
                We have been saying this for now forty years. When do we advance to the next step?

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              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty July 31, 2019 at 12:20 pm

                I don’t know, but it’s a good thing we’re a lot more efficient than 40 years ago, because that significantly reduces the magnitude of the problem. I do know that a lot of people are working on it from a lot of different angles, so it’s not like nothing is happening.

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                9watts July 31, 2019 at 12:24 pm

                “because that significantly reduces the magnitude of the problem”

                I would be curious to see your math.
                The magnitude of the problem could hardly be greater.

                Efficiency has no salutary effect on the problem before us. If anything it makes it worse by communicating a false sense of security.

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              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty July 31, 2019 at 2:18 pm

                If we have 2x the efficiency of 40 years ago, the magnitude of the problem would be twice what it is with greater efficiency. Substitute your own value for 2.

                So yes, in fact, it could be greater.

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                9watts July 31, 2019 at 9:58 pm

                Except it doesn’t work like that.

                William Stanley Jevons was the first to notice this.
                https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jevons_paradox

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              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty August 1, 2019 at 12:42 am

                Per-person energy use has fallen in the US since 2000; are you are suggesting that if we were less efficient in the way we used energy, consumption would have fallen faster? Or are you are suggesting that lower efficiency would have led to fewer people using electricity?

                Regardless of what Jevons said 150 years ago about industrial coal consumption, neither possibility really makes much sense.

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                9watts August 1, 2019 at 1:00 am

                “Per capita energy use”

                First off, per capita usage is not the relevant parameter, anymore than per $ of GDP (energy intensity) would be. Our planet, climate, sea level doesn’t care about ratios but about absolute quantities. Those are rising, and steeply, alongside forty years of energy efficiency efforts.

                “if we were less efficient in the way we used energy, consumption would have fallen faster? Or are you are suggesting that lower efficiency would have led to fewer people using electricity?”

                These are useful questions, thought experiments. As counterfactuals we can’t be certain, but what we do know is that energy efficiency, energy consumption, and biophysic al limits are related in ways that are not always intuitive and certainly not linear. What I can say is that the reassuring *message* that improvements in energy efficiency sends is not aligned with the larger goal. To an alcoholic, switching from beer to whiskey can register as an efficiency improvement, too.

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        soren July 29, 2019 at 3:50 pm

        The idea that we should install speed cameras across our High Crash Network is often touted as being part of the “vision zero” approach. I myself echoed this opinion many times. I was recently surprised to learn that vision zero does not emphasize cameras in cities but focuses on cheaper and more effective traffic-calming infrastructure.

        Matts-Åke Belin, the director of the Swedish Vision Zero academy, on the vision zero approach to speed cameras (tl;dr — not generally used in cities):

        https://bikeportland.org/2019/06/21/pbot-gets-council-support-for-vision-zero-except-from-commissioner-hardesty-301539#comment-7118844

        Matts-Åke Belin on what is used instead of cameras in urban areas :

        https://bikeportland.org/2019/06/26/memorial-planned-for-louanna-battams-on-se-foster-road-tonight-301870

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    • Avatar
      dwk July 29, 2019 at 3:59 pm

      Zero enforcement is what is happening in Portland..
      I watched 2 individuals in cars street race and do donuts at 3 in the afternoon just off the Kerby on ramp yesterday.
      This is what happens when people know there is no way they are ever going to get ticketed for this reckless behavior in this city.
      You tell me how “infrastructure” or “vision zero” or anything else besides getting them expensive tickets or arresting them will stop this.

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      • Avatar
        MTW July 30, 2019 at 8:47 am

        “You tell me how “infrastructure” or “vision zero” or anything else besides getting them expensive tickets or arresting them will stop [street racing on Kerby]”

        By designing the roadway (Kerby, et al) in a way that forces compliance and doesn’t allow scofflaws to street race. Medians, narrower lanes, diverters, etc.

        The enforcement strategy relies on imperfect humans (cops like all of us are imperfect) to be in lots of places at once. Since officers can only be so many places at a time, this strategy requires the police department budget to get bigger to hire more bodies (nevermind the department has recently admitted to lowering their entrance requirements because they can’t fill the open positions they have). Meanwhile parks and community centers keep closing.

        Vision Zero would suggest that you re-design the street properly (once) in a way that ensures people have to travel the speed limit.

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        • Hello, Kitty
          Hello, Kitty July 30, 2019 at 9:33 am

          If we agree that redesigning the road is the ultimate solution, what should we do in the interim before the road can be rebuilt? It’s also worth noting that while hiring police costs money, so does rebuilding our streets.

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            MTW July 30, 2019 at 10:23 am

            Orange cones? In the interim, there are low cost ways to help facilitate a road diet (with priority given to particular trouble spots.) Roads are “re-engineered” in Downtown Portland all the time due to the amount of construction taking place (e.g. chain link fences are currently blocking off a lane on 4th Ave. where construction work has been occurring for 6+ months.)

            I just don’t think the idea of expanding the police footprint is a practical solution going forward. We need to be moving to a world/city where the role of human police officers is minimized. And I don’t say that from a position of “I hate the police” or anything like that. But as our standard of living continues to improve, it’s going to be harder and harder to find people willing to sign up for a job that includes the possibility of getting shot in the face. We need to engineer solutions into the built environment as much as possible.

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            Dave July 30, 2019 at 1:23 pm

            In the interim between now and a life-saving redesign of streets, legalize auto vandalism and theft for 90 days after every VRU killing. That’s your interim strategy, America!

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            • Hello, Kitty
              Hello, Kitty July 31, 2019 at 11:55 am

              Yes! Random retribution against random people based on a strained concept of collective guilt! I love it!

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    Jon July 29, 2019 at 10:55 am

    As someone that owns and drives an EV and uses it or a bicycle to commute to work I would be happy to pay extra to register the EV. I am not in support of a per mile fee for cars because a per mile fee is an incentive to drive vehicles that are not fuel efficient.

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    • Avatar
      soren July 29, 2019 at 11:12 am

      “a per mile fee for cars because a per mile fee is an incentive to drive vehicles that are not fuel efficient”

      Considering our current structure is a flat fee that is not tied to fuel efficiency, I don’t understand this argument.

      If we ignore that fact that EVs are not viable options for many working class folk, what we should be doing is charging a tiered per mile fee based on the impact of the vehicle. (A lightweight fuel-efficient EV fee might have a negative fee while the typical SUV would have a very high positive fee.)

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        Jon July 29, 2019 at 11:54 am

        I was not clear about the fees. Today vehicles pay either a per gallon tax when they buy fuel or in the case of larger commercial vehicles a weight mile tax that charges based on the weight of the vehicle and mileage traveled in Oregon. Oregon is testing a single per mile fee charged to all smaller (cars, trucks, SUVs, etc, not dump trucks, semi trucks, etc) that would be based on a gps device attached to your car. With this per mile charge you pay the same amount per mile regardless of whether you drive an 8mpg SUV or a 50mpg hybrid. All vehicles pay a registration fee to get a license plate. EVs don’t pay any gasoline taxes so they don’t pay into the infrastructure as much as fossil fuel powered vehicles. As an EV owner I would support an extra fee to pay into the infrastructure.

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        Middle of the Road Guy July 29, 2019 at 2:25 pm

        BUt it’s the rich tech bros who telecommute…whilst the poor still end up driving. Are we going to have to make this taxation scheme Progressive as well?

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        • Avatar
          Dave July 29, 2019 at 3:45 pm

          How about dollar value of vehicle figured into the tax? A Tesla should have a higher per mile charge than a Prius–there are still houses in small towns that sell for less than a Tesla.

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          • Hello, Kitty
            Hello, Kitty July 29, 2019 at 6:51 pm

            Why not factor in the wealth of the owner?

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              Middle of the Road Guy July 30, 2019 at 2:25 pm

              Or just take money away from them and give it to the less privileged.

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                J_R July 31, 2019 at 9:36 am

                How about giving it to the homeless so they don’t have to operate bicycle chop shops on public property?

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                Middle of The Road Guy August 1, 2019 at 8:36 am

                That’s a truly Progressive solution and I applaud it.

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    • Avatar
      Bjorn July 29, 2019 at 11:15 am

      Seems like an easy solution to that problem is to charge the fee based on weight as well as mileage instead of just one or the other. A registration fee just encourages people to use the vehicle more because they have already paid the fee up front so they see a lower cost per mile for additional usage.

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      Al July 29, 2019 at 11:36 am

      As far as I can tell, EV fees are being driven by the trucking lobby which is trying to prevent higher gas taxes at the pump.

      I don’t see why states or the fed should be freaking out about this until EV’s reach a considerable share of road usage, say 20-30% as they reap the benefits of EV adoption like smog reduction and the resulting reduction in associated health problems as well as electric power grid benefits. There are many vehicles not registered for road usage which occasionally use the roads and don’t even pay the regular gas tax like construction and farm equipment but the real problem here is that trucking is subsidized on many levels. Applying a higher gas tax would mitigate some of the budget shortfalls but that’s precisely what the trucking lobby is working against.

      Finally, I would point out that EV’s have been around for a decade now. This means that there are fully depreciated EV’s out there available for people of all incomes to purchase. While higher income folks purchased new EV’s over the past decade, the argument that low income families can’t afford EV’s is no longer valid now.

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      • Avatar
        Jon July 29, 2019 at 12:07 pm

        You are correct about used electric car prices. A quick glance at Craigslist Portland shows 4 Nissan Leafs for less than $10,000. A couple are only about $5,000 which is less than a lot of acoustic and e bicycles these days.

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        • Avatar
          Mike Quigley July 29, 2019 at 12:37 pm

          Older Leafs will probably require a new batter pack (about $5500 installed). They last only about five years before deterioration begins to set in. And, new packs do last longer than older ones.

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            Al July 29, 2019 at 2:00 pm

            Used Volts sell for under $10K. Very low operating cost. Very low maintenance cost. Battery will last indefinitely.

            The main barrier for low income buyers would be where to plug in. Few, practically zero, apartment complexes offer overnight charging options. So if you want to improve lower income folks’ EV adoption, promote level 2 charging options that are based on electric rates and not on charging network rates as charging networks negate the fuel cost saving benefit of owning an EV.

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              bikeninja July 29, 2019 at 3:19 pm

              Only partially true that a battery pack in an EV will last indefinitely. Typically the range of an EV (driven an average number of miles, thus an average number of charging cycles) will drop off by 15% at the end of the first year and then 6% every year there after. So by year 5 an EV that originally had a 170 mi range will have about a 115 mile range. This is why many 5 year old EV’s are cheap, they no longer have the range they once had and are only suitable for a different kind of buyer and are thus cheaper. As this range just keeps dropping they become less and less useful and they get used less ( unless a new battery is purchased) and less. So the battery might last indefinitely but towards the later years it might only be useful for driving back and forth to the mailbox.

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                Al July 29, 2019 at 9:23 pm

                I didn’t write EV’s in general. I wrote Volt which has a specific chemistry and battery design that has proven itself to last a remarkably long time. GM improved the design in the Bolt battery but that model hasn’t been out long enough for there to be significantly depreciated vehicles on the used market yet to appeal to lower income folks. Early Tesla batteries maintained between 15 and 85% capacity also show remarkable battery endurance but those vehicles still have inflated used values because Tesla.

                The Leaf is literally the worst case scenario due to Nissan’s design. It’s a poor chemistry and Nissan intentionally left out thermal management. The battery wears itself out with each charge / discharge cycle. Still, refurbished replacement Leaf batteries cost less than $3,000 now.

                The point is that people aren’t keeping up with the pace of progress in the field and are simply repeating hearsay. After stagnating in the 80’s and 90’s, commercially available battery technology has come a long way in the past 2 decades. EV’s will easily double the expected lifetime of combustion engine cars as there is no expensive drive train to fail around 200,000 miles. Low price, low operating cost, low maintenance cost and a long lifetime make EV’s good used cars for lower income folks.

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                Alex Reedin July 30, 2019 at 9:12 am

                I don’t know whether Teslas or other EVs get even better battery life, but my family’s 5-year-old Nissan Leaf is at about 80% of its original range (formerly 100 miles, now 80-some). We didn’t do any special battery management; we plug it in when we got home so it often sits 100% charged overnight. We bought it used for $10,000.

                We probably won’t replace the battery until the range gets down to 50 miles or so, which I estimate will be in about 5 years. I suspect that at that point, the economics will work out clearly in favor of replacing the battery.

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                soren July 30, 2019 at 5:25 pm

                The 2014 leaf had a 84 mile range under optimal conditions. On a winter day at highway speeds you would be lucky to get 60 miles with a brand new leaf. It’s, at best, a city car for people who need to drive short distances.

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                was carless July 31, 2019 at 3:31 pm

                Haha what??

                That is not even remotely true! Battery packs in EVs typically last for many, many years.

                From CleanTechnica:
                “The guarantee for the long range Model 3 battery is 120,000 miles. By comparison, Nissan guarantees the battery in the LEAF will have at least 66% of original capacity after 100,000 miles. Average performance is no guarantee of individual performance.”

                “Tesla Batteries Have 90% Capacity After 160,000 Miles, May Last For 500,000 miles”

                Our 2015 Nissan Leaf is at 47,000 miles and has 92% battery capacity. We are not an outlier. There is a Tesla Model S out there with over 500,000 miles and they have done 2 battery swaps.

                On the flip side, our Leaf saves us over $800 gas per year, so we can afford to buy a brand new battery every 7 years if we had to and come out even with an ICE car. But our battery is covered by an 8 year, 100,000 warranty anyway, as do all new EVs.

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            soren July 29, 2019 at 4:51 pm

            A battery replacement costs $8,500 for a car that is often worth less than that.

            https://www.mynissanleaf.com/viewtopic.php?f=27&t=25882&sid=d7a3996c154b06d77a2d2bc8dbd3a7c7

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              David Hampsten July 29, 2019 at 5:02 pm

              Most electric bikes have the same issue. Replacement batteries typically cost $400-$900, plus the vehicle needs to be rebuilt every 2-3 years, which adds up to the original cost of the bike. It’s another case of built-in obsolescence; a very clever marketing ploy by the makers that more or less neutralizes any long-term carbon footprint advantages.

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            • Hello, Kitty
              Hello, Kitty July 29, 2019 at 5:03 pm

              If you bought a car for $5K and spent $8K on replacing the battery, it would totally be worth it if the vehicle increased in value to $15K. Not as much if its post-battery replacement value was only $10K.

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                9watts July 29, 2019 at 10:44 pm

                Resale value is but one way to run that calculation.
                If after replacing the battery you have a vehicle that will last you 10? years with very little maintenance, perhaps it could be worth it, even if no one (else) would pay you for the privilege of owning that particular car.

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            was carless July 31, 2019 at 3:25 pm

            Not necessarily. Anyway, most EVs that are for sale now have a range of 150 to 300 miles. There are also aftermarket battery shops who can install a 180 mile battery pack in older Leafs (2011-2012).

            Our 4 year old Leaf still has 92% battery capacity. Actively cooled EVs will also fare better over the long haul.

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          El Biciclero August 3, 2019 at 9:16 am

          “acoustic” bikes.

          That’s awesome.

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        Tim July 29, 2019 at 7:55 pm

        So the folks working a minimum wage job have a spare $5000 to buy a car needing a $4000 battery? More like a spare $500…

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          Chris I August 1, 2019 at 3:37 pm

          Folks working minimum wage jobs can’t afford any kind of car. They either go into debt, or defer maintenance, or they skip insurance, or all of the above. It’s a ticking bomb that leaves them stranded unexpectedly.

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          • Hello, Kitty
            Hello, Kitty August 1, 2019 at 3:59 pm

            Many folks working minimum wage jobs can — they might be part of a family that has more income. For example, at my previous job, the woman who cleaned the office drove a later model Toyota FJ Cruiser, and that to a site with excellent bus and train connections. That’s not the car of someone scrimping on their insurance.

            It’s really hard to know someone’s circumstances by extrapolating from a single data point. Some people earning minimum wage can’t buy a car, and some can. A great many do.

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    B. Carfree July 29, 2019 at 11:28 am

    These nonsense “lists” of bikey infra that rank cities are getting more ridiculous every year. The one in this round-up has, as usual, decided that the infra we call protected is low stress and bike lanes/residential streets are medium stress and implies that those are what get butts in saddles. Meanwhile, most of the top ten cities in the list, all of which have added most of this infra over the past few years, are showing declining bike modal shares for commuters.

    I’m reminded of the League of American Bicyclists, which gives precious metal awards based on meeting administrative criteria (bike/ped coordinator, miles of bike lanes, miles of “protected”, etc) but never checks in on whether people actually ride. My favorite example is this year’s People for Bikes list that elevated Eugene from the mid-40’s to 3rd while Eugene continues its historic decline in cycling (on track to reach 0% modal share in 2023). But hey, Eugene built a useless 2-way cycletrack that no one rides in, got a bike share owned by a mass murderer and started a “bike friendly business program”. Never mind that it closed its main bike path for the next two years and most of its bike lanes are DZBL’s and that one has the choice of riding 45 mph median speed arterials or stopping every other block.

    It’s almost as if the model we are working under, that we can partially protect mid-block segments while making intersections worse and cycling slower relative to other choices, doesn’t work but we refuse to process that data. Maybe we should look to those cities that are seeing increases in bike modal share and see what they are doing. I know Berkeley was seeing good increases right up until it wrote and started implementing its bikey master plan. Perhaps our prescription is poisonous.

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      maxD July 29, 2019 at 12:40 pm

      I completely agree with B. Carfree’s assessment of these list. I suspect they influence agencies like PBOT for the worse. Look at he proposed changes on Greeley: A dangerous bike lane with a fast, direct connection to another bike lane is being replaced with a protected bike lane that is indirect, requires crossing the street twice, and is only 2/3’s the distance to the bike lane. The remaining 1/3 is on a existing concrete walk that is just under 10′ and the connection to the bike lane down a shared/2-way sidewalk ramp intoa 5-foot bike that you will have to enter perpendicularly. PBOT is claiming is as a “fix” and as “adding more linear feet of protected bike lanes” even though they have no meaningful connection. As an aside. the overly fast (55 mph + average) is not being fixed or addressed, in fact, the lanes are being WIDENED! A driver was killed there this spring.

      It is a bit of digression, but these lists and metrics (including Vision Zero*) seem to distract form prioritizing safe routes and connections for all users.

      *I mention Vision Zero because when I asked PBOT this, they said Vision Zero doesn’t apply to this project because it is funded with freight money and it is not on the Vision Zero list!

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        David Hampsten July 29, 2019 at 5:12 pm

        From an advocacy point of view, I agree these lists are pretty misleading and useless. However, for city governments and their staff, these list show RELATIVE differences between cities fairly accurately, especially on a regional level. Portland may or may not be better than Seattle or Minneapolis, but all three are light years ahead of Raleigh or Charlotte NC (both cities are near the bottom of the list.) Charlotte has put in a bunch of new protected bikeways that are well-designed, but they lack good destinations, they suddenly end without any other infrastructure, and not many people use them, whereas areas that people ride are heavily cross-congested with cars going 65 mph. Raleigh has a superb network of paved trails that connect parks but little else, and no safe ways to get to those trails from where people work or live.

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        David Hampsten July 29, 2019 at 5:28 pm

        The Price We Pay: I always take such reports with a grain of salt. Everyone feels crime is rising when in fact it’s falling nearly everywhere. Same with crash deaths & injuries per 100,000 people: https://injuryfacts.nsc.org/motor-vehicle/historical-fatality-trends/deaths-and-rates/

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    FRED TRAMPLER July 29, 2019 at 2:23 pm

    I THINK WE ALL KNOW HOW TDF RIDERS ENDURE THE RACE. Dont Really Understand Guys Shaving, THOUGH.

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      Mike July 30, 2019 at 9:44 am

      I don’t understand your use of capital letters.

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        David Hampsten July 31, 2019 at 8:01 am

        Enhanced Capitalization Texting – ECT. Banned by the USCF.

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    Kem Marks July 29, 2019 at 2:45 pm

    The article on enforcement is pretty superficial in a number of ways. First, we do need to work on the bias of the police, but that doesn’t mean we stop enforcement. Would they make the same argument for other types of illegal behavior. Second, there is a difference between citing someone for riding a bike on the sidewalk and citing someone doing 50 in a 30 mph zone. Third, automatic enforcement is able to address a significant amount of the bias issue. Fourth, people are dying now and road redesigns take a long time implement. And lastly, there is a large percentage of drivers who will not be deterred from dangerous behavior. Research actually shows they relish the behavior. Enforcement is needed to identify these people and get them off the road.

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    • Hello, Kitty
      Hello, Kitty July 29, 2019 at 3:24 pm

      I believe the solution to biased policing is to reform the police, not to stop enforcing the law.

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      Middle of the Road Guy July 29, 2019 at 3:34 pm

      Very objective and concise!

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      soren July 29, 2019 at 8:34 pm

      The authors clearly stated that their presentation focused on:

      Increased traffic enforcement …

      So this piece was not abount stopping enforcement all together.

      That being said, we spend around $500,000,000 each year on public safety, of which, the violent, brutal, and racist police bureau gets the lions share. I think there is a good argument for re-forming the Portland Police bureau and spending a large chunk of their budget on services that would actually benefit Portland as a whole.

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        Middle of the Road Guy July 30, 2019 at 11:02 am

        Soren,

        is every encounter with the police violent, brutal and racist?

        Over the years I have had a couple of encounters…and none of them have been violent, brutal or racist.

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          9watts July 31, 2019 at 4:51 am

          Could it be that your experience with the police is (also) a function of your skin color, your social class?

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            Middle of the Road Guy July 31, 2019 at 8:56 am

            It’s possible. It is also possible it was not.

            Are there minorities who have had nonviolent, non-brutal and non-racist encounters with the police or is it an all-or-nothing thing?

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            • Hello, Kitty
              Hello, Kitty July 31, 2019 at 11:47 am

              It is also conceivable that the police provide some level of protection to non-white people from being victimized, just as they do to white people.

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              GlowBoy July 31, 2019 at 12:07 pm

              Ugh… nesting feature is completely broken for me. Hopefully you all can see where my comments actually belong.

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              GlowBoy July 31, 2019 at 12:24 pm

              MORG, I’m sure many encounters between minorities and police are nonviolent and non racist. If that were true 95% of the time – only 5% of encounters being violent and/or racist – your statement would be overwhelmingly correct. And it would still not be okay. At least I hope you would agree it would not be okay.

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              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty July 31, 2019 at 12:47 pm

                I think it would be helpful to acknowledge the 95%, even as we focus on fixing the remaining 5%, which, I agree, are not ok.

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                Middle of The Road Guy August 1, 2019 at 8:48 am

                It would be my preference that all encounters are adjudicated equally and without concern for race/gender/economic status, etc.

                Nothing being perfect, I’d say a 95% rate is not bad (given human foibles and behaviors) but certainly a candidate for improvement.

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              Sam July 31, 2019 at 3:40 pm

              Ah yes, the “Not All Men” of the police brutality topic. You do know this is wrong, don’t you?

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                Middle of The Road Guy August 1, 2019 at 8:45 am

                Well as long as you are trying to put words in my mouth that I did not say…I’ll play along.

                It you try to shut down the “Not All Men” argument because you know it brings up a point you don’t want to address (stereotyping an entire gender and assigning blame to all members for the actions of a subset of the population), then you have to take the same approach with those subsets to maintain your intellectual integrity.

                Therefore, we can start saying “Not All Black Men”, Not All Mexican Men”, “Not all HIV+ Men” and lecture them that the ones who do no wrong are responsible for the actions of those who do.

                Or tell the good cyclists they are responsible for the actions of the bad ones.

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      GlowBoy July 31, 2019 at 12:20 pm

      I agree that the Our Streets Mpls article oversimplifies the enforcement situation. We need to be careful where and how we increase enforcement, but it needs to be part of the picture. The article itself references St. Paul’s huge strides in improving safety for pedestrians (St. Paul drivers are at least as likely as Portland drivers to stop for pedestrians in crosswalks, whereas Mpls drivers rarely do – and the former is a new thing in the 5 years I have lived here), but St. Paul’s changes can be attributed at least as much to enforcement as to signage and availability of orange flags to pedestrians. If a St. Paul cop sees a driver fail to stop, they WILL ticket them. A Minneapolis cop WILL NOT. Full stop.

      In any event, Minnesota’s handsfree cellphone law finally takes effect tomorrow, and police in all jurisdictions appear very serious about it, so we are about to begin a very good a/b experiment to see the racial disparities of increased enforcement. Ironically, the bill almost died again this year because a few legislators from very white rural-suburban districts expressed concern about the impact of enforcement on poor black people in the urban core. We’ll find out as time goes by if they were right.

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      • Hello, Kitty
        Hello, Kitty July 31, 2019 at 1:32 pm

        >>> St. Paul drivers are at least as likely as Portland drivers to stop for pedestrians in crosswalks, whereas Mpls drivers rarely do <<<

        Is "Minneapolis nice" finally dying the good death?

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          GlowBoy August 1, 2019 at 5:17 pm

          It’s “Minnesota Nice,” not “Minneapolis Nice.” No one called Minneapolitans nice, ever. Not even Minneapolitans.

          And “Minnesota Nice” is only used unironically by lifelong Minnesotans. Everyone who’s lived outside the state uses it sarcastically. It’s a joke, with the homers as the laughingstock. They cling to this idea that they’re the nicest people in the country, but the apparent kindness is simply a pathological aversion to interpersonal disagreements. Passive-aggressive barely begins to describe it.

          Behind the wheel, protected from having to look others in the eye, the pretense to niceness disappears. MN drivers are, by and large, major a-holes. Especially to pedestrians. I don’t kid myself that St. Paul drivers, specifically, suddenly became nice. They’re just scared of being ticketed, which they know will happen if they don’t stop for crosswalks. Regardless of what’s going on inside people’s heads, it’s amazing what less than 5 years of enforcement has done to change the driving culture in St. Paul. It could work anywhere.

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  • Hello, Kitty
    Hello, Kitty July 29, 2019 at 7:59 pm

    RE Must-read: Like many New Yorker articles, this one had rather dense prose, was not unpleasant to read, and, a few historical tidbits aside, was almost completely devoid of meaningful content.

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    Steve Scarich July 30, 2019 at 7:48 am

    Although I have some skepticism about the whole ‘targeting people of color by law enforcement’ argument, I will assume that there is some truth to it, for the sake of argument. Yes work on any bias, but don’t let ‘perfection become the enemy of the good’ or whatever the exact quote is.

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    Rudi V July 30, 2019 at 2:48 pm

    Regarding the case against enforcement- Nearly all leftist “research” is done in bad faith. Its goal is to launder political opinions into dubious social “science”, and then repeatedly and circularly site “facts” from these work products until they take on the imprimatur of “truth”.

    I’m skeptical of every claim in the MPLS story. They’re simply proclaiming to be true what they wish to be true, and Maus is just seconding it.

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      Middle of the Road Guy July 31, 2019 at 8:59 am

      My issue is that when something gets repeated enough…”rarely” can become “always”.

      The way it sounds in liberal leaning media outlets, every interaction with a cop results in a dead minority…when that is clearly not the case.

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    GlowBoy July 31, 2019 at 11:55 am

    Alex Reedin
    I don’t know whether Teslas or other EVs get even better battery life, but my family’s 5-year-old Nissan Leaf is at about 80% of its original range (formerly 100 miles, now 80-some). We didn’t do any special battery management; we plug it in when we got home so it often sits 100% charged overnight. We bought it used for $10,000.We probably won’t replace the battery until the range gets down to 50 miles or so, which I estimate will be in about 5 years. I suspect that at that point, the economics will work out clearly in favor of replacing the battery.Recommended 1

    We bought our 3-year-old Leaf for $11k. Less than we would have paid for any other fuel-efficient car of the same age. I’m solidly convinced the maintenance costs will prove lower than anything else (see below), and energy costs certainly are, even at Minnesota’s inflated electricity costs. We looked at everything from a 10 year old Prius to every possible age of Honda Fit, and NOTHING came close to the Leaf in terms of ownership cost. New-EV ownership may still be for privileged folks, but that’s far less true for used EVs.

    And by the way, at nearly 5 years old our Leaf is still at 12/12 bars for battery capacity. There has been zero loss of range so far. No thermal management? What are you talking about? My battery has its own cooling system as well as a heater. Still, a primitive cooling system compared to ICE cars, and overall the car is vastly simpler (no exhaust system, no ignition system, no fuel system, no oxygen sensors, etc.) than anything powered by liquid fuel, so I expect a lot fewer headaches as the car ages.

    But what about that expensive battery? As the early Leafs push beyond 100k and 150k miles, there is no evidence that they are experiencing battery failures at greater rates than gas cars with the same mileage experience transmission or engine failures – which cost the same $3-5k. Also consider that Leafs built since around 2013 – which aren’t there yet – have a newer battery design which should last longer.

    Any older car is a bit of a gamble, and I don’t think there’s any more risk of a painfully expensive repair with an EV than there is with something ICE-powered. Heck, 3 grand was a year’s worth of maintenance when we owned a VW diesel. Battery failure is something to completely disregard at best, and to budget for at worst.

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    GlowBoy July 31, 2019 at 11:59 am

    soren
    The 2014 leaf had a 84 mile range under optimal conditions. On a winter day at highway speeds you would be lucky to get 60 miles with a brand new leaf. It’s, at best, a city car for people who need to drive short distances.Recommended 0

    Cars with 84-mile ranges are what’s currently available in the used EV market, but within a few years that will no longer the case (which means the 84-mile older Leafs will be *really* affordable to used-car buyers). The current Leaf has nearly double the range of the original, and every new EV coming on the market (including the forthcoming Leaf Plus) has at least a 220 mile range.

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