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The Monday Roundup: Montreal’s paradigm shift, Amtrak’s big news, carfree Tempe, and more

Posted by on November 25th, 2019 at 12:37 pm

This week’s Monday Roundup is sponsored by BikeCraft, Portland’s cycle-centric holiday gift fair that’s coming up November 30th – December 1st at the Lloyd Doubletree (1000 NE Multnomah).

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

Harbinger?: A new development in Tempe, Arizona says it will become the first carfree neighborhood in America once it’s built out with 1,000 residents and no private cars.

Montreal steps up: Facing a rising tide of deaths to people walking, the city of Montreal will add more time to countdown timers and walking-specific signals at every intersection. Your move, City of Portland.

Transit in the suburbs: Transit Center shined the light on Metro Councilor Juan Carlos Gonzalez who’s leading a charge for more transit — instead of bigger roads for drivers — on the west side.

“Traffic violence” freakout: After Senator and presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren tweeted her desire to end “traffic violence” on World Day of Remembrance, some saw it as an idea from “outer space” and felt like it was the final straw in her “increasingly eccentric campaign.”

Bike tracker: An impressive showing on Kickstarter bodes well for this new stolen bike tracker and theft prevention device from See Sense.

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Overton shift: Right now in America’s most important and largest big city there’s a serious discussion about whether to completely do away with free on-street parking.

What about bicycling?: The U.S. House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee (chaired by Eugene Rep. Peter DeFazio) released a new plan to address assault while traveling and people using bicycles didn’t even merit a mention.

Yay for trains: I was gleeful to read recent headlines about the changing fortunes of Amtrak, our national rail system that will likely break even for the first time ever. Now imagine if we transferred some highway money to it!

Best helmet: The Bontrager Rally MIPS earned highest marks for safety in the latest rankings from Virginia Tech University.

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Boston blues: Boston Globe takes an in-depth look at their dysfunctional transportation system and many people who read it think, “Same could be said for my city.”

It’s really that bad: Our weekly example of how terrible driving is for people and the planet outlines new research that links microparticles in auto emissions to brain cancer. Sorry.

Bike share is over: Denver’s B-Cycle system was once a pioneer in an exciting new transportation era. Now it’s being shut down due to lack of will to fund it.

Rural mobility: Oregon’s urban/rural divide is as pronounced as ever these days so this new poll about how rural residents want cleaner more efficient transportation choices caught my eye.

— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and jonathan@bikeportland.org
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NOTE: We love your comments and work hard to ensure they are productive, considerate, and welcoming of all perspectives. Disagreements are encouraged, but only if done with tact and respect. If you see a mean or inappropriate comment, please contact us and we'll take a look at it right away. Also, if you comment frequently, please consider holding your thoughts so that others can step forward. Thank you — Jonathan

70 Comments
  • Avatar
    Justin November 25, 2019 at 12:43 pm

    I don’t want Amtrak anywhere near breaking even. I want it heavily subsidized and serving all sorts of unprofitable places, as befits a national rail system.

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      Chris I November 25, 2019 at 1:52 pm

      The author of that National Review piece is really downplaying our 40,000+ road deaths per year. Apparently, it’s crazy to think that we can do better (when dozens of countries have shown us that you can).

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      Chris I November 25, 2019 at 1:54 pm

      Didn’t mean for that to be nested…

      On Amtrak, though: high-quality intercity rail travel can break even, when the infrastructure is good enough, and population density is sufficient. I would like to have a society where train service like Amtrak does break even, because it means we are optimizing our transportation efficiency.

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        David Hampsten November 26, 2019 at 10:54 am

        AMTRAK gets direct subsidies from the feds plus indirect subsidies from the Federal Transit Administration (FTA), plus farebox recovery. I wonder to what degree state passenger rail service subsidies contribute to AMTRAK’s budget versus state-run passenger services in the USA. For example, the Cascades service gets a fat subsidy from Washington DOT and a smaller one from ODOT. Virginia has their own extensive rail network as does California, Illinois, Massachusetts, North Carolina, and New jersey, among others, as well as give subsidies for more AMTRAK stops for mainline AMTRAK trains. And of course many cities have subsidized station renovations (Portland, Seattle, Washington DC, Greensboro, Denver, etc.) or the construction of brand new stations, using a mix of federal FTA and TIGER grants plus local bond funding.

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      David Hampsten November 25, 2019 at 3:13 pm

      I use AMTRAK for all my long-distance travel (and medium-distance too). I haven’t flown since 2015. That said, I’m bummed that most of the east coast overnight services have largely eliminated dining cars; the few that have bistro cars offer prepackaged over-processed foods worthy of a 7-Eleven. (Western long-distance trains still have full-service diner cars.) Staff levels have also been significantly reduced, but it’s still way better than airlines. On the plus side, most trains now offer bike hooks (the Portland-Spokane train is a now thankfully rare exception that still requires bikes to be boxed.) Here in NC, if I travel between two NC cities, my bike rides free.

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      Wylie November 26, 2019 at 6:27 am

      Capitalistic framing always makes me wince

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      GlowBoy November 26, 2019 at 11:03 am

      Agreed! Why should Amtrak strive for profitability when other long-distance modes are far more heavily subsidized (even on a per-user basis)? Can we even imagine people calling for the Interstate highway system or the FAA to be profitable?

      (Also, thank you for not writing “AMTRAK” in all caps, since it is not an acronym).

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      • Hello, Kitty
        Hello, Kitty November 26, 2019 at 11:11 am

        How much subsidy does the highway system actually get? As best I can tell, while there were at least two transfers into the highway trust fund, those monies haven’t been spent yet. While I don’t think “profitable” fits, “self-funding” might (especially with a modest increase in the gas tax).

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          David Hampsten November 26, 2019 at 12:22 pm

          In NC, as in 48 other US states, the state gas tax goes into the state “general fund” to be used for prisons, schools, universities, police, and all the other fine services that each different state provides, including highways, along with all its other revenue sources such as sales tax, weight-mile taxes, vehicle taxes, etc. IN NC, VA, & WV, all rural highways, including “county” roads and a lot of urban collector and arterial roads are owned and maintained by the state, so much so that even my urban street in front of my apartment is technically a state “highway”.

          Guess which state is the odd one out, that puts all its gas tax money into a restrictive highway fund?

          As for the Feds, the highway fund has been “bankrupt” since 1993. It still collects gas tax revenue, but nothing even remotely in an amount that can be called “self-funding”. A very small but growing portion of your income taxes are going towards subsidizing “highway” maintenance in your state as well as mine (and for those keeping tab on such things, Oregon is among the states who get more back from other states than it puts in, while other states like NC contribute more than they get back.)

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      • Avatar
        David Hampsten November 26, 2019 at 12:35 pm

        And it is in fact an acronym that uses all-caps on their logo: AMerican railroad TRAcKs, as it owns the mainline electrified railroad tracks between DC and Boston and rents them out to commercial freight trains for a profit, rather than its official title of the National Railroad Passenger Corporation.

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          GlowBoy December 1, 2019 at 12:30 pm

          Ok, in that sense you are correct that it is an acronym, but it is not also an initialism (each letter does not stand for a separate word). “AmTrak” would be acceptable, but “AMTRAK” is not. Many companies and organizations make the mistake of doing this because they are used to seeing their name in legal documents, where the convention is to use all-caps for entities referenced in the document. But it is not correct to do this outside Legalese.

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            q December 1, 2019 at 10:18 pm

            “AMTRAK” also seems like the “capitalistic framing” that someone already mentioned.

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            • Avatar
              q December 1, 2019 at 10:20 pm

              I hope that doesn’t come across as acronimious.

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    soren November 25, 2019 at 1:16 pm

    See sense’s tracker does not work in the USA and there is only a vague promise that it might work in late 2020.

    “Planned rollout of NB-IoT Networks from late 2020 include: USA (late 2020)”

    Then again this is not surprising given that North America has the worst mobile systems in the developed world — at far higher prices. (Another great achievement of USAnian “free markets”.)

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    • Avatar
      idlebytes November 25, 2019 at 1:29 pm

      I think that’s cause they’re using Vodafone which doesn’t have a network in the US. The good news on that front is it looks like they might team up with AT&T which already has a network here.

      https://www.vodafone.com/business/news-and-insights/press-release/att-and-vodafone-business-in-commercial-inter-carrier-arrangement-for-nb-iot-roaming-across-us-and-europe

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      • Avatar
        dan November 25, 2019 at 2:47 pm

        I like the idea, but I feel that our industrious local bike thieves will learn to check for and remove these things pretty quickly. There was a post on Portland Reddit recently about someone that had their U-lock cut in front of the Central Library during the day…if they’re willing to do that, checking for and removing one of these alarms is a snap.

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        • Avatar
          idlebytes November 25, 2019 at 3:45 pm

          Most of the bike thefts here are ones of opportunity. Half of those reported on bike index are unlocked and stored in a garage, bike room, or a car. Most of the remaining ones are cheap locks like cables. Obviously anything can be defeated but it doesn’t mean it’s not a good deterrent. The one I have is very sensitive so unless you can disable it in one hit I’ll get at least one text message that it’s been moved.

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    • Hello, Kitty
      Hello, Kitty November 25, 2019 at 2:58 pm

      I don’t think this device even uses cell service, so the performance of our free market (which provides me decent cell service for $15/mo) may not be wholly relevant.

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      • Avatar
        soren November 26, 2019 at 3:43 pm

        Motivated believing?

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Narrowband_IoT

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        • Hello, Kitty
          Hello, Kitty November 26, 2019 at 4:35 pm

          There’s a number of similar protocols that work on different bands. I have no idea what this device uses, though, after further consideration, it does stand to reason that if Vodaphone is involved, it uses a cell system. Which Vodaphone doesn’t have here.

          See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LoRa, for example. There is a free LoRa network that has at least partial coverage of Portland.

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          • Avatar
            soren November 28, 2019 at 11:11 am

            If you had spent a few seconds googling you could have learned that the See Sense Air runs on existing cellular networks and that the Nb-IoT (runs on LTE) has been available in the USA since July 2018.

            https://www.telecomtv.com/content/cellular-iot/us-has-three-nb-iot-networks-now-they-must-prove-their-worth-35161/

            PS:: I am a long-time See Sense fan and have 2 Icon+ tail lights, 1 Ace tail light, and 1 Ion tail light bought via See Sense’s kickstarter’s campaigns. I learned about the AIR months ago and was disappointed that it does not work in the USA.

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  • Avatar
    idlebytes November 25, 2019 at 2:36 pm

    Chris I
    The author of that National Review piece is really downplaying our 40,000+ road deaths per year. Apparently, it’s crazy to think that we can do better (when dozens of countries have shown us that you can).Recommended 0

    Ya they always like to downplay it by comparing against miles driven too cause it makes it seem smaller. Even using that metric though the US is the worst for developed countries more than doubling the rates of Norway, Switzerland, Sweden, and the UK. If you compare it on a per capita rate it’s much worse with 3-4 times more deaths then those countries. Presumably in places like Japan that’s because more people use other modes of transport.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_traffic-related_death_rate

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    • Avatar
      MTW November 25, 2019 at 2:53 pm

      Isn’t it strange that this “cost of doing business” mentality of traffic fatalities never seems to be applied to terrorism? 3,000 dead one (legitimately terrible) morning 18 years ago and money was no object to feel safe again. Complete re-build of government agencies relating customs, banking, immigration, TSA, etc. Even saw fit to invade 2 countries in response.

      But try to fix the ongoing catastrophe of 3,000 people dying (per month!) and it’s just a bridge too far and impractical. Sure, some pedestrians might die due to freight haulers speeding through your neighborhoods, but don’t you all want “free” Amazon deliveries?

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  • Hello, Kitty
    Hello, Kitty November 25, 2019 at 2:40 pm

    Tying two of today’s stories together, according to new research from PSU (sorry no reference, I heard about it at a talk) shows Amtrak trains are among the dirtiest (in terms of PM pollution) of the trains that frequent Portland.

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    • Avatar
      David Hampsten November 25, 2019 at 3:17 pm

      Is it all that dirty quid pro quo money from Wash(ington) DC?

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      David Hampsten November 25, 2019 at 3:31 pm

      What about bicycling? Taxi and scooter operating companies are also not called out. The legislation seems to be chiefly aimed at how airlines treat flight attendants.

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      • Avatar
        David Hampsten November 25, 2019 at 3:32 pm

        I hate the nesting feature on this blog…

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          Fred November 26, 2019 at 7:53 am

          Yes, the nesting script seems to be broken. If you ever nest a comment, the page seems to call a script that tells the browser to nest every comment from that point on (seems to be true in Firefox – don’t know about Chrome or other browsers). I hope Jonathan is working on fixing it.

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        • Avatar
          Fred November 26, 2019 at 7:56 am

          Testing the nesting script. I re-loaded the page after nesting a comment. Let’s see if this comment gets nested. (Sorry, Jonathan – free user testing.)

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            Johnny Bye Carter November 26, 2019 at 11:26 am

            I’ve got in the habit of clicking the title of the article (which is a link to the page you’re already on) every time I reply to a comment so that I know I’m starting fresh afterwards. It’s extra load on the web site but it’s what I need to do to get it out of the nest loop.

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          Johnny Bye Carter November 26, 2019 at 11:24 am

          It’s been broken for a while so you don’t realize you’re nesting. Used to be that when you hit Reply you got a snippet of the comment you were replying to so you knew it was a reply. And then your next post was reset so that it was a new reply. Now you don’t get that snippet and it keeps nesting in the post instead of resetting and waiting for you to hit Reply again to nest if wanted.

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    • Avatar
      Chris I November 25, 2019 at 4:00 pm

      How recent was that research? Cascades service now has brand new Siemens diesels that meet the latest standards. Amtrak just placed a order for the same engines for use on long distance routes. In a few years, Amtrak will have the cleanest diesel trains in the nation.

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      • Hello, Kitty
        Hello, Kitty November 25, 2019 at 5:16 pm

        Recent (this summer, perhaps?) they dangled testing equipment off the Lafayette bridge and measured trains as they passed by.

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          X November 26, 2019 at 10:42 am

          Is there a necessary connection between an open-air test in Minnesota and trains in Portland?

          It is plausible that Amtrak is operating older engines on its cross-country routes because the system is starved of funds.

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          • Hello, Kitty
            Hello, Kitty November 26, 2019 at 11:07 am

            The Lafayette Bridge is in Portland, passing over Brooklyn Yards, so yes, there is a connection.

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            • Avatar
              Chris I November 26, 2019 at 12:42 pm

              Given that location, they would be picking up 6 trains per day. 4 Cascades operating to Eugene, which now have the brand new Siemens Chargers. The remaining 2 trains would be double-headed P40 or P42 engines on the Coast Starlight. Those engines will be replaced with Chargers in a few years:
              https://www.railwayage.com/passenger/intercity/amtrak-begins-power-renewal-orders-75-siemens-chargers-for-long-distance-trains/

              “The new locomotives generate 4,400-horsepower through a 16-cylinder Cummins QSK95 diesel engine, and are geared for a top speed of 125 mph. The Alternating Current electrical propulsion system is paired with the latest Tier 4 emissions technology, reducing nitrogen oxide by over 89% and particulate matter by 95%, and providing an average of 10% savings in diesel fuel consumption. The units will come equipped with Positive Train Control safety technology.”

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              X November 26, 2019 at 6:41 pm

              So much for G*****.

              I’m still a little dubious about an exhaust sample taken leaning off a bridge. Take that one into court.

              I’ve seen some freight engine start-ups in North Portland that closely resembled a 3 alarm fire.

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      • Avatar
        Jon November 25, 2019 at 6:28 pm

        There is no such thing as clean diesel. It is about the same as clean coal.

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        • Hello, Kitty
          Hello, Kitty November 25, 2019 at 7:05 pm

          Perhaps true, but there is a HUGE difference between engines that meet modern standards and those that don’t.

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    Rudi V November 25, 2019 at 3:50 pm

    Chris I
    The author of that National Review piece is really downplaying our 40,000+ road deaths per year. Apparently, it’s crazy to think that we can do better (when dozens of countries have shown us that you can).

    I used to work down in N San Diego county quite a bit with these guys who liked to grumble about “welfare recipients”. I always thought, “But you guys are defense contractors, you ARE welfare recipients!” And really that was the crux of it. They were grumbling about people competing for the same dollars, but they couldn’t allow themselves to see themselves that way.

    A lot of these pro- car types have a similar blind spot. They cast themselves as “conservative” and “normal” when in fact they’re neither. Kyle Smith National Review critic-at-large is the perfect example of the type.

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    • Avatar
      John Lascurettes November 25, 2019 at 8:47 pm

      tl;dr: the ceo of Amtrak is cutting lines and services to get profitable. That’s what companies do to be able to sell to institutional investors that come along and gut a company.

      Recommended Thumb up 6

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    Todd Boulanger November 25, 2019 at 5:27 pm

    Good luck to the kickstarter “tracker” folks…I can see potentially three weak points in the hardware especially the long term bike commuter parker in a bike centric city.

    The best market for this product may be the recreational rider (high end bike) that stops for a cappuccino with the group but does not want to carry a u-lock…

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    Toby Keith November 25, 2019 at 10:11 pm

    We could go a long way on reducing bike theft by not turning a blind eye to open-air bike chop shops. More tech gimmicks are not the answer.

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    • Avatar
      Wylie November 26, 2019 at 6:26 am

      We turn a blind eye on the open-air bike chop shops because we lack the solution at a societal level. The only way out is starting with a Finland style guaranteed housing program. No sobriety requirements, no wait lines, no proof of looking for work or whatever, just a comfortable place to live

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      • Avatar
        Fred November 26, 2019 at 8:07 am

        I dunno, Wylie. I think we can push for comprehensive housing solutions at the same time as we address crime in plain sight. We can walk and chew gum – or we should be able to.

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          Wylie November 26, 2019 at 9:13 am

          I’d like to see an interim solution that assuages petty crime but it’s hard to recommend getting the PPB to interfere with their lives

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        Phil November 26, 2019 at 8:32 am

        Universal basic income would help too. Like the Finnish program, no hoops to jump through.

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          soren December 1, 2019 at 1:44 pm

          The Finnish program was hardly universal. It provided assistance to people who had lost their jobs. Well-fare or guaranteed income is a social good, Randian basic income is a bait-and-switch designed to punish poor folk.

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        X November 26, 2019 at 10:18 am

        What’s in the way of shutting down ‘bike chop shops’? Well, innocent until proven guilty, reasonable doubt, and a police force too busy to sort out low level offenders from people minding their own business in public.

        I don’t advocate changing the justice system because I don’t know how you might do it.

        How hard would it be to etch a common serial # on major components of a bike before it is shipped? Then any part of a bike that has been reported stolen becomes hot. I think some people would pay for this service as an upgrade. If the cops have enough information to make a case they’re more likely to follow up on things.

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          Matt S. November 28, 2019 at 7:47 pm

          I suspect many of these bikes in the chop shops aren’t being sold for cash but traded. Serial numbers don’t matter at that point…

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            X December 1, 2019 at 8:48 pm

            I rarely give anything to people on the street but have had the experience of offering something besides cash and being turned down. I’ve never seen a sign asking for some double pivot brakes or a fairly clean vintage derailleur.

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    Steve Scarich November 26, 2019 at 8:52 am

    I have friends who bike commute in Montreal, and they just laugh at me when I complain about riding a bike in Portland, Bend, or Eugene, all places that I have lived. Montreal is apparently just terrifying, with super-heavy traffic, clueless drivers. My friends use 4 or more blinky lights, just hoping drivers will see them. I did ride in Montreal for three days in 2002, and it was fine, but apparently it has gotten crazy since then.

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    Al November 26, 2019 at 10:20 am

    Best helmet: It was a bummer that Smith’s Network helmets were not evaluated. I wanted to see how these new interim layers protect. Bontrager’s Wavecel was represented and, while they did well, didn’t dominate the field.

    Since I was in the market for a new helmet and had a sizeable REI dividend burning a hole in my pocket this spring, I got the Bontrager Specter WaveCel. I’ve been very happy with the helmet except for the strap near the clasp which won’t hold it’s position after it leaves my head and requires me to adjust every time I put it on. Others who have this helmet didn’t experience this problem so maybe it’s something I’m doing?

    Anyway, after MIPS, Bontrager’s WaveCel and Smith’s Network are evidence of investment in a field which has suffered neglect for a while.

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    Al November 26, 2019 at 10:27 am

    Best helmet: Just realized that this is a 17 month old study, already reported on here before.

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    Johnny Bye Carter November 26, 2019 at 10:29 am

    Why are we still wasting money on these useless pedestrian countdown timers that have no legal standing? Make the walk signal longer, not the useless countdown that means nothing to anybody except expectant car drivers hoping they get to step on the gas soon.

    If they want to change the laws so that we can start crossing while the timer is still going then we’ll start making progress. Until then please stop wasting my money on these useless things.

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      q November 26, 2019 at 6:53 pm

      Is that the law, that (if I understand you) you can’t start across once the timer starts? I like the timers as a pedestrian, because I like knowing how much time there is before the light changes. The ideal situation to me is to have timers, and the law stating that you can start across at any time as long as you get across before the light changes. If the law doesn’t allow starting across once the timer starts, then that does seem to negate their value substantially.

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      • Hello, Kitty
        Hello, Kitty November 26, 2019 at 7:06 pm

        I believe the law is that once the white person goes away, you can’t enter the crosswalk. Whether there is a countdown or a flashing orange person is of no consequence.

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    GlowBoy November 26, 2019 at 10:58 am

    “Your move, Portland” implies Montreal has pulled ahead of Portland with their pedestrian-crossing improvements. It’s Montreal that is playing catch-up. According to the article, the new signal timing standards will allow for a crossing speed of 1.1 meters per second at most intersections, and 0.9m/s where seniors, children and hospital patients are expected.

    Guess what? Those are approximately the same as US nationwide standards adopted in the 2009 Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices: 3.5 feet/sec at most intersections, 3.0 f/s near hospitals, schools and elder care facilities. The 2009 standard also calls for countdown timers everywhere (which is why you started seeing them around 2009).

    It takes quite a few years for some cities to convert everything, but that the above standards been the law of the land – not just in Portland – for a decade now. I don’t remember seeing any pedestrian crossings in Portland without countdown timers recently; I would be even more surprised if there are still any crossings programmed for the pre-2009 speed of 4 ft/sec.

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      X November 26, 2019 at 6:52 pm

      Portland has a few steps to take, for instance making pedestrians wait through a full light cycle after pushing a beg button when no cars have tripped the signal in the same direction. A person walking is sometimes queued further back than they would be if they pulled up in a car.

      It’s kind of appalling the way PBOT treats people trying to cross a street.

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        GlowBoy December 1, 2019 at 12:26 pm

        That is correct, but unfortunately still MUTCD-compliant, and still not behind Montreal.

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    TempeB November 26, 2019 at 12:46 pm

    Having spent 20 years in Tempe, there are at least 1000 residents who cannot afford cars, this ‘development’ might excite out-of-town investors but is just higher rents for the folks who are already barely scraping by daily.

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    tweedpdx November 27, 2019 at 2:39 pm

    David Hampsten
    And it is in fact an acronym that uses all-caps on their logo: AMerican railroad TRAcKs, as it owns the mainline electrified railroad tracks between DC and Boston and rents them out to commercial freight trains for a profit, rather than its official title of the National Railroad Passenger Corporation.Recommended 0

    [ pedant ]
    Amtrak is not an acronym, but a portmanteau. According to le Wikipedia: The name Amtrak is a portmanteau of the words America and trak, the latter itself a sensational spelling of track.
    [ / pedant ]

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    Matthew in PDX November 28, 2019 at 3:46 am

    I favor eliminating most/all free street parking. If we were to introduce residential parking permits more broadly, there should certainly be limits per household/address.

    I am skeptical about the NYC proposal, however. When I lived in NYC, the group that had the most access to street parking were city employees that had parking placards issued by their employers that enabled them to park in places where other plebs couldn’t, and did not require them to adhere to time limits or to feed meters. Michael Bloomberg drastically reduced the availability of these during his tenure as mayor, but Bill de Blasio rapidly expanded it as a thank you to public employee unions for supporting his candidacy. And the NYPD would park anywhere, anytime with impunity, including in bicycle lanes. I was bitching about this one day and a NYC teacher said that they deserved them because they were paid poorly (this is a joke, they have great salaries, medical benefits, TENURE, and a great inflation proof pension plan).

    Now I don’t object to providing priority parking to those city employees that have a demonstrated need for parking access – I am thinking of Child Protective Services workers and social workers making calls all day. If city employees need parking at their place of employment, the city should either include off street parking in the design of the workplace, or rent it from commercial garages.

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    GNnorth November 28, 2019 at 10:58 am

    NRPC (National Rail Passenger Corporation)=Amtrak. Beset with PC (Penn Central) mismanagement from it’s inception in ’71 the whole system has been sliding downhill continually since day one. I was trying to avoid this thread from the moment it came out but having one of my best friends retire as the #2 man in conductors there is a lot of history between myself and the organization. So many great people work in Amtrak, but as we all know our love affair with the automobile hasn’t helped it get to a “better place”. Parroting the warped conservative mantra of “it will make money” is disappointing to see here, and reinforces the continual hype that there isn’t a need to fund fully, and that philosophy invariably winds it way to other forms of transportation (cough cough, cycling…).

    Richard Andersen seems hell-bent on destroying the long-distance network at all the expense of one single corridor, the NEC. Anyone supporting this crazy idea and then equally espousing talk for the “small guy” out in the rural areas that the SW Chief, or Starlate stop at aren’t in touch with reality. Amtrak was designed to fail from the start since all the Class 1’s wanted out, and they almost finally have their wish near;ly five decades later.

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