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The Monday Roundup: Congestion eradicated, respect for bicycling, spreading cheer, and more

Posted by on March 30th, 2020 at 10:13 am

Here are the most noteworthy items the BikePortland community came across in the past seven days…

$114 billion for transportation: Here’s a good breakdown of transportation funding within the $2 trillion coronavirus bill signed by the president on Friday.

R-E-S-P-E-C-T: Bike shop owners and employees nationwide are feeling the love from authorities and the public as many states and cities have deemed them “essential businesses.”

Cycling is essential too: CityLab has a good roundup of actions from cities responding to a boom in bicycling amid coronavirus restrictions.

Cities’ golden opportunity: There’s growing sentiment even outside advocacy circles that now is a great time for city leaders to reduce driving access and create safer, more equitable streets.

TDM on steroids: Traffic counting experts say we might soon completely eradicate congestion in cities thanks to measures put in place by cities that encourage less driving.

Bike rider testing: New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell says bicycle riders are welcome at the city’s new “drive-thru” coronavirus testing facilities (links to Facebook).

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Bike business boom: In cities across America, people are realizing that bicycles are the most resilient and desirable way to get around during the pandemic, and bike shops are seeing a rise in customers as a result.

Speeding fills the void: Statistics from New York City confirm that when most drivers have more space on the road they will always use it to go faster and drive more recklessly.

Spreading cheer: A school teacher from Vancouver, Washington is dressing up and cycling through her student’s neighborhoods to cheer them up during the lockdown.

Corporations and climate change: Go inside a meeting of fossil fuel industry leaders as they dish about how to make money off of climate change.

The power of cities: Covid-19 has led to a debate about cities vs suburbia. Micromobility expert Horace Dediu thinks, “the cohabitation, the collaboration, the concentrated conurbation,” inherent in cities will make them even stronger on the other side.

Don’t call it a bailout: The pandemic is killing transit across America, while highlighting the value of biking and walking networks. These modes should be boosted as part of a comprehensive Green New Deal for Transportation, a plan just released by TransitCenter, Transportation for America, Data for Progress and the Ian L. McHarg Center for Urbanism and Ecology.

Trumpism and road deaths: Safe streets advocates raised eyebrows last week when President Trump argued for relaxing the coronavirus response because we don’t prohibit driving even though it kills thousands of people a year.

Watch Stephen Colbert try to fix a flat:

The Tour de Quarantine is must-see TV:

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

Colbert has quite the SUV as a backdrop for his video!

CaptainKarma
Guest
CaptainKarma

It’s almost as if he wanted us to notice it…

Middle of the Road Guy
Subscriber
Middle of the Road Guy

Time to boycott his show.

todd.boulanger
Guest
todd.boulanger

Ms. Hello, KItty, … that big SUV is likely one of Colbert’s staffer’s …I doubt he drives much anymore…assuming he still has a DL (being based in NYC): a wild unfounded assumption on my part. Or his blog is sponsored by…

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

I’ll bet it’s his (or his wife’s), but that he also has a driver (or pilot) (who brings his/her own vehicle) for going into the city.

bendite
Guest
bendite

Who cares about his SUV? Did you see the angle of his seat? Cancel Colbert

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

What’s going on? First Musk, and now Trump admitting that driving is dangerous? Are the leaders of capitalism losing control of their figureheads?

El Biciclero
Guest
El Biciclero

Funny how dangerous cars become only when we want to downplay the danger of something else. Yet the danger is always an unavoidable “cost of doing business”.

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

It is, literally, a “cost of doing business”. There are things we could do to make roads safer (like lower the speed limit), that would literally be a tradeoff between safety and cost. (There are other things we could do, like mandate safer front grills (thinking of the one on Colbert’s vehicle here) that would be a tradeoff between safety and “freedom of expression” or whatever.)

Which tradeoffs are worthwhile is something different people with different values are going to evaluate differently.

El Biciclero
Guest
El Biciclero

Yes, they are a cost. I should have put more emphasis on the mostly false “unavoidable” claim.

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

It would probably be clearer if they said “unavoidable at acceptable cost” to be more explicit about what they meant.

q
Guest
q

It wasn’t that long ago that deaths of child factory workers, or construction workers getting killed due to lack of safety lines or hardhats, or apartment dwellers dying in fires due to having only one exit and no sprinklers, or drivers dying from having no seat belts, were also costs of doing business.

Chris I
Guest
Chris I

It seems odd to me that two similarly out-of-touch billionaires have similar positions on the deaths of tens-of-thousands of peasants each year. Hey, as long as the stocks keep going up, who cares, right?

Jim Lee
Guest
Jim Lee

Colbert cheated.

He did not show the hard part, SQUEEZING the tire/tube back on over the rim.

Probably he used the screwdriver to lever it back on, which is a real no-no.

Matt
Guest
Matt

Given that he hasn’t ridden the bike in a while, he seems to have skipped the correct first step: Just pump the tire up and see if it holds air. He didn’t even find his pump until he had removed the old tube, which makes me think he just needed to pump it up and go for a ride. Of course, that wouldn’t have been much of a video.

Chris I
Guest
Chris I

Millionaires don’t use patch kits.

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

Nor do bike shop employees, who are rarely millionaires.

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

Not even on their own tubes. It’s in the union contract, along with the clause forbidding saving reflectors from wheels that get replaced.

Jim
Guest
Jim

Hey Hello, Kitty – this is not true, and thanks for taking a cr@p on shop employees at a time when many of us are out of work. Please don’t give me the “only joking” reply, which is simply a refuge for cowards. Why make mean jokes?

Sometimes I swear you come on here just to troll. And then once every few months (years?) I read a comment of yours that is really smart and insightful. Makes it worse to know you have it in you.

Fred
Guest
Fred

Jim, you have such rare insight into the human soul. 😉

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

I was neither “joking” nor “cr@pping”. I was pointing out that using a new tube rather than patching an old one is not a class issue.

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

I agree, but like any repair vs replace decision, it comes down to time vs. money, and new tubes are cheap.

Jim
Guest
Jim

You were not originally writing “that using a new tube rather than patching an old one is not a class issue”. You were making lazy, barbed, sweeping generalizations, that bike shop mechanics don’t patch tubes, ” even on their own tubes”, and that they also are never “saving reflectors from wheels that get replaced”.

I’ve worked in bike shops for most of this millennium. Many employees personally patch tubes. And many do not Also, spending huge amounts of time around bikes and people on low incomes/working class people, my experience is that it IS a class issue. There are large numbers of people who rely on bikes who cannot afford $8 for a new tube. They patch because of necessity. What experience or knowledge do you base your generalizations and stereotypes on?

You know what? Forget it. It’s pointless trying to engage with internet comments. We all just like to dig at each other ad infinitum. I was planning not to come back to this thread, but I was bored and it’s enticing and I’m just as guilty of yelling at clouds as anyone. I wish we would all go do something that’s actually constructive instead.

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

It was a generalization (like the comment I was responding to), but it doesn’t seem particularly barbed. I’ve just never seen a mechanic patch a tube. Maybe some do. (And I love my non-patching, reflector chucking local bike shop, so no negative feelings there.) Either way, it’s not a personal indictment. And while my sample size is (very) small, I do personally know more millionaires who patch their tubes than replace them. I think that decision is driven by personality more than economics. If I were a millionaire, I’d still patch.

But we don’t need to overanalyze it — I’ve still got 4 months before my next good comment is due. I should probably get back to work on it!

Champs
Guest
Champs

The mind boggles at rationalizing speeding to “care for elderly family members or [purchase] basic survival necessities.” When minutes matter, there’s 911. Now more than ever, time (unlike life) is not such a rare commodity.

Fred
Guest
Fred

True dat, Champs. But opportunists will use any disaster to make a case for whatever it is they want, whether or not it makes any actual sense.

Also, if you ever spent any time in Staten Island, you would want to leave. Immediately.

Alain LeTourneau
Guest
Alain LeTourneau

“Speeding fills the void”… so true! Cycling amid these new conditions has positives and negatives related to automobile traffic and shared space. While I can generally get places faster, and enjoy the cleaner air, the cars I do encounter are also moving faster, and often distracted.

Chris I
Guest
Chris I

Agreed. I have noticed less “F-U” type driving, where the driver intentionally drives close or does something to mess with me. I’m not sure if this is because fewer people are driving to work? Maybe I’ve just been lucky.

rain panther
Guest
rain panther

Was there supposed to be an article about how far to ride behind another bike rider?

Alan 1.0
Subscriber
rain panther
Guest
rain panther

Thanks! Think I saw that the other day, actually. It’s sort of a handy graphic.

Dave
Guest
Dave

Colbert could use an Oregon product–aKool Stop tire jack!

Jim Lee
Guest
Jim Lee

Colbert probably pays someone to drive him around in the Caddy.

David Hampsten
Guest

$114 Billion for Transportation: True, it’s mostly going for airlines and airports, but there’s also $13.8 Billion extra for 5307 funding, which is what my community uses to buy electric buses. There’s a bit over a Billion for Amtrak too. Maybe even something for light rail?

David Hampsten
Guest

Cities’ Golden Opportunity: While I agree in principal that now is the best time to remake our streets safer for all users (and not just car drivers), my own city pointed out the obvious: Given a 6-foot social distancing for all people, how are you going to get a bunch of germaphobic city workers to physically implement those changes using machines that require them to work side-by-side? It just can’t be done.

Jason
Guest
Jason

This is the only truly compelling argument against infrastructure changes right now. And it also happens to be the sort of thing that is obvious in retrospect, but probably didn’t cross that many minds initially. Well spotted, in other words.

Dave
Guest
Dave

Hello, Kitty
Not even on their own tubes. It’s in the union contract, along with the clause forbidding saving reflectors from wheels that get replaced.Recommended 3

Sorry, shop owners and mechanics didn”t spec single use fasteners on wheel reflectors. Also, many of may be suckers but not enough to warranty a tube patch–a tube we’ll warranty sometimes, though.