The way we use our streets has changed dramatically in the past few weeks. Unfortunately the streets themselves haven’t changed at all.
Instead of enacting simple and proven measures to improve conditions, PBOT and Commissioner Eudaly are keeping the status quo and hiding from reality.
In a lengthy update just published by Commissioner Chloe Eudaly’s transportation bureau, the agency lists many things they’re doing in response to the crisis. However none of them address the most pressing mobility issue we face right now: Portlanders don’t have enough space to maintain a healthy social distance while outdoors.
People are afraid to use transit and are turning to bikes instead. Parks and trails and other outdoor facilities have been closed to limit the spread of COVID-19. Many people are working from home and are riding and walking in their neighborhoods with their kids. People are flocking to the sidewalks and streets like never before. As The Oregonian reported today, this creates a situation where, “Making the mandatory six feet of social distance – required by Oregon Gov. Kate Brown at all public spaces – an extremely difficult task.”
It doesn’t have to be this way.
With car use at all-time lows, we have a tremendous amount of excess road capacity. Our streets represent thousands of acres of public space that could be put to emergency use to ensure healthy mobility for all Portlanders — from the central city to the eastern city limits.
But instead of enacting simple and proven measures to seize this opportunity and improve conditions, PBOT and Commissioner Eudaly are keeping the status quo and hiding from reality.
As if to simply wish the problem away, in the headline of their message today, PBOT writes, “Governor’s order to restrict travel only to essential trips is mandatory.”
Not only does the Governor’s order lack enforcement, it includes exceptions for, “Outdoor activities like walking your dog, jogging, or biking in your neighborhood.” And the City of Portland’s own website says it’s OK to, “Exercise outside (hiking, biking) only if you can be 6 feet apart from others.” Commissioner Eudaly herself contradicted this guidance when she shared a link to accessible nature trails on her Facebook page last week with the message, “Getting out in nature, while safely social distancing, is essential for everyone.”
“Getting out in nature” is very difficult for many Portlanders right now. It’s also discouraged by park agencies. For many people, the closest to nature they can get right now is the street in front of their home or apartment. We should make it safer for them to do so.
Our streets are a lifeline right now, providing a vital mental and physical boost to many Portlanders. But they’re either too dangerous or too crowded because car drivers hold most of the space hostage. While some might think the nearly-empty streets are already safe for bikers and walkers, most people have such a deeply ingrained fear of drivers that even empty streets are stressful.
Also in the mix of this issue is the fact that dangerous driving and speeding is way up. Why? Because our streets are so out of balance some drivers feel it’s a good time to go fast and take chances. All the more reason to re-claim unused space.
We don’t need more hopes and prayers from PBOT leaders. We need direct actions to break the grip drivers have on our streets. We need temporary lane reconfigurations that reduce access for drivers and increase access for people on foot, bike, and those using mobility devices. We need “shared street” signage in strategic places. We need to consider driving bans on certain streets. We need “Healthy Street, Healthy Portland” yard signs.
Many other cities around the country and globe have taken steps to create healthier streets during the pandemic. Portland needs to follow suit. We should not force people who want or need to ride a bicycle to choose between a deadly virus in a crowded area or a deadly collision on a street.
With the proper tone (somber and serious), framing (it’s a critical step to ensure public health and safety), and implementation (lean on community help, use existing plans and route analyses), I know we can do this.
PBOT thinks so too, they just don’t want to do it right now.
At the end of their statement today, PBOT wrote “We’ve started to develop ideas for how streets, sidewalks and other parts of the public right-of-way could be reimagined to support social distancing after the current ‘Stay Home. Save Lives’ order is lifted.” They’re asking for ideas at Active.Transportation@portlandoregon.gov.
It’s great that Commissioner Eudaly and PBOT are open to changes. But their reluctance to take steps now is a huge missed opportunity.
— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and firstname.lastname@example.org
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Wonderful article. Mr. Maus couldn’t have phrased it any better than “a huge missed opportunity”.
Great time to raise taxes too, to pay for all these improvements, especially gas taxes, water rates and income tax, since there’s no sales tax in Oregon and property tax increases are so restricted.
“Great time to raise taxes too, to pay for all these improvements, especially gas taxes, water rates and income tax, since there’s no sales tax in Oregon and property tax increases are so restricted.”
Have you asked all the Portlanders who have lost their jobs and are struggling to pay rent and buy food if it is a great time to raise taxes?
Fun fact: in nearly all states with sales tax, essentials like groceries, medicines, and utilities are not taxed, nor are used items you might buy on craiglist. Low-income people generally pay very little sales tax in absolute terms, and high-income people pay the vast majority of the tax because they buy more discretionary “stuff” day to day. Sales tax can also be set up in combination with a tax credit so that people could have the first X% of sales tax exempted. There are lots of ways to make it more progressive and deal with those kinds of concerns. A very high sales tax or value-added tax is how every modern country other than the US is able to finance their generous welfare states, which give them more resiliency in times of crisis like we’re in now, because consumption taxes are broad-based and generate massively more revenue than more narrowly targeted tax schemes, and with less impact on each person paying the tax.
Another good reason for a sales tax. Oregon is a tourist state. Let tourists help pay the bills.
The research I have seen (including some specific to Oregon I can’t put my finger on right now) indicates it is very hard to make sales tax a viable, non-regressive tax for the simple reason that low-income people spend so much of their incomes on purchasing things. Exemptions and credits only make a sales tax less regressive.
“Neither exemptions nor credits are sufficient on their own to eliminate the unfairness that accompanies any state and local tax system relying heavily on the sales tax.”
A better option would be to get serious about property tax reform to make the system more equitable and even progressive perhaps by taxing land values to incentivize density, discourage speculation, and, in aggregate, minimize the ability of real estate investors to pass on costs to renters. The added revenue could be fund the ingredients of affordability communities.
Unless, of course, you are a low income home owner, in which case this would be a recipe for losing your house.
It’s also unclear what mechanism could be used to say the rent tenants pay cannot go toward property tax, or even why that would be a good thing.
Of course you are joking. ; )
Not saying Brown and Wheeler wouldn’t consider it.
Actually, no, I’m not joking. No one wants to pay for anything ever if they can avoid it, hence taxes. In general the best time to ask for increased taxes is during, not after, a major disaster. For those unemployed, as John rightly points out, a flat tax would be an added hardship, so any tax needs to be based income and use (gas, water, sewer) – the greater the income or use, the higher the rate – a set of progressive taxes in other words.
Great article, keep them coming and keep the pressure on. I live in NE and have been out walking and biking all over the last 3-4 weeks. It’s crazy how many more people are out and about. Awesome to see. The major NE Greenways like Klickitat, Going, Sacramento, Almeada, and Alberta (east of 42nd) are just begging to get some barriers to limit or exclude autos. Please Commissioner Eudaly, give the people what they want, a safe and fun place to be outside while following Governor Brown’s orders. It makes so much sense to do this that it seems like our leaders are purposely choosing not to do it for some reason that i can’t understand.
Well said! Regardless of what people think about street changes during non-pandemic times, it’s extremely clear that at the moment there is no need for the road capacity that we have, and that closing some lanes/streets to cars right now will save lives.
Given how fast many drivers are driving, it would seem to make enhanced separation techniques more important than ever, at least until drivers calm the hell down and stop driving like they’re trying to outrun the zombie horde.
No fear of enforcement whatsoever.
Ironic isn’t it? We shame each other into a house-arrest situation for weeks on end, never charged with a crime (let alone convicted), watching our neighbors’ every move (lest they be less than 6 feet from us), and so the anti-social drivers in our community now have free reign to act in civil disobedience at 70 mph, knowing full well that the police are scared stiff that anyone they stop may pass the virus directly to them.
I liked this idea a few weeks ago but understood why it wasn’t a priority in the early days of the pandemic. Now, however, given all the people out on foot and bike, and given that being outside safely is healthy for all of us, and given the increase in dangerous driving we’ve seen on many roads, and given that we might be in this situation for months, we really need Eudaly and PBOT to close some streets to cars to open them up for walking, biking, scootering, running, and more. It’s past time.
Which streets though? I mean, it’s easy to say let’s narrow down the streets because of dangerous driving, but we need to determine where that driving is happening…and whether or not those are frequented by pedestrians. Where I live in NoPo, I can hear cars tearing it up at night on Lombard and Columbia Ave, but those are not really heavily trafficked by pedestrians at night.
So which streets should be closed?
How about the neighborhood greenways to start. I live on NE 37 and it’s teeming with foot and bike traffic. I can’t count how many times I see people on each side walk and a third walker navigating down the middle of the road only to have to get out of the way for a car.
Well, maybe they could add some temporary additional diverters to greenways even if they won’t close them. And maybe they could close to non-local traffic other streets that aren’t greenways, especially in neighborhoods without a lot of greenways. I don’t know the system well enough to say what should close.
The terrible speeding going on is an indication of terrible road design of our arterials.
People are speeding because they will get away with it. It’s pretty simple. Apply the same enforcement level devoted to parking violations to “moving violations”. Commuting has never been so peaceful, btw.
Is it just me, or does the top photo look like 102nd Ave between Burnside and Glisan, and not 122nd Ave? I’ve only biked by there, like, 500 times or so when I lived there…
You would be correct sir. That is 102nd looking north.
Some speed cameras are now reporting more total speeding violations per day than before the pandemic. It seems like its not just the rate of speeding is higher, but the degree seems much worse. The normal consistent plus 10 mph now seems more like plus 20, plus 30 and up.
Buried in the PBOT news update was the following….
“There is little traffic at the moment and while Portlanders may be tempted to drive faster, they shouldn’t. The last thing needed at the moment is added pressure on our heath care workers from roadway injuries.”
Tempted? No I think its gone far beyond tempted at this point. PBOT do you seriously think just requesting people not speed is going to make any difference?
PBOT sends its hopes and prayers.
You confuse PBOT with the commissioner in charge.
Shelter in place people!! The more people outside increases the risking transmission. Perhaps the need to get outside should take a back seat to get a handle on this virus, especially if it seems that large groups are inadvertently forming. It’s quite selfish to be honest.
Um, just no. Both mental and physical health are important during this time period, and being outside is EXTREMELY important for many people’s (including my own) mental health. Not letting people recreate outside would, and I hate to say it, probably result in more deaths due to suicide and future health problems than it would prevent from virus transmission. All the more reason to allow people to SAFELY recreate, by giving them the currently-unused street space
Um, just yes (to Mikes comment). Every time you go outside, you increase the chance of killing an immunocompromised person. If you’re worried about mental and physical health, read a book and do some pushups. I don’t want my wife to die just because you feel bored. If you’re not getting groceries or going to an essential job, please stay inside and help save your neighbors lives.
It is extremely insulting that you think you know what is best for my mental health. Reading a book and doing pushups can help, sure, but I know, from my many years of experience in the world, that if I do not exercise regularly I will slip into depressions, not be able to sleep, and have dark thoughts that I won’t elaborate on here. Suffice to say, if I had to stay inside like that for 2 months, I probably wouldn’t survive the demons.
And when I go outside, I make sure I am responsible. If I see someone else coming down the sidewalk, I move into the street. If a place looks crowded, I will stay away. I’m usually a group runner, but I’ve gone on all my runs solo the past few weeks. I think we’re on the same page that anyone who doesn’t take such measures needs to correct their behavior.
So yes, stay inside as much as possible, but don’t dismiss the mental health needs health of others just because you know what’s best for YOUR health. It’s exactly akin to me dismissing an immunocompromised person’s need by not distancing from them, and not acceptable.
Front line workers still need to commute to work. They still need a safe way to get to work. Mike and Chris do you really want all the front line workers to stay home? I assume then you don’t want medical care if you need to go to the hospital. You probably also don’t need food delivered to and stocked in grocery stores, and okay fasting for two months. If your house catches on fire, I assume you are okay if nobody shows up to put out the fire. If your streets sewer line breaks and fills the street with sewage, I guess you are okay with nobody showing up to fix it. And if trash the collector does not show up for two months, the trash can just be dumped into the street on top of the lake of sewage?
Did you read all the way to the end of my post? Please re-read the last sentence.
So you only care about the safety of people exercising? You don’t care about the safety of front line workers?
Um, just yes!! Are you totally unaware of what’s going on? You think the inconvenience of staying inside will lead to more deaths than prevents transmission? Here’s a scenario for you. You have the virus but aren’t symptomatic yet. You get stir crazy so decide to go outside and leave a viral trail where ever you go, what ever you touch. That may or may not lead to others getting the virus. Some may get sick, some may not. Some may get sick enough to require hospitalization. Some may require a breathing tube(which aerosolizes the virus thus making it much easier to transmit). Health care workers are put at risk, their families are then put at risk. So yes, it’s a big friggin deal. Sorry you are bummed about not getting outside(a lot of thumbs up responses to your comment suggests others feel the same) but it’s not about YOU!!! It’s about a whole lot of other people you might be putting in harms way.
Did you even read my comment and the responses? I mentioned the need to SAFELY recreate outside; I think we’re in agreement that all the people who flocked Multnomah Falls or hang out in large groups are part of the problem.
This is a rare case where I disagree with you. While destinations like the esplanade are crowded, even during our best weather, I have found my neighborhood streets to be quiet and peaceful. While people may be driving like maniacs on collectors and arterials, I haven’t experienced that on residential streets. I have been walking on a nightly basis and have had no trouble avoiding others on foot or behind the wheel. The key is that I am walking on boring, local streets – not in parks or places with good views.
If the city were to shut down a few segments, it would create destinations. Rather than having people dispersed, everyone would congregate on those few streets. For example, NYC shut down 1.6 miles of their 6000+ miles of streets. I would much rather the city emphasize that people should take to ALL neighborhood streets on foot and bike, than they cherry pick a few segments, close them to cars, and open them up to increased risk of infection due to crowds congregating there.
We are actually in agreement. I haven’t proposed any specific measures. And in your comment you agree that it makes sense for the city to encourage folks to use n’hood streets on foot and bike. Same here!
There are a million ways to go about this. One of them would be for PBOT to get out the neighborhood greenway map, say anyone who lives on one can request a section to be “local access only” and then coordinate the pick-up of barricades or some other method of “closing” the streets.
Like I said, they already have a robust block party permit program in place. Seems like it could be quickly adapted to become a “Healthy Portland Healthy Streets” program.
I just cannot believe we have zero innovation, creativity or urgency from PBOT during this crisis. It’s so disappointing.
Maybe because this pandemic is consuming everyone’s energy? It seems odd to me that you are worried about block parties when social distancing seems to be working. Read some stories coming out of New York. It’s really, really scary.
“Worried about block parties” is a huge misinterpretation of my position.
I am merely suggesting that we use the existing program to allow people to create more safe space on n’hood streets.
And I read many stories every day abt the virus situation in NY and all over the world. I’m very well aware of what’s going on.
Have you read any of the many stories about how a more balanced distribution of road space is urgently needed given the massive shift in behaviors we’re seeing right now?
My focus/worry is getting a handle on the virus. We are not there yet and who knows how long it will take. I just think there is much bigger fish to fry than road usage. In my opinion it is a luxury item when compared to what’s going on. Jobs, the economy, health etc
This is one of the key disagreements that makes this issue so controversial… There are some people who see mobility and road usage as a “luxury item” (in your words) and others who see it as a basic right and necessity. In general, I feel like the former are against making changes and the latter are for making changes. I’m in the latter camp because IMO streets are public space and should be managed as such. I’ve believed that forever, long before the pandemic. And it’s even more important now IMO because there are so few people driving and many other public spaces have been closed.
Do you think PBOT has the bandwidth to work on this while they are also fixing jobs, the economy, and healthcare? I have found them a capable organization and can probably find a way to slot it in.
Besides, roadworks create jobs, and getting people outdoors and moving contributes to health in a number of ways, including, directly, bolstering the immune system.
We are several weeks into this and it will be at least several weeks more. PBOT was in crisis at first, but they have and can adjust to new reality. They are already doing other projects, striping and whatnot. The idea that they don’t have staff capacity to continue to provide a safe product to the public is really hard for me to accept. Again, this is a problem of lacking will. Eudaly and PBOT just don’t think making changes is a high priority right now. That is a fine opinion to have. I just don’t agree with it.
As a very smart commenter on this site has said, lane striping trucks can be driven by one person. One person can lay out some barricades. One person can design a new sign and allow people to print it out at home and post it on their lawns and near their homes. And so on.
In context to the older question, are we static in bicycle use? I keep wishing we were not held hostage to bike commuter data as a measure of bike use. I have seen the Tilikum counts the past three weekends be so much higher than earlier counts. The sunday before the exec order 20-12 the west bound count was 550 (SUNDAY!); normally on Sundays I see this number around 350 in the middle afternoon. Two Sundays it was near 500 about 3pm; and this past Sunday it was 390 or so near 1pm. Yesterday (Tuesday) it was 320s near noon. It would be great to count specific street not commuter routes and see if an increase in cyclists are out there over years. I can attest to NE Klickitat (33rd to 7th) as being a high bike corridor during the day this past two weeks with families not single riders (they were there too). I saw fewer pre 20-12 but compared to 5 yrs ago each summer I see more and more non-commuters on these streets in the NE.
This is a great time to count cyclists. It si a great time to create new methods of counting.
A second idea from UK, is to block off streets for kids to play from 8 to 5 in neighbor hoods with saw horses/blockages when we return toward employing people and increasing our economy. Let’s take over the street priorities for people and kids Z.
A big problem is the language around “essential” trips:
– Do you want to get take-out food from a restaurant? Okay – that’s considered essential. Gotta feed yourself.
– Do you want to shop for home-maintenance supplies at Home Depot? All right – that’s essential also.
– Do you want to get together with your extended family? Sure – “caring for your family” is also considered essential.
– Ran out of chips and beer? Grocery shopping is essential, and those are groceries.
– Feeling stressed out? Your trip to the cannabis dispensary is essential!
– Need to go for a hike at a natural area? Drive there – it’s essential!
The policy has a carve-out for so many businesses and uses that it’s almost meaningless. People are driving less not b/c they want to drive less but b/c there are just fewer places to go (schools closed, many people working from home, etc).
I think PBOT is reluctant to change the streets and then have cars come flooding back suddenly. PBOT won’t be able to take the barriers down fast enough and drivers will be pissed off. (Not saying I agree with their reasoning but I think that is their reasoning.)
It seems highly unlikely that one day we’ll be in full lockdown, and the next day everyone is going back to work. It seems quite likely that there will be a graduated return to “business as usual”, which would give PBOT plenty of time to pick up their cones.
Eudaly has either made a political calculation that if she does this, she won’t get re-elected, or just sees bicycling the way ODOT does. Perhaps both. Either way, she is not a friend of cycling.
Nice to know that good old PBOT is “starting to develop ideas” as surrogate for actually doing something useful and necessary now.
Here is an idea that could be implemented immediately utterly without development: sack all the planners and other time-servers that have made very good livings doing nothing but amplifying their own grossly inflated self-importance instead of accomplishing the revolution in transportation that we actually need.
Oh yes! VZ. How is that working now?
COMMENT OF THE CENTURY.
Accountability in government for abject failure is such a novel concept!
You both confuse the commissioner in charge for PBOT.
In your informed opinion, is this something that Eudaly could make happen if she wanted to?
This closing of public spaces has gone too far. The importance of immune health and mental health are being ignored. Any sensible government would tread lightly with these kind of restrictions, because they cannot practically be enforced and they risk doing more harm than good. This article states the case very clearly I think:
Once we have things under control (which might be now, for all I know — things seem pretty manageable here), we’ll want to loosen the restrictions somewhat to strike the right balance of keeping the virus spread slow enough to not overwhelm hospitals, but fast enough that we can get back to consuming as quickly as possible.
I see no prospect that a vaccine will be developed soon enough to save us, so I think we’re going to need to rely on post-infection herd immunity to get us out of lockdown, which requires a controlled rate of viral spread.
I think opening the parks would be logical in the near future.
Hear hear! In fact, I think the closures of many public spaces are doing more harm than good. For example, all the people who’d be hiking on middle-of-nowhere trails where you might not see a single soul all day in the Mt. Hood National Forest with zero infection risk are now instead taking walks on their neighborhood streets, potentially infecting multiple people. Such incredibly short-sighted moves…
David, have you considered a BIASED INCOME TAX?
It works like this:
Everyone gets an exemption, of say $10,000.
If one earns less than that, say $6,000, one would receive half of the difference, $4,000/2 = $2,000, from the taxing authority, total income thus being $8,000.
If one earns exactly $10,000, one gets no support nor pays any taxes.
If one makes more than $10,000, one pays taxes on the excess, at either a fixed or progressive rate. Fixed rate actually would not be so bad, were it set high enough, for it would eliminate all the bracket jockying that goes on under the present scheme.
Another advantage would be that low earners always have incentive to work more and earn more.
Also, this would be much simpler and more effective than the patchwork of social programs we have now.
MEDICARE FOR ALL would still be essential.
The noble Richard Nixon tried to sell this way back. Go Tricky Dick!
Income tax, by itself, does NOT provide stable revenue: every time Oregon has a recession (like now), income-tax revenue plummets at the same time the demand for gov’t services skyrockets.
A consumption tax, like a sales tax (or tax on goods and services, or value-added tax), provides a stable revenue stream b/c everyone needs to consume to stay alive. It can be adjusted and means-tested, etc.
Going back to Oregon’s failed system of taxation – even tweaking it here and there – isn’t going to fix anything. Oregon needs a sales tax. Get those thousands and millions of tourists to pay their fair share.
Oregon needs a carbon tax.
Jim, I currently live in NC, where in fact we do have a $10,000 standard deduction on our (already low) income tax. After the first $10,000 which is tax free, our rate is a flat tax of 5.25%.
Unfortunately, we are one of those rare states that have sales tax on food (2%), though it is lower that our general sales tax (6.75% in my community – it varies across the state.) One year, in a fit of curiosity, I figured out that my combined payments of sales tax plus my income tax here in NC was just a smidgen lower than my income tax when I lived in Oregon – and I’m a very low-income individual, even with my rent not being taxed. Our sales taxes go to pay for highways, while our tobacco settlement funds and gas tax pays for our universities.
I’m afraid I do in fact miss Tricky Dick, even though I was just a little kid when he was president. I miss Ford too.
… and to add insult to injury, we are one of 12 states without Medicare/Medicaid for poor people; it’s just for elderly, disabled, and diabetics. We also have the lowest unemployment benefits in the country. On the plus side, outside of our two main metropolitan areas and a couple touristy spots, NC is an amazingly cheap place to live.
The City Club is holding a debate tonight for council position 4, which is Eudaly’s seat. You can ask her a question about bike/pedestrian safety issues in the age of corona virus. Check it out here; https://www.pdxcityclub.org/calendar/?eid=12706
right now is a GREAT opportunity to scrap the disastrous proposed changes to Greeley. The proposed changes include WIDER lanes for cars and trucks on a stretch of road that has median speeds of OVER 55 mph in each direction- there was family killed here in a minivan. The bike improvements are way too narrow! Less than 5′ (factoring in shy-distance) on a long, steep hill for something that will be painted as a 2-way bike path but is also supposed accommodate pedestrians and joggers- but with no space? And that is the good section that only runs 2/3’s the distance!! The remaining 1/3 is on an unimproved concrete walkway that is slightly less than 10′ wide. That is 10 feet for 2-way bikes and pedestrians!! And it actually gets worse- all of the bike traffic, northbound and southbound, no have to navigate trail-sidewalk (Interstate Ave)0- ramp-bike lane in a series of 90-degree turns in a narrow space shared with peds. Ultimately, the southbound bike will make a hard right turn from a sidewalk into a 5′ wide bike lane at the bottom of a hill- so in front of bikes traveling fast and adjacent to cars traveling really fast. That concrete walkway is currently the access a large homeless camp, the residents currently have 4 vehicles (car, truck van, etc). It is also used for trash pick up, to service portapotties, and by people dropping off donations.
PBOT could do so many to improve this. The best would be to remove a lane, or even 2 lanes to slow down the speeding, dangerous motor vehicles. They could add a barrier-protected bus/bike lane for northbound bikes. Instead of adding the bike signal at Going/Greeley, they could add a signal at the entrance to 405, and instead of a slip lane, it could be rebuilt as a right-turn entrance. Or close the sliplane from westbound Going to Greeley AND the slip lane from southbound Greeley to 405; trucks can use Going to I-5, this is redundant and unnecessary. At a minimum, PBOT needs to add a separate 6′ wide space for peds upgrade the existing concrete walkway to accommodate peds and make a safe connection to Interstate Ave for 2-way bike traffic.
PBOT concedes that once this improvement is completed, it will not be looked at again for decades. NOW is the time to stop this travesty and demand improvements that are in line with VZ and climate change goals
Has Jonathan reported on this change? I’d love to know more.
Oh wait: I should have checked before I hit “post.” Jonathan has been all over this story:
But I don’t think a disaster – even something like a pandemic – could ever stop PBOT from delivering this gift with a cherry on top to the freight community, just as nothing can stop ODOT from delivering the Rose Qtr project to that same constituency. They have the money and the power and the influence – cyclists don’t.
It’s not a change to the project, he’s referring to the fact that the project will change lane widths… making them wider for drivers than they currently are. It was a compromise by PBOT for the trucking lobby on Swan Island, whose weight-mile taxes are paying for part of the project. And I guess PBOT’s thinking is that with concrete barrier protection, truckers can drive even faster because… who cares right?
Opinion | The Magic of Empty Streets – The New York Times
Yep. That story is being shared all over the place. It says people on bikes need 20 meters (over 60 feet of space) to pass safely.
If it’s still OK to ride bikes (which it is, according to Governor’s order), then we need a lot more space to do it. Oh and guess what? We have the space because no one’s driving!
There’s plenty of fog of war and I think CFD experts can contribute to our understanding. That said, there is no study here, nothing is peer-reviewed, and theories of transmissibility are ignored.
There are experts in all kinds of fields saying all kinds of things. Most of us (especially me) lack the expertise to decide which experts we ought to be listening to. While peer review and scientific consensus have many problems, it’s the best thing we have to sort out the wheat from the chaff. Rather than “viral” Medium articles.
But, I get it. I’ve shared some Medium articles to folks myself, by non-epidemiologists no less. Scientific consensus takes too long to coalesce, and time is of essence. But we need to couch these things in caveats.
Yeah, good thoughts. I’ve noticed – and personally experienced – that consensus, even with scientists*, happens much more quickly with existential motivation, especially when they/we/you&I are ones whose existence is threatened. It also looks to me as though humans at large are in an environment of overwhelming input to informed decisions of all sorts (the internet is a factor in my thoughts, there). Somehow, things like noticing the crystalline structure of a single snowflake while tied to a mountain in the midst of a blizzard, or picking out the back-up horn player’s riffs in an amplified rock concert, are things that humans manage to do of their own volition. I wonder if it’s possible, in the current crescendo of events in the human world, that some significant “we” can, as you say, manage to separate the wheat from the chaff and actually arrive at broadly consensual visions to guide us toward more harmony?
(*I tend to view all people as embodying various aspects of science, art, etc, rather than treating those words as isolating characteristics.)