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The Monday Roundup: End traffic stops, racist urban planning, free bike share, and more

Posted by on June 15th, 2020 at 10:55 am

Here are the most notable items our community came across in the past seven days…

Police and traffic laws: Traffic stops are the most common way Americans interact with law enforcement, that’s why we must question the role armed police officers play in them.

End traffic stops: Jalopnik outlines a compelling argument for why we should just end traffic stops altogether.

Racism and urban planning: Streetsblog Chicago shared a recap of a roundtable of leading Black voices who shared personal and professional insights into how to make urban planning less racist.

Violence with vehicles: As protests continue to take over streets nationwide, Slate addresses the very important topic of people who are ramming their cars into protestors.

Arrested for walking: Two Black teenagers were arrested and forced to the ground because they they were walking in the street. The officers were White.

Bicycles and the protests: “Transportation issues are social-justice issues,” says this essay in The New Yorker that surveys how bicycles are being used in Black Lives Matter protests around the country (and links to a BikePortland story!).

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Vehicular violence in the ‘Couv: A 28-year-old woman was standing in her driveway on Saturday when a driver failed to control their SUV and ran over her. The woman died and the incident is under investigation.

Trek Bikes speaks: Under fire for selling bikes to police agencies that use them as weapons against Black Lives Matter protesters, Trek called the practice “abhorrent” and vowed to create 1,000 jobs for people of color (among other things).

Transit truths: Two highly noted urban transportation advocates say fears of catching Covid-19 on transit aren’t backed up by research.

Free bike share: A Canadian news outlet ponders whether a free public bike share system similar to one in a major Chinese city would work in North America.

Video of the Week: Organizers say it might be the largest mass skate event in Portland history. Over 1,000 people took part in an even to support the Black Lives Matter movement

— 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 welcoming of all perspectives. Disagreements are encouraged, but only if done with tact and respect. BikePortland is an inclusive company with no tolerance for discrimination or harassment including expressions of racism, sexism, homophobia, or xenophobia. 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

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BikeRound
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BikeRound

The idea of ending traffic stops has to be literally the dumbest idea I have ever heard. Traffic stops have made us immeasurably safer. If drunk driving is a problem now, how much bigger of a problem would it be if drunk drivers knew that there is zero chance of getting caught? If speeding is a major issue, can you imagine the absolute insanity that would prevail on our roads if we didn’t have at least the limited enforcement that we have currently?

cmh89
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cmh89

I’ve said it before and I’ll probably say it thousands of times more, but it is truly crazy that you can completely lose control of your vehicle and walk away without a citation. People flip their cars on urban streets and still don’t get a citation.

How do you commit vehicular manslaughter and walk away completely fine.

Good god

David Hampsten
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Free Bike Share: We all know what happens when free bikes are offered to the community in Portland (Yellow Bike Program) – no one values it and the bikes get thrown into the Willamette River. There’s something in our American brains that we only value what we have to pay for, and the more we pay, the more we value it.

jonno
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jonno

On the idea of removing the traffic stop from enforcement – we have so many unexplored technology options to simply reduce the physical ability to operate vehicles lawlessly on the roads:

– When I have Waze up on my phone for navigation, it knows how fast I’m going and warns me when I go over the local limit. Why are new cars not being built with geofenced speed governors as standard equipment? If granular street-level accuracy is too much to ask, then why is any vehicle allowed to travel over, say, 55 mph within the city limits of Portland? 75mph anywhere in the state other than a racetrack?

– Auto theft, drunk driving, unlicensed operators – I have to log into my phone to use it, providing either a PIN, facial recognition, fingerprint…I can’t use it without proving that I have authorization to use it. If I leave a comment on a website, my IP is captured. Why can any fool with a key or knowledge of how to break an ignition, use any vehicle anonymously?? We need vehicle operator authentication. Suspended license? Not authorized to use the vehicle? Vehicle no start, vehicle calls home.

– Speed cameras, duh. And by authenticating the driver, nobody can argue that they weren’t driving the vehicle at the time the pic was taken.

– Registration, insurance, tags, that sort of thing. If I don’t pay my credit card bill the bank will shut it off. We can’t come up with something to make vehicles inoperable when owners don’t pay their fair share?

I practically have to show a freakin’ passport to get on an airplane, manage all host of passwords to access my online accounts, etc etc etc. Why can’t we apply the same authentication + security thinking to driving vehicles?

Freedom, liberty, gubmint overreach yadda yadda yadda.

Why is there such a different expectation of privacy and autonomy for our vehicles? None of the above would reduce anyone’s freedom to travel wherever they want, whenever they want. We’d just all be doing it more safely.

David Hampsten
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Question Jonathan: Where is the write up and link to the article on your headline image “What’s Needed to address anti-black racism in urban planning?”

Dave
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Dave

The driveway murder north of Vancouver? Not surprising. In semi-rural areas it can safely and reasonably be assumed that anyone is driving at least 25% over posted speed limits. Clark County and the greater Vantucky area’s regional gov’t have no concern whatsoever for the life of anyone not inside of an automobile, absolutely none. I dare anyone from city or county government to prove otherwise.

GlowBoy
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GlowBoy

I’m be eagerly following any developments in our understanding of how COVID is spread by mass transit. Early in the pandemic I accepted the common wisdom that of course packing people into transit vehicles would spread the virus, so it’s interesting to hear that it may not be as big a problem as I thought. Is this because we’re running vehicles below capacity and mandatorily wearing masks? Are the ventilation systems on buses and trains really good?

It will be good to know this because when people were dying in the hallways of overloaded New York hospitals, anti-urbanists really used mass transit as a blunt instrument to claim that everything we were doing to reduce fossil fuel use was dangerous and unhealthy. Nevermind that before the pandemic, suburbanites packed into restaurants, bars, stadiums, offices and schools at the same rate as urbanites. Nevermind that Brooklyn and Queens, less densely populated than Manhattan (but with more people per average housing unit, and overall poorer populations with worse healthcare access) had higher infection and death rates. Nevermind that San Francisco, with similar density to NYC, was not experiencing the same horrors. And nevermind that no one in places like Portland, Seattle or Minneapolis is proposing NYC levels of density.

The unrelenting message from the Right was that any attempt to incrementally increase density puts us all at risk; suburbs and cars will save us all, and living in apartments and riding mass transit is unhygienic. Even I bought into the latter part of that. So if transit isn’t that much of a risk, I’d like to understand why. If we can save most of our transit systems when six weeks ago they looked moribund, we should try.

oliver
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oliver

I remember when we talked about traffic speed on our neighborhood streets as a quality of life issue. Wasn’t that quaint?

qqq
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qqq

The Jaywalking Arrest article is incredibly sad. Tulsa creates a neighborhood with patchy to nonexistent sidewalks, then arrests two teenagers for walking in the street.