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The Monday Roundup: SUVs for crowd control, oppressive interstates, Paris election, and more

Posted by on June 29th, 2020 at 10:25 am

Here are the most noteworthy stories we came across in the past seven days…

SUV as crowd control weapon: This time it was in Detroit where a police SUV was surrounded by protestors and then the officer at the wheel decided to floor it and ram through them. Several people were seriously injured.

Nothing to see here: The NYPD looked into a case of officers driving into protestors last week and found that they did not violate use of force policies.

Traffic is back: Our wonderful flirtation with quieter, calmer streets is all but over as driving volumes are pretty much back to pre-Covid levels.

Sporting TDM: Mr. Donald “High Cost of Free Parking” Shoup argues that all major sporting events should come with free transit passes in order to cut down on driving trips.

Oppressive interstates: Portland knows this story very well, but it’s L.A.’s freeways that got major attention this past week for being “insidious monuments to racism and segregation.” (And PBOT and ODOT want to double-down on this racist history in the Rose Quarter.)


Bike touring amid Covid: The LA Times says bike touring could be the hot ticket this summer for people who fear the virus but still want to hit the open road.

Case closed: A year after Robyn Hightman was killed while bicycling in New York City, Bicycling’s Peter Flax takes a deep dive into the troubling police investigation that blames them for their death.

This is how you do it: A suburban city just beyond the Oakland/SF area is getting rave reviews for its Dutch-style protected intersection.

Transportation is a racism issue: Solid overview from Politico opinion writer about how transportation in America is so closely tied to the fight for racial justice and how the current infrastructure bill being debated on Capitol Hill could help set us on a new path.

Cycling and socialism are popular: Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo has unabashedly ran on a platform of transforming streets into cycleways and fighting climate change and she just won re-election.

— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and
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Hello, KittyqqqKana O.9wattsrain panther Recent comment authors
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Kana O.
Kana O.

Another monument to racism we should consider what to do with: historic preservation districts. Whose history are we preserving? What are we celebrating? Irvington, Ladd’s, Kenton, and Laurelhurst are only what they are because of who they excluded; the elevation of Irvington, Ladd’s, and Laurelhurst (and other blue- and green-lined neighborhoods, even if they have not yet acquired historic preservation protection) could not have happened without the caging, debasement, blighting, plunder, and demolition of Albina and other parts of Portland. Don’t the protections afforded by a historic district designation (and specifically those against higher density and more affordable housing) not only celebrate the spoils of redlining but continue its work? If not in intent, certainly in actual impact. To be clear, I’m not advocating for tearing anything down in these neighborhoods. However, I don’t think their legacy should be celebrated and protected by the government.


“Double down at the Rose Quarter” LOL!
3 Freeway protest shut downs and
ODOT has nothing to say.
At all.


Down in the comments, there are also many fair minded criticisms of that supposed “Dutch style” infrastructure. Feelings for these concrete bicycle obstacle courses aside, I have to join the skeptics who are, in different ways, asking if anything can be human scale in the shadow of a seven lane stroad.


Meta-news: I see one can’t upvote or downvote a comment without logging in now. I’m curious to see how this plays out. I understand the introduction of downvotes was controversial and this is one of the ways suggested to ameliorate its impact.

David Hampsten

Traffic is Back: While overall volumes are now pretty much about normal, the real change has been that the peak volumes in both the morning and evening are much reduced. White-collar workers are working from home more than ever now, so traffic is more spread out throughout the day (and even night). Theoretically, since most streets are designed around peak capacity, a lot more width should be available for bike and walk facilities on major streets, but city and state DOTs are generally more conservative and slow to change than even police departments.