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The Monday Roundup: L.A. story, Good Company, harms race and more

Posted by on September 14th, 2020 at 1:38 pm

Welcome to the week.

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

Pavement and emissions: A recent study found that warmer temps pull more toxic vapors from road surfaces, adding to the long list of ways cars and trucks destroy our planet.

Death of Melrose: A heart-wrenching blow-by-blow recap of how one L.A. city councilor tanked a great project based on inaccurate and unfounded fears that one of the city’s most famous main streets couldn’t possibly exist with less space for car users.

In Good Company: Inspiring story of how a group of friends in Brooklyn started riding together and have now formed a bike club that welcomes Black and brown riders — and anyone who wants to have fun.

Walking > busing: Portlander Sam Balto writes for Streetsblog that it’s time for “walking school buses” to play a more prominent role in getting kids to class.

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Shitty saddles: Turns out one very effective way to keep your bike from getting stolen is to simply place a bird poop sticker on the seat.

Harms race: There’s a battle going on between government regulators and business owners who trade in toxic masculinity in the form of souped-up trucks whose owners pay to “delete” their exhaust systems from emissions tests.

E-bike fatality: Someone riding an electric bike share bike in Chicago was struck by a car driver and died.

Who needs roads?: “In an attempt to recast its residents’ relationship with the car,” the city of Utrecht in The Netherlands has removed several road lanes built through its city center in the 1970s and restored a historic canal.

Video of the Week: Don’t miss Streetfilms’ look at a street that has been transformed for socially distanced living…

— 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

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David Hampsten
Guest
David Hampsten

Video of the week: 90% white, 5% black, 5% Asian – kinda like parts of Portland, isn’t it?

Kyle Banerjee
Guest

Along with planning based on perfect weather in a city known for bad weather.

Jon
Guest
Jon

I think you are describing the entire west coast. CA: 6% black, 15% asian. OR: 2% black, 4% asian. WA: 4% black, 8% asian. ID: 1% black, 2% asian. NV: 9% black, 8% asian. AZ: 4% black, 2% asian. The Northwest corner of the country is not very racially diverse. On the west coast latinos are by far the largest minority. Each region of the the US is different. There is not a program to equally distribute people by race in the US that I know of. Does every video need to mirror the exact racial makeup of the state that it is made?

David Hampsten
Guest
David Hampsten

It’s NYC, one of the most diverse cities in the USA, which is why I find the video very odd.

soren impey
Guest
soren impey

The meatpacking district has been a target for gentrification for decades but underwent a massive wave of super-gentrific (e.g. it’s now only affordable to the uber-rich) following the planning of “The High Line” ® linear park* in the early zeroes. Just another example of how Jacobsian active transportation “placemaking” is a major contributor to gentrification and the associated tsunami of displacement that has wiped away diversity from so many city neighborhoods.

The High Line ® development project also provides a great example of the “Halo effect” where upzoning and development causes a large increase in housing prices.

https://www.amny.com/real-estate/high-line-spurs-jump-in-nearby-home-prices-streeteasy-1.12149516/

Yet anyone who’s ever strolled among the High Line’s native plants and cold-brew vendors knows its foot traffic is, as a recent City University of New York study found, “overwhelmingly white.” And most visitors are tourists, not locals.

“We were from the community. We wanted to do it for the neighborhood,” says Hammond, who is now the executive director of Friends of the High Line, the nonprofit that funds, maintains, programs, and built the space (New York City owns it, and the parks department helps manage it). “Ultimately, we failed.”

(Crocodile tears from the YIMBY.)

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-02-07/the-high-line-and-equity-in-adaptive-reuse

More on the super-gentrification triggered by “The High Line” ®:

https://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/22/opinion/in-the-shadows-of-the-high-line.html?smid=pl-share

The “Green Looop” ® will almost certainly have a similar outcome in Portland.

Hello, Kitty
Guest
Hello, Kitty

One way to understand “toxic masculinity” is that it is an effective strategy for attracting women. If women responded negatively to hepped up soup trucks, there would be a lot fewer of them, and maybe the market for delete kits would collapse.

Tim
Guest
Tim

They are not called tiny d**k trucks for nothing

Hello, Kitty
Guest
Hello, Kitty

And yet they don’t seem to be an effective warning.

Phil
Guest
Phil

Surely we can find a way to discuss the issues with large trucks without body shaming.

mran1984
Guest

I bet there are several truck owners that could prove you so very wrong, but you keep pushing your bs.

Middle of the Road Guy
Guest
Middle of the Road Guy

Has there been an actual study measuring member size in correlation to the size of the truck?

I see a PhD (Phallic Distribution) thesis right there.

Chris I
Guest
Chris I

Specious claim. There are plenty of “guy” activities that don’t attract women (like sitting around watching sportsball all weekend). People generally tolerate certain characteristics they dislike in a partner. Without some sort of polling data, we can’t really claim that women like big pickups or not.

And regardless of how well we understand the rationale behind a consumer purchase, if that product is a unreasonable public health hazard, it should be discouraged and/or eliminated.

mran1984
Guest

What is “sportsball”? Polling means nothing, btw. Devices are a health hazard. Let’s eliminate them! Oh, you cannot find your way around, or simply spell, without your device.

Matt
Guest
Matt
Hello, Kitty
Guest
Hello, Kitty

Watching TV all weekend is not a performative or “display” behavior the way driving a big truck is. I don’t intend to make a particular claim about trucks, but a more general one that the outward behavior of men, especially younger men, tends to be geared towards attracting partners. If more women were impressed by Honda Civics, a lot more men would drive them.

I am not making an argument against regulating trucks; but rather suggesting ideas for non-regulatory avenues for approaching the issue. Make them unattractive to women, and they will become unattractive to men.

Middle of the Road Guy
Guest
Middle of the Road Guy

It’s a form of “peacocking”. Hey look at me and this monster machine I can handle.

Kyle Banerjee
Guest

The bird comparison is apt.

Flashy, makes a lot of racket, and mostly useless but most people think they’re cool and fun.

Matt
Guest
Matt

100%, watching sportsball with “the bros” is a major aspect of performative masculinity.

Phil
Guest
Phil

It seems to me that a lot of men’s performative behaviors have more to do with impressing other men than impressing women.

Middle of the Road Guy
Guest
Middle of the Road Guy

I would like to see an additional level of licensing for such large vehicles. Prove to me you can actually drive the thing safely.

GlowBoy
Guest
GlowBoy

I said that for many years, before the SUV revolution had fully taken hold, then I gave up. Might still be workable for vehicles too large to qualify for emissions testing (heavy-duty pickups from F-250 size on up).

Betsy Reese
Guest
Betsy Reese

Oh, Hello Kitty, I do appreciate many of your comments on here, and so I am taking a deep breath to calm my first instinct to derisively take you to school on the false advertising technique of “buy-this-vehicle-get-this-girl” which pays female models to pretend that men are made more attractive by the vehicle they drive.
  
But then when I read in your comment that you are actually blaming women for making men buy these vehicles, I feel less compassionate toward you.
    
Women come out the bad guys or the losers in every way with your comment here.
  
1. Women are paid to feign love or desire for men who drive a certain type of motor vehicle to the benefit of auto manufacturers. 
2. Women are portrayed as soulless gold diggers (only want to be with men for the material goods they supply). 
3. Women have some kind of evil manipulative supernatural succubus powers over not-to-be-blamed men (The devil made me do it.), and it’s up to women to stop this.  
4.   And the sad fact that some women themselves have internalized, to their own detriment, society’s message to value men for their material possessions or their ‘toxic masculinity’.  Men, you can choose to feel neither obligated nor inferior should you find yourself with one of these women. “Toxic masculinity” is, in fact, NOT an effective strategy for attracting women in a functional relationship.

For godssake, men, don’t ever fall for this.  Cool is not the car.  Cool is what is stepping out of the car.

Dagny Taggart
Guest
Dagny Taggart

Many women are attracted to confident, successful men. There is nothing wrong with that, unless you are a girly man, of course. Pickup trucks are nice vehicles, and new ones cost a fortune. If a man can afford one, it is an indicator that he probably has achieved at least some success in life. Success in life makes for an easier home life, less stress about money, more likely to be able to send the kids to good schools, maybe college, have a decent retirement, nice vacations, travel, etc. Success in life, many times is an indicator that a person has at least some intelligence. Thus, a nice pickup indicates a man probably has achieved some level of success, and may be an intelligent guy – all good characteristics in a life partner; not by any stretch the only ones that matter, but matter they do.

Other than that, pickups are fun to drive, fun to take camping (put a canopy-top on the back and sleep in it if you want), useful if you want to haul large items like bicycles, camping gear, gardening supplies, lumber, etc. They usually have higher ground clearance than cars making it easier to negotiate dirt roads, etc.

Nothing wrong with pickups, and if you don’t drive it a lot, it will use less gas than a Civic that IS driven a lot. According to Ratchets and Wrenches, at the end of the world, there will only be rubble and the Toyota 3.4 Liter, 6 cylinder engine. Start at 7:57, and he says it not long after 9:00, but good luck finding his #1 used truck for under $5,000:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z3anex9mzJ8

dan
Guest
dan

Oh Dagny, if only you were actually a woman, we might be able to take your opinions about women seriously 🙂

You know your Objectivist muse Ayn Rand finished her life on Social Security and Medicare, right?

Dagny Taggart
Guest
Dagny Taggart

dan,
Medicare is pretty much required when you turn 65. She didn’t get SS unless she paid into it, which, if she was an employee she had no choice. Can’t fault her for taking benefits she was forced to pay for.

Nothing personal if you are a girly man. 🙂

Middle of the Road Guy
Guest
Middle of the Road Guy

What Dagny is saying is pretty much just straight evolutionary biology.

B. Carfree
Guest
B. Carfree

What’s that awful sound I’m hearing? It sounds like your high school biology teacher rolling over in his grave while your college biology instructor bangs her head against the wall.

mh
Subscriber

“…fun to drive” puts you at odds with many if not most readers here. And higher ground clearance has led to the monster SUVs with which parents accidentally crush their own small children.

Dagny Taggart
Guest
Dagny Taggart

I didn’t say monster SUV. I said pickup truck. I personally don’t want a jacked up one because that alters the angle of the drive shaft and may cause premature wear of the gears. Stock is fine.

Hello, Kitty
Guest
Hello, Kitty

Last night I wrote a very cool text console status bar indicator for a long-running computation I was doing. Pretty awesome, right?

I just don’t understand some of the things people think are “fun”.

Dagny Taggart
Guest
Dagny Taggart

That is AWESOME! That sounds like fun too. I assume you are talking computer programming of some kind. I have not done much of that since my Structured FORTRAN class back in the early 80s, but yes, computers are fun too. Programming, engineering, etc are kind of like puzzles to solve – like Sudoku puzzles. 😉

Educate me on your project. What device is it used on, what does it do, and what does your computation do? What language is it written in?

Hello, Kitty
Guest
Hello, Kitty

I think the dynamic is far more complex and nuanced than “gold digger”, “manipulative succubus”, or any other cliche you want to throw in there. Human attraction is complicated.

That said, men seem to be programmed to do things that attract women, which (theoretically) gives women a lot of power, except they are often following programming of their own. (I don’t think power and strength are attractive just because “society” says they should be; I think the draw is more fundamental.) Regardless, not many of us really control what we’re attracted to.

If you can withhold judgement and look at vehicles through an evolutionary lens, I think what seem to be inexplicable choices start to make a lot of sense. It’s not always about a “functional relationship”.

Middle of the Road Guy
Guest
Middle of the Road Guy

People don’t give evolution enough credit for our behaviors. Post-modernists believe everything is a construct despite so much evidence to the contrary.

GlowBoy
Guest
GlowBoy

I think many women do. But obviously there is a significant minority of women who reward this behavior.

Todd/Boulanger
Guest

Regarding the asphalt article…I have often wondered how communiites in the NW are still allowed to choose asphalt over concrete due to the greater water quality impacts the oil runoff from such – on salmon habitat – especially when new. [Something I have seen visually back when I worked on building new highways.] (Has this product been given a ‘Determination of NonSignificance’ or similar by local DoTs?) …just thinking out loud.

David Hampsten
Guest
David Hampsten

Most asphalt highways and main streets, at least in Portland, have a concrete base. Concrete production is one of the biggest contributors to greenhouse gases and carbon emissions, from lime production. Better to switch to cobblestone highways, more sustainable, better runoff, and can last over 2,000 years – plus as an added bonus, more exciting bike races (Liege-Bastogne-Liege).

B. Carfree
Guest
B. Carfree

well, that will accelerate the trend towards fatter lower pressure bike tires. Jan Heine, among many others, would approve of your suggestion.

Dagny Taggart
Guest
Dagny Taggart

“Someone riding an electric bike share bike in Chicago was struck by a car driver and died.”

What did the car driver strike the bike rider with?

“A recent study found that warmer temps pull more toxic vapors from road surfaces, adding to the long list of ways cars and trucks destroy our planet.”

300% more than very little fumes is still very little. By the way, is 300% more, 4x as much or is it 3x as much? There was a heated, multi-page back and forth over a similar question over on realclimate recently. 🙂

Matt
Guest
Matt

What did the car driver strike the bike rider with?

A clue-by-four. Watch out, there’s one coming your way.

Jon
Guest
Jon

I wish the article on the Chicago ebike death had information on helmet usage by the ebiker. I also like to hear if someone was not using a seatbelt in reports of an automotive death. For me, it is just data to help me get an idea of what choices improve my chances of surviving a crash. Data like time of day, weather, drug/alcohol impairment, intersection, left hook, right hook, etc. help me decide where and when I need to be most aware. It is not a moral or political judgement. The more data the better for me. The Chicago article also referenced a death in a bicycle vs bicycle accident on a bike path. One person died of a TBI and the other was only slightly injured. Once again it would have been nice to hear about helmet use.

David Hampsten
Guest
David Hampsten

I see what you mean by the data. Judging from the fully destroyed rear wheel in the picture and the mention of a yellow light, I’d say the driver was going well over 40 in the collision, far too fast in any intersection, urban or otherwise. At that speed, no helmet will protect as user, and it’s not really an “accident”, but an inevitable fatal collision.

Hello, Kitty
Guest
Hello, Kitty

not really an “accident”, but an inevitable fatal collision.

Inevitable, perhaps, but probably unintentional.

one
Guest

Probably unintentional, but probably also predictable: if they were in a rush, going to fast for the conditions, etc. It’s not an accident if the outcome was predictable.

Hello, Kitty
Guest
Hello, Kitty

In this context “predictable” just means a higher-than-average chance of occurring. (Who here hasn’t driven too fast and not crashed as a result?)

We apply “accidental” or “accident” to bad outcomes in many similar situations: operating a table saw wearing a scarf, climbing on a pitched roof without a harness, flying a plane into a dense fog bank.

What sets rushing home apart from these (probably even more predictably dangerous) situations?

David Hampsten
Guest
David Hampsten

Shitty Saddles: When I lived in Portland (for 17+ years) I found that keeping by bikes moderately filthy helped deter attempts at theft, but my best strategy was to camouflage my yellow Kryptonite NY Lock with black duct tape. Judging the cuts on the rubber of my lock and the bikes it was on, all of which I still have, there were numerous attempts at theft with pry bars and other basic tools, but never angle-grinders. I figured the color of your lock gives thieves a pretty good proxy on how valuable your bike is and what tools they need to steal it.

GlowBoy
Guest
GlowBoy

Good idea. Hadn’t thought about that. I have to say, I’ve never had a serious attempt on a U-lock, except a couple years ago when I left a bike parked over a weekend at a MAX station (and the miscreants were unsuccessful, fortunately). Even though for several years I have regularly parked my bike all day in both downtown St. Paul and Minneapolis, moderately higher-crime cities than Portland, and certainly ones with a lot of bike culture and bike-theft problems, never had a serious attempt that I know of.

Helps to have a cheap bike. Not riding a Walmart bike exactly, but one that cost less than $1k new, with cheap parts, a helmet draped over it that doesn’t match the color “scheme”, and no attempt to look flashy.

I might get one of those bird poop stickers though. Nice idea. Probably need to up my game, with crime (and especially bike theft) exploding this year.

On a tangent, since you mention angle-grinders. Recently my wife’s lock malfunctioned and I couldn’t get it open, so I had to rent one of those things. Holy smokes, I didn’t realize how quickly they can destroy a U-lock. Cut through a quality U-lock like butter, in about six seconds.

BikeSlobPDX
Subscriber
BikeSlobPDX

I went to elementary school in a tiny town in Pennsylvania in the early 60s — we walked as a group, with a couple of adult guards. 3/4 of a mile, crossed the major highway twice, with a steep set of concrete stairs to reach the playground. Much nicer than the bus ride I had in high school.

BikeSlobPDX
Subscriber
BikeSlobPDX

The initial test of the poop decal sounds impressive, but wouldn’t it become ineffective once the bike thieves find out about it?

GlowBoy
Guest
GlowBoy

Like many other theft deterrents, it stops working if everyone does it. But so far that hasn’t been much of a risk.