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The Monday Roundup: Toxic trucks, tragic bike deliveries, Big Oil’s concern trolling, and more

Posted by on November 30th, 2020 at 10:04 am

Welcome to the week.

Before we get to our recap of the most notable items from the past seven days, don’t forget that The eBike Store’s Black Friday Sale runs through Friday December 4th. Roll over to their Covid-safe shop across from Peninsula Park and tell them BikePortland sent you.

And away we go…

Karencentives: Hoping to increase safety around bike lanes (among other things) a bill from New York City council would increase fines for illegal parking and give 25% of the fee to the person who reported it!

Concern trolling: Big Oil and their enablers want you to think your anti-fossil fuel advocacy hurts Black people and other people of color.

Slow e-bikes: It’s absurd to cap the speed of e-bikes at 15 mph while we let car drivers run amok, yet that’s what the Divvy bike share system in Chicago is doing. Divvy is operated by Lyft, the same company behind Biketown. Portland’s bikes can can still go up to 20 mph.

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E-bike revolution, part 637: Seems like every week there’s another article about the e-bike popularity boom. This one has a local flavor as it comes from The Columbian and is based on riders from Bend.

Wasted space no longer: A neat idea in Sydney would allow developers to get transferable density credits if they turn parking lots into rooftop playgrounds, gardens, or other uses that have a strong public benefit.

Truck culture is a death cult: Not satisfied with the inherently deadly dangers posed by their obscene grill heights and lack of visibility, the EPA found an estimated 500,000 truck owners have outfitted their vehicles with illegal devices that increase toxic diesel emissions that can lead to heart and lung disease and premature death. Petro-masculinity at its worst. Ugh.

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The truth heals: “It took a pandemic, but New York City is seeing more clearly than ever that its roadways can do more than move cars and trucks,” says this NY Times opinion piece. Same can be said for Portland and our elected leaders should seize the opportunity for change.

Tragic deliveries: A rash of fatal crashes involving bicycle delivery riders in Australia’s largest city has a labor leader questioning their working conditions.

Transit FTW: Transit Center says the recent elections were great for transit funding and a sign that the transportation mode is a political winner.

ODOT’s games: This letter published by The Oregonian about ODOT’s I-5 Rose Quarter project asks the $800 million question: “Will somebody please explain why this is a good idea again?”

— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and jonathan@bikeportland.org
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cmh89
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cmh89

The Rose Quarter suffers from the same problems the SW Corridor did/does. These planners and managers want to work on big projects that will allow them to climb the ladder at their own agencies or move to other agencies in a higher position. These projects don’t make sense but these agencies refuse to drop them because they’ve invested so much of their career into pushing them.

What looks better on a resume, finishing a project that doesn’t really have a use or spending years studying and preparing for a project and then not finishing it?

David Hampsten
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David Hampsten

The LA Times article on Big Oil is hilarious! The author focuses on the evil oil companies (and who doesn’t hate Big Oil?), but it carefully avoids overtly criticizing state, county, and local governments in working with Big Oil on the related racism of their energy taxation policies – it only mentions them in passing. Who gets taxed for using energy? Well, pretty much all of us, but people who have solar or wind supplies and are “off the grid” tend to be wealthy and white. States also tax cigarette smokers, marijuana users, and gambling addicts (lotteries), who are disproportionately poor and BIPOC. Does the LA Times investigate this? Of course not.

EP
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EP

Big trucks are getting out of hand. All of this is related to vehicle GVWR. Over 8500lbs and you’re “Heavy Duty” and exempt. So all the F250/2500 pickups, E250/Transit/Sprinter and bigger vehicles are in this category. It used to mean “work vehicles” but has since transformed into “commuter vehicles” and such. The diesel vehicle thing is silly here in Oregon. If your vehicle’s GVWR is over 8500lbs, you just sign a little form stating that and go on your way. I used to do this for my 7.3 diesel powered E350. They just mail you your renewal stickers. Similar deal with a E350 gas powered motorhome. It’s GVWR was over 8500lbs, so it didn’t matter that the check engine light was on when I drove to DEQ. We need to change the way exemptions are, maybe link it to a commercial vehicle type plate? If it’s harder to get a silly big diesel grocery getter truck, then less people will mess with their emissions. All I know is that the vehicles keep getting bigger, but the people and roads haven’t changed much.

Bikeninja
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Bikeninja

Portland could solve its revenue problems with a Karencentives parking bounty system like the one being considered in NY. The revenue for a redo of the metro transportation measure could probably be raised from the fines on all the scofflaws who park on the wrong side of the street alone , plus we might be able to solve the houseless problem with a program to give economically disadvantaged folks a leg up in the reporting bounty system. If we added in an extra bounty for reporting Illegal modification of diesel pickups we would truly be on our way to a better world.

X
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X

Grubhub, etc:
–they screw their workers with the contractor dodge
–they screw the restaurants (fees eat up any profit)
–they don’t even make money: https://www.bloomberg.com/opinion/articles/2019-10-31/food-delivery-is-a-dead-end-for-grubhub-doordash-and-postmates

What a mess.

Bicycling Al
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Bicycling Al

E-bikes: “The biggest barrier is the cost; that is what people are surprised by,” Mendez said.

That is because people have been conditioned to expect regular bicycles to cost $300. Actual regular bicycles which you can expect to use on a daily basis cost far more than this new, they easily cost more than $1,000. So an e-bike that costs $3,000 should come as no surprise to anyone. Still, e-bike prices continue to come down as volumes increase, components get standardized and battery costs continue to drop. Plus, you will start seeing more of them on the used market for far lower prices.

Hey, even Harley-Davidson is getting in on the act. I would find it supremely funny if e-bikes save HD.

Roberta Robles
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Roberta Robles

When I reached out to the western tribes they never returned my phone calls. I’m nto surprised these groups are gaslighting around equity. Similarly, the Oregon League of Conservation Voters are engaging in a campaign of gaslighting on the elections score cards. What was the one issue they based all their endorsements on? Whether they voted for Cap and Trade or not. Same goes for 1000 friends of Oregon.

None of them have put forward a transportation program that actually reduces GHG emissions. Well guess who lost her bid for Senate Majority pro tempe? Ginny Birdick. The same democratic Senator who insisted on shutting down the entire state capitol for two sessions to pass what amounts to a bloated program that didn’t address the transport side of the equation…..I hope we don’t get hung out again on the Cap and Trade. State legislature should handle emissions regulations separately for Transport and Forestry. OLCV needs to check their egos on the capitol steps.

Hello, Kitty
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Hello, Kitty

RE Defeat Devices: The article was vague about motivation, stating that owners are installing the device to “increase performance”. I’ve read elsewhere that this generally (but not exclusively) means getting better mileage (which makes sense given the wide range of altered vehicles cited in the article). So, Diesel Brothers aside, this mostly seems to be driven by economics rather than “petro masculinity”.

That doesn’t justify installing a defeat device, but properly diagnosing the problem is probably an important step on the road to figuring out how to fix it.

Matthew in PDX
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Matthew in PDX

The rooftop gardens article is about Melbourne, not Sydney. They’re two different cities and there is quite a bit of rivalry there, with the denizens of each being quite proud of their city – confusing the two is like saying Seattle when you mean Portland.

NYC parking: when I lived there the biggest culprits were NYPD, so good luck with that proposal. The non-exemption for city issued placards will result in a strike – teachers and city workers love that little “I can park anywhere” sign that they get.