The Monday Roundup: Waukesha driver had a record, no ‘accidents’, the case for carfree, and more

Posted by on November 22nd, 2021 at 9:31 am

Welcome to Monday esteemed readers. Before we share the most noteworthy items we came across in the past seven days, let’s give a big, warm, BikePortland welcome to our newest advertising partner, Action LED Lights! Action are the Portland-based distributor of Gloworm and Gemini lights. If you want to see and be seen, check them out.

Now onto the news you need to know as we head into this holiday week…

Cars are weapons: The suspect behind the wheel of an SUV in a vehicular violence rampage that killed five innocent people in a parade on Sunday has a lengthy record of reckless endangerment related to domestic violence and other crimes.

There are no accidents: Here’s a new book you should pre-order: An historical look at “accidents” with a major focus on traffic crashes and car culture.

Let them scoot!: City commissioners in Miami, Florida decided to get rid of electric scooters amid misguided concerns over safety in the same week they experienced massive, climate-change induced flooding.

Let the lobbying begin: The National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO) says Biden’s infrastructure funding could be a boon or a bane to progressive transportation reform — it all depends on how the money is spent and how good we are an influencing those decisions.

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No bad projects: Non-profit policy think tank Transit Center (run by former Metro President David Bragdon) strikes a similar chord as NACTO when it comes to the Biden package in this excellent overview of the bill and what should come next from reformers.

Goodbye dirty trucks: The Oregon Dept of Environmental Quality has passed two new rules that will require truck manufacturers to sell cleaner trucks and get fossil fuel burning ones off the road.

When you need to go: I could not agree more with Streetsblog Chicago writer Courtney Cobbs when she says cities need to provide many more public restrooms in order for public spaces — and public transit — to reach its full potential.

Political case for carfree: Don’t miss this interview with Maryland state legislator Robbyn Lewis, where she explains how getting rid of her car has helped her connect dots between car supremacy, racism, and how cars contribute to an inequitable city.

Thanks to everyone who sent in links this week!

NOTE: Thanks for sharing and reading our comments. To ensure this is a welcoming and productive space, all comments are manually approved by staff. BikePortland is an inclusive company with no tolerance for meanness, discrimination or harassment. Comments with expressions of racism, sexism, homophobia, or xenophobia will be deleted and authors will be banned.

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Jason Skelton
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Jason Skelton

Speaking of dirty trucks I wish large diesel trucks were required to have catalytic converters or something similar to keep the dirty soot from getting into my lungs.

EP
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EP

Diesel vehicles over 8501 pounds GVWR are exempt from DEQ emissions testing! That’s lots of vans and pickups and much bigger vehicles. C’mon DEQ!

Todd/Boulanger
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Todd/Boulanger

Jonathan – Hey would you review the text of the Miami scooter article?, as it looks like you ‘over editorized’ the description of the content, as I did not see any reporting that mentioned safety concerns were ‘misguided’.

Actually there is a more important issue in the text…the all too common disconnect internally between the legislative (council / commission) and mayoral (administration) on mobility.

VS
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VS

There’s some irony in the article regarding public restrooms. It refers to the “Portland Loo” design being used in some cities, and there are some here. That said, since the pandemic the number of publicly available restrooms in downtown has gotten incredibly scarce.

I’m looking at you Patagonia. On a recent trip there (to sell a jacket to their ‘worn wear’ project) they had a closed bathroom and I ended up having to go buy a sandwich at whole foods to have a place to pee.

Lots of places that used to be open to drop into have since closed to the public. I get it, downtown is really strained, but damn, it’s hard to get excited about heading to downtown if it’s hard to find a place to pee.

Todd/Boulanger
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Todd/Boulanger

The City of Vancouver (WA) installed a pair of Portland Loos at the new Waterfront and they seem to be doing well (the last time I used them last year)…the sad thing – related to the article – is that Vancouver’s waterfront district Developer Graymor [+ the City] was originally planning to NOT have a dedicated public restroom for the new 24/7 waterfront park and urban plaza but instead expect people to use bathrooms inside private buildings (retail and hotels). Thankfully a local business owner was on the committee and they correctly pointed out that many downtown businesses do not allow non customer use of restrooms (before COVID) and most have much more limited hours.

ivan
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ivan

On public restrooms, there are indeed way too few (and Portland is marginally better than a lot of cities).

For those of you who haven’t heard of it, I highly recommend the https://www.refugerestrooms.org app — not only helps you find nearby restrooms but also includes ratings and comments about accessibility, gender-inclusiveness, and presence of changing tables.

David Hampsten
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David Hampsten

Thank you for the link. It’s not always accurate, but it is far better than nothing, which is essentially Google Maps.

FullLaneFemme
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Thank you for the inclusion, Jonathan.

Todd/Boulanger
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Todd/Boulanger

My typo: I meant to type “modal paternalism” vs. model. (Dang text auto correct)

soren
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soren

The ICE heavy truck sales mandate is comical given that the bill requires 75% EV conversion in 9 years but Oregon only has one heavy duty truck charging station in the entire state. Regulations/plans that come with no additional revenue but set aspirational goals that require massive amounts of infrastructure should be sharply criticized, not celebrated. This is just another example of democratic party climate science denial.

Boyd
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Boyd

On the other hand, one could ask why taxpayers should be put on the hook to pay to mitigate for the externalities that are generated by the private freight industry? Let the highly profitable private trucking companies foot the bill for the charging infrastructure that will be needed for their exclusive benefit. If you expect the public to pay to replace private infrastructure, you’d better be converting those profits into public assets, while you’re at it.

soren
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soren

I have no sympathy for USAnian trucking companies and I have no sympathy for the tax travails of the middle to upper class consumer (e.g. most of Portland). Assigning blame to one end of the ecocidal ouroboros of Fordism while absolving the other is a form of climate science denial. If it were up to me both would be rapidly phased out.

Vijay Prarshad’s speech at the COP26 alliance forum captured my view of “don’t tax me” middle class climate activism perfectly:

https://twitter.com/MattKerrLabour/status/1462554957312319495

Boyd
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Boyd

I’m not against the idea of using taxes and fees to encourage individuals and industries to clean up their emissions. I just don’t like the idea of transferring assets to pay private industry to do what they should be doing in the first place. You can achieve same effect with less market distortion by taxing carbon emissions and making fossil fuels more expensive. At the very least, the fuel tax exemption for freight vehicles should be eliminated.

soren
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soren

I just don’t like the idea of transferring assets to pay private industry to do what they should be doing in the first place.”

In my original comment I used the term “revenue” which is neutral on whether the source is profit, wealth/assets, sharply progressive income, or flat income.

I’m not a fan of carbon taxes because in the context of existing capitalism they are regressive. This could be “fixed” but there simply isn’t much support for welfarism on the right, left, or center so I support targeting profit and wealth/assets over consumption taxes.

Trike Guy
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Trike Guy

Even making the freight industry pay for their share of the external costs (pollution, road damage) ends up being regressive unfortunately.

Part of my job is setting up new items in our system (we’re a distribution company with retailers as our customers). My first question when I get pricing is “what’s the freight”, because I build that into our net cost and we mark up from there.

So, I know that if we made the freight companies pay their share, they will pass it onto folks like us and we’ll build it into our landed cost and mark up from there. Then the retailer will mark up from that.

I’ve come around to the notion that maybe that’s not the best way, because the extra costs end up being marked up not once, but twice and even three times or more (depending on how far down the distribution chain the retailer is).

Brings with it the worst features of a VAT (tax on tax on tax situation).

I don’t know *what* the best way is though.

Paul
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Paul

I think the Environmental Quality Commission’s Clean Truck Rules are well intentioned and a step in the right direction, but the end result will be fewer new diesel truck sales in Oregon, more used truck sales, and more trucks brought in from out of state. I’m not defending commercial diesel trucks at all – they need stricter pollution regulations given the number of miles they normally travel (and let’s not forget marine transportation also). However, to be truly effective these rules need to be on a regional or national level (hey, California), and be extended to cover the existing fleet. Pollution checks need to be part of the vehicle registration process, like what they do for passenger cars in many states.

soren
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soren

I don’t think these rules are a step in the right direction at all. They are more of the same “blah, blah, blah, blah” of unfunded regulation that relies on the good faith of amoral corporations to reduce emissions in some aspirational future decade. To paraphrase Vijay Prasad: Rich [states] are pretending they’re responding to the climate crisis while blocking real solutions.

I also think many “progressive” climate activist orgs are part of the problem in the way they sheepdog for reformless reforms as “first steps”, “transitions”, or being on the path to “net zero/carbon neutrality” in 2050/2060/2080/2100.

Mark in NoPo
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Mark in NoPo

To paraphrase Vijay Prasad: Rich [states] are pretending they’re responding to the climate crisis while blocking real solutions.

Says the “tenant advocate” staunchly opposed to private development of residential infill?

soren
Guest
soren

Unfortunately, most R2.5/R5 infill is not rental housing (and too little RM1/RM2 infill is rental housing which is disgusting). I opposed RIP because it did almost nothing to open bougie Portland neighborhoods to dense multifamily rental housing (e.g. the 10, 20, 30+ unit apartments I advocated for during my public RIP testimony) and greatly incentivized the construction of owned single household housing.

If it were up to me we would have zoning with unit minimums (e.g. illegalize the kind of housing that both YIMBYs and NIMBYs love).

So please try again.

qqq
Guest
qqq

Another argument in favor of more public toilets downtown is the changeover in the last several years to food cart dining. Even when office buildings and retail places started making their restrooms less accessible to the public, people could rely on restaurants, coffee shops, or food courts to find a restroom. Now so much food service is takeout windows and food carts, so that’s less of an option. It means more difficulty finding a restroom, and overloading of restrooms of any businesses that have them available, which also leads those businesses to restrict theirs more.

I can also see that restroom-finder app backfiring if it takes off, as businesses that get listed get increased restroom use.

David Hampsten
Guest
David Hampsten

I note that the toilet-finding app that Ivan referred to earlier in another thread also lists outdoor venues such as under the bridge, in a nearby fountain, behind buildings, in parks and so on, along with various ratings and comments. If a community doesn’t have convenient public toilets open during business hours, and businesses block access, then humans will find other likely-illegal outlets for taking care of business, as they already do for drugs, recreational bicycling, and drifting.

I remember locating a huge underground public toilet in Paris that happened to be closed when I got there – I knew it was closed not only because they put up a big sign, but also because there was a deep pool of urine and piles of excrement at the basement entry.

People gotta go somewhere…