Welcome to the week.
This week’s Roundup is made possible by Action LED Lights (a company that understands the value of community news and the need to support it.)
Below are the most notable items our readers and writers came across in the past seven days…
Take note, ODOT: In what many are hailing as a landmark climate policy for a state DOT, the Colorado Transportation Commission passed new rules (over objections from business groups) that require more stringent pollution and VMT reduction requirements on all transportation projects. (Stay tuned for a separate post from Taylor Griggs on this important story.)
Our distracted mayor: The NY Post picked up our story about how Mayor Ted Wheeler drove distracted and used his phone while participating in a city council meeting last week. Their story was then syndicated out to several of other news outlets nationwide.
Why they speed: Calling it the “nation’s most disobeyed law,” Henry Grabar writes in Slate that America’s obsession with speed has been baked into our culture since the dawn of the Automobile Era.
IIJA analysis: Biden’s Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act could be a transformative step forward in the climate change fight, or it could set us even further back, says this analysis of the bill from the Georgetown Climate Center.
Generational divide: The Economist weighs in on the “car wars” with a piece that explains why the federal government tends to be much more pro-car than local government these days. “Car ownership is becoming political,” they report.
On the other hand: Related to the two items above, there’s evidence to suggest that the US DOT does not want local governments to use federal funding to build new highways or expand existing ones.
Stop using “Zero Emission Vehicles”: In this Twitter thread, journalist Aaron Gordon explains why he thinks using the term “Zero Emissions” when it comes to EVs is a very bad idea. I agree! (And PBOT uses it too.)
Scooter psychology: Yes the source is biased, but a new study from Spin showed that 69% of respondents said riding e-scooters improves their mental health.
Carfree Pike Place Market: Will be interesting to watch a push to make this iconic market carfree, given that many of us in Portland are licking our chops to rid automobiles from major sections of our downtown.
All that parking: Interesting story from Sightline reporter Catie Gould about how retail giant Wal-Mart is re-thinking the use of their massive parking lots — many of which are no longer used.
Video of the Week: YouTube phenom Not Just Bikes has the lowdown on how Paris became a cycling city:
Thanks to everyone who shared links!
If you have questions or feedback about this site or my work, feel free to contact me at @jonathan_maus on Twitter, via email at email@example.com, or phone/text at 503-706-8804. Also, if you read and appreciate this site, please become a supporter.
Love the links; my first destination on Monday mornings. On Colorado’s move, Oregon should at least require all motor vehicles in the state to have emissions limitations. I think even for passenger cars it is limited to certain areas.
Thanks for updating that the NYPost picked up your story about our clown mayor. I do not want Wheeler driving next to my kids an I, while we are on our bikes or while we are in a separate car. I’m hoping that one of your readers will tell Wheeler that he should respond about the article, and discuss his (Continuous) poor choices. He needs to do better. If he wants to turn into a real leader, he would share that it was a terrible idea and that he and others should not be active in work video meetings while driving a motor vehicle (Especially when a child is in the car.)
…keeping in mind that the NY Post is a bottom-dwelling tabloid of the worst sort, right down there with the National Enquirer and Fox News – BP has entered the realm of trashy profitable news outlets, a dubious honor at best…
The fact that a tabloid thought its readers would be interested in the story doesn’t mean the story isn’t valid news, or reflect poorly on BikePortland. Stories often appear across the whole spectrum of news sources.
I don’t see this as a case of BikePortland sinking to the level of a tabloid. I see this as an example of a story that resonates with two diverse news sources.
The zooming while driving post was both valid news and excellent anti-Tevis ****-blogging. At the same time, linking to the NYPost and celebrating its coverage does, in fact, reflect poorly on Bike Portland regardless of how worthwhile the original story was. People who believe that “black lives matter” should not link to white nationalist sites.
The NYPost is more like “Gateway Pundit” or OAN news (e.g. a thoroughly white nationalist media source with a long history of overtly racist dog-whistles).
Well you have it backwards. BP first covered this story which is very much of interest to the people who read it and have skin in the game on Portland streets.
The NY Post (the grass carp of journals) just picked up the story, confirming Jonathan’s news judgement. I avoid their stuff on principle but as a business they are a success.
It’s a juicy story.
My feelings exactly. Piggybacking from the “Post” isn’t exactly anything to be proud of.
Maybe someday TMZ will pick up on a BP story! That’d be ‘exciting’!
I mean, there’s a pretty easy way for the mayor not to have ended up on the NY Post… I agree that the NY Post sucks, but maybe don’t give them their argument?
Lot of hating on the NY Post here, which seems to me is mostly just classism. The NY Post was founded by Alexander Hamilton in 1801, and is the oldest continually published newspaper in the country. As far as I can tell it’s no more “biased” than any other media outlet owned by rich people, whether that is the Washington Post (Bezos), NYT (Sulzbergers), or The Atlantic (Lauren Jobs, Steve’s widow).
Have you ever read the Post?
All the time. It’s freakin brilliant. This is a few years old but quite possibly the greatest headline of all time appeared in the NY Post: “Booty Butcher Busted at Butt Pump Party!” That is some plosive plonkin poetry right there. They do that sh*t daily.
And who could forget:
Great stuff, but saying it’s not real news (especially compared to the papers you listed) is not classism. It’s just fact.
Wow, that one is before my time but also pure NY Post genius.
Are you sure that’s not “real” news? Pizza isn’t a real supper, liver and onions is a real supper! The Ramones aren’t real music, Emerson Lake and Palmer are real music! A lot hinges on your definition of “real”.
The point I was making is that many formerly prestigious legacy media brands have been sopped up by the very wealthy who use those platforms to direct the attention of “serious” people interested in “real” news away from their inordinate wealth and power. Look away from my pile of gold! Climate change! Covid! Technology! Trump! Rinse-repeat. Not to say that this is simply a scam, these people genuinely seem to believe that they’ve built a moral edifice from which to scorn those beneath them. That it mirrors their economic one is merely coincidence!
People don’t like the Post because it surfaces the weirdness and mystery at the heart of the city and the human condition. A headless body in a topless bar is as “real” as Jeff Bezos’s cock rocket to nowhere, and much more interesting.
Yes, pretty sure.
Those “previoulsy prestigious media brands” are still pretty prestigious. The Atlantic is routinely excellent, and while some of their reporters have difficulty differentiating between fact and opinion, the NYTimes is doing some of amazing work in integrating investigation with online data presentation. Their in-depth reporting is some of the best there is, and is probably as good as or better than in the past.
If your worst criticism of those brands is “owned by rich people”, well, maybe that’s just the price of good reporting. Better than being dismembered and digested by companies like Sinclair or Alden.
Of course the Post has its place and serves a purpose. It’s just that purpose is not “real news”, at least most of the time.
(And yes, I totally understand my comment is built on a tautology, but that doesn’t make it wrong!)
PS Today’s leading and hard-hitting Post story: “ROOKIE OF THE REAR: NYPD cop in raunchy lap dance video is identified”.
Rookie of the Rear! hahahahah!
My worst criticism of those brands is not that they’re owned by rich people, but that through the force of their wealth and cultural power they’re able to define what is or is not “news”.
I don’t have the stats in front of me right now, but the number of mentions of “Emmett Till” in the New York Times has been going up every year for the past 6 or 7 years such that according to google, they used his name a couple hundred times this year.
The story of Emmett Till is a tragic one, and an injustice, but he was murdered in 1955. It’s not, by definition, “news”.
The Hunter Biden laptop story that the NY Post broke before the election was news. Perhaps unwelcome news for some, but news nonetheless and yet completely blacked out by the “prestigious” legacy MSM. Even the Times now acknowledges (post election) that the contents appear to be legitimate.
And let’s not get started on the Russiagate, which every prestigious “real news” outlet in the country flogged for 3 years with zero skepticism until it all fell apart as a hoax.
I guess bottom line is that I’ll take trashy over mouthpiece of the ruling class every time.
Top story on NYTimes today “Omicron Cases Appear Less Severe, Studies Say, but Risks Remain”. The Atlantic: “Omicron Is the Beginning of the End”. Washington Post: “S. Africa’s huge omicron wave appears to be subsiding just as fast as it grew”.
So the billionaires have spoken: Covid is news. Sadly, none of them even mentioned “Rookie of the Rear”, showing that they ignore major stories that don’t fit their narrative.
Or not. I think the facts speak for themselves.
PS I am not claiming that newsworthy stories never break first in papers like the Post, just that it is not class bias and cultural hegemony that separate high quality from trashy (to use your word) media.
Well the other thing happening here is that while the NY Post may have national aspirations, it is a local rag at heart.
It’s now owned by Rupert Murdoch, is intensely pro-trump/race-baiting, and has an infamous history of overt racism (google the Central Park Five — Trump was also involved in this).
Wheeler is NOT a leader and never will be.
Frank S. He does lead the Portland Police Bureau, and allows the Police Union to call the shots (Pun intended.)
It is hard to even comprehend how feckless and just plain incompetent Wheeler is.. His legacy is the destruction of downtown Portland, an entire city under siege with shootings and homeless camps.
All in just a few short years…..
Unbelievable really how fast this city has crashed under his and Hardesty’s watch.
Driving distracted is the least worst thing he has done.
I’m with you on the failure of Wheeler. I believe in Hardesty, and if it wasn’t for her, noone would be challenging the intentional disaster of the Wheeler legacy.
Wheeler has me longing for the “Olde Portland” of 2015.
Wheeler must be doing something right the way everybody hates him.
But the police union and their partners (The proud boys) real estate developers, the SW Hills, those right of center, etc do like him. Its the working class, those in all parts that aren’t the SW Hills, BIPOC folks, young folks, workers, antiracists, and all the rest who hate him
RE: America’s Obsession with Speed
I’ve spent a lot of time overseas in a lot of places, and I have seen zero evidence that Americans are “obsessed” with speed any more than the rest of humanity. In fact, I often feel relived to be back in the relative traffic sanity of the US after spending time abroad.
What the Europeans have that we don’t are: 1) Cameras (not as “ubiquitous” as the article suggests), and 2) (In the north, at least) a culture of obeying and respecting the law that just isn’t widespread in the US.
Thank you Georgetown Climate analysis. This is exactly my hunch, written up in policy speak. The new transportation package is just a package to be molded by state and local authorities. That’s why it’s not really a climate transport package. There’s no strings for reductions, which is why we are still fighting ODOT on freeway widenings.
That’s why progressives were holding out, and eventually lost out on climate priorities outlined in the bill that included climate reduction money.
IDK why we linked child tax credits to a climate reduction package. Unpopular opinion, but I don’t think we should be giving child tax credits long term permanent. If we want to help existing children sure give money to schools or whatever. Signaling to the entire USA population that they will get a never ending child credit is not a reconcilable climate change policy.
I don’t mean to be mean here, but we need a little pause on the child monthly tax credit until we actually makes some serious climate reductions. IMHO.
Build Back Better was more than a climate reduction package, BBB was an investment in the grossly underpaid, largely female “care” economy. The pandemic made it obvious, if it wasn’t obvious already, that those jobs are also “infrastructure,” as much as the male-dominated jobs involving steel and concrete.
The child tax credit was means tested, it would have affected about 35 million families, according to the WH brief—https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/statements-releases/2021/10/28/build-back-better-framework/ It wasn’t meant to be climate change policy. It was an investment in the well being of people, as was most of BBB.
Krugman summed up what was lost: https://www.nytimes.com/2021/12/20/opinion/manchin-build-back-better.html
SPIN “SPUN” SCOOTER PSYCH
Thanks Jonathan for at least acknowledging “Yes the source is biased” per the new [marketing item] from Spin.
Yeah, I saw this item pop up last week. Don’t get me wrong…I love love the graphics and contend that it will be very effective in communicating the Spin message* to existing and future partner cities. The research planner in me, wishes the methodology section were a bit deeper…with sampling information, response rate AND had included SPIN bike riders, important as their answers would provide an interesting comparison on mental health impacts by mode (page 24). The report’s silence on why SPIN bike riders (as of the October survey) were not included was interesting.
When I started reading this document I almost felt like I was reading a 1960s study of car owners [swap out SPIN for GM, etc.] but then I remembered the strong financial link that SPIN has with Ford…so it made perfect sense, perhaps some researcher with a long memory will find a similar Ford document of “study findings*” from an earlier mid last century marketing effort on the positive health outcomes of pleasure driving.**
This document’s focus on only “mental health” and only passing mention of physical activity (primary value of e-scooters is driving users to places of exercise versus directly exercising or making riders “feel” like they are exercising by balancing) really is a deflection or distraction on the total sum of health benefits from shared e-cooters. I raise this last point not to diminish the important benefit of improved mental health during our current crisis but due to the shared e-scooter industries’ much much higher user injury rate [than the shared docked bikes] may not succeed in giving it a “positive” net health outcome much like earlier e-scooter environmental report findings that were really just marketing efforts once they were undone by actual ‘cradle to grave’ analysis of the industry product…
We will see if this effort by Spin will be repeated next year (I hope they do it again with bikes) and thus how much long term value it provides as a MaaS research vs. a pure one-time marketing tool developed during the previous Spin leadership.
**Sorry could not find a Ford resource today, but here is one from Jardine Motors (UK):
Jardine Motors recommended this book to read on this topic of psychology and motor vehicles :
The Paris video was spot on—I just got scooped!
What he emphasized, importantly, is the speed at which change is happening here. Paris is being transformed quickly. I was last here two and a half years ago and the change is noticeable since even then.
That makes Paris more relevant to cities like Portland than Amsterdam is. The lesson is that, with political will, you can pretty quickly change a city, and like the narrator says, you don’t need to endlessly study treatments. Just get it done.
As a pedestrian, the first thing my husband warned me about was to keep an eye out for the cyclists, they often ride between cars stopped in traffic and can unexpectedly whiz by pedestrians in crosswalks pretty closely.
I always find city comparisons very odd. Paris is a major capital of a compact wealthy and advanced country of 60 million, and has been the capital for over 1,200 years. Amsterdam and Copenhagen are also national capitals, though much smaller than Paris, for longer than the USA has been around. All 3 cities command resources that nearby provincial cities cannot access. Portland is a provincial port city (not even the capital of its state) of 650,000 of a minor US state of under 5 million. If I was to compare Portland, I’d look for similar dowdy cities that are also ports, such as Newcastle Upon Tyne UK, Glasgow, Cardiff, Bristol, Antwerp, Genoa, Marseille, Palermo, Gothenburg, Gdansk, and so on.
“Speed of change.” The relevance is that Paris has turned on a dime. It has, within just a few years, transformed itself from a car-dominated city with agressive drivers into a place in which it is easy to walk and bike. Portland should look to Paris as a model for fast transformation.
I’ve had many comments moderated here because I attempted to discuss the sociopolitical context of the transformation of the Parisian built environment by Mayor Hidalgo’s coalition. Bike lanes were never explicitly part of the Hidalgo administration’s political priorities so discussion of how her political platform led to a webwork of protected bike lanes should have been of interest to readers of this blog.
Hi Soren, I don’t remember deleting any of your comments, which doesn’t mean I didn’t, just that I don’t remember. I don’t see anything wrong with a discussion of Hildago in this thread.
My husband figured out how to secure his iPhone, and the video was surprisingly good, so in January when traffic picks up again we will post a video ride-along that captures a Paris bike commute. That will be another opportunity to bring up Hidalgo.
There is an automoderator function that shunts comments that use the “s” word, for example, away from moderation. To the best of my knowledge, none of these comments show up later. It’s difficult to discuss the Hidalgo administration without using the “s” word, given that this is the ideological basis for many of the transformational policies being implemented in Paris
There is absolutely not an automatic moderation of the word “socialist”. I’m not sure why you think that. We do have a blacklist of terms but that is not on it. If you have comments that have never appeared they were either deleted by me (very rare) or they were mistakenly sent to spam. Often comments with a lot of links will be tagged as Spam by mistake. If you think that might have happened to one of your comments, just let me know and I’ll retrieve it from spam.
It consistently happens when I use that term. I’ve even tested it by posting a comment with the term and one with out the term. The post with the “s” word disappears without any moderation notification while the comment without the “s” word goes through with the comment notification.
Soren. I’ve just double-checked the lists and the word socialism is not on them.
I’ve had comments simply disappear into thin air before. Will show up later to check and think, “Well that was a complete waste of time.” I now copy the comment before submitting. Can always retrieve it from the clipboard manager later if needed.
RE infrastructure bill: the Georgetown study notes “ emissions increases from induced demand associated with highway expansion have the potential to reverse the benefits of the low-carbon transportation investments.” So in terms of the climate crisis, a trillion dollar waste.
Re Walmart parking: why do cities have minimum parking requirements at all for malls and big boxes? If they don’t build enough parking, that’s their problem. If their parking splills over to the neighboring big box, let them fight over it.
You just answered your own question. Without minimum parking requirements, it becomes the neighborhood’s problem.
Classic example of externalized costs.
Many retailers can’t get bank loans unless they plan for ridiculous amounts of surface parking. It’s based on an outmoded business model from the 60s that very conservative banks (and many city governments alas) still cling to.