Monday Roundup: Swapfiets, Buttigieg, transit video game, and more

Welcome to the week.

Use code bikeportland22 and save 20% off at ShowersPass.com!

This week’s Monday Roundup is made possible by Showers Pass, makers of quality waterproof rainwear and gear that’s proudly designed and tested right here in Portland!

Here are the most notable stories our writers and readers came across in the past seven days…

Better vision: How do you push your city to make streets safer? Offer a detailed plan for tackling Vision Zero like nonprofit Seattle Neighborhood Greenways just did. (The Urbanist)

What parking lots are good for: In France, a new law requires that every existing car parking garage with over 80 spaces must install solar panels on its roof. (Electrek)

Pedestrian rights: The city of Los Angeles has relaxed its crossing laws for people on foot thanks to passage of the “Freedom to Walk Act.” (NY Times)

Bike share competitor: Netherlands-based Swapfiets, a service that offers all-inclusive bike rentals, is booming in London and the company says they will expand to other cities with quality bike infrastructure. (Bloomberg)

When Pete Buttigieg talks about bikes and cars…: We should all listen. That’s because this US DOT Secretary is an amazing communicator and he knows how to be persuasive and politically palatable. (Fast Company)

Right turns wrong: The more I hear about cities banning right-turn-on-red, like this article about Berkeley, the more curious I am about whether we should push for it in Portland. (SF Gate)

A familiar problem: A deep dive into raging bike theft epidemic in Burlington, Vermont and how it relates to policing. The person who sent this link said the article could have been about Portland. (NY Times)

Think you can do better?: A new video game lets you be the general manager of a bus system in any city you choose. (Streetsblog USA)

Video of the Week: Seattle has built a concrete-barrier protected bike lane on a highway and it looks fantastic (Seattle Bike Blog)


Thanks to everyone who shared links this week.

Subscribe
Notify of
guest

26 Comments
oldest
newest most voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
 
 
2 months ago

One thing I’ve wondered for a while is the relative safety of right turns on red versus right turns on green. Each one would result in the driver having to cross a crosswalk that most likely has a walk signal at the time. Do more collisions with greater severity occur when drivers turn right on a green light and collide with active transportation users that way, or when drivers do so on a red light?

This isn’t meant to be a gotcha question; I don’t know the answer.

blumdrew
blumdrew
2 months ago
Reply to   

In my experience, right turns on red are way worse since a driver is usually looking left (towards oncoming traffic), and a pedestrian on the near side of the intersection (the driver’s right) gets ignored/not seen until the last second. Plus, cars often creep into crosswalks to get a clear view of traffic, which makes things worse too. For a right turn on green, the pedestrian is the primary concern so is much more likely to be seen.

In terms of severity, I would think they are both similar since the car should be slowing down into the turn anyways – but maybe less so for turns on green (but again, I think the first point is more relevant anyways).

 
 
2 months ago
Reply to  blumdrew

See, I’d think the opposite would be true based on just vibes with no hard data at all. I’d think that drivers faced with a green light are much less likely to look for people who might be there, while at a red light they’d be more likely to check their surroundings.

I’d like to see some numbers on this somewhere if they exist.

blumdrew
blumdrew
2 months ago
Reply to   

At least with a green light, the conflict is typically directly in the field of vision of the driver so unless they’re driving with their eyes closed they should at least see someone before they start turning.

I don’t really think numbers are going to be available on something like this – since the lions share of events don’t result in crashes anyways. And even if it did, what would the policy implications be? Like banning right turn on red should probably be judged on its own merits, not with respect to right turn on green.

blumdrew
blumdrew
2 months ago

Strongly in favor of banning right turns on red everywhere. They are incredibly frustrating to deal with as a pedestrian at a busy intersection. My personal least favorite is the stretch of 14th where Burnside/Couch become one-way couplets and Sandy intersects too – drivers run the red arrow at speed. And due to how the signals are timed and the road layout, there almost always are cars coming through and it can be difficult to see where they may be coming from.

It’s a no-brainer in my opinion, the marginal gain for drivers is pretty small (30s?) and it would allow us to get rid of lots of dedicated right turn lanes too I think – since the primary benefit of having a dedicated right turn comes from a queue jump the driver gets at a red light. Small things like this make a big difference in the long term, and we need to start somewhere to erode the dominance of cars in the city.

Todd/Boulanger
2 months ago
Reply to  blumdrew

The nationwide practice of RTOR (right turn on red…and some left turns too) was supposed to be a ‘temporary practice’ for the ’emergency’ of the 1970s/ 1980 fuel embargo crisis.

It is well past time to “sunset it for traffic safety”…especially for any communities that have adopted Vision Zero.

cc_rider
cc_rider
2 months ago

San Jose police corralled and ticketed over 700 attendees at a sideshow this weekend. They impounded 28 cars and the fees to get them back are between $3k and $4k.

It’s amazing what you can do when the police do the job they are paid to do and the city government actually wants to stop a problem instead of worrying about optics.

Parallels
Parallels
2 months ago

The parallels between Burlington and Portland are interesting. From the NYT article:

“But Sarah George, the state’s attorney in Chittenden County, which includes Burlington, said some police officers were using the memo as “an excuse not to do basic investigating.”
Ms. George, a Democrat who had the backing of the Progressive Party in her successful re-election bid this year, said the police staffing issues were being overstated as a reason for the increase in crime.
She pointed out that many other cities, including some in Vermont, were seeing increases in violent crimes, yet their police forces were not as understaffed.
“What’s happening right now are consequences of a global pandemic that has dramatically impacted our most vulnerable people,” she said.”

Watts
Watts
2 months ago
Reply to  Parallels

Dramatically impacted vulnerable people by infecting them with a bike stealing virus? Or dramatically impacted people by temporarily suspending some of the rules we used to abide by, giving them the wrong idea that anything goes?

Victimizing people is never ok.

Will Ferrule
Will Ferrule
2 months ago

I’m more liberal than most liberals (not on every issue, but on most of them). Yet as somebody who lived a stone’s throw from that City, I hate Berkeley with a passion.

Cyclops
Cyclops
2 months ago
Reply to  Will Ferrule

Can you elaborate?

squareman
squareman
2 months ago
Reply to  Will Ferrule

I’m sure their city council will enter your “more liberal” distaste in their next meeting notes.

X
X
2 months ago
Reply to  Will Ferrule

Berkeley figured out how to use bollards, as opposed to wands, to prevent cut-through traffic in neighborhoods about 40 years ago. It works. I bet they’re visible from space, so no road trip necessary for PBOT.

David Hampsten
2 months ago

City Bus Manager simulator: It looks fun and I can easily imagine my buying it, but if only transit only had to worry about logical controlled situations and not municipal politics and elected officials who always oppose public transit, arbitrary and often contradictory government policies, ADA, and municipal systems versus outsourced contacted systems, not to mention pandemics like the Spanish flu (1917-1924) and Covid-19 (-2024) that massively disrupts ridership.

David Hampsten
2 months ago

Green Lake Video: Are there any plans to upgrade the buffered candlestick delineator lanes to curb-protected bike lanes?

H
H
2 months ago

I just rented a Swapfiets when I was in Amsterdam and Utrecht in September and the experience was absolutely awful. I didn’t understand how a bike company from the Netherlands could have such horrible customer service.

Todd/Boulanger
2 months ago
Reply to  H

Aloha “H”, that is too bad to hear. I was in multiple cities in the NL last summer and I saw many cyclists using Swapfiets…and compared to my once frequent trips to the Netherlands …I came away thinking that Swapfiets has been a game changer at getting folks convenient monthly access to a ‘bicycle – as – appliance’ …folks that don’t want to deal with flats and other issues that ownership brings + having access 24/7. All the Swapfiets on the street seemed to have replaced a lot of the junker basic fiets that used to be everywhere in city centers.

Watts
Watts
2 months ago
Reply to  H

You obviously haven’t spent much time in Europe!

Todd/Boulanger
2 months ago

A funny story about Swapfiets…when I first returned to the Netherlands this summer after a long absence…I noticed folks riding around with a blue front tire and at first I did not give it much thought other than ‘oh, looks like someone swapped out a tire and did not care what color it was’…then after a few more bikes…’oh, I guess [Halfords] musta have had a killer sale on electric blue tires’…then I saw the Swapfiets name on the next bike and said…and I thought: oh man that was genius bold + cheap branding idea…

Jolly Fred
Jolly Fred
2 months ago

Interesting fact: Amsterdam has banned bikeshare hubs and staging from its central city core due to issues caused by bikeshare fleets, namely their monopolization of public parking and sidewalks. Yes, you can rent a bike from any number of brick-and-mortar shops but when I visited this summer, the nearest bikeshare options required about a mile journey on foot to begin a rental. Ending the rental posed the same challenge.

Every time I find a Portland bike rack monopolized by idle BIKETOWN or Lime scooters — or have to step over these vehicles, discarded and blocking a sidewalk — I think of how clueless PBOT’s hasty embrace of venture capital backed e-fad services was. Of course we can never admit that we fell victim to a load of greenwashed hype, and sold our public amenities out for the benefit of Silicon Valley investors.

pigs
pigs
2 months ago
Reply to  Jolly Fred

Wait till you learn about on-street parking

NoPoResident
NoPoResident
2 months ago

Jonathan, that Burlington bike theft story is a lot of minor crime fear mongering. There have been a few good threads and an update from the DA herself on Twitter about how poorly contextualized that NY times story is and how it ignores the housing crisis. It is ‘tough on crime’ propaganda for minor crimes that only causes more problems.

Here’s the beginning of a thread analyzing the story:

https://twitter.com/RottenInDenmark/status/1592150143947898880

and from the State attorney:

https://twitter.com/SarahFairVT/status/1591555421688696832

who says: “I spent over 40 minutes on the phone with the author of this article, talking somewhat incessantly about the housing crisis in BTV and our failure to meet many folks basic needs. Quite astounded that it is not mentioned once in the entire article. Not once.”

This framing of minor crimes makes communities more paranoid and reactionary and refuses to look at why crimes like this take place. A lot of us have had bikes stolen and it really sucks, but the solution is not ‘sweeps, jail, more sweeps, more jail’ ad infinitum.

Tomas Paella
Tomas Paella
2 months ago
Reply to  NoPoResident

It’s only “fear mongering” until your bike is stolen.

https://bikeportland.org/2014/11/04/stole-bike-back-113065

Chris I
Chris I
2 months ago
Reply to  NoPoResident

It does cite an uptick in murders, and notes several in the story. Not really a minor crime, IMO.

Hippodamus
Hippodamus
2 months ago

I’m not a “they do everything perfect in Copenhagen” kind of commenter, but it was really nice in Copenhagen that nobody (including bikes) can make a right on red. They give people walking and biking a leading interval so you’re halfway across more or less before the cars try to turn. It felt safer.