Welcome to the week.
Here are the most notable stories our writers and readers have come across in the past seven days…
London did it: Latest counts show that London has achieved Portland’s goal with 27% of all trips being made by bike on a typical day — more people on bikes than cars in their city center! (Forbes)
Inside the ‘gain cave’: For some riders — like this guy who has put 55,000 miles on his trainer — indoor cycling isn’t an alternative, it’s just what they’ d rather do. (Cycling Weekly)
Truth about self-driving cars: A comprehensive look at the fables and facts around automated vehicle technology proves that the field is still nothing more than a automaker-fueled fantasy that should be marginalized instead of mainstreamed. (Bicycling)
Snow in the bike lane: Residents of Reno are questioning that city’s snow plowing policies after a bike rider was hit and killed trying to avoid a wall of the white stuff. (This is Reno)
Doggie doping: An Olympic mountain biker was dinged by the UCI for using drugs — but it turns out it was just medicine for her dog. (AP)
On-street dining: New Yorkers are grappling with the future of their “dining shacks” that sprung to life in parking spaces during the pandemic as city leaders seek to cut them back to seasonal structures. (Slate)
Freeway fighting update: Portland’s No More Freeways is one of the groups involved in this roundup of what anti-freeway groups need to scale up their fights. (Streetsblog USA)
Better batteries: The bike industry is watching New York City’s new law that would allow only UL-tested e-bike batteries to be sold. It’s an effort to thwart fire concerns from cheap batteries. (Bicycle Retailer & Industry News)
Citizen enforcement: New York City is looking to do something similar to Oregon with a new law that would give anyone the ability to initiate a traffic citation, and it’s going through a few compromises as it approaches a council vote. (Streetsblog NYC)
Thanks to everyone who shared links this week.
Has anyone ever successfully followed our citizen citation process through to the end? With all the crazy driving out there, I’d think this would be a banner year for citations.
A search on BP shows some articles. One headline referred to PPB refusing a record request related to an attempted citation.
In my view, a citizen citation process is a clear sign of the breakdown of law enforcement. Everyone knows the way law enforcement should work: a citizen who witnesses a possible violation calls the police, who respond quickly and use their discretion to remediate the situation. When that process stops happening – due to staff shortages, usually, but also distrust of police etc – then people come up with hare-brained ideas like citizen citation.
It’s important to say that “London” and the “City of London” are two entirely different things. London/Greater London is usually what people think of – the entire city/sprawl area with all the landmarks and trains. The City of London refers to the historical center/financial district which is governed by a weird corporation and a ton of fascinating arcane rules. The City of London is about 1 square mile, while Greater London (the political entity, excluding the City) is 605 square miles. The headline is technically accurate, but the whole London vs. City of London thing is confusing – and I’d say the tagline in the round-up is really not accurate – the difference between City of London and London is not trivial.
I’d be elated if the City of Portland could get 27% of trips in the central city by bike – but I don’t really think that’s even measured. Census data unfortunately is usually limited to just commute share. Which if you look at census tracts 106.01 and 106.02, you’ll find a bike % in the 3% range. You’ll also find walking and transit in the 30%+ range, with driving at about 18%. So while this is not a very comparable data set, the fact that people in downtown Portland are 6x more likely to drive to work than bike is a useful comparison. We have a long way to go
The City of London has 8,583 residents in a 1.2 square mile historic area with an honorary mayor; over 500,000 people work there on any given day. “Greater London” refers to a specific political 671 square mile area around London and it had 9,787,426 people in 2011 with a powerful elected mayor. Metropolitan London is the whole urban area around the city, had 14,257,962 residents in 2019, in an area of 4,406 square miles.
In comparison, the City of Portland has 652,503 people in an area of 129 square miles. The Metro Regional Government has 1,671,767 residents in 3 counties in Oregon but the overall metropolitan population (including Clark County in Washington) is 2,512,859 residents covering 6,684 square miles.
As automation “improves”, human driver skill will decrease precipitously. This one one of the reasons I’m extra-cautious around Tesla drivers.
I’m able to believe that a future system operating with full computer control would be much safer than the current thing we have. In the short run I distrust any suspected autonomous vehicle on a similar level to any vehicle showing gig economy branding.
I’m sure that as a bicycle rider I’d be excluded from the pavement of any fully machine guided system. It’s possible that such a system would mostly be running on limited access guideways, leaving the rest of the world to “us”, but Heinlein didn’t get everything right.
At least besides the cars, Tesla drivers are now easy to spot, they either have a MAGA hat on or have their faces covered in shame….
At least for those whose personal identities and self-worth are somehow linked to the owner of the company that made their car. Personally, I don’t see why you care.
If you want to give your money to a racist clown like Elon, go ahead.
It actually matters since he uses his fortune to buy things he can use as a mouthpiece for his dimwit views.
It doesn’t bother you that people like Musk and Peter Thiel are using their money to influence elections in this country?
Where do you think they get it?
“It actually matters since he uses his fortune to buy things he can use as a mouthpiece for his dimwit views.”
I also don’t care about Twitter. If anything, I’m glad Musk bought it because I’m hoping he’ll do humanity a favor and kill the damned thing.
Electric cars, solar power, cheap space flight, killed Twitter. That would be quite the list of accomplishments.
No, hopefully his twitter profile and all around asshat views on everything from Race to covid to union busting runs his stock into the ground so badly he sells the company and goes away…
That would be the improvement for the environment we need…
There are a dozen nice EV’s if you are looking for one that does not benefit Apartheid Clyde.
You obviously haven’t been following the Solar City debacle. Musk has done absolutely nothing to advance solar power technology, and some would argue, has actually harmed progress.
Just this morning he is defending the Jan 6 insurrection and making fun of an employee he is firing that has MS…
But cheap space travel…….
As a person, Musk is a dirt bag and bully, no question.
I believe he has done a lot of good, but
I’m open to arguments that his accomplishments are less than they seem.
To me these are independent issues.
As we speak he is openly helping to dismantle our democracy, that is not hyperbole.
He’s a fascist who is promoting the worst kind of people.
He is a union busting creep who treats employees like dirt.
He bought a car company and a space company.
How exactly is that ‘a lot of good’?
He is personally destroying the stock in his own company.
His fanboys are just fame worshippers, sorry.
We need electric cars with manual transmissions to keep people tuned into driving. Or at least a way to make people use both hands at once and keep them on the wheel instead of a device.
Google on “15 minute cities.” Think it would play in America?
The story about snow storage in Reno is really interesting. I don’t know Reno well enough to say anything informed about how *often* they get snow, but I’m guessing the recent HUGE snowstorms have been an anomaly and have tested their usual ways of doing things. But it makes me wonder why snow storage isn’t a “thing” everywhere: every city from Portland to Reno and everywhere in between needs a plan for storing snow that doesn’t involve pushing it into bikes lanes and onto sidewalks. We who walk and bike need to get around too.
Reno gets about two feet of snow a year and is in the rain shadow of some of the snowiest places on the planet.
Have you seen the mobile snow melters? Kind of the worst thing ever. I could see them having a place somewhere, but burning gas to melt snow in a parking lot just seems like all that’s wrong with the world. Maybe it’s less fuel than loading it into dump trucks and hauling it somewhere?
Trecan – Canadian designed and built snowmelters used worldwide