Monday Roundup: The trouble with trucks, scooters, and traffic studies

Welcome to the week. Here are the most notable stories our writers and readers have come across in the past seven days…

A DOT ray of hope: Washington’s state DOT has a new requirement to close bike network gaps whenever they do a major project on an arterial highway — and it looks like it’s going to lead to much better bike infrastructure. (The Urbanist)

Get on the bus (to National Parks): Cars are strangling “America’s Best Idea” so here’s an idea: resurrect Greyhound buses as the de facto tourist transit service at National Parks and get the cars out of nature. (City Hikes)

A safety tax for trucks: Great to see the another big-city editorial board get comfortable with the idea of more regulation on large and heavy SUVs and trucks as a route toward safer streets (L.A. Times)

Profit over people: The reason there are so many trucks in America — despite their terrible safety and climate change impacts — is largely due to the simple fact that quirks in the law make them more profitable than smaller vehicles. Yay capitalism!! (Washington Post)

The Netherlands bike story: A well-reputed podcast has published a detailed history of bicycle activism in Amsterdam that relays the inspiring story of the fight against car-centric planning and its remarkable aftermath. (99% Invisible)

Unprotected: San Francisco is mourning the loss of a cycling champion who was killed by a drunk driver while bicycling last week. It happened in a location where activists had called attention to the need for protected bike lanes. (SF Gate)

Doubting studies: Traffic impact studies and the Trip Generation Manual are the bedrock of street planning decisions, but they’re far from scientifically sound. (Streetsblog USA)

Enforcement debate: This article about the correlation between fewer police doing traffic enforcement is about Seattle but it could have easily been written about Portland. (NPR)

Scooters in Paris: All eyes in the micromobility world are on Paris where a non-binding referendum result showed vast opposition to electric scooters as Mayor Anne Hidalgo says they don’t fit into the cities plans to support biking and walking. (Tech Crunch)

Lyft and bike share: When Lyft raised fees for Biketown in Portland, it underscored the peril of having our bike share system owned by a private corporation and renewed talks of a public takeover. Turns out we’re not the only city whose close ties to Lyft causes stress. (Curbed)


Thanks to everyone who shared links this week.

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor)

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor)

Founder of BikePortland (in 2005). Father of three. North Portlander. Basketball lover. Car owner and driver. 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 maus.jonathan@gmail.com, or phone/text at 503-706-8804. Also, if you read and appreciate this site, please become a supporter.

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jakeco969
jakeco969
7 months ago

Heartbreaking story about Ethan Boyes! I can’t find any version of the story that mentions drunk driving though, including the linked story at SFgate. Do you have access to an updated version?

MAAPDOG
MAAPDOG
7 months ago
Reply to  jakeco969
jakeco969
jakeco969
7 months ago
Reply to  MAAPDOG

Thank you! I’m not on Reddit so thats very helpful.

blumdrew
7 months ago

Didn’t expect to see my wacky idea for the NPS to take over Greyhound end up here, thanks for the shout out.

There are some National Parks that are uniquely well situated for bus service as well. Joshua Tree is directly adjacent to I-10 (Phoenix-LA), and Shenandoah is within a few miles of two different interstate highways (plus a stones throw from DC). Intercity bus service doesn’t get much chatter in urbanist spheres, but we already have spent the $1 trillion on the freeways. It’s worth it to spend public money on ensuring that everyone can actually take advantage of that investment – especially as it pertains to the National Parks, which are both hard to get to without cars and uniquely popular.

cc_rider
cc_rider
7 months ago
Reply to  blumdrew

The hard thing about National Parks is that for many Americans, the act of driving through the park is the activity they look forward to.

blumdrew
7 months ago
Reply to  cc_rider

In my experience, it varies massively depending on what park you are at. Some have roads that are attractions to drive in and of themselves (like Blue Ridge Parkway in Shenandoah), while others have no roads that really connect the different areas of the park (Olympic, Grand Canyon). Day hiking and being in nature are the primary draws of the parks (something like 10% or less of overnight stays are in the back country), and buses are something that can achieve these ends just as well (if not better) than cars. Especially in the big parks that have massive visitor numbers and the need for restrictions on cars.

The NPS itself should be a stronger advocate for non-car tourism of the parks. They are spending money hand over foot to accommodate them, and are still running into issues with congestion and degradation of natural resources because of them.

Lisa Caballero (Assistant Editor)
Editor

I’m glad to see transportation impact analysis (TIA) studies finally being called out as the garbage they are, but the example of NIMBY neighbors using the studies to get more driving facilities doesn’t apply to Portland in my experience.

Rather, what I’ve seen in a couple instances is that developers use TIAs as a reason to argue against putting in sidewalks — by claiming that their development won’t add enough cars to the road to justify the expense of sidewalk building. PBOT’s development review embraces this argument despite it being contrary to a century of Portland frontage policy.

qqq
qqq
7 months ago

I agree, the typical use is developers/clients using them to avoid upgrades or restrictions.

Example–My old neighborhood raised issues about traffic generation of a project in a park. Parks responded with a traffic study showing no impacts. We got the correspondence between Parks and the traffic consultant through a Freedom of Information request. The initial letter from Parks said, “We need you to give us a traffic study showing that there will be no increased traffic”.

I’ve also been in meetings where the first question from the traffic engineer to the client is, “What do you need our study to conclude?” Traffic engineers also tend–in my experience–to deflect questions about their studies with “Are you a registered traffic engineer?” as in, “Why is your table is showing 40 parking spaces available where only three would fit?” “Are you a registered traffic engineer?”

Lisa Caballero (Assistant Editor)
Editor
Reply to  qqq

I think we could share some stories for a few hours. I’ve seen reports which are flat-out incorrect, and even at their best they are based on a 7th-grade pre-algebra level of arithmetic that relies on the innumeracy of lawyers and elected officials for acceptance. Basically the “registered traffic engineer” struts around with the title, waves a spreadsheet with some numbers on it, and the folks in the position of deciding things are cowed.

I’ve been in the position of arguing averaging with these maestros. What a racket they operate.

It doesn’t take much math to call bullshit.

(Also, qqq, for some reason your comments are going straight into trash, I fish them out eventually, but I’m not sure what is happening.)

qqq
qqq
7 months ago

Maybe the system saw the words “traffic study” in my comment and reasonably tossed it straight into the trash.

It sounds like we (and Streetsblog) share the same frustration–that the issue isn’t just that the studies are flawed, it’s that reviewers treat them way too deferentially.

Ryan
Ryan
7 months ago

Criticize ITE and TIAs and say they shouldn’t be ‘substantial evidence’, but what is the alternative? It’s not just a matter of city staff having the gumption to say ‘build improvements, no matter what’. The city has the burden of proof to demonstrate that requiring frontage improvements (bike lanes, curbs, sidwalks, etc) is legal. Part of that burden involves demonstration of rough proportionality (SCOTUS decision in Dolan), which necessitates some numerical, factual basis. I don’t think anyone has found a way around this that doesn’t involve traffic data (would be great to hear otherwise!).

The city’s decision has to be defensible before a hearings officer, LUBA, court of appeals, or straight to a federal court thanks to the SCOTUS decision in Knick. Developers and their engineers will present ITE data, and the city can’t just point out methodological shortcomings without proffering data that is equal or better. Even if TIAs magically went away, there’s still the legal reality that the government has to prove its case with quantified findings showing the exactions are roughly proportional to the development’s impacts.

Conversely, TIAs and ITE data can also be used to successfully argue for requiring frontage improvements. It’d be helpful to have a broader perspective of what improvements the city is getting from developers. Hundreds (thousands?) of developments get reviewed by the city each year. ‘Developer Builds Sidewalk’ isn’t exactly a compelling headline, but I’d venture to guess that’s a more frequent outcome for developments where the zoning code requires transportation improvements. There are absolutely shortcomings in the development approval process that can and do occur, and you’ve done a great job highlighting those. It’s an imperfect system, but a holistic look at the results is warranted before concluding that all TIAs are garbage, review staff is has an irredeemable auto centric bias and can’t fact-check a report, etc.

Lisa Caballero (Assistant Editor)
Editor
Reply to  Ryan

Thank you for the robust answer, Ryan, I appreciate it. I was wondering if anyone was going to push back at me.

One major problem I see with the system is that assuring accountability is left to volunteers, usually members of neighborhood associations. That is how Portland has it set up, it’s why NAs can request quasi-judicial land use appeals of HO decisions to the city council and get the $4K fee waived.

A second problem with the system is that nobody understands it, even within PBOT. Even wizened SW active transportation advocates don’t understand the process.

Third, Portland doesn’t seem to have a strategy for withstanding Nollan/Dolan challenges. Other cities do. That came out in the Peer City Review for the Pedestrian Design Guide. Austin does with its “Rough Proportionality” process. Does Portland? I don’t know. It seems like Development Review has to wing it a lot. Does the city attorney have DR’s back?

Four, what’s the plan for sw Portland? That’s a political question. Has the city written-off sidewalks for the area — except for Capitol Highway?

Regarding your last paragraph, it would be good if BDS or PBOT would track what type frontage improvements have been made on developments which triggered improvements. For example, 15 projects in sw Portland triggered 1.25 miles of frontage improvements.– one mile of six ft asphalt shoulder; .2 mile of 4 ft dirt shoulder and .05 mile of cement sidewalk.

Without the data it’s all anecdote. But I have not had trouble finding examples of shoulder-widening. (I’m glad a sidewalk went in at 11th and Gibbs.)

Some of this might get solved with district representation. If we could get one person on council who was asking the questions I am that would be thrilling.

Finally, I looked at a TIA (and some traffic engineering reports made for a developer) which fell apart upon inspection. Basic things like not understanding how a signal worked, un-useful calculation of crash rates (if the major street leg sees a couple of orders of magnitude more traffic than a minor leg, any safety problem with the minor leg is going to get averaged away under the standard crash rate calculation formula. If your development is off the minor leg of a failing intersection, that is what matters, not how many cars pass unscathed along the major axis).

Thank you for the conversation!

Lisa Caballero (Assistant Editor)
Editor

I just re-read the last few sentences of your comment, Ryan. It’s not my personality to fault individuals, I see problems with systems.

It’s clear from the internal surveys that have come out in the past couple of years (most recently the BDS/Rubio permitting survey, but also the Ped Des Guide survey) that the city employees who work within various systems know the problems really well, and have good suggestions for improving things.

There are not many jobs within the city as stressful as BDS and Dev Rev. I don’t think DR gets the support it needs, including from the city attorney. I don’t think someone having to review a stack of building permits should also be having to figure out the solution to thorny, constrained pedestrian situations. Or have to be skilled at negotiating between neighbors and developers. The problem is that there is a policy void regarding what the city supports regarding sw active transportation.

Daniel Reimer
Daniel Reimer
7 months ago

If we could get one person on council who was asking the questions I am

Who better than yourself! I’d vote for you 🙂

Lisa Caballero (Assistant Editor)
Editor
Reply to  Daniel Reimer

lol. Someone needs to convince Terri Preeg Rigsby to run again.

John
John
7 months ago

With regards to traffic enforcement, and with hesitation to bring out the usual (IMO) unreasonable arguments against it, this should be solved without involving police.

One part of the solution is automated enforcement. Get speed and light (and I would hope, stop sign) cameras up ASAP. It shouldn’t need to take a long time to do this, it should be easy but of course doing things the usual way piecemeal seems to needlessly take forever. We need to find some way to expedite this.

Automated enforcement would go incredibly far in improving driving. In a similar way to how people say electric cars will never work because charging is inconvenient for some tiny fraction of use cases, people like to bring up the kind of risky driving that automated enforcement won’t deal with. Sure, there are other things. We shouldn’t let those other cases prevent us from basically solving a huge majority of the problem. There is basically no down side.

The second part of the solution is manual enforcement that is traditionally done by cops. The usual argument I’ve seen against this is that an unarmed DOT employee can’t or shouldn’t be expected to do this because it’s too dangerous. I think that argument is completely flawed, but it comes because of the cop mindset people have. It’s stuck in a police oriented strategy where if you pull someone over you MUST give them a ticket or arrest them if they resist, including high speed chases and gun fights if needed. This is nonsense. Here’s what you do:

DOT (or whatever other organization) sees someone driving erratically. They come up in a marked vehicle and signal to pull them over (lights etc). They walk up, give you some paperwork and leave. You have been cited. There is no chance of searching the vehicle, no capacity to arrest someone, no gun or taser involved. There is no reason for the person being pulled over to turn this into a murder. This is a parking ticket but for more things.

Now someone might say “but they could just drive away”. Ok? Who cares? Now that plate and potentially the driver’s face is in a database as evading traffic enforcement and could be pulled over by regular police at any time and impounded at the very least. One might say there are no police to do this, yadda yadda, but you’re still driving around with an identifier that says “you can arrest me” all the time. Enforcing that is a separate issue.

And there are a few people out there driving without plates. Again, this is a distraction. For one, it’s not many people compared to all the other drivers. But two, this is not a “minor traffic infraction” that we should be going easy on for any reason. This is the kind of thing that should be “arrest on sight” and easy to justify. It’s not minor, the cops should be enforcing that and the fact that they aren’t is either a deliberate quiet strike by them or deliberately following what are vague guidelines to such an extreme as to be essentially a protest. The way a story book genie might take a wish and twist the meaning into something you don’t want. Whatever, have the governor correct this misunderstanding if need be. But nobody ever suggested that once people step into a car, all enforcement should go away, that is a ridiculous misunderstanding.

That’s the price I think many “defund the police” advocates would be wiling to pay to reduce the number of armed confrontations with cops, that’s the actual meaning and spirit of the slogan. It is not and was not ever meant to say “lets keep everything the same but get rid of cops” and that understanding is itself foolish.

I hope if anyone has any objections to ideas like this, you keep in mind actual numbers. Like, not every solution has to solve every single problem. That kind of mindset is what has cops bringing the threat of deadly force into domestic disputes, minor traffic violations, homelessness, and mental health crisis. They shouldn’t be doing everything. You might think of other things that cameras and unarmed human enforcement won’t cover, but that doesn’t invalidate their use.

dwk
dwk
7 months ago
Reply to  John

“DOT (or whatever other organization) sees someone driving erratically. They come up in a marked vehicle and signal to pull them over (lights etc). They walk up, give you some paperwork and leave. You have been cited.”

10,000 people including 230 children were killed by drunk drivers last year in the US.
Far and away the NO. 1 cause of traffic fatalities. But let them drive away……
Problem solved.

John
John
7 months ago
Reply to  dwk

See, I asked, very clearly, for you to think before blasting out a poorly thought out reply. All I ask is that you think a little before posting and consider if your objection was already addressed (it was).

Drunk drivers are (for the vast majority) not hardened criminals ready to live life on the perpetual run. They are everyone, so many people do it. They’re regular working people who drink at the bar and drive home (because alternatives suck, by the way). These kind of people are not prepared, in general, to do something that will permanently mark their vehicle as having done an arrest-able offense. And that’s what this would be. From then on, if/when ever enforcement happens, their car will be taken away and impounded.

Cry me a river that you didn’t get to arrest them specifically on drunk driving. These people by your admission already got to the worst case scenario by killing someone. If instead, their car gets taken away because they ran away from a traffic stop, that solves the same problem.

People get tied up and hung up on trying to stop crimes or violations *at the time they happen* which is essentially too late for systemic things. It’s the way people want to deal with healthcare when it’s too late rather than preventative treatments. Give people a strong belief that they will get a painful fine for their driving and lose their car for running and they will moderate their behavior.

And then, for the remainder of drunk drivers, that is a separate issue that can be addressed in other ways. I explained this already so I doubt you’ll read it if I write it a second time, but here’s hoping.

Dwk
Dwk
7 months ago
Reply to  John

You specifically state that you let Car drivers who are driving erratically to not be arrested or stopped and the officers simply let them drive off drunk.
Its hard to argue with that logic but thanks for your always amusing posts.
I think the single biggest thing I worry about cycling are drunk drivers.

Watts
Watts
7 months ago
Reply to  John

Let’s be clear here. If a PBOT enforcer pulls someone over for blowing a red light, and they appear to be drunk, what would they do? What if there were evidence of a more serious crime in plain sight?

John
John
7 months ago
Reply to  Watts

You are attempting to steer things towards having an armed, licensed to kill enforcer solving simple traffic problems and I’m not going to budge on that. It’s not acceptable to me.

What does a mall cop do if they see someone drive away drunk? If they see something like that in plain sight, I would assume they would report it just like anything else anyone might see. It is outside their job description to do an arrest. Hell, maybe for drunk driving itself, that is something that the DOT employee could also be authorized to test for. The driver can refuse it if they want, or drive away if they want to turn this into something more serious. Either one results in backup being called. Maybe the reason for the in person interaction is that they do ask for ID, for example, and then they have this interaction tied to a person instead of just the vehicle.

Isn’t this something we actually have precedent for? Isn’t Portland Street Response, however tiny and un-funded it is, kind of the same thing? Wouldn’t they call for backup if they were in the presence of something like an imminent threat or other danger? But regardless, that’s what I’m suggesting. Not that what my original comment above on a bike website constitutes a full vetted policy proposal, it’s meant to illustrate that enforcement can be vastly improved without spending tens of millions more on cops and causing the problems that those cause.

I want to be clear, it is a fallacy that I have seen repeated ad-nauseam to suggest that this kind of thing would be letting anyone off the hook. I’m talking about an increase in enforcement of very common traffic violations that affect all of us and make cycling, walking and even driving feel and actually be less safe, and the status quo for other existing very illegal things.

Watts
Watts
7 months ago
Reply to  John

You are attempting to steer things

No, I’m just trying to understand how your proposal would fare when confronted with a common situation. You can’t just wish difficult interactions away — they’re inevitable. You need to think realistically how you’d handle all the edge cases, because everyone you try to sell this idea to is going to.

If a security guard (or just a random person) happens upon a serious crime in progress, I think it is very legitimate to be concerned for their physical safety. That’s much more likely to happen if you have people out there looking for and intercepting random drivers committing driving infractions. I would expect 98% of the time it’s going to work out as you envision it. Most people are, after all, conditioned to comply with authority. It’s those who aren’t that are the problem.

Portland Street Response is not a good model for this because they did think about the edge cases, and as a result situations are carefully vetted before they get the call. Incidents with any real potential for going bad get diverted to the police. PSR is very clearly there to help folks in distress, more like firefighters, rather than to tell people they’re about to get a sometimes multi-hundred dollar fine and possibly even lose their license, or even be asked to await the police for potential arrest.

That could be triggering to the sometimes armed, sometimes high, sometimes angry, sometimes psychopathic, sometimes criminal people they pull over.

dwk
dwk
7 months ago
Reply to  Watts

It’s also just magical fairy thinking… Where exactly are all these new teams of unarmed Portland Street response coming from?
Is there a waiting list to get one of these nice high paying jobs or is it just that
the new WFH Yuppies that live in nice neighborhoods are just clueless as to the crime rates in most parts of the city right now?
Because most people in Portland right now would like more trained police and a lot less crime.
There is like 4% unemployment, no one can fill these unarmed kind of dangerous jobs but some people think there are magic fairies that want to pull over cars at midnight for driving erratically since of course, No ONE has guns in our society….

John
John
7 months ago
Reply to  dwk

If that’s the case, I don’t know what more funding for cops would do. But there sure as shit isn’t a lack of traffic cameras willing to do the job for really cheap per hour.

John
John
7 months ago
Reply to  Watts

You are the one not thinking realistically! The cops still exist! Did I say anywhere in my original comment or any reply that says explicitly or even subtly suggests that we should remove police funding? You’re making that part up! You’re not saying it, but you’re making it up, so

You are attempting to steer things

Is true, and to that you can add that you are making up a scenario to argue against.

Again, you’re living in a fantasy. Pure movie stuff. Why would someone who is in the middle of doing something illegal or say, has a kidnapped person in the passenger side with duct tape over their mouth in your cartoonish mind palace, stop for a traffic enforcement officer? Why would they stop and THEN decide to shoot them? It makes no sense, it wouldn’t happen, and you’ll have to try harder if that’s your only objection.

Furthermore,

I think it is very legitimate to be concerned for their physical safety.

I don’t agree, but regardless, we still have security guards. People do that job.

Incidents with any real potential for going bad get diverted to the police.

How on earth do you think they know if the situation has any real potential for going bad? They don’t. Your scenario of coming across someone in the middle of being kidnapped could just as well happen in any of the situations PSR gets called to. What, do you think they pre-screen these interactions? With what, the cops?

Chris I
Chris I
7 months ago
Reply to  John

In summary: yes, you let them drive away.

I don’t think you are going to get the general public to agree to this approach. Too many of us have been affected by DUII violence.

John
John
7 months ago
Reply to  Chris I

I don’t know what’s so hard to compute for people like you. You’re not going to get them arrested right now, as the status quo. Giving people tickets for dangerous driving is a simple, straight forward, easy solution that will improve road safety. You’re just bringing up irrelevant shit.

Trike Guy
Trike Guy
7 months ago
Reply to  dwk

Because nothing bad can come of forcing that person into a high speed chase situation ….

Oh, wait, police kill 100’s of innocent bystanders yearly in high speed pursuits.

The fact that automated enforcement / unarmed human enforcement can’t stop drunk driving is irrelevant – *armed* human enforcement has never stopped it.

But it can reduce not only that number, but the deaths from other law breaking.

The reason people break traffic laws is they don’t believe they’ll be caught. Once they believe they’ll be caught, data show that compliance goes up rather markedly.

Make eluding a traffic stop a felony – serve the warrant at the person’s house where they aren’t going to be reckless with a multi-ton piece of machinery.

It doesn’t *solve* the problem, but I’d settle for reducing it.

X
X
7 months ago
Reply to  dwk

John makes some good points.

“…not every solution has to solve every single problem.”

If enforcement by cameras or unarmed civil officers calms traffic generally then intoxicated drivers will be more conspicuous. They’re not just being careless, they’re abusing the system in bad faith and should quite fairly be pulled over by police who encounter them.

Watts
Watts
7 months ago
Reply to  John

Why pull someone over at all? Why not just mail them a ticket?

John
John
7 months ago
Reply to  Watts

Good point, that works for me. I guess it’s possible they don’t have a stable mailing address or something, but that’s also a bit of an edge case (an important one, of course, but I’m trying to think of solutions for the majority here).

My thought was if they go up and interact in person, something like a body camera can also get a view of their face if that is needed. I don’t think it should be needed, but it might be.

dwk
dwk
7 months ago
Reply to  John

I got drunk and ran over a pedestrian last night on my way home from the bar shitfaced…
I hope I don’t get a ticket in the mail…

John
John
7 months ago
Reply to  dwk

You’re lying in your caricature of my comments.

The whole point, the WHOLE ENTIRE point, is that drunk drivers usually drive drunk frequently, and do things that could easily be caught and punished by automated enforcement. This would be a strong deterrent.

None of this precludes taking entirely other measures to also deal with the drunk driving itself. Some may be legal or other solutions but that is an entirely separate issue you should think about on its own.

This would be a net increase in traffic enforcement which would improve safety for everyone. Tell me one actual reason why improving safety for everyone should be avoided.

Watts
Watts
7 months ago
Reply to  John

If the worst consequence of driving drunk was a speeding ticket, I think a lot more people would do it.

John
John
7 months ago
Reply to  Watts

So, you’re implying that the worst consequences of driving drunk are currently worse than a speeding ticket. So what I’m suggesting is additional deterrence on top of that. Which would either leave the state of drunk driving as-is (a problem I wasn’t primarily focusing on anyway), or improve it.

Not sure what the problem is then.

Please, if you’re making a massive amount of other assumptions that you’re coyly keeping a secret, let me in on what those are. Because it sounds like you’re assuming something that you’re not saying.

PS
PS
7 months ago
Reply to  John

I hope if anyone has any objections to ideas like this, you keep in mind actual numbers.”

Yes, like there are over 10,000,000 police/public interactions every single year and the vast majority of them go just like they are supposed to. Very few end up with someone being injured or killed. About .01% of police interactions result in death.

Also, we currently have “you can arrest me anytime”, they are called warrants, and a lot of people with warrants are found by being pulled over. This might be a surprise to you, but the people who don’t follow the rules to show up for court can also be the same people who don’t follow rules of the road, so it might be in the public’s interest to have those folks detained and possibly, just possibly have a police officer doing so.

John
John
7 months ago
Reply to  PS

That’s nice, but I think 1,000 police interactions resulting in death per year (just taking your numbers on faith) is a valid reason for the general public to be up in arms about police violence and not something to be swept under the rug.

The thing about warrants is they’re for the person, right? Maybe it’s not an “arrest any time” (i.e. a warrant) but “this car can be impounded and have its registration revoked at any time”.

And again, about your last point, the answer is no. That is not correct. People who don’t follow the rules of the road is a huge number of every day people. I see big expensive SUVs owned by middle class people running lights and speeding down little roads like Ainsworth all the time. These aren’t people who want to get entangled in serious legal issues when they can just pay the fine and not speed next time. Right now, they can speed with impunity because they know nothing will happen to them, so they do. This to me seems likely to explain the vast majority of the apparent increase in traffic aggression we’ve seen over the last few years.

Watts
Watts
7 months ago
Reply to  John

taking your numbers on faith

From a 2022 article in the Guardian:

There were 97 deadly traffic stops in 2017; 114 in 2018; 117 in 2019; 119 in 2020; 117 in 2021; and 25 so far in 2022 as of April, according to the data.

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2022/apr/21/us-police-violence-traffic-stop-data

PS
PS
7 months ago
Reply to  John

Okay, and all that “up in arms about”, how’s that working out for everyone? It’s pretty swell to act like the police never interact with bad people and have bad outcomes at the level of just about statistical anomaly.

The last point is literally correct, people who don’t follow big rules tend to not follow little rules either, it’s literally the premise of broken windows policing and the action of it may not be palatable to you, but it’s hard to argue with the results.

dwk
dwk
7 months ago
Reply to  John

6 likes so far for not enforcing drunk driving laws is more like the Car & Driver magazine audience than Bikeportland…. Embarrassing….
This is just a self own, no wonder the roads are so lawless and cycling numbers are cratering..

John
John
7 months ago
Reply to  dwk

You are literally responding to a comment advocating for increased traffic enforcement. You’re so completely wrong it’s a joke.

Address the content instead of making up a strawman and name calling. You have nothing. You very clearly have never replied with anything of substance. Try it, you might like it.

dwk
dwk
7 months ago
Reply to  John

You literally stated in about 5 posts now that you would send tickets, let drivers continue to drive home impaired… No interaction to stop people who are drunk from continuing onward to kill some one.
That is the content.
Bikeportland needs to show you the faces of pedestrians and cyclists killed in the last year by drunk and reckless driving in this city..
That would be real content you might understand.

John
John
7 months ago
Reply to  dwk

Hey bud, news flash: they already are continuing to drive home impaired, regularly, and they get away with it even if they’re speeding, running lights, and swerving all over the road. That’s today. Welcome to the present.

Making the road safer for everyone as well as punishing drunk drivers with fines (disincentivizing them from drunk driving all the time) is a win for all of us.

Daniel Reimer
Daniel Reimer
7 months ago
Reply to  dwk

No where does he mention drunk driving in the original comment nor anything about not enforcing traffic laws. PPB has the largest budget of any bureau and refuses to enforce basic traffic laws. John has a sincere proposal on what to do next because the answer sure isn’t give the PPB more money.

Can you read what people have to say first before you reply instead of posting irrelevant reactionary comments?

Chris I
Chris I
7 months ago
Reply to  Daniel Reimer

Budget is irrelevant when you can’t hire and retain officers. You love to cite the budget, but never seem to note our police staffing per capita, relative to other large cities.

https://www.wweek.com/news/2022/09/28/portland-ranks-48th-among-50-big-cities-for-cops-per-capita/

John
John
7 months ago
Reply to  Chris I

You don’t have to train a traffic camera and an unarmed employee would not need the extensive (and inadequate) safety training and screening that cops get. This would improve things, not make it worse.

SolarEclipse
SolarEclipse
7 months ago
Reply to  John

Police enforce laws, not civilians.
Strange how no one ever talks about improving training, policies, and accountability as a possible solutions.
Sorry, can’t agree with your suggestion to just let people drive on down the road for driving erratically. I’m sure all the folks who’ve had loved one killed by drunk drivers would just adore your idea. NOT!

John
John
7 months ago
Reply to  SolarEclipse

Strange how no one ever talks about improving training, policies, and accountability as a possible solutions.

This is literally all anyone has ever talked about with police. It’s been what everyone is saying for decades. It has never worked.

Sorry, can’t agree with your suggestion to just let people drive on down the road for driving erratically.

Sorry, can’t take you seriously if you can’t read a few paragraphs of text. I know it’s a lot of text but I hope you can read it. Give it a shot.

These people would get a ticket. They wouldn’t “just drive off”. These people currently, today in real life, do all these things you fear but with a strong expectation (backed up by police statements) that they will have no repercussions. Changing that, so instead they can expect to have to pay up, will – based on actual evidence and not your hunch – have an impact on their driving and choices.

jakeco969
jakeco969
7 months ago
Reply to  John

I personally would prefer an officer to arrest the drunk driver on the spot and have the car impounded rather than risk an accident or death on the way home to await a ticket in the mail.
What is missing in your well explained statements is any understanding that drunks aren’t making cognizant decisions about anything other than being drunk, let alone worried that they will get a ticket.
I find it hard to reconcile the reality that people are driving giant, death dealing machinery and that they will also engage in a decision tree centered on non violence.

John
John
7 months ago
Reply to  jakeco969

What is missing in your reply is any understanding of the big picture. We have some very limited traffic cameras right now, today. They don’t catch drunk drivers. Should we take them down because they don’t catch drunk drivers? Does that make any sense?

No, it doesn’t make sense. If they work in their very limited application, we should add more. There is a smallish upfront cost and then they’re basically free for the lifetime and they never shoot anyone. And evidence shows that they work.

Chris I
Chris I
7 months ago
Reply to  John

So if someone steals my plates and I’m driving to work the next day, I should be arrested on site?

John
John
7 months ago
Reply to  Chris I

Arrest was probably an oversimplification. You should not be allowed to drive. Or maybe cops should have some mechanism for verifying you own the car and giving you a temporary plate like you get from a car dealer.
Driving on the road isn’t something we can just let anyone do unchecked. It’s public infrastructure and we can’t let it be poisoned the same way we don’t let people just add things to the public water supply.

Lisa Caballero (Assistant Editor)
Editor
Reply to  John

John and everyone, I think you have hashed everything out, I’m going to halt further comments in reply to Johns comment.

PS
PS
7 months ago

Truck Tax – The 6,000 pound limit is just LA globbing onto Section 179 deductions. They know that a lot of people buy these trucks for business uses and can thereby claim the exemption deduction and they will also be able to claim the additional tax expense. Its weird if weight is such a concern that they didn’t pick 5,000 pounds.

Champs
Champs
7 months ago

“… quirks in the law make [trucks] more profitable than smaller vehicles. Yay capitalism!! ”

That’s a lot like how you can design a bike with a motor and a battery, or you can design a bike that doesn’t get flats or need lube, and just works when you pull it out on the first nice day of spring.

Either way, you’re saving the consumer a lot of time. One encourages more spontaneous rides, the other is more profitable. Yay capitalism!!

dwk
dwk
7 months ago

John had 16 comments posted.

*** Moderator: I don’t see that anything has been deleted–all still appearing on my (refreshed) screen ***

Dwk
Dwk
7 months ago
Reply to  dwk

You deleted the comments about [moderator deleted]
His Manifestos you feel the need to print.

Lisa Caballero (Assistant Editor)
Editor
Reply to  Dwk

Hi dwk, I delete comments that call people names. There is nothing more going on than that.

I’ve noticed that the commenters who seem to garner the most respect don’t comment that often, and when they do it’s well thought-out. They avoid trying to “win” arguments.

One way to try to achieve this is to put yourself on a comment budget — say five a week. How are you going to use them? Carefully, hopefully.

Dwk
Dwk
7 months ago

I admit I tried to win the argument that car drivers who drive badly need to be arrested.
Since this site is transitioning to be a transportation blog I feel the need to defend cycling.
Since I bike mostly I don’t give a flying f**k how many car drivers are pulled over and arrested.
You can publish all the letters you want defending car drivers, I am not interested.

pierre delecto
pierre delecto
7 months ago
Reply to  Dwk

I suspect that many of those who comment here no longer bike for transportation much because nothing else would explain the utter lack of urgency at the collapse of cycling mode share in this city. It seems to me as if many occasional cyclists live in a fantasy world where the number one priority for cycling is being able to cargo e-bike to a brewpub on the weekend.

Damien
Damien
7 months ago

I’ve noticed that the commenters who seem to garner the most respect don’t comment that often, and when they do it’s well thought-out. They avoid trying to “win” arguments.

One way to try to achieve this is to put yourself on a comment budget — say five a week. How are you going to use them? Carefully, hopefully.

I have to agree with the first part and would support the second part being implemented technically (I am partially being cheeky, but also suspect it would actually improve things just a little bit).