Happy Monday everyone. Greetings from California. I can’t wait to get home to Portland. I love being down here in Southern California with my family, but I miss home. And I’ve done sooo much driving in the past week! It really bums me out how car-centric things are down here.
Enough about me (for now)… Here are the most notable stories our writers and readers have come across in the past seven days…
Get tough on drivers: Like I’ve been saying forever, if we truly want to reduce the use of cars, we must take direct actions against drivers. Smart people agree that, “carrots alone are not sufficient to overcome the entrenched infrastructure and incentives, which today favors car use.” (Forbes)
Safe systems pyramid: A good overview of what Portland is trying to do with “safe systems” — that is, focusing less on changing individual behavior and more on creating a transportation system that reduces kinetic energy of vehicles. (Governing)
Two-way is the way: Oregon is full of one-way streets in downtowns that prioritize the speed and volume of car users over everything else. A growing body of evidence shows that we should convert those to two-way streets if we want people and economies to thrive. (Transfers Magazine)
Can’t cool down: Why do so few people use cooling centers during heat waves? “If you don’t have a car, you either have to walk or wait at a bus stop in sweltering heat, which might be more dangerous than staying where you are.” (Grist)
An e-bike manifesto: Yes, the author of this article is biased, but I find it hard to argue with their points about how the rapid growth of electric bikes is more than just a passing fad and represents a possible paradigm shift. (Electrek)
Council climate compromise: A report says Portland city commissioners Dan Ryan and Carmen Rubio met in private with oil company Zenith Energy to allow them to operate, despite council’s rejection of their permit. (DeSmog)
Housing, not drug use: This autopsy on what ails San Francisco is relevant to Portland, although I have a hunch our housing policies are in much better shape than theirs. In short: The main solution to homelessness is more aggressive housing production. (The Week)
This week in autobesity: A British outfit found that more than 150 car models are too big to fit in standard parking spaces. It begs the question: Will drivers of smaller cars ever revolt against drivers of larger ones for taking up their precious parking spaces? Or will the ire against these absurd behemoths remain only among cycling, pedestrian, and urbanism activists? (Guardian UK)
Free housing for cars: I read this essay waiting for some acknowledgment that this person’s auto-oasis during Covid was able to exist free on public right-of-way because it was a car, but it never came and it really speaks to a central problem with American cities: That we give away valuable space to cars for almost nothing, while we don’t have enough space for all the humans and other cool stuff. (Washington Post Opinion)
Good money after bad: If the idea of PBOT spending millions to operate car parking facilities downtown troubles you, wait until you hear the news that they’ll spend millions more to secure empty ones. (The Oregonian)
Thanks to everyone who shared links this week!