Monday Roundup: Utopia, hiking without driving, vigilantes, and more

Hope you enjoyed the long weekend. It was just OK for me, since I tested positive for Covid on Saturday morning. Luckily I have a very mild case so far with just aches in my head and body. Hoping it passes soon, but looks like I’ll miss another Bike Happy Hour on Wednesday.

But I’m not too sick to work, so here goes…

Below are the stories you should read, from sources you can trust:

They’re in the money: Portland-based tech company Ride with GPS has landed a $3 million investment. (GeekWire)

No more shared e-scooters: Major news in Paris as that city has banned private companies from deploying e-scooter fleets. Important to note that the problem isn’t with e-scooters themselves (which are still allowed), but the model of companies renting them. (NPR)

Whose streets?: One of the reasons I love controversial issues like congestion pricing is because they force us to debate fundamental questions over what types of road users should have the cheapest access to right-of-way. (NY Times Opinion)

Carfree > tax-free: Montreal is enjoying the fruits of carfree streets throughout their city because they had the guts to go big during Covid and the foresight to make the public street spaces permanent. If we give downtown businesses a tax holiday (like Wheeler and City Council want to do), we should require them to submit a carfree street plan to qualify. (The Star)

Workers unite: With all the strikes and labor momentum in Portland these days, it’s notable that bike share workers in New Orleans have voted to unionize. (Truthout)

Adventure without driving: To bag all 100 of the highest peaks in the Pacific Northwest in one season is an amazing accomplishment. But to do it by bike like three Washingtonians just did? That’s extraordinary. (OPB)

It’s bike bus season: School has started, so what better time to read this in-depth piece on the Portland bike bus craze and how you can start one at your kids’ school. (Portland Monthly)

Bike theft vigilantes: A volunteer group in Finland have banded together to recover almost 1,300 stolen bikes in the past year as police have said the crime isn’t a high priority. Sounds like Portland! (BBC)

America’s failure, part 1: A school district in Philadelphia doesn’t have enough school bus drivers so they’re paying parents up to $300 per month to drive their kids to school in the family car. (WHYY)

America’s failure, part 2: Another sign that the Democratic establishment is clueless when it comes to transportation and climate: Biden, like Obama before him, is eager to subsidize the most unhealthy form of transportation ever invented. (Bloomberg)

Can utopia be bought?: It’s the most tech-bro thing ever to give up on cities and try to build one from scratch. Even so, note that the folks behind this effort want to build the same type of city every one of Portland’s adopted plans calls for. Good luck! (Guardian)


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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pierre delecto
pierre delecto
7 months ago

Even so, note that the folks behind this effort want to build the same type of city every one of Portland’s adopted plans calls for.

It’s very unfortunate but not at all unexpected that the accompanying image of this YIMB-bro “utopia” depicts carbon-intensive very-low-density housing.

If we want to see a more sustainable and equitable urban future then this is the type of housing that we should legalize everywhere and build on a truly massive scale:

comment image

Guy
Guy
7 months ago
Reply to  pierre delecto

I don’t know, I heard somewhere that anything much exceeding five stories starts entailing resource costs for elevators, HVAC, etc, that swamp any benefits from density per square foot. Maybe we should focus on places that are already achieving levels of density and per capita carbon footprint that are roughly in the ballpark of the 3 metric tonnes per person per year said to be the upper limit compatible with human and planetary survival. Places like Ljubljana, Slovenia, and Valencia, Spain, for instance which, while much higher density than Portland, don’t look anything like this.

pierre delecto
pierre delecto
7 months ago
Reply to  Guy

The housing type you apparently dislike is the famous Alt-Erlaa social housing complex in Vienna. IMO, we will never see a sustainable and equitable housing system without an intentional move away from our predatory capitalist housing system.

More beautiful footage of social housing in Vienna:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d6DBKoWbtjE

“I heard somewhere that anything much exceeding five stories starts…”

comment image

“…entailing resource costs for elevators, HVAC, etc, that swamp any benefits…”

The results show that plumbing, HVAC and elevators in total cause a minimal increase of greenhouse gas emissions per square meter area with increased building height.

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1876610216307287

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ __ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _
And for all the missing-“middle”-loving YIM-bros:

the most carbon emission-intense residential building type is small multifamily housing with 2–4 units.

https://www.mdpi.com/2225-1154/10/10/135

Lisa Caballero (Assistant Editor)
Editor
Reply to  pierre delecto

Thank you for the links, Pierre. The video was good also.

Guy
Guy
7 months ago

I agree on “the most unhealthy form of transportation”. Oh, but wait a minute: they are subsidizing our new, saintly EV industry!? Are you talking smack now about our new Green Saviors??

I’m reminded of how electric batteries are supposed to be the ticket to the Green Future, and all we have to do is agree to stripmine a few remote wilderness areas that only some Native Americans Nevada somewhere care about.

*** Moderator: deleted last paragraph ***

Arturo P
Arturo P
7 months ago

“Bike theft vigilantes in Finland”
We have our own Portland vigilante group for stolen cars (it has been profiled in the NYT’s, NPR/OPB , Willamette Week and other local news outlets). The leader Titan Crawford is a genuine hometown hero! We need the same for bikes! Anyone interested?

https://www.opb.org/article/2022/11/28/in-portland-volunteers-help-each-other-find-stolen-cars/

https://www.kptv.com/2023/08/04/facebook-group-helps-find-stolen-cars-car-thieves/

Arturo P
Arturo P
7 months ago

That’s cool.I’ve never heard of such a group. Is this the SLVS Timberwolves that Johnny BC is mentioning or something different?

Johnny Bye Carter
Johnny Bye Carter
7 months ago
Reply to  Arturo P

I see you haven’t heard of the S.L.V.S. Timberwolves bicycle recovery group.

Max S (Wren)
Max S (Wren)
7 months ago

Hey, speaking of car-free areas, anyone know the process of researching their viability and potentially proposing them? I’d be curious if the stretch of SE Milwaukie between Bybee and Claybourne could be pedestrianized and turned into a small plaza (with car traffic being diverted east to 17th Ave)

Max S (Wren)
Max S (Wren)
7 months ago

I discovered the plaza thing right after I submitted that comment. I might try emailing them. It might be viable, the area I’m thinking of is entirely commercial storefronts (and the only driveways are for lots with other exits). But at the same time, traffic already gets pretty backed up during rush hour and 17th Avenue would have to absorb all of that, which would definitely not be fun for people living there. I’m picturing massive pushback.

Still, I would love to see Portland get something like Santa Barbara’s State Street Promenade, which opened as a temporary measure during the COVID lockdowns and looks to be a permanent attraction.

Zach Katz
Zach Katz
7 months ago
Reply to  Max S (Wren)

Anything is possible. If you want it, you can make it a reality, but you will have to fight for it!