Monday Roundup: School pick-up hell, price of cars, and more

Welcome to the week.

Here are the most notable stories our community came across in the past seven days…

Sad but true: Really important deep dive into the data and demographic trends that have led to the “end of the school bus era” and the explosion of really terrible school pick-up lines. (Washington Post)

Dutch formula: Figured we can always use another reminder of why so many people bike in Dutch cities: Driving is hard and inconvenient and biking and transit are easy and convenient. (Global Cycling News)

Height matters: More solid research that draws a direct line between an increased chance of fatal pedestrian collisions and the height of vehicle hoods. (Streetsblog USA)

Saudi cycling league: There’s buzz in the pro cycling world about a possible $270 million infusion from Saudi investors into a new cycling league that would count some of the sports biggest teams as founding members. (Reuters)

Cargo bikes > cars: A survey of over 2,500 people in Germany found that 18% of them decided to get rid of at least one car after experiencing the joy and convenience using a cargo bike. (Ars Technica)

Price of cars: The collusion between Big Concrete, Big Rubber, Big Oil, automakers, and DOTs becomes a lot easier to understand when you read this article about how car companies are pulling in billions while Americans who need cars get squeezed and the option of simply making transit better is hardly mentioned. (The Guardian)

Nashville too: It’s simultaneously comforting and frustrating that in almost every American city, folks working to make cycling better, are frustrated by the lack of physical protection and terrible behavior by drivers. (The Contributor)

“Mobility imaginaries”: Armed with the premise that, “Radical change of mobility requires radical ways of thinking,” and “Radical ways of thinking requires new imaginaries,” someone collected a list of powerful visuals they help will change how society sees the role of streets. (Linkedin/The Lab of Thought)

Group ride etiquette: The nationally syndicated “Miss Manners” column featured a question many of us can relate to. (Washington Post)


Thanks to everyone who sent in links this week. The Monday Roundup is a community effort, so please feel free to send us any great stories you come across.

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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Aaron
18 days ago

The studies and other evidence that tall and large vehicles are dangerous to pedestrians have been piling up and there has been a dramatic increase in pedestrian injuries and deaths that correlates with the proliferation of these vehicles. If manufacturers continue to produce vehicles with these sizes and body styles despite knowing the dangers they impose on the public, how long until people start to recognize their liability and sue the car manufacturers for their negligence?

Watts
Watts
18 days ago

Regarding Price of cars, this is good news for those who want to make driving more expensive and less convenient.

As the article mentions in passing at the end, transit is suffering from a dearth of riders; perhaps the increasing price of driving will increase the number of folks using transit, and help stabilize the system. (Or perhaps those price increases will lure new manufacturers into the American auto market who want compete on the low end. Or both.)

jakeco969
jakeco969
18 days ago

In regards to the buzz around Saudi Arabia creating a new cycling league, I certainly hope that it fizzles out.

https://www.reuters.com/sports/cycling/saudis-srj-exclusive-talks-invest-about-250-mln-new-cycling-league-source-2024-02-02/

“If successful, it would mark Saudi Arabia’s first significant involvement in cycling after pouring billions into other sports worldwide such as football, motorsports and martial arts. Sports is one of the pillars of the government’s Vision 2030 economic diversification plan that seeks to build new industries and create jobs. Some critics have called it an effort to distract from its human rights record.”

The question isn’t who is calling it a distraction, but who actually thinks it isn’t.

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-29319423

“The UN estimated that by the start of 2022, the conflict in Yemen had caused over 377,000 deaths, with 60% the result of hunger, lack of healthcare and unsafe water.

It says more than 11,000 children are known to have been killed or wounded as a direct result of the fighting.

Yemen has also suffered from one of the largest cholera outbreaks ever recorded, with 2.5 million suspected cases and about 4,000 related deaths since 2016.”

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yemeni_civil_war_(2014%E2%80%93present)#Children_and_women

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saudi-led_intervention_in_the_Yemeni_civil_war

https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/saudi/analyses/wahhabism.html

PS
PS
18 days ago

On vehicle affordability and why averages are generally a useless form of data analysis and comparison, a Toyota Corolla cost $13,600 in the year 2000. In 2024 dollars that is $24,226. A brand new 2024 Corolla costs $23,000 out the door. So, the need to buy an economy car for actual personal transportation costs exactly the same today as it did almost 25 years ago.

Interest rates are about the same at 7.5%, and assuming personal finance 101 of 10% of your income being allocated to a car, in 2000 someone would need to make about $32,701 to comfortably afford this car which is about 78% of the median household income at the time. Fast forward to 2024 and the income need goes to 55,304 or 82% of median household income.

So even on an income adjusted basis, this car costs pretty much the same as it did in the year 2000. Can someone spend a lot of money on a car today, yeah, easily, but you sure don’t have to and that likely isn’t where your income is being eaten up.

Lastly, to quote my favorite commentator on fiscal issues, “Who cares, it’s just money?” – JM

Asher Atkinson
Asher Atkinson
17 days ago
Reply to  PS

Thanks for the factual context. As for car companies “pulling in billions” and the automotive industry “doing just fine”, yes, a historically tough business got a boost from pandemic spending, but net profit margins are now drifting back down toward the rather paltry long term averages. For GM and Ford, that’s less than 5%. Margins vary by company, but the automotive industry overall hasn’t been much of a money maker for years.

blumdrew
17 days ago
Reply to  PS

This isn’t untrue, there are just some assumptions around interest rates in an industry where lending practices that can only be described as a front to human dignity. There are extremely limited protections for borrowers in the subprime credit buckets, which is part of why total auto loan debt doubled from 2010 to 2021 and is up to $1.6 trillion (with a t) in Q3 2023. In Oregon, financing arranged through car dealerships is exempt from state usury laws.

Maybe a median income household can still afford to finance a car at a reasonable rate, but a larger segment of the market is being sucked into the “high interest, missed payment, repo” cycle that has plagued poorer Americans for decades. This cycle further tanks credit scores, leading to even worse rates on the next car that’s financed (more than 6% of subprime auto loans were more than 30 days delinquent, the highest rate since at least 1996).

I don’t think the issues affecting car expenses are felt most acutely in middle segment of the market (though of course $12k/year is no joke for any household), rather it’s most burdensome for everyone who already is getting shafted. Credit ratings may be great for helping financial institutions to avoid risk, but if Americans view car ownership as a necessity (I don’t think it is, but many others do) and cars require financing, then a low credit score amounts to legalized discrimination against poor people seeking access to basic mobility.

Evidently, all of this is part of why I like bikes and transit as a poverty reduction tool. Getting people out of the “high interest, missed payment, repo” car cycle is good, and the cheapest and easiest way to do so is to make biking and transit a genuinely workable alternative.

PS
PS
17 days ago
Reply to  blumdrew

That’s a perfectly fine opinion to have, though I see only two troubling solutions. A) The credit markets for sub-prime borrowers (i.e. those with a history of default) must be regulated in such a way to artificially reduce the interest rate on those borrowers. This of course does nothing to alter the risk to the financial institution, so those without the credit risk (i.e. prime borrowers) end up subsidizing the default risk premium for those with the risk. B) The current transit system is insufficient to provide the desirable “basic mobility” let alone expectations of safety and cleanliness (see Rene Gonzalez recent experience), so the transit system must be expanded and improved and for many systems they already don’t cover their costs, so the already existing subsidy from predominantly non-users would have to expand.

In either case the people who don’t default on their loans, or don’t use transit would have to pony up additional dollars for things they don’t use, which is fraught politically (as it should be).

blumdrew
16 days ago
Reply to  PS

Credit markets are inherently predatory and discriminatory in their current form, but not all credit markets in world history have operated this way. Islamic banking and credit tends to operate on profit sharing schemes, since usury is much less culturally accepted. This is less applicable to cars (more in the business loan side of things), but the broader point being that credit scores rationalizing risk codify discrimination on ability to pay.

For starters, Rene Gonzalez being tapped on the shoulder and talked to be a constituent who is frustrated with his policies hurting homeless people is hardly a safety issue.

But what deserve more scrutiny for “additional dollars” or being subsidized is socially constructed. Roads, highways, and other car related infrastructure is taken as a necessity, and often paid with general funds. I very rarely drive, but my (indirect – I rent) contributions to property tax funds still pay for a whole host of roadway projects that do not benefit me at all. Some of those projects directly harm me and people I care for. I’ve yet to see a politician frame road costs as some people “ponying up additional dollars for things they don’t use”.

Public transportation is a public good that should be provided in a way that makes it a feasible option for everyone. It’s more efficient in terms of moving people than private cars, and provides tons of second order economic benefits. Like not saddling people who cannot afford a car with tens of thousands of dollars in debt.

PS
PS
16 days ago
Reply to  blumdrew

Is it predatory and discriminatory that the 10-year treasury bond in Kenya yields 17.51% vs Japan that yields 0.71%? If so, how, if not, what is the source of the difference?

If an interaction sufficient for Rene to take a break from riding the Max is characterized as “someone tapping him on the shoulder”, how would you characterize someone lighting his car on fire in front of his house? Just warming the place up a bit for him?

Anyone who attempts moral supremacy by exclaiming their status as a non-driver is just exclaiming that they are comfortable admitting their utter reliance on others to do their driving for them. How do the places you buy things from get the things you buy?

blumdrew
16 days ago
Reply to  PS

Yields on bonds in different countries are very different than consumer interest rates, and I am not generally familiar with them. Who is issuing those bonds, and who is buying them? In general, I don’t think the global financial market is ethical (especially when the IMF/World Bank force countries to adopt reactionary policy in return for loans), but again not familiar with the particular machinations of what you are describing. The car loan market is absolutely predatory, because it saddles people with the lowest ability to pay with the highest rates and least reliable vehicles. That’s bad, but should be fixable.

Rene Gonzalez is unable or unwilling to face public questions and scrutiny about his policies and actions as a councilor. “Taking a break” from transit because someone who you ostensibly represent is expressing distaste for your policies is pure cowardice. The incident at his house is not related to how I feel about this particular MAX incident, and they are not comparable at all.

How do the places you buy things from get the things you buy?

Mostly by truck, which as you may notice are quite different than “private vehicles”. How goods are delivered is categorically different than how people get around; if you drive to a store, you are still reliant on someone else driving the goods to that store. If we accept that driving has negative externalities for society that are poorly accounted for (which almost every economist in the world agrees on), then any amount of driving less is a good thing to do.

Watts
Watts
15 days ago
Reply to  blumdrew

Who is issuing those bonds, and who is buying them? 

Governments issue those bonds (it’s a mechanism for borrowing money), and anyone can buy them. Perhaps you yourself own some bonds issued by the US government (as many people do).

As you would expect, when there is a higher risk of not getting repaid (or getting repaid in an inflated/devalued currency), the interest required to find buyers goes up. If I’m willing to accept a low interest rate, I’ll buy bonds from those with the lowest risk of default (like Japan). No one is going to loan Kenya money for .71% and risk losing their money when they can loan instead to Japan and be assured they’ll get their money back.

The domestic loan business works in much the same way: the interest rates lenders demand reflect the lender’s evaluation of the likelihood you will pay them back.

Unfortunately, people with the fewest means are also those most likely to default, so the interest rates they have to pay increases (and the number of people who will lend to them at all decreases). People willing to lend to those with the highest risk of default tend to be called “predatory” lenders. It is not clear to me that those who resort to borrowing from such lenders would be better off without the ability to borrow at all; obviously those doing the borrowing (who aren’t stupid) don’t think so.

The incident at his house is not related to how I feel about this particular MAX incident, and they are not comparable at all.

As for Rene Gonzales, while the incident at his house may not impact your perceptions of his exposure to physical threats, it may well impact his.

blumdrew
15 days ago
Reply to  Watts

Thanks for that explanation, I have fewer issues relating to bonds like that though I do think they can create perverse incentives. But not really on the topic of consumer lending.

Interest rates are so high for subprime borrowers that even modest regulation would still allow lenders to make money. 6% of auto loans being 30 days delinquent or more probably translates to like a 2% default rate at most. Do rates like that justify a 75% interest rate? Absolutely not.

A politician unwilling to face the public is a politician no one should support. If he’s too afraid to ride the MAX, he should retire from public service.

PS
PS
15 days ago
Reply to  blumdrew

Government debt and consumer lending are so “on topic” that they are basically the same subject, you literally can’t talk about one without the other, if you’re actually interested in understanding what the composition of an interest rate really is.

6% of subprime borrowers are 30+ days delinquent. 0.28% of prime borrowers are. Telling lenders to subprime borrowers that a 2,100% greater delinquency risk is just a cost of doing business is interesting. I am guessing 75% subprime interest is very uncommon since the average subprime interest rate is about 12%.

I genuinely wonder, is this a standard of qualification for public service you hold for all representatives? When was the last time Carmen even set foot on a Max train?

prioritarian
prioritarian
15 days ago
Reply to  PS

Telling lenders to subprime borrowers that a 2,100% greater delinquency risk is just a cost of doing business is interesting.

US lenders have a long track of fraud, extortionate behavior, theft, and usury. A system that has been repeatedly shown to not work for the greater public good should either be disbanded (and replaced) or vigorously regulated.

Government debt and consumer lending … are basically the same subject.

Pure fabrication.
.
A consumer cannot decide set a different interest rate for a loan.
.
A consumer does not have access to an enormous and highly liquid market of zero-risk credit with which they can roll over debt.
.
A consumer does not control the currency of their loan and, as a result, devalue the value of their own loan.
.
A consumer cannot impact inflation (via multiple mechanisms) and deflate the value of their loan.
.
A consumer’s gross personal income does not directly increase due to population growth or managed inflation.

A consumer cannot create new credit or currency out of thin air.

blumdrew
14 days ago
Reply to  PS

When considering usury they are so different it’s not worth mentioning. Can the state of Oregon regulate maximum interest rates on bonds in Kenya? Of course not. Can the state of Oregon regulate maximum rates on loans in the state? Yes.

Telling lenders they have to take on greater risks is fine. Risks are part of financing. What’s your point here, something to the effect of “Won’t someone think of the poor bankers who will have to take marginally less profit?” Get a grip.

For the poorest people most exploited by predatory lending practices it’s a matter of life and death. People don’t take bad loans on shitty cars because they’re stupid, they do it because they’re desperate. They deserve stronger consumer protections.

And yeah, I think my councilors or reps should take public transportation. How else are they supposed to understand the issues that plague the system?

Watts
Watts
15 days ago
Reply to  blumdrew

Interest rates are so high for subprime borrowers that even modest regulation would still allow lenders to make money. 

Perhaps, or perhaps no one would lend to them at all.

If everyone is lending at, say, 75%, but there is still a good profit to be had by lending at 40%, why wouldn’t someone come in and loan at 50%, take all the business, and make tons of money? I don’t know what kinds of loans these are, or what the default rate is of this pool of borrowers is, but it is almost certainly higher than the general subprime auto loan default rate — people are willing to make loans in that market at 14% for a new car to borrowers with a 300 credit rating.

I have no problem regulating lending, just don’t assume that the riskiest borrowers would still be able to get loans in a market where rates are capped.

Also, does not riding Max mean you’re afraid to “face the public”? I think it is reasonable to reduce your exposure to uncontrolled environments after people have targeted you with arson. Could that be a prelude to a physical attack? We know there are anti-PBOT extremists out there, and the arson seems to suggest there are anti-Gonzales extremists as well.

blumdrew
14 days ago
Reply to  Watts

Sure there could be issues with lenders not being willing to provide credit to a riskier pool of borrowers. I think there should be public institutions capable of providing lending and financial services for people who need it.

Sure, all of those things could be true for Rene Gonzalez (though I doubt it). If the threat to his life and safety is so great, he should consider retiring. No one is forcing him to be a city councilor and mayoral candidate.

Watts
Watts
14 days ago
Reply to  blumdrew

If the threat to his life and safety is so great, he should consider retiring.

That is a pretty crappy attitude, frankly. Just surrender to those willing to engage in political violence, and give them a veto over who can run for and hold public office.

No thank you.

prioritarian
prioritarian
15 days ago
Reply to  blumdrew

The ability to issue Sovereign bonds creates perverse incentives?

That’s a very pro-austerity position, blumdrew.

PS: I believe that Sovereign debt defaults should not result in harsh collective punishment by our corporate-fascist financial system. An economic system where executives can go through multiple corporate bankruptcies with no personal penalty but residents of nations experience vicious financial repression when their sovereign defaults is a system that should be utterly destroyed.

Watts
Watts
15 days ago
Reply to  prioritarian

I believe that Sovereign debt defaults should not result in harsh collective punishment by our corporate-fascist financial system.

Being reluctant to loan money to those who have a record of not paying you back doesn’t mean you’re a fascist or are engaging in “collective punishment”.

If you disagree, can I borrow $100? I’m good for it, I swear.

blumdrew
14 days ago
Reply to  Watts

Third world (or developing, or whatever word you prefer) have faced unequal terms on financing for a very long time. Did the US refuse to give West Germany Marshall plan funding because they didn’t repay their WWI debt? No. But Haiti has been drowning in debt originating from France demanding repayment for freed slaves for centuries. Sure, Germany’s WWI debt was bogus but many other countries are too – especially in the post colonial era

In world history terms, it’s difficult to distinguish between cause and effect when it comes to stability and perceived risk. Is Guatemala is a bad investment because of stability issues, or are the stability issues caused by a lack of investment? Probably it would be more accurate to articulate “lack of investment” as “purposeful destabilization by the US” but you get the idea.

Watts
Watts
14 days ago
Reply to  blumdrew

The Marshall plan was a very specific program to avoid the mistakes made after WW I in order to avoid WW III. I am glad that it worked.

But whatever the history, Germany was, and is, a much better risk than Guatemala or Haiti, and so I would expect them to have to pay less interest in order to attract investment.

From December:

“Guatemala’s dollar bonds lost the most among emerging-market sovereigns on Monday as attempts to overturn the presidential election result risk making the nation an international pariah.”

Haiti isn’t doing any better.

Maybe that sort of thing simply reflects an underlying lack of investment or colonialism or whatever, but regardless, that’s not the kind of risk I want to take with my money.

Whether you are a government or an individual, it really is as simple as this: if you have a reputation for paying your debts, people will loan you money. If you have a reputation for defaulting, it’s going to be a lot harder.

You can offer whatever explanation, blame, or excuses you want, but it doesn’t change that reality.

John V
John V
18 days ago

School pickup is absolutely insane. We cannot let the school bus “die”. It is the most perfectly suited application of mass transit possibly imaginable. I just wish more schools would mandate it, or ban people from picking up in cars (or make it even more inconvenient). The fact some schools actually are built to support it specifically is enough to make me lose all hope for humanity. It is truly depraved.

Watts
Watts
17 days ago
Reply to  John V

It is the most perfectly suited application of mass transit possibly imaginable.

Says the guy who wasn’t last on his school bus route with an hour+ ride each way. (This is why my nephew often gets a ride to school.) Also, ask kids who routinely get bullied on the bus if they agree.

Personally, I am a firm believer in walking (without parents) if that’s at all possible.

SolarEclipse
SolarEclipse
17 days ago
Reply to  Watts

I see your 1 hour each way and raise you 2 hours each way by school bus! It wasn’t me fortunately, but school friends who lived up in the mountains and our school wasn’t the closest for them, but going over a snow covered mountain in winter to get to the school that was much closer wasn’t an option. Pretty much all of them hated it.

jakeco969
jakeco969
17 days ago
Reply to  Watts

Also, ask kids who routinely get bullied on the bus if they agree.

Thats more of a sign of a school system not wanting to pay essential members, such as bus drivers, a good wage to attract solid candidates who will enforce the rules while on the bus and then supporting that employee. Saying that kids shouldn’t ride a bus because of bullying is akin to saying there shouldn’t be PT or gym lockers because of the bullying that can take place. The solution in not to do away with the service, but to ensure that bullying does not take place. Also, as much as I agree walking is important, it breaks my heart (and back) to see children staggering around with backpacks approaching their own weight.
I do think that being driven is at the bottom of ways a child should get to school, I just think being on a bus helps ensure the kid gets to school, especially if both parents work.

Watts
Watts
17 days ago
Reply to  jakeco969

Saying that kids shouldn’t ride a bus because of bullying is akin to saying there shouldn’t be PT or gym lockers because of the bullying that can take place. 

I’m not saying anyone should not take the bus; I’m saying that for some people it is pretty far from the ideal the parent comment made it out to be. And while I agree that schools should crack down on bullying hard, I also realize that on a practical level it can very hard for a school to do.

John V
John V
17 days ago
Reply to  Watts

I literally was and did. Way out in Cherry Grove , to Gaston elementary. It makes no difference. Deal with it. Do homework. Learn to like music. Chat with friends. One of my first friends was made on a bus, with a kid in a different grade I never would have otherwise met.

Your nephew does not have so many important things to do that he can’t get on the bus and interact with other people for a handful of extra minutes.

People get bullied everywhere, this is not unique to buses and keeping kids in a big SUV with their parents instead is unhealthy.

Yes, of course walking. But busses usually don’t serve places close enough to walk. Bikes though, yes.

Lisa Caballero (Assistant Editor)
Editor
Reply to  John V

My brother and sister-in-law got to know each other on their Jr. High School bus. The students had a long ride around San Diego as the driver picked up far-flung kids attending a magnet school. The kids used the long ride as their time to socialize.

Watts
Watts
17 days ago
Reply to  John V

School buses are fine for a lot of people, but don’t work for others. I’m glad they worked for you.

Not everyone wants to spend 2 hours a day (or 4 hours in the case of SolarEclipse) going to and from school (assuming they don’t play sports or have band practice or play rehearsal or whatever that causes their schedule to be non-standard, in which case they are SOL). This is one of the key problems with transit in general, especially in Portland: some trips are pretty optimized (usually going downtown during peak hours), but less “standard” trips can consume a huge amount of time.

Some people wring their hands over the unfairness of a neighborhood meeting that lasts 2 hours once a month, but think nothing of asking people to spend that much time on the bus every day.

Andrew S
Andrew S
17 days ago
Reply to  Watts

Watts, I think you’re dwelling on the outliers a bit here. You’re right, people don’t want to spend multiple hours a day riding and/or being bullied on the bus getting to and from from far flung locations. But I’d reckon this only applies to a select few of the idling Subarus waiting in line outside of Cedar Park Middle School. Just read some people’s reports on Reddit about school pickup routines. There’s a lot of “I live 5-10min away, but have to show up 30-60min before school gets out to get a good spot in line.” Let’s focus first on getting all of these folks to try walking, biking, or bus before we get hung up on the edge cases. 80/20 rule probably applies here.

Watts
Watts
17 days ago
Reply to  Andrew S

you’re dwelling on the outliers a bit here — this only applies to a select few of the idling Subarus waiting in line outside of Cedar Park Middle School.

Agreed. I think our current school drop off culture is as ridiculous as you do. I was challenging the idea that buses is the most perfect solution “possibly imaginable”. They may work well enough for the common denominator, but there are plenty of cases where they don’t.

On the other hand, maybe that is the best possible imaginable scenario with a transportation mode predicated on you adhering to its demands rather than one based on your needs.

Michael
Michael
17 days ago
Reply to  Watts

I recall being in high school and taking the bus exactly once. I had the option of leaving the house at 6:30 to be one of the first on the bus (and last off in the afternoon) to get to school a few minutes before the first bell at about 7:45, or I could pull my crappy mountain bike out of the shed to leave at 7:30.

Fast forward to today, and my 8th grader doesn’t even have a school bus as an option to get to their K-8 PPS school. Their options are:

  1. Mom drives 35 minutes to drop them off. Return trip is 16-26 minutes, according to Google, so call it an hour round-trip out of Mom’s day for chauffeur duties along with. Double that for afternoon pickup.
  2. 71 minutes by bus, including two transfers, to get there 17 minutes early. Return trip is 84 minutes (one transfer) with an initial headway of 7 minutes. Mom gets a break from being a chauffeur, but the teen’s time commitment for commuting jumps to nearly 3 hours. Granted, this is currently impacted by the Better Red MAX outage, but I promise the availability of the MAX does not change the math by much.
  3. Bicycling is technically possible, but there are some extremely unsafe conditions, particularly immediately around the school (which of course is not made better by the extreme school drop off and pickup congestion). Even ignoring safety, a leisurely 8 mph pace, which seems on par for a grumpy teenager hauling themselves to school every morning, would take 296 minutes round-trip, or nearly 5 hours.

Options 2 and 3 are simply not really feasible options. The Trimet option is not so egregious that it couldn’t be considered in extreme circumstances, but the reality is that if Trimet were our only option we would actually just pull out of the focus school (that’s supposed to be open to students from the entire district) and just go to the neighborhood school closer by. Absent a good dedicate school bus network, essentially everyone at the school drives to and from. It’s a ridiculous situation, all around.

John V
John V
17 days ago
Reply to  Michael

Yeah, a better school bus network is needed to you. But based on your numbers from the bike ride, you live 20 miles away from school!? I think I’ve found the problem right here. How did that happen?

Laura
Laura
17 days ago
Reply to  John V

Our school district didn’t have school buses, but “hijacked” the transit routes to serve our schools. Certain runs were modified to start at various elementary, junior hi or high schools. Others could board the bus, but kids were given a subsidized discount fare if you lived outside a certain distance from your school. I was one of the last kids on the route, and had a half mile+ walk on a hilly, scary road (think Cornell or Thompson, in Portland), so a mom would pick our group up at the last stop, and take us to our homes. Since so many transit agencies are hurtingfor revenue, drivers and riders. maybe a hybrid transit/school bus may be a solution?

John
John
17 days ago
Reply to  Laura

Yeah, that could be great, I don’t have a strong opinion on if they should be yellow school busses or any others (regular public transit). Just that it should be a bus. It makes sense to use dedicated busses to me since the drivers might have special responsibilities, but there are pros to using regular transit.

The issue of having to walk on a scary road is bad. Of course, that’s a problem of another failure of municipal services to make livable, walkable neighborhoods. They need to fix stuff like that.

Erin Bailie (Columnist)
Reply to  Laura

My high school took a similar approach. The school is in midtown Atlanta and has several transit routes that stop within 1 block. All students got a free bus pass each month, so we could take the public bus to school. The added perk was that students could stay after for sports practice or club meetings.

dw
dw
17 days ago
Reply to  John V

I’m convinced that riding the bus to elementary school and walking to middle and high school planted the seeds of my transportation radicalization.

jakeco969
jakeco969
17 days ago

In regards to the murderously too tall vehicles, the evidence and numbers of fatalities are deafening. I personally don’t understand why it seems politically difficult to start banning vehicles with too high bumper height immediately on a state by state basis.

 it would take roughly a decade to phase a meaningful number of smaller, safer cars into the overall fleet, especially as vehicle prices continue to skyrocket and put new cars of reach for more Americans. —

I disagree, the problem in an insane level of car centric thinking that even people opposed to cars are subject too. Oregon, Washington and California have all established barriers to owning certain types of firearms and control what is sold and what is illegal for the good of the whole and to prevent bloodshed. I can be arrested as a felon for bringing a certain type of firearm into Washington from Oregon, why do vehicles get a magical pass?

https://www.thetrace.org/2023/07/gun-deaths-cdc-data-suicide-homicide/

More than 48,000 people died of gunshot wounds last year, with suicides up and homicides down, provisional CDC data shows.

If you think that legislating Constitutional rights is okay (and I imagine we disagree with firearms being protected, but hear me out, its not my main point) then you should also be okay with legislating out vehicles for the greater good as they kill roughly 46,000 a year.

https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/motor-vehicle-deaths-again-reach-an-estimated-46-000-in-2022–301767609.html

Why not start banning certain types of vehicles that are owned? Why not start a too tall vehicle buy back plan to get proven killers off the street?
We’ve done it before with the Cash for Clunkers plan….

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Car_Allowance_Rebate_System

Substitute “murderously tall” for clunkers and who could argue with it, and who would care if they did?

David Hampsten
David Hampsten
17 days ago
Reply to  jakeco969

Why not start banning certain types of vehicles that are owned?

Generally if you really want to get people in this country to stop using a product, you tax it to death, like cigarettes. Banning stuff in the USA and most other OECD countries simply encourages smuggling and unregulated markets. I can easily imagine Canadian smugglers bringing over huge Ford F-250s, driving them down I-5 inside shipping containers, then being sold on some dark corner on 122nd.

John V
John V
17 days ago
Reply to  David Hampsten

And then registered and driven around in public how exactly? You can’t smuggle a car and then use it. I don’t care if someone smuggles a car and drives it out in the country, which is the only place it might actually make sense to have a big oversized truck (although even then, not really).

David Hampsten
David Hampsten
17 days ago
Reply to  John V

You can use anything if there’s absolutely no enforcement of regulations. Legend has it that Oregon is in the Wild West these days…

Ray
Ray
17 days ago
Reply to  John V

It’s very easy for Canadian-market vehicles to get registered in The USA.
https://youtu.be/oiqTO0e8dYM?si=GUg8gcoABGmn7dym

John V
John V
17 days ago
Reply to  Ray

Not if the vehicle is banned.

Watts
Watts
17 days ago
Reply to  David Hampsten

“Canadian smugglers”

I’ve heard they dissolve the vehicles in liquid and ship them down in huge tanker trucks marked maple syrup.

David Hampsten
David Hampsten
17 days ago
Reply to  Watts

My informers tell me that they are loaded onto CP Rail freight trains in containers marked poultine, the top-secret Canadian weapon of mass destruction.

jakeco969
jakeco969
17 days ago
Reply to  David Hampsten

The west coast is doing a great job of banning certain types of firearms. The State legislatures have skipped the “tax them to death” phase and gone straight to banning firearms by name, type and having certain features.
I’m still at a loss as to why people don’t think that’s a feasable path to banning certain vehicles at the state level.

As an aside, one only needs to watch the 1995 movie, “Canadian Bacon” to be exposed to the danger north of the border.

Todd/Boulanger
Todd/Boulanger
17 days ago
Reply to  jakeco969

Correct me if I am wrong, but another barrier to banning a type of vehicle would be the 30th Amendment to the US Constitution and the US Interstate Commerce Act. 😉

David Hampsten
David Hampsten
17 days ago
Reply to  Todd/Boulanger

Amendment XXX to the US Constitution: The right of citizens of the United States, who are eighteen years of age or older, to own and drive any vehicle anywhere they please, shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of age, gender, income status, race, or climate impact. The Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.

jakeco969
jakeco969
17 days ago
Reply to  Todd/Boulanger

I’m not sure about the 30th amendment:-) , but California has succesfully challenged the US Interstate Commerce Act with Prop 63 that effectively bans out of state ammunition purchases. All ammunition purchases must be sent or purchased at a licensed facility ONLY in California. Prop 63 was found unconstitutional on January 31st and then that decision was stayed by the 9th Circuit on February 5th reinstating the ban.
So if ammunition can be effectively banned and supported by a Circuit Court, whats stopping people from trying the same thing with murderously tall trucks?

Jim Calhoon
Jim Calhoon
17 days ago
Reply to  jakeco969

Changes in vehicle design has to done at the federal level through the NTSB. You may say that California does it with emissions, but it still requires a waiver from the federal government. As for why the success of that type of ban in Oregon would be slim and none. Democrats love pickups. The bestselling vehicle in Oregon and Washington is the Toyota Tacoma. It is a Mid-size Pickup that sits just as high as any half-ton. According to the Oregon Department of Energy 2023 Biennial Zero-Emission Vehicle Report (Published September 15, 2023) Over half the registered vehicles in Oregon are Pickups and SUVs. That’s about 2.1 million vehicles. Another perspective, that’s one SUV or Pickup for every two Oregonians.

jakeco969
jakeco969
17 days ago
Reply to  Jim Calhoon

Thats very true, but I’m not suggesting a voluntary change in design by the manufacturers. I’m proposing a ban on registration renewal of a vehicle with certain characteristics by a State legislation and a ban on importing any vehicle with those same characteristics. It’s working great in California with firearms, why not with vehicles in Oregon?
As far as vehicle inflation goes, my 1990 extended cab and bed farm truck thats lifted a foot and has 1 ton shocks for hauling, well, a ton at a time seems huge to me until I make a pit stop in a parking lot ( I don’t drive it for fun or commuting as itcan be painful to drive with an empty bed) and its noticeably smaller than stock modern trucks and dwarfed by the stupid ones. I can see out of the cab easily, I have all the safety features I need and it has a job to do, I despise the gimmicky nature of modern vehicles.

Jim Calhoon
Jim Calhoon
16 days ago
Reply to  jakeco969

You will still be thwarted by federal law. Example If I buy a vehicle in another state and it does not have equipment such has California emissions I can still register that new vehicle in Oregon (new vehicles sold in Oregon must have the same emissions as California). As long as the vehicle is DOT approved, it can be registered in all 50 states. Not sure why you think driving newer pickup trucks is that difficult. I have no issues seeing out of my 2006 F150. And I driven my nephews 2019 GMC 3500 long box and have had no issues with vision. Even my 5’2″ wife has driven it with no problems. The issue of vehicle height for you is getting worse. Every manufacture now offers a Off-Road version of their most popular SUVs and pickups. Each one has at least a 1″ lift and more aggressive tires. Examples would be TRD Off-Road (Toyota), Wilderness (Subaru), TrailSport (Honda), Raptor, Sasquatch, Tremor (Ford) and the list can go on and on but you should get the point. And the reason that manufactures have added these trim levels is because of the large number customers who were modifying there vehicles. The manufactures have jumped on the band wagon and sales of these models have been very good. And this is a world wide thing not just the US. Your solution goes against a large group of people who would oppose it. And if you think fellow bike riders (outside of this website) are going to line up behind you I think the line will be shorter than you think. Check out any mountain bike trail-head in the area or the start finish line of any large ride (STP, Bridge Pedal) and see what vehicles are used to transport bikes there.

dw
dw
17 days ago

Years ago, I worked at a charter school that didn’t have school buses at all. The parking lot was as big as the whole rest of the school. There were maybe 150 kids at the school, but with sets of siblings that meant about 130 cars running through there every morning. Drop-off and pick-up were took 20-30 minutes each and were just absolute madness. Save school buses.

David Hampsten
David Hampsten
17 days ago

I too found the Nashville TN bike advocacy story comforting. Out here in NC, Nashville and Memphis are often touted as progressive bike-oriented cities, too far away to visit but near enough to read stories about them from (car driving) reporters who visited them. Nice to know that Greensboro NC isn’t the only shithole bikehell in the Deep South locally touted as being “bike friendly” by our local politicians and economic developers.