Monday Roundup: Fire bureaus, Montreal, mega-cars, and more

Hi everyone! Welcome back to the regular work week after a glorious weekend (and for many of you a spring break holiday).

Below are the most notable stories our community has come across in the past seven days…

The problem with fire bureaus: “For all the good they do, fire departments have increasingly emerged as a primary force preventing cities from embracing walkability, safer streets, transit, and affordable housing.” (Thesis Driven)

IBR secrets: The Just Crossing Alliance has obtained a copy of the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the Interstate Bridge Replacement (IBR) project and it appears the folks behind the project are so worried about the truth they list public knowledge of it as a major risk and they are working hard to keep the EIS out of public view. (City Observatory)

A challenging journey: Andrew Mortensen spent 280 days in the saddle and traveled 27,000 miles on his global ride, and he did it while being openly gay and raising money for the Trevor Project, an LGBTQ+ suicide prevention nonprofit. (Austin Chronicle)

Special interest bike rides: Is it bad form for a city to allow a transportation-related nonprofit to host a bike ride on a public bridge while there’s an ongoing debate about a new road tax? An editorial board in Seattle thinks so. (The Seattle Times, and read the response from Seattle Bike Blog)

Bigger riders: Bike advocate Marley Blonsky knows all the things people get wrong about “fat cyclists” and she wants you to avoid these common misconceptions. (Cycling Weekly)

“Mega-cars”: I love that advocates in New York City took it upon themselves to count just how many oversized, multi-ton vehicles were using a weight-restricted bridge. We need more of this type of work to highlight the problem of massive vehicles and their impacts. (Streetsblog NYC)

I heart Montreal: I often think of Montreal as having the best bike network in North America, and with the success and growth of their bike share system (which has over 10,000 bikes), I’m wondering how the two are related and what Portland can learn from them. (Next City)

Dream vacation: As if I needed another reason to dream about a trip to Japan, now I learn they’ve got a burgeoning network of carfree bike paths built on former railway lines. (Kyodo News)

Smiling and cycling: I’ll admit I’m not the biggest “smile and nod” person when it comes to biking past strangers; but after thinking about the psychological and physical impacts it could have on me, I might start doing it more. (Cycling Weekly)

Coyote Wall: This beloved mountain bike trail in the Columbia River Gorge will receive a 2.6 mile addition of singletrack thanks to a grant from Uncle Sam. (Willamette Week)

White men and state power: New data on state DOTs reveals that their highest ranking staff are 71% male and 85% white, begging the question of how we will ever reform transportation if the same ol’ people are at the top calling all the shots. (Streetsblog USA)

Video of the Week: Portlander (and former BikePortland Podcast guest) Will Cortez was featured in an episode of “Out & Back” titled “Creating Brave Space.” (PBS Cascade)


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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Matti
Matti
14 days ago

A smile and a nod… it’s a the opposite of road rage!

PS
PS
14 days ago

White men and state power:

Now do nursing and education.

Steven
Steven
13 days ago
Reply to  PS

Nurses and teachers, the two groups who famously wield the most power in society?

PS
PS
13 days ago
Reply to  Steven

The article is about the heads of DOTs and suggests that the reason we don’t deviate from the status quo is because the people who lead state DOTs are white men.

Teaching and nursing have many structural issues, particularly with poor outcomes for their consumers, yet we would never say “how will we ever reform education/nursing if the same ‘ol people are at the top calling the shots” to the white women that dominate both industries.

Lisa Caballero (Assistant Editor)
Editor
Reply to  PS

PS, that’s too facile. First of all, serious educational reforms began about 30 years ago, including the charter school movement. At the time, in NYC at least, the teachers union contract was very much recognized as an impediment to educational reform, by people of all political stripes. There was quite a collection of cats in that bag, informed people who badly, badly wanted to see charter schools in NYC. Including some teachers, who were afraid to be seen at charter school public events because they were afraid they’d get reported to their shop steward.

The local district was even secretly glad we were starting a school. (NYC has, what, 32 school districts?)

I know less about nursing specifically, but I can tell you that they sit at the bottom of a great big financial behemoth which has pharmaceutical companies and insurers at the top. They are far from “calling the shots.”

PS
PS
13 days ago

Right, it is facile, lazy, and disingenuous to suggest that any industry’s success, failure or difficulty is due to the race and gender/sex of its participants, that was the point. Unfortunately there is robust comfort in this being a one way street.

Lisa Caballero (Assistant Editor)
Editor
Reply to  PS

I apologize for doing that internet thing where someone tries to support argument A by referring to B, and then some other commenter (me) picks up B, argues about it and changes the topic.

FWIW, I agree with you that it can be an easy criticism to point to sex or race of participants as the determining reason an outcome. And identity as determiner of values and views irritates me. (I can’t stand sentences that begin, “As a pink, one-eyed neuter creature that was born on another planet, I think …”

But the statistics in the article were interesting.

There has been a lot of social science research showing that mixed-sex groups perform better than all-male ones. The research I remember looked at corporate boards. The companies with a significant percentage of women on the board (didn’t need to be half, but more than a token) performed better than those with all-male boards.

I’ll stick my neck out with a reason why that might be (plus it will give Watts a chance to jump in). My observation in life is that men/boys tend to be very hierarchical. So it is easier for groups of men to make pretty bad mistakes by following a dominate male off the cliff.

It is easier for women to operate outside of the male hierarchy, to criticize the group, blow a whistle. And that works to the group’s advantage and therefore it performs better. Just my two cents.

David Hampsten
David Hampsten
13 days ago

100% of US presidents have been male. I find it ironic that in both Canada (Kim Cambell) and the UK (Maggie Thatcher and Theresa May) that all their female Prime Ministers were from right-wing parties, none so far from the left.

Lisa Caballero (Assistant Editor)
Editor
Reply to  David Hampsten

Look to New Zealand, Jacinda Ardern–Labour. Here is an interesting article about female leaders and covid response (it rebuts a thesis that was popular in the press, but notes some other interesting differences): https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7853732/

Watts
Watts
13 days ago

 it will give Watts a chance to jump in

🙂

Anyone who thinks females are not hierarchical has never been to high school.

I think for a group to succeed, it needs the right blend of questioning authority and following orders. It may be that this is easier to achieve in mixed sex groups, but individual personality is probably more important than gender.

Iconyms
Iconyms
12 days ago

Speaking of statistic and considering this is a site dedicated to bicycling it seems weird to me to invoke a gender and race argument regarding DOT.

Considering bicyclists demographics in general are more white and male – in a sense DOT mirrors bicycling demographics. 72.8% of bicyclists are male and nearly three times as many men bicycle compared to women.

Personally I find gendered and demographic arguments abhorrent but if we are going to make them shouldn’t we argue that demographics should match the bicycle demographics we care about?

Steven
Steven
12 days ago
Reply to  PS

Women are a bare majority of US public school principals at 56%, so not exactly comparable. And yes, many people have said the lack of racial diversity among teachers and principals is a problem.

John V
John V
14 days ago

The story about firefighters being anti-urbanism was interesting. I think the writer hit the nail on the head for most of it. But another angle I think is at play is that policy makers (and the public perhaps) fall into the traps of taking the advice of firefighters as something with no room for balance. I see this kind of thing in other situations. You ask an expert their opinion, and then whatever they say, people feel like that is The Word on the subject. In reality, they are advocating for their narrow view and that view needs to be considered in the context of all the other needs. Like, say narrow streets really do slow down emergency response (because a truck needs to turn left then right, instead of going straight?). So what? What does that mean? A firetruck ends up on location 15 seconds later? Probably worth it. They are right to bring it up as an issue – speed bumps and narrow streets may indeed slow response. But is it enough to matter when weighed against everything else? Their opinions should frequently be noted, considered, and possibly ignored.

SolarEclipse
SolarEclipse
14 days ago
Reply to  John V

And if it was your family member who died 10 seconds before the emergency personnel were able to get to them because of speed bumps and narrow streets you’re perfectly ok with that?

I can’t say I would be. Seems like there should be a balance somehow, getting drivers to slow down but still allow for emergency vehicles.

John V
John V
14 days ago
Reply to  SolarEclipse

Anybody can come up with asinine edge cases. Hell, even today I’m sure sometimes emergency personnel arrive 10 seconds late. I’m sure it has happened once and probably no more than 5 times ever. Does that mean we should bulldoze an airport-smooth road straight from the fire department to every house?

Yes, I would be perfectly ok with this ridiculous edge case happening. I’d be sad that my family member died and I would not take out my sadness on the safety measures (slower traffic) that saved countless other lives because of a one in a million fluke.

The balance that needs to be reached is the cost (an infinitesimal increase in risk / response times) vs. the improved safety and quality of life that better urban planning can bring. Instead, anything that would lower the perceived response times even by a second just takes all precedent. It’s flatly irrational. It’s perceived safety vs. actual safety.

Watts
Watts
14 days ago
Reply to  John V

Anybody can come up with asinine edge cases. 

Time-critical emergencies are hardly an “asinine edge case.” Experience with aging parents has given me a new appreciation for the vastly differing outcomes that even small delays in treatment can have on a range of common medical emergencies, to say nothing of a fire.*

Ten seconds may not kill most patients, but it might kill a bit of their brain or heart, and that’s bad enough. Firefighters aren’t just a bunch of crybabies fighting a meaningless war of perceptions; small increments of time can make a huge difference in some fairly common cases.

*I watched a tent go up in flames last winter (thankfully no injuries). In 10 seconds it went from “is that a fire?” to “I dearly hope no one was in there”. House fires may not go quite as fast as tent fires, but they go plenty fast.

John V
John V
14 days ago
Reply to  Watts

Yeah but you need to keep on going, think through the actual real life implications of what you’re writing.

It’s not that things can’t happen in 15 seconds. The question is what are the odds that that 15 seconds made a difference. In your tent example, did a firefighter show up in that 10 second window? No? So it didn’t matter.

As discussed in the article, firefighters do not spend most of their time fighting fires. It’s mostly other emergencies, which there would be fewer of with safer streets (and don’t require a fire truck so narrow streets aren’t an issue).

You’re letting scary fantasies drive your views instead of the clear eyed realism we’ve come to know you for.

Watts
Watts
13 days ago
Reply to  John V

As discussed in the article, firefighters do not spend most of their time fighting fires.

True. Most calls are probably not the sort where another minute will make a difference. I’m not sure why you think anything I’ve written here is indulging in “scary fantasies”. It is undeniable that there are realistic, relatively common circumstances where emergency response time is critical, and denying that makes you sound uninformed.

This also isn’t much of an issue in Portland anyway, as our streets are already built. The reason we are not rebuilding all our streets to be narrower (and not building new narrow streets) has nothing to do with emergency response.

Damien
Damien
13 days ago
Reply to  Watts

The reason we are not rebuilding all our streets to be narrower (and not building new narrow streets) has nothing to do with emergency response.

But has much to do with preventing traffic-calming infrastructure from being applied to these not-being-rebuilt streets. One of the reasons for my being soured on particular NAs owes much to the weaponization of emergency response in the service of automobile convenience.

Watts
Watts
13 days ago
Reply to  Damien

weaponization of emergency response

You say that like it’s not a legitimate issue. It most definitely is for some people.

As for whether emergency access should influence decisions on traffic calming and diversion, I don’t have enough information to make a blanket assessment. On its face it seems like a reasonable consideration, but I’d be open to evidence that it is not, perhaps of the sort you described elsewhere.

Damien
Damien
13 days ago
Reply to  Watts

You say that like it’s not a legitimate issue. It most definitely is for some people.

No, I say it like it’s a facade for some to mask their true intention of making their own driving more convenient. Emergency response time was simply one of many spaghetti-on-the-wall arguments some were attempting to make to find anything to avoid this or that speed bump or diverter.

Of course there are some honest actors who are keenly concerned. And I’d repeat my “to what tradeoff” question to them.

Watts
Watts
13 days ago
Reply to  Damien

You should try moving to inner SE — my NA has been trying to get lowered speed limits, reduced lanes, crosswalks, and bike facilities for years, mostly meeting resistance from PBOT.

I too have seen residents raise emergency response, but it seems plausibly legitimate, especially as they tend to be older folks, and I know that the issue becomes increasingly salient as people age. I take people at their word because I don’t have the emotional intelligence to probe their true motivations.

I should add that, at least in the meetings I’ve attended , the PFB has downplayed those concerns, stating that traffic calming doesn’t really delay them. Again, I take them at their word.

John V
John V
13 days ago
Reply to  Watts

It is undeniable that there are realistic, relatively common circumstances where emergency response time is critical, and denying that makes you sound uninformed.

Response time is critical. Plus or minus 15 seconds is not critical. The fact that there may be examples where 15 seconds made a difference is a thing called cherry picking. The existence of these cases doesn’t matter, their prevelence does. And when an emergency response generally takes on the order of 15 minutes at best, up to an hour more frequently, it is ridiculous to believe that 15 *seconds* makes a difference most of the time.

Watts
Watts
13 days ago
Reply to  John V

15 seconds is just a number you made up (as is your 15 minutes figure). Perhaps this conversation would be more productive if we looked at actual data.

https://www.portland.gov/cbo/performance/documents/fire-rescue-response-times-fy12-13/download

Steven
Steven
13 days ago
Reply to  Watts

The irony (besides the greater danger of car crashes as opposed to house fires, which other commenters have explained already) is that fire departments themselves are exacerbating the very housing crisis causing people to live in tents in the first place, such as by opposing revised building standards that would allow single-stair apartment buildings to lower housing costs.

Watts
Watts
13 days ago
Reply to  Steven

An inspector once told me that every building code is the result of a death. I’m sure this isn’t literally true, but rules around buildings with only one exit are probably an example of where it is.

I don’t have an opinion about this particular code, and I’m happy to defer to the experts about whether it makes sense.

Steven
Steven
12 days ago
Reply to  Watts

The article about fire bureaus quotes a Twitter thread explaining why firefighters should not be assumed to be experts on the safety of single-stair apartment buildings:

“The only interaction [these firefighters] have with non-single-family living is dropping their daughter off at college and visiting their parents in nursing homes […] or seeing images from 9/11 on TV.”

I agree that we should trust the experts. Unfortunately, there is not much reliable data on this topic. Anecdotally, New York City allows single stair buildings up to six stories and has fewer fire deaths per capita than the US average.

Watts
Watts
12 days ago
Reply to  Steven

Firefighters don’t write building codes. They’re mostly adopted from national standards.

Steven
Steven
6 days ago
Reply to  Watts

Firefighters don’t write building codes, but that hasn’t stopped them from advocating against any change to the status quo.

dw
dw
14 days ago
Reply to  SolarEclipse

The 10 second detour around the traffic calming wouldn’t make a difference because it would take 45 minutes for 911 to pick up.

X
X
14 days ago
Reply to  dw

We have two-lane collector streets in my neighborhood that regularly back up for blocks when there’s a shift change at a large employer. Is there some work-around for that? Should we suspend car travel because there are old people?

John V
John V
13 days ago
Reply to  X

It’s ironic, because yes. That suspension of car travel would do a lot more good for reducing both traffic deaths and improving firefighter (and other emergency) response times. It would be a win-win. We just need to make that a feasible option, which would be easier because buses wouldn’t suck if they weren’t stuck in traffic and cycling would be safer and more pleasant.

Watts
Watts
13 days ago
Reply to  John V

buses wouldn’t suck if they weren’t stuck in traffic

The bus I took on Saturday completely sucked, and that had nothing to do with traffic.

R
R
14 days ago
Reply to  SolarEclipse

If you seriously believe that your family is at risk of death from a response to a medical being delayed by tens of seconds then you really need some first aid and CPR training. There’s limited things staff on any fire truck or ambulance can do for catastrophic injury and a minute or two is almost always insignificant. You’re fully capable of providing CPR and applying a tourniquet or packing a wound to slow life threatening bleedings

Home
Home
14 days ago
Reply to  SolarEclipse

As the article pointed out, there’s no clear connection between road treatments that create safer streets and reduced response times. You’re just buying into the unfounded and unproven assumptions that are trafficked by fire departments.

Also, smaller fire vehicles, which are better able to navigate narrow streets, are used almost everywhere in the world that is not the United States. Despite American fire department preferences for huge trucks, we have higher rates of deaths from fires than other developed nations. Better to acquire fire response vehicles that are suitable for narrow road conditions rather than insist the world must conform to the preferred dimensions of bloated fire trucks.

Watts
Watts
14 days ago
Reply to  John V

A firetruck ends up on location 15 seconds later? Probably worth it.

That may depend on if you’re the one waiting for the firetruck and why. When it’s your mom having a stroke, or your child or pet in the burning house, those seconds matter a lot.

Firefighters say that a fire doubles in size every minute, so 15 seconds can make a difference, especially if that’s an average delay, so 3 times out of 4 no delay, and one time out of 4 a full minute. Heart attacks, strokes, and traumatic injuries can be similarly time sensitive in a way that, say, a broken arm isn’t.

I’m not averse to smaller equipment (if it can still do the job), but there are a lot of firetrucks in Portland, so replacing them will be a long-term project, assuming narrower vehicles are even available in the US at sub boutique prices. And it’s not like we’re building many new roads that can be platted as being narrower, so the impact of smaller equipment may be limited. Portland is more-or-less built, and we have the street layout we have.

I don’t think firetruck geometry or response time goals will be a major factor in the design of Portland’s future.

Lisa Caballero (Assistant Editor)
Editor
Reply to  Watts

A big truck is a hindrance on narrow windy streets, a compact truck would make more sense where I live.

Also, Portland is inconsistent about its fire preparedness. It doesn’t have a problem approving new apartments/condos at the end of serpentine roads, in the middle of woods, with no connectivity. Hey, they’ve got fire alarms and sprinklers, it’s good.

And what’s with all the illegal fireworks on the 4th?

Home
Home
14 days ago

Sprinklers and fire resistant construction materials are better defenses against fires than firefighters. If your building isn’t a highly flammable death task, you are less likely to need the assistance of emergency professionals.

Lisa Caballero (Assistant Editor)
Editor
Reply to  Home

Hi Home,

My impression was that the code was addressing fires that started within the building — which is good — but that there wasn’t much attention to the location of the building itself. That some locations might be vulnerable to wild fires, or difficult for a truck to get to.

jakeco969
jakeco969
13 days ago

And what’s with all the illegal fireworks on the 4th?

Ugh!! They were a horrible problem in Portland and they’re a horrible problem up here in Washington. Our farm animals have to be kept in the barn most of the day for several days around the 4th and I have to do evening patrols of the property to make sure nothing is smoldering. The explosions are terrible for mental health and our dogs get ear protection and thunder jackets to wear to help. And for what?? If the fire departments can’t legislate private fireworks out of existence and encourage crack downs on their use than they are not actually helping.

Home
Home
14 days ago
Reply to  Watts

“I don’t think firetruck geometry or response time goals will be a major factor in the design of Portland’s future.”

And yet, PBOT regularly avoids implemention road treatments like more aggressive speed bumps or diverters on designated emergency response streets specifically because the fire bureau opposes them. Fire bureau response time goals are a major impediment and limiting factor that impacts PBOT’s work.

If you think the fire bureau isn’t a problem, you’ve probably never discussed the issue with a city transportation planner in Portland.

Steven
Steven
13 days ago
Reply to  Home

Former fire chief Mike Myers publicly endorsed “pedestrian enhancements” and “safe, walkable streets” on a NACTO webinar several years ago. If what you’re saying is true, I guess that was all talk and no action. Someone should ask Myers what he’s doing in his role as Community Safety Transition Director to actually make streets safer.

Damien
Damien
14 days ago
Reply to  John V

Of course, the predictable “what if it was YOUR relative who died due to the 10 seconds…” scenario ignores the flip side, which is that it could very well be the wide, unencumbered-for-emergency-response’s-sake road that is statistically more likely to kill your relative than a delayed emergency response.

Don’t get me wrong, delaying emergency response is obviously not good – but John is absolutely correct that it’s one consideration to be weighed among others. And I’ve asked this before and will continue to: At what point does building streets for the fastest emergency response actually produce more harm (in traffic crashes, or pollution, etc and so on) than good? I would be surprised if anyone has seriously looked at this question to have an answer, but the tradeoff most certainly exists.

Watts
Watts
13 days ago
Reply to  Damien

At what point does building streets for the fastest emergency response actually produce more harm (in traffic crashes, or pollution, etc and so on) than good? I would be surprised if anyone has seriously looked at this question to have an answer, but the tradeoff most certainly exists.

I think this is the key question, and is probably very situational.

Ryan
Ryan
13 days ago
Reply to  John V

Oregon has an interesting law regarding road design and fire departments. The fire marshal has to be consulted when road design standards are adopted, but cannot override those standards once they’re in effect, even if they conflict with standards in the fire code.

ORS 368.039 Road standards adopted by local government supersede standards in fire codes; consultation with fire agencies. (1) When the governing body of a county or city adopts specifications and standards, including standards for width, for roads and streets under the jurisdiction of the governing body, such specifications and standards shall supersede and prevail over any specifications and standards for roads and streets that are set forth in a uniform fire code adopted by the State Fire Marshal, a municipal fire department or a county firefighting agency.

(subsection 3 is the one that requires consultation – https://www.oregonlegislature.gov/bills_laws/ors/ors368.html).

ADuncan
ADuncan
14 days ago

I did landscape architecture for many years in Arizona. It was always beyond frustrating to work on neighborhood layouts and road designs and have the code dictate how *wide* the lanes need to be so fire engines can raise their ladders and have the supports fully out. And let’s not forget they also demand larger (faster!) turn radii.

qqq
qqq
14 days ago

It seems like there’s an opportunity to use improved emergency vehicle travel and access as a secondary benefit/justification for some pro-biking and walking projects. I’m thinking especially of one that replace on-street parking with bike lanes and/or wider sidewalks.

Replacing parking with a bike lane means that, instead of driving in a lane alongside parked cars, a fire truck has the lane PLUS the bike lane to travel in, and no parked cars or doors swinging open to worry about hitting.

Replacing 6′ wide parallel parking spaces with an extra 1′ or 2′ of lane width, and 4′ or 5′ of sidewalk is similar–more room for emergency vehicles to travel, and no cars alongside.

Plus, once the emergency vehicles arrive, they don’t have parked cars between them and the building the crews are going to.

Clearly there are conflicts between emergency vehicle needs and safety things like speed bumps or reducing turning radii. But when emergency vehicle and bike/pedestrian safety needs align, that should be capitalized on.

maxD
maxD
13 days ago
Reply to  qqq

yes! continue the bike lanes along Skidmore from N Michigan to NE 7th! It would such a great network improvement with safe signalized crossing for people on bikes, but the alleged hold up is that Skidmore is a designate emergency vehicle route. I cannot see how lanes of pared cars are better for firetrucks than a bike lanes!

Phil
Phil
13 days ago

Crazy to see the Interstate Bridge Replacement project come right out and say they need to focus on preventing leaks of their plans because if people knew what they were planning they would be opposed to it.

Stephen Scarich
Stephen Scarich
13 days ago

Before you get enamored with riding in Montreal, talk to someone who actually lives there and commutes. I have a very experienced friend (former National Team Member), who says that commuting from the north part of town to downtown is like going to war. She says she has like six blinky lights on her bike to be seen and still says it is terrifying every day.

Steve Cheseborough (Contributor)
Chezz
13 days ago

Jonathan, the idea of smiling and nodding is that you are truly interested in the OTHER person, and wishing them a nice day! Not “I read an article that says it will benefit ME to do this”! LOL. But maybe you can fake it till you make it.

David Hampsten
David Hampsten
13 days ago
Reply to  Chezz

Out here in the Deep South bicyclists do in fact smile and say hi to each other a lot, wave in passing, and even ring bells – not universally of course, certainly not the Oregon transplant refugees priced out by the West Coast rents, but enough to make it pleasant. When I was in Philly in March I noticed riders there grimaced a lot and avoided eye contact.

X
X
5 days ago
Reply to  David Hampsten

I’ve talked to people who rode bikes in Philadelphia. It’s got a rep. If you put your foot down somebody grabs your bars and claims your bike. You can tell when somebody comes to Portland from a tough town, they ride like a manic crazy bastard. It takes a few months to wear off.

John V
John V
13 days ago
Reply to  Chezz

I think the idea of pop-sci things like that literally is that if you go through the motions, it has a positive effect, even if you were doing it just for that positive effect. Smiling and waving put you in a better mood. Not to mention, the person you’re doing it to doesn’t know if you mean it or not, so it puts them in a better mood too (supposedly).

I’m not saying I know if that’s true or not, but I think that’s the reasoning.