The 'South Mountain Freeway' would build a 22-mile freeway extension between Laveen and Chandler. The route's proximity to sacred tribal land has prompted a lawsuit, even after years of planning.
It makes economic sense: increase supply in desirable areas to match demand. These articles look at some of the factors complicating that story in on the west coast.
The focal point of California's vast Inland Empire, the suburban city of San Bernardino was brought to its knees by the Great Recession. Its civic bankruptcy and its emergence as a suburban slum is perhaps America's most tragic story of urban sprawl.
The Swansea Tidal Lagoon, planned for the Bristol Channel on the southern coast of Wales, spares no expense in delivering first-of-its-kind renewable energy.
Sunday Parkways: Just a slice of alternative history.(Photo: J.Maus/BikePortland)
Sometime in the 1920s, the American auto industry worked very hard and very consciously to achieve a great victory: they successfully associated their product with freedom.
As documented by history professor Peter Norton’s 2008 book Fighting Traffic (and many links over the years in BikePortland’s Monday Roundup), many Americans — maybe most of them — didn’t see this as a blow in favor of freedom; just the opposite. They saw it as a takeover of city streets. Even in a world where many more people died of disease and violence than they do today, the public was shocked by the notion that a person’s freedom to zoom down a street could be more important than a child’s freedom to play in it.The front page of the New York Times, Nov. 23, 1924.
“Children must play,” St. Louis resident C.C. White warned in a letter to the St. Louis Star in 1918. Five years later, a cartoon in that newspaper depicted a car as “The Modern Moloch,” a reference to an Ammonite god who supposedly required the sacrifice of children.
Here in Portland, the mayor, The Oregonian and the police department eventually teamed up to lead a nationally recognized campaign called “Let’s Quit Killing” that treated lethal driving as a private choice but a public problem. Similar movements had already been active in cities across the country.A 1923 ad in the Cincinnati Post taken out by a coalition of auto dealers.
In Cincinnati in 1923, the American movement against the automotive takeover of cities reached its high-water mark: 10 percent of the city’s population signed a ballot initiative that would have required “speed governors” in every car, devices that mechanically limited traffic speeds to a nonlethal 25 mph within city limits.
The auto industry, rightly realizing that without their big speed advantage cars would never be able to compete with streetcars and bicycles as popular ways to get around a city, poured money into lobbying the public for a “no” vote, referring over and over again to the idea that the law would build a “Chinese wall” around Cincinnati. By the time the campaign was over, fewer people voted for the law than had signed the petition.
It’s enough to make somebody wonder about the country that might have been.
Can you imagine what US cities would be like today if safety advocates of 1920s had successfully capped urban auto speeds to 25 mph?
— Michael Andersen (@andersem) June 16, 2015
In the years that followed, advocates of “motordom,” as they referred to themselves, pulled off their most famous trick: they used a derogatory American term for a country bumpkin, a “jay,” to coin a new word, “jaywalking.”
People using the street casually weren’t exercising freedom, the word implied. They were betraying ignorance and unsophistication. They didn’t belong in U.S. cities; cars did.
All of which hopefully explains why I was so intrigued, a few weeks ago, to notice this tweet:
Crossing the street is putting your life at risk at rush hour. Slow down, jaydrivers! https://t.co/jDcAmbsbOm
— Mark (@markecarter) June 17, 2015
And then this one:
— Mitchell Austin (@msaplanner) June 11, 2015
And also this:
— Bike Loud PDX (@bikeloudpdx) February 11, 2015
Have you had the prickling sense, lately, that the United States is in a new moment? That the Vision Zero movement and those like it are reviving some of the sense of outrage about the lost freedom of urban movement that almost no one still alive remembers?- Advertisement -
Here’s when I felt the prickle: When I noticed that local activist Dan Kaufman had used an image from the Dutch Stop de Kindermoord movement on his Facebook event for May’s traffic safety demonstration on Southeast Powell Street outside Cleveland High School.
The need for the demonstration made me feel sad. But the response to Kaufman’s quick organizing — and the hugely successful two months that Portland livable streets advocates have had since — have made me feel something else: patriotic.
I started to think that even though (unlike in the 1970s Netherlands) almost no one still alive remembers the streets of the 1920s, something big could be happening here in U.S. cities. And that this might be what it looks like.
So when I saw those “jaydriving” tweets, I scrolled through Twitter until I could figure out the people who seemed to be responsible for spreading the term. Then I emailed them to ask why they use the word. Here’s one of them: Mitchell Austin, the Bicycle and Pedestrian Coordinator for the City of Punta Gorda, Florida:
My first encounter with it was April of 2014 when @PedestrianError … used it in a Tweet. … I just started using it from then on as the situation seemed to cry out for it. Unfortunately the need to use the term seems to occur all too frequently. The social disconnect that autocentric life causes combined with the distraction of all these little screens seems to have enhanced our propensity to do dumb things behind the wheel. The narcissism of blocking a crosswalk…because 5 feet further in my BMW is more important than your life…or the stress-anger stew car commuters sit in for hours a day…to earn a buck to pay for the car?!?!? It all just seems to be going off the rails for so many people. I say all this not as some militant anti-car guy. I drive, heck I own two cars in a single driver household. However, there is no reason someone should have to buy, fuel, insure, and maintain a 4,000 lbs hunk of steel, rubber & glass in order to get around & earn a living.
And here’s the pseudonymous woman behind the the account @PedestrianError:
I can’t even remember all the folks who’ve used it. … I don’t think I’d use it on someone who was operating a motor vehicle in a city without breaking any laws or at least standard safety practices (like talking on a hand-held phone in a state that hasn’t yet outlawed it) and it’s certainly possible to jaydrive even in an area where a car might be the most efficient way to get around thanks to limited transit, dispersed land uses and/or lousy biking conditions. I see it more as reckless and/or incompetent driving, which is amplified in an area where no driving is really reasonable. I think use of the term has been waxing and waning for a while, probably slowly but unevenly gaining more traction. … I don’t think I picked it up from someone else but I definitely wouldn’t claim to be the first. It just makes sense.
The birth or rebirth of this little word on a social media platform is a small thing. Even the big idea behind the word — that thoughtless driving, not thoughtless walking, is out of place on city streets — isn’t enough to restore the independence Americans lost when we gradually handed city streets over to traffic and began to build our cities around our machines, not fully realizing the costs until it was too late.
But from a gradually spreading grassroots hashtag to a Portland dad worried about his children’s safety to residents mobilizing for a voice on their neighborhood association to one of America’s great cities announcing that despite our country’s choices in the 1920s, we no longer find traffic deaths to be an acceptable price to pay for speeed, the national movement for better streets that’s being built right now is showing signs of a very American attitude. It’s actually the same attitude that advocates of “motordom” had when they gradually wrested control of city streets, supposedly in the name of freedom, 90 years ago.
Independence isn’t something you receive.
Independence is something you declare.
The post After 90 years, American cities are again redefining independence appeared first on BikePortland.org.
Millennials are loving their center cities these days, with their lofts and bars and yoga studios. But what happens when Millennials start to have families and don't quite fit, physically or culturally, into city life anymore?
2014-15 was a banner fiscal year for development in the jurisdiction of the Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County, Tennessee.
Participants negotiate a water-carrying checkpoint at last year’s event.(Photo © J. Maus/BikePortland)
Portland’s Disaster Relief Trials are back for the fourth year and there are some exciting changes in store.
Before we get into the details, here’s the mock scenario:
“Imagine this: It’s two days after the big earthquake… roads are broken, fuel is unavailable, but your family and neighbors need supplies. Think you are out of options? Think again! Use your cargo bike!
Portland cyclists are called to test their navigation, problem solving and load hauling mettle on October 17th, 2015 in a disaster drill designed to showcase the relevance of cargo bikes in disaster relief.”
Organizers announced earlier this week that the 2015 DRT will be held on October 17th at the campus of the University of Portland. Also new this year is a “hub and spoke” checkpoint arrangement (with U of P as the hub), which will make the event much more spectator friendly.- Advertisement -
If you’ve never seen or participated in this event, we highly recommend checking it out. Competitors show up in all types of bikes and have to go through nearly a dozen grueling checkpoints that require them to do everything from lift their bike (and up to 100 lbs of cargo) over obstacles and carry odd-shaped items. The idea is to demonstrate how resilient bicycles (and the people who ride them) can be after a natural disaster strikes.
In addition to the competition, there will also be an expo where you can learn more about disaster preparedness from the event’s sponsors and partners which include: the Portland Bureau of Emergency Management, the Cascade Regional Earthquake Workgroup, and others.
Pre-registration is open and you can sign-up online.
Act 178, approved by Vermont in 2006, required that all ancient roads be catalogued by July 1, 2015 to be included in the state map. The exploration of old roads leading up to that deadline makes a compelling story.
We’ve had three great jobs and one volunteer opportunity listed this week. Learn more about them via the links below…
- Infortmation Technology Manager – Velotech, Inc.
- Communication Coordinator – Velotech, Inc.
- Communications and Marketing Director – Cascade Bicycle Club
- Volunteer – Portland Craft Beer Festival
The post Jobs of the Week: Velotech, Craft Beer Fest, Cascade Bicycle Club appeared first on BikePortland.org.
Though it's as picturesque as a place can be, the central Sicilian town of Gangi is a shell of its former self. To attract new residents, the town is offering homes for free on the condition that they be restored to their former glory.
For the first time, full-color videos of the earth's surface will be made available to the public, with added options for paying customers. The imagery comes from two cameras on the International Space Station.
Should keep things a bit clearer.(Photo: TriMet)
The Portland area’s public transit agency has given itself the power to seize and discard bicycles abandoned at its stations for more than a few days.
As part of a general code overhaul approved last February and effective Wednesday with the start of TriMet’s fiscal year, the TriMet board of directors approved a new code provision allowing for “a bicycle left on any property of the District Transit System for more than 72 hours may be impounded.”
That’s three days.
TriMet’s code change also says that a bicycle can be immediately impounded if it’s parked illegally and “obstructs, interferes with or impedes use of the District Transit System by the public,” or if it’s an “immediate safety threat” in some other way.- Advertisement -
The code requires the district to keep the impounded bike for at least 30 days and to make a “reasonable attempt to notify the owner of the impoundment and a description of how and by what date the bicycle must be claimed.”
The agency can also charge a “reasonable administrative fee” to cover its impoundment expenses.
After the 30-day waiting period, TriMet can then follow its usual procedure for disposal of abandoned or lost personal property.
Correction 6:20: A previous version of this post listed the wrong number of days in an abandoned bike’s grace period.
The post With new authority, TriMet moves to clear unused bikes from its racks appeared first on BikePortland.org.
Go ahead, fly your flag!(Photo © J. Maus/BikePortland)
This menu of delicious rides and events is brought to you by our friends at Hopworks Urban Brewery. Their support makes BikePortland possible.
With the heat we’ve been having it’s probably just as well that our calendar of rides isn’t nearly as full as it has been. And the weekend after Pedalpalooza always feels a bit quiet — as if the community takes a collective rest and needs time to recover after three weeks of riding and partying.
That being said, it’s still summer and there’s never a bad day for a ride (and don’t forget to check out our stay-cool tips when you head out).
One note of caution, if you plan to head out to the Gorge through Corbett via the Historic Highway on Saturday (the 4th), remember that the road is closed for a parade from 9:30 am to about noon.
Have a great holiday weekend!Friday, July 3rd
Friday Night Ride – 7:30 pm at Washington High School (SE Stark & 14th) Looking for a fun ride where you can roll city streets in a group and discover new friends and places? This week’s ride will connect several parks. Expect a chill vibe. More info here.Saturday, July 4th
Bike Camping at Horning’s Hideout – All weekend Just a short ride and MAX trip from Portland and you’ll be at a sweet little destination. This ride is being led by non-profit Cycle Wild and they’ve reserved a group site. Just $6 per person. Sign up and learn more here.
PDX Independence Invitational – 6:30 am at Joe’s Celler (NW 21st & Pettygrove) Feel like tackling a monster of a route (85 miles, 13,000 feet of climbing) on Independence Day? Sign up for the Invitational and you’ll discover some great roads and discover what you’re made of. Registration is $15 or $39 for a team of three. More info here.- Advertisement -
Barbur Without Barbur Fireworks Ride – 9:00 pm at Go By Bike (under the Tram in South Waterfront) Looking for a cool way to view a professional fireworks show? This ride will take you to a secret viewing spot that’s perfect for watching the fireworks at Oaks Amusement Park. Total mileage from South Waterfront is only five miles round-trip. More info here.Sunday, July 5th
East County Series – Orient Drive to Troutdale – 10:00 am at Safeway (NE 181st and Halsey) Join the Portland Wheelmen Touring Club for this exploration of eastern Multnomah County. Expect a moderate pace (14-16 mph) and a route that includes the Sandy River and Troutdale. More info here.
Zoobomb! – 8:30 pm at The People’s Bike Library of Portland (SW 13th and Burnside) It’s perfect weather to hang out up in Washington Park and enjoy the cool breeze on your ride down the hills. And the MAX trains have great A/C! More info here.
— Did we miss anything? Let us know via the comments and make sure to drop us a line if you have an upcoming event you’d like us to feature next week.
The post Weekend Event Guide: Freedom, fireworks, camping and more appeared first on BikePortland.org.
What could be better than a weekend “celebrating peace and good health” while riding bikes, camping, and listening to live music in a festival atmosphere in the Columbia River Gorge? And to top it all off, the organizers are encouraging everyone to get their by bike.
The first annual Bike Peace Music Festival is set for July 17th and 18th in Cascade Locks. 200 campsites have been reserved on Thunder Island exclusively for people who bike to the event with their own camping gear.
“This encourages festival attendees to abandon the car and ride to the festival,” says the event’s organizer Marcus Nobel, “Imagine that getting to the festival is part of the festival.” Nobel is the son of Claes Nobel and a descendent of Alfred Nobel of Nobel Peace Prize fame. He’s president of United Earth, a non-profit partner of the United Nations Environmental Program that “recognizes and promotes environmental leadership and humanitarian excellence worldwide.” United Earth’s main program (and the beneficiary of proceeds from the Bike Peace Music Fest) is the Nobel Peace Curriculum, a set of teachings Nobel and his colleagues are looking to see taught in middle schools, high schools, and colleges.- Advertisement -
In addition to promoting the values of his non-profit, Nobel is riding the Gorge’s bicycle tourism boom. “There’s a $21 million dollar pipeline of bicycle recreation that runs through the Gorge. This will double in a few years when the last remaining 10 miles [of the Historic Columbia River Highway] into Hood River are completed.”Marcus Nobel
As the Bike Peace Music Fest blossoms (plans for next year are already in the works), Nobel sees it as a way to export the Portland region’s bike culture to a larger audience — and do something even more profound: Show people that it’s possible to promote peace through bicycle culture and human-powered transportation.
“These days peace has a lot of Baggage. Ideology, religion, and politics can be polarizing even on an issue as unifying as peace,” says Nobel. “Science and technology will not solve the problem of war. Politics by its nature is divisive. But the bike has no ideology. And peace is a very big tent. Everyone is welcome!”
Weekend passes for this event are $75 per person and include two nights of camping and tickets to all the concerts (slated to perform so far are Casey Neill and the Norway Rats, Sassparilla, Franco Paletta & The Stingers, Johanna Warren and others). Day passes are also available. Check out BikePeaceMusicFestival.com for more info.
The post The ‘Bike Peace Music Festival’ is coming to Cascade Locks appeared first on BikePortland.org.
Aspiring-to-be-hip cities across the county tout themselves as the "next Brooklyn." Ben Adler argues not only the Brooklyn is a lousy model for revitalization but also that hipster-led gentrification does not lead to overall prosperity.
Memphis' Beale Street is famous as a home of the blues and one of the city's biggest tourist attractions. Even so, been it's mismanaged and is often empty. With some conflicts settled, the city hopes to realize the street's value as a civic asset.
Capturing the complexities and competing forces at play in major metro areas stumps many writers who face the challenge.
One of the nation's busiest commute corridors will get a lot busier in coming decades with no large infrastructure investment in sight. SPUR has some ideas about how the East Bay to San Francisco corridor can be improved right now.
Andy Clarke at the Congressional Reception of the 2013 National Bike Summit in Washington D.C.(Photos © J. Maus/BikePortland)
If Andy Clarke has had a single mission in more than a decade at the League of American Bicyclists, it’s this: turning the U.S. bicycling movement from what he calls “a narrow special-interest group that by and large people don’t like” into “a public-interest group.”
“We’ve made such huge strides on the busy streets in cities. But the suburbs are the next great big frontier.”
In a telephone interview the day after announcing his resignation, Clarke said he thinks this is happening — but that even as it gets its ship in order, the movement is facing down a tidal wave.
On Wednesday we spoke with Clarke, 53, about the changes he’s seen during his 11 years at the helm of the national bike advocacy group; about the biggest threat facing the bike movement; and about the unique challenge of further improving biking in Portland.Clarke seemed to approve of this buffered bike lane in downtown Portland.
How has the League itself changed while you’ve been there?
I moved here to work for the League when it was the League of American Wheelmen in 1988. I’d been working in the same kind of work for an environmental group in England for three or four years out of college. It was 1988 to 1990. Then I left and for about 10 or 12 years, I’d been hearing from other people that I didn’t really feel that the League was playing its role, supporting state and local advocacy. During the 90s you saw the Alliance for Biking and Walking start, the Rails and Trails Conservancy. When I got back, that was changing; the League was kind of getting its act together again and starting to play that national role, first with the National Bike Summit and then with the Bike-Friendly Communities program.
One of the things that makes me happiest about the BFC program was that we looked at more than 800 applications, and in all but a handful of instances, people want to know what the feedback is and they want to get to the next level. They just want to know what to do next, how they can do better and what we think they should do. And then they just go out and do it.
At the federal level and the congressional level, certainly we’ve had our ups and downs. I feel like we’re providing that voice for cyclists and are a good representative for the cause in Congress. It’s a big world out there and the League is a small part of all the activity, but I’d like to think that we’re a part of all that momentum that everyone sees at the state and local level.Clarke and former Vancouver (WA) Mayor Royce Pollard in 2006.
But overall, the total number of people bicycling at least a few times a year isn’t growing (according to latest study by the National Bicycle Dealers Association) which means it’s shrinking as a share of the population. What do you see as the biggest challenges the biking movement faces?
“There’s kind of a divide, a growing divide, between those cities that get it and are capitalizing on it and those that are not.”
I was pleased that this year at the National Bike Summit we had a big session on suburbia and suburban development. We’ve made such huge strides on the busy streets in cities. But the suburbs are the next great big frontier, and if we think downtown city streets are hard to change, then the expanse of suburbia that has yet to become bicycle friendly can be a little daunting without seeing the evidence that we saw this summer that this is changing, that people are retrofitting the suburbs…
It seems to me that there are places that clearly are getting it, the Portlands and the Boulders and the Davises, and the Minneapolises and the Memphises and the Louisvilles and the New York Cities and the New Orleanses. There, things are flourishing beyond our wildest dreams. My fear is that that success and that progress is not being seen in the suburbs. There’s kind of a divide, a growing divide, between those cities that get it and are capitalizing on it and those that are not.
I’ve been riding to work basically the same way for 25 years, the same trail, from Fairfax county through Arlington County into the District. There are 10 times the number of people riding in the morning compared to 25 years ago.
The challenge is: is that happening throughout Fairfax County? Is that happening in every community in Virginia? Probably not. It would be impossible to say that cycling isn’t thriving and growing in DC and Arlington. What I worry about is once you get off that trail in Fairfax County, the roads are still pretty challenging and intimidating. The schools aren’t very accessible. My kids aren’t riding as much as I would like them to.
I think there’s a generation of kids that we continue to lose to cycling and that we’re not getting invested in cycling. That would be on my list of big-picture worries. There’s not a widespread effort to make sure that every kid that leaves elementary school knows how to ride a bike and has an affinity to that activity.- Advertisement -
It’s sometimes hard for me to imagine how we get from a world where bicycling is perceived as something for them and into a world where it’s perceived as something for everybody. The great strength of the bike movement is that we’ve got so many foot-soldiers who are willing to go out and throw themselves against the bayonets, and the great problem is that people keep throwing themselves against the bayonets.
“The door’s open. We’re at the table. Now’s the time to sit down and start talking to people like normal, rational human beings.”
I was in Nantes, France, for the Velo-City conference. From the mayor of Nantes up to the regional government, the national government who was there, the person from the OECD who was there — to a person, they said basically what we heard from the research up on Capitol Hill. People get that bicycling is part of the solution. That’s not really at question any more. The door’s open. We’re at the table. Now’s the time to sit down and start talking to people like normal, rational human beings… elected officials and heads of chambers of commerce don’t need to be beat around the head with the idea that bicycling is a good thing.
When we do the BFC program, there are too many places where we’ve seen the elected officials and the city staff saying, “Man, we need the advocates to catch up and give us the space to get stuff done.” The local cycling community isn’t helping them enough or showing up to the public meetings or playing the role that they need to to do the protected bike lanes and the more extensive treatments. That’s kind of the wake-up call for us. I look at what my next role might be, and I think, “Hmm, maybe that’s something we need to fix.”
You talk about Portland as a place where things have succeeded, and that’s true. But it also seems like you have the New Orleanses coming up while we’re at a plateau here or in DC, and biking is still far from mainstream. Why is that?
There’s a bunch of stuff you can do that’s relatively easy. I think places like Portland are at the place where the projects get tougher and the decisions get more complicated, and you start to have to make choices between parking and transit and cycling access and taxis. We won’t reach the next level in U.S. cities unless we start to deal with parking and with pricing and with stuff that ostensibly has nothing to do with cycling and actually has everything to do with whether people are riding or not. To make it harder to drive — not to be punitive, but to make a rational choice that actually it makes sense, as we get more people in cities, to make it possible to ride a bike and walk and not have to drive everywhere.
Here in Portland I think one of the things we’re missing with biking is the “Why.” If you could pick one “why” that advocates, city leaders, ordinary people would say more of, what would it be?
The one that seems to raise the most eyebrows for me is that the reliability of the bike is just unimaginable. I know exactly how long it takes me to get to work in the morning and how long it takes to get home in the evening. The bike is so reliable and flexible and adaptable. There is no one who goes by transit or drives that can say it with a straight face; it could take them 20 minutes, and it could take them two hours.
You’re right, I’ve never heard that one before. So what are you looking to do next?
I’m looking to spend a little time riding my bike and enjoying the summer and to try to figure out from me, with a little bit of distance from things, where I can continue to make a difference to the movement. It’s an extraordinary group of people and institutions to work with, and I want to figure out how I can continue to play a valuable role.
The post Q&A: The League’s outgoing president on state of biking in Portland and beyond appeared first on BikePortland.org.