Should they be allowed to use phones while driving?(Photo by J. Maus/BikePortland)
For the second legislative session in a row, the Oregon Senate has voted in favor of a bill that would allow taxicab operators to use hand-held cell phones while driving.
Oregon’s existing cell phone law (ORS 811.507) permits the use of hands-free mobile devices while driving, but taxi operators want to be added to the list of exceptions for hand-held phone use that already includes police officers, public safety workers, farm equipment operators, transit workers, public utility workers, tow truck operators, HAM radio operators, and others.
At a Senate committee hearing for SB 167 in February, Darin Campbell, a lobbyist and driver for Portland-based Radio Cab who initiated the bill, said giving cabbies the ability to use their phones while driving is crucial to their business. While he estimated that around 90-95 percent of taxi drivers use bluetooth and wireless hands-free systems, the law still needs to change.
“The goal isn’t to allow someone to talk to their wife or mother in the car… It shouldn’t be a five minute phone call, it should be a 15-second phone call every great once-in-a-while.”— Darin Campbell, Radio Cab lobbyist
“It’s the people that aren’t using that technology, and when it fails to work, that’s who we’re looking to cover with this change,” Campbell testified to lawmakers on the Senate Business and Transportation Committee back in February.
Campbell, whom I reached on the phone for an interview (yes, he was driving when we spoke), says it’s a straightforward bill that will make it easier for cab operators to find customers.
When asked about safety implications of the new law, Campbell told me he doesn’t think it’s much of an issue. “I just don’t see this being such an overwhelming increase in cell phone use outside of what it is now.” He added that as head of Radio Cab’s safety committee he reviews every collision their drivers are involved in. “In the last five years,” he said, “we haven’t had a single one related to cell phone use.”
Campbell also said cab drivers are experts at staying focused on the road. “Cab drivers are wired for distraction,” is how he put it. The way Campbell sees it, the bill is meant to give taxi drivers another tool to locate customers, not give them a green light to chat away while they navigate busy streets. “The goal isn’t to allow someone to talk to their wife or mother in the car… It shouldn’t be a five minute phone call, it should be a 15-second phone call every great once-in-a-while.”-->
“But a taxicab driver could simply pull over to the side of the road and make his phone call if he doesn’t have the wireless device. I cannot support this.” — Sen. Rod Monroe
But there’s no way law enforcement will know who the person is talking to or how long they’ve been on the phone.
“If drivers are going to take advantage of the law,” Campbell said “They’re doing it anyway right now.”
Interestingly, the bill didn’t pass in 2013 because some lawmakers in the House were uncomfortable with the idea of a cab operator talking on his or her cell phone while a passenger was in the back seat. That prompted an amendment to SB 167 which states that the law will not apply, “if there is a passenger in the taxicab.”
Turns out lawmakers identify with the risks of distracted driving when they imagine themselves riding in a cab with a cell-phone using driver. But what about other road users outside the car who might also be impacted by this law?
Senator Rod Monroe (D-Portland) voted against the bill. In the committee hearing he made his opinion very clear: “Driving while talking on a phone is a dangerous activity. Police, fire, perhaps maybe sometimes needs to do that… But a taxicab driver could simply pull over to the side of the road and make his phone call if he doesn’t have the wireless device. I cannot support this.”
The bill was sponsored by Senator Brian Boquist, a Republican from a rural district. In an email to BikePortland he said risks of distracted driving are decreasing as hands-free devices improve (according to NHTSA, it’s the talking that’s dangerous, not the use of hands). Boquist said the real risk is distracted police officers.
Although it was drafted prior to Portland’s experiment to allow Uber and Lyft, the law would likely not apply to those drivers because they are not yet clearly defined in statute.
Campbell says he’s confident the bill will pass this time around.
SB 167 is scheduled for a public hearing on April 29th in the House Committee on Transportation and Economic Development.
The post Oregon Senate votes (yet again) to let cabbies use hand-held phones while driving appeared first on BikePortland.org.
For all the discussion about affordable housing at the APA National Conference in Seattle last week, clear solutions have yet to emerge. Polycentric regional planning is one long-term goal.
Census Bureau data indicates that the shift to Sun Belt suburbs is still the majority preference. Turns out warmth, jobs, and affordable housing are a powerful triumvirate.
The ‘Safer Clinton’ initiative aims to celebrate Portland’s original bike street.
Like anybody who contributes a lot to their community, the Clinton Street Neighborhood Greenway has acquired a lot of friends in its first 30 years.
Starting this Friday, May 1, fans of Southeast Portland’s original bike arterial will be hosting a month of celebrations of the bikeway’s birthday.
Though the calendar for the month is full of family-oriented fun, the subtext is serious: the event organizers at BikeLoudPDX want to call attention to what some say risks becoming a bikeway in name only because of the number of cars diverting from nearby Division Street.
They figure that one step to building community support for fixes such as traffic diverters will be having a great time on a great street.
Here’s the list of events so far:
Friday morning, May 1: The “Helium Bike Fairy” will be distributing balloons at schools on and off Clinton Street to celebrate walk + bike to school month.
May 1, 4 to 6 p.m.: The fairy will be distributing balloons for the commute home at 23rd and Clinton.
Sunday, May 3, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.: A sign-making work*party at Piccolo Park, SE 27th and 28th between Clinton and Division. These yard signs will inform passers-by about the Clinton Street bikeway and invite them to its birthday celebration events.
Wednesday, May 6: Walk+bike to school day.
Friday, May 8, 5 p.m.: The monthly Clinton Street Social Ride from the Portland Autonomous Zone at 16th and Woodward.-->
Sunday, May 10: A Mother’s Day Cargo Bike Ride and Picnic. Times and location TBA.
Sunday, May 10, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.: A ride out to East Portland Sunday Parkways. Meets at PAZ, 16th and Woodward.Kari Schlosshauer is one of theorganizers of the Clinton celebration.(Photo courtesy Schlosshauer)
Sunday, May 17, to Thursday, May 21: Bike to Shop Clinton Street, a first-of-its-kind local festival in which Clinton Street businesses will offer discounts to participants who arrive by bike.
Sunday, May 17, 2 p.m.: “Tilikum to Gravel: Creating a World Class Clinton” is a ride from the base of the new Tilikum Crossing bridge to the Division Street Green Line MAX stop at Interstate 205. Ride leader Jessica E. will discuss what’d be needed to create a stress-free all-ages bike route through the city.Expect a lot of this on Clinton Street in May.(Photos J. Maus/BikePortland)
Tuesday, May 19, 7:30 to 9 a.m.: PedalPT and Bike Index will be serving free coffee at 25th and Clinton.
Wednesday, May 20, 7 p.m.: Clinton Street Theater and Bike To Shop will present bike-related classic E.T. at the theater, 26th and Clinton. Free for all ages.
Sunday, May 24, 11 a.m.: A Memorial Day weekend Slow Ride from 12th and Clinton east. “Set your bike to its lowest gear — or better yet, bring a fixie! — and join us as we tour SE Clinton and nearby streets on this super-chill, relax-to-the-max ride. Lollygagging and rubbernecking highly encouraged. I guarantee that even those of you who commute on Clinton daily have never seen the street like this before.”
Friday, May 29, 7 p.m.: A Minis and Heels Ride from Ladd’s Circle, celebrating the fact that spandex and sneakers are not required for biking. “Everyone is welcome on the Minis and Heels Ride as long as you follow the dress code.”
Saturday, May 30, 11 a.m.: A bicycle swap meet and block party at PAZ, 16th and Woodward. “Bikes, tabling, grilling, music, and fun.”
Learn more and stay up to date with this initiative at the Safer Clinton blog.
Got ideas for events of your own? It seems likely that the organizers would be happy to add you to the list. Contact email@example.com.
The post Balloon ride this Friday will kick off a month-long celebration of Clinton Street appeared first on BikePortland.org.
Although income inequality receives plenty of coverage these days, research suggests that neighborhoods of color have less access to resources than white neighborhoods despite similar median incomes.
Sound Transit completed a comprehensive study (see PDF below for full details) in 2014 to forecast Downtown Seattle transit capacity over the next 20 years. The study, entitled Downtown Seattle Transit Capacity White Paper, forecasts a daily transit capacity shortfall of 5,000-8,000 trips in Downtown Seattle by 2035. The findings come at an important time for regional transit, just […]
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What does East Portland need?(Photos by J.Maus/BikePortland)
East Portland residents have a lot of transportation needs. But one of the most comprehensive surveys ever of its residents just found that one rises clearly above the rest.
A mail-in survey of 1,365 households from east of 82nd Avenue, completed last spring as part of the city’s East Portland in Motion plan, went into depth on many transportation issues, but the theme of walking came up again and again.
Here are the most interesting notes we saw in a writeup (PDF) and presentation this month from David Hampsten, an East Portland neighborhood advocate who also sits on the City of Portland’s Bicycle Advisory Committee. Hampsten helped manage and analyze this massive survey, which was distributed online and as an insert to 60,000 households in East Portland’s city-sponsored newsletter.Sidewalk projects are the highest priority, residents say
“What 3 kinds of projects are most needed in your community?” the survey asked. One item was far and away the most popular: sidewalks on busy streets, chosen by almost half of respondents.
A distant second: sidewalks on residential streets. Only then did “paving maintenance” come up, with just over one third of East Portlanders putting that one of the top three priorities for their area.
Close watchers of city politics will recall that the Portland Business Alliance has opposed any city street funding package that doesn’t dedicate the large majority of its revenue to maintenance.
Most East Portlanders didn’t rate bike improvements as top priorities. It’s interesting, though, that East Portlanders were at least three times likelier to rate one or both of these among their top three priorities as they were to use a bicycle as their main transportation.A surprising number of people said they get around mostly by walking
Every year, the city sends a mail survey to a random sample of East Portlanders and asks, among many other things, what mode of transportation they used most over the previous week. For East Portland, only about 2 percent usually choose walking.
But for this survey, which asked “when you go somewhere, what is your main means of travel,” many more respondents — 7 — said they walked. That’s about the same as the number who say that citywide.
Biking, meanwhile, was the primary transportation mode for 4 percent, public transit for 13 percent, and driving for 76 percent. Another 6 percent identified multiple modes as their “main” one.
The result seemed to surprise Hampsten, too.Crosswalks are a problem almost everywhere east of 205
As thoughtful planners will tell you, improving foot transportation is as much or more about crosswalks as about sidewalks. And sadly, it’s maybe easier to identify the East Portland streets that don’t seem to have major crossing problems than the ones that do.
The high performers here are Burnside (which only has two traffic lanes and two bike lanes in most of East Portland, thanks to the Blue Line MAX down the middle) and, perhaps surprisingly, Glisan and Stark east of 122nd Avenue.Several major sidewalks still need improvements
Hampsten said the city has made serious progress in improving sidewalks on major streets in recent years, though many residential streets still go without. But there are a few that many people agree need work.
Though the map above tries to convey maybe too much information, it’s a good visualization of the streets that people were most likely to say need sidewalks: outer Powell, which is actually operated by the Oregon Department of Transportation, and the Market-Mill-Millmain-Main corridor, which is designated to become an important neighborhood greenway but is awaiting city funding.
Halsey east of 122nd, Harold west of 136th and Division west of 148th were also popular picks for streets that need better sidewalks.--> One in four households include someone who gets around by bike
The question was “how many people in your household ride a bike for transportation. Of 1,365 survey takers, there were a total of 558 transportation bikers in 28 percent of the households.
Keep in mind that this question asked about transportation, so (to the extent that people were reading carefully) it doesn’t capture people who ride only for fun and exercise. That’s a number that is typically larger than transportation bikers.The worst concentration of biking hotspots is in Hazelwood
Survey takers were asked to name East Portland’s worst bike connections.
The Halsey-Glisan-Burnside business district just east of I-205 seems to have gotten the most complaints, with a clear string of problems running down outer Division and, to a slightly lesser extent, outer Powell.East Portland has a very long way to go, but it’s making progress
Though it’s hard to argue with the fact that East Portland is in more dire need of transportation investment than any other part of Portland, it’s also hard to deny that East Portlanders have been fairly successful at organizing around those needs and getting results. The very existence of this survey, and of the entire city-funded East Portland in Motion plan, is part of the area’s recent success.
The rest of the city should be helping East Portland solve its problems. But it should also be learning from Hampsten and other advocates who’ve learned how to coordinate their messages and, ultimately, start getting things they need.
The post East Portlanders want one mode of transportation prioritized above all others, survey finds appeared first on BikePortland.org.
A long-debated, newly controversial land deal needed to restore water flows to the Everglades is at risk after the regional water district tasked with Everglades restoration supports a plan by Gov. Rick Scott.
With federal support from the Obama Administration's LadderSTEP program now secured, Indianapolis' $1.2 billion proposal for mass transit upgrades has new momentum.
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Starting bid: $170.
If you dreamed about owning one of the amazing bicycles from the Cyclepedia exhibition when it was at the Portland Art Museum in 2013, now is your chance.
Michael Embacher, the man behind the much-heralded Embacher Collection, has decided to part with his entire collection of 203 rare bicycles at an auction to be held in Vienna next month.
Embacher’s office emailed us with the news this morning along with a personal note from Embacher about why he decided to part ways with the bikes. It seems partly a matter of circumstance (he has lost the attic space the collection has be housed in) and partly philosophical. Here’s a snip from his note:
“Like with every collector one of my fundamental needs is to be near the object I collect. Until two years ago this was possible, as the attic of my former office was my private museum. And so during the last ten years I “visited” my bikes daily and selected one of them to take a ride on. The attic was a part of the collection, which had been started there and put together with this place in mind. Unfortunately, I had to give up this attic space and during the past two years I was unable to find an alternative.-->
Making the decision to separate myself from a unique collection that had been built up with immense passion was a protracted and difficult process. For many years I had hoarded, cared for, documented and exhibited my “slender travel animals” (quote: Gabriele Petricek). Looked at in visual terms bicycles for me are anarchical beings, a kind of synonym for untrammelled freedom.
Therefore the idea of now setting them free again greatly appeals to me.”
I can’t imagine how he can get rid off these beauties. I have a garage full of old bikes and I can’t seem to let any of them go!
The collection will be on view for 10 days prior to the auction on May 19th. I have an invitation to the cocktail preview party on May 12th but I’m unfortunately unable to attend. If anyone would like to go in my place, let me know. My only requirement is that you bring me back a bike.
Subway ridership statistics for 2014 were cause for celebration at the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA), but the city's bus lines are not experiencing the same growth in popularity.
Bike elitism can show up in lots of ways. One way is car-shaming.
Do you own a car? If you don’t own a car, do you use car sharing more than once a month? Do you accept rides from people? Do you use a car to travel around the state? Do you use a vehicle when you move to a new home?
If the answer to more than two of these questions is yes, then according to some people, you don’t qualify for the exclusive car-free bike-only club.
Of course, this isn’t a formal club. But that doesn’t mean people aren’t routinely excluded from it.
We can’t start from a place of making car-users wrong. We have to start from a place of making bicycling welcoming, open and appealing to everyone, whether they use cars or not.
Some people will tell you that using cars is immoral and that people who use cars are failing in their duty to a healthier planet. This judgement renders 99 percent of the people in Portland as immoral and failing. Even if those people are living in East Portland, where the bike infrastructure is abysmal and it is simply dangerous to ride your bike. Even if people have to take their kids to a daycare 20 miles away from their work. Even if they are not physically able to ride a bike, or if they don’t even think of it as an option in our car-oriented city.
There are a million reasons why people choose to drive and all of them are legitimate. Yes, all of them. That’s where we have to start as bike advocates. We can’t start from a place of making car-users wrong. We have to start from a place of making bicycling welcoming, open and appealing to everyone, whether they use cars or not.
I’m a red-blooded bike commuter. I don’t own a car. I get around primarily by bike, with the occasional use of bus and car sharing. I myself have been guilty of bike elitism, lording over family and friends who drive a lot how much more sustainable my lifestyle is, how much fitter I am because I bike and how much money I save.-->
But I hadn’t been on the receiving end of this moral snobbery until I moved to Portland and encountered folks that are way more bikey than me and whose transportation carbon footprint is a fraction of mine. I finally understood that the sustainabler-than-thou attitude is more damaging to the cause than helpful — simply because like any other elitist ideology, it excludes and elevates a certain group over another.
“Shame corrodes the very part of us that believes we are capable of change.”—Brené Brown
“Shame corrodes the very part of us that believes we are capable of change,” says Brené Brown in her book, I Thought It Was Just Me: Women Reclaiming Power and Courage in a Culture of Shame. Shaming other people who use cars is only going to serve to disempower people and ensure that the bicycle movement remains small.
Car shaming excludes those who use cars in their daily lives yet are interested in biking and want to replace some car trips with bike trips. It excludes people who don’t have the wherewithal or interest in bicycling everywhere all the time.
Aren’t these the people we want to welcome to our club, after all?(Photo J. Maus/BikePortland)
I share the belief that automobile use has caused a variety of damage on our planet, ranging from greenhouse gas emissions that are causing climate change to obesity to social isolation. And I love riding my bike and the fact that cycling is a kind of antidote to the damage that cars have done on our planet and humanity over the last seven or eight decades.
But as bicycle advocates, we have to hold ourselves to the ethic that we espouse – the ethic of a better world for all. We aren’t going to achieve this by excluding people from our bicycling community that we judge to be not car-free enough.
The only way forward is inclusivity. This means casting a wider net for invites to bike-fun events, it means hosting more events for beginners who don’t own all of the bells and whistles of cycling, and it means welcoming everyone, even if they drive to an event with their bikes. Inclusivity is going to lead to more people riding bikes, which will lead to more bike infrastructure in places like East Portland, which will lead to fewer car trips for people in the outer reaches of the city, which is good for all of us.
The post Column: Fellow bike lovers, we need to talk about car shaming appeared first on BikePortland.org.
Electric-assist bikes, sometimes called e-bikes, are about to be added to the bikeshare mix in a city that might surprise you: Birmingham, Alabama.
Wisdom from StrongTowns.org.
Here are the bike-related links from around the world that caught our eyes this week:
What wide streets are for: Strong Towns finally answers the question.
Trek recall: A problem involving front disc brakes affects 1 million bikes in the U.S. and Canada made between 2000 and 2015.
Tampa profiling: The Florida city’s mayor has asked the federal government to review his police department’s policy of trying to fight crime by targeting thousands of black residents for minor bike-related infractions.
Hit and run: A Washougal woman who struck and injured a 5-year-old boy on a Big Wheel with her pickup truck tried to hide by crawling into a hole and burying herself with dirt.
Higher fines for the rich: If you get caught speeding in Finland, authorities http://www.nytimes.com/2015/04/26/world/europe/speeding-in-finland-can-cost-a-fortune-if-you-already-have-one.html?emc=eta1&_r=0">base your fine on your income level.
L.A. bike fun: Los Angeles bike activist Don Ward recalls how his city’s Midnight Ridazz events got too popular, then kaleidoscoped into hundreds of urban rides per year.
Mountain biking: “Portland’s least privileged families lack many things, but one thing that tens of thousands of them have, particularly the children, is some kind of fat tire mountain bike,” write three biking leaders in an Oregonian op-ed calling for mountain biking trails that don’t require cars to reach.
Reframing safety: In Philadelphia, Uber distributed a bunch of free bike helmets. Hmm.-->
Speed limits: Washington Gov. Jay Inslee used his first veto of the year to block the state’s top speed limit from rising from 70 mph to 75 mph.
Bike-theft disembowelment: A man who tore open another man’s intestines with a knife during a bike theft received 17 years in prison.
Successful advocacy: Thousands of Scotlanders joined the fourth annual “Pedal on Parliament,” in which they ask for 10 percent of the country’s transport budget to go toward biking and walking, among other measures. Every major political party seems to have sent a delegate to address them — including the transport minister, who promised to further increase bike-walk spending next year.
Apple Watch: Bicycling magazine reviews it from a biker’s perspective. “Hey Siri, how long before the sun sets?”
Chicago woonerf: The city is working on its first fully shared street.
The car ages: “Most city planners now see the era of the car’s urban supremacy as a brief, misguided phase in city culture,” writes the NYT Magazine in a feature about the rights and wrongs of walking in New York.
Cargo bikes: They’re “cropping up not just in the expected West Coast enclaves like Seattle, Portland and the Bay Area, but in cities like New Haven, Tucson and Dallas.”
3-D printed road bike: It’s arrived.
“Cognitive distraction”: Science shows that the problem is talking while driving, not holding an object in your hand while driving.
Protected bike lanes: Minneapolis is circulating a draft plan to build 30 miles of them by 2020, largely by upgrading existing bike lanes.
The post The Monday Roundup: Wide-street safety, Trek’s huge recall and more appeared first on BikePortland.org.
Transportation finance and road usage charging are the themes of the International Bridge, Tunnel and Turnpike Association's annual conference held in Portland from April 26 to 28 in downtown Portland. Oregon's road usage charge begins July 1.
As Chicago's population slowly dwindles, Yonah Freemark argues that the city needs to take advantage of one of its greatest assets: its transit network. Housing for residents of all incomes near transit stops may be the key.