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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on August 29, 2009 7:03 PM. The previous post in this blog was Why don't we do it in the road?. The next post in this blog is Fisti-cuffs. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.



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Saturday, August 29, 2009

The mayor's next junket

I can't imagine Mayor Creepy and Fireman Randy will miss out on parading around through this place on the taxpayers' dime. (Sorry about the ad -- report follows.)

It sure makes for a swell story on a sunny day. But it might not be so pretty when it's 36 degrees and raining sideways. And who wants to live in these?

Comments (32)

Those little bike carts are never going to be able to get my new sofa home from Ikea.

Ikea delivers. Or you could buy the lumber and upholstery and make something better than Ikea trash.

Sounds like a great town to me. For one thing, I wouldn't be around the fat, weak lazy ******s of this country who can't make it two blocks to the store without getting in a car.

How does Ikea deliver in a town with no motor vehicles?

Can I have a blue one?

Gil Johnson- When ya moving? One less American self hater is a good thing.

How did the reporter get to Germany? Row boat? Also how big was the bike that got his bags, equipment,cameraman,etc from the airport to this fine town?

God. save us from the well intentioned.

Looks like there are some roads for service and emergency vehicles.

Looks pretty nice to me, even in the rain. The buildings are terrible from the airplane view, but we've got too many gods-eye architects as it is.

I get why people wouldn't want to live in a town like that. What I don't get is why people get so hostile to the idea of a town like that.

Daniel - you wondered why people "get hostile to the idea of a town like that."

Could it be that they have grown wary and weary of fads that have a way of becoming proposed laws - laws that cost lots of government money, money otherwise known as taxes?

Making more energy than they consume??? Puh-leeze. Correct me if I'm wrong, but that sounds like perpetual motion.

Uh-oh, I'm think I'm feeling hostile. So sorry.

People in Portland are hostile because they are concerned that their city is being turned into this without their consent.

The majority of people in the world cannot afford (and do not own) a car.

A century or so ago, the majority of people in America could not afford (and did not own) a car--and somehow, miraculously, managed to survive.

It's weird to just all of civilization--both present and future--by a one century blip.

"Looks pretty nice to me, even in the rain."

I can offer you a lot of villages in sub-Sahara Africa that have even less impact on the environment if you think that is appealing.

Ahhh, yes. Utopia. Great name for a band.


At the risk of inviting an admonition, what does the standard of living a century past have to do with today? 150 or so years ago slavery was cool. So what? Do you think it was "better" then? And about that computer you're using...

Looks like a resort town. What's the median house/dwelling price? Probably pretty high, I don't think the average American could afford to live there.

People in Portland are hostile because they are concerned that their city is being turned into this without their consent.

I think it's more like Portlanders are concerned about the side effects, unintended consequences and costs of trying to turn Portland into a pseudo-car-free nirvana of some sort. I love this city, it's so beautiful, but the cost of living is really high and jobs are far and few between. I've heard it used to not be like this...

I assume that the mortuary/crematory and the butcher and the factories will be intermixed in with all these living units so that everything was nice and convenient and no motorized transportation is needed. And I assume that someone has figured out how the differently-abled will be able get around - motorized wheelchairs ok?

And for all of you fans of this, how many of you actually have spent a good deal of time in small town America? Because, something tells me this would have a lot in common with that. And if you don't know what small town life is like, well, it's not for everyone, that's for sure.

Sounds like a great idea for those who are healthy enough to ride a bike and for those who don't mind riding in the rain, sleet, snow and ice.

BTW I rode for years, but there are limitations and the political people don't seem to understand that not everyone is capable of riding.

At the risk of inviting an admonition, what does the standard of living a century past have to do with today? 150 or so years ago slavery was cool. So what? Do you think it was "better" then?

You're right, PDX Lifer--since at some point in the past there was slavery, we should therefore not consider the historical absence of cars.

There are some good ideas in place there, that perhaps could be adapted to our lifestyles here. But to try and convert everyone in the United States to living in little boxes and riding bikes everywhere overnight seems impractical and way too expensive.

Back in the old days people used horses and bicycles to get around, and typically they never knew what existed outside a 20 mile area around them. I'm happy I didn't live during that time, and this sure feels a lot like it - including getting to other 'cities' meant taking the train.

The 'living' spaces look a lot like warehouses and are certainly apartment/condo type living arraignments. I tried to give that up after I got out of college.

Some folks would find this place a great place to live, ecohuman for example. For me and millions like me, it would be far, far less than ideal; not quite hell, but many aspects feel like it.

I'm happy I didn't live during that time, and this sure feels a lot like it - including getting to other 'cities' meant taking the train.

When the passenger rail network is extensive, the service frequent, the quality standards high, and the price reasonable, trains beat cars. They also beat airplanes for trips less than 600 miles or so. The only problem here is that this doesn't describe our passenger rail system.

[Living in such a place] would be far, far less than ideal; not quite hell, but many aspects feel like it.

So don't. Note that most Germans likewise don't, and their society has many more regulations than ours.

impractical and way too expensive.

That should be the motto of the City of Portland.

There is a great film clip around the web , shot from a streetcar in Barcelona at the beginning of last century. Everyone is dressed beautifly , top hats and spats all around. Folks are biking , strolling , riding horse carriages , and most of all hoping the open streetcar. This has already been done folks , and they did it looking good. No chubby sloppy americans in sweaty 'wife-beater' underwear. Take a sec and Goog it for reference and reflection.

"People in Portland are hostile because they are concerned that their city is being turned into this without their consent."\

Yeah, I definitely get that part. But these things need to be viewed as little science experiments for what might work and what might not in larger urban settings. Even if a bunch of melon balls are telling you that the whole thing is the wave of the future. Especially if they happen to live there.

Doesn't mean we need to pay a bunch of politicians to go out and visit either. I expect they can get the same experience from a long phone conversation and a brochure.

For those that think these images have potential for Portland, then please go build them with your own money (without subsidies). You can keep the profits and accolades, and I will applaud your faith in the market place.

...please go build them with your own money (without subsidies).

Would you be willing to apply the same set of rules to government subsidy of infrastructure to support automobiles?

If the soon-to-be-over car-dominated lifestyle is so superior, why do little experiments like this cause such angst among carheaded people?

As for eliminating subsidies, we can start with the mortgage interest deduction, which was a constant fuel for the real estate bubble and sprawl and which operates as a steady form of wealth transfer from those on the bottom to those on the top. Stop making urban renters subsidize suburban sprawl and you'll see a lot more interest in auto-free and auto-lite communities.

Thanks for that self-righteous input, George. But repeal of the mortgage interest deduction is as unlikely as getting people in the American West out of their cars -- probably more so.

I was just ın Ljubljana and there were so many bıcycles ıt was astoundıng. Old people on bıkes, young people, and everyone ın between, on bıkes. The chıcer the bıker, the more lıkely to be talkıng on theır cell phone at the same tıme. NO helmuts. All the sıdewalks are very wıde wıth BIKELANES panted on the outsıde edge of all the sıdewalks. Curbs sprouted some staınless steel pıllars to protect the bıkers from drunk drıvers.

Then we went up to the Slovenıan Alps and found out that pedestrıans, bıcycles, and cars all shared the road, wıth cars essentıally drıvıng very slowly. Great gas mıleage.

Car drıvers need to travel to see how ıt's done. But our crazy mayor does not need to travel. He needs to resıgn.

The car ıs dead,dead,dead, unless they can fıgure out 0 carbon footprınt cars ın a hurry. And re the comment on 'some people can't', that's what segways are for. Lots of those ın European cıtıes.

Now we,re ın Turkey, and the car sıtuatıon ın the cıtıes ıs pretty terrıfyıng. Saw a fıve year old chıld holdıng a sleepıng two year old chıld slung over her shoulder weavıng ın and out of stopped traffıc beggıng.

George Seldes, I'm sure you're aware that "mortgage interest deduction" subsidies for a home on a 5000 sq. ft. also applies to every condo unit in a high rise. To assert that interest deductions causes urban sprawl is absurd.

But then, about everything is being subsidized in some fashion now. And that is what is making our economic system so out-of-balanced; then requiring another temporary fix to correct whatever some pol or lobbyist thinks needs fixing.


The mortgage interest deduction has been around for several decades, including many up and down cycles in real estate markets. I doubt that it contributed much the real estate bubble, certainly relative to other boneheaded government policies, like manipulating interest rates.

"Experiments" like this one cause apprehension among the car-driving public (read: nearly everyone) because we are the ones who end up paying for them, and hence bearing the risk.

Lastly, if you really think the car-dominated lifesytle is soon to be over, I suggest that you start investing in a fleet of buses, so that you can make a killing once people stop valuing their time and turning to second-class modes of transportation.

John R,

Where does the "government subsidy of infrastructure to support automobiles" come from? Who pays the subsidy? Who benefits?


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