This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on January 25, 2011 8:42 AM. The previous post in this blog was First underdog pool charity winners named. The next post in this blog is To kill a bald eagle. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

E-mail, Feeds, 'n' Stuff

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Busy work

The latest propaganda from the City of Portland: Bike projects are better than fixing potholes because they take more people and use less materials.

Kind of like Tweeting.

Comments (32)

They can correct the imbalance, and more, by assigning an advance crew to make additional potholes for the road crew to fill. Very Keynsian.

Off topic:

Hey!!! The "Portland" phallus on Sam's letterhead is no more!!!

This truly is Portland's most influential blog!

I remember once seeing a fellow on bike in Beijing delivering a couple of crates of supplies to a McDonald's. Just think of the employment opportunities that will be created by substituting multiple bicycle shipments for those horribly inefficient, job-killing trucks. We can compete with the Chinese after all.

Yes, Sam and Randy run run to the press and then go twitter to try to justify your actions.

The broken bike wheel on the masthead has not been worked on. Perhaps it is symbolic of the broken hearts the bicyclists will have when Mayor turns on them for a change and starts charging?

Saw a new bumper sticker for the first time today (no lie):

"Keep Camas Normal"

Value added must be a foreign concept to Portland cityhall. Instead, we get ideas on how to bog our lives in slow moving streetcars and studies on how we can drop our carbon footprint in a world in which China and others build a new coal fired power plant each week.

With all due respect, Jack, I think the point of the study they are highlighting is that bike/ped infrastructure creates more jobs for every dollar spent. I'm not sure if that's a statistic that matters to you, but as we try to claw out of these record high unemployment numbers it may be of value.

Hey!!! The "Portland" phallus on Sam's letterhead is no more!!!

I noticed the same thing! Clearly an admission that the phallic symbol in the design was no accident.

Of course bike projects create more jobs, Woodstockian. You know how many people are necessary to fix a pothole. With a bike project, though, it's a simple matter of reaching up someone's butt and pulling out the right numbers. Well, and hoping that you don't snag the poor bozo's wisdom teeth by reaching too far.

Snards: Saw a new bumper sticker for the first time today (no lie): "Keep Camas Normal"

A neighbor of mine has a bumper sticker that says "Keep Portland Away From Me"

How about jobs cleaning up our dirty city? Tend to block it out, but pretend you a visitor with fresh eyes, it doesn't look good.

There are serious infrastructure needs as well. What would be of value is data on the infrastructure work that would provide jobs. Enough of the bike perks for now and the propaganda promoting them.

Bike projects are better than fixing potholes because they take more people and use less materials.

Auto projects are better than bike projects because the auto industry in Portland (despite the lack of any manufacturers' presence here in Portland) contributes tens of thousands of jobs ranging from gas station attendants, car washes, detailers, and oil change centers, up to mechanics and auto body jobs, car dealerships (new and used), auto parts warehouses, automobile importing and transportation and more.

Auto use also contributes tens of millions of dollars in tax revenue distributed annually to the City of Portland and other governments, and 20% of the federal gas tax is used to build light rail and other transit projects. Infrastructure used for automobiles contributes millions in property tax dollars as well as further benefits in the form of a freight transportation network that sustains hundreds of thousands of jobs and also creates a tourism industry in Oregon that could not survive without - Mount Hood would cease to exist as a tourist destination without automobiles and highways; so would the Oregon Coast.

And...85% of the trips taken in the Portland metro area are done using personal automobiles. Not bikes, or MAX, or TriMet as a whole...but the vast, vast majority of Portlanders continue to rely upon the good ol' reliable private automobile for their transport needs.

From the press release that was mentioned:

The reasons that bike lanes do so well is that they're labor intensive: creating an on-streeet bike lane mostly requires some engineering and a crew to paint the streets, plus a bit of paint. Road building, on the other hand, requires lots of crushed stone, concrete, asphalt, fuel, and a bunch of additional raw materials. Because so much road construction money goes for the materials, the jobs impacts of a road project are a lot smaller.

Apparently they don't want to count the numerous jobs involved in mining the stone, making the concrete, creating the asphalt, or refining the fuel, or making and sevicing the equipement used in fixing the road.

Economics isn't the strong suit of the enviro-whackos.

I can't think of a better way to scare away the E-car industry.

It's a bit abstract, but the government doesn't really create economic activity, because they have to tax the productive economy (or borrow from the future productive economy) to pay for everything they do.

Government is necessary to provide core services we all rely on, but it doesn't grow the economic pie. Only private enterprise does that. That's why the Krugman "borrow to the moon" philosophy is ultimately a dead end. It isn't setting up the economy to be bigger and more robust in the future. The benefit disappears the minute the govt spigot is turned back off.

Grumpy is right: electric vehicles do better on smooth roads.

Between the small diameter/low profile tires and the integrated brake generators, electric vehicles will suffer pothole related damage much more quickly than my SUV's front end.

I watched a Volvo hit a new pothole on Barbur Blvd. doing about 45 MPH last week: he came very close to rolling down the hill to I-5 before he wrestled it back on the road.

Can we sue the city if pothole related accidents cause vehicular damage?

Not really wanting to hijack this thread, but speaking of suits, why is it we rarely (or never?) hear of suits against the city going anywhere? Are they tossed out? Are they "settled" via taxpayer hush money? Maybe I just don't pay attention.

Dirt paths take more people and use less materials

You've got it all wrong! Not fixing streets creates all sorts of work - for the auto repair shops, the chiropractors, tire shops, the laundry to clean the coffee off your new suit . . .

I know that might be heresy but maybe the number of jobs something creates is not or should not be the sole or most important criteria for its usefullness. Saving lives and damage to cars should be at least as important as giving city workers something to do.

I see this "busy work" of making studies in additional ways. First, the studies by government themselves is "busy work"-making jobs. Then, since government is now so heavy into process/hearings/committees/findings, that these studies are executed (without any basis)to allow the determining governmental body the ability to chose the testimony/record that supports their already, backroom agenda.

For example, several years ago a neighborhood association paid for their own traffic study (from out-of-town transportation experts) that was totally contrary to planner's thinking. CoP didn't have a study to refute it in the hearings. So they continued "the record" and had another hearing to introduce their own traffic study. That allowed the Council to pick which study they wanted. This whole affair went to LUBA, but they decided that CoP had the right to pick and choose their studies.

And that's what this study on "job creation" is all about. Sam loves to cite some study to prove his distinguished intelligence and support his position. That's all it takes around here.

If numbers of jobs are the touchstone, maybe the city should be promoting sedan chairs instead of bicycles.

This is actually from the U.S. Department of Transportation Propaganda:


The City is just jumping on the bikewagon.

Very sad account of the process here. How does this shabby process compare with other cities? Makes me wonder how there can be this disdain from the city towards the citizens?

I am investing in paint companies that make green paint for marking the bike areas on the streets.

Reminds me of the story where a construction foreman was shown a project over in China where all the workers were using shovels to move the earth. He commented that a bulldozer would do twice the work in half the time. However, he was told, this way we help with employment. His comment was, 'Well, then why don't you just give them all teaspoons.'

Eco-whack jobs don't have a handle on reality.

These wacky ideas only seem wacky to us because we're not as smart as they are. We're just the dumb sheep and they are our omnibenevalent shepherds. Give thanks next time you receive your water bill.

Luckily, bicycles don't require roads, or road construction, or road infrastructure, or mitigation of stormwater, or a steady supply of aluminum and steel from strip mines in South America and Asia that denude forests, or plastic and rubber from third world countries, or factories and fossil fuels to churn out manmade materials like carbon fiber, or street lighting, control devies and signage (and the infrastructure and electricity to run them), or factories to make the Lycra and polymers needed for shoes, cleats, and clothing--and bicycles don't depend on ocean, land, and air transport to get all of these things (and a neverending supply of replacement and upgrade parts).

I've got a more fundamental problem with claims that bicycling is inherently ecologically superior to "cars". They're bulls*it. Killing off the ecosystem at a different speed does not make something superior--it makes it insidious.

But then again, we live in the Save the Planet Through Slightly Different Purchasing Decisions land.


Twenty-one reusable bags sold as alternatives to disposable plastic or paper bags had dangerous levels of lead, according to new test results provided to USA TODAY.

Goes along with your good points. Those that think they are eco superior, may need to look at the bigger picture. I have gotten "looks" from others in stores because I didn't bring "the leaded green bag."

They're not doing it correctly. If they really wanted to employ more people, they should stop using shovels on these projects and instead give each worker a teaspoon. Imagine how many construction workers would be employed then...

Economics isn't the strong suit of the enviro-whackos.

Apparently, it is also not the strong suit of the Political Economy Research Institute.

Call it what it is:


Clicky Web Analytics