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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on May 11, 2011 11:40 AM. The previous post in this blog was Annoying Catchphrase of the Year. The next post in this blog is Shell game at the PDC?. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.



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Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Portland car-o-phobia goes off deep end

The City of Portland won't let up with the constant sales pitch to not drive. We weren't paying full attention, but was that an anti-car TV ad the city ran on the Channel 8 news last night? The other day we found another full-color glossy brochure in our snail mailbox with more bike-and-walk talk. Including the latest gem: Turn your car engine off if you expect to be stopped for more than 10 seconds. That's right -- 10 seconds!

Can you imagine -- turning the car off and then restarting it at every red light? This is the city bureau that's supposed to help you get from Point A to Point B. Insane. Wait 'til the soccer moms and grandpas are doing it at stop signs.

Oh, and get this -- you'll lose six pounds a year if you ride Tri-Met. Uh huh.

Comments (33)

I find it difficult to believe they want to reduce idling when they have done everything within their power make traffic congestion worse.

In some places this might be good advice, but given the insane amount of engineered stopping and starting required to go anywhere in this city, constantly turning the engine off and back on probably wastes a lot more fuel than idling in the long run.

Engineered traffic congestion is a gift to the oil companies and their stockholders because it wastes precious petrol, not to mention causing unnecessary emissions.

Sounds like more BureauSpeak from PBOT.

The six pounds a year you'll lose will be more than compensated for by the numerous overweight, smoking TriMet drivers, bless their hearts.

Is it really too much to ask that our transportation bureau actually work on, you know, transportation instead of printing cutesy propaganda to hector people with? Seriously, how many potholes could have been filled with the money that was spent on that mailer?

Portland blog-erino goes off the deep end...

Earlier today, a portland blogger received a suggestion to ease pollution with no possible negative outcomes. He subsequently freaks out and moments later in a panic driven stupor, composes a feisty blog post to counter what most citizens of Portland regard as common sense and courtesy and turns it into a crazy farcical canard. He goes on, postulating that a fair minded effort to suggest to Portlandians that they not idle their cars needlessly is in fact, really an effort to have them turn on and off their cars at red lights.
He later goes on to site possible victims such as "soccer moms" and "grandpas".
And finally, he takes on "evil" Trimet and their claim of very modest weight loss while riding as opposed to driving. Wrapping up with an "Uh Hu", he brutally counters scientific studies and common sense once again.
Later, he does some research and "discovers" that walking, riding the bus and bikes do contribute to various amounts of weight loss compared with driving. He then writes a large blogpost apologizing for such an impotent blunder.

I can't wait to be behind losers who cannot get their cars started when the light turns green. Won't the overall slower traffic increase fuel usage/emissions?

Modern cars produce so little in the way of emissions I'd think the energy/money would be better spent elsewhere.

Is that the "full" Monty?


Riding a bus burns approximately the same amount of calories as watching cute pet videos on youtube. The only caloric burn factor involved is actually walking to and from one's destination from the bus stop. How different is that from walking to and from the same destination from a downtown parking space - assuming you can find one?

Six pounds a year? I must be under 100 pounds by now, without even realizing it!

Monty: "what most citizens of Portland regard as common sense and courtesy"

What data are you basing that statement on?

This public service announcement was brought to you by Start Mart of Portland - the go-to shop for repairing worn out starters.

Since I found this on the internet it must be true: "If you're going to be stopped for more than 10 seconds (except in traffic), you'll save fuel and money by turning off the vehicle and then restarting it when you're ready to drive again."

"Every 30 minutes of idling costs you nearly one-tenth of a gallon in wasted fuel - and more than three-tenths of a gallon if your vehicle has an eight-cylinder engine."

That is between one-fifth and three-fifths of a gallon of gas per hour, or at the most about 0.001667 gal every 10 seconds; a lot less than one gallon per hour. One police fleet manager estimated that idling police cars use about a gallon of gas per hour at idle. But they are running on board computers, radios and other electrical equipment at the same time.


I might have it completely backward, but I thought the green thought police in high school warned that starting and turning off the engine releases more toxic gas than leaving the car at idle. If that is the case, there is only one obvious solution according to SamAdumbs and the other wing nuts.

Stopping and restarting an engine requires extra fuel and I expect on a warm engine it to be a fairly standard amount per instance.

Idling a properly functioning modern engine requires a quantity of fuel dependent largely on engine size and length of time idling.

Given this then, if you're waiting for a RR crossing on a country road, you are idling for a long time and it makes sense to perform a kill/start on the engine to cut usage and emissions. (Unless it's 105 outside and you refuse to turn off the A/C for anyone).

On the other hand, if you're stopping every 1/20 mile (avg Portland block size) for a mistimed traffic light or other engineered constriction, you could idle each time, or you could kill/start the engine every time. I would think the difference boils down to how long the total idling interval is compared to the number of kill/restarts.

I'm not sure which method comes out ahead, but more importantly, in either case you are using lots of fuel having to accelerate from a stop each time, in fact probably much more than either idling or kill/starting the engine. The waste winds up being a gift to the big oil companies.

Perhaps it's a devious means to induce premature wear and tear on a vehicle, regardless of type of fuel.

Now that I think about it, I swear there was some recent article with a pie chart showing that according to DEQ monitoring stations, the majority of vehicle air pollution in Portland was in fact from diesel sources like trucks and buses, not modern autmobiles. We're not living in the 1960's (but maybe the '90's where the delusion is still alive).

I wish I could find it and post the link.

Thanks for the interesting link, John.

According to the quote, "Every 30 minutes of idling costs you nearly one-tenth of a gallon in wasted fuel...", which is less than 0.2gal/hr.

The PBOT article says 1gal/hr. I guess it depends on who's preparing the statistics.

For a poster child of hypocrisy, take a look at the contortions involved in the proposed "No Idling" law that is making its way through what we are cursed to call our State Legislature. But in the meantime I think the recommendation, however inconvenient it may seem, is not unsound. And it will give you something to do while you are otherwise wasting your life behind the wheel in traffic.

Hey Sam you readin' dis?
If you want to reduce pollution in the central city area, then route I-5 where 205 is now and secondly open the transportation market to alternatives. One study suggest you can reduce urban auto emissions by 70%. I think that overstates the case. Personally 30% is more realistic.

The bane of our times is legislatures invoking laws with unintended consquences.

A) Ethanol, which even the Europeans have backed away from because it causes more harm to the environment than good, and it starves people to death in poor countries!
B) Mercury filled CF light bulbs. Once the real cost of the hazmat recycling sinks in, simply tossing these puppies into out-of-sight areas will be far too tempting for many.
C) Low flush toilets that work so poorly they require several flushes, negating the savings.

I don't even want to think up any more right now.

Somebody just reminded me of another one...

D) CARB compliant portable gasoline containers. They have so many vaporproof/ leakproof/childproof/userproof interlocks that it's nearly impossible to not spill gasoline when using them.

Another winner for the Designed by Lawmakers Award!

Monty, apparently you've never spent $60 or so on a car battery and $500 or more to replace your car's starter. If you had, you'd have realized that having to stop and start your car 5 or 6 times every time you go to the grocery store has some 'downside'.

Actually some cars do have an automated start-stop feature to save gas now.

However, the big-brother tactics are still inexcusable, so please leave me alone.

Mr. Grumpy,
Here's for you.

One more thing, if they are so worried about cars idling, maybe they could expand I-5 from 2 to 3 lanes down by the Rose Garden.

Heck, if the City is worried about idle time, maybe they could get the stop lights inbound on Sandy Blvd coordinated enough that one doesn't have to stop at each and every one of them! Drove that route yesterday, and stopped at all but one of them.

Before Auntie Vera declared the War On Driving, traffic lights were timed around Portland. There were small signs that said "Signals set to ...mph".

Four years ago, I bought a hybrid car for the very reason the gas motor turns off when idling. Additionally, it runs on the battery under 15 MPH, which is about Portlandia speed. Once ran out of gas and drove 15 MPH for many miles to the gas station. It's not a perfect machine, but the technology is there to reduce auto emissions when idling. Wish all cars could have such a "gear".

The other day we found another full-color glossy brochure in our snail mailbox with more bike-and-walk talk.

We got a multi-folded brochure in our mail from the Portland Bureau of Transportation:
Get Ready for Smart Trips!

Has anyone seen this?

Ten toe Express
and then the Senior Strolls!!

On the list of "Smart Trips" for the Senior Stroll:

August 24th Rose City Cemetery.
Meet outside Rose City Cemetery, 5625 NE Fremont This stroll will take us around the hallowed cemetery grounds and through the nearby neighborhood of early 1900's homes, past the SE Asian Vicariate and Archbishop Howard School.

"Idle time"
That is what most city employees specialize I these days, isn't it?

How about an e-mail campaign to the poster of this garbage telling her what you really think of her "ideas"...

synchronize the freakin' stoplights so we don't have to...

Portland area drivers burn about 30 gallons in excess fuel annually

Traffic jams cost Americans $115 billion in 2009


What a crock of s**t from the city. Their deliberate constrictions and machinations against private transportation is easily captured by a concept of the War on Cars. They hate that people aren't dependent on their routes on their timeframe. Need to pick up your kid from daycare? Cook dinner after working your a*s off all day paying to feed these leeches? Tough. Spend another hour getting home by taking communist transit. Sorry kids, mommy can't spend more time doing homework or taking you to sports practice because she's stuck on a bus and has to walk blocks and blocks in the pouring rain because trimet is cutting routes. Let's not forget about the random acts of violence she's more likely to encounter.

People get it though and it's a fact that public transit is being abandoned to the criminals and is used less and less every year despite receiving more and more money per rider. Portlanders are being taxed out of our homes paying for silly fantasies of politicians. It will end because people only have finite funds before they starve to death. PDX home prices down 30%? Keep twisting the screws!

Mr. Grumpy, from what I remember #2 diesel is clean enough that it isn't causing much of a problem (trucks, pickups, etc). EPA has regulated #2 diesel enough that it burns fairly cleanly. Still more then cars but there isn't really all that many on the road compared to cars either.

The major polluter is #1 off road diesel, which is not regulated nearly as much and run by construction equipment, ships, generators, farm equipment, etc. According to the article I read, that's where most of the polluting diesel comes from.

IF the city was worried about idling vehicles maybe PDOT employees could shut off their trucks when on lunch break


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to be a member of:

In Vino Veritas

Lange, Pinot Gris 2015
Kiona, Lemberger 2014
Willamette Valley, Pinot Gris 2015
Aix, Rosé de Provence 2016
Marchigüe, Cabernet 2013
Inazío Irruzola, Getariako Txakolina Rosé 2015
Maso Canali, Pinot Grigio 2015
Campo Viejo, Rioja Reserva 2011
Kirkland, Côtes de Provence Rosé 2016
Cantele, Salice Salentino Reserva 2013
Whispering Angel, Côtes de Provence Rosé 2013
Avissi, Prosecco
Cleto Charli, Lambrusco di Sorbara Secco, Vecchia Modena
Pique Poul, Rosé 2016
Edmunds St. John, Bone-Jolly Rosé 2016
Stoller, Pinot Noir Rosé 2016
Chehalem, Inox Chardonnay 2015
The Four Graces, Pinot Gris 2015
Gascón, Colosal Red 2013
Cardwell Hill, Pinot Gris 2015
L'Ecole No. 41, Merlot 2013
Della Terra, Anonymus
Willamette Valley, Dijon Clone Chardonnay 2013
Wraith, Cabernet, Eidolon Estate 2012
Januik, Red 2015
Tomassi, Valpolicella, Rafaél, 2014
Sharecropper's Pinot Noir 2013
Helix, Pomatia Red Blend 2013
La Espera, Cabernet 2011
Campo Viejo, Rioja Reserva 2011
Villa Antinori, Toscana 2013
Locations, Spanish Red Wine
Locations, Argentinian Red Wine
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Primarius, Pinot Gris 2015
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Napa Cellars, Cabernet 2013
J. Bookwalter, Protagonist 2012
LAN, Rioja Edicion Limitada 2011
Beaulieu, Cabernet, Rutherford 2009
Denada Cellars, Cabernet, Maipo Valley 2014
Marchigüe, Cabernet, Colchagua Valley 2013
Oberon, Cabernet 2014
Hedges, Red Mountain 2012
Balboa, Rose of Grenache 2015
Ontañón, Rioja Reserva 2015
Three Horse Ranch, Pinot Gris 2014
Archery Summit, Vireton Pinot Gris 2014
Nelms Road, Merlot 2013
Chateau Ste. Michelle, Pinot Gris 2014
Conn Creek, Cabernet, Napa 2012
Conn Creek, Cabernet, Napa 2013
Villa Maria, Sauvignon Blanc 2015
G3, Cabernet 2013
Chateau Smith, Cabernet, Washington State 2014
Abacela, Vintner's Blend #16
Willamette Valley, Rose of Pinot Noir, Whole Clusters 2015
Albero, Bobal Rose 2015
Ca' del Baio Barbaresco Valgrande 2012
Goodfellow, Reserve Pinot Gris, Clover 2014
Lugana, San Benedetto 2014
Wente, Cabernet, Charles Wetmore 2011
La Espera, Cabernet 2011
King Estate, Pinot Gris 2015
Adelsheim, Pinot Gris 2015
Trader Joe's, Pinot Gris, Willamette Valley 2015
La Vite Lucente, Toscana Red 2013
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Beaulieu, Cabernet, Napa Valley 2013
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Abbot's Table, Columbia Valley 2014
Intrinsic, Cabernet 2014
Oyster Bay, Pinot Noir 2010
Occhipinti, SP68 Bianco 2014
Layer Cake, Shiraz 2013
Desert Wind, Ruah 2011
WillaKenzie, Pinot Gris 2014
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Dunham, Trautina 2012
RoxyAnn, Claret 2012
Del Ri, Claret 2012
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The Occasional Book

Phil Stanford - Rose City Vice
Kenneth R. Feinberg - What is Life Worth?
Kent Haruf - Our Souls at Night
Peter Carey - True History of the Kelly Gang
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Philip Roth - The Plot Against America
Norm Macdonald - Based on a True Story
Christopher Buckley - Boomsday
Ryan Holiday - The Obstacle is the Way
Ruth Sepetys - Between Shades of Gray
Richard Adams - Watership Down
Claire Vaye Watkins - Gold Fame Citrus
Markus Zusak - I am the Messenger
Anthony Doerr - All the Light We Cannot See
James Joyce - Dubliners
Cheryl Strayed - Torch
William Golding - Lord of the Flies
Saul Bellow - Mister Sammler's Planet
Phil Stanford - White House Call Girl
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Kent Haruf - Eventide
David Halberstam - Summer of '49
Norman Mailer - The Naked and the Dead
Maria Dermoȗt - The Ten Thousand Things
William Faulkner - As I Lay Dying
Markus Zusak - The Book Thief
Christopher Buckley - Thank You for Smoking
William Shakespeare - Othello
Joseph Conrad - Heart of Darkness
Bill Bryson - A Short History of Nearly Everything
Cheryl Strayed - Tiny Beautiful Things
Sara Varon - Bake Sale
Stephen King - 11/22/63
Paul Goldstein - Errors and Omissions
Mark Twain - A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court
Steve Martin - Born Standing Up: A Comic's Life
Beverly Cleary - A Girl from Yamhill, a Memoir
Kent Haruf - Plainsong
Hope Larson - A Wrinkle in Time, the Graphic Novel
Rudyard Kipling - Kim
Peter Ames Carlin - Bruce
Fran Cannon Slayton - When the Whistle Blows
Neil Young - Waging Heavy Peace
Mark Bego - Aretha Franklin, the Queen of Soul (2012 ed.)
Jenny Lawson - Let's Pretend This Never Happened
J.D. Salinger - Franny and Zooey
Charles Dickens - A Christmas Carol
Timothy Egan - The Big Burn
Deborah Eisenberg - Transactions in a Foreign Currency
Kurt Vonnegut Jr. - Slaughterhouse Five
Kathryn Lance - Pandora's Genes
Cheryl Strayed - Wild
Fyodor Dostoyevsky - The Brothers Karamazov
Jack London - The House of Pride, and Other Tales of Hawaii
Jack Walker - The Extraordinary Rendition of Vincent Dellamaria
Colum McCann - Let the Great World Spin
Niccolò Machiavelli - The Prince
Harper Lee - To Kill a Mockingbird
Emma McLaughlin & Nicola Kraus - The Nanny Diaries
Brian Selznick - The Invention of Hugo Cabret
Sharon Creech - Walk Two Moons
Keith Richards - Life
F. Sionil Jose - Dusk
Natalie Babbitt - Tuck Everlasting
Justin Halpern - S#*t My Dad Says
Mark Herrmann - The Curmudgeon's Guide to Practicing Law
Barry Glassner - The Gospel of Food
Phil Stanford - The Peyton-Allan Files
Jesse Katz - The Opposite Field
Evelyn Waugh - Brideshead Revisited
J.K. Rowling - Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
David Sedaris - Holidays on Ice
Donald Miller - A Million Miles in a Thousand Years
Mitch Albom - Have a Little Faith
C.S. Lewis - The Magician's Nephew
F. Scott Fitzgerald - The Great Gatsby
William Shakespeare - A Midsummer Night's Dream
Ivan Doig - Bucking the Sun
Penda Diakité - I Lost My Tooth in Africa
Grace Lin - The Year of the Rat
Oscar Hijuelos - Mr. Ives' Christmas
Madeline L'Engle - A Wrinkle in Time
Steven Hart - The Last Three Miles
David Sedaris - Me Talk Pretty One Day
Karen Armstrong - The Spiral Staircase
Charles Larson - The Portland Murders
Adrian Wojnarowski - The Miracle of St. Anthony
William H. Colby - Long Goodbye
Steven D. Stark - Meet the Beatles
Phil Stanford - Portland Confidential
Rick Moody - Garden State
Jonathan Schwartz - All in Good Time
David Sedaris - Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim
Anthony Holden - Big Deal
Robert J. Spitzer - The Spirit of Leadership
James McManus - Positively Fifth Street
Jeff Noon - Vurt

Road Work

Miles run year to date: 113
At this date last year: 155
Total run in 2016: 155
In 2015: 271
In 2014: 401
In 2013: 257
In 2012: 129
In 2011: 113
In 2010: 125
In 2009: 67
In 2008: 28
In 2007: 113
In 2006: 100
In 2005: 149
In 2004: 204
In 2003: 269

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