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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.

Source: http://www.makealeap.org/faq


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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