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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on November 1, 2012 1:48 PM. The previous post in this blog was Reality improved. The next post in this blog is Nolan would dig "urban renewal" hole deeper. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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Thursday, November 1, 2012

The Portland bike dream

This article shows you what the cycling advocates in Portlandia are lusting after. Note the key message that urban cycling is dangerous only because there aren't enough people doing it. And here's what's coming: heavy taxes on cars, systematic parking space removal, and many streets closed to autos altogether.

And here's one bike "improvement" that's already wasting drivers' time -- as reported by a reader:

I drove into work the other day. The traffic lights along Lloyd Blvd. are synchronized to bicycle traffic. This means every light you hit turns red and turns green right when the bicycles catch up. Of course this causes traffic gridlock. The same case is true on N. Interstate. Try driving north from the Rose Garden to Kaiser. Exact same deal. Why are we doing this? Will this insanity ever end? I'm just beside myself.

It's so we can be like Denmark, reader. And you can bet old Char-Lie's going for it lock, stock, and barrel.

Meanwhile, in the central eastside industrial district, some people have no qualms about promoting the wrecking of Portland's economy for hipster pipedreams. In Portland bike entitlement trumps jobs -- proudly so.

Comments (49)

Sounds good to me. Why wouldn't you want to be more like them in this regard? Denmark has a decent economy and they pulled it off.

I for one am hoping we can implement vignette tolls between cities too: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vignette_%28road_tax%29

That way I don't have to pay for major interstate projects myself, as I don't use those roads, and if I did, I'd rather pay tolls and taxes to pay for them as a user. Electronic transponders are a great way to efficiently manage road tolling versus stickers.

I'm surprised there are no complaints in this post about the sync speed of downtown lights. Those are timed for bicycle speed and have been for a while.

"I'm surprised there are no complaints in this post about the sync speed of downtown lights. Those are timed for bicycle speed and have been for a while."

Probably because normal people don’t go downtown anymore.

So, it's the bicycles' fault because this driver can't figure out what speed the lights are timed at and then arrive right when they turn green. That's rich. Talk about entitlement.

And FYI, Lights have been timed that way since at least the early 1990s that I know of.

Seth, no one cares if you ride a bike (or any of the other many many personal details you feel obliged to share here.)

But we do care if you try to force us to adopt your lifestyle though social engineering. Not interested. If I want to live in Denmark, I'll move there.

Like bikers pay attention to lights downtown? I think on means go off means stop. Color doesn't matter.

downtown lights. . . are timed for bicycle speed

Boy, if that doesn't suck. When I bike up SW 13th from Burnside to Montgomery, I almost always miss at least one of the greens.

That way I don't have to pay for major interstate projects myself, as I don't use those roads

Interstate Highways are paid for by the federal fuels tax. So you pay for them to the extent that you use them.

If your sole argument is that your taxes should only go to what you use, then you must accept that there are people that feel the exact same, and that the feds should not take 20% of the federal fuel tax to pay for transit (think: MAX Light Rail and Streetcar expansion projects or block grants to transit agencies), or that I shouldn't have to pay for the "intermodal connectors" in North Portland that I rarely if ever drive on, or highways in eastern Oregon that require massive snow removal budgets...

Or, for that matter, I shouldn't have to pay for bike lanes. Since those are paid for out of the motorists' taxes paid. Think of how much narrower some roads could be by not having to maintain the asphalt and paint and signage for bike lanes...like, in Denmark, where roads typically have no paved shoulder beyond the fog line.

Snards, I recommend a few weeks for you in Denmark for attitude adjustment. No need to go all cranky when someone posts an opinion that isn't exactly the same as yours.

Copenportland.

It should work.

I've often thought we should borrow, steal or co-opt a lot of better ideas from countries doing certain things better (such as schools and prisons). Problem is, America is a car culture. It's a big country, not a small one. The car industry was born here. People looooooooooooove their cars.

I used to love to bicycle, but only recreationally, not for transportation.

I am recalling a huge survey done last summer on COP residents and it seemed the vast majority of people were opposed to the vast majority of plans being implemented top down. This bent toward, and success of, self-named "progressive" ideology in a very authoritarian we-know-bestism fashion is mighty puzzling in a country that supposedly used to like "freedom and (at least representative) democracy" better even than, well, maybe cars.

Right, why time the lights for cyclists when cyclists ignore the lights anyway?

A few times lately I've seen a new variant of Portland bike kamikaze tactics - running a red light even with an car approaching, so that the car has to quickly slow down to avoid hitting the cyclist. Hopefully this isn't going to become popular...

I think the primary issue is that bike advocates HATE cars, while car advocates are neutral on bikes.

People that HATE are willing to take away freedoms and the rights of others.

That pretty much puts the bike crowd into some dark company with even darker results.

Isn't Copenhagen flat as a pancake? Somehow I can't see too many people commuting from downtown over the Sylvan hill by bicycle.

Bike lanes are not paid for out of motorist gas taxes. I didn't advocate for more public transit, just bike infrastructure. It is more cost effective to put dollars in bicycle infrastructure than any other mode of transit as far as getting people out of hydrocarbon solvent burners.

But maybe you want to have stronger storms hit New York and our oceans and fisheries more acidified?

"Denmark imposes a tax of 180 percent on car sales (which is not as bad as it sounds, given the $20-per-hour minimum wage), and gas costs almost $10 per gallon. Every year 2 to 3 percent of parking spaces are removed to gradually wean residents from auto-dependency. In addition to being scarce, parking is expensive—about $5 an hour in the city center.”

From the sounds of things you would have to be quite well off to afford to own and drive a car in Denmark. They pretty much bully the population into bike riding. I seriously doubt that you would see anything like this in the U.S. where the auto and oil industries reign supreme with their army of lobbyists.

Seth: Shoulda hit Post one sentence sooner, pal.

Tim: Yeah, this thread is not at all about drivers hating on cyclers. The drivers just want traffic lights to calibrated for motorized traffic, rather than cyclers or pedestrians. Nothing non-neutral about that, right?

Kevin: In the long run, don't you think it might be better to wean the most carbon-dependent society off of fuel gradually? Or do you prefer a market crash with free market realignment in the global oil markets?

Pmalach - you are wrong.
The lights have also been re timed on N Weidler in favor of bikes.

We can switch to burning coal for our vehicles. Plenty of that in the U.S.

They pretty much bully the population into bike riding.

Indeed, and this is what makes the lives of the downtrodden and oppressed Danes so incredibly wretched.

"We can switch to burning coal for our vehicles. Plenty of that in the U.S."

Ha, ha. We could really, however, switch to compressed natural gas for vehicles, given the enormous amounts of natural gas we are discovering. I'm surprised that isn't happening faster...

Denmark is a nation/state, not a city. That's strike one.

The country is uniformly flat with little elevation. The average height above sea level is 102 feet. The highest natural point is Møllehøj, 561 feet ASL. That's analogy strike two.

Denmark's population is 10 times larger than the City of Portland, is much more highly educated, and 80% of the workforce is unionized. Copenhagen's Metro population is nearly 2 million and their levels of car ownership are less than half that of Portlanders. The 60% to 180% tax/fees on car ownwership may be a factor. Strike 3 (though Portland may catch up soon).

http://www.skm.dk/foreign/english/taxindenmark2008/6649/

The only real thing the Danes have in common with Portland are lots of Creatives and a generous welfare state.

Bike lanes are not paid for out of motorist gas taxes.

Really? Just where is the money coming from? Is there bike tax or food tax that I am unaware of? (I thought PBOT paid for bike lanes and their funding is almost 100% from gas taxes.)

We have been told many times that property taxes do not go toward road/infrastructure expenses, including bike lanes.

Seth: You wrote, "We can switch to burning coal for our vehicles. Plenty of that in the U.S."

Aren't coal-powered cars already taking off? I personally would love a Tesla, but I can only afford a Volt.

Has anyone actually clicked on the "World Happiness Report" the article links to? Puts Portland's Department of Pedantic Power Point Presentations to shame!

I say Portland is the bestest city in the world! There, it's in print. Must be true.

Yes, you too can time the lights, even in a car. The key is not pressing down quite as hard on the accelerator (usually the little thingy near the floor on the right). I would say that method is fool proof, but apparently it's not.

Instead of the slacker freeloading bicyclists expecting taxpayers to subsidize their on the take lifestyle; they need to either open up their wallets and pay for the infrastructure thay want with bicycle license and user fees, or shut up!

I had a brilliant idea for the Bike Dream Experiment: New York City, right now. Its transit is non-functioning; it, too, is flat as pancake. Send in some (millions of) bikes! If bikes can and should work as the major transportation in an urban hub, is that not the perfect urban hub, and is this not the perfect moment, in which to prove it?

Who's calling Bloomberg?

Brilliant, yes?

"Bike lanes are not paid for out of motorist gas taxes."

C'mon everybody knows that what the gas taxes aren't paying for the COP Water Bureau is picking up the tab.

What I find hard to believe is all of these Sustainable, Leed Certified Platinum, Greenier than thou's don't understand the amount of polution increase that is generated by choking vehicle traffic. We run the freeways / bridges etc at reduced capacities to hate on cars and what happens? Slower higher polluting traffic and excess vehicle traffic on side roads and in neighborhoods threatening bicycles and pedestrians.

PDX (and Salem) need a crainialectomy

I keep hearing about behavior modification and I'm getting pretty tired of it. Behavior modification, my eye. The progtards keep going on about how the rest of us will, one way or another, comply with their philosophy.
Unless the City of Portland builds a wall with barbed wire and guard towers to keep people in, all that's going to happen and is happening is demographic engineering. People will, are, and have been leaving, taking with them tax rolls, payrolls, bank accounts, businesses, etc.
In true western expansionist fashion, CoP policies are and have been driving out longterm residents, lifelong residents, and generational residents in order to attract a new demographic, "pioneers" to build the planners' new civilization.
If it was about race or religion, it'd be asking for international comdemnation and intervention.
And the really sick part is, it's really all about money, despite what the new religionists want to believe it is. In the end, they will be just as disposable.

Portland is NOT Copenhagen!

Bike lanes are not paid for out of motorist gas taxes.

So, who pays for bike lanes?

Please show me in the state budget where income taxes pay for bike lanes and the corresponding line item on ODOT's budget where they receive income taxes for bike lanes.

Or property taxes, out of the city/county budgets onto PBOT's budgets.

Guess what? PBOT's director disagrees with you Seth. Income and property taxes do not fund streets in Portland nor state highways, nor Multnomah County roads.

But maybe you want to have stronger storms hit New York and our oceans and fisheries more acidified?

Well, we have bike lanes, and NYC still got hit with a whopper storm...

Uh, it is impossible to synchronize traffic lights "for bikes." Unlike car traffic, which tends to stay at or near the speed limit - or at a consistent lower speed in congested areas like downtown - cyclists ride at all different speeds. Anywhere from 6mph to more than 20mph. Not sure what the "bicycle" setting would be.

Especially on this stretch of Interstate where the long, fast straightaway and steepish climb separates the fit from the unfit.

FYI the lights on Interstate suck for bikes too; whoever said they're timed for them is dead wrong. I actually switched to going up Greely because the poor timing bothered the crap out of me. I don't think they're properly timed for anyone except the Max.

I've always advocated for more user fees on bikes just out of more equity, it gives people a sense of helping out, and to quench some of the negativity about both modes of transportation.

But people who think cars "pay their way" are sadly mistaken:

http://www.subsidyscope.com/transportation/direct-expenditures/highways/funding/analysis/

(In 2007, 50% of highways funding came from user fees).

People like to think their lifestyle isn't subsidized, but from the food we eat to the gas we consume, much of it to some degree has a subsidy attached to it.

Remember, the gas tax has not been increased in years and the Highway Trust Fund has needed injection of billions of dollars to keep going.

But the politicos on both sides will be right there saying we need to decrease the gas tax.

Another strike against Copenhagen,
High Income Taxes, last I knew 80%. Still true, anyone know?

Income tax in Denmark is closer to 50% at the top levels, apparently. On the other hand, there is a VAT base rate of 25%, and high taxes, as noted above, on cars and on gasoline.

Since budgets are fungible people argue gas taxes pay for bike lanes, but if you consider the gas taxes only pay for part of the road building budget and bike lanes are so cheap, in reality, the other taxes really cover bike lanes.

You do not get to say gas taxes cover the entire budget they get thrown into.

At one time money taken from Environmental Services was used to build (cough, cough) bioswales, and, oh, incidentally, let's put some markers on the road and call them bike lanes.

Seth, for all your socialist leanings, what most of us see is infrastructure falling apart in front of us. In my NE Portland neighborhood, there are so many cracks in the streets I fully expect so see giant sinkholes with each new storm passing through. The City spends money on your bikey lanes, but only repairs streets when major failures occur.

Also - we could live like cave people in Portland and emit zero carbon emissions, but it makes no difference - the atmosphere will fill in with all the carbon from China.

Also - we could live like cave people in Portland and emit zero carbon emissions, but it makes no difference - the atmosphere will fill in with all the carbon from China.

And that's why "Sustainable Portland" is such a sham. It's all about selling indulgences to the new religionists, and Wall Street banks under investigation for fraud (BoA), lying politicians, and developers are all too happy to sell whatever those suffering from a guilty conscience want to hear.

And let's not forget India, right there behind China on the pollution scale, or the exploding population of illegals in the US and elsewhere who won't give a crap about sustainability.

Portland is NOT Copenhagen!

Who could compete with a keen, observant mind like that?

Well Allen L, you can get all snarky, but the so called planners at the CoP, as well as some of the ommentsrs, can't seem to recognize the differences between the 2 cities!
How about this? Copenhagen, Denmark is NOT Portland, Oregon !

Now if Allen can just convince the City Planners to stop the Copenhagation of Portland.

I used to solely bike commute through Wisconsin winters, and then Portland's once I moved here three years ago. Now I solely car/moped commute; (Anything that burns diesel/gas, hell if I care- India and China are the issue now on the emissions front anyhow) Mostly due to a change of careers (I am a former bicycle mechanic, now repair heavy equipment).

Last thing I wanna do after working 10+hours is ride my stupid bike home, or have someone tell me that's what I 'need' to do for our 'city'. I was going to buy a home here, however now, I am convinced to continue renting and just being a thorne in our 'planners' side until I can't hold out any longer and move to reality. I really loved this city when I moved here, the past four years have been a continued descent into forcing residents to comply with what the city government feels it needs. Cities shouldn't force residents to live a certain way, especially when we are footing the bill for them to tell us what to do.

Don't even get me started on how the bicycle industry makes a profit off of foreign imported parts, name one factory for components here in the USA that sells mainstream stuff. Nada. It's all a game, and your a meme if you believe the crap that's being laid down and being sold to us as cool by the city.

Chad, you said it all for many of us. Planners had better start listening.

Not concerned about lights' timings, but I am about jobs in the Central Eastside. It must have access for business-related vehicles, trucks, vans, etc. So how 'bout designating it as a "bike-free zone"? It couldn't hurt.

I never thought downtown lights were set for anything other than the speed limit. And at the limit set, any bike can keep up with the traffic. The only exception are the lights on the streets with MAX lines which are unpredictable because the E/W MAX trumps N/S street traffic. I nearly always have to stop at these intersections, even after hitting every other light green.

I'm much more perturbed about people who support bicycles on the sidewalk. Bicycles don't belong on a sidewalk unless they're being walked to a doorway or a bike rack. Or unless the bike in question is a tricycle with a parent nearby to supervise. Bikes are vehicles and that's how the city promotes them - vehicles subject to the same laws that apply to cars.

You can't have it both ways.

Next expensive cyclist-coddling feature: heated bike lanes. Why don't we have these yet? Hunh? Hunh?

http://www.treehugger.com/bikes/winter-cyclists-heated-bike-lanes-would-be-true-bliss.html

They're *years* ahead of us! See, we're just that close to true bliss. Any expense is seemingly a bargain.


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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: 324
At this date last year: 176
Total run 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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