Portland’s Climate-Denying Freeway Plans and ODOT’s Public Deception

Portland has been a national leader in transportation, and now it is about to become a national failure at a time of crisis. Portland will go backward, when it has the funds, the knowledge, and the wherewithal to move forward.

Portland’s Planning

For a city known for its environmentalism, urban planning, public transportation, public involvement, and progressive politicians, Portland is about to blasphemize the Sunrise Movement, the Albina Vision Plan, Portland Public Schools, and its national environmental reputation. ODOT, in cooperation with “Climate” Governor Kate Brown, Mayor Ted Wheeler, and Metro President Lynn Peterson are about to step aside and watch ODOT jam billions of dollars of freeway-widening projects down our proverbial throats with the claim that it’s good for the climate and has no effect on equity.  ODOT has produced a deceitful Rose Quarter Environmental Assessment (EA) that claims this, and has a new Director willing to propagate this fully-debunked myth.

These projects will result —  as all highway expansions do — in more VMT, more GHG emissions, more deaths, and less walking, biking, and transit use, while worsening social equity; exactly the opposite of what we need in this time of crisis.

Old-School ODOT

Continue reading “Portland’s Climate-Denying Freeway Plans and ODOT’s Public Deception”

The Right-Hand Rule for Passing a Bike

Combined 2

In all my years as a driver, a cyclist, and a transportation planner, I have never seen or heard driving instructions on how to pass a bike, so here are mine. Please comment on them (email at bottom), if you think they could be improved. Also, save, share, and distribute the illustration or the illustration with the full description, if you think it’s helpful.  I am imagining only good can come from this.

Since I was a kid, I have had instructions on how to walk across a street firmly jammed into my head. Look both ways. Don’t run. They include a cute little limerick:

  • Stop, look, and listen,
  • before you cross the street.
  • First you use your eyes and ears,
  • and then you use your feet.

Riding a bicycle is a bit dangerous on its own, even before taking it out in traffic. We have all had bad bike wrecks that did not involve cars, however, most bike deaths involve a motor vehicle. According to the National Center for Health Statistics: of U.S. “preventable” cycling deaths in 2017, 66% (2/3) of them involved motor vehicles.  One study indicated that in 50% of these car-bike crashes, the fault was attributed to the driver. Continue reading “The Right-Hand Rule for Passing a Bike”

Bad Transportation Planning in a Time of Crisis – Bloomington, IN.

“I want you to panic… I want you to act as you would in a crisis. I want you to act as if our house is on fire. Because it is.” Greta Thunberg, Jan 24, 2019

I have been watching the leaders of my hometown of Bloomington, Indiana claim a concern for climate and equity, create GHG inventories, action plans, and transportation plans, and then go on with business-as-usual, or worse, as if just writing the documents was enough. I’m frightened to find that some of the most progressive cities in the U.S. are behaving similarly, like Portland, Eugene, and Los Angeles.

Let’s be honest, our transportation system in the US is an unjust, unsustainable, inequitable system that must change. It is car-centric, it kills 40,000 people annually, it is most cities’ largest GHG producer, it is a massive burden on the poor, and it wrongly prioritizes cars over transit because the ruling class prefers them. Continue reading “Bad Transportation Planning in a Time of Crisis – Bloomington, IN.”

Transportation’s Exclusionary Measure “v/c” (volume/capacity) currently means vehicles/color.

When it became illegal to overtly exclude people of color from purchasing neighborhood homes, the powers-that-be excluded people more subtly using land-use codes and neighborhood covenants like single-family residential zones, minimum lot sizes, and minimum square footage.   In transportation, two extensively-used measures that exclude are v/c (volume/capacity) and LOS (Level-of-Service; derived directly from v/c).

The traffic engineering standard of v/c has been used for decades to describe how well a road can handle its traffic, and to determine when a road needs more lanes. Atlanta StreetAs v (actual traffic volume) approaches c (maximum volume at capacity) and v/c nears the value of 1, the road congests.  The practice is to reduce v/c below a specified maximum value (an “engineering standard”) by increasing the road capacity “c” with added lanes until v/c is below the standard, and will stay below it for the next 20 years. Continue reading “Transportation’s Exclusionary Measure “v/c” (volume/capacity) currently means vehicles/color.”

Midblock Pedestrian Crosswalks – It’s Time for a Sign

It is time.  It is time for pedestrians to have a real, regulatory, and instructive sign of their own at midblock crosswalks that drivers recognize and heed.   A Yield-to-Pedestrians sign.

Midblock crosswalks are often just markings on the pavement, and drivers don’t see them until they are on top of them.

Crosswalk

Of course, there are plenty of drivers that are unaware they are required to yield to pedestrians, and some that are simply uninterested in yielding.  Compliance is abysmal, and that is why pedestrians get hit — and both compliance and injuries get worse with higher-speed roads.  Continue reading “Midblock Pedestrian Crosswalks – It’s Time for a Sign”