Financially speaking, we know that making our roads auto-only doesn’t pencil out. To make matters worse, the larger the road, the greater the expense in maintenance. For Ross Avenue, we took a 6 lane road and developed a pedestrianized center that allowed entrepreneurs an opportunity to test their business while creating greater economics to the area. Normally, we’d generate no money from this street and actually spend millions to fill in potholes and repave. The wider the street, the more costly the maintenance, which directly affects our property taxes…repaving one mile of a 6 lane road in Dallas costs millions and we have hundreds of miles of these throughout the city. An assumption often made is that our roads are paid for by gas taxes. The reality is that none of our residential and non-highway/interstate roads are covered at all by gas taxes…it’s soley property taxes. …
It’s the hypocrite’s dilemma — how do first world developed countries convince developing countries not to ruin their environments, while continuing to ruin their own? It’s a really interesting question to me, especially when I engage heavy thinkers of environmentalism. Should children in, say, rural China have the same opportunities as I do? If yes, then how, without burning massive fossil fuels?
Idealists are challenged by this notion — solar, buy local, eat more veggies, etc., offer very little if anything by way of full-scale, effective economic development strategies. The occasional, short-term, small-scale project offers hope and educational opportunities, but they’re not remotely making a difference with respect to lowering GHGs. Recall my recent post that nations are burning more fossil fuels faster than ever, despite the dearth of so-called green policies in developed nations. See, IEA: Highest carbon emissions ever recorded.
I understand that this is not an easy pill to swallow. It’s saddens me when I discuss with energized friends (just to take one example) that buying local increases ghgs (one of many studies).
Reality is that fossil fuels will be burned exponentially. A good chunk of the Amazon is going to be chopped down, like it or not. And the result is that developing countries will become richer, faster. Switching to full blown carbon economies are the only proven way to develop nations, improve health, and end poverty at scales that matter.
The hypocrite’s dilemma is coming to the fore. McKibben unwittingly demonstrates this when he asks, How can the U.S. can become energy independent without scraping away boreal forests?
The problem? If you could somehow burn all the oil in Alberta overnight (which, thank God, you can’t) Hansen’s team calculates it would raise the planet’s concentration of CO2 by 200 parts per million — that is, our current 390 parts per million would become almost 600 parts per million, a level not seen since the Miocene Era, about 25 million years ago. But, forgetting the overnight scenario, even just bringing the tar sands steadily online — adding a big new stream of carbon to the atmosphere — would make the already hugely difficult job of phasing out emissions essentially impossible. As Hansen wrote in early June in a letter to fellow scientists, “if the tar sands are thrown into the mix, it is essentially game over.” The game, in this case, being the planet.
The answer is that we’re really not interested in changing our lifestyles.
While not as hostile to cars as the European cities described in the article, since the 1970s Portland, Oregon has put in place a series of transportation and land use policies to reduce the dominance of the automobile. In the downtown area, small blocks, one-way and single-lane traffic, expensive parking, bike lanes, and frequent transit service all make driving a less desirable option than bicycling, walking or taking mass transit. The Portland-Milwaukie Light Rail Bridge, just starting construction over the Willamette River, connecting Portland State University and the Oregon Health and Science University with the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry, will carry buses, light rail, streetcars, bicycles and pedestrians—but no cars.
In contrast to the way the article describes European cities, these transportation innovations are not solely the work of politicians or bureaucrats. They reflect the desires of a sizable fraction of the tax payers, voters, commuters and shoppers of Metro Portland. The same is no doubt true in Copenhagen and Berlin. There is a reinforcing mechanism that preferentially draws people to a region who accept its emerging value system. Without a receptive audience, mayors and city councils cannot significantly shift the transportation networks of their regions toward more sustainable options. What’s really needed is better public education to help residents understand the social, environmental and economic benefits that come from creating a less carbon-intensive urban future.
AZ refugee / Portland, OR /4:25 am, June 27th, 2011
I can’t wait to be in Portland again! and I was right—it’s like being in a European city, but in America!
10 weeks of hard studying (summer sessions one and two) and I’ll be back!
(I am addicted to green, livable cities with friendly, liberal climates.)
We will have to wait and see what the investigation comes up with in this case, but meanwhile, I do have a beef though with cyclists these days, not all of them because some still follow the rules of the road, but with the majority (at least in San Diego) who do not. I fully expect that sooner or later I will end up getting one or more with my car, as they really try hard to make that happen.
I always do my best to drive safely, especially around cyclists, but many seem bound and determined to commit suicide by their actions around motor vehicles. I can tell you honestly that if one or more of these rouge cyclists causes me to get into an accident, I will not only sue the crap out of him/her, or his/her estate, but also make darn sure they are charged with reckless driving, even if I have to press the charges myself.
Failing to stop for stop signs and traffic lights (they just blow through them).
Riding in a pack that takes up the entire traffic lane and refusing to ride single file when motor vehicle traffic is trying to get through.
Moving up along the right side of my car (in the blind zone) when I have my right blinker on and am attempting to turn. In this case they were well behind me but I had to slow or stop before making the turn.
Riding at night without the required equipment: A front lamp emitting a white light visible from a distance of 300 feet, a rear red reflector visible from a distance of 500 feet and a white or yellow reflector on each pedal or on the bicyclist’s shoes or ankles visible from a distance of 200 feet.
For making me have to take drastic measures to avoid hitting them and causing me a lot of distress because of it.
Thank you to all the cyclists who do obey the law and make driving and riding safe for all of us.
While I don’t condone anyone disregarding any of the rules of the road, I feel the need to point out a few things.
Most of the time that I see bicyclists running lights or stop signs, I see them make sure that it’s clear and safe to do so. That doesn’t make it OK. However, it also doesn’t cause collisions. I work downtown and I can look out the window and watch as car after car after car rolls the stop signs outside. I see no more respect for the law from motorists than I do from bicyclists.
How is it that you’re going to accidentally run into a pack of bicyclists? Can you not see them? Furthermore, if the lane is too narrow for a car and a bicycle to safely share (under 14’ wide) then under CVC 21202(a)(3) it is a substandard width lane and bicyclists do not have to keep far right within the lane. Even a single cyclist can and for safety reasons should control the lane by riding in the middle. Drivers don’t hit bicyclists in the middle of the lane for the same reason that they don’t hit buses. They can see the bicyclist in the middle of the lane and they can easily tell that they cannot pass within the lane and so they change lanes. When a bicyclist keeps far right in a narrow lane, they are at significant risk of being side swiped by a driver who misjudges the distance. If there is more than one lane in the given direction, drivers are also required to drive entirely within one lane by CVC 21658. Motorists are always required to maintain a safe distance when passing bicyclists by CVC 21750.
California does not have a law requiring bicyclists to ride single file. Of course, when you said single file, you meant to say keep to the far right. The keep right rule for bicycles is CVC 21202, though 21202 has many commonly occurring exceptions. In fact, on roads that have no bike lane, substandard width lanes are the rule rather than the exception. The bike lane rule is 21208; though it also has many exceptions. BTW, bike lanes have bike lane symbols in them. A white line does not by itself make a bike lane. A shoulder is not a bike lane.
If this is on a multi-lane road, then why can’t you just move into the next lane? If this is a single lane each way road, then you’ll just have to wait for a safe place to pass or a safe turnout which they should use. They are required to use a safe turnout by CVC 21656 if five or more vehicles are backed up behind them on a single lane each way road just like any other slow vehicle would be. If there is no safe turnout, then you’ll just have to wait. If there are less than five vehicles backed up then they still don’t legally have to turn out; though it’s basic courtesy to do so.
Under CVC 22100 you are required move as close as practicable to the right edge of the roadway before making a right turn. How can they pass you on the right if you are doing that? If there is a bike lane present, then under CVC 21717 you are required to merge into the bike lane before making your right turn, though you are prohibited from doing this more than 200 feet before your turn by CVC 21209. You also have to merge into the bike lane safely, including signaling and yielding to traffic in the lane as as required by CVC 22107. Yes, they shouldn’t pass you on the right if you have your right turn signal on but the fact is that if you are obeying the law, then they won’t be able to pass you on the right without leaving the road way. Properly trained bicyclists will pass you on the left when you signal and move over. Don’t forget that CVC 22108 requires you to signal at least 100 feet before you move over.
You shouldn’t have to take drastic measures to avoid hitting a bicyclist. I’ve driven over half a million miles since 1979 and I have never once had to take drastic measures to avoid hitting a bicyclist. Maybe it’s your driving that’s the problem?
Wow! Excellent reply. I am sick and tired of hearing from motorists who disobey traffic laws and are also totally ignorant of traffic laws complain about cyclists. I have lived in San Diego for 43 years and San Diego drivers have always been antagonistic towards cyclists. Cyclist do not pollute, do not wear out the road anywhere near as fast as motorists do and they help relieve congestion. For this automobile drivers hate cyclists and try to kill them????
Unfortunately, driver’s education and testing standards in this country are way too low. Too many drivers either don’t know this stuff or disregard it as unimportant. All of it is supposed to be taught in driver’s education (it was when I took it). I’m not sure if it’s not taught anymore or if people are just bad students or if they forget it after they pass their driver’s test.
People who have a problem with bicyclists consistently show that they don’t really know the rules of the road or the principles of driving safety. They never, and I really mean never, know the principles of bicycle safety. Ignorance is the real enemy.
Courteous Mass/Critical Manners has a point of view: “This is a bicycle protest to show San Diego that bikes can share the roads and have the same right to be on the road. This is NOT Critical Mass, this is NOT a race, we will ride in a group and stay together by communicating with each other. Be ready to signal when you turn, stop at red lights to regroup and be polite. If we do stop traffic please wave in gratitude that they are being patient, if close enough say “Thank You” Let’s show SD that there are bikes out there that want respect and can dish it out. SD prove me right and let’s see if we can out number Critical Mass by killing cars with kindness.”
Pedestrians and trams are given priority treatment in Zurich. Tram operators can turn traffic lights in their favor as they approach, forcing cars to halt.
Mr. Fellmann calculated that a person using a car took up 115 cubic meters (roughly 4,000 cubic feet) of urban space in Zurich while a pedestrian took three. “So it’s not really fair to everyone else if you take the car,” he said.
“We would never synchronize green lights for cars with our philosophy,” said Pio Marzolini, a city official. “When I’m in other cities, I feel like I’m always waiting to cross a street. I can’t get used to the idea that I am worth less than a car.”
^ What I miss most about Europe. fuck this 3-second greenlight (and 3-minute greenlight—red for me—for the cars on the arterial road) at the ends of my street-block and drivers who are angry that I’m on a bike right next to their car.
was skateboarding on my first morning on Portland (a couple Thursdays ago), fell and broke my left wrist.
just doing less type-heavy things right now such as sorting out and uploading my PDX photos.
portland recap post
back to urban planning / environmental issues posting
for now, you get a couple lovely pictures of me. :T
09. and 10.06.11
Portland was a blast. (despite unfortunate injury that rendered me unable to ride a bike, but lucky that it wasn’t a more serious injury. but also unfortunate that it wasn’t an injury incurred by a car hitting me.) and a beautiful fresh green break from auto-crowded concrete socal.
This often-drizzly city may be the most skateboard-friendly town in America.
In Portland, skateboarding has been woven into parks and streets in the same manner as cycling or soccer. Skateboarding is illegal in downtowns across the country. Portland’s downtown is marked with “skate routes” featuring signs with a skateboarding stick figure. In most cities, skaters consider it a big victory when a skatepark is built. Portland is building a network of 19 skateparks scattered throughout the city. Skaters even have one of their own in City Hall: Tom Miller, chief of staff to Portland Mayor Sam Adams, rode into politics through skateboard advocacy and has continued pushing for skateparks from the inside.
f—in’ a, man. I’m still such a n00b and can’t do any tricks. (I only skate to get around faster.) Thus I will not be able to properly enjoy any of these skateparks.
But I think I’ll bring my skateboard to Portland anyway. in case I can’t find a bike to borrow. and because I don’t really feel like dishing out $20 to borrow a one for half a day (student income sdfsdf!!). and because walking is so inefficient and slow. (every time I’m walking on a flat sidewalk, I’m like ‘I could be there [end of the block] already!’)
Leaving tomorrow afternoon for the beautiful city in the Pacific Northwest. Gonna be there for a week. (and yeah, I just finished finals today.) Will be riding and snapping photos of their streetcar system and TriMet (omg a legit transportation system! It’ll be like visiting a European city! But in America! Anomaly, anyone?) Will be couchsurfing and getting lots of noms at foodcarts.
See ya’ll later.
Tom Miller, a skateboard advocate and the mayor’s chief of staff, in Portland.
Edward Burtynsky’s oil exhibition celebrates a decade of work chronicling the production, distribution, and multiple uses of this valuable energy source and much debated topic. Displaying sights of enormous refineries, aerial views of oil fields, and landscapes of motor production, the photographs present a dramatic view of the various facets of oil. The Canadian photographerhas travelled extensively across the globe collecting these sensitizing and beautiful observations.
The High Line, designed by James Corner, will be extended from 20th St. to 30th.
At 26th Street, there will be an overlook onto 10th Avenue. The rectangle steel frame was designed to echo the billboards that once lined the railroad. When viewed from the street, the structure, called “The Viewing Spur,” will frame park visitors, creating something of a living advertisement for the High Line.
The High Line, which opened its first section two years ago, has fast become a world-famous park and saw more than 2 million visitors last year. The design, which Corner created in collaboration with architecture firm Diller Scofidio & Renfro, exemplifies urban reuse by turning an abandoned elevated freight train track into a gorgeous green public park. The park maintains a post-industrial artifact while giving us unique perspective on our surrounding urban landscape.
“We like to think of it as a place where people revel in doing nothing, which is an anomaly for New Yorkers,” Elizabeth Diller told the New York Times. “It has an unscripted, unintended, unprogrammed timelessness. You just get lost in there.”