Just Daily Portland Trips

A few weeks ago I took a trip around Portland and snagged some photos. I used a varying arrange of modes; streetcar, light rail, bus, bicycle and my own two feet. This is a pretty standard trip that could easily be told in pictures. Which is what I’ll do now, tell the small part of the day along with a respective picture. For all the pictures go here: http://photos.adron.me/Portland-Action/2014-Rolls-On-Up/Bikes-Buses-Streetcars-Car/

Here’s a shot of the streetcar traveling north up MLK. I always like to sit on the right hand side where the two seats face each other. That way I can easily see out the front of the streetcar as we’re rolling along.

Looking Out the Front of the Streetcar (Click for full size image)

Looking Out the Front of the Streetcar (Click for full size image)

I got off near Lloyd Center and snagged a few shots of the light rail trains coming by going east toward Gresham, Clackamas Town Center and the airport and in the other direction those coming into Portland.

Green Line bound for City Center (Click for full size image)

Green Line bound for City Center (Click for full size image)

As things go I saw a number of cyclists among the streets along with the proverbial onslaught of motorists driving their cars.

Cyclists and Motorists (Click for full size image)

Cyclists and Motorists (Click for full size image)

…and then something I see about 1 out of every 7 or 8 trips. Some dipshit motorists that have run into something. In this case someone obviously ran the light and hit the other motorists. Fortunately it appeared that nobody had gotten hurt but I only imagine, everytime I see this sickening situation, how many people might have been killed. In so many places a small negligent act that results in this outcome could have resulted in innocent people being killed. Everything day no less than 13 people, and sometimes as many as 15-20 people are killed by motorists while they simply walk down the street. Sure, one might say callously, that’s a lot number of 300 million people, but consider that this number is about 20-30x higher than in Europe. It really shows that we can indeed reduce these killings. Don’t even get me started on how many motorists other motorists kill, it’s an even higher number at 95-120 people per day and motorists maim another 400-1000 people per day.

Truly unacceptable.

Black Wrecked Car (Click for full size image)

Black Wrecked Car (Click for full size image)

The White Honda Smashed (Click for full size image)

The White Honda Smashed (Click for full size image)

…and more in the near future. Stay safe, think and happy travels. Cheers!

Keeping Things in Context, “PBOT, Police stepping up enforcement of traffic laws”

Light Rail MAX

Light Rail MAX

From some city stats that get a call out on Bike Portland in ‘PBOT, Police stepping up enforcement of traffic laws” ‘.

  • To date in 2013 there have been 23 fatal traffic crashes in the City of Portland. There were 31 in all of 2012.
  • At this time last year, there had been 17 fatal traffic crashes.
  • Breakdown of 2013 fatalities: 14-motor vehicle; 3-motorcycle; 6-pedestrian; 0-Bicyclists
  • 12 of the 23 fatalities have involved impaired drivers with BAC’s ranging from .15 – .25%
  • Of the 6 pedestrian fatalities, motor vehicle drivers have been at fault in 4 of them
  • There were 4 traffic fatalities in 6 days from July 5 to 11. Two involved speeding and impaired drivers.
  • Driver/pedestrian distraction or inattention: 4 of the 6 pedestrian fatalities could have been avoided if the pedestrian and/or driver were focused on their actions
Streetcar Plying the Streets at Night

Streetcar Plying the Streets at Night

Just think about those stats for a minute. Draw some connections and think about what you’re doing. Riding a bike, driving a car or walking. Remember you need to keep an eye out as a motorist for everything since you wield an instrument of death. The data shows already that drivers have killed 6 pedestrians, technically 4 of them were involuntary manslaughter! 2 were inattention on behalf of the pedestrian, still however, they were killed by drivers.

There has been 17 fatal motorist on motorist crashes. This is a horrible number considering 2012 only had 31 for the entire year and we’re technically driving less than we have in years in the United States. Of those, 3 of them were motorcycle riders being killed, I’ve checked – it was again the standard situation. Motorcyclists, unfortunately have the same issue as cyclists do, except dramatically higher speed which doesn’t help mitigate issues being how poorly trained most US drivers are.

Cyclists killed nobody. I don’t think a soul has been killed by a bus, MAX, streetcar or train so far this year in Portland. So far we’re doing good in that category. The only killers out there, are again just the drivers.

So keep an eye out everybody. Statistically, watch out for the cars. Drivers, watch out for the cars. Pedestrians watch out for the cars. Cyclists… watch out for the cars. Basically, watch out for the cars and we should see a drop in fatalities.

In other news, it’s beerfest time, so I’m going to just on the Trimet #4 and hit up some beer and fun downtown. Cheers, and watch out!

Automobiles Are Great!

This started as a comment, mostly motived from this blog entry “the thing about guns“. This entry however has nothing to do with guns, but one of our other massively glaring problems in society here in the United States. This is the remark that brought this up…

“If roads were collapsing all across the United States, killing dozens of drivers, we would surely see that as a moment to talk about what we could do to keep roads from collapsing….Only with gun violence do we respond to repeated tragedies by saying that mourning is acceptable but discussing how to prevent more tragedies is not.”

Actually the US is really bad at that too. The feds spend 3% of the budget on roads, then another 3% in incurring debt to build roads. Then the other 50% of those road project costs are put on the states. Thus, the feds start huge road projects and then bum them off to those least able to pay for it. These road projects, surprising are only the Interstates.

Now step into the other road situation, all the local roads and highways. Responsibilities of states & cities/counties. That’s usually 5-10% of their budget, which taken in totality, means the country spends far more than 3% on this just from taxes – combine the city, state, and federal budgets and you have a massive amount of money spent to make car usage easier. Why do I bring all this up? Because the Us continues to perpetuate this as a “market driven choice” and it is in fact absolutely not. What does this choice bring us?

  • Dramatically higher incidents of cancer. Which kills dozens of thousands of people every year.
  • Dramatically higher incidents of benzine poisoning. Which also kills thousands and thousands every year.
  • Dramatically higher incidents of poisoning. Which kills dozens of thousands of people every year.
  • Pedestrians are endangered by our general road designs, which some places are fixing, but not many. Add several thousand more dead people. This is often children, elderly, and others while simply playing or slipping slightly into a roadway in a neighborhood or off a sidewalk. Something that should and could be entirely prevented.

That’s just the beginning. The small beginning mentioning just a few issues of our auto-dependency and the fact the US completely ignores it as a MAJOR problem. This little list above is just the things that can be directly correlated and connected to automobile usage, primarily of the combustion driven kind. Maybe some things will decrease when we get more electric vehicles out there such as cancer, benzine and poisoning. One can hope. But let’s not stop there.

Last year over 33k people were killed in cars. The year before that, 36k and the year before that 32k and before that 34k and before that… you get the point. Since the 1920s the deaths have gone up and stayed between 21k-62k per year. Direct, crash related deaths. Per capita they’ve decreased, which is good, but we still exceed 30k per year. Which means over the years, millions have been killed prematurely, a great majority of those people are young people too. More… http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_motor_vehicle_deaths_in_U.S._by_year

That doesn’t include the 5k+ dead pedestrians every year or the 1k killed in unrelated incidents with cars every year that are still directly related to some form or another of crash.

Let’s take on another statistic. I’ve just been talking about the people who now lie dead. The dozens of thousands of dead per year, that sometimes die quickly and sometimes die agonizingly slow deaths. But what about the 3-5x as many people who are now on disability because of an automobile related incident? The now maimed, forever on disability. These people who are missing legs, arms, fingers, or worse. The two ladies waiting at a street corner, entirely innocent who were slammed into by an out of control cabbie. Lost their legs, laid screaming for help on the sidewalk after in traumatic pain and suffering. Because of one negligent fool. Now forever damned to be disabled for no reason. Well over 90k people per year are added to these ranks every year in the United States. Totally billions of dollars in costs to the medical system & taxpayers. A horrible toll for a war let alone merely trying to live one’s life. But alas, this happens and continues, unabated in every part of the United States.

All of these stats point to a massive death count, there are few things that kill more people in the United States than the automobile & it’s use. All of these stats also don’t even reach into the outer affects of auto dependency, our necessity to “stabilize” regions where oil is found. The destruction that happens because of that industry, but I won’t go on about those thousands, hundreds of thousands, or hell – millions of people that are dead because of that. But one can assuredly know they are in large part related to the United States’ obsession with the automobile.

So in the end, that’s a lot of writing I did. Which I do like to write, and research, but the whole point of this is. The United States is notoriously bad at not fixing very obvious problems. Roadways, automobiles and related killings and permanently disabling people are a prime example. Hopefully, one day the United States starts to wake up to this massive problem.

Just wanted to put throw in two cents, and put the gun violence problem into perspective. It’s a very small part of the absolutely massive issue the United States continues to ignore every day. The United States, simply, needs to get more focused on living & working better. Because right now, we’re really falling behind the developed nations of the world in huge ways.

I Can’t Seem to Stay Away From These Topics!?

Road paving in Portland. There are only a few situations when a road should get paved (or the more likely situation of “re-paved”). Here’s the criteria:

  • It can be (re-)paved with appropriate sidewalks on at least one side of the street minimum.
  • It can be (re-)paved with at least basic bicycle lane amenities and if at all possible, buffered bicycle lane and car parking.
  • It can be (re-)paved with appropriate spaced parking from the corners, with corner protection and drainage to clean the water built in.
  • It can be (re-)paved with appropriate parking for cars, based on short term and long term parking striping.
  • It can be (re-)paved with permission from the community immediately surrounding the street. Do not repave a street like 23rd without the communities permission. There is no need for it to be repaved and the roughness of the road encourages safety through slower speed and decreasing “through” traffic from using a neighborhood street unsafely.
  • It can be (re-)paved if there are amenities for crossing safety added so we don’t have more children die. Already, the cost is too high with just one loss of life attributed to inappropriate road build out in the city. How many have to die to make it a priority for safety amenities? It should be zero, but it’s obviously already higher than that.

Right now Portland is rapidly gaining frustration with the Mayor. The Mayor isn’t informing the public why, how or if it should be paving streets. Instead the city office is just forcing ahead the agenda to pave “100 miles of streets” in spite of and in many cases without any of the above. A pot hole is one thing, a dead child is absolutely something else. A pot hole should not rate above human life. A pot hole shouldn’t even rate above a sidewalk. But alas, these days it seems that the city Government’s priority is around filling the pothole, and pushing people back into cars.

Not sure if anybody else has noticed, but if you have half a brain, Portland has stood out and seen growth over the last 30 years because it DID NOT follow these types of policies. How about we straighten back up and get our heads screwed on right? That’s the spirit!

Motor Vehicle Socialism & Subsidies, They Keep Adding Up…

The United States Citizenry, and specifically the Republican Party, seems to have this perspective that roads equate to freedom and car usage increases liberty. But both in the United States are massively subsidized through wealth redistribution, or more commonly known throughout history as socialism and subsidy by the masses.

So why do they so heavily support road, oil, and automobile bail outs and subsidies but stop cold when it comes to anything else?

Well, since I like to really understand the arguments of both sides I really started digging into this more. One blog entry that was interesting was.  In that blog entry the writer, Dom Nozzi linked a report. This report has some really good facts, that most Republicans need to learn and realize they are facts (and don’t worry Republicans, I’ve got the stupid Democrats blog entry coming too). In this report some of the data the writer puts together includes a $28 cent per mile external cost for motor vehicle usage. Remember that’s in addition to the $0.56 per mile cost the Government accepts as a write off (yes, write off for expenses and business expenses – one more subsidy).

He also points out two other facts, that in Canada:

  1. 19.7% of roadway costs are covered with vehicle licensing, tags, etc.
  2. Fuel taxes cover about 34.8% of roadway costs.
So those numbers come from Canada. They have much higher licensing and tag costs. Their fuel taxes are similar to a little less than the United States. So in both cases the costs of roadways get even LESS from these taxes and fees than Canadian Roadways do. Which simply, one can derive, that we subsidize our roads even more from our general Federal, State, and City Budgets.
So I put it simply, to the Republicans and other like minded individuals, stop the socialization of roadways. Make motorists pay 100% of this cost! Of course, we’d have to provide more right of way rights and incorporations for transit, opening up the market for that too. Because if anyone has studied the numbers, one knows that if motorists paid 100% of costs fairly for usage, about 10-20% of motorists wouldn’t be able to afford it anymore.
Especially if we had any decent standards for our roads and automobiles.
If you’re a Republican, chew on that reality for a bit. I’m waiting for the change of attitude so that you don’t sound like hypocrites anymore.  🙂  Cheers!

CRC Idea Replacement

This is one of the better ideas I’ve seen about the CRC / I-5 Bridge & Congestion Problem between Portland, Oregon and Vancouver, Washington. The respective DOTs need to pay attention and stop screwing around with that insanely stupid CRC idea. Most people hate it, and if they like it, they just haven’t thought about the better ideas very much. You’d have to have your head somewhere very uncomfortable to think the CRC – vastly expanded yet no additional throughput Interstate lanes – would actually help Portland or Vancouver.

This idea however, helps vastly more than just the theoretical. This idea helps the railroads, the drivers, the transit users, the river boats, and more.

<iframe src=”http://player.vimeo.com/video/22915646?title=0&amp;byline=0&amp;portrait=0&#8243; width=”400″ height=”300″ frameborder=”0″></iframe><p><a href=”http://vimeo.com/22915646″>A Common Sense Alternative to the CRC</a> from <a href=”http://vimeo.com/user1572838″>Spencer Boomhower</a> on <a href=”http://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>