Krakow – The First Week

I discussed the trip from Portland to Krakow in the previous blog entry, but here’s a few pictures of the trip itself. The trip started out with some familiar sights.

Yello Line Arriving

Yellow Line Arriving

Riding the Yellow Line to transfer to the Red Line Airport MAX

Riding the Yellow Line to transfer to the Red Line Airport MAX

Red Line MAX to the Airport

Red Line MAX to the Airport

That First Flight

That First Flight

Waiting in Chicago (This is the point where my luggage got lost)

Waiting in Chicago (This is the point where my luggage got lost)

The 747-8 that I flew on out of Chicago. Except this picture is in Frankfurt.

The 747-8 that I flew on out of Chicago. Except this picture is in Frankfurt.

CREWBUS in action!

CREWBUS in action!

Krakow from the air

Krakow from the air

Karkow Airport... well, ok, not much of the airport, but I was at the airport at this point.

Karkow Airport… well, ok, not much of the airport, but I was at the airport at this point.

The View Out of the window of My Flat

The View Out of the window of My Flat

The Flat Itself

The Flat Itself

The Old Local Street that leads from the flat to the primary arterial nearby.

The Old Local Street that leads from the flat to the primary arterial nearby.

Here’s the location on Google Maps.

Here’s the bike route into the city core of Krakow.

miejskie przedsiębiorstwo komunikacyjne s.a. w krakowie

miejskie przedsiębiorstwo komunikacyjne s.a. w krakowie

I’ve primarily used transit because it is extremely efficient here. Frequencies of trams into the city core come about every 1-4 minutes. The transit authority in Krakow is called the Miejskie Przedsiębiorstwo Komunikacyjne s.a. w Krakowie (abbreviated as MPK) which basically stands for public transport in Krakow.

Here are a few more pictures from directly near my flat.

Bike Lanes, nope, full on Cycle Tracks EVERYWHERE

Bike Lanes, nope, full on Cycle Tracks EVERYWHERE

Normal at a crossing, tons of cyclists, pedestrians... autos here and there and nearby trams and buses passing by.

Normal at a crossing, tons of cyclists, pedestrians… autos here and there and nearby trams and buses passing by.

One of the fine buses plying the streets

One of the fine buses plying the streets

Some of the new trams in service

Some of the new trams in service

Cyclists at a tram crossing in one of the dozens of transit centers

Cyclists at a tram crossing in one of the dozens of transit centers

I’ll have a full review of many of my observations now that I’m actually on the 3rd week of being in the city. So keep reading, I’ll likely publish that tomorrow.

Thoughts from Oakland on Portland, To 2015!

This last week has been a whole host of madness. I’ve tried to kick off the new year with some solid riding, which I’ve been partly successful at. I’ve also started my planning around activism and advocacy for cycling and transit in Portland. There are a number of projects, but the top three I’m aiming to put effort into are as follows:

  1. I’m working with others to begin citizen observation and video recording of traffic scofflaws. Those that ignore diverters and other traffic control devices are on watch. Think of this as a neighborhood watch but with the prospect of actually pressing charges utilizing citizen citations. Those that endanger others through their actions are officially on notice.
  2. I’m trying to figure out a way, and would love any assistance, at figuring out how the city can crowd fund and allow citizen activists to actually help maintain infrastructure amenities. All of those downtrodden bus stops, MAX stations, and other areas that seem to be in disregard – I’d like to find a way that myself and others can volunteer to help out with these amenities.
  3. I’m starting efforts to organize and sustain more regular rides, both cycling and transit rides, that will culminate in various activities that might include: bonfires, camping, hacking (coding), hardware hacking (building cool stuff that does cool things), and possibly hardware build outs (like hacking bikes and building rigs of various sorts).

No bets yet, I hope I’m successful at all three, but I’ll be happy if I can knock out #1 and one of the other two.

Other Network Building & Learning Efforts

I’m also intending to actually meet, face-to-face, a number of individuals that I’ve been aiming to meet for years in the Portland area. Hopefully if I don’t accomplish the later two of my goals above, I can help others knock out a few of their goals for the coming year in activism and advocacy.

For now, cheers, happy new year, and all that jazz.

…and a few more, for those that don’t understand biking.

http://btaoregon.org/2012/05/bta-calls-for-safety-changes-at-sw-3rd-and-madison/#comment-17013

Jonathan Maus states it really well,

“Hi. I fully support your request for people to have bicycle licenses and take tests. If we could find the funding and the if we could develop a program that would be able to test people about bicycle laws and best riding practices, that’d be great. That being said, I’d fully support a bicycle licensing program only if it meant that our roads and laws would be significantly upgraded in order to treat bicycle traffic with the same level of infrastructural and institutional respect that we currently offer trucks and other motor vehicles. Also, please keep in mind that the reason we must have a driver’s license to operate a motor vehicle is due in large part because those vehicles can very easily kill, maim and injure innocent bystanders with even the slightest lapse in judgment or operational error. The same simply cannot be said for bicycles.

The vast majority of people who ride bikes in Oregon also have a driver’s license. And I’d be willing to bet that they know the rules of the road more keenly and more accurately than people who don’t bike at all. Why? Because their life depends on it.

To add to his quote. Keep in mind that EVERY day someone is killed by someone else’s inattention at the wheel. For every person killed 2-3 are maimed and permanently debilitated, often damned to disability for the rest of their lives. Almost always these people are innocent until this happens, then they are innocents that are permanently scarred.

Next blog entry, I promise transit + a more positive note. The people I know that have been killed or maimed by inattentive drivers lately has me on a tear. We need to design better roads, keep drivers under control, and stop giving them a “get out of jail” free card at every turn. The double standard with cars and other dangerous things is ridiculous. If people treated cars like guns, we’d have mass banning campaigns nationwide with millions of people marching against them. But instead the population is generally oblivious and care-less about this fact. Not that I’m saying ban either of these things, but we should work toward a safer and better infrastructure system that isn’t so damnably dependent on automobiles.

In the end, it would be better for ALL of us. It would especially have been better for all those dead. The 19 year old girl that was an art student. The 29 year old girl that was merely riding home from work. The expectant mother who was broadsided by an errant driver. The now dismembered young ladies that were waiting for the walk sign to change on the corner. The young brothers riding together, 9 and 13 respectively.

Let it hit home. Pay attention. Remember what you yield when you’re driving. At least try a little harder everyday to pay attention and not become the next killer.

The Cold Harsh Truth of Reality

Notes of reality for those that are avoiding it. Also just a few simple observations I’ve made. I’m not trying to convince anyone this, just making the observation that these are truisms of reality. If you disagree, please feel free to form some argument. I may have to re-word a few to be more accurate or even write additional content on the matter.  Cheers!

  1. Transit is not that much more efficient that automobiles for energy utilization or the environment. Almost no transit is as efficient as a mid-size or smaller car with two people in it.
  2. Automobiles consume about 200 sq feet, remember you aren’t entitled to the space your car consumes. You’re borrowing someone else’s property when you’re parked, traveling or otherwise putting your car somewhere. The only place were you’re entitled that that 200 square feet is your driveway/parkway.
  3. If you see a cyclist riding to work or otherwise maybe slowing you down, realize they’re probably going to make better time to where they are going and you OWE it to them that they’re using vastly less tax money and resources than you are. Matter of fact, considering the income range of most cyclists they’re paying vastly more in taxes than you AND using vastly less. So keep mooching and shut the f@#$ up. Learn the stats and know what you’re yelping about.
  4. If you point a car at someone and try to hit them, that’s the equivalent of pointing a gun at someone. Don’t be surprised if someone takes offense to that and decides to mess you up.
  5. The reality of the matter is, if everyone on Earth lived like Americans we’d either be dead or have gas that would be priced 10x what it is. So be happy we have it as easy as we do, because it WILL get harder – especially for automotive users and automotive dependent people. The sooner we decrease that noose around our necks the better for everybody – including the auto-dependent/users.
  6. If you drive a car you’re probably fat (which I have nothing against). Statistically speaking this is true in the United States, so don’t get high and mighty (this raised entitlement is what I have a problem with) and think you’re better off than those on transit, biking, or walking to work. Because the FACT is, you’re screwing yourself over.
  7. At least HALF of all auto users are NOT paying their fair share of taxes to road usage. Just remember, you’re using something that is just as subsidized – if not more so – than transit or bikeways. So you Libertarians (which want all the subsidies to go away), Republicans (which want to keep subsidizing/socialized auto usage), and Democrats (subsidize everything, including auto usage for some reason…) keep that straight in your heads. Just remember ALL modes in the US are subsidized heavily these days and socialized through public funds.