Bike News Roundup: America is #1! (at distracted driving)

Delayed due to travel, here’s the late but still great weekly Bike News Roundup!

First up, a recent CDC survey found that Americans are far, far more likely to use a cell phone while driving compared to most of Europe:

Adults aged 18–64 who said they had talked on their cell phone while driving in the past 30 days, by country. Image: CDC, via Streetsblog

Adults aged 18–64 who said they had talked on their cell phone while driving in the past 30 days, by country. Image: CDC, via Streetsblog

Pacific Northwest News:

Halftime show! This is essentially what it’s like to bike down the 2nd Ave bike lane during rush hour:

National & Global News

This is an open thread.

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4 Responses to Bike News Roundup: America is #1! (at distracted driving)

  1. Leif Espelund says:

    I don’t understand why Kirkland is pulling those tracks. If there is room for both a trail and tracks, and as Tom says here “we can easily redesign the trail as part of that project,” than why not do that from the beginning? Tearing up the tracks now makes it that much harder to make a rail line (whether for commuters, freight, or tourism) possible in the future. I just don’t get it.

    • Tom Fucoloro says:

      Someone correct me if I’m wrong, but I believe that even if they were to put in a modern commuter rail line of some kind, they would still tear up the tracks and put down modern ones. If that’s true it’s really a moot point.

      But the bigger issue is that there is no movement whatsoever on getting a rail line built there. We’ve all seen how long it takes to get projects like that moving, funded, designed and built. Are we going to leave it unusable until 2030 (or beyond) just to maybe save a couple bucks (but probably not)? Google is expanding their campus there right now, and I am willing to bet that an attractive commuter trail was a big part of that decision.

      Trails are extremely valuable infrastructure. We can build one now. Let’s do it. When rail goes in, the whole corridor will be redesigned. But we don’t need to wait until then to build a trail that people can use right now.

    • Tom Fucoloro says:

      Oh, as as for there being enough room: The corridor has enough width, but it’s not all smoothly graded like the rail bed. So tearing up the tracks would leave a connected and finished rail bed for the trail (which makes the project a whole lot cheaper).

    • Al Dimond says:

      What Tom said. Any in-place “repair” of the tracks would essentially be a replacement, and any serious rail line would require double-tracking, meaning serious dirt-moving in the area, since there are sections where the current grading is only wide enough for a single track.

      If they end up with double-tracked rail and a trail down there ultimately we’ll end up spending the same amount of money to regrade the corridor whether we tear the tracks up now or not. By tearing them up now we save money (and time!) up-front on the trail we know we’re going to build and then spend it later if we ever decide we want trains there. The only thing removing the tracks precludes is low-volume, short-distance freight movements on those tracks in the short term.

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