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Flap over enforcement must lead to solutions

Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on April 12th, 2007 at 10:27 am

A scene from yesterday's enforcement mission in Ladds Circle. Neighbors complained about bicyclists and the Police Bureau responded with motorcycle officers.
Photo: Aaron Tarfman

The recent enforcement mission in Ladds Circle has created a fervor of action and discussion. Twenty-four hours after the incident and comments are still coming in.

Here's a quick recap of what happened:

A Ladds Circle resident (there might have been more than one) sent in a complaint that bicyclists were blowing through stop signs and were creating a safety hazard. After surveying the area, the Portland Police Bureau Traffic Division sent motorcycle cops (witnesses said 6-8 of them) out on an enforcement mission. Judging from accounts left in the comments yesterday the mission lasted all day. People were cited during the morning and evening commutes. I'll share final statistics once I receive them from the PPB.

Cyclists in Ladds Circle.
Photo: Dat Nguyen

The reaction to the enforcement was mixed. Some cyclists were very supportive of the enforcement, while others were outraged that this area was given so many Police resources, in light of what they feel are much more dangerous intersections throughout the city.

Another issue that has been brought to the table is the engineering of the traffic circle. It is currently surrounded by stop signs, and some feel that yield signs would be a more appropriate treatment. One commenter cited compelling PDOT statistics that support changing the stop signs to yields. He wrote:

"In a September of 06 count, 2-4% of cyclists stopped before entering Ladd Circle northbound and 27-39% of auto drivers stopped. For 2000 through 2005 there were 2 reported crashes near the cicle with the closest being a rear end 30 feet from the circle. The solution is installation of YIELD signs - they don’t require a stop and maintain the same liability rules as STOP signs."

The incident also sparked several calls and emails to Mayor Tom Potter's office. One commenter relayed his conversation with Potter's office. The Mayor supports the enforcement and reportedly said,

"...that taffic law breaking was significant enough, especially when combined with citizen complaints, to warrant an enforcement action."

I found the entire situation very timely. Just last week I wrote about the issues surrounding police enforcement of bicycle-related laws and I wondered whether or not it warranted concern and action.

I am frustrated that we continue to go through this each time an enforcement action/sting is carried out. I think the reaction and the circumstances surrounding this situation make it clear that something needs to change. Whether the solution comes from engineering, enforcement, education, or a combination of all of them, something needs to be done.

Whatever happens, the cynical side of me is well-aware that bureaucracy and politics will play a prominent role.

For some in the community, this incident has renewed their interest in pushing Portland to adopt "Idaho-style" legislation that allows bicycles to treat some stops signs as yields (I have covered pro and con sides of this idea). Others are encouraging cyclists to be more active in filing complaints of their own in hopes of seeing a similar police response in other areas.

The BTA plans to discuss bicycle enforcement (and I'm sure this incident will come up) in a meeting with Mayor Potter next week.

As all this develops, let's keep our eyes on the prize, and remember that in order to move bicycling forward in Portland, we need to not only educate the community on our perspective, but we must also must earn their respect.

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Comments
  • Aaron April 12, 2007 at 12:46 pm

    I'll post my photo of the enforcement action here as well.
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/60961560@N00/456823642/
    To note, I saw 2-3 cars approach the same stop sign and make a 'california stop' with little likelihood that the officers were stopping them.
    I have NEVER seen police enforcement of speeding laws on Powell, 39th, Hawthorne, MLK, etc.
    Am I biased?

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  • tonyt April 12, 2007 at 1:08 pm

    I'm with you Aaron, I've never seen such a swarm of cops enforcing ANYTHING against cars.

    As a matter of fact, I've got a problem with speeding cars in my neighborhood and I've called a number of times.

    A cop came out ONCE for fifteen minutes, off peak hours, and then left.

    Perhaps I should call and complain about cyclists.

    Oh, yeah, how 'bout some enforcement of the law requiring cars to yield to peds at intersections. Oh, wait, the cops don't even do that.

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  • Lenny Anderson April 12, 2007 at 1:11 pm

    With all the speeding going on...see today's Portland section in the "O"... how can the Police justify this allocation of resources. A bike rider coasting thru a stop sign has probably never injured, let alone killed, anyone. It harassment, pure and simple.
    That a few residents can call down the cops on bike commuters like this borders on criminal and is hardly what one expects in a "bike friendly" town. Portland should be demonted to "copper"; forget "platinum."
    We had a bike commuter hit and injured on Swan Island a few months ago...not only did he get a broken leg, he got 3 citations from police. The driver got "0"...no injuries, no citations, no nothing.
    The fact is that the laws of physics dictate that foolished bike riding will cost you limb if not life. Why is Portland adding insult to injury?

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  • Wyatt April 12, 2007 at 1:15 pm

    It seems to me that the message that the city is trying to convey is that BIKES are a problem, not cars.

    In 20 years it won't matter anyway, and the streets will belong to bikes and pedestrians. Bye-bye oil.

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  • P Fin April 12, 2007 at 1:33 pm

    Sorry, gotta give this one more go:

    If you want to reduce bicycle/pedestrian incidents/accidents/collisions, you must increase the visibility buffer between the respective paths of aforementioned modes.

    What's in the way? Cars. Cars. Cars.

    "Sorry, I didn't see your lil' doggy behind that Schwinn cruiser"

    I would go so far as to restrict parking altogether in the circle and 2-3 car spots in on each "spoke". But, of course, businesses/residents may have a problem with that and, obviously, we're the ones "breaking the law."

    Note to PPB: Come to Northbound NW 14th & Everett anytime for some hot enforcement "action."

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  • Disco D April 12, 2007 at 1:38 pm

    Wow that picture screams overkill to me much more than any of the comments from yesterday did.

    I guess a picture really can be worth 1000 words sometimes.

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  • Attornatus_Oregonensis April 12, 2007 at 1:56 pm

    "In 20 years it won’t matter anyway, and the streets will belong to bikes and pedestrians. Bye-bye oil."

    It's pretty interesting to me that peak oil has received a tiny fraction of the attention devoted to global climate change. Probably, the average person doesn't know much about this issue, but the long and short of it is that speeding won't be much of an issue in the not-too-distant future because you will not be able to afford enough gasoline to drive every day. I can't wait.

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  • Burr April 12, 2007 at 2:00 pm

    Part of the problem is that these traffic division cops are cops with a grudge, and they have memories like elephants. These are the same officers that used to come out and bust heads, pepper spray and taser cyclists on Critical Mass back in 02-04. The mayor took them off that detail in Feb 05, but they've figured out a new way to harass cyclists, only it's middle class commuters now, instead of 'anarchist' Critical Massers.

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  • Wyatt April 12, 2007 at 2:00 pm

    "It’s pretty interesting to me that peak oil has received a tiny fraction of the attention devoted to global climate change. Probably, the average person doesn’t know much about this issue, but the long and short of it is that speeding won’t be much of an issue in the not-too-distant future because you will not be able to afford enough gasoline to drive every day. I can’t wait."

    Amen to that.

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  • tonyt April 12, 2007 at 2:16 pm

    You know, given that traffic cops deal with cars, peds and bikes, I'd be curious to know what the percentage breakdown is as far as how these cops get to work.

    My pipe dream is that the city require that police commuting reflect the diversity of actual citizen commuting.

    Even if they only had to ride a bike, or take the MAX/bus & walk twice a month, it would be a step in the right direction and I imagine that some of the eyes hiding behind those mirrored glasses might open just a peep.

    And of course I would add, that I'd like to see them ride a bike without POLICE blazing across their backs.

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  • andy April 12, 2007 at 2:25 pm

    Question: of all the people who have taken the time to post on this subject in the last two days, what percentage have also taken the time to contact their state legislator and/or bike advocacy group to actually try and get the laws changed? Clearly, there are a lot of people who are not happy with the status quo.

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  • Sean April 12, 2007 at 2:49 pm

    I've said it before and I'll say it again...if we want to be taken seriously, we need to abide by the rules of the road REGARDLESS OF WHETHER WE AGREE WITH THEM. If you roll a stop sign, you're breaking the law. If you're OK with that, you should be OK with the consequences of your actions, plain and simple.

    To a prior poster, yes, people have been killed by cyclists in Portland. Google is your friend.

    I'm not only a cyclist, I'm a builder, so I'm not coming at you from the "big oil" standpoint, just a realistic one. The same goes for speeding in your auto. You may think it's safe to cruise at 85mph down I5, but the law says it's 55, so don't piss and moan when you get a ticket.

    Here's this again...I've seen over and over again, cyclists blow through stops at a 4-way intersection and nearly hit/get hit by cars and GASP...OTHER CYCLISTS. Don't believe me? Sit at the 4-way on Salmon and 34th next to SES from 5pm to 6pm and tell me how many near misses you see because cyclists didn't stop. It's time for the collective "us" to get over ourselves and be a bigger part of the community that we think we are.

    We're not better than anyone else just because we're riding bikes. The police are doing what they're told to do, so give 'em a break and do what you're supposed to do...obey traffic signals.

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  • Burr April 12, 2007 at 2:52 pm

    totnt - I'd also be interested in a breakout of where these traffic officers live. I'm pretty sure most of them do not live within city limits; they are mostly suburbanites and thus are totally immersed in and supportive of car culture in more ways than one.

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  • Burr April 12, 2007 at 2:53 pm

    tonyt - I'd also be interested in a breakout of where these traffic officers live. I'm pretty sure most of them do not live within city limits; they are mostly suburbanites and thus are totally immersed in and supportive of car culture in more ways than one.

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  • Cecil April 12, 2007 at 3:09 pm

    Speaking of close calls with cyclists who don't stop, and I should have mentioned this in my rant yesterday, more than once I have almost been rear-ended or rammed by other cyclists when I have come to a stop at a stop sign (and signalled my intention to do so, with a hand signal and, if they are so close as to require more warning, verbally) and they have not. This has happened not just at the Ladd's traffic circle but at intersections all over town. Even if those cyclists riding up my rear wheel missed the class on hand signals, they should not have assumed that just because they were intent on blowing the sign, all other cyclists were as well . . .

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  • jim April 12, 2007 at 3:21 pm

    Re: Lenny #3's comment that "A bike rider coasting thru a stop sign has probably never injured, let alone killed, anyone."

    http://www.katu.com/news/5688056.html

    "According to police, Slawta was riding her bike west on northeast Skidmore Street shortly after midnight when she failed to stop at a stop sign at the intersection with northeast 15th Avenue. Her bike then collided with the side of Grover's Ford Ranger pickup."

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  • amanda April 12, 2007 at 3:41 pm

    I would just like to see the punishment fit the crime. $242 seems excessive, plain and simple.

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  • John Boyd April 12, 2007 at 3:53 pm

    Sean, if you're stopping at stop signs then you're in an extreme minority of cyclists and so may wish to reconsider your own self-righteousness and join the "collective us" of your cycling friends. Or are you the one driving 55mph in the left lane too?

    We all encounter civil injustice, some people choose to go with the injustice and abide, others speak to the injustice if only through disobedience.

    John

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  • sam April 12, 2007 at 3:54 pm

    Sean,
    I cross SE 34 and Salmon twice a day. There are no near misses at the intersection ever.

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  • WOBG April 12, 2007 at 4:23 pm

    To John Boyd:

    Peer pressure---great argument. If the "collective us" jumped off a cliff, would you do that too?

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  • Donald April 12, 2007 at 4:32 pm

    A quick reality check...

    From what I remember of my barnstorming days, the bail amount is rarely ever the fine amount. (For some reason Lake Oswego stands out in my memory as the glaring exception)

    As I understand it, $242 is the bail amount. The judge will usually knock half off or more, depending on if you send it in via mail with a polite note of explanation or take the trouble to show up for your hearing.

    And of course, there's the diversion class, too, but, man, life's really short and three hours is a really, really long time.

    It takes a while, but you usually get a check for a partial of the bail amount coming back your way via the greatest postal service civilization has yet to produce. Back in my speed racer phase I liked to think of it as beer money from the man.

    Cheers!

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  • Brian. April 12, 2007 at 4:34 pm

    Blow a stop sign. Get a ticket. That's fine by me. In my opinion, getting punished for 'breaking the law' is not a topic worthy of discussion.

    That said, any city that allocates (or even allows) any significant police resource to focus on enforcing laws specifically on bike riders has it's priorities seriously screwed up. And I will call the mayor's office.

    The only place I frequently see cops on a day to day basis is in the bagel shop on my way to work. I see about 1 or 2 traffic citations beeing issued every month. I see at least 10 to 20 signficant traffic violations every commute.

    Bottom line is these guys are not doing their jobs (with respect to traffic safety). I don't blame the the cops doing the job, so much as the govt. agencies and legal system, and public as a whole.

    The system is broken. The public at large does not care. They just want to find away to get out of paying their fines.

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  • pdxrunner April 12, 2007 at 4:54 pm

    I look forward to the day that the Portland cops pull one person over for blowing throught the red light at 41st and Burnside. Although that day will never come; the cops are too busy busting those "dangerous" cyclists at Ladds circle.

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  • Cecil April 12, 2007 at 5:20 pm

    Donald said: "As I understand it, $242 is the bail amount. The judge will usually knock half off or more, depending on if you send it in via mail with a polite note of explanation or take the trouble to show up for your hearing."

    By statute, the court is not allowed to decrease the fine/bail amount by more than 25%. The legislature apparently decided that too many judges were cutting too many people too much slack and that the reductions were resulting in a loss of funds to the state.

    The only way to get even that 25% reduction is to plead no contest by mail with a REALLY good explanation, or show up for the hearing

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  • Donna April 12, 2007 at 5:26 pm

    You were reading my mind, pdxrunner.

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  • Donald April 12, 2007 at 5:26 pm

    I'll take your word for it, Cecil.

    Good thing I got my last ticket back in the 80s.

    Anyone else think it's odd that when they pull these stings on Westbound 26 traffic, it makes news, but that the local outlets haven't seemed to pick up on this one yet?

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  • Raspy7 April 12, 2007 at 5:39 pm

    Haha. "Peak oil?"

    Welcome to the seventh or so generation that has believed this to be the case.

    Peak oil has been bandied about since just after the mass production of the Model T. And the peak this time was supposed to come originally in 1979. Then '84, then 2000, now its 2015.

    You may wish for it. But it will not come in our lifetimes.
    Cheers.

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  • Artesian April 12, 2007 at 5:44 pm

    I got one of these tix yesterday. Police asked me, 'so you going to stop at that stop sign in the future?' My response, 'no.' He raised his eyebrows at me. I continued, 'if I have to worry about getting a $242 ticket for running a stopsign on a traffic circle, then I'm going to go right down the middle of the right lane on Hawthorne instead... no stop signs.' Point is, by rougly enforcing safe routes, police are encouraging me to take unsafe routes where there is no risk of an expensive ticket. Cars be dumbed. Oh.. and that's the only stop sign I ever blow.

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  • bikieboy April 12, 2007 at 6:57 pm

    Artesian, good response! Made me think what might happen if all the Harrison/Lincoln cyclists moved their routes over to Hawthorne in protest: Critical Mass with a point. Cops might rethink their enforcement strategy toot sweet.

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  • Rider April 12, 2007 at 9:30 pm

    Yeah brilliant. Pick a more dangerous route. Piss off lots of people. Get tickets for obstructing traffic... all so you don't have to stop at one stop sign. Good response!

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  • Burr April 12, 2007 at 10:13 pm

    Hawthorne is perfectly safe for bicyclists, you just have to take the lane, and it's totally legal for cyclists at any speed (ORS 814.430(2)(c)), but inbound westbound downhill is certainly less stressful.

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  • Burr April 12, 2007 at 11:09 pm

    814.430 Improper use of lanes; exceptions; penalty. (1) A person commits the offense of improper use of lanes by a bicycle if the person is operating a bicycle on a roadway at less than the normal speed of traffic using the roadway at that time and place under the existing conditions and the person does not ride as close as practicable to the right curb or edge of the roadway.
    (2) A person is not in violation of the offense under this section if the person is not operating a bicycle as close as practicable to the right curb or edge of the roadway under any of the following circumstances:
    (a) When overtaking and passing another bicycle or vehicle that is proceeding in the same direction.
    (b) When preparing to execute a left turn.
    (c) When reasonably necessary to avoid hazardous conditions including, but not limited to, fixed or moving objects, parked or moving vehicles, bicycles, pedestrians, animals, surface hazards or other conditions that make continued operation along the right curb or edge unsafe or to avoid unsafe operation in a lane on the roadway that is too narrow for a bicycle and vehicle to travel safely side by side. Nothing in this paragraph excuses the operator of a bicycle from the requirements under ORS 811.425 or from the penalties for failure to comply with those requirements.
    (d) When operating within a city as near as practicable to the left curb or edge of a roadway that is designated to allow traffic to move in only one direction along the roadway. A bicycle that is operated under this paragraph is subject to the same requirements and exceptions when operating along the left curb or edge as are applicable when a bicycle is operating along the right curb or edge of the roadway.
    (e) When operating a bicycle alongside not more than one other bicycle as long as the bicycles are both being operated within a single lane and in a manner that does not impede the normal and reasonable movement of traffic.
    (f) When operating on a bicycle lane or bicycle path.
    (3) The offense described in this section, improper use of lanes by a bicycle, is a Class D traffic violation. [1983 c.338 §701; 1985 c.16 §339]

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  • Dropped April 13, 2007 at 7:32 am

    Here's a solution: Don't run red lights and stop signs. Problem solved. Seriously, I'm ashamed to call myself a cyclist with all this whining going on.

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  • Ethan April 13, 2007 at 8:32 am

    Traffic circles are very fluid devices in Europe . . . stop for no reason and you are likely to hear a horn . . . seems we can't even copy European stuff without messing it up.

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  • Vigilante April 13, 2007 at 8:45 am

    The cops wouldn't stick around if so many people weren't blowing stop signs right in front of them.

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  • Brian E. April 13, 2007 at 8:50 am

    If you have no remorse for breaking the law then just consider the fine as an operating expense and get on with your day.

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  • Sean April 13, 2007 at 9:40 am

    Sam, I call BS. First, you can NEVER say there are never ever any near misses unless you're monitoring all the time and you see every interaction. I feel comfortable saying that you're not. Second, I've personally seen dozens of near misses there. My wife teaches at SES and I'm frequently down that way to see her when she's working after school. I ALWAYS see near misses...ALWAYS.

    John Boyd - I didn't say that I stop at all stop signs. I said that we should be accepting of the consequences of our actions...especially when we knowingly break the law. I don't think anyone on this forum isn't aware of the law in this specific case. You can choose to disobey if you want, but suck it up if you get nabbed, that's the way society works. FWIW, I don't think civil disobedience is the best route to get the laws changed if that's your motive. Get involved, go to the planning meetings and most importantly, try to find out and understand the points of view of the folks who actually live in the neighborhoods. The stop signs that you find to be a nuisance might give the local residents peace of mind.

    Also, I'm from the DC area, and I'm definitely not the guy driving 55 in the left lane. But I'm also not going to whine about getting popped on a public forum. Getting a speeding ticket would be a direct result of my willingness to disobey the law, regardless of whether or not I think the law is just.

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  • Sean April 13, 2007 at 10:10 am

    Reread my comment and wanted to clarify. I didn't intend to sound uppity in stating that I'm from the DC area. My point is that if you've spent any time there, you'd realize that daily driving, especially if you travel on 95, 495, 270 or 695 is a totally different beast compared to any driving around here, regardless of time of day. Most people haven't experienced rush hours in large east coast cities and the comparison might be lost. Point being, traffic and driving behavior is comparatively tame here in PDX.

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  • Lenny Anderson April 13, 2007 at 11:27 am

    If Portland Police are going to enforce stop signs on designated bikeways, it will kill them as commuter corridors, putting bikes back on arterial bikelanes and on streets such as Hawthorne. Maybe this is not so bad...more bikes will slow traffic and generally make those arterials friendlier and safer for everyone.
    The bikeway strategy (please do not call them boulevards) is flawed because of too many stop signs, too timid a marking system and poor crossing of arterials. I worked on Tillamook and ride it, but may shift to Broadway/Weidler or Multnomah so I don't break the law a dozen times each way.
    I hope the BTA brings up this issue in discussing enforcement with the mayor.

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  • Artesian April 13, 2007 at 11:40 am

    Lenny... perfect! Couldn't have said it better!

    Rider? I don't obstruct traffic on west-bound Hawthorne but I also don't have a problem with pissing off people in cars... these are my streets too!

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  • rlk April 13, 2007 at 12:00 pm

    Dropped,

    Me too...

    It not only the whining, but the posturing by some that makes me not even want to bother with caring what going on anymore.

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  • pdxcommuter April 13, 2007 at 10:26 pm

    On my bicycle commute home from work my mind focused on the lively blog discussion that I skimmed. I wondered whether the discussion, had, in fact, addressed the major issue: How can Portland achieve multi-modal efficiency in transportation and fast path to platinum status? The fact that we have enforceable traffic safety laws that, in general, provide a safe environment for us to live and travel in is an essential underpinning. To that end I believe that we should treat our police officers with the utmost respect. Perhaps what is missing, however, is an efficient network of safe pedestrian and bicycle routes for people to move around the city. For vehicles we have a substantial network of well-established highways and a matrix of local roads. It appears that a conservative estimate of 98.5 percent of ODOT’s budget of $2.7 billion dollars is allocated to creating and maintaining this vehicle network. The missing link for bicycles is an efficient and connected network of safe bicycle routes, which include safe options that are dependent upon the speed of coincident vehicular traffic. I submit that three different designs are required for bicycle routes due to the different transportation engineering designs required for safety that are based on coincident vehicular traffic speeds. The three design levels that are needed are: 1) bicycle boulevards, 2) bicycle off street alternatives, and 3) dedicated bicycle paths.

    Bicycle boulevards: Streets with low vehicular speeds, such as those proposed for 'bicycle boulevards', substantially reduce the speed of traffic so that cyclists could use streets with low vehicular volumes parallel to major traffic corridors. How will the coincident vehicular traffic be discouraged from using such alternative parallel routes to busy high volume streets? If stop signs are used periodically to discourage and slow vehicular traffic and a cyclist must also go only 2 blocks between stops, then the intent of having high volume efficient bike boulevards as another mode of traffic is lost. There should be a way of solving the traffic engineering challenge of creating an efficient interconnected bicycle network. Such a network should consist of long stretches of inter-connected bicycle boulevards that only allow slow vehicle traffic, yet yield both multiple speed and high volume throughput with a low number of stops for cyclists on their daily commutes. The resulting bicycle boulevard arterial would function just as vehicle arterials offer high volume vehicular and truck traffic. A traffic circle in such a route would need to have posted vehicular speeds of 5-10 mph so that a cyclist starting from a stop sign could reach a somewhat safe travel speed within a traffic circle shared with cars. Posting 10mph signs on the Ladd’s circle would be an immediate and low cost change to a route with obvious high volumes of bicycle traffic (at least 45 within the 1.5 hours of the sting operation).

    Off street alternatives: Most bicycle improvements throughout Portland have provided a painted white line indicating the best location for the bicycles is to ride on the streets. For streets with traffic speeds greater than 25 mph, a painted line is insufficient to protect a cyclist from major harm due to a vehicle. Arterial streets, which have bicycle improvements, shouldn't be considered up to platinum standards until a physical barrier has been created between the traffic and the bicycles and pedestrians. Just as a curb deters pedestrians from being run over by vehicles, what is needed is something far more secure than a painted line to separate a family of cyclists with young children from the dangers of a vehicle. Treatments such as 1/2 raised pavement or doublewide sidewalks would provide such improvements. Shared use pedestrian/bicycle facilities for high volume arterial streets for vehicles would provide more safety and enjoyment for both the cyclist and the pedestrian. For example, creating a green strip between the roadway and the shared space for pedestrians and bicyclists would enhance safety and esthetic enjoyment for both modes on busy arterial roads. The cyclist and the pedestrian have a shared deterrent from colliding as both are generally hurt, so a white line will work better for separating the walker and rider.

    Dedicated bicycle boulevards: The third treatment for pedestrians and cyclist is to create inter-neighborhood alternatives that provide the equivalent of a highway infrastructure for vehicles. The inter-neighborhood (or inter-city) facilities would require physical isolation from the roadway. The East Side Esplanade is a fine example of this option, as large distances can be traveled and enjoyed by people participating in a variety of recreational activities.

    Multimodal use is well supported although at times difficult in this bicycle friendly town. Consider the expensive tickets occasionally offered on the MAX for standing at the wrong location on a crowded train with your bicycle. Should the MAX security offer some flexibility for allowing overflow of bicycles on the max so that multi-modal transport is more efficient for the person commuting to work? Do we need to weld on some new hangers on the ends of the cars to facilitate higher bicycle density on the trains?

    Perhaps if we directed some of our energy towards promoting and funding bike boulevard networks we could solve the larger problem of efficient multi-modal transportation. We would then enable Portlanders to experience the efficiency of movement between destinations, and provide safety for a variety of classes of riders, from bicycle messengers and bike commuters to a family of recreational cyclists. Whether one chose to walk, bicycle, catch a light rail or a train, ride a bus or drive, he or she would consistently find himself or herself in a friendly, safe and efficient space.

    Building this type of infrastructure would require substantial financial support. This support could come from a reallocation of our present investments in cars. Imagine what balance we could accomplish if we could allocate between 3.5 and 10 percent of the current $2.7 billion dollar ODOT budget to bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure improvement. Instead pedestrian and bicycle improvements are forced to work with a meager 1.5% of state mandated funds. These funds are buried in the budget with ‘special programs’ such winter and recreational parking, snowmobile facilities, etc. This year some of the funds vanished by simply changing the accounting by taking the percentage of road between the white line and the edge of the pavement and stating that the costs associated with the unsafe portion of the road left to bicycles is allocated to the bicycle budget. Let’s work together with our fellow pedestrians, law enforcement officers and drivers to create a new and better infrastructure that is funded on par with the car. It’s our city - lets make it safe!

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  • JayS, April 13, 2007 at 11:37 pm

    Sam I agree that there are many near misses at 34th and Salmon. 34th is marked very poorly for being a street boardering a school. Many cars blow through because it only has one stop between hawthorne and Belmont. Many bikes fly through that intersection too usually on Salmon. That equation scares me. Throw in school pick up and drop off and you can witness the worst of it twice a day.

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  • JayS, April 13, 2007 at 11:39 pm

    SORRY, I meant Sean I agree with you about 34th and Salmon. I wish I could edit my posts after they are up sometimes.

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