Posted by Jonathan Maus ( Publisher/Editor ) on July 16th, 2008 at 12:22 pm
[Updated 7/16, 2:40pm -7/17, 3:00pm — see below]
A new traffic sign at the northeast corner of SE Water and SE Caruthers offers a stern reminder for those who pass by on two wheels:
“BICYCLISTS MUST FOLLOW STOP SIGNS AND TRAFFIC DIRECTIONS!”
The area (just south of OMSI) is currently the site of two major construction projects — the MLK Viaduct renovation being managed by ODOT and the East Side Big Pipe project managed by the City of Portland.
According to ODOT spokesperson Mike Mason, they had nothing to do with it.
More likely, the sign (which looks sort of homemade) was put up by a private business in the immediate area. There are many industrial businesses on these streets that require large trucks and a closer inspection of the sign shows another warning, “Be Careful. Do not enter truck loading area.”
But as we saw last week, those trucks sometimes have trouble complying with the law themselves (Note: I’ve updated that story with some good news from ODOT).
The entire construction zone is considered an “Enhanced Enforcement Zone” by the Portland Police Bureau’s Traffic Division. They’ve not only made it clear in the past that they are closely watching the area (sometimes a bit too closely?), they’re also paid a special fee by ODOT for the service.
However, despite increased patrols (at least according to whoever posted this sign), some folks are still not complying with the law.
[Update: I just got back from the site. From speaking to construction crews working at the intersection directly adjacent to the sign, I was able to confirm that it was put up by the company working on the Big Pipe Project. Workers with Kiewit-Bilfinger Berger say the sign was put up because they are concerned for safety.
They say people on bikes are constantly blowing through that stop sign even though there is a lot of big-rig truck traffic near it. They also said the Police were out talking with them this morning and that, “they’re trying to figure out what to do about it.”
As I chatted with the KBB employees we watched several people on bikes stream by without even noticing the stop sign (or the one across the street in front of the Portland Spirit parking lot).
Why are so many people on bikes not stopping? Besides just blatantly not obeying the law, part of the problem might be sign overload, check out the photo below for another view of this sign and you’ll see what I mean…]
UPDATE: 7/17 – The sign has been removed by the City of Portland.