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93-year old woman killed while walking across SE 39th near Powell - UPDATED

Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on February 25th, 2010 at 8:41 am

Location of collision.

The Portland Police Bureau are investigating a collision that claimed the life of a woman last night as she tried to walk across SE 39th near Powell Blvd at around 6:20 p.m. last night. The woman was struck by someone operating a motor vehicle.

Not many other details have been released yet, but according to witnesses on the scene, the woman was not in a crosswalk or at an intersection when she was hit.

The PPB reports that the motor vehicle operator remained at the scene and cooperated with the investigation. Initial reports are that the driver was not impaired. Identity of the deceased woman has not yet been made available.

UPDATE, 10:47am:

The PPB have identified the woman as 93-year-old Mary Waseko Kasubuschi. Ms. Kasubuschi was a resident of Portland. They have also announced that the motor vehicle operator will not be cited at this time.


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  • Aaron February 25, 2010 at 9:14 am

    This intersection is horrible. But so is any intersection where two 4-lane roads intersect. This location has no reasonable crossings for 1/4 mile in any direction and there are lots of services that pedestrians depend upon. It's very poorly designed

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  • are February 25, 2010 at 9:25 am

    if you want to see something horrible, look at the comments posted to the oregonlive coverage of this story. i have asked them twice to shut down comments and delete the stuff that is posted there. would urge others to do so as well.

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  • Anonymous February 25, 2010 at 9:26 am

    I agree that the intersection is complex, but she was not hit at the intersection. The intersection does have crosswalks.
    My condolences to her family and friends and to the driver.

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  • deek February 25, 2010 at 10:27 am

    This is a horrid intersection for pedestrians. I walk across it at least once a day and every time, without fail, at least one car in the turn lane runs a red light well after pedestrians have started through the crosswalk. I hate red-light cameras, but without a doubt, this intersection needs them.

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  • thatguy February 25, 2010 at 10:47 am

    Sad news.
    What does this story have to do with bicycling?

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    • Jonathan Maus (Editor-in-Chief) February 25, 2010 at 11:08 am

      RE: Why is this story on BikePortland?

      That's a good question and I don't have the answer completely figured out yet. I realize some people come here and expect only to read about biking. I have always tried to fulfill that expectation and I am very tentative about expanding coverage into non-biking news.

      Serious crashes like this are bike-related in the sense that both people who ride and people who walk share some of the same vulnerabilities -- both physically and in the sense of how their treatement in the legal, political, and traffic engineering realms.

      Also, because advocacy and PBOT staff around biking and walking are often closely intertwined, I have access to information about walking issues that other media outlets don't normally cover at all. So, I feel like I want to share that information (for example, a new Rapid Flash Beacon is going to be installed at Foster/80th area where two women were killed recently).

      Just FYI, I am not planning on covering walking issues more in the future. This was just one story and I decided to publish it. I'll continue to weigh these factors in the future and I appreciate the feedback.

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  • matt picio February 25, 2010 at 10:49 am

    This is a terrible thing. The section north of the intersection between Powell and Clinton is the blind side of a fairly steep hill (for SB traffic) - I'm interested to hear if the motorist was SB, and if the driver was speeding (it's common in that stretch). Cars traveling in both directions tend to drive 5-10 over the posted limit.

    Anon (#3) - all intersections have crosswalks. If she was at an intersection, whether at Tibbets, Brooklyn, or at Powell, she was in a crosswalk. It sounds from Jonathan's report that this happened mid-block.

    It's a terrible tragedy, regardless of legal fault, and I hope the all those affected can find comfort and solace in their pain.

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  • matt picio February 25, 2010 at 10:51 am

    Should say "comfort and solace from their pain" (need an edit button) :-/

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  • ecohuman.com February 25, 2010 at 11:26 am

    Are you for whatever solutions are the best, Jonathan, or for bicycles above all else?

    Here's a modest "green" proposal: make pedestrians the top of the local transport priority list, not bicycles, cars, or motorcycles.

    Imagine: pedestrian access being more important than bicycle access. No bicycles or motorized vehicles on sidewalks, walking trails, or crosswalks.

    Imagine: Spending over half a billion dollars on pedestrian access improvements in the city. More than sidewalks and street crossings; real spaces for pedestrians to roam, sit, look and transport goods.

    Imagine: Spaces dedicated solely to people who want to walk.

    Imagine: Mayor Twitter standing up and proclaiming a "2030 Pedestrian Plan" that will spend over half a billion dollars over 20 years to make Portland the most walkable city in the nation.

    Imagine the Bicycle Transportation Alliance supporting it.

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    • Jonathan Maus (Editor-in-Chief) February 25, 2010 at 2:53 pm

      ecohuman,

      "best" is a very subjective term.

      I'm all for doing as much as we can do to make walking easier for more people.

      Biking and walking have very different places in the transportation mix. I think bikes are the "best" choice because of their mix of human power, small footprint (both physically and environmentally), and because they allow people to travel several miles at a time quickly and without much effort.

      I think transportation investment should favor the most affordable, accessible, efficient and safest mode possible -- and i happen to think that trophy goes to bikes... but this isn't about comparing modes to declare a winner.

      to get back to your comment... i have no idea why you are insinuating that I am somehow against spending money on walking infrastructure or walking-only spaces... i'm all for both!

      Oh, and by the way, I'm not a "pedestrian"... but I do enjoy walking ;-).

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  • K'Tesh February 25, 2010 at 11:29 am

    +1 on including Pedestrian issues Jonathan.

    You might also want to add ADA issues as well. Low branches are a hazard to the blind and bicyclists alike, and curb cuts help wheelchairs and bicyclists too.

    It's all interconnected.

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  • Wes Evans February 25, 2010 at 11:44 am

    Jonathan, thanks for publishing this story. While it speaks specifically of a very sad pedestrian occurrence, it relates to those of us on two wheels as well.

    I am at the intersection of 39th/Powell on my bike daily and without exception count 5-6 vehicles running the red to turn left during each complete signal cycle. These aggressive motorists leave no room to respond to unexpected events when they occur (whether at the intersection or mid-block past it) and contribute to a very chaotic and dangerous environment for pedestrians and cyclists alike.

    39th/Powell desperately needs red light cameras.

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  • Steve B. February 25, 2010 at 11:51 am

    Please continue to cover more walking issues, the coverage is vital and appreciated. Transportation policy and advocacy is reflecting that we need to think about all vulnerable road users when we implement changes in infrastructure and culture. Bikeportland would be remiss to not cover a topic that is very similar in nature (and danger) to bicycling.

    @ecohuman - you're right on the money. It's called the Green Transportation Hierarchy and we've got to make it a city mandate rather than the meager ambition that it is today.

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  • Nick V February 25, 2010 at 11:55 am

    I also agree that this story should be here since cars/trucks are the #1 thing that cyclists have to look out for.

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  • wsbob February 25, 2010 at 12:01 pm

    A 93 year old woman having to make her way across the street on her own is a frightening thing. That's a reminder to myself, as well as to anyone else that thinks it may apply to them...to be on the lookout to offer help for these type of situations.

    thatguy #5...people that walk and people that bike in particular, are both part of the revolution confronting car dominance of our roadways. Many motor vehicle operators are doing their bit in that respect too though.

    are #2...thanks for the note about Oregonlive.com . Since they seem to very rarely do anything about offensive comments on their site, I'm doubtful they'll heed your good effort.

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  • cyclist February 25, 2010 at 12:01 pm

    Some folks in this thread seem to be ignoring the fact that the crossing happened at mid-block, not at a signalized (or unsignalized) intersection. Whether or not the intersection at 39th and Powell is dangerous doesn't really have any bearing on the facts in this case.

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  • A.K. February 25, 2010 at 12:02 pm

    Jonathan:

    I am seeing more and more people asking "why is this on the site?" whenever you publish non-bike stories.

    Perhaps a technical solution (though not the easiest one) would be to upgrade your blog software so you can "tag" stories, and provide a way for people to filter news by category, i.e. "all news" "bicycle only" "pedestrian issues", etc.

    I see a lot of sites doing this these days...

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  • Wes Evans February 25, 2010 at 12:07 pm

    Cyclist #15, I must respectfully disagree.

    With the frequency of red light running at this intersection, the entire surrounding perimeter is affected. This incident occurred only a couple hundred feet away from the intersection. If you tame the intersection, you tame its adjacent area as well.

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  • q`Tzal February 25, 2010 at 12:08 pm

    Pedestrian issues are pertinent to cycling due to the root cause: driver inattention. There is an instinctual motive while driving to look out for things that can harm you: in a car it's common sense that a bike or pedestrian is harmless. There are so many other heavy moving objects that most drivers find it impossible to track everything: the human brain naturally filters out anything "unimportant". Instinct tells us to pay attention to the harmful things and ignore the harmless things therefore cyclists and pedestrians are in the same boat.
    Any real solution to pedestrian safety will directly benefit cyclists.

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  • cyclist February 25, 2010 at 12:20 pm

    Wes Evans:

    A city block in Portland is 200 feet long, if the incident occurred hundreds of feet away from the intersection then it would be more than a block away.

    I used to live at an apartment complex that was at 36th and Lafayette (a couple of blocks from the intersection in question), I used to walk to the Safeway at 39th and take the 75 bus in both directions. I did not see any more red light running at this intersection than normal when I lived there. I'd stand out at the intersection and count the number of red light runners over the course of a couple of hours, however in the past when I've controverted baseless claims with actual evidence it's been pretty much ignored, so I'm not sure it'll matter.

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  • Jackattak February 25, 2010 at 12:22 pm

    This is truly a sad story and I will keep all those involved in my thoughts.

    Jonathan - Another vote for more pedestrian stories. Pedestrians and cyclists have a common ground in their battles: DRIVERS.

    My transportation system is 60% pedestrian, 20% bicycle, and 20% mass transit, so I appreciate the pedestrian-related stories and it's a primary reason I come here.

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  • cyclist February 25, 2010 at 12:25 pm

    Wes Evans: By the way, I agree that bad intersection design can cascade into the surrounding area and potentially even cause problems on nearby side streets. I guess I was more concerned with the fact that there's no evidence that the person in the car did anything wrong, yet the comments made it sound like driver ran a red and hit someone in the crosswalk. If you know anything about 39th on that stretch of road you know that if you take one step off of the sidewalk you're basically right in the middle of one of the traffic lanes.

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  • Steph Routh February 25, 2010 at 12:50 pm

    Thank you for this story, Jonathan, for a few reasons.

    Pedestrians have been coined "the indicator species of transportation," so when an area is unsafe for walking, it often follows that the area is unsafe for biking.

    Also, your article focuses on the people involved rather than the modes, which is a much-needed contrast to other news posts. To say that a pedestrian was killed by a vehicle sterilizes and polarizes a tragic event.

    Thanks, Jonathan and all.

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  • spare_wheel February 25, 2010 at 1:14 pm

    "Here's a modest "green" proposal: make pedestrians the top of the local transport priority list..."

    I agree completely. Signalizing dangerous intersections should be given priority over fixing potholes (which in IMO are effective traffic calming devices.) Cars routinely scream by this crosswalk at speeds in excess of 45 mph.

    Nice to see you here instead of at bojack.org, btw.

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  • Stripes February 25, 2010 at 1:21 pm

    So sad.

    Perhaps an LPI light at this intersection (Lead Pedestrian Interval light)?

    It would give pedestrians a few seconds head-start to cross the intersection, before the light turned green allowing car drivers to start moving left or right.

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  • cyclist February 25, 2010 at 1:38 pm

    Stripes:

    The crossing did not occur at the intersection, it occurred in the middle of a block near Powell on 39th.

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  • bobcycle February 25, 2010 at 2:14 pm

    Mid block or not I am assuming a 93 year old was moving slowly. i.e. she probably did not dart out in front of car. Auto drivers must be vigilant in looking out for the unexpected. While the auto driver may not have done anything illegal, and I am not blaming the auto driver, the lesson for all (or maybe just a reminder to me) is to slow down, and in a city, near high activity commercial areas drive like someone’s life depends on your vigilance.

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  • spare_wheel February 25, 2010 at 2:17 pm

    "as she crossed Southeast Cesar E. Chavez Boulevard/39th Avenue near Powell Boulevard"

    Although she was not struck "in" the crosswalk it appears that she was "near" the intersection.

    http://www.oregonlive.com/portland/index.ssf/2010/02/pedestrian_killed_overnight_cr.html

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  • eljefe February 25, 2010 at 2:22 pm

    Jonathan:

    Pedestrians and transportation cyclists are obvious allies. Around here we call them "gentle movers." I appreciate the coverage of pedestrian issues. Keep it up!

    On the other hand, a lot of the racing, trails, recreation, fitness, commercial bike scene is of no interest whatsoever to those of us who see bikes mainly as our urban transportation, so I just ignore those stories. I suggest you keep the site "big tent."

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  • matt picio February 25, 2010 at 2:41 pm

    cyclist (#15) - That's kind of a red herring, because nothing has any bearing on the facts - except the facts. While the collision happened mid-block, that doesn't mean that the surrounding conditions aren't germane to the discussion - it just means that the motorist likely isn't at fault. That doesn't alter the other facts which are relevant but not directly pertaining to this case, such as inattention, failure to obey the vehicle code, speeding, blind hills, posted speeds and traffic volume.

    thatguy (#5) - What it has to do with cycling is that pedestrians are also human-powered users, and that conditions which affect them also usually affect cyclists.

    cyclist (#19) - I think he was referring to the Intersection of 39th & Powell. In any case, there are some areas in Portland where the block is much longer than 200', though those areas usually have mid-block marked crosswalks.

    bobcycle (#26) - Based on what little we know, it appears the issues are as follows:

    1. A pedestrian crossed mid-block, which is a traffic violation
    2. The pedestrian may have crossed too close in front of automobile traffic, which is also a violation
    3. If the pedestrian was at least 110' in front of the car when she stepped into the street, then the motorist was driving too fast for conditions, which is a traffic violation

    What's not known (or fully known), and could have been a factor:

    1. Masking traffic in other lanes
    2. The blind hill near SE Brooklyn
    3. Environmental conditions
    4. Motorist speed before the collision
    5. Where the attention of the two parties was focused before the collision

    If this is a typical incident, there were likely multiple contributing factors that facilitated the collision. In any case, still a tragedy.

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  • Ted February 25, 2010 at 2:42 pm

    Don't forget; everyone is a pedestrian.

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  • Stripes February 25, 2010 at 2:43 pm

    Re: comment # 25

    For clarification, the point I was inferring was that, anecdotally, there have been studies conducted that have concluded some pedestrians feel safer crossing of their own accord *mid-block*, rather than cross at a signalized intersection, where red-light running et al put them at high risk regardless of the fact they are supposed to have priority. I remember learning about this when I was a citizen involved in the PBOT 82nd Ave High Corridor Crash project.

    Therefore, if we can make our *signalized* intersections safer for all, then perhaps, more people might be encouraged to use them.

    The pedestrian lights on busy, chaotic roads like 82nd, or 39th, or Powell, never seem to be long enough for me to get across on foot as a young, fit person.

    I can only imagine what it must be like trying to cross in time as a ninety-something year old.

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  • beth h February 25, 2010 at 2:44 pm

    At the recent Transportation Safety Summit, two issues that came up only infrequently in breakout discussions were:

    a. pedestrians -- particularly the disabled and/or elderly -- have a hard time accessing public transit because of the lack of safe facilities for them to GET to transit stops;

    b. The nationwide demographic is skewing grayer, especially as the first Baby Boomers enter their retirement years. Planning for this inevitability needs to be pro-active because it can't be done REactively.

    This collision and its tragic outcome are at the tip of a large iceberg that is ALL about planning to pedestrian access, and its place in the rest of the transportation picture.

    Thanks for covering this story, Jonathan.

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  • Bjorn February 25, 2010 at 2:46 pm

    @ecohuman.com
    you seem to be saying that you feel the pedestrian mode is not getting a fair shake at the pie due to the bicycle plan in your imagines, but pedestrian modes already receive far more funding than bikes... It would be nice to see both get a bigger slice but it isn't the tiny amount of money that is being "CONSIDERED" and isn't even guaranteed for the 2030 plan that is holding back better ped infrastructure.

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  • matt picio February 25, 2010 at 3:27 pm

    Bjorn (#33) - The Bicycle Master Plan doesn't mandate any funding, so it can't take any money for pedestrian spending. The City of Portland also has a Pedestrian Master Plan:

    http://www.portlandonline.com/transportation/index.cfm?c=37064

    The last one was in 1998, a year after the Bike Master Plan, so I'd imagine next year PBOT will be working on the new Ped Master Plan for 2030.

    Pedestrian spending usually is non-existent, but I have high hopes that the new leadership at the Willamette Pedestrian Coalition will help change that.

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  • Wes Evans February 25, 2010 at 3:46 pm

    Matt Picio #29: "there are some areas in Portland where the block is much longer than 200', though those areas usually have mid-block marked crosswalks."

    Exactly, Matt. The block south of Powell on 39th is super-sized with no mid-block crossing. I was at the crosswalk last night when this incident happened about 200 feet away by the Wells Fargo.

    In addition to red light cams, an LPI light (thanks, Stripes #24), and a mid-block crossing or at least a ped/cyclist-activated signal at the next intersection (Francis) would greatly improve the safety of this intersection and surrounding area.

    I was encouraged to read Jonathan's tweet that "SE 39th/Powell is on top of a priority list at PBOT to get $$ for improvements... and there's money coming so it should happen." I certainly hope to see this happen.

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  • Michael M. February 25, 2010 at 3:48 pm

    Jonathan (#34) -- Can't speak for ecohuman, but I don't read his (her?) comment as insinuating you are against spending money on walking infrastructure, I read it as an observation of an attitude or bias you consistently display. The question was, "Are you for whatever solutions are the best, Jonathan, or for bicycles above all else?" To my reading of your work over the past few years, I'd have to say you are for bicycles above all else. Your coverage of almost any issue is consistently skewed to whatever rights you think people riding bikes ought to have, rather than what rights people ought to have.

    This isn't "Walk Portland," so I would hardly expect you to address the myriad ways in which Portland planning and policies makes walking an unattractive option. But I would expect that even cycling advocates would recognize that the concerns many people have about the unlimited encroachment of bikes everywhere bikes can possibly go isn't necessarily the result of some inherent "anti-bike" bias. The fact is many of us who bike and walk, regularly, and who value both more-or-less equally, would still like to carve out some space where one can walk (for pleasure, exercise, and transportation) free of vehicular transit (motorized or non-motorized). You seem dead-set against that, as do many others who call themselves cycling advocates or transportation advocates or advocates of human-powered modes of travel.

    It isn't about declaring a winner -- it is about making space for everyone.

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  • ekim113 February 25, 2010 at 3:51 pm

    Dark, rainy and away from the crosswalk. Tragic? Very.
    Avoidable? Certainly.
    Is anyone to blame? Probably not.

    We do not have any details. No one here knows where on the street she was when she was hit, the direction the car was traveling, the speed, or the type of vehicle; nothing really.

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  • Jonathan Maus (Editor-in-Chief) February 25, 2010 at 4:02 pm

    Michael M wrote:

    "...many of us who bike and walk, regularly, and who value both more-or-less equally, would still like to carve out some space where one can walk (for pleasure, exercise, and transportation) free of vehicular transit (motorized or non-motorized). You seem dead-set against that..."

    Wait a second here. I must not have been clear.

    I am absolutely in favor of setting aside space for people where bikes are not allowed. I would love to see more carfree plazas downtown.

    "Dead set against" places free from cars and bikes? Absolutely not.

    Also, I totally disagree w/ your assessment that my "coverage of almost any issue is skewed to whatever rights you think people riding bikes ought to have, rather than what rights people ought to have." Please cite a specific example of where I did that.

    Sorry this is off-topic, but I won't let accusations about how I feel on these important topics go unanswered.

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  • david....no the other one! February 25, 2010 at 4:29 pm

    OK, OK! back to our corners! Let's see now? wether or not to include pedestrian issues here or not? is it an access issue, then maybe yes! writers disgression!!! What some may miss here is that the "victim" being at advanced age had some "access issues", possibibly could NOT step off curb at 39th and powell, it's a tall curb as I remember, but I could be wrong. Eyesight could be negligable, doctors of optomitry in Oregon are required by law to report to the state eyesight poor enough to require certain corrective perscriptions. So the state can revoke a license, and prevent an accident waiting to happen Let's all be a little introspective and remember, it's not just ME out there, we're ALL interrelated as people on the move.

    P.S. Keep up the good work bikeportland.

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  • david....no the other one! February 25, 2010 at 4:34 pm

    Sorry I forgot to say that in my advanced age I may want to bike, but may be unable to for many reasons. Am I less a commuter as a pedestrian? I used to walk from 52nd and woodstock to norcrest china, if anybody here is old enough to remember where it was.

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  • Marcus Griffith February 25, 2010 at 6:46 pm

    My thoughts go out to the family of the now deceased Ms. Mary Waseko Kasubuschi. Motor vehicle deaths tend to be unpleasant.
    I will await until more details are available before commenting on the lack of a citation for the driver.

    As for what is on or not on Bike Portland, there is a simple solution for articles one doesn't want to read: JUST DON'T READ THEM AND GET ON WITH YOUR DAY.

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  • liz February 25, 2010 at 6:47 pm

    i would like to add another vote for continuing coverage of walking issues, particularly pedestrians being hit by drivers. i think the comment on pedestrians being "an indicator species" is probably true. and i agree with what someone else said about them both being part of the same revolution.

    this is a tragedy.

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  • ecohuman February 25, 2010 at 7:37 pm

    "The City of Portland also has a Pedestrian Master Plan:"

    Which is toothless, and mainly about sidewalks and bump-outs. It's one of the most unimaginative planning efforts around Portland--and Portland has a lot of those.

    Jonathan, you're heavily vested in the bicycle as a solution. I understand. You place ads on your blog in hopes of making a go of it financially. I get that too.

    But cities are about more than a myopic focus on a single, limited form of transport that definitely has its own significant environmental impact. Yes--myopic.

    Because in the long run, bicycles aren't going to be what our current model of urban density and massive, ever-expanding consumption requires. Those bicycles? Most of them get made from parts manufactured in Asia, using extractive mining practices, and utterly dependent on an unsustainable road infrastructure that requires billions of dollars (and tremendous amounts of petroleum) yearly just to keep it from crumbling.

    All of this to say--bicycles are nothing special, environmentally speaking. Does riding one promote health? Sure, except for breathing carbon dioxide (kills thousands of Americans every year, including children), requiring oil to make roads, and requiring all those trucks you like to curse to deliver all the goods you want to enjoy your urban lifestyle.

    So, in the long run? If I have to choose some form of locomotion to promote, I'd choose walking. Bicycles aren't going to solve a meaningful human problem, because it doesn't work like people are fond of promising--more bikes doesn't equal less cars. The evidence for that is conclusive and extensive.

    Do I ride a bicycle? Yes. Do I want my taxes spent on a half-billion in improvements? Absolutely not. Because in the big picture--and that's what counts here--there are a dozen things more critical, with more long-term benefit and short-term impact, than bicycles.

    But advocating for those don't get you re-elected. Just ask Adams, Fish, or Saltzman.

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  • SkidMark February 25, 2010 at 8:02 pm

    "I didn't see her/him"

    Always an acceptable excuse.

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  • DT February 25, 2010 at 8:21 pm

    I don't know how many insensitive comments there were earlier on oregonlive's article covering this story, but they seem to have been removed.

    http://www.oregonlive.com/portland/index.ssf/2010/02/pedestrian_killed_overnight_cr.html

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  • Joe R. February 25, 2010 at 8:59 pm

    Very unfortunate that we live in such a hostile environment.. People shouldn't die for simply crossing a street, whether or not they are crossing at an intersection.

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  • spare_wheel February 26, 2010 at 8:40 am

    "Most of them get made from parts manufactured in Asia, using extractive mining practices"

    Now that is a well constructed man of straw. A large fraction of all items purchased in the USA are made in Asia. Besides, it is corporations and their libertarian free market shills who are to blame.

    "and utterly dependent on an unsustainable road infrastructure that requires billions of dollars (and tremendous amounts of petroleum) yearly just to keep it from crumbling."

    Ha! When we go Mad Max my mountain bikes will make mincemeat of that crumbling road infrastructure. Its no surprise that bikes are exceedingly popular in the developing world where there is little petroleum-based road infrastructure.

    "Sure, except for breathing carbon dioxide (kills thousands of Americans every year, including children)"

    Wrong gas.

    "because it doesn't work like people are fond of promising--more bikes doesn't equal less cars. The evidence for that is conclusive and extensive."

    "Do I want my taxes spent on a half-billion in improvements? Absolutely not."

    Polly wanna cracker?

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  • are February 26, 2010 at 9:14 am
  • Joe February 26, 2010 at 9:54 am

    #30 right on! yes we are.

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  • Charlie February 26, 2010 at 9:56 am

    SE [Cesar E. Chavez Boulevard/39th.

    Just sayin.

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  • jim February 26, 2010 at 2:30 pm

    I could be wrong but I feal like this story is here because of anti car or car free sentiment. It could very well be that the forum is expanding at this time for walkers? If thats the case then the story does fit. I think so far everyone is pinning the blame on the driver. I don't know that the driver was to blame. The funny caption for the poor fools suv upside down in forest park also seemed like an anti car sentiment and also a little distasteful if someone was hurt or killed in that accident. I still don't see any constructive good out of this story. Is someone going to go around and pass out blinking bike lights to little old laddies with walkers? Probably not.

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  • matt picio February 26, 2010 at 2:53 pm

    ecohuman (#44) - it's also 12 years old, and was formulated before recent changes in thinking about Complete streets. The Bike Master Plan is likewise toothless. That doesn't make them irrelevant.

    "bicycles are nothing special, environmentally speaking" - that's a pretty ignorant comment - bicycles are nearly the only form of transportation that can be manufactured with 3rd world technologies. Sure, most of what we get now is from China, but they can easily be constructed here again, and largely using recycled metals - no one is doing it currently because it's cheaper to do it in China, but that doesn't mean it can't be done. Bicycles certainly have a much smaller footprint than solar cells, or wind turbines, or automobiles of any type.

    That doesn't invalidate your points about walking - you're right on in that respect, walking is the most sustainable solution out there, and the easiest to implement and combine with other modes.

    What we know as western civilization is about to enter a long, protracted, yet terminal decline. In a decade or two we won't be talking about bike infrastructure anymore - they're be a lot fewer cars and bikes will be on all of the roads, in the roadway - bike lanes won't matter, and we'll be looking at ways to repurpose what we have, rather than building things new.

    jim (#52) - That's a good point, there is nothing yet to indicate the driver did anything wrong. He could've been entirely within the law, and this can still happen.

    When we need everyone to wear helmets and lights, it's time to examine the whole picture of contributing factors and address those which are the most effective to change.

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  • Jeff Mack February 26, 2010 at 7:03 pm

    Jonathon, thank you for publishing this story. Pedestrian issues are important too and I'm glad you present stories like these to make people more aware of nonmotorized transportation issues in general. Keep up the good work. You really do an admirable job with this site. We are lucky to have bikeportland.

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  • Michael M. February 27, 2010 at 11:59 am

    Jonathan (#39) -- Ok, here. In your view, "The issue comes down to whether or not Waterfront Park is considered a transportation corridor." For many others, myself included, the issue is much bigger than whether someone should have the right to ride a bike through the park after dark, but you focus only on the rights of the bike-riding public, not on the public (including the considerable number of people amongst us experiencing homelessness) in general.

    That isn't in any way meant as an insult, it is my impression of where your business priorities lie. You've built a business that (I hope) is reasonably successful and helped build (or at least, helped give focus to) a community that mostly shares those priorities. It is, to a great extent anyway, necessary for you to keep a focus on bikes in order to build on what you've started. In doing so, though, you ignore other issues that aren't really on-topic here, even though those issues sometimes intersect with incidents and issues you write about.

    You focus here on a woman who was killed by a motor-vehicle driver, primarily because one thing people on foot and people on bikes have in common is that both are vulnerable users, compared to people driving motor vehicles. But what divides people walking from people operating vehicles, including people riding bikes? Why do so many people who ride bikes rail (in comments here and elsewhere) against "people walking 3 abreast on MUPs" as if that is some crime? To what extent are the policies and priorities you advocate creating an environment where it is increasingly uncomfortable for people to gather with a few friends and go for a nice walk along the waterfront without feeling like they are in the way of someone on a bike? I don't really see you considering these questions.

    Likewise, since you are a bike advocate, you naturally pump up the value of bikes as a tool in reducing VMT and reducing SOV commutes. All well and good. But there are other things that work too, which gets back to ecohuman's question about which solution is "best." Bikes are a great solution, but they are only one solution. Seattle has a lower rate of SOV commutes than Portland, even though Portland has a much higher percentage of bike commuters. Why? Because Seattle does much better than Portland on car pooling, van pooling, public transit, and by a wide margin, walking. I wouldn't expect you to advocate for these things, but I would expect to see some acknowledgement that other strategies are important, and maybe some coverage when public policy is seeming to run counter to those things. (Like, for instance, TriMet's lastest proposal to raise fares and cut service -- again.) I guess I don't think, as you do, that bikes are the best solution (though that depends upon figuring out, "solution to what?"), I think there is no best solution, there are only good solutions that should be pursued, and bikes are one of those. We're doing well on the bike front (something for which, I think, you deserve some credit), but are we really doing so well on other fronts?

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  • spare_wheel February 28, 2010 at 12:18 pm

    "people walking 3 abreast on MUPs" as if that is some crime?"

    Complete fabrication. I have made light of pedestrians on mups but the butt of the joke was my impatience as much as their obliviousness.

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  • Chris February 28, 2010 at 6:26 pm

    I arrived at the accident soon after it happened. I can tell you exactly where she was crossing. She was lying on the double yellow lines in the middle of 39th south of the Safeway driveway. Several drivers had stopped their vehicles. Several people were around her. Other people were running between her location and the curb.

    I couldn't see a lot, just a shock of white hair and a dark coat. I said to my daughter, "I hope she will be OK". But she did not look OK. She did not look OK at all.

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  • Filmmaker March 1, 2010 at 12:32 am

    Jonathan,

    I must agree that your articles are extremely bicycle biased. I truly mean no disrespect to you or your accomplishments with your bikeportland.org. I read a response by you before where you said you are a reporter and sometimes your opinions sway your articles.

    The reality is, your not a reporter per say, your an activist with an agenda. Which is absolutely fine, but you must accept that you are in no way an unbiased reporter.

    Thanks for hearing me.

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  • Velochef March 2, 2010 at 12:50 pm

    To #5 "That Guy"

    You wrote;
    Sad news.
    What does this have to do with bicycling?

    My reply:
    Sad news walks, rides a bicycle, and when it knocks on your door, it doesn't ask to come in. The real question is what do you have to do with bicycling? Cyclists care about other people, and you obviously do not.

    Please excuse ThatGuy - he lacks dimension

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