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Communication breakdown: The story behind the Fanno Creek fence

Posted by on May 26th, 2010 at 1:57 pm

These fence posts riled tempers. Now
the project is delayed until neighbors
know more.
(Photo: Jim Parsons/BikePortland)

When fence posts went up where the Fanno Creek Trail crosses SW Hall Boulevard (map) over the weekend, trail users were outraged.

Beaverton Bicycle Advisory Committee member Barbara Chapnick fired off an email to several fellow advocates and city planners that read, “This is absolutely terrible! Horrible, abominable! What can we do about this?”

A tour of the West Side-23
Looking north at Hall Blvd from the path.
(Photo by J. Maus/BikePortland)

Her sentiment was shared by several other people (judging from emails in my inbox and from posts on Facebook). Chapnick’s reaction is understandable, but Tualatin Hills Park & Recreation District officials say it’s all just a communication breakdown and they’ve since explained what exactly is going on.

This is what the Parks District wants to avoid:
A family waits to cross Hall Blvd.
(Photo: Aaron Tarfman)

The current situation at the trail and SW Hall is not just inadequate, it’s an urgent safety issue. The very popular trail literally ends into a dirt embankment which people walk up only to face a high-speed, high-traffic, mid-block crossing of Hall (see photos). On any day you can see people trying to cross, waiting for a break in traffic before darting to the other side.

Signage at this location urges people to walk a quarter-mile west to a signalized intersection (making for a half-mile detour). Most people (understandably so) ignore the sign and attempt the dangerous mid-block crossing.

The THPRD are well aware of this issue and they’ve received a federal grant to study the crossing and come up with a plan to make it better (they’re just waiting on final sign off from ODOT and Metro regarding the scope of work).

This sign greets trail
users at Hall Blvd.
(Photo © J. Maus)

The problem with this fence, says Director of Park and Recreation Services with the THPRD Jim McElhinny, is that his agency “did not adequately communicate” with the neighborhood before starting the project. Turns out it’s part of an interim solution being put in place while the planning study comes up with a more permanent fix.

The interim plan is to construct a new, 100-foot long paved path from where the pavement ends up to the sidewalk. The fence is being constructed to discourage trail users from crossing Hall mid-block. In an email about the fence, McElhinny wrote, “This would lead trail users to the conclusion that the access from the Albertson’s parking lot would be the only connection to the trail on the south side of Hall Blvd.”

City of Beaverton work crews were supposed to build the new path first and then put the fence in.

McElhinny says all work has been stopped pending completion of more public outreach which will include a neighborhood meeting.

Even after this interim path and fence is in place, a safe crossing for trail users is still years away. While there’s funding for the feasibility study, there is not yet funding for construction of whatever solution they come up with.

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Comments
  • Marcus Griffith May 26, 2010 at 2:11 pm

    Insufficient Funding strikes again. Damn, I hate that guy. And why doesn’t he ever strike the two ongoing wars? Does anyone have an estimate of the cost to install a cross walk?

    It seems all the involved parties understand the catch-22 in play. Without the fence, there is continued mid-block crossing on a busy road (think set up for road-kill). Conversely, with the fence, there is an absurd detour. But, a 1/2 detour impacts one’s day a lot less than an unsuspecting SUV.

    One would hope these types of situations are fully documented and reviewed when new development projects are designed. A lot of problems could be avoided with better planning at the initial stage.

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  • Did I miss it? Again? May 26, 2010 at 2:32 pm

    “Most people (understandably so) ignore the sign and attempt the dangerous mid-block crossing.”

    Wow… Did you not just get done writing:

    “… it’s an urgent safety issue….people walk up only to face a high-speed, high-traffic, mid-block crossing of Hall (see photos).”

    How can you say that endangering your child or a driver,in an attempt to save some time, is the responsible or right thing to do?
    How is that any different than condoning a driver for speeding because it saves them a little time?

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    • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) May 26, 2010 at 2:34 pm

      My point was that it’s understandable why people cross mid-block… going 1/2 mile out of the way is absolutely a ridiculous proposition in my opinion. perhaps “understandably so” is a better term to use. thanks.

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  • Jim Jones May 26, 2010 at 2:36 pm

    Half an hour to walk one half a mile.

    Talk about hyperbole.

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  • Did I miss it? Again? May 26, 2010 at 2:55 pm

    Jim-
    Agreed. We are talking a walking speed of 1 mph; are these people all handicapped? Walkers, crutches? What gives?
    According to Wiki – avg walking speed is 2.8 to 3.4 mph. So, we are talking about a 10 minute detour in the name of safety.

    The last thing I would want is to have to walk further than necessary when I am out on my daily walk, and it is preposterous that anyone even suggests I do so, even if it is a safety issue.

    I will have to invent a device that installs crosswalks directly in front of a walker. That way they can never be inconvenienced by existing roads, highways, rivers, airports etc.

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  • Bill May 26, 2010 at 2:56 pm

    I use the Fanno Creek trail for my long runs when training for marathons. I saw the posts last weekend and was concerned. Luckily, I’m in the taper mode, so I won’t need to use Fanno for awhile.

    I’ve crossed Hall here probably 100 times or so and have never gone up to the crosswalk. It should be clairified, however, that it’s not .25 from the trail to the crosswalk. It’s just under .1 mile, making a round trip distance under .25 mile. Still, it’s so inconvenient and slow with the car-optimized stoplight, that I just run across.

    I hope they figure out a good solution for this, and fill in the trail gap between where the trail exits on Denney and Allen & SW 92nd where the trail heads East.

    –Bill

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  • Opus the Poet May 26, 2010 at 2:57 pm

    Actually a half mile walk with street crossings may take 15-20 minutes and burn a significant amount of calories. If the walk is for exercise then the time/calorie burn is not an issue, but walking for transportation makes it an issue. People who walk face the same time constraints as people that drive, ride a bike or bus, or use a jet pack. Adding time & distance to your trip sucks no matter what for of transit you use.

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  • Kt May 26, 2010 at 2:57 pm

    I like how they don’t want you to cross Hall but then direct you to cut through a busy parking lot instead.

    There’s not just the Albertson’s store traffic, there’s also a fast food joint with a drive through to contend with.

    I’ve done it both ways– mid-block crossing and cutting through the parking lot.

    I’ve found it to be worse to go through the parking lot, personally.

    Jim Jones #4, it’s not a half hour– but once you get up to the cross walk you get to wait for the light to change, then hope the right-turners don’t run you down because they are too impatient to wait 5 seconds, then walk down the hill to the other side of the trail.

    Oh, did I mention it’s a steep uphill to get to the crosswalk, no matter what side of the road you’re on? Try pushing a heavy stroller up that, or your wheelchair (if it’s not electronic or you don’t have someone to help push). Or your heavy bike, for that matter.

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  • Anne Hawley May 26, 2010 at 3:19 pm

    Seems like an underpass would be a great solution!

    I’m only kidding a little.

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  • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) May 26, 2010 at 3:26 pm

    yeah… you’re right Anne. I hope an underpass is one of the things they consider. the city of Davis, CA is one of the leaders in underpasses.. like this one from a trip i did there in ’08

    Davis bikeway tour-1.jpg

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  • Bjorn May 26, 2010 at 3:34 pm

    This is ODOT’s solution to any ped issue lately, build a big fence. You wouldn’t put up barricades on hall to prevent cars from driving down it, why is putting up a giant barrier (a la 82nd and broadway) across a popular walking path in anyway a reasonable solution? I wonder how much they are spending on this temporary fence, and how close that would come to the cost of installing a hawk signal. My understanding is that at the transit station on 82nd a hawk signal would have been cheaper but odot wasn’t willing to risk slowing car traffic…

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  • Bill May 26, 2010 at 3:35 pm

    Just South of this crossing is an underpass going under Scholls Ferry:

    [IMG=http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3170/3073207545_8c6044dc97.jpg]

    (Only image I could find after a quick Google search)

    –Bill

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  • Joey May 26, 2010 at 3:37 pm

    How about not making cars the priority here.

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  • Lance P. May 26, 2010 at 3:39 pm

    Since we are putting up a fence why not just put the fence up across the road. I believe a car could travel .5 miles for a detour much easier.

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  • Roland May 26, 2010 at 3:51 pm

    The underpass is cool, but as a sometime civil engineer, when I see that, I see “excavation” and “bridge design” which always mean “dollars.” Particularly so close to a creek and the water table. But if they can (i.e. have the will to) afford it, that’d be sweet. Still, if I were a user of that trail, even an ordinary crosswalk would be a vast improvement over the current setup.

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  • hemp22 May 26, 2010 at 3:53 pm

    1) If you go to the Google street view for this location, face Southeast on Hall, and “drive” by clicking the arrows to advance along the road, as you pass by the fanno creek trail, you see a guy in an orange hoodie doing this crossing. (After advancing past the trail, turn around and look east, as you continue to “travel” west, and you’ll see him running across the road – all caught on camera by google street view :)

    2) There are other locations in washington county, and elsewhere, with this exact same problem. Example: “Waterhouse powerline park” MUP has the same issue where it crosses Walker Rd. Maybe the Fanno Creek trail at Hall gets more ped/bike traffic, but this problem certainly isn’t unique to that location.

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  • david....no! the other one May 26, 2010 at 4:05 pm

    Ok, I get it! people with cars=priority, people without cars=NO priority. Wait,…wait I missed it. Don’t we buy cars so that when we SLOW/STOP for pedestrians and bicyclists, we can SPEED up AND still get to where we are going FASTER. I don’t know maybe I still missed it.

    Not really, just took a walk on a quiet neighborhood street crossing a quiet street. As I was crossing street car comes along, poor guy had to stop for me to cross. :(, felt sorry for him, I got to walk and he had to drive. Ha ha

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  • Marcus Griffith May 26, 2010 at 4:07 pm

    Jonathan: great photo. Underpasses like the one photographed are the best option when it comes to minimizing conflict between trails and bisecting roads. But they tend to be costly.

    “Cost Prohibitive” is the evil twin of Insufficient Funds and both are cited frequently when it comes to improving active transportation routes. However, if our collective society continues to increasingly value non-motorized transportation, there might be more funding to make the improvements needed to have truly world class facilities.

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  • Did I miss it? Again? May 26, 2010 at 4:08 pm

    Joey-
    The cars are not the priority here. Safety is.

    And just so we are clear, we are talking about less than 1/10 of a mile. No that much of a detour by any standards, and not a ridiculous request if 1 person is saved.

    As Bjorn is reminding us above, people were whining about 82nd mini Berlin Wall and within days of that, a little old woman gets killed crossing midblock on a road just as busy as 82nd.

    How many people need to die from crossing mid block before people understand that mid block crossings are dangerous and very seldom the right thing to do.

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  • Brian E May 26, 2010 at 4:10 pm

    FYI, the underpass at Scholls Ferry is too close to creek level. Much of the time it is flooded or covered with a slick layer of mud that smells of sewage.

    My observation is that there is less elevation available at Hall Blvd.

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  • Brad May 26, 2010 at 4:27 pm

    A quarter mile to the crosswalk? If that’s accurate then I am the fastest man alive when I go for an easy jog!

    Try 200 yards, maybe. Are we so lazy or rushed as a society that taking such a huge risk worth the time savings? Or, as I suspect, is the risk here is very overstated? I know this road and that poor excuse for a crossing. At least BikePortland hasn’t captioned that stock photo of the family waiting with the drama Aaron Tarfmann has. According to him those people are just flat out TERRIFIED!!!

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  • Ed May 26, 2010 at 5:15 pm

    Putting in a crosswalk is the obvious solution.

    For what its worth crossing mid block is both perfectly legal and safe if done carefully.

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  • q'Tzal May 26, 2010 at 5:21 pm

    Have there been any actual injuries or deaths of trail users crossing here?
    Have there been any in th proposed route through that shopping area?
    It strikes me that this here is the perfect example of why of street cycle paths are inferior.
    There is no consideration for the commuting trail traffic acutually needing to get to their destination quickly and efficiently just as autos do.
    The assumption here is that all cycling activity is for leasure or exercise and thus a permanent detour, adding unnecessary is OK because you can still get there

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  • q'Tzal May 26, 2010 at 5:27 pm

    …. the assumption here is that all cycling activity is for leasure or exercise and thus a permanent detour, adding unnecessary time and effort,is OK because you can still get there.
    For THPRD, and the rest local government, to consider that the Fanno Creek trail is a “bicycle highway” then to treat it as last consideration where its users need to cross a road is reprehensible.

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  • BURR May 26, 2010 at 5:43 pm

    How much would it cost to stripe a cross walk there?

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  • Psyfalcon May 26, 2010 at 5:44 pm

    What exactly is the issue? If this was a road crossing, they would put in a traffic light, with sensors. Save the money on studying and put a hawk signal in.

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  • Marcus Griffith May 26, 2010 at 5:45 pm

    Ed: Crossing mid-block is prohibited by state laws under many circumstances, including if there is an adjacent sidewalk.

    Oregon State Law:
    http://www.leg.state.or.us/ors/814.html

    8.14.070:
    (1) A pedestrian commits the offense of pedestrian with improper position upon or improperly proceeding along a highway if the pedestrian does any of the following:
    (a) Takes a position upon or proceeds along and upon the roadway where there is an adjacent usable sidewalk or shoulder.

    814.060:
    (1) A pedestrian commits the offense of failure to use pedestrian tunnel or overhead crossing if the pedestrian crosses a roadway other than by means of a pedestrian tunnel or overhead pedestrian crossing when a tunnel or overhead crossing serves the place where the pedestrian is crossing the roadway.”

    Washington State Law: http://apps.leg.wa.gov/rcw/default.aspx?cite=46.61.240

    RCW 46.61.240
    “Between adjacent intersections at which traffic-control signals are in operation pedestrians shall not cross at any place except in a marked crosswalk.”

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  • Carl May 26, 2010 at 5:48 pm

    According to the City of Portland, most pedestrian injuries occur in crosswalks (which are usually at intersections): http://bit.ly/ccMbM1

    Mid-block crossings are safer because the pedestrian only has to deal with traffic coming from two directions and doesn’t have to contend with turning traffic (like the Trimet bus that just killed two people on NW Broadway).

    Furthermore, I don’t believe the City of Beaverton has any legal restrictions on mid-block crossings (as Portland does).

    So not only is it safer to cross mid-block there, it’s also legal.

    That said, a pedestrian refuge island (and ideally a walk signal) would be welcome additions (far more so than this insulting fence).

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  • brian May 26, 2010 at 5:49 pm

    I’ve crossed hall here about 100 times

    The cross walk is less safe than crossing hall where the trail meets the road.

    This is due to total lack law enforcement at crosswalks. You are safe mid block where you can see what cars are going to do. At a busy high speed intersection all bets are off.

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  • Carl May 26, 2010 at 5:57 pm

    Correction to my comment above (28).

    Beaverton City Code DOES restrict midblock crossing but only if there is a crosswalk within 150′ (same as Portland).

    Marcus’ comment (27) is incorrect in asserting that Oregon law does not allow mid-block crossings. The statues he cites regard a) walking on the road instead of the sidewalk, b) overpasses and underpasses, and c) another state.

    Ed (22) is right. This is a legal place to cross SW Hall.

    Here’s the exact language:

    BEAVERTON MUNICIPAL CODE
    6.02.510 Pedestrian Must Use Available Crosswalk.
    No pedestrian shall cross a roadway outside of a marked crosswalk if within
    150 feet of a marked crosswalk.

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  • Carl May 26, 2010 at 5:59 pm

    *statutes

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  • El Biciclero May 26, 2010 at 6:16 pm

    According to the Google maps Distance Measurement Tool, the total detour is about 951 feet. At a 25-minute mile, that means about a 4.5 minute walk, plus any time spent waiting for the walk signal at the intersection; probably a 5-minute delay on average. Five minutes is about how long I have to spend creeping down a freeway entrance ramp waiting for my turn at the metering signal. The complaints about the steepness of the incline from the trail crossing to the intersection are legitimate for anyone who uses walking assistance devices or a non-motorized mobility chair. I’ve done this exact detour, so I know what I’m talking about. Even though the detour is not that onerous for an able-bodied ped/cyclist, I will usually attempt the mid-block crossing in spite of the “safety” issues.

    In general, I prefer mid-block crossings to intersection crossings because most drivers behave most dangerously toward pedestrians at intersections: They turn left after yielding to oncoming traffic (or trying to beat oncoming traffic) only to realize that there is also a ped in the crosswalk they are lurching toward; they sit focusing intently to their left, waiting for a chance to turn right on the red, then just as the ped signal turns to walk, they floor it into a right turn–while still looking left; as part of a stream of right turners, drivers forget to look for oncoming peds in the crosswalk they are turning into. Mid-block crossings have none of these dangers; in exchange, mid-block crossings have a single danger that most intersection crossings do not: high speed cross traffic.

    The danger of high speed cross traffic can be nearly cut in half by offering a refuge island in the middle of the street; it can be nearly completely mitigated by installing a signalized crosswalk. Either or both of the above would (I assume) be orders of magnitude cheaper than a tunnel–even though a tunnel/underpass would be incredibly sweet.

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  • wsbob May 26, 2010 at 6:42 pm

    Hall Blvd mid-block where it meets the Fanno Creek trail is an extremely dangerous point to cross that road. Not all hours of the day, of course, but how can people be expected not to attempt crossing during dangerous hours of the day, if there isn’t something like this fence to tell them they might as well go up to the safer, signaled crosswalk?

    What is the cost of the options to the fence people are talking about; HAWK signals and crosswalk signals? I’d tend to think either of them will be much, much more than the cost of this cheap (and unfortunately…cheap looking…!) cyclone fence that’s stopped mid way during construction.

    Sure, an underpass would be (may be a reality someday)wonderful. The way I read the letter from THPRD Jim McElhinny,(it’s posted in the forums) the alternative permanent route may not even be in design stage yet. Cost would probably be in the hundreds of thousands of dollars, or more.

    I don’t see a big problem with this fence as an interim safety and cost saving measure. The fence fabric won’t go up until the alternative access point are completed. For the moment, nothing’s really changed, except that there’s a bunch of ugly fence posts lining the road.

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  • surprising? May 26, 2010 at 7:27 pm

    If all they want to do is inform people of the crosswalk then the sign is plenty if not overkill, the fence is way over the line especially since this is a legal crossing point.

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  • q'Tzal May 26, 2010 at 7:33 pm

    I don’t commute this way but unless this <snide>”temporary”</snide> is made of wrought iron or concrete barriers I’m betting it is made ineffectual within 24 hours with a pair of wire snips.
    So before us westsiders go wasting our tax dollars to maintain and replace weekly what in all likelyhood, due to insufficient funding, be a permanent-temporary fix can we convince them that a fence is not the best short term solution?
    Given the increased hazards of riding in a busy parking lot, cycling on the sidewalk and contending with impatient drivers coming out SW Greenway this barrier might not be cost effective in the medium term either once injury lawsuits are considered as part of this implementation.
    Post a sign that says “CROSS AT YOUR OWN RISK!”

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  • Joe Rowe May 26, 2010 at 8:30 pm

    This year’s Oregon budget is 500 million short, 250 million will be cut from schools, we are spending 30k a day to plan a 5b bridge in one spot of a corridor clogged with single passenger cars for 30 miles.

    All that money on a fence could pay to paint a crosswalk and give the pedestrians some flags.
    http://www.life.com/image/687102

    Some might say this cheap, instant, crude fix would make the city more at risk for lawsuits. A fence would not reduce the huge existing liability.

    Spend our tax money on a study, committee or consultant. No. I say just apply the cheap fix now, then fix it long term with an underpass, we don’t need to invent another wheel.

    Another long term fix if the underpass is too costly:
    http://www.herculesfence.com/products/Wedge_Barrier_with_Traffic_Light.jpg

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  • resopmok May 26, 2010 at 9:08 pm

    I don’t understand why this is an issue. There are signals in multiple locations where the Springwater crosses streets such as SE 82nd. I’ve never heard a complaint about this arrangement, and I don’t see why it isn’t feasible in this location as well. Cheap, simple, effective and proven. Cost estimate? Can’t be sure, but I bet it would cost less than $50,000 and take less than 7 days to install a solar powered button activated crosswalk and lay some paint on the pavement.

    OR, we could overthink, spend way too much money on design, consultation, wait for ridiculous amounts of funding and end up with a well marked parking lot detour that connects to the existing crosswalk. Why do we let the city bungle so many common sense solutions?

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  • MIndful Cyclist May 26, 2010 at 9:22 pm

    I used to ride this trail almost every day for three months when I lived in Tigard. And, I agree with the sentiment of so many on here that taking that detour is really seems to be about as dangerous as crossing at Hall. Admittedly, I would often take this trail for some exercise mid-day so crossing mid-block was much less of a challenge.

    Riding down to Greenway and waiting for a light was tough because of all the turning traffic that could care less if someone was in the intersection. It seems like every car on Greenway will turn onto Hall and before that, you have to contend with people rushing into Arby’s.

    Honestly, if it is not a heavy traffic time during the day, I will just cut across Hall. I think it is a wash safety wise either way.

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  • MIndful Cyclist May 26, 2010 at 9:23 pm

    resopmok #37: Excellent post.

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  • K'Tesh May 26, 2010 at 9:58 pm

    Spoke to one of Beaverton’s City Engineers tonight, and we talked at length about this issue.

    A HAWK signal will not be installed until SW 125th gets built. Problem is that there is a terrible amount of traffic turning from SW Hall on to Greenway because it is the *ONLY* access for people who live in the area between SW Hart and Greenway without a lot of backtracking.

    SW 125th will not be built with Metro, or ODOT dollars, as it is local access only. There are members of the Beaverton City Council that are very much for SW 125th, and may have been elected on that platform. Problem is that they don’t want to commit political suicide and increase taxes to pay for SW 125th (about $15 million and counting).

    An underpass is cost prohibitive as the Fanno Creek Trail is squarely located in Clean Water Services area, and in a wetland area. Orientated similar to Scholls Ferry Road (the next nearest underpass), SW Hall has to be lifted up 2-3 feet, unless the trail is dug down 2-3 feet (thus under the water table). The overpass, or bridge has only 6 feet of clearance, and minimum head room is 8 feet.

    A flyover is cost prohibitive as the minimum clearance is 14 feet, though Beaverton is more likely to require 17 feet. Due to the sunken nature of the trail (compared to road grade), this requires a climb of 20-25 feet. ADA requirements have a 1 foot increase in ramp height per 10 feet. So to get to the required height, the ramps must be 300 feet long (spiral, or switchback, it’s still 300 feet), and this would still be quite steep, and difficult for cyclist and wheelchairists to negotiate, first going up, then with the decent.

    A crosswalk at the trail gives people (kids) the belief that they would be protected, but due to the queing for the left at Greenway they would be vulnerable to being run over when they have to go around a vehicle stopped on the crosswalk, and hidden from view by oncoming traffic.

    The best option was to put in a stoplight at the next intersection south (SW Creekside) which is level with the Fanno Creek Trail/SW Hall (no difficult incline) and still allow experienced people (cyclists/peds) to do the mid block crossing (which we’d do anyway). The holdup… no $$$$$$$

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  • K'Tesh May 26, 2010 at 10:03 pm

    correction… SW Creekside is actually East of the Fanno Creek trail…

    View Larger Map

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  • wsbob May 26, 2010 at 11:26 pm

    I never slogged through the parking lot route that Kt #8, and I think MIndful Cyclist #38 is talking about. What I did was to just go up to Greenway, cross with the crosswalk signal, and ride the sidewalk to the use trail into the park mid-block.

    Of course, supposedly this interim trail from the parking lot to the park will be constructed, at which time, the fence fabric will go probably go up, unless someone or some group can come up with a feasible, affordable alternative. That would mean no more mid-block crossings.

    If the passage of park visitors through the parking lot in its present configuration is dangerous, then the logical thing to do would be to have planners look at having the parking lot reconfigured; for example, restripe lines and relocate parking spaces to create an official path, sort of like the travel lanes through Beaverton Town Square’s sprawling parking lots.

    There are a number of reasons Hall Blvd is a particularly dangerous road to cross at this point mid-block. People exiting the nearby shopping complex and Greenway are part of the reason, as are the multiple lanes…check out the pics above…4 lanes. The other thing, which can’t really be seen on any of the pics here, is that Hall west of Greenway is a quite a steep hill that curves.

    So it is that motor vehicle operators at the top of the hill 750′ back or so, watching for the green, get a pretty good roll on, and if they make the green, they’re not inclined to slow down past Greenway across the park section where the grade levels out. I’ll guess and say 35-40mph speeds are typical. When the light level is low, fall, winter, when it’s raining, it really gets bad.

    I wish there were money for a great mid-block R-Y-G crossing signal. Trying to remember from the Foster Rd incident discussion…weren’t they about $150,000? That’s a chunk of change. I would not personally be enthusiastic about those laminated, striped crosswalks without full signal lights. Not after the tragic Foster Rd and Marine Drive incidents.

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  • Did I miss it? Again? May 27, 2010 at 8:48 am

    So we are looking at an investment of $50k-150K so walkers and cyclists can save a less than 400 yds of walking/riding distance (or about 8 minutes for walkers and 3 minutes for cyclists?)

    Sounds like a good investment to me. Let’s raise taxes to pay for it.

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  • are May 27, 2010 at 9:23 am

    re comment 43, wouldn’t need to spend anything if motorists would slow the hell down and watch for pedestrians.

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  • Kt May 27, 2010 at 9:49 am

    WSBob, the current path configuration directs path users to the parking lot– there’s a paved offshoot from the path to the parking lot, where it dumps path users into a complex traffic pattern.

    The problem with routing the trail through the parking lot is that Albertson’s is on one side of the parking lot and Arby’s is directly opposite– so designating a trail through the parking lot will mean either wiping out a swath of parking spots through the center, or route trail users around the fringes.

    Around the fringes = conflict with people entering and exiting the store, or conflict with people entering and exiting the Arby’s and the drive-through.

    Through the center = conflict with people looking for parking spots, getting into and leaving parking spots, walking to/from cars.

    No winning for anyone.

    I agree that a mid-block crossing signal would be great– it’s equidistant, almost, between two intersections, one that’s signalized and one that isn’t.

    Heck, I like K’Tesh’s idea of going east (flat-most) to the next intersection and putting a HAWK signal or a regular traffic signal there.

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  • Joe Rowe May 27, 2010 at 9:55 am

    The city of Beaverton needs to pull crews off a new road for a few days and build a crosswalk with stoplight.

    It’s a farce that there is no money for safety when crews are out building more roads.

    The cost of materials is relatively low. The crews show up to work and take orders from the Mayor. It is simple as that.

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  • MIndful Cyclist May 27, 2010 at 10:19 am

    @wsbob: My fault. I wasn’t completely clear. Kt covered a lot of what I was saying, but I remember the Arby’s/Albertson’s parking lot entrance/exit being a particularly hazardous area. Cars leaving would put the hood of car sticking into the bike lane waiting to turn. Cars making a left into it would wait for that elusive break in traffic and squeal into the lot. The first week of riding it, I followed the rules and went to the intersection. After that, I decided that is was just as easy to wait for a break in the traffic. Granted, it has been almost five years since I have taken this trail so things may have changed.

    #43: I am willing to take the risk of making this legal, yet somewhat risky crossing. If it turns out badly, I will live with the consequences. However, I can’t say that for many other people. Dropping $50,000 to make a traffic light there would be a drop in the bucket to a potential lawsuit settlement.

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  • K'Tesh May 27, 2010 at 10:24 am

    Joe(#46), the problem about money, is that projects have to be budgeted for, and the funds for them BY LAW must be used for them.

    If any community (Beaverton, Portland, Tigard etc) spent funds designated for a specific project on a different project, and fails to complete the specific one on time, must refund the money back to the state/feds.

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  • K'Tesh May 27, 2010 at 10:29 am

    Damn, I wish there was an Edit function…
    Here I go again…

    Any community (Beaverton, Portland, Tigard etc) must refund any funds, not designated for a specific project, if they are spent on a different project and fail to complete the specific one on time.

    (is that less awkward?)

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  • Did I miss it? Again? May 27, 2010 at 10:54 am

    #44- We also wouldn’t have to spend any money if pedestians and cyclists weren’t so self important and lazy to walk/ride to the existing cross walk.

    I know, I know… its hundreds of feet away and would take valuable minutes and therefore completely unreasonable.

    This is not about cars v. walkers v. cyclists. This is all about “my time is more important and therefore things should be changed to suit me and my needs.”

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  • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) May 27, 2010 at 11:02 am

    Mr. “Did I miss it? Again?”,

    I look at things from this perspective…

    People who walk and bike should not expect or be satisfied with an environment for doing so that is more dangerous, inconvenient, and uncomfortable than that which they’d experience if they were driving a car.

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  • Bill May 27, 2010 at 11:10 am

    #43/#50

    How many millions of dollars is each freeway overpass? Just put in a 4-way stop (way cheaper than a signal!). It would just be a few minute delay. Think of the tax savings! Refunds for everyone!

    –Bill

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  • Brad May 27, 2010 at 11:42 am

    Come now, Jonathan.

    If I wish to drive to Seattle from Hillsboro, then I must contend with the inconvenience and danger of driving into Portland first and then navigating its busy and complex system of freeways to get to a free flowing I-5. To use your logic, the taxpayers ahould be obligated to build a new freeway over / through the Cornelius Pass-Sauvie’s Island-West Vancouver so that Washington County drivers do not have to suffer the dangers, delays, and inconveniences caused by I-5 being routed directly through Portland. That’s an unacceptable pain in the rear!

    Cyclists and walkers get no special privileges due to their choice of transport. Crossing in the middle of the block is a choice. Putting yourself in danger by doing so is a choice. I can’t drive across a city park or school playground to avoid auto traffic when driving, why are walkers and cyclists deserving of a special facility or exemption to avoid a few moments of inconvenience?

    We’re all traffic, right? Same rules, right? This is not cars vs. others. This is a matter of personal choice and consequences. The crosswalk is available just a few hundred feet away. Use it or not, but take heed of the real world conditions and responsibility for your choices.

    This situation illustrates exactly why bike users are viewed by the general public as whiny and entitled.

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    • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) May 27, 2010 at 11:55 am

      Brad,

      I’m not talking about hundred-mile trips. I’m talking about trips where biking can be a reasonable option. You are taking my example to an extreme.

      I didn’t say anything about special treatment. Fact is, when I choose to bike somewhere I am subject to many more dangers and inefficiencies than when I choose to drive. Focus on this specific example. We have a transportation corridor for non-motorized users that dead ends into one for motorized users. The current situation is to hope that people detour out of their way on a sidewalk, crossing several busy commercial driveways, to get to the other side. That’s a joke and it only happens because motor vehicles have an entrenched bureaucratic priority over non-motorized modes.

      And by the way, I do not subscribe to the “Same Roads, same rules” mantra. Bikes need a different set of rules (but that’s another topic).

      Also, if the detour to the crosswalk is no big deal… how do explain the fact that all the major agencies and jurisdictions in this area have applied for and rec’d a grant to pay for finding a better solution? It’s because being able to cross Hall when there’s a regionally significant trail corridor on both sides of it is a reasonable request… and a request that will be filled eventually… all I’m saying is that the timeline needs to be sped up.

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  • Did I miss it? Again? May 27, 2010 at 12:00 pm

    Jonathan-
    I appreciate your perspective, but I am confused. I thought the purpose of the fence was to help ensure that the vulnerable users utilize existing infrastructure in order to be safer when crossing the street. Yet you stated earlier that these users were right for attempting the very dangerous mid-block crossing?
    As far as being inconvenient, it’s a few hundred feet!
    It appears that you are not looking for a crosswalk per se, but the ability to cross any road at any time at any place if it suits your needs.

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  • matt picio May 27, 2010 at 12:03 pm

    Did I miss it? (#19) – We’re talking about a 940′ detour (0.18 miles). 4 minutes of walking plus another 4-5 minutes waiting for the light to change.

    We’re *not* talking about safety. If we were, we’d be talking about the number of fatalities and injuries that occurred there, or at least the number of reported close calls. We’re not – we’re talking about perceived safety, and a concern that an increase in traffic on either the trail of the road may turn the theoretical into the actual.

    Safety can be obtained by closing the road to cars, so we’re not talking about safety per se, we’re talking about a safety solution which prioritizes the movement of motorized traffic over non-motorized traffic. There may be valid reasons for doing so (like the fact that Hall carries a lot more people at any given time than the trail does), but that doesn’t change the fact that motorized traffic is being given priority.

    Let me turn your question around – how many people need to die from crossing ANY street before people understand that they need to slow down and pay attention? it doesn’t matter if someone is crossing the street mid-block. If a driver (or cyclist) is unable to avoid or stop before hitting a pedestrian in the road, then that driver or cyclist is in violation of the basic speed law, which supercedes the posted limit.

    This is all about personal responsibility and the consequences of one’s actions. Unfortunately neither is likely to take effect, because they are inconveient, and American society prizes convenience and efficiency above all else.

    Marcus (#27) – In this case, the WA law is not applicable. Neither is ORS 814.060, since no such crossing exists. 814.070 only applies to walking in the direction the road runs, not when crossing the road. There is no Oregon law against crossing mid-block. There is a Portland law against it, however, and Beaverton (where this intersection lies) may have one as well, but I don’t have time at the moment to look it up.

    Joe Rowe (#36) has it right. 10 days of CRC planning money would buy a HAWK signal for this location.

    K’Tesh (#40) – So, it sounds like the solution is for a victim or their family to sue the city and change the city’s priorities. Hey, it’s America, litigation is our constitutional right, right?

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  • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) May 27, 2010 at 12:07 pm

    Did I miss it? Again? wrote:

    I thought the purpose of the fence was to help ensure that the vulnerable users utilize existing infrastructure in order to be safer when crossing the street.

    purpose of the fence is to try and discourage the mid-block crossing of Hall… and their new paved trail will actually drop people off in an arguably equally as dangerous driveway exit of a strip mall.

    Yet you stated earlier that these users were right for attempting the very dangerous mid-block crossing?

    You are putting words into my hands I did not type. I said it was understandable why people would want to cross mid-block… It’s also worth noting that crossing mid-block is legal at this location.

    It appears that you are not looking for a crosswalk per se, but the ability to cross any road at any time at any place if it suits your needs.

    I’m thinking only of this location and this issue. I’m not sure how you draw that conclusion. Again, non-motorized users should not be subject to this type of detour and traffic environment simply because a large and dangerous road crosses the trail.

    thanks.

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  • Did I miss it? Again? May 27, 2010 at 12:09 pm

    Bill-

    The price of a highway overpass is a non sequitor; unless of course you are building one within a few hundred feet of another.

    I do appreciate the compromise of a 4 way stop. Cheaper and still as safe as a cross walk (or the intersection).

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  • Did I miss it? Again? May 27, 2010 at 12:29 pm

    Jonathan-
    You did type these words:
    “Most people (rightfully so) ignore the sign and attempt the dangerous mid-block crossing.”
    You have since then edited them.

    I have not mentioned the legality of a midblock crossing, so I do not know what you are referring to.

    I am not sure of the history, so please feel free to educate me: Did the path cross the road or the road cross the path? Very big distinction.

    Matt-
    So what are you suggesting the underlying purpose of the fence is? Surely not to penalize walkers.
    5 minutes for a light to change seems rather long. 2-3 minutes would be my guess.

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  • Brad May 27, 2010 at 12:44 pm

    Extreme? An hour on a 200 mile trip seems proportional to 3-5 minutes on a five mile bike trip. Multiply that by thousands of roadway users, trucks, etc. and there is some awesome productivity and economic impact to be had! Heck, it’s a job creator!!!

    I agree that the Fanno Creek / Hall Street confluence is just awful design but that doesn’t merit your proposed solutions. Realistically, in tight budgetary times with cities and the state facing huge deficits, is even buying a HAWK signal (don’t forget the external costs of environmental mitigation, traffic flow studies and forecasts, public meetings, design work, consultant fees, legal work, etc. – the city can’t paint stripes and install a light overnight on the cheap!) for a trail crossing with no history of fatalities or serious auto/bike/pedestrian collisions (maybe K’tesh has numbers?) a wise use of tax dollars with a usable crosswalk located less a tenth of a mile away?

    We as bike and pedestrian advocates need to start thinking logically and pragmatically. This small and dubious improvement doesn’t seem worth wasting political capital on especially if it could take dollars from projects that serve far more alternative transportation users. In a perfect world with unlimited funding, do it! Tight times? Not so fast.

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  • JE May 27, 2010 at 12:49 pm

    A bit of white paint and a cross walk sign facing each direction on SW Hall.

    Done.

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  • resopmok May 27, 2010 at 2:08 pm

    We can argue until we’re blue in the face about which solution is the easiest, most cost-effective, safe and so on, but these are all just theories and corner cutting crap – the same kind of crap that has led to design flaws on the Morrison bridge, the chicane at Couch headed to Burnside, the bike lane and cycletrack on Broadway downtown, etc. A marked crossing with a R-Y-G light is a proven, effective solution as evidenced by where the Springwater Trail crosses streets like 82nd or Foster. Even a flashing beacon, such as those where the 205 trail meets the Marine Dr trail, or where the Marine Dr trail crosses the street by the airport would be a vast improvement over the nothing that exists there now. In fact, There’s two intersections with lights and pedestrian crosswalks where the 205 trail crosses Division within 100 yards in either direction, but they still installed a large, marked crosswalk with flashing beacons. Keep in mind this is an area with even heavier traffic and an even wider street than the spot at Hall in question, adjacent to a freeway nonetheless.

    Now, I don’t really ride the Fanno Creek trail, ever, so I have nothing personally invested in it, but this is a no-brainer. Get the permits, get the funding, and get it installed. It will be (comparatively) cheap, easy and quick to do. K’tesh – these guys are giving you the runaround and a bunch of crap excuses. You should demand a crosswalk here and now. If they refuse, start sending them pictures of women with strollers trying to cross at Hall, and ask them if _they_ want to be culpable when someone gets hurt. Find whatever means you can to leverage them, but do not accept anything less. This project is easy to execute and is chump change to the city. Make the city understand how important this issue is to your community, and that it will be someone’s political suicide not to deal with it as quickly as possible. That’s what will get them to listen.

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  • are May 27, 2010 at 4:21 pm

    re comment 50, my point is i am not asking anyone to “change” anything. maybe a lower speed limit, maybe some enforcement if necessary, but just watch the hell out. putting up a fence to prevent people from doing something they have every right to do seems a bit much.

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  • Did I miss it? Again? May 27, 2010 at 4:24 pm

    # 62 – Just make sure when you take the picture, you do it at an angle that doesn’t show the intersection and cross walk in the background.

    These women with strollers are not willing to walk for an additional 2 minutes (if that) to an intersection with a cross walk, so therefore the city should be financially responsible for anything that might happen to them.

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  • Paul Johnson May 27, 2010 at 4:27 pm

    If the fence goes up, I hope someone destroys it and sells the metal for scrap. The path is an important connector for cyclists in the area, and messing up an already bad intersection more is NOT an improvement.

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  • Paul Johnson May 27, 2010 at 4:35 pm

    @hemp22 #16: Except thankfully, the Waterhouse Powerlines Trail is going to be upgraded to become part of the Westside Regional Trail (wider with proper signage and pavement markings!) and is outside Beaverton, so Beaverton can’t screw it up.

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  • Paul Johnson May 27, 2010 at 4:42 pm

    I don’t think a Hawk is the right treatment for a signal at that intersection. Something more like what the Springwater has would be better (though it would be nice if the Springwater Trail had advance sensors to give cyclists a green light on approach at 15+ MPH rather than a single sensor embedded in the crosswalk intended for pedestrians on the cross street crossing the cycleway)

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  • Pete May 28, 2010 at 12:02 am

    Paul, I’m quite glad to be agreeing with you (from down here in California ;). I see lots of over-simplifications in these comments.

    Yes, “Did I miss it”, it’s a short distance to the crosswalk, but there are several dangerous factors, including 1) the crossing is on the left as you approach, so you either ride against traffic illegally in the bike lane or ride on the sidewalk (or walk, and those of us who clip in aren’t keen on that), 2) crossing the adjacent Albertson’s exit – drivers are looking left for opportunities to jump out and it’s dangerous enough walking across there, and 3) the Greenway light is, as someone mentions, very auto-centric and short even when the crossing button is pushed.

    An underpass is prohibitively expensive – remember, this is the city that just told you bike lanes on Lombard would cost too much – and there will be water table issues here. A crosswalk is on the downhill and very close to the busy Greenway and Albertson’s intersections (& the McMen’s plaza on the other side); a HAWK wouldn’t help the inherent dangers in the traffic flow here.

    I remember it was also a pain to get past some of the light poles on the sidewalk with my flat-bar bike, especially when peds were around (and I despise having to ride on sidewalks).

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  • Pete May 28, 2010 at 12:01 pm

    Paul (#66): an inside source tells me the city of Beaverton wasn’t involved (other than an informal equipment offer to THPRD). I’m told the contractor started prematurely, without proper authorization, and the project hadn’t been passed by the City’s professional staff.

    (Again, not that I disagree with your sentiment, nor would my friend but he likes having a job).

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  • Steve B. June 11, 2010 at 11:12 am

    Another possible solution is to make the ‘detour’ to the crosswalk really feel like a separated pathway. Plant some trees & flowers, put up a barrier between the street and the sidewalk. Then folks will feel like they’re continuing along the pathway to the connection, not leaving the pathway.

    This is also similar to how you build a cycletrack.

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  • K'Tesh June 11, 2010 at 6:44 pm

    @ Steve B. (post #70)

    This would only work for directing people east towards SW Crescent (due to existing structures), and only then if Crescent gets a crosswalk.

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