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Beaverton PD crosswalk enforcement nets 55 tickets in five hours

Posted by on November 5th, 2010 at 9:58 am

seen in Beaverton
Waiting to cross near Beaverton City Hall.
(Photo © J. Maus)

What would happen if police officers in a suburban city went out and did a crosswalk law enforcement action (a.k.a. sting) at a busy intersection? Well, the Beaverton Police Department found out last Wednesday. Beaverton PD officers spent five hours, from 10:00 am to 3:00 pm, on two “crosswalk details.”

The result? 55 citations and nine warnings. Check the full press release from the Beaverton PD below (emphasis mine).

On November 3, 2010, from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., the Beaverton Police Department’s Traffic Team conducted two crosswalk details. The details were conducted at the intersections of S.W. 12th Street and S.W. Hall Boulevard (map) and S.W. 4th Street and S.W. Watson Avenue (map). Officers were looking for vehicles that did not stop and remain stopped for pedestrians while they were using the crosswalk, according to ORS 811.028.

In total 55 citations were written and 9 warnings given during a 5 hour detail; 43 citations were written for ORS 811.028 violations, 12 citations were written for speed limit violations, driving while suspended or uninsured, or using a cell phone while driving.

ORS 811.028 is a B Violation and could cost you up to $382. A violation occurs when a driver does not stop and remain stopped for a pedestrian when they are proceeding in accordance to a traffic control device or in the lane or adjacent lane in which the driver’s vehicle is traveling or turning.

Too often drivers don’t watch for pedestrians crossing or attempting to cross the street in a properly designated crosswalk. They may also become impatient and not remain stopped until the pedestrian has reached the sidewalk before continuing their drive. While pedestrians indeed have laws to follow too, drivers must remain diligent in their efforts to notice and allow a pedestrian safe passage.

Does anyone have more background and insights into the intersections they chose?

The City of Portland Bureau of Transportation also has an active crosswalk enforcement partnership with our Police Bureau. So far in 2010, they’ve carried out eight enforcement actions and have written 60 citations and 48 warnings.

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  • matt picio November 5, 2010 at 10:13 am

    Good press writeup by the PD – acknowledges the other party breaks the law, and then says “but that doesn’t mean you can too”.

    One has to wonder what the world would be like if none of us used the misbehavior of others to justify our own.

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  • Matthew November 5, 2010 at 10:22 am

    I really liked that they mentioned drivers who become impatient and blast through the intersection before the pedestrian is clear of the crosswalk. I’ve almost been clipped a number of times by people who just couldn’t wait another two and a half seconds, and it’s nice to see some attention called to this issue.

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  • Ely November 5, 2010 at 10:24 am

    woo hoo!! I LOVE crosswalk stings – they worked in LA when I lived there, ped deaths dropped from 20+ to 1 in one year.

    I was just in Ashland where crosswalks are like a religion: people STOP. Here they just blow on through even if people are crossing, and forget about checking for people ABOUT to cross.

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  • peejay November 5, 2010 at 10:34 am

    This is the winning issue to end car dominance of our public spaces, much more so than any bike issue will ever be. We all walk, at some point, each day (those who cannot walk have even a bigger stake in this, as handicapped access is imperiled by car dominance also).

    In our new political landscape, we have to use every public relations advantage available to make any progress. Let’s push the crosswalk issue as a metaphor for all that’s wrong with cars and society.

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  • craig November 5, 2010 at 10:38 am

    Hell yeah!

    Speaking from the perspective of Portland proper, this is a great way for the PPB to collect revenue while also increasing ped safety and educating drivers.

    The only thing better would be to get the 20 mph speed limit in place all over the city.

    I’d very much like PPB to perform a “enforcement action” on an **unmarked** crosswalk.

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  • JohnO November 5, 2010 at 10:39 am

    I know both of those intersections well. SW 12th and Hall is close to a senior rec center, and the other one is not far from the library and the central park where the city does flicks on the fountain and a farmers’ market.

    Hall actually splits to become two one-way streets, and then rejoins to become a two-way street on either side. When it splits, Watson is the temporary one-way (south) section. Hall/Watson is a major N/S thoroughfare through Beaverton, used by a LOT of motorists. Which is why I’m guessing the police used those two.

    However, neither crosswalk gets all that many people, especially on a weekday. Nor are are those key intersections for cyclists.

    Cyclists use Hall and Watson to ride north-south, but in the five years I’ve lived here I’ve never seen one use either crosswalk to go east-west.

    My commute crosses Hall and Watson at SW 5th, one block south. But there are traffic lights at both 5th/Hall and 5th/Watson.

    Grants Pass did a similar enforcement this summer, and the appalling results made the front page of the paper (though GP is a pretty small town).

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  • Nick V November 5, 2010 at 10:39 am

    That dude is ROCKING those black knee-highs.
    Here’s to being 40 and up.

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  • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) November 5, 2010 at 10:42 am

    Thanks for the insights JohnO. I was thinking how amazing it would be if this headline was front page in Beaverton. These enforcement actions are a great way to change public perception/behavior… but they’re limited somewhat to the amount of PR they receive.

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  • Todd Boulanger November 5, 2010 at 10:47 am

    That is a typical number of tickets for past efforts in other suburban cities. The City of Vancouver PD used to do similar enforcement actions near Clark College and other heavy pedestrian zones 5 or more years back (I cannot think if they have done any in the last 2 years). These were effective education efforts for the short term but they need to be a regular occurrence.

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  • mello yello November 5, 2010 at 10:48 am

    I was almost hit by a cop once while crossing east on broadway one block north of burnside. Traffic was backed up southbound and blocked the view of the crosswalk for drivers northbound. I hear an engine roaring north on broadway and stop in the middle of the crosswalk before entering the other half. Lo and behold it’s a portland police charger who is suddenly surprised to see me, but does not stop — he didn’t have sirens or lights on either. Had he not gunned his engine and roared down the road, I may have continued through the crosswalk and become a police cruiser hood ornament.

    Is it really necessary to wait for pedestrians to reach the other sidewalk in a multi-lane road before proceeding through an intersection? I bet an officer that’s not on crosswalk detail would ticket a driver for impeding traffic while waiting for a slow moving or spiteful pedestrian to reach the other side. If a driver shows frustration for having to wait, I walk extra slow — sometimes with a limp that magically disappears. Sometimes I moonwalk.

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  • Todd Boulanger November 5, 2010 at 10:48 am

    So should we assume no warnings were issued?

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  • BB November 5, 2010 at 10:51 am

    Interestingly enough when it comes to consenting adults we have sex stings and drug stings. Yet when it comes to protecting vulnerable road users, that doesn’t sound glamorous enough.

    Our priorities are way screwed up. This road (MN) could use a sting.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hhNvT8sbkKY

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  • wsbob November 5, 2010 at 11:15 am

    John O #8 is correct, noting that the intersections chosen are adjacent to the Library and the Elsie Stuhr Senior Center. Those facilities function and the people needing to cross the street to get back and forth to them would likely have been among the reasons for the Beaverton Police Department to conduct an enforcement detail there. From the street, these facilities are clearly visible, which should be a clear signal to road users that extra adherence to regulations is called for .

    Lots of people have to make these crossings, so it’s particularly important that road users use restraint in putting speed on to get where they need to go on Hall and Watson.

    Both streets are mainline gut streets. People drive like mad on them. I’m glad Beav PD is doing this…I just wonder if they’re going to be able to do it often enough to accomplish a significant reduction in the kind of infractions the dept was after.

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  • Nick November 5, 2010 at 11:17 am

    @mello yello #10

    Regarding waiting for pedestrians after they’ve cleared your lane: After a little google searching, it appears that the law requires you to wait until they have cleared your lane and the adjacent lane.

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  • OnTheRoad November 5, 2010 at 11:18 am

    MelloYello: “Is it really necessary to wait for pedestrians to reach the other sidewalk in a multi-lane road before proceeding through an intersection?”

    The rule essentially is you must stay stopped while the pedestrian clears the lane you are in and the adjacent lane. For a two-lane street, this would mean sidewalk to sidewalk. But for a 4-lane (or more) street, just your lane and the next lane.

    But if the pedestrian is a blind person, you must stay stopped no matter where they are in the crossing.

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  • Nick November 5, 2010 at 11:20 am

    I amend my previous comment: A law passed in 2005 added that a car may also proceed once a pedestrian has walked more than six feet from the car.

    http://www.oregon.gov/ODOT/DMV/news/nr_20051220_1.shtml

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  • John Reinhold November 5, 2010 at 11:20 am

    Is it really necessary to wait for pedestrians to reach the other sidewalk in a multi-lane road before proceeding through an intersection?

    No.

    When turning, You have to wait your lane plus 6 feet. At regular crosswalks you have to wait your lane plus the lane next to you.

    What you need to know about Oregon crosswalk laws

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  • John Reinhold November 5, 2010 at 11:23 am

    Haha, 4 comments in a row about how long we need to wait for Pedestrians to pass.

    Great minds think alike!

    So then the question should be, does the bike lane count as a “lane” in this aspect?

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  • mabsf November 5, 2010 at 11:25 am

    So, the Police conducted a sting?
    Hopefully the ‘nice’ officer that nearly flattened my son and me last Monday on Stark around 5:015 on a marked crosswalk while being on the phone was part of the operation…

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  • Michweek November 5, 2010 at 11:25 am

    Well I’m glad to see such a high fine for not stopping and staying stopped at a crosswalk. I walk a lot, about 50% (the other half on bike) and my biggest complaint would have to be when people can’t wait for me to cross the street fully. There is something about a car creeping towards you that is just unnerving and I hate it. It’s so bad I’ve just started to stop where I am and face the driver if they creep in on me. I’d rather them look me in the eye while they hit me than make me scamper across a road I have a right to cross safely and comfortably.

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  • Coldswim November 5, 2010 at 11:28 am

    I actually have a question. I have to drive TV Highway from Murray to 198th to get to work and there’s a crosswalk that crosses 4 lanes and has a large island in the middle. Do drivers need to remain stopped even after the walker has moved past the island in the middle? On a side note, I’m glad that they finally added those flashing lights to the crosswalk since it’s very, and I mean very, difficult to see people crossing that section of road at certain times of the day/night depending on what they’re wearing.

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  • Coldswim November 5, 2010 at 11:32 am

    Oops, should have read all the comments first. Guess it’s answered above. I have to wait my lane and the one next to me. Thanks

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  • mello yello November 5, 2010 at 11:44 am

    There was a discussion on Think Out Loud on NPR recently with a few panelists from bike/pedestrian coalitions explaining the pedestrian assertion of her right-of-way to cross occurs only when she makes a move to cross the road, not if she’s only standing at the edge of the crosswalk. Technically, if the sting officers had not started to cross, and were only waiting on the sidewalks for the cars to stop, the tickets would be invalid.

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  • S E Cyclist November 5, 2010 at 11:49 am

    The Portland Police put out signs warning of crosswalk enforcement ahead. That seems absolutely silly to me. Sure, it likely reduces the chance of a citation being dismissed in court, but warning people that “for today, at this location, you need to obey the law” is BS. Did the Beaverton PD also put out warning signs? Would Portland PD issue more citations if they didn’t provide this additional warning? I’d like to see LOTS more enforecement at crosswalks. Maybe one every day somewhere in the city.

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  • mello yello November 5, 2010 at 12:04 pm

    They put out signs and alert the media to garner more attention and awareness to remind the TV viewing audience of pedestrian rights at crosswalks. Speed stings and DUII enforcement during holidays are announced for the same purpose in the belief that people will be more apt to obey the law if they they think there’s a higher chance of being caught.

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  • wsbob November 5, 2010 at 12:17 pm

    “… and my biggest complaint would have to be when people can’t wait for me to cross the street fully. There is something about a car creeping towards you that is just unnerving and I hate it. It’s so bad I’ve just started to stop where I am and face the driver if they creep in on me. …” Michweek #20

    The ‘creeping’ part: I don’t like that either, and for some time, I’ve done just like you…stopping, or at least slowing before stepping in front of such a vehicle, until they clearly indicate by the operation of their vehicle, that they’re going to stop it.

    I always do this with a pleasant smile. They nearly always catch on real quick, and notably slow the vehicle down to a full stop.

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  • Anton November 5, 2010 at 12:21 pm

    Does it work like this: if you have a clean record you get a warning and if you’ve had a violation you get a ticket?

    What about if you have a clean record but chronically don’t stop for pedestrians?

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  • JF November 5, 2010 at 12:22 pm

    They announced it with signs and people still got caught. Makes you think if there were not signs, how many people would have broken the law.

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  • jim November 5, 2010 at 12:27 pm

    I’m glad they are doing this. drivers need a wake up call sometimes. I didn’t realize the fine was so high. they could put up some signs saying what the fine is for not stopping, that would get people to stop too. Did they stop any bikes? it has been my observation that when I stop bikes never stop, they just pass me and go right on through, the pedestrian allways has to yeild to the bike

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  • mikky November 5, 2010 at 12:33 pm

    Whats lacking in these Cross walk enforcements is the total numbers.
    # of vehicles + # of Crossings.
    It would give a better perspective,yes?

    Still,Just one incident is one to many.

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  • Steph Routh, WPC November 5, 2010 at 12:46 pm

    Great article. Thanks, Jonathan.

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  • John Lascurettes November 5, 2010 at 1:36 pm

    I’d love to see PoPo do some unmarked crosswalk stings in downtown, particularly near places like food carts (e.g. Alder and Washington at 9th).

    I’ve seen way too many people (including TriMet drivers!) completely ignore my intention to cross at the corner once I’ve stepped off the curb. That is the law. Yesterday, I was halfway across the street and a woman still insisted on blasting past me about 20 inches away in the second lane, even though I was staring at her and putting out my hands for her to stop.

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  • random rider November 5, 2010 at 1:39 pm

    May I politely remind my fellow bike riders that these rules apply to us as well. I can’t count how many times I have seen a rider in the bikelane blow through a crosswalk and narrowly avoid hitting pedestrians. This sometimes happens even when cars are fully stopped in the vehicle lanes and even when bikes are stopped in the bike lane.

    Just this summer I saw this happen many many times just at N Williams and Failing alone.

    Let’s respect these rules that protect other vulnerable people the same way we want cars to follow the ones that are to our benefit.

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  • J November 5, 2010 at 1:53 pm

    “Too often drivers don’t watch for pedestrians crossing or attempting to cross the street in a properly designated crosswalk.”

    Once again, the police is spreading misinformation about unmarked crosswalks. A crosswalk is a crosswalk, it doesnt have to be “properly designated” for the laws to apply.

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  • peejay November 5, 2010 at 1:56 pm

    It’s been my perception that when people are predisposed to see cyclists breaking the law, that’s what they see. Thanks for your ever-dependable comments, jim.

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  • kellie rice November 5, 2010 at 2:30 pm

    I really liked reading the part about some of those 12 citations being given out to drivers who were using hands held cell phones. I’m kind of surprised the police didn’t catch more.

    In waiting at long traffic signals on my commute home, I’ll play I-spy games ( usually by myself :) ) seeing how many drivers on the road have a phone stuck to their head.

    It can often be 3-4 drivers out of 10.

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  • Joe Rowe November 5, 2010 at 3:29 pm

    Car sting = giving tickets to drivers who create a significant safety risk AND a law is broken.

    Bike sting in Ladd’s = giving tickets where a law is broken, and no significant safety risk exists

    I’m guessing the normal American breaks about 50 laws each day weather they drive a car, walk or bike. Should we sting when there’s no safety risk?

    I wished someone published faces of the folks who failed to stop, and were using their cell phone.

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  • Spencer Boomhower November 5, 2010 at 3:34 pm

    Michweek #20

    “There is something about a car creeping towards you that is just unnerving and I hate it.”

    Agreed. I do a lot of crossing of Hawthorne in my day-to-day foraging, and experience this a fair amount there.

    It’s part of why, when crossing Hawthorne in the 40′s, I’m just as likely to wait for a break in traffic and cross whenever it’s clear, wherever I am on the block; technically jay-walking. (There, I said it. I feel as if a weight has been lifted from my shoulders. :)) It often feels safer doing that than depending upon the kindness of strangers who first stop to let you go, but then do the menacing creep forward as soon as you’re in their sights.

    Of course, when I’m on the other side of the wheel, I’ve experienced that pressure to move forward; it can be weirdly difficult to stop, especially with other drivers breathing down your neck. Maybe that’s because I didn’t grow up with stop-for-ped laws. But of course I try to stop when I’m the driver in that situation. And knowing so well what it’s like to be the ped in that situation, it even becomes a special pleasure to summon up a zen-like calm, stop traffic, and hang way back, giving the person on foot the breathing room to cross without an increasing their blood pressure.

    It’s even more satisfying to do this on a bike. (Though the fear of being rear-ended is more present then.)

    Anyway, good to see this enforcement action, and good to see it reported here on BikePortland. Us vulnerable road users need to stick together.

    I continue to hope to see this kind of action happen for the benefit of vulnerable road users on bikes. It would be great to put a plainclothes officer on a bike and have them ride down quiet neighborhood bike boulevards (while trailed by other officers), watching for the hurried cross-traffic that plunges right into the boulevards, half-blowing stops and hardly noticing bikes until they’re well into the roadway. Drivers do this often at SE Salmon at 45th.

    (BTW, it would be nice to have a more elegant term than “vulnerable road user.” Hmm, it would be a funny acronym if we could just put an “M” onto the end of the “VRU.” Or maybe VRUUM? Vulnerable Road Users United in …?)

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  • NF November 5, 2010 at 3:41 pm

    My general feeling as both a cyclists and a pedestrian is that yielding by either party isn’t really necessary for bike-ped crossing conflicts. The speeds are slow and the maneuverability is high, so there is no harm in crossing when you like. (There would be an exception for rush hourr.)

    Only when cars are involved does the requirement of yielding become a life-or-death matter.

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  • Kate November 5, 2010 at 4:54 pm

    I really hate it when a car is creeping up on me while I’m walking across the street, yet I do it to pedestrians sometimes when I’m riding my bike. The difference is that the cars are getting close enough to nearly touch, then zoom by when I’m clear by one foot. On my bike, I slow to a creep 20 feet from the intersection and roll slowly until the pedestrian is safely on the opposite curb, never getting closer than 10 feet away.

    Is this enough of a difference, or should I stop or learn how to track stand? Can anyone recall feeling menaced by a creeping cyclist?

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  • Greg November 5, 2010 at 4:58 pm

    My partner and I love this video “Every Corner is a Crosswalk” – http://www.portlandonline.com/mayor/index.cfm?c=49278&a=248292

    We often talk about whether an intersection made me feel like I was wearing a crown, or not.

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  • chad lanning November 5, 2010 at 5:23 pm

    “a zen-like calm” when you stop for someone in a crosswalk indeed…love that feeling!

    ….

    Since most stings are a cause of too many complaints one can assume that the PPB might be coaxed into performing a few of these stings too if people complained a bit more about something we see 1-50 times a day.

    squeaky wheel gets the grease…

    (does anyone know the most correct # to call?)

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  • spare_wheel November 5, 2010 at 5:27 pm

    “or learn how to track stand?”

    yes.

    (its fun, easier that it looks, and pedestrians are amused.)

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  • chasingbackon November 5, 2010 at 7:57 pm

    Will PoPo please do this operation, without the warning signs, where the 205 bike path crosses Division. I have almost been hit a bunch of times by drivers not paying attention. It is consistently the most dangerous major street crossing in SE Portland, IMHO.

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  • Red Five November 6, 2010 at 6:13 am

    would we be so jubilant here if the police were conducting stings on cyclists who don’t stop and also endanger pedestrians?

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  • Red Five November 6, 2010 at 6:15 am

    chasingbackon: ypu said it on the Division crossing. That is just plain bad design expecting people to get across a street like that with no light.

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  • Stig10 November 6, 2010 at 11:34 am

    What happens when they catch someone driving with no license or a suspension? Do they at least tow the car and fine the driver?

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  • wsbob November 6, 2010 at 12:12 pm

    “would we be so jubilant here if the police were conducting stings on cyclists who don’t stop and also endanger pedestrians?” Red Five #45

    The streets out in Beaverton where the enforcement details…stings…as you put it…were conducted, are used by cyclists as well as motor vehicles. Sure…if police had observed cyclist road users failing to yield to pedestrians at the crosswalks, I’d have expected the police to issue citations to such cyclists.

    As far as being ‘jubilant’ about that happening? Doesn’t seem like an activity that’s cause for that kind of emotional response, but as a sign that efforts to convey a message about the importance of following regulations that serve to make safe street crossings for vulnerable road users…pedestrians in this case…possible, I’d be very comfortable with the police issuing citations to cyclists.

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  • Dan November 7, 2010 at 10:08 am

    Pedestrians (just like any other critters on the road) should always be afforded the right-of-way, in deference to the threat any larger and/or faster traffic presents them.

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  • Dan November 7, 2010 at 10:09 am

    Hey Kate,

    I was menaced by a *creepy* cyclist once. Does that count? :-)

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  • Clyde November 7, 2010 at 2:48 pm

    This type of “harassment” is why I usually vote against money for police.

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  • Paulie November 7, 2010 at 4:36 pm

    Yeah, that Division/205 path crossing is an accident waiting to happen. I’ve sat there while dozens of cars ignored the flashing crossing signal.

    They could have easily routed the path under Division. There’s plenty of room next to the MAX tracks, and there is already a gravel service road there. A few hundred feet of asphalt might even have been cheaper than the signal.

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  • murph November 8, 2010 at 8:01 am

    By definition a sting in law enforcement, is a deceptive operation designed to catch a person committing a crime. A typical sting will have a law-enforcement officer or cooperative member of the public play a role as criminal partner or potential victim and go along with a suspect’s actions to gather evidence of the suspect’s wrongdoing.

    The people caught made a choice on their own to violate the law.

    Stop calling these operations “stings” the police are witnessing violations they have no other role in the action of those who violated the law.

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  • Maureen November 8, 2010 at 1:04 pm

    To Random Rider, Amen.

    I’m a bicycle commuter, and I often see bicyclists blow through the crosswalk near the intersection of SW Broadway and Burnside without even looking for pedestrians. I’d like to see bicyclists do a better job of following traffic laws in general. I could care less about the occasional missed neighborhood stop sign, but red lights? Passing on the right in an intersection? Ignoring crosswalks? Inconsiderate and dangerous.

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