Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on August 22nd, 2011 at 11:11 pm
The Portland Bureau of Transportation and the Police Bureau will be watching you during the evening rush on N Williams Avenue on Tuesday night (8/23).
As I reported back in July, PBOT and the PPB will be doing a "crosswalk enforcement action" at the intersection of Williams and Morris. The idea is to educate the public about Oregon's crosswalk laws.
The cops will be out in force with a special focus to make sure people operating cars and bikes stop — and stay stopped — when someone tries to cross the street. (They'll also be watching for jaywalkers, they say.)
The idea is to "raise awareness of pedestrian safety and traffic law." This action is notable not just because Williams has been focus of a high-profile traffic safety project of late, but also because it'll be the first such enforcement exercise to take place during rush-hour.
As of last January, the PPB and PBOT had racked up 904 citations in five years of crosswalk enforcement actions. According to PBOT data, the most tickets ever issued during one, 60-90 minute action was 48 citations back in 2006 (it was held at 1111 SW 10th Ave if you're curious). Given what I've personally experienced on Williams, I can envision a record-breaking event.
A PBOT staffer trained as a decoy will attempt to cross at both marked and unmarked crosswalks and police officers will wait in the wings, hoping to nab violators. Chances are, only the most egregious (and/or distracted) vehicle operators will get caught. Signs will be posted prior to the intersection and a veritable phalanx of motorcycle cops will be parked nearby.
On Williams, the problem seems to be especially acute. With three lanes of high-speed (and often impolite) traffic, the inability to safely cross the street has been a common complaint. Several times recently, I've stopped for someone only to have numerous people on bikes and in cars blow by me as if they can't fathom why I'd be stopping in the middle of the lane.
Tuesday evening's event should be quite interesting. Be forewarned — a ticket for violation of ORS 811.028 could set you back $281.
To prep, keep your eyes peeled for people trying to cross the street. When you see them, stop, and stay stopped until they are safely through the lane next to you. For handy animated videos and more traffic safety resources, check out PBOT's website.