Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on May 24th, 2012 at 9:12 am
on SE Foster.
The Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) and the Portland Police Bureau (PPB) held one of their regularly scheduled “crosswalk enforcement actions” yesterday. This excellent program, run by the PBOT traffic safety team and dedicated staffer Sharon White (who often puts herself at risk on our most dangerous roads as a decoy during the missions), has resulted in nearly 1,000 citations since it began five years ago.
The set-up is your typical sting situation, except that it’s not exactly a sting. The reason we call these “enforcement actions” is because both the PPB and PBOT give plenty of prior warning that the missions are happening. They notify the public about them via the local media and they even set up signs at the locations announcing that an enforcement is ahead. The goal, says the City, is not to fill the City’s coffers busting scofflaws, but rather to increase awareness among road users of traffic safety and the laws that govern it.
Yesterday’s mission was held on SE Foster Road between SE 68th and 69th.
This is a notoriously dangerous and high speed arterial that has claimed several lives over the years. In fact, this enforcement mission was scheduled for this past February, but in a twist of tragic irony, it was postponed due to a fatal hit-and-run just one week prior. Mayor Sam Adams has dubbed this road the “Foster freeway” (Foster is also where former NFL player and UO star Joey Harrington was hit while bicycling last summer and where two women were killed while walking back in 2009.)
To give you an idea of just how rampant law-breaking is (especially on these high-speed arterials), in just about one hour of work last night, the PPB issued 13 citations and 9 warnings. Here’s how they broke down (taken from PBOT report):
- 8 Fail to yield to ped in crosswalk,
- 2 Fail to maintain safe distance from Emergency Vehicle
- 1 Cell phone,
- 1 Improper right turn,
- 2 Fail to display plate,
- 1 Fail to carry insurance,
- and 9 warnings (7 Fail to yield to ped in crosswalk, 2 Endanger child passengers (seatbelts)
In my opinion, this level of disregard for both laws and for the safety of fellow citizens is not surprising, but still shocking, and it should spark outrage among city leaders and the media. Yet, these enforcement actions happen every month and we rarely see them in the headlines.
— PBOT’s enforcement actions are part of their StreetSmart – Go Safe program. Learn more about it on their website.