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Police write 15 citations for illegal driving during Clinton enforcement action

Posted by on February 11th, 2016 at 3:38 pm

SE Clinton 2.10.16 1
Two users of Clinton Street during yesterday’s enforcement action.
(Photo: Felicity J. Mackay, Portland Bureau of Transportation)

All 15 of the citations written by the Portland Police Bureau during Wednesday’s traffic enforcement action on Southeast Clinton Street were given to people who failed to obey traffic laws while driving their cars.

The police were out in force to help Portlanders understand that Clinton is an important bikeway; a place where cycling should be able to happen in a low-stress environment. The bureau of transportation recently underscored this fact by installing diverters at 32nd and 17th in order to prevent people from driving on Clinton. In addition to writing tickets, the police gave out eight warnings to road users (two of them to people riding bikes without lights) and passed out pamphlets with safety information.


Here’s more from the City about what police saw:

“The stops were primarily for Failing to Obey a Traffic Control Device. Three charges were for Illegal U-Turn. All three of those were for people in vehicles who turned right at the SE 17th Street diverter, made a U-Turn and then retuned to make another right to continue along SE Clinton. The last contact of the day was at the SE Clinton and SE 17th diverter at approximately 11:00 p.m. when a person driving was arrested for DUII (.14 BAC).

These actions are a key part of the city’s approach to Vision Zero and they plan to keep it up next week. The police and PBOT will team up again on Wednesday (2/17) for a crosswalk-focused mission on Southeast 82nd. They’ll focus their efforts on two notoriously dangerous crossings at Division and Harrison. Both 82nd and Division are designated as High Crash Corridors. PBOT data shows there were 24 crashes involving people trying to walk across the street on or near 82nd and Division, two of them resulting in a fatality.

— Jonathan Maus, (503) 706-8804 – jonathan@bikeportland.org

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39 Comments
  • Adam H. February 11, 2016 at 3:42 pm

    Thanks, PPB!

    Recommended Thumb up 24

  • eddie February 11, 2016 at 3:45 pm

    Questions coming out of this, How long does it usually take drivers to get used to these kinds of diverters? Were these violations due to confusion, or drivers who were “inconvenienced” by having to go a few blocks out of their way to get to point B? And are those failure to obey tickets still $242?

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    • alankessler February 11, 2016 at 3:50 pm

      IMHO a U-Turn on SE 17th to skirt the diverter is selfish behavior that is highly unlikely to be based on confusion. I’m glad they were able to cite some of those drivers.

      Recommended Thumb up 37

    • bikeslobpdx February 12, 2016 at 3:36 am

      I live near the diverter at Ladd and Clay, and I see that kind of behavior there all the time. So based on my observations, the answer is “over ten years.”

      Recommended Thumb up 9

    • paikiala February 12, 2016 at 11:40 am

      PBOT does not recount after a diverter test for at least 3 months.

      Recommended Thumb up 1

  • alankessler February 11, 2016 at 3:47 pm

    Very pleased that these PPB officers exercised discretion appropriate to the mission. It looks as though they accepted the goal of reducing dangerous activity and focused resources there. Well done!

    I think (hope) that the low count of citations written is a measure of the efficacy of the diverters in reducing volume around 17th and 32nd.

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  • rachel b February 11, 2016 at 4:14 pm

    Very glad to see any traffic enforcement in our neighborhood. Please stop some of the egregious speeders on 25mph SE 26th next. Thanks.

    I’m pleased about the diverter, but it’s moved enough unpleasantly aggressive cut-through traffic to Taggart that I no longer walk home from MAX along it, taking Clinton instead (which is quite pleasant now. Them are some lucky homeowners–probably boosted their home values a good deal).

    We really do seem to be moving the problem around–Woodward is really getting hit badly by impatient commuters and Division Street fun-seekers as well. I’m all for what’s been done on Clinton, but….help?

    Recommended Thumb up 15

  • jake February 11, 2016 at 5:02 pm

    I’d be glad to see such targeted traffic enforcement in my neighborhood (NW portland). I can’t count the number of times I’ve nearly been run over in a cross walk by bicyclists not stopping at stop signs, and motor vehicles rolling through them.

    My approach is to assume a cyclist/car will not stop, and it has still been close a few times. I think the city could generate quite a bit of revenue if they had a plain clothes office post up at a busy 4-way stop in the Pearl.

    I’m a cyclist (though I only ride in the country or other areas without motor vehicles) because I don’t trust drivers, and it’s honestly been a shock to me how irresponsible and inconsiderate cyclists are in my area of Portland. Given the well documented conflicts with motor vehicle drivers I had expected a higher level of consideration for pedestrians.

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    • Ted Timmons (Contributor) February 11, 2016 at 6:56 pm

      Yeah, there are a ton of cars ignoring stop signs at 2-way stops in NW District. Kinda scary.

      I’d hope cyclists and pedestrians can get along- I’ve always found it possible to have a short conversation (“go ahead”) in bike/ped situations.

      Recommended Thumb up 6

  • RMHampel February 11, 2016 at 5:44 pm

    Rachelb, I feel your pain. I’m on Woodward and the cut through traffic has greatly increased since the diverters went in. Speed bumps and more stop signs may be the only solution. People are impatient. Maybe making the alternative routes even less convenient will help.

    Recommended Thumb up 3

    • rachel b February 11, 2016 at 8:46 pm

      RM–agreed (about more diverters)! More and more drivers seem to be discovering Woodward every day. SE 26th, too. I have a good view of people turning off 26th onto Woodward and I can’t stand the impatient way I see drivers tear up or down it. I feel for you and everyone on that street.

      Recommended Thumb up 2

  • Tom Hardy February 11, 2016 at 5:57 pm

    I hope they put the same type of speed bumps that are in on NW Lovejoy west of 30th. They consist of a small divider in the middle of the street and a 6 inch valley in the middle of the speedbump lane for bicycles and motorcycles.

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    • Ted Timmons (Contributor) February 11, 2016 at 6:57 pm

      They are actually for fire trucks/ambulances. But they come in handy- as a cyclist, I can go through the Cornell speed bumps much faster than cars.

      Recommended Thumb up 3

  • Todd Boulanger February 11, 2016 at 6:08 pm

    Yep it looks like pure bicycle anarchy and bicyclists ripping up the street and breaking the law…with 0% of the traffic violations observed today on Clinton being bike generated…and <9% of ALL traffic enforcement interactions.

    Recommended Thumb up 5

  • Scott H February 11, 2016 at 6:45 pm

    .14 BAC at 1pm in the afternoon, driving on Clinton, boyyy howdy that’s somethin. Is it just me or have there been a ton of DUIIs this year.

    Recommended Thumb up 4

    • still riding after all that February 11, 2016 at 7:56 pm

      I wasn’t there so I can’t be sure, but this is what it says in the article:
      “The last contact of the day was at the SE Clinton and SE 17th diverter at approximately 11:00 p.m. when a person driving was arrested for DUII (.14 BAC).”

      11pm, not 1pm. In any case, it’s appalling. I hope that driver goes to jail, pays HUGE fines, loses the vehicle, and has to get by without driving for a LONG time after being released.

      I consider DUII to be the number one problem on our streets, and would like to see many more Enforcement Actions targeting drunk drivers.

      Recommended Thumb up 6

      • alankessler February 11, 2016 at 8:20 pm

        I think use of mobile devices should be right up there if not ahead of DUII on that list.

        Recommended Thumb up 16

        • Dan A February 11, 2016 at 11:20 pm

          Mobile device use is SOOOO EASY to spot! It’s a wonder the police aren’t constantly pulling people over for it.

          Recommended Thumb up 10

          • q`Tzal February 11, 2016 at 11:59 pm

            That would be a good excuse for police to be wearing something blatant like Google Glass so they could just look at a driver using their phone while driving and have evidence of said crime before the offender stashes their phone once they see the blue lights.

            Recommended Thumb up 3

          • Eric Leifsdad February 12, 2016 at 10:52 am

            Or speeding, rolling stop signs, crosswalks, driving in the bike lane, turn signals…

            Recommended Thumb up 2

  • soren February 11, 2016 at 6:48 pm

    Kudos to PBOT and the PPB for focusing on bonafide traffic safety risk.

    I also believe that the PPB should only stop a vulnerable road user if that person is endangering or violating the right of way of others. The use of limited enforcement resources on safe jaywalking and safe jaybiking is contrary to vision zero.

    Recommended Thumb up 11

    • BeavertonRider February 12, 2016 at 11:32 am

      Wait, what? Enforcing jaywalking and “Jayriding” somehow crosses vision zero principles? If so, thenn that is a bug of vision zero. Vision zero can never be achieved if some of us cant dangerously cross roads between intersections or at something other than a designated midblock crosswalk.

      Recommended Thumb up 0

      • Derp February 12, 2016 at 7:49 pm

        You’ve conveniently left out crucial modifiers and changed others to build up a ridiculous strawman. Nice spin! I think you fit in just fine here when you’re not whining. No wait, that’s modus operandi too. Carry on jubilant poster!

        Recommended Thumb up 3

      • Spiffy February 16, 2016 at 8:29 am

        why did you replace “safe” with “dangerous” when you repeated the scenario?

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  • mh February 11, 2016 at 7:42 pm

    Nice to know that there were some officers doing enforcement in the evening. Several of us scouted and didn’t see any.

    Clinton is almost as low-stress as a neighborhood greenway is intended to be.

    Recommended Thumb up 6

  • yashardonnay February 11, 2016 at 11:33 pm

    Please take a moment and send a note of gratitude to PBB for their enforcement on Clinton. They need to hear from you!

    Recommended Thumb up 5

  • Adam February 12, 2016 at 8:47 am

    Perhaps the design of the diverter needs to incorporate a longer median strip to deter more u-turns.

    Like the kind that exists for well over an entire block on E Burnside at 14th/15th for example. Or like the kind that exists on SE 82nd Ave at Division, right outside PCC’s Southeast Campus.

    If the diverter isn’t long enough, people will just u-turn around it. The ridiculously ineffective “diverter” at SE 20th & Ankeny is testament to this. So many people just drive around it to make an illegal left.

    Recommended Thumb up 3

    • paikiala February 12, 2016 at 11:49 am

      Your examples are two streets very different from 17th and Clinton.
      14/15th at Sandy – Sandy is a Major City Traffic street, as is 82nd north of Division. Both with traffic volumes well over 20,000 vehicles per day.
      An apples to lava comparison.
      It would be wiser to spend our limited resources where they would prevent crashes that might kill someone than on a local service street like SE 17th Avenue near Clinton.

      Recommended Thumb up 0

      • Adam February 12, 2016 at 1:33 pm

        This isn’t about safety necessarily, it’s about comfort. If the City of Portland is to meet its goals for increasing bike ridership, it needs to start attracting more than the confident demographic. The way to increase comfort for riders is to remove auto capacity. Why do you think the Springwater path et all is so popular with everyone from age 6 – 60? There’s no car traffic, that’s why.

        And I’m sorry, but a median diverter is a median diverter, whether it’s on SE 17th, or SE 82nd. The function is exactly the same. What value you place on that function, financial or other, is entirely up to you.

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        • paikiala February 12, 2016 at 3:27 pm

          The effect, return on investment if you like, is quite different.
          Access management on 82nd and Sandy likely prevents numerous collisions, from the mistake of turning into traffic in too short a gap to the significant reduction in head-on collisions.
          The only effect extended medians might have on SE 17th is parking loss in a residential neighborhood and preventing some low risk U-turns a half block away from a greenway. How many similar maneuvers are occurring elsewhere north or south of Clinton, without any consternation being expressed?

          Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Eric Leifsdad February 12, 2016 at 10:55 am

    Good news. I would like to know the total cost of this action and how many of the tickets are reduced or dismissed. If it breaks even, we should do it every day. If not, we need to fix that like a platinum city does it.

    Recommended Thumb up 2

  • Lester Burnham February 12, 2016 at 2:27 pm

    The cyclist looks angry at the Harley dude…got those damn loud pipes?

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  • buildwithjoe February 12, 2016 at 11:26 pm

    The cops could pay for 50 more cops if they ticketed just 10% of the people driving while on the phone. In rush hour you could just do this on foot as cars move so slowly due to all the drivers in front of them.

    Recommended Thumb up 1

  • Opus the Poet February 12, 2016 at 11:35 pm

    So 15 tickets/arrests for motor vehicles, 2 for bikes (no lights)

    Recommended Thumb up 1

  • Jim Smith February 15, 2016 at 12:30 pm

    I really wish they’d set up an enforcement day at east burnside and 53rd. I travel that way to go to work and see cars making illegal turns there everyday. Any tips on who to contact about this?

    Recommended Thumb up 0

    • Eric Leifsdad February 15, 2016 at 6:17 pm

      You could contact the police (or the mayor, who oversees PPD), since they are responsible for enforcement. They will probably tell you to contact PBOT, because they setup this phone number so the police won’t be bothered by requests for traffic enforcement. Seems like we should find a more effective way to manage this in a vision zero embracing platinum biking city.

      https://www.portlandoregon.gov/transportation/article/299189

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