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15-year-old clings to life after being hit by a driver near north Portland school – UPDATED

Posted by on August 30th, 2016 at 9:28 am

The intersection of Columbia and Midway. George Middle School is on the left in the background.

The intersection of Columbia and Midway. George Middle School is on the left in the background.


Despite pleas from the police to slow down due to the start of the school year, there has already been a major collision and a 15-year-old boy is clinging to life.

According to the Portland Police Bureau, the crash happened at around 7:45 am this morning at North Columbia Boulevard and Midway — right across the street from George Middle School. The Oregonian has confirmed that the boy is an incoming freshman at nearby Roosevelt High School and was headed to his first day of classes.

As you can see in the photos below, Columbia Blvd is a major industrial freight route with a wide, five-lane cross-section. And Midway is at an angled intersection. The street is so dangerous to cross and so close to a school that it has one of those walking bridges that goes up and over it (bridges that planners and engineers often see as symbolic of a failed street). The speed limit is 40 mph at this location. There’s a speed reader board a few tenths of a mile from the collision site which means that PBOT has been trying to slow speeds down in this area.

georgecrash

Here’s more from the PPB about the collision:

Officers and medical personnel arrived and located a 15-year-old male suffering from traumatic injuries. He has been transported to a Portland hospital for treatment to potentially life-threatening injuries.

The driver stopped approximately one block away from the scene then walked back to talk with police.

Due to the severity of the teen’s injuries, the Traffic Division’s Major Crash Team is responding to conduct an investigation.

All traffic on North Columbia Boulevard is closed between North Midway and Burr Avenues.

In the last few days the police have tried to warn the public to be extra careful while driving:

This crash comes just 11 days after 15-year-old Fallon Smart was hit and killed while trying to cross Hawthorne Boulevard. And on August 10th a Gresham man used his car as a weapon to kill a 19-year-old.

UPDATE, 3:46 pm: Police have just released names and more details:

The 15-year-old male injured in this morning’s crash has been identified as Bradley Fortner of North Portland.

Traffic officers learned that the driver, 28-year-old Natanael Lopez-Castillo of North Portland, was driving a gray 1993 Nissan pickup eastbound on North Columbia Boulevard when he struck Fortner in the roadway. Fortner was crossing from the southside of the street to the northside at the time of the crash. Lopez-Castillo did not exhibit any signs of impairment.

No citations have been issued and Lopez-Castillo was not arrested.

The investigation is continuing and once complete it will be given to the Multnomah County District Attorney’s Office for review.

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

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NOTE: We love your comments and work hard to ensure they are productive, considerate, and welcoming of all perspectives. Disagreements are encouraged, but only if done with tact and respect. If you see a mean or inappropriate comment, please contact us and we'll take a look at it right away. Thank you — Jonathan

262 Comments
  • Spiffy August 30, 2016 at 9:35 am

    why do we allow a 40 mph road next to a school? and why no school zone speed limit of 20 mph? this should (obviously) never have happened…

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    • Hello, Kitty August 30, 2016 at 10:34 am

      It’s probably because there is a bridge. But, obviously, not everyone is using it. Having kids crossing that street looks like a safety disaster.

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      • Chris I August 30, 2016 at 1:22 pm

        A better question is, why did they think that building a bridge was the solution, rather than fixing the road itself? You have one grade-separated crossing of this deadly road, the only one for miles and miles in each direction. Pedestrians have to go blocks out of their way and climb several flights of stairs to cross the street? This is outrageous.

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        • Adam H. August 30, 2016 at 1:24 pm

          Typical engineer line of thinking. They technically fixed the problem (people can’t cross the street safely), but failed to actually address the cause of the problem.

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        • paikiala August 31, 2016 at 8:44 am

          No stairs, all ramp.

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          • Hello, Kitty August 31, 2016 at 9:25 am

            Stairs are probably better for able bodied pedestrians than a ramp is. The real question is do people use or eschew the structure, taking their chances on the street?

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            • Sancho Villa September 4, 2016 at 3:38 pm

              I wonder if, like many stair overpasses in this city, the one in question is inhabited by bums sleeping on the landings and a constant strong smell of urine and feces? Perhaps a contributor to people not using the overpass.

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    • Kyle Banerjee August 30, 2016 at 11:01 am

      I agree that 40 mph is way too fast bordering a school.

      However, I think that people tend to focus too much on school zones because kids can be anywhere and the vast majority of drivers are already careful where kids are known to be.

      If anything good results from this tragedy, I hope it leads to more attention to areas sorely in need of infrastructure and ideas for realistic ways to improve safety.

      I am hugely in favor of improving infrastructure and driver behavior, but even in a best case scenario, it will take a very long time to dramatically improve safety. In the meantime, it is critical for vulnerable road users to be aware of of things they can do to mitigate dangers they face. Even if the driver is found 100% at fault, that won’t undo the permanent damage to this young man’s life.

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      • lop August 30, 2016 at 11:24 am

        >However, I think that people tend to focus too much on school zones because kids can be anywhere

        Like on Hawthorne by 43rd.

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      • paikiala August 30, 2016 at 4:50 pm

        RE: School Zones, If the school is not immediately adjacent to the roadway, i.e., is elevated above the road (in this case), or in a depression below the road, or includes a fence (this case) to prevent young children from leaving the school grounds chasing a ball, etc., Portland does not install a school zone.

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        • B. Carfree August 30, 2016 at 6:20 pm

          That is pathetic.

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          • Mark S August 31, 2016 at 10:28 am

            Since there is no school zone speed limit on N Interstate Ave behind Ockley Green Middle School, is that also pathetic? There is a 4 ft fence separating the playfield from the sidewalk next to the street.

            There are probably numerous examples of this around town. In my opinion, not pathetic at all.

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    • paikiala August 30, 2016 at 4:53 pm

      Spiffy,
      have you been there?

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      • Spiffy August 31, 2016 at 8:03 am

        yes, but about a year ago…

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  • Adam H. August 30, 2016 at 9:39 am

    This is a CRISIS and there’s been nothing but silence from City Hall. Their inaction and utter indifference is killing people. Tweets to slow down does not count as Vision Zero; we need infrastructure and we need to slow down cars. City Hall needs to take a stand and LEAD by telling their constituents that their auto-mobility is not more important than people’s lives.

    Will City Hall finally respond to this crisis, or will we get more silence? The blood of our children is on their hands.

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    • Chris Anderson August 30, 2016 at 10:19 am

      All this city can do is say they are asking ODOT for lower speed limits. This is an emergency, and deserves an emergency response. The governor is the one who can declare a state of emergency and lower speed limits in our cities by 5-10mph across the board.

      It would take Kate Brown an afternoon to make our streets significantly safer. What is she waiting for?

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      • Dan A August 30, 2016 at 10:32 am

        Another off-ramp improvement to smile in front of.

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      • Dan August 30, 2016 at 2:39 pm

        In my dreams, the city quits asking ODOT for permission and just changes the speed limit signs without telling anyone in the statewide office.

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        • paikiala August 30, 2016 at 4:52 pm

          In your dreams, do all Portland’s speeding citations also get thrown out for not complying with the law?

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          • Hello, Kitty August 30, 2016 at 4:53 pm

            That’s my dream. Then I could finally ride as fast as I want!

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      • Eric Leifsdad August 30, 2016 at 2:41 pm

        ORS 810.180 (9) allows PBOT to designate an emergency speed for 120 days under their own jurisdiction http://www.oregonlaws.org/ors/810.180

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      • jen August 30, 2016 at 4:46 pm

        even if they did lower the speed limit, it wouldn’t matter unless there was some enforcement. We have speed limits now that most think means “minimum speed, must go 10mph faster”

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        • Dan A August 30, 2016 at 7:44 pm

          20 + 10 = 30

          is better than

          40 + 10 = 50

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          • Hello, Kitty August 30, 2016 at 7:48 pm

            Though, mathematically speaking, both are correct.

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            • Eric Leifsdad August 30, 2016 at 7:53 pm

              9 is fine

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              • Hello, Kitty August 30, 2016 at 8:01 pm

                One’s a ton.

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  • J_R August 30, 2016 at 9:43 am

    Traffic enforcement is a joke, but not a funny one. There is virtually no chance of getting a citation.

    According to the PPB website, the traffic division makes about 50,000 stops per year. That’s only 140 per day. Using Metro figures, there are about 10,000,000 miles driven per day in Portland, so that works out to one traffic stop per 70,000 miles driven. I can’t walk, bike or drive for 5 minutes without seeing a traffic violation. In fact, all I have to do is look out the window and watch autos roll through the stop signs on the two nearest corners. I walk four blocks to the nearest collector with a bike lane and have a hard time seeing three consecutive cars that do not drive in the bike lane where the road curves.

    If citations are even issued, the fine is usually less than $300 and often reduced if people go to court.

    And, of course, there’s always the excuse of “I didn’t see him” or “the sun was in my eyes.”

    We need to hold drivers to a much higher standard. The bar is set so low, I think it’s a chalk line drawn on the ground. I’m sick of it.

    Vision Zero appears to be just a way of spending some quality meeting time so we can claim we’re doing something about it.

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    • Edward August 30, 2016 at 11:02 am

      Enforcement can only do so much (very little). We need a built infrastructure that naturally keeps all users safe.

      This infrastructure is built to look like a freeway and to make vehicles go 40 mph. The sole driver who might try to slow down to 20 mph while everybody else is passing at 45mph would be making it even more dangerous.

      This is an absolute disaster. I hope the kid pulls through.

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      • B. Carfree August 30, 2016 at 11:16 am

        I disagree with the potential of enforcement to do great things. Unlike almost all of us, I have actually lived in a city that did zero-tolerance traffic law enforcement. Other than making traffic collisions almost unheard of, all it did was get ridership up to incredible levels (pity no one was actually counting back then, but I’d hazard to guess that over 75% of all trips were by bike at the peak). When the enforcement stopped a decade later, the ridership fell to about an eighth of its peak and crashes became common.

        Think about it. If you’re fairly certain that having the habit of rolling stop signs or going a couple mph over the speed limit will result in the hassle of a citation, you’ll change your driving habits. It’s not the cost of the citation, it’s the certainty of receiving one that makes the difference.

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      • gutterbunnybikes August 30, 2016 at 4:54 pm

        I get so tired of people saying enforcement doesn’t work, especially since it really hasn’t been taken very seriously by most for such a very long time.

        Enforcement does work very well if the jurisdictions are vigilant about it. I remember well highway 90 in the (late 80’s and early 90’s – can’t say if it’s still that way) speed limits were much more relaxed on the Ohio part of the highway – but man, you’d better look out once you hit the Pennsylvania border not only did the speed limit drop to 55 there but the State Troopers were like hungry Parahanas waiting for you too. Very few went even a few mph over the speed limit once they crossed into PA.

        You also have to remember that enforcement is also education. Not only is the offender reminded of the laws which were broken, most people then also tell the story to their friends, family, and co-workers. The more everyone hears stories of their associates getting tickets the more they’ll likely police their own behavior.

        And just like design, enforcement will never be 100% effective. There will always be those that will do what they will regardless of design, enforcement, or education.

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        • Paikiala August 31, 2016 at 8:21 am

          Add to this that more people, on average, die annually from fatal crashes than murders in Portland. BP should find out and compare what resources are spent on reducing the two.

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  • rachel b August 30, 2016 at 9:47 am

    Awful news. I hope he recovers.

    I’m just girding myself for someone to get hit on SE 26th. All the kids from Cleveland H.S. walk down to Clinton and back, throughout the day. So much foot traffic. Everyone around here scurries like rabbits across the road, even old and infirm folks, parents with strollers. Impatient drivers of cars and trucks absolutely rule. I hear them honking at cyclists and pedestrians (and other vehicles) more and more, too.

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    • Alistair Corkett August 30, 2016 at 10:44 am

      Ive been hit on 26th. Its a challenging intersection. I am however very optimistic with the new-ish turn signals.

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      • rachel b August 30, 2016 at 1:39 pm

        I’m glad you’re ok, Alistair! I’m talking about the section of SE 26th between Powell and Clinton, which has heavy foot and bike traffic, zero crosswalks, no school zone traffic calming and a whole slew of boneheaded, single-minded drivers. So few obey the 25mph speed limit, it’s remarkable when I see a driver who does. The increase in the number of speeders (and speeds) has increased the traffic noise a lot. 25mph traffic, besides being safer, is a whole lot quieter.

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        • jeff August 30, 2016 at 4:09 pm

          I wouldn’t say Alistair is “OK” but he is coming back strong.

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          • rachel b August 30, 2016 at 5:57 pm

            Yikes. I thought that name was familiar! Sorry I didn’t recognize you, Alistair. Understatement, indeed! I hope you’re doing well. What an ordeal. 🙁

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      • Paul Atkinson August 30, 2016 at 4:56 pm

        This comment goes into the understatement hall of fame.

        I ride through there every day…the new signals help, but they were a bit too expensive for my taste.

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  • rick August 30, 2016 at 9:49 am

    40 mph speed limit by a school? epidemic.

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    • paikiala August 31, 2016 at 8:48 am

      Rick,
      Have you been there?

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  • Lester Burnham August 30, 2016 at 9:51 am

    Remember all this when it comes time to vote. Or allow the same ineffective people to continue to run the city into the ground.

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  • Chris August 30, 2016 at 9:52 am

    Maybe instead of sending a couple of tweets warning people to drive carefully PPB should actually engage in some speed limit enforcement.

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    • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) August 30, 2016 at 10:01 am

      they do Chris. Do you really think they have enough human resources to enforce speeds on every mile of Portland roads? Not even close.

      I personally find the calls for “more enforcement” not to be the most important thing right now. Unless we put up photo cameras on every block I guess..

      Instead, we need to create a street culture that leads to less breaking of the law. We can do this by redesigning dangerous streets and introducing sensible car control laws like higher registration fees, more stringent background checks and licensing requirements, and tougher talk and actions from our leaders in City Hall, at PBOT, and in the advocacy class.

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      • J_R August 30, 2016 at 10:12 am

        Traffic enforcement is virtually non-existent as I explained using data. Almost any increase would be significant.

        If you are concerned about cost, how can you possibly promote “redesigning dangerous streets” as a solution? Just look at the cost of diverters or curb extensions! You can put a heck of a lot of personnel on the streets or lots of photo enforcement in place for the same money.

        “Car control laws” that increase motorists’ costs through fees are bound to fail because the impact the law abiding citizens along with the scofflaws. And, the fee increases you support (higher registration fees and background checks) disproportionally impact those who don’t drive very much or who are low income. I think it would be far better to make penalties for bad driving much higher.

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        • rachel b August 30, 2016 at 1:47 pm

          Traffic law enforcement–whether human or automated–makes a big difference in reining in awful human behavior. So much of the terrible stuff happening in Portland right now is a slippery slope direct result of lax to nonexistent enforcement of existing laws and rules. I remember a time when I used to regularly see traffic cops. I also remember a time when I felt I could count on getting a response from the police for things they now seemingly routinely take a pass on. Shorthanded and frustrated, the PPD, I realize. But why are we not doing something about that with all our fresh and minty new property tax $$$? It would seem like the highest priority. Portland is beginning to feel like lawless place to live, and you are on your own.

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          • paikiala August 31, 2016 at 8:49 am

            Aren’t property taxes collected by the County? You have a city property tax?

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            • J_R August 31, 2016 at 10:06 am

              Yes. Property taxes are COLLECTED by the County, but a substantial portion of the revenues are collected on behalf of the City. So, yes there is a city property tax.

              For 2016, 17.5 % goes to the City of Portland, another 10.0 % goes to the City of Portland Fire/Police Pension Fund, and about 1 percent each to City of Portland bonds and City of Portland Child Program.

              In other words, about 30 percent of the property taxes go to the City of Portland.

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            • Hello, Kitty August 31, 2016 at 10:34 am

              Untrue! The city assesses a $500 annual property tax, and they’re in the process of repossessing properties that haven’t paid!!! If you haven’t paid your tax, and want to avoid a costly legal battle to save your home, please send a check TODAY to: Portland City Tax Collector, Attn. Hello, Kitty, 1-11-1, Osaki, Shinagawa-Ku, Tokyo 141-8603, Japan.

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            • rachel b August 31, 2016 at 2:42 pm

              gargghghhghhghhghhglgllllllllghhghghghghghghghghghghghhhghhhghhgh! Thanks, J_R.

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      • Middle of the Road guy August 30, 2016 at 10:14 am

        Thank you for not taking the “Eliminate All Cars” approach many of your readers do.

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        • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) August 30, 2016 at 10:24 am

          I’m not against car use, I’m against car abuse. And what we are dealing with is a car abuse epidemic.

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          • m August 30, 2016 at 10:33 am

            Is that really true? On a per capita basis (i.e., when factoring in the increased population), are things getting worse or better in Portland?

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            • lop August 30, 2016 at 11:39 am

              Do you mean how has mode share changed over time?

              https://www.portlandoregon.gov/transportation/article/452524#page=2

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            • paikiala August 31, 2016 at 9:08 am

              M,
              Vision Zero is a evidence-based approach to road safety. Here is a graph of Portland’s crash history totals (not rates) for four modes (page 6):
              http://www.portlandoregon.gov/transportation/article/576738

              The trend for cars, bikes and motorcycles is level, while the number of pedestrian crashes is trending up. A crash rate (# compared to a common denominator) would be a better measure of the quality effect of Portland’s efforts.
              If you consider how many more cyclists are riding today than in the past, the relatively steady number of cyclist deaths means the rate, for cyclists, has been going down.

              Portland is doing better than the US, with about 6 fatals per 100k population versus the 10+ national average.

              the OECD tracks national road fatality rates (page 19 map&chart; page 24 table):
              http://www.portlandoregon.gov/transportation/article/576738

              Canada: 5.2
              France: 5.3
              Norway, UK: 2.9
              Sweden: 2.8

              In synopsis, Portland has made good progress over the last ten years, but needs to pursue new policies to make future gains that compare with other developed nations and cities.

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          • Adam H. August 30, 2016 at 12:14 pm

            We need universal background checks for cars: people with a history of violence should not be able to drive. We also need extensive training for use of cars: it should not be so easy as to walk into a DMV and obtain a driver’s license on the spot.

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            • Middle of the Road guy August 30, 2016 at 1:24 pm

              I can see that being disproportionately used against minorities. How many black men have trumped up charges of being resisting arrest and such?

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              • Adam H. August 30, 2016 at 1:55 pm

                I was trying to draw a comparison to the arguments used for gun control and apply them to cars. It was not meant to be taken literally. However, I am serious about the rigorous training part.

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                • paikiala August 31, 2016 at 9:11 am

                  Adam,
                  we already have the tool you want in place, we just don’t use it as it should be used.
                  Every person who wants the privilege to drive (it is not a right) should have to pass both the written and driving test at least every four years.

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              • Hello, Kitty August 30, 2016 at 2:02 pm

                The answer to that is, of course, fix the police, not reduce law enforcement.

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            • rachel b August 30, 2016 at 1:49 pm

              Agree with the more rigorous testing, but most careless, distracted drivers are, well, us. Run of the mill people–not people with violent histories.

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            • Beth H August 30, 2016 at 6:26 pm

              And that would open the door for mandatory bicycle insurance and operating licenses. Nope. Nope. Nope.

              Instead, how about we up the driving age to 21? (Or 18, but only if you’ve finished high school — While staying in school isn’t mandatory, ataching it to a drivers’ license would certainly create incentive.)

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              • Hello, Kitty August 30, 2016 at 6:40 pm

                I’m not opposed to changing the driving age, but I believe at least part of the motivation of the current age (and for the high drinking age) is to let people learn to drive before they start experimenting with alcohol (well, we know how well that works in practice).

                I used to be a proponent of lowering the drinking age and raising the driving age, but now that I know more about the impacts of alcohol on the still-developing teenage mind, I’m less sure.

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              • paikiala August 31, 2016 at 9:12 am

                Beth,
                not much effect since many, if not most, under 21s aren’t seeking a license anymore.

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              • lop September 1, 2016 at 12:00 pm

                Ratio of license drivers from ODOT to census estimated population by age for the state of Oregon:

                15: 0.28
                16: 0.52
                17: 0.65
                18: 0.74
                19: 0.84
                20: 0.85
                21: 0.86

                https://www.oregon.gov/ODOT/DMV/docs/stats/doi_age/2015_DOI_by_Age.pdf

                http://factfinder.census.gov/bkmk/table/1.0/en/PEP/2015/PEPSYASEX/0400000US41

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          • Hello, Kitty August 30, 2016 at 2:11 pm

            I’m against car abuse as well, but last week I got so angry that I kicked my car in frustration. I mean, it really deserved it. A neighbor saw me, and called the DMV, who sent two social workers to my house, and now they’re considering taking the vehicle “for its own protection”. Give me a f’n break! I didn’t cause all those dents!

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      • Buzz August 30, 2016 at 10:16 am

        From what I hear, even jurisdictions like NYC which also have pretty lousy enforcement records are using speed cameras in school zones.

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        • paikiala August 31, 2016 at 9:13 am

          Oregon law does not permit fixed speed cameras in school zones unless they are part of a high crash corridor.

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      • Carrie August 30, 2016 at 10:20 am

        Jonathan — I disagree. My dad is retired CHP. When he was working (and things have changed dramatically since then), part of their mandate was to write speeding tickets. Because speed kills. Speed and impaired driving. Now Highway Patrol and city police have very different drivers and enforcement responsibilities, but PEOPLE ARE DYING because other people are DRIVING TOO FAST. And there are no day-to-day consequences of driving too fast. There need to be consequences for simply driving too fast so we all slow down.

        I was nearly mowed down In The Crosswalk just this morning (SE 22nd & Bybee) by a driver who a) wasn’t paying attention and b) was traveling at least 10 mph over the speed limit. I’m still shaken. And exactly the same time this kid, the same age as my kid, was hit getting to school. It is a crises, but I think one of the solutions could be relatively simple.

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        • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) August 30, 2016 at 10:27 am

          my point is Carrie, that the police do enforce speeding quite a bit. But IMO it’s more of a systemic problem than simply saying “we need more enforcement.” For instance, police are reluctant to cite speeders not because they don’t believe in traffic safety… But because they know that the court system won’t uphold the ticket unless the person is going a certain amount over the limit and is driving recklessly. So, instead of dealing with the courts and having a citation thrown out, they just don’t write them at all… Or they only cite for 12 mph or over (or whatever “over” number they decide on that day). We need to change the system (the road design, the legal framework, the culture).. and I find it overly simplistic and frankly a waste of energy to blame cops. (not that police are innocent. they have problems too. it’s complicated)

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          • J_R August 30, 2016 at 10:39 am

            What’s your source of data that explains that “they enforce speeding quite a bit?” I cited the PPB website that says the traffic division makes 50,000 stops. I’d bet most are not for speeding. Seriously, is there “quite a bit” of speeding enforcement?

            Even if the PPB didn’t issue a citation when pulling someone over for exceeding the posted speed, the adrenaline rush of those flashing lights and the embarrassment of a stop and the five minutes spent showing a driver’s license and proof of insurance would probably cause some drivers to start paying attention.

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          • Bald One August 30, 2016 at 11:08 am

            I also see some PPB speed enforcement on a regular basis, but never where it is needed. Always on I-5 and other protected freeways where police enforce at non-rush hour times and freeways are not gridlocked. I never see speed enforcement on local streets unless it’s a late night sobriety check. Do we really need all the PPB speed enforcement on the freeways? I see police cars parked at areas where enforcement would be a good idea (frequently on N. Columbia Blvd about a mile from this location), but if you look at the officers, they are busy in their cars looking down at other work, and not busy enforcing speeds on the road in front of them. I think most officers assigned to this duty (if you call and complain, they will post a car for a few minutes in that spot later that week) feel that the mere presence of their car, prominently displayed along the road, is a sufficient deterrent. But, they never have eyes on the road, always have eyes down in their car. This is half-baked speed enforcement, at best. Just an excuse to catch up on paperwork or rest, at worst. Not very effective. We need motorcycle police and cops out of their cars standing on the side of road with speed guns and radios at schools during school days, on bike routes with speed issues.

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            • rachel b August 30, 2016 at 1:52 pm

              Hear, hear, Bald One!

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          • Middle of the Road guy August 30, 2016 at 1:28 pm

            Not to mention, many of the things drivers do that are illegal don’t often result in a negative outcome. My driving 70 in a 65 on the highway doesn’t really result in a bed outcome.

            Similarly, someone can be driving the speed limit and still not have enough time to react to someone in the road unexpectedly.

            Speed may worsen the results of a collision, but it is not always the reason for the collision.

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            • Dan A August 30, 2016 at 3:10 pm

              Speeding in a neighborhood always causes a negative outcome.

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            • 9watts September 3, 2016 at 8:30 pm

              “My driving 70 in a 65 on the highway doesn’t really result in a bed outcome.”

              It actually does. Your car uses more gas per mile at 70 than 65. Marginally less safe for you and everyone around you, and you’re burning more gas than you would if you were going ten or twenty under the speed limit. You’d still get there.

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          • wsbob August 30, 2016 at 3:39 pm

            “…But because they know that the court system won’t uphold the ticket unless the person is going a certain amount over the limit and is driving recklessly. …” maus

            Does anyone have some fact based verification from the courts, on what that certain mph amount over the speed limit is? From police officers and judges, I’d like some direct answers as to what is the mph over the speed limit for citation. The continual rumor and gossip as to what is the official speed limit latitude given, does no one any good.

            The rumored 8mph over the speed limit citation criteria, if true, is too much latitude given, if people are to be expected to constrain the speed at which they operate their motor vehicles. 5 mph over is more than enough, so if that were SOP with the police, and it should be if it’s not, knowing this, if a person doesn’t want a citation, they start thinking they’d better darn well keep at no more than 4 over.

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            • J_R August 30, 2016 at 6:38 pm

              On numerous occasions I have stopped to watch the PPB photo enforcement van in action. I have observed on all occasions that the flash for the camera only activates when the speed readout on the van indicates that the on-coming vehicle is speeding by at least ten (10) mph.

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            • Dan A August 30, 2016 at 7:51 pm

              One of my neighbors participated in a speed watch program, and was given a radar gun and a clipboard to write down speeds and license plates. She was instructed not to bother writing down the plate unless the driver was going at least 10 mph over, even though all the county was going to do was to send a courtesy notification asking the driver to slow down.

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          • gutterbunnybikes August 30, 2016 at 5:08 pm

            That’s such a cop out (no pun intended).

            In my profession, I gotta do a lot of stuff that there are easier ways but that isn’t what is designed – I got to do stuff that is largely completely unnecessary too. But I don’t take those short cuts (nor do I let those that work under me) I’m not the engineer it’s not my job to make those decisions- even when I think what is being asked is completely frivolous and unnecessary I still do it. Because it is my job and because if I or my crew screws up buildings fall down and kill people. It’s not my job to make the decisions, it’s my job to make it happen – the decisions in design are someone else’s responsibility.

            What you are describing is laziness, not a problem with the system.What business is it of the cops if the courts throw out the violations or reduce the fines? It’s none of their business. It’s not the cops job to make judgments, it’s the cops job to write citations. Since when do cops get be judges?

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            • rachel b August 30, 2016 at 6:03 pm

              I agree with gutterbunnybikes. I also wonder how Milwaukie and Lake Oswego manage to do what we can’t–cow drivers into place w/ consistent, rigorous speed enforcement, and (evidently) collection? I’m talking about the northern entrances to both those towns. Just watch drivers whip into shape in those spots. It’s a modern miracle.

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        • Dan A August 30, 2016 at 10:35 am

          There is a motorcycle cop I see on my way to work who parks in the exact same location on Hwy 26 westbound pretty much every single day. He’s been doing this location for months. Seems like it’s a higher priority to set up stings for highway commuter traffic instead of traffic near schools.

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          • Spiffy August 30, 2016 at 11:14 am

            I’ve seen him… while he’s sitting there focused on speeders there are multiple other violations occurring around him that he could cite for but is ignoring…

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            • Dan A August 30, 2016 at 7:57 pm

              He could sit by the Skyline/Hwy 26 onramp just half a mile away and ticket drivers who don’t stop for the painted crosswalk. I saw the driver of a large truck today stop 2 feet past the other side of the crosswalk before he looked to his left or right, at which point he saw me using the crosswalk and that he was parked completely across it. I see kids regularly walking through this crosswalk on the way home from school. It is just a matter of time before someone gets creamed there.

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        • Edward August 30, 2016 at 11:10 am

          We had a close call at 20th & Bybee right about the same time. We were biking and the car was at least a block and a half away or more, but it must’ve been going well over 35. Didn’t slow down at all. As we cleared that half of the intersection on our bikes it zipped right behind us. Scared the jenkins out of me.

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        • Lola Utz August 30, 2016 at 12:38 pm

          SO GLAD you are okay Carrie!

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      • David August 30, 2016 at 10:28 am

        Jonathan, I understand your point, however enforcement is a key component of improving safety for all road users. Actually the threat of enforcement is all it takes. I ride on Beaverton-Hillsdale Hwy almost every single day and get to see this when passing the speed cameras that are finally active. When the new signage and equipment went up speeds dropped a good five MPH pretty much overnight, now that everything is active people are going 32-38mph in a 40mph zone because the threat of enforcement is so strong that people are modifying behavior in spite of the road design not changing (though that is scheduled in the coming months).

        While road design might present opportunities to make poor decisions, the knowledge that there is almost certainly no consequence makes it a no-brainer. I’m not saying that cameras should be placed throughout the city to capture and cite these offenses, because the expense and outcry would likely not be manageable given all of the other issues right now. However,someone should really float the idea of decoy cameras as it would be cheap to mount similar looking setups and the only signage you need it the “Traffic Laws Are Photo Enforced” sign preceding it.

        Every decision involves a cost-benefit analysis, no matter how simple, if there is no perceived cost then people will only see the benefit. Our culture just sees the immediate benefits while downplaying the costs when an opportunity presents itself.

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      • highrider August 30, 2016 at 11:16 am

        After the last tragedy at that intersection the cops had a speed trap set up going on at the next block- N Upland. They kept it up for a while (it seemed like about a year). The presence of that car and its camera really helped. Put two cars there at a time and ticket at 5 miles over the limit and they’d be stopping people all day. That would be cool to see. Make the tickets about a thousand dollars and it might pay off.

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      • Cory p August 30, 2016 at 11:33 am

        I once asked the head of traffic enforcment in Salem if traffic enforcment officers are a net revenue gain or loss for the city. He told me that they are always a revenue gain by a wide margin. My next question was, why don’t we keep hiring traffic enforcment officers till the problem is solved?

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        • J_R August 31, 2016 at 7:30 am

          I don’t believe the claim that citations are a net revenue gain. The fines are usually in the range of $200 to $300. They are often reduced for those who go to court. A portion of the citation goes to the court for their costs. The officer has to be in court and is usually attending other than during his shift, which means overtime. If he’s paid for a few hours for a single appearance, that pretty much takes up all the remaining fine.

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          • Paikiala August 31, 2016 at 8:12 am

            Portland has no courts. Portland might get 20%-30% of the adjudicated fine.

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      • Chris August 30, 2016 at 4:24 pm

        I appreciate your perspective Jonathan, and I agree that ideally we’d price driving according to its true cost (whether by gas tax, registration fees, etc.), significantly increase the difficulty of obtaining a driver’s license, improve road designs, lower speed limits, require higher insurance minimums, etc. However, like you I am tired of the dangerous behavior I see every day by impatient, unskilled drivers, and rather than wait for a cultural shift and significant state legislative action, I’d like to see the City make a more immediate impact by increasing its use of enforcement. I spend a lot of time on surface streets throughout town, which is where most car/bike/pedestrian encounters occur, and have been increasingly frustrated by the frequent and obvious traffic violations I see that could keep a traffic enforcement officer busy with little effort. And with respect to limited City resources, as other commenters have mentioned, (i) it seems like the City has made a decision to allocate its limited enforcement resources on car-only freeways rather than areas where car/bike/pedestrian interactions actually occur, and (ii) speed enforcement should not be much of a drain on resources given the revenue it generates.

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  • Scott Mizee August 30, 2016 at 10:04 am

    This is a tragedy. How much longer do we have to wait? What can we do to help? #visionzero #today

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  • Robert Burchett August 30, 2016 at 10:06 am

    This is another awful thing. The driver stopped _a block away_? The standard of what is ‘reckless’ and ‘careless’ needs fixing (besides speed limits, enforcement, design, see above). I really feel that part of the problem is an excess of discretion in who gets prosecuted. Let a person explain in court why they caused so much pain. Let people know that carelessness means their driving privilege is, just, gone. Oh yeah, and that sweet car goes to the crusher.

    I hope this kid recovers as well as may be.

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    • Buzz August 30, 2016 at 10:16 am

      That’s probably how long it took him to slow down and stop.

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    • Spiffy August 30, 2016 at 11:16 am

      I wonder how far away they allow you to stop before it’s considered hit-and-run…

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    • Cory P August 30, 2016 at 12:24 pm

      It’s how long it took him to put away his phone.

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  • Dave August 30, 2016 at 10:10 am

    Cameras. Timing traps (old auto racing technology.) Extra-constitutional enforcement of all laws governing motorist behavior.

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    • Hello, Kitty August 30, 2016 at 12:04 pm

      Like shooting speeders on sight? Due process can be such a hassle, when you can just deal with the situation and be done with it.

      Maybe the city can offer a bounty and let our well armed citizenry apply a 2nd Amendment solution to the problem of traffic infractions.

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      • Adam H. August 30, 2016 at 12:17 pm

        Considering this is literally something police do to black men, I find your attempt at jest in extremely poor taste.

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        • Hello, Kitty August 30, 2016 at 12:23 pm

          How else can one interpret extra-constitutional punishment for traffic offenses? Pay your fine (in cash) directly to the officer? I was just clarifying what we were discussing.

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  • m August 30, 2016 at 10:12 am

    Speed limits around all schools should be 20 mph. No brainer. That said, the insurance company and lawyers for the driver will be asking why the student didn’t use the bridge.

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    • Dan A August 30, 2016 at 10:38 am

      School speed zones ought to be wider too. Why do we only care about the last little bit near the school? Our school speed zone is literally just the last 100 feet to the school. Completely ignoring the 200 kids who walk on a different route and get to cross Bethany BLVD during rush hour.

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      • Spiffy August 30, 2016 at 11:17 am

        20 mph on all city streets all the time will save a lot of lives…

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      • paikiala August 31, 2016 at 9:37 am

        Dan,
        how far would you extend the ‘school zone’?
        The current standard is 100 feet in advance of the school property line.

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        • MaxD August 31, 2016 at 11:23 am

          I think a 4-block radius would be a good start. I was at a NACTO conference and saw a presentation on mapping walking routes. It is possible to create a map of where families on the way to school are likely to concentrate. So, a better start would be to empower PBOT to engage Ellen Vanderslice and the software she helped develop to use their considerable expertise and discretion to create safety zones around schools with advisory signs, lower speed limits, painted crosswalks, stop bars and increased enforcement.

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        • Dan A August 31, 2016 at 11:31 am

          I would look at the school walking routes as designated by the school district, and start by applying school speed zones in targeted areas where they are most needed. Our school has greater need for a school speed zone on Bethany and the street next to it where 150-200 kids regularly cross than it does right next to the school, where maybe 10 or 15 kids cross.

          Additionally, we can’t have a school speed zone on a road right next to the school because there is a strip of HOA-owned green space between that road and the school, so the road is not directly adjacent to the school. The guidelines for these zones is far too literal and gives no leeway for common sense.

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          • paikiala August 31, 2016 at 4:08 pm

            Dan,
            Because safe walking routes is something school districts must do, right?

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            • Hello, Kitty August 31, 2016 at 4:10 pm

              It’s something PBOT should be doing.

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            • Dan A August 31, 2016 at 6:00 pm

              In the absence of busing, yes. It’s the main argument they give when cutting bus service.

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        • Dan A August 31, 2016 at 11:40 am

          If routes are ‘safe’, the districts cut buses for kids up to 1 mile away. So why are school speed zones only valid for the last 100 feet? Do we not actually expect kids to walk, like we say?

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    • wsbob August 30, 2016 at 4:02 pm

      “…That said, the insurance company and lawyers for the driver will be asking why the student didn’t use the bridge. …” m

      As they well should be asking, and so should be everyone else. If you’re thinking they’ll be asking such a question to try justify whatever incorrect actions the person driving made, I think that if they do make such an attempt, they’ll not successfully persuade a judge or jury to their point of view.

      Pedestrian bridge or not, the collision site is in a school zone. Period. People operating motor vehicles shall do so according to conditions associated with a school zone. There is, or should be in the mind of anyone operating a motor vehicle, an automatic association between school, school zone, and the likelihood of kids being within a school zone before, during and after school hours.

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  • Mark August 30, 2016 at 10:15 am

    Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor)
    they do Chris. Do you really think they have enough human resources to enforce speeds on every mile of Portland roads? Not even close.
    I personally find the calls for “more enforcement” not to be the most important thing right now. Unless we put up photo cameras on every block I guess..

    Jonathan, I agree that we need better designs and all of the other conditions you cite. However, many of those take a very long time to develop–years–and the here and now is when people are getting killed and injured. We cannot enforce speed limits and other violations in every mile in Portland, but enforcement can be targeted to those places where the big problems are. Right now, that’s probably in vulnerable areas near schools.

    And, we can have enforcement while we work to get better design and reduce the lethal nature of too many of our streets.

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  • m August 30, 2016 at 10:19 am

    To get a sense of how auto-centric our laws are, it took me about 10 seconds to find this. The driver will most certainly use this as part of their defense.
    ORS 814.060
    Failure to use pedestrian tunnel or overhead crossing:

    (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.

    (2) The offense described in this section, failure to use pedestrian tunnel or overhead crossing, is a Class D traffic violation. [1983 c.338 §557]

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    • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) August 30, 2016 at 10:27 am

      yep that’s basically the same as the “mandatory sidepath” law that bicycle riders have to suffer with. Both of those laws should be changed.

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      • m August 30, 2016 at 10:36 am

        It really comes down (IMO) to getting people to slow down. I don’t think higher registration fees, etc will do that. Speed cameras blanketed across the city would go a long way toward that. I think that requires legislative action. It needs to happen now.

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      • wsbob August 30, 2016 at 4:35 pm

        Oregon has no “mandatory sidepath law”. It does have a law detailing exceptions…and there are many…to requirements of people traveling by bike, to use bike lanes rather than other lanes of the road.

        http://www.oregonlaws.org/ors/814.420

        Regardless, the location of this collision, having been in a school zone, where it is or should be automatically assumed young people may be present at any time, will likely trump any obligations made of adult pedestrians using the road, by the law.

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    • Hello, Kitty August 30, 2016 at 10:37 am

      To my unlawyerly eye, the bridge serves a different location than the corner where the crash happened.

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      • m August 30, 2016 at 10:56 am

        These are the kind of details that will come out in the investigation and scrutinized by the lawyers. The article says it happened at the corner of Midway and Columbia. The ramp starts right at the northwest corner of Midway and Columbia but appears to finish on the south side a bit away from the corner. As a Roosevelt student (not George), maybe he was walking on the other side of the street. All speculation.

        A tragedy under any set of facts.

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        • Hello, Kitty August 30, 2016 at 10:59 am

          Agreed.

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    • Mike Sanders August 30, 2016 at 2:20 pm

      In other words, the overpass – which is not ADA-friendly – is considered to be the legal crossing at that location, and the location on the street adjacent to it, therefore, is not a legal crosswalk. Wonder what was the last time this outdated law was even enforced? Illogical to say the least.

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      • Paikiala August 31, 2016 at 8:07 am

        Mike,
        Have you been there? It’s a ramp, not stairs.

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        • Mike Sanders August 31, 2016 at 12:04 pm

          No, but we do have several such crossings, with steps, not ramps, of 1960s vintage that need to be replaced. Noticed this law was passed in 1983. Love to see the reasoning behind its passage.

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    • wsbob August 30, 2016 at 4:18 pm

      Except that, as I’ve just written in a comment above, this collision occurred within a school zone, where people on foot are likely to not simply just be a pedestrian, but the particularly vulnerable type of pedestrian that kids are.

      An emphasis on the extra vulnerability of children and high school kids compared to that of older, hopefully wiser and more experienced adults, is part of what laws relating to school zones seek to accomplish.

      The pedestrian bridge in this school zone, is not there to relieve people operating motor vehicles of having to be especially watchful of people needing to cross this road to and from the school, and who for whatever reason, may not happen to use the pedestrian bridge for their crossing. The purpose of the pedestrian bridge is to allow people on foot, safer crossing in a school zone, across a busy road.

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      • Paikiala August 31, 2016 at 8:06 am

        False.
        There is no school zone there.

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        • Ian August 31, 2016 at 9:57 am

          Isn’t it? ORS 801.462 defines a school zone as a zone that’s indicated as such by “signs marking a school zone [that] may include any words, symbols or combination of words and symbols that gives notice of the presence of the school zone,” and I believe that this is an example of such a sign:

          https://www.google.com/maps/@45.5976594,-122.7376079,3a,30.5y,170.11h,88.99t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1sVlW0LWI4lGJTDGeWzSig7Q!2e0!7i13312!8i6656

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          • paikiala August 31, 2016 at 10:19 am

            That is the warning sign for school children. A school speed limit includes the sign SCHOOL LIMIT 20

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            • Ian August 31, 2016 at 1:49 pm

              I agree that a school speed limit sign would be labeled as you noted, but I believe the warning sign for school children is still sufficient to denote a school zone. That is, I suspect that we’re both right, in the sense that reduced-speed school zones (which are a subset of school zones generally) include SCHOOL LIMIT 20 signs.

              As further evidence that this stretch of Columbia is a school zone, check out this ODOT policy document regarding school zones:

              https://www.oregon.gov/ODOT/HWY/TRAFFIC-ROADWAY/docs/pdf/english_chapter_7.pdf

              In particular, page 7-15 (“school building away from highway or school grounds fenced”) seems to illustrate this case perfectly, where George Middle School represents the fenced school grounds.

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              • Dan A August 31, 2016 at 3:13 pm

                How you can zoom past a school warning sign at 40-50mph on the morning of a school day and be completely unprepared to encounter pedestrians is beyond me.

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                • Hello, Kitty August 31, 2016 at 3:25 pm

                  Not even if it’s the first day of school after several months of no kids around?

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                • Dan A August 31, 2016 at 6:03 pm

                  To me a school zone is a school zone year ’round. Kids appear with much more frequency in school zones, even in the summer. Something to do with playgrounds and sports fields.

                  Aside from that, don’t all people know school is starting up? Haven’t they noticed the big uptick in car traffic?

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                • Hello, Kitty August 31, 2016 at 6:08 pm

                  The student who was struck was not in a school zone (though I agree he should have been). If you don’t have kids, you could easily be oblivious to the start of school.

                  I’m not trying to excuse the driver, just understand what happened as objectively as possible so we can make the best assessment about how to prevent it from happening again.

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                • Dan A August 31, 2016 at 8:35 pm

                  The driver passed this bright yellow school zone sign 1000 feet before he crashed into a 15-year-old.

                  https://goo.gl/maps/8PGDNzCkyQ82

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                • Hello, Kitty August 31, 2016 at 9:12 pm

                  That’s not a school zone sign.

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                • Dan A September 1, 2016 at 7:01 am

                  Okay, it’s a “school area sign” or a “school crossing sign”. The top part, known as S1-1, when used with the bottom part, is

                  “to warn road users that they are approaching a crossing where schoolchildren cross the roadway”.

                  http://mutcd.fhwa.dot.gov/htm/2009/part7/part7b.htm

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                • Spiffy September 1, 2016 at 8:25 am

                  despite there being signs that designate the speed on “school days” that list of days isn’t given to anybody and there’s no way to know when it’s a school day unless you call the school and ask…

                  there are a lot of people that had no idea that school was starting that day at that school…

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                • Ted Timmons (Contributor) September 1, 2016 at 12:22 pm

                  Why does it matter? There can be kids near school zones/parks at nonschool times. There can be others at crosswalks.

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        • wsbob August 31, 2016 at 6:21 pm

          False? You say “…There is no school zone there.”? That’s interesting, given that, according to this story, and the google maps picture in the story, there appears to be a big ol’ school adjacent to the road…just as the story reports.

          “…According to the Portland Police Bureau, the crash happened at around 7:45 am this morning at North Columbia Boulevard and Midway — right across the street from George Middle School. …” bikeportland

          The school looks to be clearly visible from the road. And, the big pedestrian bridge over the road. Ian commenting here, mentions what you refer to as “…the warning sign for school children. …”. Is there one or more of those signs on the stretch of road past the school, where the collision occurred?

          These are, or should be to any fairly competent road user, clear indication that they within a school zone, whether or not there is an official MUTCD ‘school zone’ sign obliging road users to limit the speed of their vehicle to 20 mph.

          Being aware, by being alert for other indications besides a sign, that they are passing through a school zone where children and other young people may be present, is a basic responsibility…an obligation of road users operating motor vehicles. This awareness is a responsibility and obligation that transcends the letter of the law.

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          • Hello, Kitty August 31, 2016 at 9:15 pm

            Being near a school is not the same as being in a school zone. A school zone is a thing. He was next to a school. He was not in a school zone.

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            • wsbob September 1, 2016 at 1:05 am

              I hear what you’re saying. Maybe the idea that you and paikiala are maintaining, is that if there is no official ‘school zone’ sign on roads immediately adjacent to school zones, such roads are not within a school zone.

              Ask yourself this question: ‘Would reasonable persons that are competent operators of a motor vehicles, and that have approached and are driving by property (play fields with big school buildings next to them.), buildings (again, readily apparent school type buildings…rather than retail, office, industrial, etc.) and pedestrian infrastructure ( the pedestrian bridge.), not pick up clear cues from those items, that they are driving within a school zone?

              I think reasonable persons that are competent operators of a motor vehicles would notice indications I’ve suggested and that seem to be present at the scene of this collision, and would recognize that they are passing through a school zone…official school zone signs or not.

              Recognizing they are passing directly in the vicinity of a school, reasonable, competent operators of motor vehicles would, I think, automatically would be on extra alert for kids crossing the road or along it, whether or not school was in session, and whether or not there were official ‘school zone’ signs with reduced mph speeds on them, along the road.

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              • Hello, Kitty September 1, 2016 at 8:22 am

                Obviously there were plenty of indications the driver was near a school. He hit a kid. He fucked up, bad.

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              • Spiffy September 1, 2016 at 8:28 am

                I’m sure you realize the irony of asking if drivers see things around them while they’re driving…

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            • Dan A September 1, 2016 at 7:07 am

              A traffic engineer from WashCo gave me a clarification last year on the difference between a School Zone and a School Speed Zone. By his definition, this was a School Zone:

              School Zone – A section of roadway adjacent to a school or school crosswalk where signs designating a school are present. Typical signage for a school zone include School Advance warning signs (fluorescent yellow-green, doghouse style signs showing kids walking) placed in advance with additional signs at the crosswalk

              School Speed Zone – A special 20 MPH speed zone for schools established by the road authority. Typical signage for a school speed zone would include School Advance warning signs and crosswalk signs with a 20 mph school speed signs (flashing lights are an option used to supplement 20 mph zones)

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            • Ian September 1, 2016 at 1:32 pm

              To be honest, I’m really having a hard time seeing how this could not be interpreted as a school zone.

              ORS 801.462 defines a “school zone” as “A specific segment of highway that is adjacent to school grounds and that is marked by signs described in subsection (2) of this section,” where subsection (2) states, “Signs marking a school zone may include any words, symbols or combination of words and symbols that gives notice of the presence of the school zone.”

              This page (http://mutcd.fhwa.dot.gov/htm/2009/part7/fig7b_01_longdesc.htm) names the sign in question as “S1-1.” This page (http://mutcd.fhwa.dot.gov/htm/2009/part7/part7b.htm) clearly refers to S1-1 as a “School Zone Sign” and states, “If a school zone has been designated under State or local statute, a School (S1-1) sign shall be installed to identify the beginning point(s) of the designated school zone.”

              Additionally, I believe that page 7-15 of this document (https://www.oregon.gov/ODOT/HWY/TRAFFIC-ROADWAY/docs/pdf/english_chapter_7.pdf) clearly illustrates the configuration around George Middle School.

              So, if (1) the yellow signs adjacent to George Middle School are the same sign as what the Federal Highway Administration calls “S1-1”; (2) the Federal Highway Administration calls S1-1 a “school zone sign” and notes that it “shall be installed” to designate a school zone; and thus (3) S1-1 qualifies as a sign described in ORS 801.462(2), how does the segment of Columbia that is adjacent to George Middle school and marked with the S1-1 signs not qualify as a school zone? Which of these statements do you disagree with?

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  • Robert Burchett August 30, 2016 at 10:20 am

    How about, if your car causes suffering on the order of what we have seen fit to call torture, it gets crushed and you have to sue the state in civil court (if you feel wronged?). This is regardless of who was driving the car or their mental state. If the driver is culpable that’s a separate matter.

    I think a few car crushings, with live coverage, would get people’s attention in a way that the mere prospect of hurting another living being apparently does not. And that’s a very sad comment.

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    • Spiffy August 30, 2016 at 11:21 am

      like the mayor of the Lithuanian capital of Vilnius that drove a tank over an illegally parked car to make a point that it will no longer be tolerated…

      I like this tactic…

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  • highrider August 30, 2016 at 10:59 am

    I live a few blocks away from here and remember a few years ago, maybe 5-10 years ago now, a woman was crossing right there with her child. Both were murdered by a speeding driver. I knew the carnage wasn’t done there yet. Crap.

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    • Spiffy August 30, 2016 at 11:26 am

      trying to look this up but there are so many crashes on Columbia Blvd I’m floating in a sea of online carnage… seems like this road seriously needs a diet…

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  • Catie August 30, 2016 at 11:02 am

    Thank for for reporting on this. I dont want a single collision involving a vunerable road user to go unnoticed.

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  • PNP August 30, 2016 at 11:11 am

    Unless I’ve missed it, I’m surprised nobody’s commented on infrastructure. If a street is built like a freeway, drivers will go faster. That’s just human nature behind the wheel of vehicles increasingly designed to encourage and enable greater speeds. It’s all well and good to talk about enforcement, but what really needs to change is the DOT mentality that getting cars through faster and with minimal delays is the primary goal.

    I live in Beaverton, where the traffic signals are triggered by side traffic, which means that cars on the major streets, such as Murray Blvd., always seem to roll from one red light to the next. Some days, I find that supremely annoying, but it does keep traffic speeds down. Is that the right solution? No, I don’t really think so, but without that nutty light “system,” people would drive 50+ on Murray and streets like it. I live a couple of blocks off Hall Blvd., where stretches have 40 mph speed limits, which is too high for a residential area. When I drive on Hall at 40 mph, I’m passed right and left.

    We all need to slow down. It’ll never happen unless we’re forced to by multiple factors, including streets that are built to encourage a slower pace.

    Preaching to the choir here, I know.

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    • Adam H. August 30, 2016 at 11:13 am

      Yep, a five lane road like that should never exist in a civilized city.

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      • Kyle Banerjee August 30, 2016 at 11:35 am

        If you have a densely populated area, you need ways to move large numbers of people and huge amounts of goods around.

        That simply is not possible with slow narrow roads.

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        • soren August 30, 2016 at 11:45 am

          Fortunately, additional lanes for motor-vehicles are not the only option.

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          • Kyle Banerjee August 30, 2016 at 12:32 pm

            They aren’t and time has shown that cities can’t pave themselves out of the problem.

            Columbia and a number of other roads are truly dangerous which is why I think it is a disservice to dedicate so much attention dedicated to some of the best cycling areas (such as Clinton)

            Arterial roads are necessary and Columbia should definitely be one of them. That is an industrial with lots of tandem trucks and the 20mph limits frequently advocated for here will never and should not happen there. Rather, we should seek safety improvements that are achievable with resources and the society that actually exist.

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            • Adam H. August 30, 2016 at 12:37 pm

              The only reason that the city “dedicated so much attention” to Clinton was the lengthy public outreach process typical of inner SE. The actual implementation was literally done in a week’s time. I would like it if there was a standard process for safety projects that doesn’t require a year’s worth of outreach and could be implemented on an accelerated manner.

              If this was an infectious disease we were talking about, do you think there would be a year-long outreach program? Traffic violence is a public heath crisis, and the city needs to stand up to the car-heads and tell them “tough sh!t” and make the street safer whether they like it or not.

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              • Hello, Kitty August 30, 2016 at 12:51 pm

                >>> If this was an infectious disease we were talking about, do you think there would be a year-long outreach program? <<>> the city needs to stand up to the car-heads and tell them “tough sh!t” and make the street safer whether they like it or not. <<<

                I know you don't like public involvement, but it's part of doing things in a democratic society.

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                • Adam H. August 30, 2016 at 1:07 pm

                  I never said I don’t like public involvement. My problem is that we need to draw the line between public involvement and a public health crisis. If this was a different issue, even something as contentious as density, then let everyone be heard (even if I disagree with a lot of them). However, there are people dying on our streets because of City Hall’s inactions, and we should not have to go though a lengthy and drawn-out public outreach program when the issue is so clear as “our streets are dangerous and the cause is cars”. Because we all have seen the city come to a compromised solution where every stakeholder got a say but in reality the freight industry and businesses got a bigger say. How many more people are going to die while the city figures out a strategic plan on how to piss off the least amount of people?

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                • Hello, Kitty August 30, 2016 at 1:19 pm

                  I thought the opinions of “privileged people” were to be discounted in any discussion. Regardless, the situation on Clinton was hardly a “public health crisis.”

                  I don’t disagree with the concept of looking at traffic safety through a public health lens, but in a world of constrained resources, we’re going to need to make choices and trade-offs and set priorities, and different people are going to disagree on what those should be.

                  Who should make the decision? You’re saying that your view of where those priorities trade-offs should lie trumps everyone else’s. Why do your views (which I generally share, despite our disagreements) trump those of other people who may see the issue very differently?

                  If you get to decide priorities today, you’d better be happy when someone else gets to decide tomorrow.

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                • Kyle Banerjee August 30, 2016 at 1:19 pm

                  If you want a public health crisis, try the obesity epidemic which is much more profound in its magnitude. If we take the position that nothing is more important than physical well being, people should be forced to eat healthy and exercise whether they like it or not.

                  If you want things safer for bikes and peds, progress will happen much faster if we build on areas of mutual interest rather than dismissing all the reasons people do things that we don’t understand or care about as irrelevant. If you think there are no areas of mutual interest, that is part of what is holding things back.

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                • soren August 30, 2016 at 4:19 pm

                  “mutual interest”

                  the ironic thing is that helping make clinton a more comfortable place to bike is a “mutual interest”. just imagine the gridlock if clinton had not siphoned away car traffic on divisoin and powell and converted it to bike traffic.

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                • Hello, Kitty August 30, 2016 at 4:41 pm

                  Yes, and that project moved forward. A success, no?

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                • Middle of the Road guy August 30, 2016 at 5:31 pm

                  He doesn’t like public involvement from people with different viewpoints than his.

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                • Spiffy September 1, 2016 at 8:15 am

                  yes, car crashes are a disease on society… a self-imposed one…

                  who should make the decision to remediate them? it doesn’t matter! but SOMEBODY needs to make the decision… and I don’t care who makes it as long as it’s made…

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            • Dan A August 30, 2016 at 1:14 pm

              Putting a 20mph school zone sign here would cost the surrounding businesses exactly $0.

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            • soren August 30, 2016 at 4:54 pm

              i’m going to guess that clinton was a “best cycling area” for you because you are accustomed to riding in close proximity of aggressive motor vehicle traffic. i also enjoy the adrenaline rush of riding in traffic. however, the vast majority of people cycling are not like you. they are not “annoyed” by diverters that needlessly *slow* them down; rather, they welcome the marked reduction in conflict and stress on one of portland’s most heavily used cycling arteries.

              i’m also not sure why cycling infrastructure improvement prevents pbot from spending money on pedestrian improvements. if pbot allocated its budget based on mode share this road could have seen active transportation improvements years ago.

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            • Spiffy September 1, 2016 at 8:20 am

              there’s no reason an area “That is an industrial with lots of tandem trucks” cannot also have “20mph limits”…

              freight advocates scream they don’t want to be slowed down… too bad… leave earlier if you’re on a schedule… freight timelines do not trump public safety…

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        • Adam H. August 30, 2016 at 12:24 pm

          For one, Portland is not densely populated by any measure. Two, there are cities far denser than Portland that don’t have massive trucks circulating their streets. Three, there’s this new invention called a “train” that seems to fit the bill. Four, what kind of society prioritizes movement of goods over the lives of it’s residents? Perhaps we need to learn to wait a few extra days for that shipment of bicycle frames to come in.

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          • Hello, Kitty August 30, 2016 at 12:29 pm

            What is one of these big cities without big trucks?

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          • Middle of the Road guy August 30, 2016 at 5:32 pm

            Cities arose because they offered more efficient transfer and trade of goods and services.

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        • SD August 30, 2016 at 12:25 pm

          I would like to know if this is true.

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        • Chris I August 30, 2016 at 1:27 pm

          Columbia does not have the traffic counts here to justify 5 auto lanes, and it definitely doesn’t need to be designed for 40-50mph travel.

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        • 9watts September 3, 2016 at 8:42 pm

          “If you have a densely populated area, you need ways to move large numbers of people and huge amounts of goods around.

          That simply is not possible with slow narrow roads.”

          Of course it is. You think the Swedes don’t live in densely populated areas? The Germans? The French? When the cars dry up and blow away we’ll still find ways to get our business done, but they’ll be a lot less killing-by-auto on our streets.

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      • Hello, Kitty August 30, 2016 at 11:58 am

        Large, multilane streets with heavy traffic in dense urban areas are common in Europe. Admittedly they don’t usually have a center turn lane, but they are pretty intimidating nonetheless. One big difference is they have signalized crossings all over the place — no one would be expected to cross without one.

        Here is just one example of several I happen to know of:
        https://www.google.com/maps/place/Stuttgart,+Germany/@48.7685825,9.1729873,272a,20y,209.42h,45t/data=!3m1!1e3!4m5!3m4!1s0x4799db34c1ad8fd3:0x79d5c11c7791cfe4!8m2!3d48.7758459!4d9.1829321

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        • Psyfalcon August 30, 2016 at 2:46 pm

          Sure, but in your example the buildings are up against the street, and the lanes look narrower. A lack of center divider/ turn lane is going to slow some of that traffic too.

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          • Hello, Kitty August 30, 2016 at 3:02 pm

            I find the proximity of buildings to create an even more pedestrian-hostile environment. You’re trapped in a very hard and unpleasant environment, right in the core of the city. And cycling? Forget it.

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        • soren August 31, 2016 at 12:40 pm

          And that road has very narrow lanes (with turn lanes every few blocks) and a speed limit of 18.6 mph.

          https://goo.gl/maps/XvEb4jPu6i92

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          • soren August 31, 2016 at 12:41 pm

            the turn lanes reduce the major road to a two lane road.

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          • Hello, Kitty August 31, 2016 at 12:52 pm

            That’s probably related to the merge or the construction. The speed on that street will be 50kph, which is about 31mph, the same as almost all arterials in Germany. In residential zones, the speed falls to 30kph (18.6mph).

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    • SD August 30, 2016 at 12:21 pm

      In the past, I thought streets like this were “old Portland” road design, where 30 plus years ago no one imagined routine pedestrian or bicycle use or significant residential development. And, it was just a slow moving process to have these roads reflect their current use.
      Now, I know that there are ridiculous design rules for ODOT and PBOT that prohibit consideration of multimodal road use, keeping roads in conflict with modern Portland.
      It is becoming clearer everyday that radical redesign across the city is needed. If we over step by lowering speed limits or restricting car access in certain areas and find out that it causes unacceptable problems, we can make further adjustments to increase efficiency.
      I would rather start from a place of being too safe and make allowances to improve efficiency than work from our current conditions that are too dangerous with plans that take 20 years or more to implement.

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  • SD August 30, 2016 at 11:14 am

    Responsible coverage from local TV news and “whatever the Oregoninan is” would go a long way as well. The time for them to capitalize off of an uninformed public that craves convenience and speed over safety and doesn’t understand the point of view of people who live/ walk/ cycle in Portland should be over. They could do a lot to clarify ROW laws and endorse safe driving practices without being “advocates.”

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  • Bald One August 30, 2016 at 11:16 am

    This is tragic. I feel terrible for the kid, and I hope he will recover. Columbia Blvd in this area is a pure race track. Heavy haul trucks doing 45 – 60 mph on a regular basis, 2 wide in the lanes, no ability to stop for kids or other peds. So many tailgaters on this road. I go through this area a lot, and I have only see someone using the ped bridge a few times, but frequently see pedestrians trying to cross the road, here (sometimes directly under the ped bridge), which is difficult with the speeds people drive around here. Although professional drivers are better than most private auto drivers, the truckers think they own this stretch of road and most drive that way. I would like to see truck safety inspections performed on a regular basis and make sure all these commercial guys are up to regulations, not talking on cell phones, and send a message they need to be careful through here.

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  • I wear many hats August 30, 2016 at 11:20 am

    Why is this so normal? I can’t tear up every time I read the news.

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    • Adam H. August 30, 2016 at 11:29 am

      Because our elected officials prioritize the movement of cars and trucks over the lives of their people.

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      • TJ August 30, 2016 at 12:11 pm

        ODOT is hardly elected.

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    • Lola Utz August 30, 2016 at 12:30 pm

      *hug* me too with those feelings of despair.

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  • Josh G August 30, 2016 at 11:47 am
    • Hello, Kitty August 30, 2016 at 11:58 am

      When Boston gets ahead of you in traffic safety measures, you know you have a problem.

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  • kittens August 30, 2016 at 12:11 pm

    Its 40 mph here because of the “freight community”. People have been dying on Portland’s streets since the start of time. Nothing new to see here.

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    • TJ August 30, 2016 at 12:22 pm

      I really really really disike this comment.

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      • Scott Mizee August 30, 2016 at 12:24 pm

        you dislike kittens’ comment?
        kittens August 30, 2016 at 12:11 pm
        Its 40 mph here because of the “freight community”. People have been dying on Portland’s streets since the start of time. Nothing new to see here.

        …or you dislike the reality of the facts?

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        • TJ August 30, 2016 at 12:44 pm

          I dislike the comment. Facts or not, we can be sensitive to the youth, to the family, and to my neighbors who live along Columbia who live with this daily. I get the sarcasm. But this is a personal and wrenching reality for a family today. It deserves more than a shoulder shrug and a simplistic view.

          If you’re Scott from SJ. I’m Travis.

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          • Scott Mizée August 30, 2016 at 12:52 pm

            I gotcha Travis. I agree. I dislike the last line of that comment too. It is uncalled for.

            I’m from University Park. So, technically not St Johns, but I’m heavily invested in the St Johns community.

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            • TJ August 30, 2016 at 1:02 pm

              Yep — I see you on our various forums. I’m currently on SJNA’s board (Safety and Livability Team facilitator), heavily involved in traffic/selfish driving issues on the Peninsular, and struggle with how terrible Columbia is for all modes crossing and turning.

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      • kittens August 30, 2016 at 12:53 pm

        Relax, I was making a point about how these victims are nothing but collateral damage in the service to special interests. It is absolutely ridiculous that it is 40 here.

        Every death or serious injury is a tragedy and incredibly destructive to those who loved them.

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        • Scott Mizee August 30, 2016 at 3:41 pm

          I understand kittens. thanks for clarifying.

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    • B. Carfree August 30, 2016 at 7:11 pm

      There was a time when I was driving tanker trucks up hwy 99W in the dead of night. That’s a freaking freight road; it runs the length of the state and on into SoCal. And yet, at each and every little hamlet along the way, the speed limit dropped to 30 mph and there was a local cop to make sure I obeyed it. Why can’t PDX manage to do with its freight roads what every little city in the state manages?

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  • Lola Utz August 30, 2016 at 12:27 pm

    Yesterday I stood at 30th and Division and waited as car after car flew through the crosswalk. Finally I said “crosswalk” to a car with two teen males with their window rolled down. They slowed down appearing to allow me to cross. As I took a step towards the intersection they sped up and screamed “F*%k you!” and drove away.

    As a pedestrian, I have this experience far more than it sane. Ever-increasing in the last year. It is not only negligence of drivers, it is an entitled aggression too.

    My husband, as a biker, has had almost identical experiences. Seems biking and walking in Portland is now an at-your-own-risk choice. I miss Portland of 10 years ago. When people were kind and when drivers screwed up, would gesture apology instead of the middle finger.

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    • Dan A August 30, 2016 at 2:28 pm

      Had a similar experience today in the crosswalk between 7th & 9th on Multnomah. Driver of pickup was speeding towards the crosswalk that I had already entered, and I stayed out of his path while I waited for him to notice me & slow down. Finally, right before the crosswalk, he slammed on his brakes and stopped. I pointed to the striped paint on the ground and began walking across. He yelled at me out of his truck, “I didn’t see you! I stopped! What the **** do you want?!”

      I want people to drive as if pedestrians might enter the roadway, especially when approaching a crosswalk. Surely he could see the painted crosswalk on the ground from a block away, even if he was too scatterbrained to see me enter it.

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  • Adam August 30, 2016 at 12:31 pm

    I didn’t know Columbia Blvd was a PBOT facility???!!!

    Why is it not safer? If it was ODOT, I could understand, as ODOT hates doing anything that would make a street less dangerous to anything other than something with an internal combustion engine.

    But PBOT?

    COME ON!!!!!!

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    • kittens August 30, 2016 at 12:56 pm

      I am guessing it is the Port or Portland which has convinced them the world would end if it took an extra 10 seconds to get from the freeway to their properties.

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      • Dan A August 30, 2016 at 1:18 pm

        Right, and I suppose their drivers run to get around whenever they aren’t behind the wheel, because every second counts.

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      • TJ August 30, 2016 at 1:20 pm

        Port of Portland has been fairly cooperative on safety fronts. They are far more community facing than other freight lobbies. Not perfect, but I do not think they deserve complete blame — freight and N. Portland is complicated.

        To be honest, freight moves fast here, but the drivers and motorcyclist are far more reckless. Neighbors in cars fret making left turns. Right turns are scary too. No one is winning.

        The sidewalks, where the exist, are terrible.

        The speed limit needed to be lowered yesterday.

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        • Adam August 30, 2016 at 2:20 pm

          I don’t think this is a freight issue, it’s a speed issue. However, the freight lobby is more powerful than the car lobby as it were. If PBOT announced they were lowering speeds along here, individual drivers would hardly kick up a fuss. Freight community would have a collective heart attack.

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    • Bald One August 30, 2016 at 1:12 pm

      The freight route loop-hole in safety that PBOT has seemed to create all over the city for the benefit of their lobbyists in the trucking/shipping industry needs to be ripped open and exposed to the light of day. Latest article last week about PBOT slowing speeds on main roads had this big caveat listed, but not highlighted – that improved safety will be a goal “except on designated freight routes”. Guess what, these freight routes are all over the city, and on many smaller streets that you would never expect were protected against safety improvements by this lame excuse that PBOT hides behind. And much of this is not local freight for your local household delivery, but regional and national / international freight passing from one industrial way station to another.

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      • Hello, Kitty August 30, 2016 at 1:21 pm

        SE 11th & 12th are truck routes, as are every other street in the inner eastside industrial area.

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      • rachel b August 30, 2016 at 2:05 pm

        The proliferation of heavy trucks on small neighborhood streets has been exponential in recent years. They go fast, too. UPRR is rolling in the $$$$$, freight traffic increasing hugely, every year—‘passing through’ traffic, mainly, as Bald One notes. How much of that $$$$$ gets funneled to the city? Maybe we could buy some more cops….

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        • Bald One August 30, 2016 at 2:17 pm

          Not to mention all the trucks that serve the interest of the port of Portland and UPRR are independent (read: limited liability to UPRR, Port) and operating as small business – frequently registered outside of Portland city limits, yet fully operating inside of Portland on local routes, even though all the cargo and trailers they are hauling have out of state and out of country ownership and much non-local cargo. City needs to start putting pressure on these operators to check they are up to date with compliance regulations, DEQ, fuel tax, operators licenses, safety inspections, etc. They pretty much have a carte blanche on unencumbered operations in Portland, as long as they are sticking to “freight routes”, and they don’t always do that. If you get right-hooked by one of these trucks, they won’t even know they ran you over, and it is impossible to identify their vehicle from behind, and challenging from any other vantage.

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        • Kyle Banerjee August 30, 2016 at 4:03 pm

          What small neighborhood streets are getting inundated with heavy trucks?

          A huge percentage of our streets are not wide enough for two cars to pass in opposite directions. Unlike cars which can duck into a driveway or intersection while another passes, this cannot be done with trucks.

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          • rachel b August 30, 2016 at 6:09 pm

            SE 26th, between Brooklyn Yard and Division. Big increase when UPRR moved major operations to Brooklyn Yard (without neighborhood input). And you’re right–the street’s not wide enough. Many trucks crowd both bike lane and middle line and they vibrate the street and houses as they rumble by. I also see them go up and down Woodward and Clinton.

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            • Kyle Banerjee August 31, 2016 at 10:17 pm

              I have trouble taking this seriously. Until a few months ago, I lived between Woodward and Clinton. In addition to being impossible for me to go anywhere without me taking one of those streets, I spent over an hour a day dog walking both of those streets.

              Both are sleepy streets that are super cycle friendly. Cars can’t use Clinton as a through road and there are hardly any trucks to speak of. Cars go faster on Woodward than Clinton, but it’s nothing compared to what most of the city is like.

              There are difficult streets in this town, but those are two of the easy ones.

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          • Bald One August 31, 2016 at 9:24 am

            SE 26th from Gladstone to Holgate.

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          • SD August 31, 2016 at 10:55 am

            NE Beech from Whole Foods

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      • Adam August 30, 2016 at 2:22 pm

        It’s like when they say they can’t put speed bumps on emergency response routes.

        Um, excuse me!

        If there were speed bumps on them, traffic speeds would be lower, and they wouldn’t need to respond to so many emergencies in the FIRST PLACE. Thus freeing up their vehicles to respond to all the other emergencies that aren’t the result of stupid people in vehicles.

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        • Kyle Banerjee August 30, 2016 at 4:07 pm

          In other words, it’s not important if emergency responders are slowed getting to people nor does it matter if it takes longer to get them to hospitals.

          Funny that emergency responders don’t buy this logic.

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          • Hello, Kitty August 30, 2016 at 4:13 pm

            I guess I would have to disagree (hey, it’s what I do!) There may be a trade-off between access to emergency services and prevention of emergencies. I think the question merits more than a pat answer, and, all else being equal, I’ll take prevention. I don’t know what the cost-benefits analysis looks like, and I wonder if any have been done to support this policy, or if it is based on “common sense.”

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            • Kyle Banerjee August 30, 2016 at 4:36 pm

              The tradeoffs are relevant. Reducing emergencies is important, but there are *many* emergencies that are not car related. But I think even car related emergencies are important to address quickly. I would argue that getting people and goods around efficiently is also important. There’s more to safety than simply lowering speeds.

              I was just thinking yesterday that Columbia is one of the streets where 40mph actually makes sense even if there are specific areas that might benefit from additional lights or lower limits. Things are far from the road, sight lines are good, and there’s very little visual noise.

              I hope some of the posters here never move from Portland or attempt to ride elsewhere as they will find significantly less infrastructure and higher speeds.

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              • Hello, Kitty August 30, 2016 at 4:49 pm

                I agree, but I think these tradeoffs should be quantified, not just presumed to exist. This work may have been done, though I suspect it hasn’t.

                Let’s take a street like 26th, that has no traffic calming because it’s an emergency route (also because it’s a collector, but let’s leave that aside). How much extra time would, say, 5 speed bumps add to a typical emergency trip (that might only traverse 2 or 3 of them)? What would the impact of that additional time be on “customers” having a health or police emergency? What is the benefit (safety and otherwise) of slowing traffic on that street (which is still a major bike route).

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                • rachel b August 30, 2016 at 6:12 pm

                  [Not in favor of speed bumps on 26th (too much vibration–the houses are too close to the road and we really pick up the thump, big time, even from road patches), but crosswalks, curb build outs, etc.–yes!]

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                • Hello, Kitty August 30, 2016 at 6:14 pm

                  Well… it was just an example that I know is relevant to a lot of folks here.

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                • rachel b August 30, 2016 at 11:49 pm

                  I know. I just feel compelled to mention it anytime it comes up because my fear is that–if and when we get anything to calm traffic on SE 26th–it’ll be speed bumpity bump bumps, agh. Every time TriMet buses go over simple, barely raised/recessed patched areas of road in front of our house, it feels like an earthquake in here.

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                • paikiala August 31, 2016 at 10:13 am

                  HK:
                  delay per standard speed bump is a function of the response vehicle weight, power, and direction of travel.
                  going to an emergency the delay is very low for light vehicles, up to about 10 seconds per standard speed bump for engines and trucks. for speed cushions the delay per device is up to about 2 seconds.
                  Since PF&R is the primary responder, they have few ambulances, and a medical emergency (super-majority of responses) requires four personnel (OSHA), a truck or engine always responds. these are the heaviest vehicles with the most delay.
                  Ambulances that transport patients have the least delay getting to an emergency, but I don’t know if the transport to hospital delay has been studied.
                  the standard for response is about 4 minutes – the length of time the brain can go without oxygen before damage begins.
                  The traffic calming issue arises not from an one device, but the accumulation of small delays over the length of a response call.
                  one solution is speed cushions on Major Response routes to minimize built in delay. Another might be smaller response vehicles (power/weight ratio) that can move quicker. Another solution would be more fire stations to reduce the average travel distance.
                  Lastly, the current vehicle selection is based on having one vehicle that can do as much as possible, from fire suppression and vehicle extraction to heart attacks and other medical issues. Slowing traffic could reduce high energy crashes. Housing code could require built in fire suppression systems. A variety of policies affect how big a fire truck currently is.

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                • Hello, Kitty August 31, 2016 at 11:42 am

                  The section of SE 21st between Clinton and Powell is about .25 miles, and has 4 bumps. If an uncalmed firetruck would traverse that span at 40MPH (which is way faster than it would actually go), that means it could make the trip in 22.5 seconds. If we add 40 seconds of delay (at the low, low rate of 10 seconds per bump), that would mean the truck would make the same trip in 62.5 seconds, which looks to me to be about 14.4MPH (if I did the math right).

                  That seems awfully slow. I’m guessing that 10 seconds/bump number has a huge factor of safety built in.

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                • paikiala August 31, 2016 at 4:14 pm

                  HK,
                  No factor of safety. Portland actually tested delay for speed bumps, speed tables and the small traffic circles. Delay also varies with posted speed, and PF&R can only go 10-15 above posted.
                  the ten seconds is actual.

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              • Paikiala August 31, 2016 at 7:55 am

                Kyle,
                The supermajority of emergencies are medical and Fire is usually the first responder.

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                • 9watts September 3, 2016 at 9:49 pm

                  Right. Which is why it has long seemed rather peculiar that the trucks have long hoses and axes and all that jazz on them.
                  So much of what we do in this country is peculiar. It is as if we habitually forget that other countries all somehow manage to solve these very same problems too. Hm.

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              • Bald One August 31, 2016 at 9:21 am

                This comment about N. Columbia is not really true at this location. Columbia has a big curvy section in it along here – not too much to have to slow down a speeding vehicle, but certainly not great sight lines, and they are made worse by the overgrown vegetation. I drive along here, routinely. When you add these poor sight lines and fact that most (nearly all!) vehicles, including many heavy semi-trucks, are speeding in excess of 50 mph, it makes slowing down and stopping for a pedestrian trying to cross the street here a calculated risk of being hit from behind – nobody drives with the expectation of having to stop in this area. This section of Columbia does not have good visibility. The section of Columbia which does have straight sight lines immediately East of here has a 45 mph speed limit.

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                • Spiffy September 1, 2016 at 9:07 am

                  “nobody drives with the expectation of having to stop in this area”

                  that’s a weird thing to say because when I’m driving anywhere I always have the expectation that I may need to stop instantly at any second for a wide variety of reasons…

                  that’s why I laugh whenever I see a “prepare to stop” sign… I’m always prepared to stop, it’s part of my duty as a driver…

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                • 9watts September 3, 2016 at 9:52 pm

                  Hans Monderman. Such a brilliant individual. His ideas could be applied to the conversations we have here just about every day.

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        • Chris I August 30, 2016 at 9:49 pm

          If we really cared about emergency response time, we would have congestion pricing.

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        • Bay Area Rider August 31, 2016 at 7:51 am

          There are the new Actibumps, sort of like high tech speed bumps. It is a metal plate in the road.If you are doing the speed limit the plate stays in place and you get a smooth ride. If you are speeding a portion of the plate lowers so that you get a jolt when you hit the edge created by the lowered portion of the plate. Emergency responders can have a transponder which prevents the plate from lowering https://www.eta.co.uk/2016/08/12/actibump-traffic-calming/

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          • paikiala August 31, 2016 at 10:14 am

            cost?
            speed cushions have a similar benefit, for about $2,000 each.

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            • 9watts September 3, 2016 at 9:53 pm

              $2,000 for a lump of asphalt? Yikes. I must be in the wrong business.

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      • paikiala August 31, 2016 at 9:59 am

        Bald,
        you seem uninformed about freight routes and Portland’s authority.
        The hole in the air rule can be over-ridden for safety reasons.

        Trucks move most of what we buy and some of the things they move are long, tall, wide or heavy. These loads are called ‘over-dimensional’.
        Tell us which roads you would designate as the pathways from the ships that bring stuff to Portland to the destinations in Portland and Oregon those thing, small to large, including the over-dimensional ones.

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        • Hello, Kitty August 31, 2016 at 10:39 am

          The existence of over-dimensional goods does not require that we use large trucks for under-dimensional goods. We could restrict the size or movement of trucks on our streets and make an exception for over-dimensional goods, which are only a tiny component of our overall freight picture.

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          • paikiala August 31, 2016 at 4:17 pm

            That still does not answer the question of what street you put OD vehicles on and what that means for speed management the other 362 days a year.
            Columbia Blvd and Marine Drive are the two streets that access port facilities on the peninsula.

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            • Hello, Kitty August 31, 2016 at 5:15 pm

              It makes it much less important — if we treat these vehicles as unusual outliers (how many OD loads are there, really?), they could go on any street with sufficient clearance. It’s a bit like the wide load vehicles you see on the highway. They might need to extend a bit beyond a narrow lane, but because everyone knows they’re unusual, they give them a wide berth.

              We don’t necessarily need a whole network of streets to move large volumes of big vehicles at high speeds.

              I would prefer to build the streets we want, then use vehicles that fit those streets, rather than building our streets to accommodate the biggest size vehicle someone wants to use.

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            • Bald One September 2, 2016 at 11:49 am

              I have no problem with freight use of N Columbia and N Marine, this is routine. Those streets lead directly to I-5 from the port. I have a problem with the behavior of some of those freight drivers (common and unnecessary speeding and aggressive driving) and the unnecessary pollution of many of the older trucks which are commonly used in the local freight circuits (you can sometimes tell which trucks are used for just running cargo around Portland and the valley and which are running interstate traffic by looking at their stickers (Calif clean idle is required and commonly used by most interstate trucks which essentially means >2010 model; whereas many older trucks are just moving cargo around Portland between rail yards and require zero pollution mitigation and cannot qualify for CA clean idle cert). BTW, if COP wanted to move oversize freight on N. Columbia, why did they put a pedestrian bridge with restricted height clearance across it at this location?

              And, I have a big problem with UPRR using city streets SE Holgate and SE 26th avenues to move 53′ box container freight within their yard (their own RR tracks cross their own yard and they have no internal bridge to get the containers over these tracks, so they put the containers on a big, old truck and drive it around the block, through the neighborhood and up SE Holgate and back into the yard. This company should have to build internal infrastructure to accomplish this internal container movement (their own bridge or lift crane over their own tracks in their own yard), and they should not be allowed to shuffle these containers around using COP local streets all day and night for this purpose.

              Lastly, I have another problem with the traffic cutting that the freight container movers going from UPRR Brooklyn to Albina and Port of Portland – that is picking any street they want to get from Brooklyn Yard to N Portland when the traffic on I-5 is bad: SE 11th/12th; SE 7th; SE Division; N Interstate, NE MLK, N Greeley, N Willamette, N. Lombard. These guys should have to go sit on I-5 to Marine Dr where the big trucks belong instead of cutting through on any side street to save a few minutes. That traffic cutting tends to lead to aggressive driving – especially around SE Portland.

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              • 9watts September 3, 2016 at 9:55 pm

                I’m learning a lot. Thanks for this, Bald One.

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  • Lola Utz August 30, 2016 at 12:36 pm

    I hope the community begins to talk about the various reasons why people are so negligent as drivers these days. Texting while driving should be as criminal an offense as being drunk and driving. We’re going too fast as a culture. We’re juggling 100 things and consider ourselves “good multitaskers” and we’re always irritable, rarely willing to step into accountability when we screw up. Why? We have to unplug from the box. Seriously. The internet is rewiring our brains and making us automations of our former selves. Sure, there needs to be more police (where are they anyways?) willing to arrest, not ticket, ARREST, people texting and driving or driving erratically. But the bulk of the work is the responsibility of the community. Each of us being present when we drive. Not driving when agitated, on the phone, etc. Caring more about the lives of vulnerable bikers and peds than getting to work 3 mins faster.

    We have to slow down. In our own lives and as a culture. Otherwise, this will only increase.

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    • Spiffy September 1, 2016 at 8:40 am

      science keeps showing that people are terrible at multitasking…

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    • 9watts September 3, 2016 at 9:58 pm

      “Texting while driving should be as criminal an offense as being drunk and driving.”

      I’d be inclined to agree with you – but: Just the other day I read on I think it was the Monday Roundup that someone (not in Oregon) was booked for their NINTH DUII. Something’s not adding up here.

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  • Mike August 30, 2016 at 12:58 pm

    lowering speed limits, more marked crosswalks etc will only go so far. As the dude on hawthorne demonstrated, there are certain people who rules don’t apply to. It would be awesome to have the ability to change the driving habits of everyone but I am not sure that is ever going to happen. All the infrastructure changes in the world won’t remove all car vs ped interactions. Not to sound too defeated but is it time to take defensive walking to a whole new level? By that I mean don’t ever assume a car is going to stop. Make eye contact before crossing the road. Don’t feel safe just because you are in a marked crosswalk. Just because you have the right doesn’t make it safe to cross. I know I will get skewered for my opinion but it is the way I walk and ride. I can’t change the way some idiots drive but I certainly can take actions myself to keep me and my family safe. I don’t trust the motorist in this city and though I don’t walk or ride in fear I am careful not to assume they have my safety in their best interest.

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    • Eric Leifsdad September 3, 2016 at 3:21 pm

      A shorter way to say it: Some people don’t follow the rules, so instead of trying to make streets that demand more care from drivers, people walking should wear armor and carry assault rifles.

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  • Stephen Keller August 30, 2016 at 1:00 pm

    m
    …As a Roosevelt student (not George), maybe he was walking on the other side of the street. All speculation.

    He could also have been crossing Midway. This is part of my extended neighborhood, and I’ve observed people driving around that corner at what seem to me to be higher than advisable speeds. The curb on the school-side of Midway is beat up and crumbling, suggesting the possibility that some folks go fast enough to hammer the curb with their wheel rims. In other words, the student might well have been doing nothing wrong with respect the state’s “sidepath” laws.

    Stph

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  • bikeninja August 30, 2016 at 3:36 pm

    Maybe we need to bring back public lashings and apply them to speeders and auto lawbreakers in the middle of pioneer courthouse square.

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  • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) August 30, 2016 at 3:47 pm

    UPDATE, 3:46 pm: Police have just released names and more details:

    The 15-year-old male injured in this morning’s crash has been identified as Bradley Fortner of North Portland.

    Traffic officers learned that the driver, 28-year-old Natanael Lopez-Castillo of North Portland, was driving a gray 1993 Nissan pickup eastbound on North Columbia Boulevard when he struck Fortner in the roadway. Fortner was crossing from the southside of the street to the northside at the time of the crash. Lopez-Castillo did not exhibit any signs of impairment.

    No citations have been issued and Lopez-Castillo was not arrested.

    The investigation is continuing and once complete it will be given to the Multnomah County District Attorney’s Office for review.

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    • Tom August 30, 2016 at 6:37 pm

      Does that mean they checked for cell phone use by the driver? Texting while driving would be a form of impairment, right?

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    • Spiffy August 31, 2016 at 8:08 am

      sounds like the kid was hit right after he stepped into the roadway… children aren’t good at judging velocity so he may have thought the car was going slower (or was supposed to be going slower around a school), as it really should have been…

      unless the driver is found to have been distracted this will be fully blamed on the kid even though the infrastructure has a lot to do with this road’s continual violence problem…

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      • Dan A August 31, 2016 at 6:08 pm

        Fortner was heading north across Columbia on the way to Roosevelt High, which is south of Columbia?

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  • Rachel September 1, 2016 at 9:34 am

    This is my neighborhood. This is one of our local kids just doing a normal kid thing like going to school. Thoughts and prayers to him and his family and friends.
    Despite the massive Portland gentrification, this neighborhood remains primarily lower income people of color. We are not a priority to this city. However, if we ask the police to stop more drivers I fear they would start here where a $300 ticket would be financially devastating and getting to the courthouse would take at least an hour to travel back and forth.
    We have been begging the police for lower speed limits here and more stop signs or speed bumps here and are told it will never happen.
    I agree with the the comments that these injuries and deaths scream for a systemic change. Portland streets will only get more crowded. Let’s elect people who care about communities more than businesses. In the meantime let’s teach ourselves and our kids that the culture of driving in Portland is changing with our growing population and we can’t just assume cars will stop for us like they did in the past.
    Today let’s send our love and thoughts to Bradley.

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  • 9watts September 3, 2016 at 8:24 pm

    Middle of the Road guy
    Thank you for not taking the “Eliminate All Cars” approach many of your readers do.
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    I don’t know if you’re implicating me, MOTRG, but I’ll just say that my most common refrain here isn’t to eliminate all cars, but rather that PBOT and other agencies at least plan for the possibility that cars will dry up and blow away, not because some nefarious car-zapping authority took everyone’s keys away but because the conditions that gave rise to ubiquitous automobility no longer obtain.

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    • Hello, Kitty September 3, 2016 at 11:53 pm

      If all cars go away, there will be plenty of warning and plenty of time to plan for it. I wouldn’t want PBOT using their very limited resources to spend time on this possibility.

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      • 9watts September 4, 2016 at 8:03 am

        I’d love for you to explain your thinking a bit. Because I see this entirely differently. I don’t see the end as chosen, as the result of a (gradual) preference shift, but as the result of an external (very possibly cataclysmic) set of constraints that forces the issue. Assuming this is roughly accurate, there will be no time and no resources to do what you’re saying. Knowing what we know about the relationship between expensive to extract oil and the economic system we have, never mind climate change, the writing is already on the wall for those who care to read it, so in my view the ‘time to plan for it’ is upon us.

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        • Hello, Kitty September 4, 2016 at 3:52 pm

          My thinking is that things will change slowly; yours is that they will change quickly. Neither of us really knows; we are both guessing. I’m not sure how much value there is in debating the nuances of our respective guesses. PBOT doesn’t have the resources to handle what’s happening today, never mind exploring our respective speculative guesses about tomorrow.

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  • 9watts September 4, 2016 at 8:32 pm

    “PBOT doesn’t have the resources”
    I don’t think it has ever been about resources, but rather about priorities and imagination and spine.

    As for your opinion vs. mine, I don’t think it is quite that one-dimensional. It isn’t as if the two of us were alone on this planet; there are a lot of other smart people out there who have thought about not just the prospects for rapid unwelcome change, but about our species’ special propensity to persuade ourselves that everything is going to be OK, especially when the threat is large and without precedent.

    http://media.chelseagreen.com/what-we-think-about-when-we-try-not-to-think-about-global-warming/

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