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crosswalk enforcement action

Entering 10th year, PBOT ‘crosswalk enforcement actions’ still going strong

Wednesday, January 28th, 2015
Crosswalk enforcement action NE Killingsworth-2
The warnings don’t seem to stop folks from breaking the law.
(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

While everyone likes to argue about which type of roads users break more laws — and we are currently being forced to have the tired debate all over again thanks to a well-intentioned but misguided legislative concept — the Portland Bureau of Transportation is doing their part to address the issue.

PBOT’s Crosswalk Enforcement Action program has been going strong since 2005. We checked in on one back in September and have reported on them many times over the years. The idea is simple: Place a human decoy (sometimes a notable politician but more often PBOT safety staffer Sharon White) in a crosswalk and wait for people to break the law while a phalanx of Portland Police motorcycle officers wait in the wings, armed with radar guns and quick twists of the throttle to chase people down.

The efforts are usually quite fruitful and they offer us a small window into the rampant disregard many road users have for the law. (more…)

Dispatch from a crosswalk enforcement action on NE Killingsworth

Friday, September 5th, 2014
Crosswalk enforcement action NE Killingsworth-5
PBOT’s Sharon White and Leah Treat acted as decoys for a police action on NE Killingsworth this morning.
(Photos J. Maus/BikePortland)


As crosswalk enforcement decoy, Mayor Hales walks talk on traffic safety

Thursday, May 16th, 2013
Mayor Hales crossing enforcement action-6
Portland Mayor Charlie Hales crossing E Burnside at 16th as a decoy in a police enforcement action this morning.
(Photos © J. Maus/BikePortland)


13 citations issued by PPB in crosswalk enforcement action

Thursday, May 24th, 2012
The location of yesterday’s enforcement action
on SE Foster.

The Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) and the Portland Police Bureau (PPB) held one of their regularly scheduled “crosswalk enforcement actions” yesterday. This excellent program, run by the PBOT traffic safety team and dedicated staffer Sharon White (who often puts herself at risk on our most dangerous roads as a decoy during the missions), has resulted in nearly 1,000 citations since it began five years ago.

The set-up is your typical sting situation, except that it’s not exactly a sting. The reason we call these “enforcement actions” is because both the PPB and PBOT give plenty of prior warning that the missions are happening. They notify the public about them via the local media and they even set up signs at the locations announcing that an enforcement is ahead. The goal, says the City, is not to fill the City’s coffers busting scofflaws, but rather to increase awareness among road users of traffic safety and the laws that govern it. (more…)

Tragic irony: PBOT postpones crosswalk enforcement action due to fatal collision

Thursday, February 2nd, 2012
Traffic Safety action on SE Foster-7
A memorial on SE Foster near
site of fatal collision back in November 2009.
(Photos © J. Maus)

The Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) has been doing “crosswalk enforcement actions” for several years. The events, which place a human decoy in a crosswalk with a phalanx of cops waiting to pull people over nearby, have helped raise awareness for crosswalk laws and traffic safety in general. In the past six years, the actions have netted nearly 1,000 citations.

One of the most dangerous streets in the city is SE Foster Road. It’s a high-speed arterial that has claimed many victims over the years, including a fatal hit-and-run just last week. Portland Mayor Sam Adams himself launched a safety campaign on SE Foster in 2010, calling it a de facto “freeway.”

Today I noticed that PBOT had a crosswalk enforcement action scheduled for tonight on SE Powell at 54th — a location less than a mile from SE Foster. In an email from PBOT traffic safety staff about the actions, I read this:

“The crosswalk enforcement action scheduled for Thursday, February 2nd… has been postponed until a later date to be respectful to the residents of Foster Powell and Mt. Scott Arleta that will be having a candlelight vigil for Jason Lee Grant on Thursday at 5:30 PM on SE Foster near SE 71st Avenue. Mr. Grant was crossing SE Foster near SE 71st on Saturday evening when he was struck and killed by a hit and run driver.”

These arterial streets are so frustrating and so sad. Despite efforts to hang banners over them, install blinking lights at crosswalks, do enforcements actions, and hold vigils to remember their victims — these streets continue to win in the end.

Surely there’s got to be more we can do to tame these streets? What we’re doing now is great; but sometimes it seems like it’s just not enough.

For more information about tonight’s candlelight vigil, contact Christian Smith via email at christianbsmith [at] me [dot] com.

Crosswalk enforcement action coming to W Burnside at 20th

Monday, October 24th, 2011

Check out more details in the press release below from PBOT:

Crosswalk enforcement with Police is Wed. at W Burnside, NW 20th

PORTLAND, Ore. — The Portland Police Bureau and Portland Bureau of Transportation announced a crosswalk enforcement event for Wednesday, October 26, to raise awareness of pedestrian safety and traffic law.

The enforcement will take place from 12:30 to 2 p.m. at a crossing of W Burnside Street NW 20th Place.

A crosswalk enforcement action includes a pedestrian decoy positioned at marked or unmarked crosswalks. Those in cars and on bicycle who fail to stop for pedestrians in the crosswalk and pedestrians who jaywalk may be issued a warning or citation by the Portland Police Bureau.

Crosswalk enforcement actions are an effective way to communicate pedestrian right of way laws to all who use our streets. The transportation and police bureaus do enforcement actions in response to community requests and to educate the general public on the rules at marked and unmarked crossings. They are conducted approximately once a month.


22 violators cited during Williams Ave crosswalk enforcement action

Friday, August 26th, 2011

The City of Portland’s latest crosswalk enforcement action resulted in 22 citations on Tuesday during rush hour on N. Williams Avenue. The event lasted from 5:30 to 7:30 pm and is part of an ongoing effort by the Police Bureau and Bureau of Transportation to raise awareness of Oregon traffic laws among Portland vehicle operators.

The police focused on the intersection of Williams and NE Morris near Dawson Park. Even though extensive warnings were made to the public both in advance and during the event, the police still managed to nab 22 law-breakers. Of the 22 citations written, 8 of them went to bicycle operators, 1 went to someone walking (for unsafely crossing the street to catch a bus), and 13 were given to people driving cars. (more…)

Cops will focus on N. Williams crosswalk during Tuesday’s rush-hour

Monday, August 22nd, 2011
(Photo © J. Maus)

The Portland Bureau of Transportation and the Police Bureau will be watching you during the evening rush on N Williams Avenue on Tuesday night (8/23).

As I reported back in July, PBOT and the PPB will be doing a “crosswalk enforcement action” at the intersection of Williams and Morris. The idea is to educate the public about Oregon’s crosswalk laws.

The cops will be out in force with a special focus to make sure people operating cars and bikes stop — and stay stopped — when someone tries to cross the street. (They’ll also be watching for jaywalkers, they say.) (more…)

PBOT crosswalk enforcement actions net 904 citations in five years

Friday, January 7th, 2011
What happens when you mix
cops and crosswalks?
(Photos © J. Maus)

One of the tools we can use to make our streets safer is to get tougher on enforcement. So, what happens when police officers focus on particular violations at specific locations?

Recently, we came across a report detailing five years of crosswalk enforcement actions carried out by the Traffic Division of the Portland Police Bureau. The results (below) show that in most locations, there is either simply ignorance or blatant disregard for basic traffic laws that protect our most vulnerable road users.

PDOT employee gets a scare during crosswalk safety event

Tuesday, December 2nd, 2008
I Share the Road Rally
PDOT’s Sharon White, shown here
at a Share the Road rally in 2006.
(Photo © J. Maus)

Sharon White is PDOT’s pedestrian safety chief. One of the many programs she oversees is an ongoing “crosswalk enforcement action” campaign. Working with the Portland Police Bureau, White and staff at PDOT identify high-risk intersections and then employ decoys to walk across them while officers stand by.

White is so committed to her work that often, she herself takes on the role of crosswalk guinea pig. A few weeks ago, during one of the enforcement actions, she got more than she bargained for. (more…)

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