Dangerous intersection chosen for community action

[This Friday (8/4) from 7-9AM there will be a traffic safety education action at NW Lovejoy and 9th Ave.]

Lovejoy and 9th

[Looking west on
Lovejoy approaching 9th.]

The intersection at NW 9th and Lovejoy (just west of the Broadway Bridge) is rife with traffic safety red flags; cyclists blowing the stop sign, cars turning without signaling, a senior home on the corner, cyclists going too fast on the sidewalk, and so on.

The City of Portland has received a steady stream of complaints about this intersection including several from a resident of the retirement home named Phil Staley. Phil was recently struck by a cyclist while in the crosswalk and to make matters worse, the cyclist didn’t even stop. Yep, a hit-and-run.

Luckily, Phil is a reasonable guy and he gets the big picture. I talked with him this morning and he said:

“I’m not really upset at cyclists in particular because I know there are bad apples in every bunch. Heck, even pedestrians can drive you crazy sometimes! I’d just like to see something get done about it. I see way too much dangerous behavior going on and so far there’s been no official response.”

[NE corner of intersection, with Station Tower retirement home in background.]

At this point the City is considering requesting police enforcement but before they do, the community (that’s us) has been given the chance to make things right.

This Friday (8/4), from 7-9:00 AM there will be an education action to raise awareness of traffic safety concerns at NW 9th and Lovejoy. This event is being organized by a citizen volunteer and reps are expected to show up from Elders in Action and other community groups. There will be signs made up (make your own if you’d like) and literature to pass out.

The idea is that by getting out in the street and talking about solutions face-to-face we can solve this problem as a community, without official help from the city or the police.

Please consider joining us for this important event.

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Michael
Michael
16 years ago

I have zero issue with a fair use of citations to enforce all reasonable laws effecting the safety and well being of all users of the streets and sidewalks. Bikes blowing reds are no better than the cars doing the same. It is all coming from the same reservoir of contempt for other people sharing our transportation spaces. The bike rider in the mentioned case is a shameful example of the anti-social behavior of too many of our fellow human beings.

zach
zach
16 years ago

I run the light at that intersection all of the time. It does not seem particularly dangerous to me.

The eastside approach to the Broadway bridge is another story entirely, especially Weidler between 1st and Victoria…

Randy
Randy
16 years ago

Get the police involved and they will just fuck things up, as they have been wont to do lately.

Steve
Steve
16 years ago

Zach…thanks for doing your part to make us all look like fools. Red=Stop, Green=Go…it’s no wonder we are constantly at odds with motorists and the police.
Thanks again.

Donna
Donna
16 years ago

I think that it is a dangerous intersection when it is right in front of a building where a large group of people live who have frail bones more prone to breakage. If Phil were someone with osteoporosis, he could have broken his hip or leg in the fall. That kind of fracture in an older person frequently signals the end of their ability to live independently and some even die not long after.

I’m a healthy 33 year old and it’s easy for me to compensate as a pedestrian or on a bike when I encounter cyclists who runs stop signs or reds. I feel pretty steamed when it happens, but so far so good. Most elderly people have slower reflexes, both physical and mental – a normal part of aging. I would tend to think that an 80 year old with arthritic joints and slower reflexes isn’t going to be able to get out of the way as quickly.

It’s really great that Phil and his neighbors are wanting to look for solutions to the problem that don’t involve the police.

Jason
Jason
16 years ago

For those who need to turn left onto 9th while heading westbound on Lovejoy (coming down the hill from the bridge), you’re a lame duck waiting to get nailed from behind in that left turn lane. If the eastbound traffic has the green and you have the red arrow, your best bet is to just turn as soon as it is safe to do so. There’s way too much heavy truck traffic and other distracted speeding drivers coming down that hill for my blood to just sit and hope for the best. My two cents on this particular intersection.

organic brian
organic brian
16 years ago

(the press release about the event)

This Friday, August 4th from 7-9A, a “traffic safety education action” is planned to call attention to the particular dangers of the NW 9th & Lovejoy intersection, and encourage motorists, cyclists, and pedestrians to navigate the area safely and with awareness.

Recent collisions have highlighted the need for attention at this intersection: a cyclist colliding with an elderly man who lives nearby, and a motorist turning right in front of an oncoming bicyclist who was safely and legally riding in the bike lane.

Friday’s event is an community effort to improve traffic safety. This is an effort to address safety concerns directly, without taxing the limited resources of the police. During this event, the community will use signs, call-outs, literature, and other creative means to promote safety at this location.

NW 9th and Lovejoy has several issues:

The steep descent from the Broadway Bridge leads to high operating speeds for bicyclists and motorists…
Motorists have caused crashes by improperly turning across the bicycle lane without signaling or when a bicyclist was present…
Bicyclists have run the red light and occasionally have ridden on the sidewalk to avoid potential conflict at the intersection.
These problems are compounded by the large senior living community on the northeast corner of the intersection.

Brian Scrivner, who is involved in the “bike fun” organization Shift to Bikes and also the Southeast Uplift Bicycle Safety Committee, is organizing the event and said, “My hope is that we can show that people talking with each other and working together can make our streets safer. We all want to have pleasant experiences as we move around our city. This event is to encourage all of us to share the road and be especially careful when travelling by places where pedestrian traffic is more dense such as near senior living centers, schools, and parks.”

People who are concerned about increasing safety at this particular intersection and throughout the city are encouraged to attend the event. Join organizers from 7:00 and 9 :00 AM at NW 9th & Lovejoy to hold signs, pass out literature including “I Share the Road” stickers, and discuss safety with passing cyclists and motorists. There will be signs available, as well as materials for making new signs.

Key messages that will be highlighted include:

– All modes share responsibility for operating safely,
– People should slow down before the intersection,
– Motorists should make sure that the lane is clear before turning across the bicycle lane.
– Bicyclists and motorists should stop at the red light,
– Bicyclists and motorists should stop for pedestrians in the crosswalk,
– People should be aware of cross traffic.

We all share responsibility to make our city the safest and most livable place it can be.

organic brian
organic brian
16 years ago

Vicki at Elders in Action suggested some alliterative phrases for signs, which made me happy since I love alliteration. We’ll have stuff for making more signs if anyone thinks of more like these:

Stop for Seniors
Pause for Pedestrians
Brake for Bikes

I talked w/ Phil yesterday (the fellow who was hit by a cyclist), he seems like a real nice fellow and cracked me up quite a few times. He says he detests terms like “senior” and “golden years” and that he’ll try to make it to the event before a morning appointment.

Tony
Tony
16 years ago

I’m with Jason on this. When stopped in a left turn lane you’re a sitting duck. I understand that there is a proposal to change the law so that cyclists can treat red lights like stop signs and clear the intersection when safe. Seems like a logical way to take care of the problem. There is a big difference between treating the red arrow as a stop sign and blowing through the light. Use your heads and we’ll all be safer.

sheldon
sheldon
16 years ago

There is a trick to those left turn signals. I worked at the ecotrust building for the past 3 years and have lots of experience with making that left turn. There is an optical sensor on the light post and I find you can get the light to turn to green if you waive your arms over your head a couple of times. I’ve had a pretty good success rate doing this.

Vigilante
Vigilante
16 years ago

Sheldon, I’m not being critical and I appreciate the tip, but I did find your suggestion funny- the mental image was a cyclist frantically gesturing with arms upraised in the middle of an intersection. As if we don’t look silly enough to some motorists! Sorry, but I had to laugh.

sheldon
sheldon
16 years ago

Believe me I’m aware at the puzzled looks I get, but when it comes down to it I’d rather be the healthy, but silly looking guy on the bike then the heart attack waiting to happen driving his car to work every morning.

Vigilante
Vigilante
16 years ago

Good point, Sheldon. Lots of things I now consider cycling essentials seemed silly to me at first (signalling, stopping at stop signs, even wearing padded shorts!). Thanks for the mental image, though.

Kirsty
Kirsty
16 years ago

Everybody is welcome to come along tomorrow morning & wave a cool sign with us in the name of transportation harmony! And I’ll bring the cookies!

TS
TS
16 years ago

Dang. Sorry I didn’t catch this until it’s too late. Hope it was a good event. I used to hit that red light every morning until I changed jobs. I finally stopped turning down Lovejoy and went down Everett.

I saw tons of people blowing through the light. Really annoying and stupid. Bumpers and grills really mess up your bike’s paint job.

The best was up on the bridge, though. Cyclists wouldn’t pay attention to the red “straight through” light for cyclists. And they fly through as cars were turning right with a green arrow onto Lovejoy, causing the drive to slam on their brakes. Man. That was a little rush of adrenaline once a month or so. I’d just cringe because my reactions weren’t fast enough to yell, “Stop, you moron!”

Though coming off the hill there, I wonder if more fixies would stop if they had mechanical brakes… Ha!

Adams Carroll (News Intern)
16 years ago

TS…it went great! We had some good discussion, we talked with seniors, some motorists yelled at us, most honked and waved, media showed up…watch for photos and a full report soon…