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Police Bureau seeks grant for OMSI enforcement

Posted by on August 6th, 2007 at 1:46 pm

On SE Caruthers.
(File photo)

An article in the Daily Journal of Commerce (DJC) today reports that the Portland Police Bureau (PPB) will seek $300,000 in grant funds to continue their enhanced enforcement activities at the MLK Viaduct construction site.

The work zone (near OMSI, east of the Esplanade) has been the source of headaches for many cyclists (and legal trouble for some) since early this Spring.

The article says that according to a Police Bureau report:

“In the first four months of construction at the site, city police towed 29 vehicles; arrested three drivers under suspicion of driving while intoxicated; and recorded 2,545 speed violations, 176 bicycle violations and 503 other violations.”

The ODOT-managed project, which will realign and replace the MLK, Jr. Boulevard and Grand Avenue viaducts, is scheduled for completion in 2010.

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13 Comments
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    Matt Picio August 6, 2007 at 1:51 pm

    So, out of more than 3,000 violations recorded by the PPB, less than 200 were bicycle violations.

    With all due respect to those cyclists who were ticketed, that doesn\’t sound like cyclists are being singled out. That\’s about 5-6% of all the violations, and cyclists easily make up more than 5% of the traffic in that area.

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    joeb August 6, 2007 at 2:37 pm

    Is that the silent stretch of road that has no thru streets and no traffic? There are stop signs but the cross streets are all blocked off due to construction? Maybe I\’m thinking of the wrong section.

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    Phil August 6, 2007 at 3:20 pm

    Are they going to give tickets to all the tractor-trailers that park in the bike lane and don\’t stop at the stop signs? If so, then I\’m all for it.

    As for the speed violations, I imagine they\’re using the camera system for that, so they can give a ticket to every single car who goes over the upper limit.

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    NPBike August 6, 2007 at 3:33 pm

    Sounds like a revenue generator. $300,000 investment gets you 3,000 tickets at roughly $200 a piece…..that\’s $600,000…more money to do more enforement.

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    VR August 6, 2007 at 3:52 pm

    Those numbers include 99E through the area. 99E through that location carries tens of thousands of vehicles daily. I seriously doubt that bicycles make up anywhere near 5 or 6 percent.

    However 99E carries no bicycles. If you take 99E and the speeding violations on 99E out of the numbers, I bet it would show a SIGNIFICANT bias towards ticketing bicycles.

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    John Boyd August 6, 2007 at 3:57 pm

    3256 tickets x $242 fine average = $787,952 / 4 months which didn\’t quite cover enforcement costs so they need to ask for $300,000 additional?

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    peejay August 6, 2007 at 4:39 pm

    Kruger has shown himself to be ignorant of statistics, unwilling to focus resources on the areas that have had the highest crash rates, and unable to grasp any new way to punish only the truly negligent riders. As I\’ve said before, when you practice enforcement at a signal that almost everyone fails to obey (and certainly if your officers are unable to differentiate between slow-and-go and blow-right-through), you do not target your citations ot the ones who truly deserve them.

    I wonder if we could petition ODOT to not grant the money, since the Police Bureau has not shown that their enforcement actions have any effect on public safety.

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    Todd B August 6, 2007 at 6:35 pm

    Perhaps with the $300k they could improve the bike and pedestrian safety of this corridor…perhaps even make it freight friendly (swap out stop signs for mountable compact roundabouts)?

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    SKiDmark August 7, 2007 at 12:03 pm

    It is becoming clear that it is just about generating revenue. Here I am thinking the Police were about upholding the law.

    Yesterday I witnessed a drug deal not 4 feet away from me, a fairly big bag with white powder in it changing hands. Apparently they felt that a tattooed pierced freak like myself would not care. If I had a cellphone I would have snapped a picture of them and called 911. When shit like this happens I have to wonder WHERE ARE THE POLICE?

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    Joe August 7, 2007 at 7:37 pm

    I wonder if there\’s some report associated with the grant application showing how the area has become more safe? Just saying we handed out x amount of tickets to cars and x amount of tickets for bikes doesn\’t prove effectiveness. There\’s got to be more cost-effective projects to provide grants to.

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    VR August 7, 2007 at 8:08 pm

    Of course I don\’t see the Police hassling the Ross Island trucks that almost ran over me twice today, once on the way in to town and once on the way back. I am pretty sure that a cement truck should not drive recklessly – but hey, that\’s just my opinion…

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    Matt Picio August 8, 2007 at 7:58 am

    VR (#11) Were the police sitting there when this happened? Did you report the incident?

    If they don\’t do anything, then it\’s totally valid for us to push for change – but if we don\’t tell them it\’s happening, how are they supposed to do anything about it?

    SKiD (#9) – I don\’t think it\’s solely about revenue, at least not in this case. 99E has serious problems, and very few motorists obey the posted speed through the construction zone. (Ignoring for the moment a.O.\’s contention that enforcement doesn\’t change behavior, because if we accept that as valid, then the entire argument changes completely)

    The real question is why are they concentrating on locations with no / few reported injuries / deaths rather than concentrating on the locations where people are getting hurt / killed?

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    Matt Picio August 8, 2007 at 8:08 am

    VR (#5) – That corridor probably sees a thousand bikes a day – maybe more. Hopefully PDOT did a count in there somewhere. So, you may be right – bikes may not be 5-6%. So I guess the jury is still out until we have accurate counts of bikes and cars in the area.

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