Posted by Jonathan Maus ( Publisher/Editor ) on March 26th, 2008 at 10:44 am
Unlike their morning shift, the Traffic Division of the Portland Police Bureau was busy yesterday afternoon at the intersection of SE Hawthorne and 7th.
One unmarked police car and six motorcycle officers were on scene for an educational mission to make sure motorists understood how to treat the newly installed bike box and painted bike lane.
“By and large we were very pleased with how it went. The vast majority of the motorists and the people operating bicycles understood how to use the box…it’s pretty intuitive.”
–Lt. Bryan Parman
According to Lieutenant Bryan Parman, they worked the intersection from 3:30 to 6:00 pm and issued a total of just 10 warnings related specifically to the bike box. Parman told me this morning that the majority of those were for encroachment into the bike box and that “just a few were for [turning] right on red.”
Overall, Parman said, cars performed well. “By and large we were very pleased with how it went. The vast majority of the motorists and the people operating bicycles understood how to use the box…it’s pretty intuitive.”
What kept Parman and his officers busy wasn’t the bike box, it was general traffic violations in the intersection. In the same time period, they issued 22 citations for a variety of violations that had nothing to do with the bike box.
It should be noted that people riding bicycles were also pulled over and cited/given warnings for various reasons.
While I was at the intersection there was quite a crowd that had gathered to watch the action. In addition to several TV news crews camped on Hawthorne adjacent to the bike box, just around the corner on 7th were a group of folks that included officer Robert Pickett, City Commissioner Randy Leonard (the bike box is on his commute route), lawyer Mark Ginsberg, and several passers-by that had stopped to weigh-in with their thoughts. Across the street, a group sat outside a brewpub to take it all in.
One guy in the crowd said he has owned a business and lived near the intersection for over 20 years and that he thought, “It was about time they did something to deal with all the bikes around here.”
The Police Bureau will continue to work the intersection and issue warnings for the next week or so. After two weeks have passed, they will issue citations.
The City of Portland will hold a bike box press event tomorrow (3/27) morning where they plan to unveil a new video that will be part of their ongoing public education campaign.