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Metro owns trail easement rights at location of Marine Drive collision

Posted by on April 21st, 2011 at 3:03 pm

The bike/car collision this morning on NE Marine Drive happened in a location where Metro owns an easement for a future trail that would place the bikeway off the main road.

In a rare blend of advocacy and communications, Metro has posted a story on their website about the crash, saying that the collision, “highlights the importance of Metro’s work to close trail gaps” (but unfortunately calls it an “accident”).

In a statement, Metro President Tom Hughes added, “Although trails don’t eliminate the possibility of accidents, they make a big difference.”

Metro purchased the easement rights to the property adjacent to the intersection where Swan was hit (NE 122nd and Marine Dr) just last last month. The plan is to develop a trail to connect with the existing Marine Drive Trail in the future. (You might recall our story earlier this month about a Metro easement just east of this location near NE 185th.)

This morning’s crash occurred when 21-year old Robert Babb turned left from Marine Drive onto 122nd and struck 28-year old Karey Swan as she was riding her bike in the opposite direction. Swan, a seasoned bike racer who lives in Portland, was taken to Legacy Emanuel Hospital and is undergoing surgery for her injuries.

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  • dwainedibbly April 21, 2011 at 3:42 pm

    I think trails are a good thing overall, but I’m not sure it would have prevented this crash. The driver still might have left turned in front of the cyclist anyway. The difference is that she would have been in the cross street when hit instead of in the oncoming lane. In this respect, riding on a path is similar to riding on a sidewalk.

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    • Bjorn April 21, 2011 at 4:07 pm

      Much of the marine drive path is positioned on the river side of marine drive making crossings of streets like 122nd unnecessary, but currently the path that runs between 122nd and 138th is on the opposite side. Is the new right of way one that would allow moving the path to the more sensible river side of marine drive?

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    • Spiffy April 21, 2011 at 7:38 pm

      yes, and when a trail crosses on a side street just past an intersection there’s usually a stop sign for the trail users, making it less convenient for one mode…

      sure, she would have stopped to let cross traffic pass, but in the current configuration you don’t have to stop, which to me is the better option… I’d rather ride on the same road as traffic and not have to stop every time I need to cross a busy intersection… especially since motor vehicles rarely stop to let trail users cross…

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      • Brian E. April 22, 2011 at 7:48 am


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  • A.K. April 21, 2011 at 4:20 pm

    Any idea when they will start building this section of the trail, since they own the easement rights now?

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  • BURR April 21, 2011 at 5:08 pm

    At that location, I’m pretty sure the trail easement is located to the south of Marine Drive, which means that cyclists using the trail would still need to cross 122nd at grade, and completion of the trail wouldn’t change the exposure of cyclists to this sort of left hook collision.

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  • Charley April 21, 2011 at 7:46 pm

    Get well, Karey!

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  • Mork April 21, 2011 at 10:00 pm

    Please Metro, figure it out: They are preventable crashes, not accidents!

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    • peoples republic April 22, 2011 at 8:42 am

      To say this was not an accident implies a deliberate cause on behalf of the driver,cyclist or traffic engineers who designed the intersection.

      I have not seen all the stories on this but is there some evidence of something deliberate or intentional in the event?

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      • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) April 22, 2011 at 8:55 am

        Calling it a crash (instead of an accident) does not imply it was a deliberate act.

        However, calling it an accident makes it seem like it was an unavoidable situation… which is far from true. The man was uninsured and was cited for an unsafe left turn. To me, that seems a far cry from some random, unfortunate “accident.”

        I’m pretty shocked actually that Metro is still using that word. Come on Metro, get with the program!

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  • peoples republic April 22, 2011 at 12:52 pm

    I guess you have a different dictionary than I. In definition of accident there is no implication whatsoever that a accident is is a “unavoidable” situation. Actually to the contrary a accident is in part defined by it’s avoidable nature

    Definition of ACCIDENT
    a : an unforeseen and unplanned event or circumstance
    b : lack of intention or necessity
    a : an unfortunate event resulting especially from carelessness or ignorance
    b : an unexpected and medically important bodily event especially when injurious
    c : an unexpected happening causing loss or injury which is not due to any fault or misconduct on the part of the person injured but for which legal relief may be sought


    I am not trying to take anything away from the victim. I hope she heals soon and is compensated for her loss, I hope the driver is well punished for his actions.

    However to imply that this was not an accident is to imply that there was a deliberate act in this event. For example the driver intended to hit the cyclist.

    If we wrap this event in a deliberate intent we may lose focus on other possibilities, perhaps that the intersection is inherently unsafe and that part of the solution to avoiding future events may be to redesign the traffic flow.

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