Urban Tribe - Ride with your kids in front.

PBOT’s first-ever prime-time enforcement action will be on Williams

Posted by on July 28th, 2011 at 6:24 pm

Crosswalks in action-1

Oregon law says vehicles must “stop
and stay stopped” when crosswalks
are in use.
(Photo @ J. Maus)

The Portland Bureau of Transportation announced the location of their next crosswalk enforcement action last night. On August 23rd, PBOT and the Police Bureau will focus their efforts on the intersection of N. Williams and Morris.

Morris is a marked crosswalk and the PPB will be on high alert for anyone who fails to “stop and remain stopped” (as per ORS 811.028) when someone is in the crosswalk or attempting to cross the street.

Unlike previous enforcement actions, the PPB will conduct the mission during the evening rush hour at 5:30 pm. Typically, the missions are done during midday.

Williams Avenue has been the focus of a traffic safety project in recent weeks and during community meetings, a failure to stop for people walking has been a central complaint. With much of the Williams motor vehicle traffic going over the speed limit and many people on bikes also failing to yield when people are trying to cross, PPB could have their hands full.

It’s also worth noting that Oregon’s crosswalk laws were just strengthened during the last legislative session and the new provisions went into effect immediately. According to the BTA, the new law states that a person is crossing the street “when any part or extension” of the individual’s body, wheelchair, cane, crutch, bicycle or leashed animal enters the roadway.

Last night, the PPB held a crosswalk enforcement action on NE 82nd at Pacific that resulted in 26 citations and 2 warnings in just one and a half hours. Check out the video below with footage from that event that which explains how the enforcement actions work:

It will be interesting to see what the results of this mission are. Remember, this is far from a “sting.” The City puts out signs saying “Enforcement Action Ahead” and the event is publicized widely. They say the goal is to raise awareness of traffic laws and behavior — not to pad their coffers with ticket revenue.

NOTE: We love your comments and work hard to ensure they are productive, considerate, and welcoming of all perspectives. Disagreements are encouraged, but only if done with tact and respect. If you see a mean or inappropriate comment, please contact us and we'll take a look at it right away. Thank you — Jonathan

  • q`Tzal July 28, 2011 at 7:24 pm

    Remind me; why is it not OK to “pad the coffers” with a “tax” on careless drivers?

    Ultimately, those that violate safety laws meant to protect us are causing society to have to pay out more for the consequences of injuries and deaths caused by those who callously or ignorantly violate safety laws.

    If there is any chance that multiple and punitive fines applied to these violators will reduce future violations then we owe it to ourselves to try.
    If it just so happens that police departments are able to partially fund their operations thus freeing up general tax revenue for other purposes, so be it.

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    • John Russell (jr98664) July 28, 2011 at 7:30 pm

      I would guess that they don’t because it might anger a number of people. Now, they can get away with slapping obvious violators with a ticket while saying that they had warned everyone in advance.

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    • Matthew Denton July 29, 2011 at 1:16 am

      Because we don’t hold people to high standards in general so they get mad when we start “cracking down” on them…

      For instance, for the driver’s test (both written and on the road,) you can get a few things wrong and still pass. Middle school wood shop required perfect scores before they’d let us use power tools (and the worst we could do would be lose a few of our own fingers,) but, we’ll let people operate things up to 4 tons in public, with a score of 75% on a simple test.

      On the on the road test: It is about 10 minutes long, and as long as you don’t cause (or nearly cause) an accident, you can break up to 3 laws and still pass. Keep in mind the test is taken under ideal conditions: The radio isn’t on, you aren’t talking on the phone (hands free of course,) you aren’t eating dinner, aren’t having trouble controlling your kids in the backseat, aren’t late for something, and probably are paying attention since you know you are being watched.

      That means that there are people (with licenses) driving on the road that deserve 18 tickets an hour! I know, I’m one of them, (although I’d like to think I’ve gotten better since then.) Now, I’ve never gotten a ticket, but that is more luck and police staffing levels related than the fact that I don’t deserve at least 10 today, (and the person I was with complimented me on how safely I drove!)

      So when the police show up and expect that we actually follow the laws? People’s reaction is “why now? I’ve broken this law 100s of other times, why did I get caught this one?” they immediately assume the problem is that they got caught, (not that they broke the law.)

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  • was carless July 28, 2011 at 7:50 pm


    bust some butt.

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  • captainkarma July 28, 2011 at 8:49 pm

    Good. I’m afraid of being the cause of vehicular manslaghter when I stop for crosswalk users (marked or otherwise), causing a visibility issue when the car (or bike!) in the next lane blows on past me wondering why the hades I’m stopping.

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    • jeff July 29, 2011 at 10:57 am

      Im pretty hyper-vigilant around pedestrian crossings when I’m driving, and am often more concerned with being rear-ended by those who are not.

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  • iseeviolators July 28, 2011 at 9:25 pm

    Did anyone else notice that the first motorcycle cop that took off in the video didn’t wait for the pedestrian crossing the street to complete their transit? It was about 00:20 in the video.

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    • Spiffy July 29, 2011 at 8:22 am

      I dunno, it looks like she’s stepping up onto the curb at the same time he enters the crosswalk so I think it’s barely legal…

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    • davemess July 29, 2011 at 10:56 am

      You don’t have to wait until they are entirely across the street. There was a good animated video on here a few months ago (by the guys who did the stop as yield bike video (actually I think it was that video)).
      They said you only had to wait until the pedestrian was a full lane away, or like 8-10 feet.

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    • craig August 1, 2011 at 11:24 am

      The one crossing in the video (a PBOT staffer, normally) is part of the operation. The same person crosses back and forth the entire time, and the officers bust the offenders. Not a true pedestrian crossing situation since the one crossing is in on it with the PPB.

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  • cyclist July 28, 2011 at 9:45 pm

    Just remember folks that bikes are subject to this law too, don’t forget to slow for pedestrians tomorrow lest you get a ticket too.

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    • jim July 29, 2011 at 12:57 am

      Slow down for pedestrians?
      I thought you were suposed to stop?

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      • Spiffy July 29, 2011 at 8:23 am

        you are…

        unless you’re into civil disobedience to lobby for the Idaho stop…

        as many say, different mode = different rules…

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        • Kristen July 29, 2011 at 10:45 am

          The Idaho Stop has NOTHING to do with stopping for pedestrians in crosswalks.

          In fact, I believe it specifically says that you MUST stop for pedestrians.

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    • Martin July 29, 2011 at 7:26 am

      Jonathan could you remind us of what the law is for bikes stopping at a crosswalk? Do we need to remain stopped (in a trackstand) until the pedestrian has walked past all the cars and exited the “roadway”?

      I never stop that long because it’s silly.

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      • craig August 1, 2011 at 11:29 am

        “The driver of a vehicle [i.e. rider of a bicycle] commits the offense of failure to stop and remain stopped for a pedestrian if…”

        ORS 811.028

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    • jered July 29, 2011 at 11:45 am

      Exactly what I was thinking. I don’t know how many times my dog and I have almost been hit in crosswalks on Alberta by bikes. I’ll be interested to see how many cyclists get tickets and what the reaction will be.

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  • Alex Reed July 28, 2011 at 9:48 pm

    Go Portland Police! I would love for them to continue this crosswalk enforcement spree indefinitely!

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    • Spiffy July 29, 2011 at 7:57 am

      yes! they should have a full time crew picking random spots in the city to enforce these things…

      actually, I’d just be happy if the police just put down the radar gun, got off their asses, and enforced the violations happening in front of them instead of the ones they’re looking for…

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  • Allan Folz July 28, 2011 at 9:58 pm

    Very interesting, from the text of the statute:
    “For the purpose of this section, a bicycle lane or the part of a roadway where a vehicle stops, stands or parks that is adjacent to a lane of travel is considered to be part of that adjacent lane of travel.”

    So, cyclists must stop and wait for the ped to cross their lane and the next *two* vehicle lanes. Wonder what would happen if a cyclist walked their bike through the cross walk?

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    • Spiffy July 29, 2011 at 7:55 am

      you mean walked the bike through the crosswalk and continued on your way instead of riding? you’d probably get a ticket for walking in the roadway…

      however, if you rode up onto the sidewalk, then rode into the same crosswalk the ped was using, then turned out of it and continued on your way, then I think you’d be ok…

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  • chasing back on July 28, 2011 at 10:26 pm

    Please do this at foster and 82nd, between Fred Meyer and Shimmers. This has replaced 92nd and division as the scariest part of my ride. So many people blow right through the intersection

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    • Spiffy July 29, 2011 at 8:05 am

      both of those intersections have traffic lights… it’s self-enforcing when a car blows the light and hits you…

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      • NF July 29, 2011 at 9:16 am

        C’mon Spiffy… The ‘traffic light’ you’re referring to is a rapid flashing light – it’s better than nothing, but it is NOT a red light which requires motorists to stop. Multiple lanes and oblivious drivers still threaten anyone who crosses there.

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  • maxadders July 28, 2011 at 10:40 pm

    awesome. I have stopped for peds at this intersection many times on my bike. drivers seem to need a reminder that they’re supposed to do the same.

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  • Randy July 29, 2011 at 6:46 am

    Jonathan, Do you live in or near this neighborhood?

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  • Spiffy July 29, 2011 at 8:02 am

    good spot for enforcement since Google maps shows a park, a child care, and native-American and child rebab all there on the corner…

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  • Spiffy July 29, 2011 at 8:26 am

    who can we email to request a place and time for some enforcement action?

    I’d like to request some on Holgate where the new bike lanes are… I’ve had lots of cars intentionally buzz me as I cross the street…

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  • beelnite July 29, 2011 at 9:30 am

    Riding it tonight at rush hour! I will set the example if I can. May mean less tickets for cyclists if my behaviour is contagious… but I think just seeing the “sting” and the PPD in force may be enough to kinda remind folks to cool it and learn and/or obey courtesy… oh and the law too. 🙂

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  • deborah July 29, 2011 at 9:30 am

    Very happy to see this enforcement! It was so terrible how many people were hit while walking in a cross walk last year. Thank you PBOT and the Police Bureau!

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  • beelnite July 29, 2011 at 9:31 am

    But wouldn’t it be ironic if – while going out of my way to be ubber polite and law abiding – I get a ticket!?!?

    I look down at my odom, grab some water… OH! DANGIT!!!

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  • fredlf July 29, 2011 at 9:43 am

    I would love to see more enforcement on NE MLK, say at Shaver or Mason. I use those crosswalks routinely, and almost every time I can count a dozen cars who blow right by me, even when I’m in the middle of the crosswalk.
    Not that I have much faith in these stings making a difference. I’d just like to see a little pay-back.

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  • Jim F July 29, 2011 at 9:50 am

    Glad to see this. I was rear-ended by a fellow cyclist at this crosswalk not long ago. Apparently caught her by surprise that a cyclist would actually stop for a disabled person who was waiting at a crosswalk.

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  • John Landolfe July 29, 2011 at 12:58 pm

    I bike this street every day and in the business corridor it’s actually pretty difficult to see when people are waiting at the eastside crosswalk (Williams & Failing). You’re keeping an eye on fast moving traffic on the left, other bicyclists in front of you, people getting out of cars 2 feet over on the right, busses, and dozens of people lingering on the sidewalk with unclear intentions.

    I realize compliance is an issue on any street in Portland. But this street also has design flaws working against commuters.

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    • Ted Buehler July 30, 2011 at 10:15 pm

      From a safety standpoint, bicyclists would be advised to travel slower on Williams. If you can’t keep track of all the potential hazards and ROW issues ahead, you might be riding too fast for conditions.

      Ted Buehler

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  • noah July 29, 2011 at 9:12 pm

    Now I thought the Oregon law would have a vehicle stop until the pedestrian has reached the opposite curb was changed a few years ago, the current requirement being to wait until he/she is a certain distance past your car. Something like 15 feet. Is this right?

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    • Ted Buehler July 30, 2011 at 10:09 pm

      Noah —
      Looks like if the pedestrian is a half lane past you, you can bust on through in a car.

      Pretty scary — if someone isn’t going to stop for you in the next lane, you can’t retreat back to where you started from, because the cars are already moving.

      Ted Buehler

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  • Ted Buehler July 30, 2011 at 10:06 pm

    As someone who crosses Willis on foot regularly, I appreciate this action by the Portland Police.

    For drivers, you can review the terms under which you need to stop in the Oregon Drivers Manual, p. 77-78.


    Ted Buehler

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  • Kevin Wagoner July 31, 2011 at 7:11 am

    Fill the coffers and re-invest in more enforcement, please.

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  • craig August 1, 2011 at 11:48 am

    I really think that what’s needed is not only more of these actions to educate road users about their obligations WRT crosswalks (marked or unmarked), about which so many drivers seem to be ignorant…

    …yes, education is badly needed, but…

    …what’s more needful, I think, is consistent and broadly applied punitive enforcement, i.e. busting and heavily ticketing road users for failing to obey these basic and essential safety laws, all day, every day, all over the city.

    I think there are just way too many road users who already DO know their obligation, and either (a) take lightly the risks of their actions, and/or (b) refuse to yield to ANYBODY when they’re on the road, if they can get away with it–it’s that sick psychosis that seizes people in their cars, where they feel the sensation of a dangerous combination of power, defiance, and anonymity.

    Wish a lawyer could speak to this, but it seems to me that willfully buzzing or blazing past a crosswalk user is almost always a case of reckless endangerment, and when the act is one of open hostility, vehicular menacing or attempted vehicular assault.

    I’d bet there are 10.000 instances of this occurring every day in this city–and when the road user is in a car, every one of them a deadly act.

    If it were up to me, I’d prioritize making our city a safe haven for walking well ahead of the push to make Portland a world-class cycling town. And I’m a cycling nut.

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  • Doug Klotz August 1, 2011 at 11:59 pm

    In an unsignalized crosswalk (marked or not), a driver (and bicyclist) has to stop for a pedestrian who is in the driver’s lane, as well as in a lane on either side of the driver’s lane. The driver (or cyclist) has to remain stopped until the pedestrian is out of the driver’s lane, as well as out of either adjacent lane. (all the way out of that adjacent lane) So, I would surmise that if you’re biking in a marked bike lane, you’d be required to stop for a pedestrian leaving the curb on your right, and wait until they clear your bike lane, as well as the entire auto lane to your left. (Or vice versa)

    Different rules apply when turning with the light at a traffic signal. There you have to stop for a pedestrian in the lane you’re turning into, plus 6 feet on either side of that lane. (That’s the “half-lane” rule: only when turning at a signal).

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