Tomorrow is the first day of school for thousands of Portland students and the Police Bureau plans to beef up enforcement to make sure they get to school safely. And, taking safety one step further, they’re also urging parents to leave the car at home and walk and bike to school instead.
According to a statement from the PPB, they will perform “high visibility patrols” around all Portland schools as part of what they’re calling a “Back to School safety campaign.” The plan includes dozens of officers and the use of photo radar units to help enforce traffic laws in school zones. The effort is being done in partnership with the Bureau of Transportation’s Safe Routes to School program.
Here’s more from the PPB:
“There will be emphasis placed on traffic safety and traffic education for the students, bicyclists and drivers of motorized vehicles during the morning hours when students arrive at their schools and in the afternoon hours when the schools dismiss their students. Hours of enhanced patrol will vary but generally will be between 7:45 a.m. and 9:00 a.m. then again from 2:30 p.m. until 3:30 p.m. “
The PPB also offered these tips to the public:
- If you’re driving, obey the 20 mph speed limit in school zones
- Be vigilant and courteous to children crossing the street.
- If you’re a parent, consider walking or biking to school with your students where possible to reduce congestion, improve safety and provide young people with needed physical activity.
That last tip is notable because it’s not very often that an official statement will directly encourage people to walk and bike.
Unlike some other cities where there seems to be a constant tension between police and bicycle/traffic safety advocates, Portland is lucky to have a productive and collaborative relationship between PBOT and the PPB. There are many great staffers at both bureaus who are committed to traffic safety and it’s a very good sign to see them team up on this these school-related enforcement missions.
If you’re out and about tomorrow, be ready for the streets to be even more hectic than usual. I’m always amazed at how many more people are using the streets when school is in session.