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Stop! Police will target Ladd Circle stop sign violators today

Posted by on September 18th, 2013 at 7:38 am

Stop sign in Ladds

A stop sign at Ladd Circle.
(Photo © J. Maus/BikePortland)

The Portland Police Bureau is all set to do a targeted enforcement mission at Ladd Circle today. The action comes after they received complaints from area residents about people rolling through the stop signs.

As regular readers of this site know, this issue has plagued road users in this southeast Portland neighborhood for many years. We first reported about police activities at these stop signs in April 2007. Since then, the lack of compliance and resulting frustration from neighbors who say they’re afraid to walk around the circle and from people who feel the enforcement is unfair and a poor use of police resources, has continued.

On Monday, we received a phone call from PPB Traffic Division Lieutenant Chris Davis. He said he plans to send several officers out for the mission. “We’ve been getting complaints again of people running stop signs out at Ladd Circle,” said Lt. Davis. “We’re having the same issues with bikes and cars running the stop signs.” Lt. Davis said now that school is back in session, the bureau’s biggest concern is the safety of people walking in the area.

We’ve heard from various police sources that the mission might occur this morning and this afternoon.

Since this is such a major bicycling thoroughfare, some people might feel like the police are specifically targeting bicycle riders. But that’s not the case, says Lt. Davis. “They [his officers] have clear direction from me that we don’t just target bicycle riders, that we target anybody who is committing a traffic law violation, in particular one that is dangerous. That’s what we want to focus on.”

Keep in mind, the Traffic Division does enforcement actions like this all the time. They are often the result of citizen complaints and they are usually directed at motor vehicle speeding and/or other motor vehicle-related compliance issues. The PPB knows this is a sensitive topic for bicycle advocates, so they have given BikePortland, the BTA, and PBOT a heads up about today’s action.

If you plan on riding through Ladd Circle today, make sure you ride with extra courtesy and be sure to be on your best behavior. Or, if you simply always ride and drive with respect and care for the law and for other road users, you should have nothing to worry about. And remember, the law says bicycle riders must “cease forward motion,” so you are not required to put a foot down as long as you momentarily stop and then proceed when it’s safe.

— For more on the ongoing saga of the infamous stop signs at Ladd Circle, browse our past coverage.

UPDATE, 8:40 am: A phone call from a reader confirms the police are at the location this morning. 4-5 motorcycle cops and they are very busy. Our caller said there were about 5-6 people on bicycles stopped when he went through.

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peejay
Guest
peejay

If I complain about people with bad haircuts, will the police arrest them? The safety implications are the same.

Sho
Guest
Sho

Thank you Portland Police Department. It is much appreciated seeing you guys out there today as a cyclist, pedestrian, and car driver who passes through here daily. Please perform these regularly.

TonyT
Guest
tonyt

And in the meantime, after years of trying to get enforcement for multi-thousand pound vehicles speeding through our neighborhood, we get nothing.

(as I type this I can hear car after car ripping down our street, easily doing 30mph in a 20mph zone)

After years of trying to get enforcement of multi-thousand pound vehicles entering our street at an intersection clearly marked DO NOT ENTER, we get nothing.

I guess our houses aren’t expensive enough here in our humble neighborhood to earn the periodic display of mustachioed motorcycle cop dominance.

This is beyond absurd. Somebody get a count of how many motorcycle cops are doing this because this “we don’t have the manpower” excuse is a pathetic lie.

TonyT
Guest
tonyt

“that we target anybody who is committing a traffic law violation, in particular one that is dangerous.”

Would the Lt like to compare the fatality stats of bikes rolling stop signs and cars speeding?

matt providence
Guest
matt providence

I go through this circle daily and make sure to put a foot down despite that fact that its completely ridiculous to have stop signs at a circle. the whole point of the circle is to keep things flowing in a controlled fashion.
Its easy picking to fill the coffers…

Noel
Guest
Noel

I say we start sending complaints about cars not fully stopping at stop signs. Which I believe is a lot more dangerous.

peejay
Guest
peejay

Meanwhile, the death toll mounts from distracted speeding drivers, who have “accidents” all over our high speed arterials. Say what you want about existing laws and all that, but the fact remains that the PPB makes a value judgement with this enforcement. And those values are: take care of the whiny rich people.

John Lascurettes
Guest

A stop sign sting at Flint and Broadway is rarely far behind one at Ladds Circle. Just saying.

Dan
Guest
Dan

Or…enforcement for folks that don’t stop on southbound Skyline where it meets Hwy 26.

Kristin Dahl
Guest
Kristin Dahl

If you’re reading this than you’re probably already at work, but they’re stationed in pairs or triplicates at SE 25th + Clinton, SE 21st + Clinton, and Ladd’s Circle…and they’re gettin’ after it.

On the one hand, I appreciate the effort because I think we often forget just how many traffic laws – minor or major – we might disobey on any given commute into town. On the other hand, its a disappointment that they decided to target riders during BTA’s Bike Commute Challenge month. It seems like the City of Portland could have picked a different time and instead been out in force to support people riding this month and just given gentle reminders to slow down, be courteous, stop, etc. I really think they could have been more creative and supportive and still arrive at the same outcome.

I saw at least five people getting pulled over on my way into town and the cop who pulled the fellow over right in front of me at SE 25th + Clinton just started yelling at him in very close proximity to his face, “DIDN”T YOU SEE THAT STOP SIGN? WHAT MAKES YOU THINK YOU DON’T HAVE TO STOP JUST BECAUSE YOU’RE ON A BIKE?” I wanted to stop and film him, but the moment passed and the rider was completely humiliated.

Not very productive or in line with the community’s overall objectives to support active transportation.

I think the way this is being handled is shameful.

Kristin Dahl

Todd Hudson
Guest
Todd Hudson

Reading these comments really disappoints me, because almost almost all the comments are “but cars!”

At oregonlive.com, almost all the comments are “but bikes!”

There are so many people on the low road, it becomes of traffic jam of finger-pointing.

It is not too much to ask to stop at a stop sign, tap your foot down briefly, and resume your commute.

Lenny Anderson
Guest
Lenny Anderson

A waste of valuable police resources. They should be data driven, not PR driven.

lyle w.
Guest
lyle w.

I’ve come around a little on this since moving into Ladd’s and riding around the circle almost everyday. I think there’s a huge distinction between people who are going flat out coming out of downtown or Division the other way and making NO effort to even think about touching their brakes (which happens frequently if you pay attention), and people who do slow down enough where they don’t stop, but can at least navigate anything coming or going safely. I don’t think you have anything to worry about if you do slow down enough to get in that second category; you’re not gonna get a ticket if you do anything other than put your foot down and wait for five seconds while swiveling your head both ways twice.

I’ve had a bunch of close calls in the last two years with people who will be flying through the stop sign while I’m angling to drop off of Harrison and can’t only not be bothered to stop, but can’t even turn their head to see who they’re cutting off, and it is never fun.

In other words, cry me a river if you’re idea of cycling is going through Ladd’s at full speed and not even acknowledging the stop sign. Pick another battle to fight that gives you that self-righteous feeling.

andy
Guest
andy

There should not be a stop sign at the roundabout in the first place. You simply yield to the traffic on your left or allow people to cross on foot.

Todd Hudson
Guest
Todd Hudson

It won’t kill anyone to briefly pause at a stop sign. I won’t even hurt anyone.

Case
Guest
Case

*sigh*

Guy
Guest
Guy

This is what you get… I’m not shocked at all.

There are only two stop signs that are being watched politically.

Its not very hard to stop for just one sign.

lisa
Guest
lisa

Yes, FALSE equivalency, 9wattts is right. Bikes just don’t pose the same danger that cars do. Cars kill and injure tens of thousands, bikes hardly any.

And Todd Hudson is right too, it is not too much to ask drivers of cars to stop at a stop sign, tap your foot down briefly, and resume your commute.

This part of town sure does see a lot of precious police resources compared to areas where pedestrians are routinely mowed down. Shameful.

And having stop signs at a round about is just ridiculous.

dan
Guest
dan

I bike through Ladd’s almost every day (but randomly, not today), and the majority of bicyclists act like tools there. They do look left for car / bike traffic before rolling the stop sign, but I would guess no more than 10% look to the right for pedestrians. It takes a special kind of jerk to go full speed through a stop sign in front of someone walking their kids to school / daycare.

Looking to the right at the stop signs would also let you see the cops when they do these stings, giving you a chance to stop and not get a ticket, so it seems to me this is a habit that more people might like to adopt.

Terry D
Guest
Terry D

I live less than a mile east from the police station on the high cfash corridor called Burnside. Although I have seen pull overs (DUI’s mostly), as far

mikeybikey
Guest
mikeybikey

isn’t there a felony hit and run that is still unsolved?

Spiffy
Guest

confirmed…

26th and Clinton…

21st and Clinton…

and Ladd circle…

mostly bicycles being pulled over… but I did see a couple of cars pulled over…

a newer resident of Portland pulled up next to me and asked if this was normal… I assured her that it wasn’t…

I scream negligence… while they’re focused on a bicycle there’s a multi-ton motor-vehicle that’s much more dangerous breaking the law… when they arrive at a fight and see a guy with a gun and a guy with a knife do you think they’re going to focus on the guy with the knife? no, they focus on the person that’s most dangerous… unless that person is on a bike…

Matthew
Guest
Matthew

Lt Davis is requesting officers cite anyone who is doing something “dangerous”. Rolling through a stop sign on a bicycle at 5 mph although absolutely illegal (and potentially annoying to others), is not very dangerous.

Paul Atkinson
Guest
Paul Atkinson

This thread is kind of sad to me. I stop at stop signs (I rarely put a foot down, but I always pause), and I was rear-ended by another cyclist last week when doing so. He blamed me. Reading all your comments, save a couple, I’d imagine you all feel the same way.

Please ride legally and safely…not just safely. When Idaho stops become the law, roll through stop signs.

I’m also concerned about distracted driving, but that’s a separate issue. I’m considering getting a helmet cam mostly for my own safety, but I might take some of the footage and execute a few civilian citations for drivers on the phone. I got the instructions for how to do that from a link on this very site.

Meanwhile, this is about stopping at stop signs. Cars have to do it. Bikes have to do it. I have to do it. You have to do it. It’s not all that freakin’ hard to do.

Clint
Guest
Clint

I have always wondered why traffic circles in Portland have stop signs. Being from Bend OR where over the last 15 years many traffic circles have been added, non of which have stops signs, it seems like a the entire point of a traffic circle is diminished. When a traffic circle has a yield sign traffic can flow much faster, and very safely.

J_R
Guest
J_R

The STOP signs at this location are completely unnecessary. They should be YIELD signs. The PPB should enforce the yield to pedestrians here for all road users (autos and bikes) just like any other location. Actually, the enforcement should be MUCH more aggressive for the crosswalks all over the city. It’s an embarrassment that crosswalk enforcement is so minimal.

Why, why, why can PBOT not experiment with YIELD signs at this location? And match that with crosswalk enforcement by PPB?

El Biciclero
Guest
El Biciclero

I wonder what the impetus for complaints is here. Is it that folks don’t stop, or is it that folks don’t yield to pedestrians (at all times) and other traffic (when appropriate)? Seems to me that if nobody were losing their right-of-way, then there would be no real reason to complain. My own level of stop sign compliance varies with context, but I try my hardest not to steal ROW from other road users–especially pedestrians. (Disclaimer: I have never ridden through Ladd’s Addition)

Josh Gold
Guest

Sometimes I feel that stopping on Ladd will cause a collision, because the bicyclists behind me expect me to roll through the stop sign! I check to see if there is a cyclists tailgating me.

Bjorn
Guest
Bjorn

If the concern is safety then this would NEVER happen, because there is no safer place in the city to walk or ride a bike than ladd’s addition. The city has data around where injury accidents and deaths happen and the truth is that it is not in Ladd’s. There are dangerous intersections and crossings in this city, but this isn’t one of them and while it is a great revenue generator it isn’t making anyone any safer to pull police resources away from dangerous intersections to use them to discourage people from cycling through ladd’s when cycling around the perimeter is far more dangerous. If safety was the real goal we’d be better off giving the cops the day off than putting them here.

Chris I
Guest
Chris I

Shouldn’t targeted enforcement target the behaviors that have shown to actually injure and kill our citizens?

Jesse Cornett
Guest
Jesse Cornett

I rolled through the sign at 25th and Clinton this morning and was promptly stopped. The officer was a bit lectury, but otherwise completely professional. He extended the opportunity to me to attend a course that would dismiss the ticket. Having broken the law, and been caught doing do, I’m pretty happy that I can take the course and get the ticket dismissed. C’est la vie.

Alex Reed
Guest
Alex Reed

I have to question why PPB / PBoT announces crosswalk enforcement with signs well ahead of the intersection and press releases but does nothing of the sort for stop sign enforcement in bike-heavy areas. They claim that the reason for the publicity of crosswalk enforcement is to make drivers across the city aware that crosswalk enforcement happens. Why not do the same thing for stop sign enforcement?

pdxpaul
Guest
pdxpaul

Working hard to get some bile up… Oh, nevermind.

Alex Reed
Guest
Alex Reed

I emailed the mayor about this (he’s the commissioner in charge of the police bureau). Please do the same if you’d like enforcement at areas that are actually dangerous! His email: mayorhales@portlandoregon.gov

AndyC of Linnton
Guest
AndyC of Linnton

I thought traffic laws were never enforced during rush hour. And what the hell is up with informing media outlets about an enforcement? This is just absurd. Oh, it’s TBA. Must be someone’s performance piece.

GlowBoy
Guest
GlowBoy

This kind of sting is absolutely ridiculous when we have distracted drivers killing, maiming and endangering people all over the place. Insufficient resources? Please. OK, so we need to be squeaky wheels to override the whining of self-entitled people? Fine. I’ll call PPB and complain about texting drivers … well, everywhere. But where I happen to notice it most is on the Ross Island Bridge. I’ve gotten in the habit of looking into oncoming cars’ windshields when I’m riding home on the sidepath in the evening, and I see at least one driver texting EVERY SINGLE DAY there (not to mention at least half a dozen people animatedly talking on their handhelds). Last week I saw a driver holding a phone up in front of her face with one hand and holding a lit cig with the other. Hopefully she was at least steering with her knee.

As several people above pointed out, these shouldn’t even BE stop signs. They would be yield signs if this were a compliant roundabout. And guess what? If there were yield signs, cops could still write tickets to cyclists who fail to yield to pedestrians!

One problem at a couple of the Ladd stop signs is that cyclists and pedestrians have poor visibility to pedestrians approaching from the right side, due to excessive vegetation. Maybe the solution to that problem isn’t a whole bunch of complaints to the PPB and then a whole bunch of tickets.

And BTW I have previously lived in Ladd’s Addition, and walk there with my child regularly, so I know exactly what it’s like to be a pedestrian there. I know that cyclists who blast through stop signs are a significant problem, but writing tickets to people rolling through at 2mph when there is no one to yield to is counterproductive.

resopmok
Guest
resopmok

Replacing the stop signs with yield signs and maybe another sign which notes to stop for pedestrians would save PPB the time and money of having to do stings here. Safety will not be reduced, and then everyone can be happy. What’s the point of the stop signs anyway; would someone care to make a valid argument for them?

Matthew
Guest
Matthew

Are they handing out warnings or tickets or both? How much are the tickets? It would make sense to me to vary results (warning or ticket) based on how dangerous the violation is to other vehicles and pedestrians.

Nate Young
Guest
Nate Young

I bike through Ladd’s Addition 2x / day on my reverse commute to SE from North Portland. (This morning I saw 3 cyclists being ticketed, 2 at the circle and 1 on 26th N of Clinton.)

With that as my frame, I have to say that almost daily I see someone – most often a cyclist, rarely a motorist – cutting off another road or sidewalk user. Even with all the action there this morning, I was nearly broadsided by a woman cycling off 16th through a stop sign without stopping.

Since there’s a school just a few blocks away, at morning rush hour there are often kids and parents with kids walking to school. Most frustrating to me is how often I see cyclists buzz past little kids in the crosswalk without slowing down.

As @el biciclero said, I would suggest that if EVERYONE treated the stop signs as yield signs (not even stops), there would be less distress on the part of the residents. As others have pointed out, if people were riding with the appropriate level of caution and awareness, they would get close to the stop sign, scan the area and see the cops waiting. If they are rolling too fast to stop at that point, I’d argue they may not be exhibiting enough caution to be safe, hence the complaints, and enforcement action.

Yes, stop signs at circles are dumb, and bikes stopping at stop signs when there is no one else around is also dumb. However, there are enough people who don’t understand [or care about] the distinction between impeding ROW and not, and those are the ones that make the rest of us look bad.

Rico
Guest
Rico

Wait, why are there stop signs for a traffic circle? I thought the purpose of a traffic circle was to get traffic to slow and flow, not stop.

Paul
Guest
Paul

In my opinion people don’t stop here because (feel free to debate me on this) A: the visibility is very clear for more than a comfortable distance upon approach, B: traffic is only coming from one other direction (from the left), C: the perceived risk to oneself or others is extremely low compared to most intersections, and D: there’s more than enough room for error correction should one somehow not see a vehicle coming from the left since the circle is extremely wide and vehicles are traveling in the same direction.

The low compliance of persons not stopping at Ladd’s is obviously saying something about behavior and perception. If x% of people on bikes or cars aren’t stopping then there’s something wrong with the design, not the people. If the mass majority of people are treating this intersection like a roundabout or circle, then why not put some plans together to make some changes to this flawed design? Having a stop sign here is like building a freeway and posting a 15mph speed limit. If you can’t change behavior then why not make a few small changes to the design so that it works they way folks are treating it?

Though to note, I don’t believe any changes will actually make it safer than it already is. Whether it will actually be safer or not will never matter to some folks I’m afraid, but only the perception of safety.

So please, let’s implement a solution here and get on with our lives so we worry about things that actually matter, like truly dangerous infrastructure design instead of technicality vs. actuality.

Slammy
Guest
Slammy

They’re not traffic circles, they’re gardens in the middle of intersections.

Just stop your bike.

Go to your neighborhood meetings. when the cop gives his wrap up and asks for questions, tell him or her about your particular beef with your local traffic.

It wasn’t just Ladds, but Clinton as well. I saw these doodz setting up this morning at 21st. I stopped like I always do and this gal did a no stop right turn right next to me. freaked me out too… people like that are stupid and should get pulled over by cops, sorry. the cops are effectively saving these people’s lives.

Just follow rules #1-#5 of the rules of cycling and everything should be fine.

I’m sorry you have weak thighs and calves and need “Momentum”… you should really follow rule #5 more…

Paul
Guest
Paul

Something like this comes to mind for a quick and easy fix: In San Clemente there’s an intersection where they striped a bike lane around the corner where a stop sign exists. Take a look:

http://empte.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/Avenida-Santa-Barbara-2.png

Approach:

http://empte.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/Avenida-Santa-Barbara.png

J_R
Guest
J_R

Jeff: I DO deal with it by STOPPING! That doesn’t keep me from believing it is stupid to have STOP signs there.

Alexis
Guest
Alexis

Let’s take as a premise the notion that citizen input into enforcement action allocation is a useful thing. Police can’t be everywhere, and may not be aware of real problems that are occurring.

Let’s also take as a premise that we want the greatest safety results per enforcement effort (time/money).

I think these are both reasonable premises. So, through what mechanism can we ensure that scarce enforcement resources are directed so as to create the greatest safety results, while continuing to be responsive to citizen input?

Enforcement at Ladd Circle is neither effective nor likely to produce a significant change in the safety record, because the baseline safety level is already pretty high. Collisions could happen, and they almost do happen sometimes, but they very rarely actually happen. This is a contrast to many, many intersections in Portland that have terrible safety records and documented crashes over multiple years. Enforcement here is a bad use of resources, yet it continues to be requested by citizens and therefore the police continue to spend time on it.

How do we make this stop, without making it okay for police to flat-out ignore repeated enforcement requests?

PPB, PBOT, the Mayor, and community groups would do well to figure this out, so we can stop misallocating our safety resources.

adlangx
Guest
adlangx

The level of whine here is off the charts. Don’t blow the stop sign, don’t get a ticket. Pedestrians(like me) are tired of almost getting plowed over by cyclists down there.

Brian Sysfail
Guest
Brian Sysfail

I’m all for stopping at the stop signs, I even stop for peds trying to cross where there is no stop sign.

Problem I have is, when somebody in car is in a hurry trying to cut through ladd’s or clinton, riding my butt or unsafely passing me. There are too many cars now trying to cut through neighborhoods because of CAR TRAFFIC!!!!!

And yes, I have stopped at a stop signs and had motorists in a hurry run into the back of me. Worst on the round abouts getting run off road.

I think all bicyclists should take the full lane all the time through Ladd/Clinton and stop at all Stop signs and for Ped’s.

Sort of logic applies why I don’t ride bike on SE 39th, MLK, Powell or Division. But car’s speeding through neighborhood streets pisses me off.

Val A Lindsay II
Guest
Val A Lindsay II

As a cyclist I take great joy in riding like normal traffic and regard the rules of the road. These rules generally protect everybody involved, no matter how great or small the vehicle’s or pedestrian’s potential to cause harm. Why bicycles should be an exception to this rule is a little beyond me. Stop, yield, signal, whatever it takes to actually BE part of the traffic. Simple Defensive Driving rules dictate that’s the way it works…

Paul Souders
Guest

I’m sure that my comment (#126) will have something new or insightful to add.

This is a fun thread to read.

BURR
Guest
BURR

This discussion is as big a waste of electrons as a stop sign sting in Ladd’s addition is a waste of police resources.