Tour de Lab September 1st

Mayor Hales, Commissioner Novick call ‘urgent meeting’ in wake of collisions

Posted by on May 29th, 2015 at 6:16 pm

DSC_5582

Coming to the table.
(Photo J. Maus/BikePortland)

Portland Mayor Charlie Hales and City Commissioner Steve Novick have just announced an “urgent meeting” that will take place next week at City Hall to discuss bike safety following a spate of collisions that has sparked widespread concerns.

Novick is the commissioner in charge of the transportation bureau, which has committed to the concept of “Vision Zero” which is a policy and set of actions that aims to eliminate traffic deaths.

Here’s the official word about the meeting that just came down from Novick’s Transportation Policy Advisor Timur Ender:

With the third collision this month involving a bicycle rider and a motor vehicle operator occurring this afternoon, Mayor Hales and Commissioner Novick are convening an urgent meeting with representatives and stakeholders from all modes of transportation, as well as the Bureau of Transportation and the Police Bureau, to discuss how we can increase awareness as well as prevent future collisions within the city of Portland.

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The meeting is set for Tuesday and about two dozen people have been invited including PBOT and City Hall staffers, advocates, Police Bureau representatives, advocates, and others.

This move reminds me of what former Mayor Sam Adams did in October 2007 during a time of similar turmoil in the community. Back then we were reeling after several major injury collisions and the deaths of Brett Jarolimek and Tracey Sparling that occurred with a few miles of each other in the central city less than two weeks apart.

Adams called a press conference at City Hall that was followed by an emergency, closed-door meeting. That meeting (read my recap here) focused specifically on bike/truck interactions and it led directly to the implementation of bike boxes (a new treatment at the time) at 14 intersections throughout the city.

Adams followed up that meeting by successfully requesting $200,000 from City Council for the bike boxes and other bike safety projects.

Whether Hales puts any money where is mouth is remains to be seen; but calling for this meeting is a good first step. Stay tuned.

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156 Comments
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    J_R May 29, 2015 at 6:30 pm

    Enforcement!

    Prompt citations for at-fault operators!

    Stop blaming the victims!

    Commissioners: Try riding a bike or being a pedestrian to see what it’s really like out there.

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      The city needs to hear us loud and clear that enforcement is a priority. All three of the recent incidents appear to have been caused by drivers not paying attention and making illegal moves. Improved bike infrastructure is needed, but as the collision at 39th and Gladstone shows, fatal crashes can still occur even in areas with relatively good infrastructure. When I bike commuted in Portland (and just as much here in Corvallis where I am right now), illegal driving behavior and near-misses were a daily part of life. I’m in engineering, and we’re always required to report near misses the same as if an injury actually occurred. It’s time to start making noise around near misses with bike safety.

      Every time you nearly become the next victim of a lax vehicle safety culture, tell the city about it. Keep track of how many illegal moves you observe every day, and email a daily summary to safe@portlandoregon.gov. If you nearly get in a collision due to a driver’s illegal actions, call Portland Police Non-Emergency at 503-823-3333 and describe the event and the driver and vehicle involved.

      If enough people start making it known how many times their lives are endangered every single day, perhaps the city will start paying more attention and actually taking substantial action to tackle these issues. If the city truly believes in Vision Zero, there needs to be a shift in how we view driver liability, and that starts with serious enforcement.

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        Adam H. May 29, 2015 at 11:21 pm

        39th and Gladstone has paint. I would not consider that “good infrastructure”.

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          are May 30, 2015 at 10:21 am

          in fact i would argue the green box does more harm than good during the green signal phase

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            soren May 30, 2015 at 4:15 pm

            i agree that older green through-lane bike boxes are dangerous and should be reconfigured.

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          paikiala June 1, 2015 at 10:03 am

          There is no 39th Avenue in Portland.

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            Spiffy June 2, 2015 at 9:14 am

            blasphemy!

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              paikiala June 2, 2015 at 12:21 pm

              I consider it disrespectful to ignore the name of the street.

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        Nathan Hinkle May 30, 2015 at 12:33 am

        I’ve created a simple website where people can report their close calls. If people submit their experiences, I’ll start sending a summary of all the reports every week to PBOT, Portland Police, and ODOT.

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          Nathan Hinkle May 30, 2015 at 12:43 am

          Woops, forgot the link: http://nearlykilled.me/

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            Aaron May 30, 2015 at 8:28 am

            Thanks for putting this up. I submitted a report and will email it to a few friends.

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            Dwaine Dibbly May 30, 2015 at 10:03 am

            Thanks. Reporting near misses is the standard for reporting medication errors in healthcare, too.

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            Aaron May 30, 2015 at 5:47 pm

            Nathan. Thank you so much for taking the initiative on this. I’ve wanted to see something like this for a long time, but didn’t have the web skillz to do it. I would like to contact you about some constructive suggestions. What is the best way?

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              Nathan Hinkle May 30, 2015 at 10:49 pm

              Hi Aaron. Thanks! I’m definitely interested in any feedback people have. Threw this together pretty quickly but would love to make improvements based on what the community wants to see. Email me at nathan bikelightdatabase.com (haven’t set up email for this new site yet) or you can tweet @nearlykilledme if you’re into twitter.

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            Tal June 1, 2015 at 2:27 pm

            Thanks Nathan for putting up the site. Could you add a function to attach pics?

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            Bicycle Curtis June 5, 2015 at 6:52 am

            Thanks Nathan for setting up this site. My feet, trusty Surly and TriMet bus pass are my only means of transport. Having the means to report distracted, rude and irresponsible drivers is an important start to getting the attention of our policy makers, and police, to make enforcement a higher priority and hopefully safer streets for everyone.

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      JMak May 29, 2015 at 9:51 pm

      Who is “blaming the victims”?

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        Jackie May 29, 2015 at 10:28 pm

        You’re new to these comments? “Was he wearing a helmet?” “How was she dressed.” etc, etc etc…

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      wsbob May 30, 2015 at 11:19 am

      “Enforcement!

      Prompt citations for at-fault operators! …” J_R

      Great idea. How much more in taxes are you willing to pay for the additional time and resources it would take to do provide enforcement over what’s being provided now?

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        9watts May 30, 2015 at 9:22 pm

        Why is this the tax payers’ (I am going to infer you are thinking of property taxes) responsibility? The need for enforcement is inseparable from those machines that require gasoline or diesel for propulsion. This seems like an obvious expense to fund with a lusty kick in the pants for our languishing gas tax.

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        Dan May 30, 2015 at 11:45 pm

        It wouldn’t cost more money for the police to pull people over and ticket them for speeding. Especially the police who are already out there, waiting to catch someone who’s doing 15 over.

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          Skid May 31, 2015 at 7:38 am

          Pretty sure is what Police are supposed to be doing. I see them driving around but I hardly ever see anyone pulled over. I won’t even get into how many moving violations I see on a daily basis, driving or riding, cars or bicycles.

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            Dan May 31, 2015 at 2:28 pm

            As I mentioned in a different thread, a sheriff told us a few days ago that if they pulled over people on Bethany (35mph street) doing any less than 50mph, they’d have to pull over everyone.

            They are letting the inmates run the prison.

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              9watts May 31, 2015 at 4:44 pm

              Isn’t that sort of what goes on at Ladd’s Circle with people biking?
              😉

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                bendite May 31, 2015 at 4:51 pm

                Cyclists only get pulled over if they’re going 50?

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                9watts May 31, 2015 at 11:13 pm

                Of course not. My riff was on Dan’s quote: “they’d have to pull over everyone”, which is pretty much exactly what the cops do to those biking into Ladd’s Circle without stopping at what could/should be a yield sign. I didn’t think I needed to spell this all out, but my reason for making this point was that In Ladd’s The Cops Have No Trouble Overcoming Their Reservations To Pull Over Everyone; something they are apparently loath to do if it is people driving who are actually doing something that is known to injure, maim and kill people (speeding).

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        J_R May 31, 2015 at 10:29 am

        wsbob: Well, I’m certainly willing to fund additional enforcement with a tripling of fines for traffic violations and an extra 50 cents per gallon in gas taxes.

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          J_R June 1, 2015 at 7:40 am

          wsbob: I’ve done a bit more research on traffic enforcement. PPB’s entire budget is $170 million. The Traffic Division has 54 sworn officers, which is about 5 percent of the PPB total. So, the budget for the Traffic Division is in the range of $8 million. One of their responsibilities is for traffic control for events and they bill athletic events for some costs. For a few cents per gallon increase in gas tax, we could double the Traffic Division. I don’t know if the Oregon Constitution’s limitations on use of gas tax would allow it, but there’s no question that I would be in favor.

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      Tom Hardy May 30, 2015 at 11:49 am

      Absolutely! + Manditory licencing examinations every renewal time or 4 years, with quadruple points on wrong answers relating to cycling laws.

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    Charley Gee May 29, 2015 at 6:39 pm

    Re: “third collision this month…”

    This was the third crash this month with serious enough injuries to make the news. There have been many other collisions where the bicycle operator suffered minor or even significant injuries where a police investigation or even a response was not generated.

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      9watts May 29, 2015 at 6:53 pm

      Thanks! That was exactly my thought when reading that.

      But – you have to give them credit for adding the last word:
      “With the third collision this month involving a bicycle rider and a motor vehicle operator

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      Alan 1.0 May 29, 2015 at 6:55 pm

      Three inside Portland city limits plus one in Washington county (Garcia) and the twofer in Clark County, plus all the others Charley alludes to, and pedestrians and motorists. I hope officials in all the jurisdictions and agencies throughout the area are listening and watching very closely, and that the end result is safer roads for everyone.

      Don’t choke, Hales and Novick, but we are watching.

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        JMak May 29, 2015 at 9:53 pm

        But lets divert our government financial resources to building more wasteful homeless camps and being a sanctuary city for illegals. Sounds like plan!

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          peejay May 30, 2015 at 2:52 am

          You know you’re talking about human beings, right? It’s this same disregard for others that causes traffic violence. You won’t find sympathy here for your callousness.

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            Mossby Pomegranate May 30, 2015 at 7:34 am

            Ha wait till they steal your bike.

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              Alan 1.0 May 30, 2015 at 3:13 pm

              They? All of them together? “And can you imagine fifty people a day? I said FIFTY people a day . . . “

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              naess June 1, 2015 at 12:37 pm

              then they are “bike thieves” not “homeless people” and, it’s already been shown that “bike thieves” are not humans, at least not to many of the people that comment on this board.

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          jeff May 30, 2015 at 9:30 am

          false dichotomy much?

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      Tom Hardy May 30, 2015 at 11:57 am

      I think you missed a couple Charlie. for instance the cyclist that was hit by a policeman in Hillsboro yesterday afternoon and the Hillsboro woman that was texting that hit a cyclist yesterday morning.

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    J_R May 29, 2015 at 7:02 pm

    I’m buying cameras for my bike.

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      jeff May 29, 2015 at 9:34 pm

      funny, I’m considering getting a contingency fee lawyer on retainer.

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      A.H. May 30, 2015 at 7:21 am

      I recommend it highly — don’t forget a shirt that says “you’re on camera” in biiiiig block letters on the back!

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    Scott H May 29, 2015 at 7:04 pm

    Give em hell Charlie and Steve.

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    Indy May 29, 2015 at 7:10 pm

    Reactive government. Just like we, as citizens, asked for.

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    Roger Averbeck May 29, 2015 at 8:48 pm

    Waiting for my invitation to the urgent meeting…

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    jeff May 29, 2015 at 9:34 pm

    so urgent they’ll get around to it next week…

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    JMak May 29, 2015 at 9:43 pm

    Wow! An “urgent” meeting you say. Well, looks we’re on our way to resolution…not!

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    Adam H. May 29, 2015 at 10:11 pm

    Thank you! Paint is not enough; we need real separated cycle facilities to prevent more of these crashes.

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      Scott H May 30, 2015 at 12:06 am

      Separated cycle facilities are not the only solution, stop sounding like a broken record. You are not the only one who deserves safer infrastructure. All road users deserve safer roads.

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        Lisa Marie May 30, 2015 at 5:06 pm

        They aren’t the only solution, they’re just one of the best, and it increases safety for ALL road users. Fewer opportunities for interaction between modes of differing levels of protection (steel vs. styrofoam helmet)? Fewer opportunities for tragedy.

        Not every facility should be separated, but what we lack is a core network that spans the entire city where people on foot and people on bicycles can get around without high stress interactions with people in automobiles. (think retrofitting Greenways with cul-de-sacs that stop cross traffic, diversion for vehicles, signs and paint – or more Multnomah’s and SW Moody’s that actually go somewhere)

        Want to help reduce congestion and maintenance costs on top of saving lives? Make a system where ANYONE can ride or walk safely and easily. That kind of system is PHYSICALLY SEPARATED, easy to access, and FULLY CONNECT to places people want to go.

        We provide this separated space for automobiles (highways), it’s time we showed the same level of respect and consideration by building facilities for other modes.

        And further reducing deaths and maiming in automobile-only crashes? Reduce the city-wide speed limit to 20mph – yes, on ALL routes – and ENFORCE IT. Easy to understand, easy to remember, and less risk of death in each crash.

        Separated makes sense – FOR EVERYONE.

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          Paul in the 'Couve May 30, 2015 at 9:24 pm

          Beyond even a mandatory 20mph limit I think we really need a new class of “city Cars” that aren’t these over weight, over powered, implements of destruction. Smart cars, golf carts or such. Light, efficient vehicles that don’t need to be heavy and have crash protection for high speed collisions and crashes. Maximum GVW around 2,000 pounds and maximum capable speed of 30 or 40 mph. I drive a 8 passenger Suburban, but it is totally stupid that I and everyone else, is driving 5 times the vehicle required for the task at hand. Such vehicles should have severe restrictions to be used almost entirely for freeway, or rural highway, and long distance travel. Of course in the immediate future, this is a pipe dream.

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            Clark in Vancouver May 31, 2015 at 2:09 pm

            They have that in Japan. Called “Kei” Class.
            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kei_car

            There’s a place in Eugene that imports them.
            http://www.best-used-tractors.com/mini_truck.html

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            Alan 1.0 May 31, 2015 at 2:21 pm

            Light, efficient vehicles that don’t need to be heavy

            Lotii! Ariel Atoms!

            maximum capable speed of 30 or 40 mph

            nevermind :-)p

            Seriously, you’re right, and those are already here, at least in small numbers. ELFs and Gems are already on Portland streets. As we make safer streets, reduce needs for long, fast commutes (20-min neighborhoods, urban villages), and generally make accomodations for people to use those smaller vehicles, then their numbers will grow, and as they do streets will feel even safer and more welcoming for bikes.

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          paikiala June 1, 2015 at 10:12 am

          Lisa,
          Apart from the freeway system being Federal project (big WE, not little we), and the toll on neighborhoods destroyed to construct them through metropolitan areas, have you estimated the costs of your proposal, including where to put the bike/ped highways?

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            Paul in the 'Couve June 1, 2015 at 10:19 am

            Not political realistic in foreseeable future in USA, but my preferred utopian method would be a combination of elevated and covered bike ways above out traffic – since bikes weigh much less than cars and go slower, cause much less vibration such elevated highways would be less massive and ugly, and less expensive. Ultimately I think that would evolve into my second phase which would in many areas be raising the whole street level up on floor and leaving the motorized car, truck and bus traffic buried underground and having all the foot and cycle traffic above.

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            • John Liu
              John Liu June 1, 2015 at 11:48 am

              Might as well wish for Star Trek transporter beams.

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            Lisa Marie June 1, 2015 at 11:47 am

            Of course I have. Assuming I didn’t think about something as fundamental as cost would be to assume I’m an idiot.

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              paikiala June 1, 2015 at 1:31 pm

              So, what’s the cost estimate for one of the bike highways?

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                Lisa Marie June 1, 2015 at 1:58 pm

                I’ve done my research – I’ll let you go ahead and do yours 🙂

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                paikiala June 1, 2015 at 4:10 pm

                12-foot wide PCC shared use path is about $250 per foot without substantial excavation, so $1.3 million per mile, if you already have the rights of way.
                Division, an east-west pathway is 8.5 miles long.
                82nd Ave, Columbia to Clatsop is about 6.5 miles long.
                There are more pressing needs.

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                paikiala June 1, 2015 at 4:11 pm

                Tag, your it. 😉

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            invisiblebikes June 1, 2015 at 3:41 pm

            Paikiala,

            The solution is simple and would be well within a reasonable budget. In the typical Portland Bureaucracy fashion we could do a study and “test” a viable option first with very low costs.
            For instance find a North/South blvd (like MLK/Grand connecting to Springwater) and a central East/West blvd like Burnside and designate 2 of the 4 lanes as “Bicycle Only”
            We could try it for a 2 weeks during peek bicycle use season with cones and signage to see how it works. Once it’s proven viable and that people driving cars would just avoid those Blvds all together (except local traffic) then we give them the same treatment as Broadway through PSU, move the street parking off the curb to create a protected bicycle lane that is as wide as a normal car lane and make it 2 bicycle lanes so that people can pass each other.
            Also create a specific maximum speed for bicycles of 25 mph (in those lanes) and signage for “slower users to keep right, except to pass”

            then 5 years down the road when Portland (and Oregon bureaucrats) realize how much its improved bicycle commuting all together and increased bicycle commuters then they can dig for more money to expand on that system.

            Go ahead and take that idea to your boss and run with it, I’ll even let you take credit for it.

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              paikiala June 1, 2015 at 4:12 pm

              sounds like a plan.

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        • John Liu
          John Liu June 1, 2015 at 11:45 am

          First of all, there isn’t the budget to build more than a couple miles of separated cycletracks in Portland.

          Second, riders on separated cycletrack still have to mix with cars at intersections. Most bike-car accidents happen at intersections.

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            Lisa Marie June 1, 2015 at 11:51 am

            That’s if you build traditional cycltracks rather than retrofitting what we already have with more innovative ideas (which would of course need to include control at intersections. Without it they wouldn’t be very effective, no?)

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            • John Liu
              John Liu June 1, 2015 at 5:52 pm

              I’d like to see the innovative retrofitting ideas that will make 50 or 100 miles of separated cycletrack plus dedicated cycle signals affordable for Portland.

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                paikiala June 2, 2015 at 12:23 pm

                You might not up page I challenged LM to put up some numbers. I’ve yet to see anything. Don’t hold your breath.

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                paikiala June 2, 2015 at 12:28 pm

                ‘notice’

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            Spiffy June 2, 2015 at 9:50 am

            intersections would have a separate car and bike signal…

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    daisy May 29, 2015 at 11:15 pm

    Real leadership on this will mean calling for an end to the harassment of cyclists — I truly believe that the hate perpetuated by the Oregonian comment section (as one example) makes things much worse for us on the road. Remember a few years ago when Hales said that folks on bikes should smile and wave to people in cars? I hope he’s learned that our attitude is not the problem.

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      Kyle May 30, 2015 at 6:46 am

      Indeed. The current problem really has two sides: increasing harassment of cyclists – which is spreading faster as of late – and distracted driving. Not only mobile phones, but hordes of people driving who are generally “checked out.” Yesterday riding up the Belmont bike lane at ~9th I was nearly right-hooked by TWO consecutive drivers, only managing to avoid a collision by swerving into the car lane to my left. One driver had her window down; I yelled at her, only to see a look of surprise/shock on her face. Is it THAT HARD to look before turning or to simply pay attention while you’re behind the wheel of a lethal weapon?

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        9watts May 30, 2015 at 7:43 am

        The look of surprise = you caught me treating my urgent text message as more important that not almost killing you.

        I say if you’re caught texting while driving = car impounded. I bet it wouldn’t take very long at all to change behavior once KGW and the Oregonian published the stories.

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          Kyle May 30, 2015 at 8:18 am

          Most drivers who nearly hit me are not using mobile phones. They’re simply aloof at the wheel. I was nearly hit at NE Couch and Laurelhurst last weekend – the driver *completely* failed to look both ways before proceeding from a stop sign to cross Couch. And again, he had a look of shock and surprise on his face after I yelled to avoid a collision.

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            Aaron May 30, 2015 at 5:51 pm

            I second that. What I see most often is drivers paying rapt attention to traffic (somewhere else) and ignoring me. With regards to 39th & Gladstone, I will ride to the opposite side of the street (illegal) to be safe so I don’t have to ASSUME the left-turning driver will see me.

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    peejay May 30, 2015 at 2:54 am

    Scott H
    Separated cycle facilities are not the only solution, stop sounding like a broken record. You are not the only one who deserves safer infrastructure. All road users deserve safer roads.Recommended 1

    All road users benefit from separated infrastructure.

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      are May 30, 2015 at 10:28 am

      separated infrastructure has to intersect the motorways at some point. what is needed is a cultural/psychological shift that causes motor vehicle operators to function at a much higher level of alertness. the trend over the past forty or fifty years has been in the opposite direction.

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    Chris Anderson May 30, 2015 at 2:56 am

    There is not a single road in the city that wouldn’t benefit from a 5 mph drop in speed. Neighborhood streets should be 20, collectors 25, big bad streets maybe 30. And if you lowered the Greenways to 15 then the asshole drivers would really stand out. But we should start with the fastest streets first.

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    Chris Anderson May 30, 2015 at 2:57 am

    There is not a single road in the city that wouldn’t benefit from a 5 mph drop in speed. Neighborhood streets should be 20, collectors 25, big bad streets maybe 30. And if you lowered the Greenways to 15 then the thoughtless speeders would really stand out. But we should start with the fastest streets first.

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      9watts May 30, 2015 at 6:15 am

      A drop in allowed speeds, as Chris suggests;
      no more equivocations on distracted driving;
      a change in how violations are treated by law enforcement and the courts;
      Vision Zero *talk* shall be accompanied by visible, easily recognized actions that signal to everyone that the City means it, will follow through.

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      Adam H. May 30, 2015 at 10:07 am

      Agreed. The speed limit should be dropped to 20 city-wide. Yes, even on Powell and Sandy.

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        davemess May 31, 2015 at 8:54 am

        That’s not what Chris said.

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      Brian May 30, 2015 at 12:05 pm

      I would lower those all by 5 mph. A speed limit of 25 mph on Burnside means speeds of 30mph+. That is more than high enough, IMO. Neighborhood streets, 15 mph. We should all be creeping down neighborhood streets. That’s a start.

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      paikiala June 1, 2015 at 10:25 am

      Everybody here knows the non-statutory speed limits in Portland are set by the State, correct?
      If you want lower statutory speeds – the ones PBOT can post – the State Legislature are the ones to convince, not PBOT.
      PBOT was a major proponent of the law that permits greenways to be posted 5 below statutory.
      If the state-wide statutory residential speed limit was 20, PBOT could post 15 mph soon afterward.

      There are other ways using current law as well.

      https://www.oregonlegislature.gov/bills_laws/lawsstatutes/2013ors801.html
      A roadway is the space for vehicular travel – 801.450.
      Strictly interpreted, this means the space for vehicle storage, the parking lane, should not be counted as the roadway width.
      A narrow residential roadway is one that is 18 feet or less – 801.368.

      A narrow roadway in a residential district, by statute, can be posted 15 mph – 811.111, (d), sub-subsection (A).
      https://www.oregonlegislature.gov/bills_laws/lawsstatutes/2013ors811.html

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    jesse May 30, 2015 at 9:28 am

    Chris is right we need to lower all speed limits within city limits! 15 mph for greenways and school zones, 20 mph for neighborhood streets, 25 for collectors and 30 max for the largest streets. Also make it illegal for a motorist to overtake a cyclist on a greenway. Most greenways aren’t very wide and motorists are terrible at judging cyclists speed.
    Enforcement of illegal driving is something that Hales can do right now! Not next week not next month after long meetings. The photo radar van needs to be on Clinton street Monday morning at 8am.
    Driving is a privilege not a right, that privilege can be taken away at anytime. Cycling is a right that cannot be taken away. We need to take our streets back!

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    Matt Merritt May 30, 2015 at 9:55 am

    Don’t worry, they’re going to repave Ladd’s, so everything will be solved.

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    Dwaine Dibbly May 30, 2015 at 10:14 am

    Lately I’ve been doing more walking than biking. (I live downtown, so it’s easy.) Walking home from the PSU farmers market this morning I was almost killed at least twice and got twice as many dirty looks, all from drivers who apparently felt entitled to do whatever they wanted. And this was on the Park Blocks between Market & Jefferson, a pedestrian zone if there ever was one, during a time of the week when the place is flooded with people walking!

    Mrs Dibbly wants to carry small beanbags that can be thrown at cars when needed, but I’m not sure that I want to do anything that might escalate a situation.

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      are May 30, 2015 at 10:30 am

      beanbags. i love it. with simple messages imprinted. kickstarter now.

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        Tom Hardy May 30, 2015 at 12:06 pm

        balloons with naptha and red ink would be much better.

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        Dwaine Dibbly June 1, 2015 at 6:07 pm

        “Quit driving like a B-bag!” perhaps? 🙂

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      Spiffy June 2, 2015 at 9:59 am

      throw pennies… who would convict somebody of throwing money around?

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        Dan June 2, 2015 at 10:10 am

        Are pennies still money?

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      El Biciclero June 2, 2015 at 10:27 am

      True. It seems touching a car is a much more serious offense than running over a pedestrian or bicyclist.

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    Terry D-M May 30, 2015 at 11:35 am

    I am now on the board of SE uplift, the organization that represents 20 neighborhoods in SE or almost 25% of the Portland population. They they were very timely on the publication of my first cover story for June’s Newsletter.

    “World Class Bikeways and the Future of SE Portland”

    http://www.seuplift.org/?newsletter=se-portland-bikeways

    I emailed all of city council all of city council and PBOT leadership a link to it. It is just my thoughts on where we need to start to fix an build out our system…..what we have is obviously not good enough.

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    Alan 1.0 May 30, 2015 at 12:48 pm

    Terminology: hook or cross? As I understand the terms, three of these recent collisions were left crosses, where oncoming traffic turned across the center line in front of approaching traffic, and the impact point was on the outside of the offending vehicle’s arc. In a hook, the perpetrating vehicle makes a sharp turn (often 90°) immediately in front of a vehicle going the same direction, “hooking” them on the inside of their turn. No big deal, but I see the terms being used incorrectly or interchangeably quite a bit.

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      9watts May 30, 2015 at 9:47 pm

      Excellent point. Thanks.

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      El Biciclero June 2, 2015 at 8:48 am

      Thank you. This has been bugging me throughout the discussion. “Hooks” always come from behind, while “crosses” come from the front or sometimes the side.

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    Cervelo May 30, 2015 at 2:39 pm

    In the 1960s the goobermint committed to the concept of “War on Poverty” which is a policy and set of actions that aims to eliminate poverty. How has that worked out? Ditto war to eliminate drugs, alcohol, crime, terrorism, etc……the main effect is that the country is now bankrupt.

    Don’t hold your breath waiting on Vision Zero. Don’t depend on the goobermint for your safety – using your brain is first line of defense and for the near term is the only defense available.

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      J.E. May 30, 2015 at 8:25 pm

      Except Vision Zero is a philosophy more than a policy, and it’s actually showing a lot of promise in other cities. You also see Vision Zero in other places, like the FAA. I think the “goobermint” actually does a really good job of keeping planes from colliding with each other, tall buildings, the ground… Flying is the safest form of transportation, after all, and that’s due to the human factor more than a technological difference between planes and cars. Why can’t it work on our roads?

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        Cervelo May 31, 2015 at 2:18 am

        That first sentence was copied from the 2nd paragraph of the article we are commenting on except I replaced “vision zero” with “war on poverty”.

        Vision zero could work with roads/cars if we had the money to do an adequate job. There are a lot more cars than planes being used at any one time – so you can’t control all of the cars like you can planes. BUT, in a few years, you may get enough E/W and N/S streets dedicated to only bikes that the situation is safer for those using those streets, but as long as cars/bikes are together there will be limited success because car drivers and bike riders are not willing to make behavioral changes needed to make a big difference. But politicians gotta make ya feel good.

        Planes don’t run into each other because the sky is vast, 3 dimensional, and there are few planes – about 8,000 commercial planes and 210,000 general aviation planes in the US. Most of those planes are on the ground at any one time. The FAA helps those in the air some, but most would be OK any way – but you need the FAA to prevent crashes for the few in the air. Pilots know not to hit buildings and the ground.

        There are over 250,000,000 motor vehicles, and most probably get used fairly regularly, and they are all on the same narrow roads with cycles and peds. If stats existed on crashes PER VEHICLE USE, then car safety stats would probably be a lot better than plane stats. Because the stats are in passenger miles, a plane with 300 people going 3000 miles racks up a big number, but that trip is only one vehicle use. If you drive to the bank, go inside, and drive back, that is 2 uses, but few PMs. This article gives more info on it:
        http://www.science20.com/gerhard_adam/flying_or_driving_which_safer

        Who knows the most about it? Life insurance companies. They don’t care if you drive a car but being a pilot is an additional risk and will cost you more:
        http://www.healthandautoinsurance.org/busting-myth-behind-life-insurance-pilots/#axzz3bhf8Br6Z

        From Wikipedia, aviation fatality rate is 1.9/100,000 flight hours. Wiki also says the auto fatality rate is 1.5/100,000,000 vehicle miles. (Then they appear to make some mistakes by not comparing using the same units.)
        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transportation_safety_in_the_United_States

        Convert those wiki stats to the same units: Assuming 100,000 flight hours at an average speed of 200 mph (my wild guess) is 20,000,000 vehicle miles. So, for planes the fatality rate is 1.9×5 = 9.5/100,000,000 vehicle miles. From this brief calculation it appears that driving is 6.3 times safer per vehicle mile than flying. I know one thing: when I get in my car I don’t worry about falling out of the sky. 🙂

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          paikiala June 1, 2015 at 10:28 am

          You continue to portray the government as some higher elite parental entity (and dumb) with control over us. You seem to have given up on democracy.

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            Cervelo June 1, 2015 at 1:35 pm

            That’s about right. Fact is, much of what government tries to do ends up causing a lot of unintended consequences that are worse than the problem they were trying to solve originally.

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            Spiffy June 2, 2015 at 10:03 am

            I’m glad we don’t live in a democracy…

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          paikiala June 1, 2015 at 10:34 am

          Risk per person is more rational than per vehicle, IMO.
          VMT is not the best denominator to use, IMO. The rate can be manipulated down by increasing miles travelled. crash numbers compared to geographic population would better represent risk to an individual, and could be separated or aggregated by modes.

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            Cervelo June 1, 2015 at 1:42 pm

            Risk per person makes no sense. One trip in a 747 has the same probability of a safe journey whether it is carrying one person or 400. I used vehicle-miles for comparison because there are stats that make the calc easy and it does make more sense than passenger-miles. They use the passenger-miles rate to make planes look safer than they are so people will use them. I feel safe on a plane and I go by plane when I need to, but the insurance industry knows the facts because that’s their business.

            I didn’t calculate the fatality rate on a per-use basis, but it would be thousands of times safer in a car than in planes. I doubt there are stats on individual numbers of car uses, but you might make some assumptions and come up with the numbers.

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          soren June 2, 2015 at 1:59 pm

          “but as long as cars/bikes are together there will be limited success because car drivers and bike riders are not willing to make behavioral changes needed to make a big difference.

          and you explain the enormous spectrum of cycling risk across american and european cities how exactly? is it something in the water?

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      9watts May 30, 2015 at 9:53 pm

      What is with the funny phrasing? Are we to take you seriously when you write that way?

      If you’re actually curious about a retrospective look at the War on Poverty I recommend this recent pair of articles:

      http://www.nybooks.com/articles/archives/2015/apr/02/war-poverty-was-it-lost/

      http://www.nybooks.com/articles/archives/2015/apr/23/did-we-lose-war-poverty-ii/

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        Cervelo May 31, 2015 at 12:11 pm
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          Cervelo May 31, 2015 at 12:19 pm

          And to date it has only cost us $22,000,000,000,000.
          That’s 22 trillion for you folks in Rio Linda.

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            Cervelo May 31, 2015 at 12:21 pm

            Wonder how much infrastructure you could buy with 22 trillion dollars? Probably some nice separated bike lanes at least.

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              Cervelo May 31, 2015 at 12:25 pm

              When I say nice bike lanes I’m talking about gold-plated bike lanes with solid gold toilets every mile and free food, enclosed and powered by solar panels.

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            KYouell June 1, 2015 at 7:22 am

            So you’re from Sacramento too? Brought some slurs and insults with you?

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      Tom Hardy May 31, 2015 at 2:34 pm

      Strangely enough the Freeway and national highway system was built on an 11 cents per gallon fuel tax. This is when fuel for cars and trucks was at 31 -38 cents per gallon including fuel tax, the tax was nearly equal to the cost per gallon of fuel. Now the tax is 9 cents per gallon, with the combined total of about $3.00 per gallon. I think we need a fuel tax of at least $1.00 per gallon. I am a motorist as well as a cyclist. Only about 5,000 miles per year in the car and 4,000 per year on the bike.
      Of course 75% of the highway maintenance would still be out of income tax.

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        J_R June 1, 2015 at 8:07 am

        Tom: Your statistics on fuel tax are way off. The federal gas tax has been 18.4 cents per gallon since 1993. The Oregon gas tax was 24 cents per gallon in 1993 and was raised to 30 cents per gallon in 2011. Neither federal or Oregon tax has come close to increasing at the rate of construction inflation. In recent years there’s also been more demand for other elements of the transportation system, such as fish-friendly culverts, ADA-compliant ramps at intersections, larger signs for drivers, etc.

        Your advocacy for a major increase in the gas tax is absolutely right. Almost every civilized country in the world has a gas tax that is much higher than ours. That should change.

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    mikeybikey May 30, 2015 at 3:30 pm

    If they are not coming to the table with something as “radical” as an immediate de facto 20-25 mph speed limit on all streets within city limits, then they should just stay home. The time for empty rhetoric is over. The cultural madness that gives motorists the impression that they can treat city streets like freeways with lower speed limits has to change.

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      paikiala June 1, 2015 at 4:16 pm

      They who?
      BTW, the speed limit in Portland is in fact 25 mph unless otherwise posted.

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    soren May 30, 2015 at 4:18 pm

    The meeting is set for Tuesday and about two dozen people have been invited including PBOT and City Hall staffers, advocates, Police Bureau representatives, advocates, and others.

    Who was invited?
    What will be discussed?
    When and where is the meeting being held?
    Is this meeting open to the public?

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      Chris Anderson May 31, 2015 at 1:44 pm

      If there is no one there who regularly bikes with kids, they don’t have quorum.

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    Andyc of Linnton May 30, 2015 at 5:49 pm

    Whoa! Hope it equals action.

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      Cervelo May 30, 2015 at 7:02 pm

      It will. The goobermint workers will attend the meetings, flap their jowls, and charge A LOT of overtime.

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        9watts May 31, 2015 at 5:00 pm

        what is with these jokers who show up out of nowhere and flap their jowls here in the reader comments?

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          Alan 1.0 May 31, 2015 at 5:31 pm

          Sometimes it’s a previously known flapper under a new nym.

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            9watts May 31, 2015 at 5:37 pm

            Interesting. I was thinking more along the lines of the recent three-letter poster, just based on the tone & number of comments per thread. Not that I’m in any position to cast stones when it comes to post counts.

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              paikiala June 2, 2015 at 12:26 pm

              C is even clueless how overtime works.

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    Aaron May 30, 2015 at 5:59 pm

    I appreciate their commitment to a meeting. I’ve seen meetings & talk before. We *DON’T* need to search for, allocute, or spend huge amounts of $$.
    Simply making it clear to police officers that it is *their job* to protect the public which includes from auto users would go a long way.
    Another suggestion is to create an addit. registration fee which would go towards increasingly frequent/stringent education

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    SD May 30, 2015 at 6:19 pm

    Shockingly, we haven’t heard anything from Rep John Davis.
    Has he lost interest in the safety of cyclists?
    There is nothing on his Facebook page observing that there has been a series of unsafe events caused by motorists.
    What will we do without him? I thought he would protect us.

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    Lee May 30, 2015 at 11:54 pm

    Biking should be safe for kids.. To me that means it will then be available to most anyone. Maybe the people who have the power to make biking safer should plan assuming THEIR child will be riding on the roads.

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      Spiffy June 2, 2015 at 10:34 am

      and they should plan assuming that their child/loved-one is the one hit by a motor-vehicle…

      what laws would they pass to protect their loved-ones? none? then Sophie’s choice: which one are they ok with dying?

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    Tom Hardy May 31, 2015 at 2:49 pm

    I keep trying to coax politicians to ride on the streets with their kids.
    I have been riding greater Portland streets since 1953.
    I was a free range kid.
    must be a safe rider because I am still alive and in one piece.
    I do not ride on sidewalks because they end.
    The bike paths, for the most part are where drunks throw their bottles.
    Separated bike paths are scairy places, with pedestrians wearing ear pieces texting.
    I agree that many narrow bike paths are dangerous and usually take the traffic lane if a bike lane is unsafe.
    Typical days in bike paths with parked cars is dodging at least 3 drivers trying to door me as I pass at 15 to 20 MPH. Many of these close their doors again and wait for another rider that is not paying as close attention.
    I raised 2 kids and both are middle aged adults. The daughter rides a Harley and the son a Yamaha.

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      9watts May 31, 2015 at 10:08 pm

      comment of the week?

      Since 1953?! Wow.

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    Tomas LaPallela May 31, 2015 at 10:45 pm

    I’m guessing Steve n’ Charlie’s solution will be permutation 3,591 of the Same Old Street Fee Scam. Somehow most of the funds will get diverted to the operat and sym-phony… keep those friends happy, right?

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    Chris Anderson June 1, 2015 at 5:42 am

    My coherent list of demands:

    * Mayor Hales to make a public statement excoriating those who drive aggressively on neighborhood streets.
    * PPB to institute a zero tolerance policy for speeding (“even 1 over is too fast”) until speed limits can be lowered so that customary 10mph buffers still result in safer speeds.
    * Frequent diverters on Greenways with the intent to make them no longer useful for cut through drivers.

    If the Greenways were actually comfortable I bet we’d see a lot less cyclist/driver conflict on our arterials.

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      9watts June 1, 2015 at 7:36 am

      Nice! Can’t decide if I should hold my breath, knowing that (a) Charlie-Rides-A-Bike, like most politicians will say what he thinks he needs to say, but (b) his heart is with the parking lobby and the asphalt lobby and the we’re all in this together lobby, which means he likes flat fees.

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    MNBikeLuv June 1, 2015 at 6:41 am

    As someone that has done engineering for the 17 years, there are several things happening in cities that make streets like this such death traps.

    1) As cities expand outward or property uses change, there is usually no way of converting state and county administered roads to the city. States and counties, by and large, are in the “build a road/highway” mode, not the “build a street” mode. There is a huge difference.
    2) Making the “build a road” issue worse is the fact that most states base the state road cross sections (where the actually “design” of street is decided) on the AASHTO standards, which were originally set up to design highways, not city streets. So the state builds their standards off of that and then cities (sadly) do the same. A 12′ wide lane width encourages people to go faster than they should since the human brain views open areas as being safer than than areas with lots of obstructions. (I blame the African Savanna for this; our ancestors could see the lion or leopard in the grass better than in the thick brush.) On top of that, almost all “bike infrastructure” in the USA is just pasted onto these standards. Its not “baked in”, meaning even the best bike infrastructure in the USA is like new siding over a structurally deficient house.
    3) Most cities view speeding tickets as funding and revenue issue, not a public safety one. Police certainly do. So long as traffic safety is really about traffic revenue you will have speeding issues.

    While many of responses above are great, they still leave these issues above. If you want to impress on the mayor you want real changes, here would be my suggestions:

    1) The City of Portland starts a program to take over all non-interstate roads within its municipal boundaries. Aim for X miles a year.
    2) DEMAND, not request, that the City of Portland adopt new street cross section standards based on a design standard that is multi-modal from the beginning. In other words, with the bike and walking infrastructure “baked in”. NACTO is obvious answer here. Over time, as roads are worked on, they will be more multi-modal friendly. This will occur as part of the street redesign, it won’t be an issue where someone has to decide whether a street gets “bike/ped treatments”.
    3) Police aren’t going to write more tickets till they are told to. DEMAND that any street with a collison rate (between cars or cars and people) above X should become an target enforcement zone. Speeding, talking on the phone, aggressive driving, etc. Anything on the books. Cars have become rolling living rooms and people need a reminder they are in a vehicle, not a Laz-e-Boy with a steering wheel.

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      Nick Falbo June 1, 2015 at 8:25 am

      Great suggestions all around. I have a couple notes to add on those topics:

      1) City jurisdiction is no panacea. Cesar Chavez and SE Gladstone are both city streets. (and Foster, and outer Division and 122nd) … It’s not just jurisdiction getting in the way.

      2) Portland is a founding NACTO city and played an instrumental role in supporting the creation of both NACTO design guides. The Bike Guide was adopted back in 2011 as the city design standard.

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        paikiala June 1, 2015 at 12:04 pm

        MNB does seem out of touch with PDX. I’ll add:

        Changing the jurisdiction of a road does not necessarily change it’s Federal classification, something state law uses to dictate what can and cannot happen.

        Portland’s standard lane width for autos is 10 feet, and 11 feet for high volume transit and truck routes. Portland’s bike lane standard width is six feet, preferred is 2 meters, and minimum is five feet.

        Portland has a Transportation System Plan that covers six different modes (pedestrian, cyclist, auto, freight, transit and emergency response) for every street in the city. This still does not guarantee every street will be constructed to serve every mode. Portland’s TSP is also a functional plan, not a reactionary document. It contains no links to volume of traffic for each mode, only defining function of road for each mode.

        Portland’s city-wide bike mode share is around 6%. This means that for every east of I-205 2% share neighborhood there are west of 82nd Avenue 10% bike mode share neighborhoods (and higher).

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          Eric June 6, 2015 at 9:53 am

          That all sounds nifty, now how about a monthly PBOT staff ride on streets like Terwilliger Parkway? 11ft lanes are far too wide, and there are not enough obstacles to keep drivers alert and in their lanes. If you want to know how narrow the lanes should be, just move the white stripes 6in to the left every 3 months and measure the speed of a trimet bus — when that matches the posted speed, you found the right lane width.

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  • John Liu
    John Liu June 1, 2015 at 8:30 am

    I suggest (and have emailed Novick/Hales to suggest) a city wide outreach/education campaign to remind/instruct both drivers and cyclists how to safely share the road.

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      Dan June 1, 2015 at 9:21 am

      Billboards like this would be nice, except that our passing law is too confusing….

      http://www.bikingbis.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/3feetCincy1.jpg

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      • John Liu
        John Liu June 2, 2015 at 11:07 am

        An education/outreach campaign by the city doesn’t need to send messages that exactly reflect the complexities of the vehicle code. The billboards and signs can convey a simplified message.

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          Dan June 2, 2015 at 1:13 pm

          “3 feet” is easy to remember and draw a diagram. “Enough space that the cyclist can fall over into your lane and not be hit” is harder to draw. Oregon’s law is really closer to 5 feet — would be nice if it was codified in a way that could be better communicated.

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        El Biciclero June 2, 2015 at 1:35 pm

        Too confusing? What do you mean?

        “Give bikes sufficient space to prevent contact if they fall into your lane of traffic, unless there is a bike lane OR the speed limit is less than 35. It’s the law.”

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          Dan June 2, 2015 at 3:46 pm

          Yeah, put THAT on a billboard, ha ha.

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            Dan June 2, 2015 at 3:47 pm

            AND, why should Bill Walton get more space on the road than my kids? 🙂

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      Ag June 1, 2015 at 12:27 pm

      The top priority must be public education. Last week I heard a woman in a wheelchair apologize to a motorist as he waited for her to cross the street. As you move through the city notice the pedestrians whose rush across the street communicates their apology for slowing motorists. Everyone needs to understand that the unimpeded movement of cars is NOT the goal or even top priority.

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        paikiala June 1, 2015 at 4:20 pm

        Better roadway users will only get you so far. A holistic attack to achieve zero roadway deaths also needs better roads, laws, enforcement, adjudication and medical response.

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          Paul in the 'Couve June 1, 2015 at 4:55 pm

          No, it won’t but….. We need to turn this ‘dialogue’ around. We need city leaders and PSAs etc. to start driving home to the public that cars don’t have some special priority and that pedestrians and cyclists belong on the streets. Right now too much the attitude behind the wheel is get out of my way. Just today I was noticing how stupidly frustrated drivers get just because some one is driving the speed limit ahead of them. The entitlement to speed is ridiculous.

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        Spiffy June 2, 2015 at 1:14 pm

        I walk a lot and I constantly see people waiting for traffic to clear and waving a “thank you” to vehicles that stop…

        you don’t need to wait for a polite driver to give you permission to cross the road… you’re slowing yourself down and continuing to let drivers think that they own the street and that they can decide who can cross the street where and when they’re allowed…

        I walk past these people all the time and I put myself out in the street so there’s no doubt that I’m going to cross… I let a few cars go past and then start inching out until they either stop or run into me…

        assert your right to cross the street!

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    Travis June 1, 2015 at 9:52 am

    Glad to see the language is changing for the better:
    ‘ bicycle rider and a motor vehicle operator’

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    Josh Chernoff June 1, 2015 at 10:41 am

    We don’t need more bike boxes we need accountability/empathy from the community.

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    KristenT June 2, 2015 at 11:31 am

    Education. Enforcement. Infrastructure. Did I mention education? and enforcement?

    I am appalled at how quickly the motoring public becomes enraged when something “gets in their way” and slows them down– even if it’s just slowing them to the speed limit. I wish I had an effective way to remind them that they spend far longer waiting for other things than they do for things like pedestrians crossing, or bicycle operators who for whatever reason (and it doesn’t matter what the reason is) have to take the lane.

    I’ve waiting longer for QuickBooks to decide to do something, for my computer to boot up, for my food order to be taken/food delivered to me in a restaurant, for my client to get me the things I need to complete their payroll– yet waiting the same amount of time for traffic, pedestrians, bicycle operators incites a screaming fit of rage/hissy fit of epic toddler melt-down proportions in a lot of motor vehicle operators. It’s baffling.

    Meetings are all well and good, but if nothing comes out of them, what’s the point besides placating the public? Isn’t it time for real change to occur, instead of just talking about what can happen or should happen or could be a possibility if the stars and planets align just so?

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      Dan June 2, 2015 at 1:15 pm

      Motor vehicle operators spend way more time waiting for other motor vehicle operators than they do waiting for bicycle operators. There’s quite a disconnect there.

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      El Biciclero June 5, 2015 at 10:17 am

      Motor vehicles should come with a health warning; where’s the Surgeon General on this?

      “WARNING: This vehicle may cause lung disease, heart disease, obesity, and muscle atrophy. Some vehicle users have reported loss of patience, vision impairment, loss of logical thinking abilities, confusion, thoughts of rage or homicide, attention deficit disorders, and high blood pressure. When used alone or with passengers, this vehicle may cause a desire to engage in high-risk behaviors, coupled with loss of judgment; this risk increases when use of this vehicle is combined with alcohol or some prescription medications. This vehicle may cause sudden death to you, your passengers, or others. If you experience these or any other symptoms, stop immediately and contact your doctor. Ask your doctor if your heart is healthy enough to engage in motor vehicle operation.”

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      Eric June 6, 2015 at 9:32 am

      I’ve probably been cumulatively more delayed by cars endangering me, blocking my right-of-way, or stopping to wave me into their right-of-way than the total amount drivers have ever been slowed by my taking the lane or waiting for me to clear the bike lane before their turn.

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