(Photos by J. Maus/BikePortland)
After weeks of tragedy, protests, and public pressure that has followed a spate of collisions involving bicycle riders, Portland Mayor Charlie Hales and City Commissioner Steve Novick hosted a meeting at city hall yesterday to discuss how to make our streets safer. The meeting was followed by a press conference which was beamed live by several local TV stations.
“Our kids are just trying to get to school, and our ‘safe routes to school’ aren’t safe. There’s no police report about that.”
— Kathleen Youell
With all the attention on the issue and a swell of public support to do something about it, yesterday presented Hales and Novick — two politicians who have been strangely silent about bicycling since taking office in 2013 — with a golden opportunity to move the needle. The problem has come into clear focus this past month: Our streets do not serve people who bike or walk with the same level of access and comfort as those who drive.
Yesterday’s meeting was a sign (albeit small) that Hales and Novick might finally be ready to sink their teeth into this issue. To help them find solutions they invited over two dozen people to yesterday’s meeting. They included the usual array of advocates, city and council staff, and grassroots activists. There were also a few new faces: Kathleen Youell was there to represent people who bike with kids; and Alistair Corkett, the man whose leg was severed off in a horrific collision on SE Powell on May 10th, made a statement just by rolling in on his wheelchair.
Invited guests sat around a large conference table in the Rose Room and Hales and Novick sat side-by-side at one end (Hales was flanked by Bicycle Transportation Alliance Executive Director Rob Sadowsky and Portland Bureau of Transportation Director Leah Treat sat next to Novick).
During the round of introductions, Corkett (who showed up with his mom Julia Corkett and two friends) elicited a few anxious chuckles when he said, “I’m Alistair Corkett, I got hit by a truck.”
At the outset, Hales said his goal in the meeting was to, “Elicit as many ideas from you about what we can do more of an what we can do better to improve the safety of our streets.” There was no structure or format to the meeting and people pretty much just spoke out whenever they had something to say.
“Much of this is not about infrastructure. It’s caused by poor choices, bad decisions, or pure driver error.”
— Rob Sadowsky, BTA
Short opening statements were made by Novick and Treat. Novick reminded everyone about the city’s bill in Salem (HB 2621) to place unmanned photo radar on “high crash corridor” streets. Treat announced that she has formally asked the Oregon Department of Transportation for more local authority to set lower speed limits (ODOT currently controls speed limits and only changes them by request on a case-by-case basis).
Speed was the biggest topic of conversation at the meeting. There’s a strong desire among both city staff and activists to lower speed limits across the city. Other ideas were to place traffic diverters on neighborhood greenways, step up funding for the Safe Routes to Schools program, do more enforcement, commit to Vision Zero, and start some sort of PSA/marketing campaign that would encourage safer behaviors.
Some argued that new and better infrastructure is meaningless if people don’t start obeying the law, others said the exact opposite.
“Much of this is not about infrastructure,” the BTA’s Sadowsky said, “It’s caused by poor choices, bad decisions, or pure driver error.” Sadowsky’s main push was for the City of Portland to fully embrace Vision Zero (the BTA passed around this list of recommendations).
“I’d like to see speed framed the same way that drunk driving and seatbelts have been framed in the past.”
— Noel Mickelberry, Oregon Walks
A friend of Alistair Corkett’s provided the counterpoint. “[Besides the Springwater Corridor] there’s nowhere I can ride my bike that’s closed to traffic. We’re not going to have zero collisions until we separate people. Every day I have to think about how my best friend lost his leg and I have to be overly conscious when I ride. It’s going to come down to infrastructure change. We have to make people drive safer.”
There was quite a bit of talk about what Sadowsky referred to as a “broad-based marketing campaign” that is tentatively titled, “Travel With Care.” An official “pledge” to drive safer was also mentioned. I followed up with Mayor Hales after the meeting and he said he would “look at signing this pledge ourselves for our own workers.” “We have 100s of vehicles on the street right now, so I think if we started with our own workforce, that would be a nice start.”
On a similar note, Oregon Walks Executive Director Noel Mickelberry told Mayor Hales that she’d like to see speed framed the same way that drunk driving and seatbelts have been framed in the past. (That idea stuck, as Hales repeated it to the news cameras at the press conference.)
Data was also a big point of discussion. Portland Fire Chief Erin Janssens said they’ve been combing through bicycle collisions data, and BTA Advocacy Director Gerik Kransky said if we had better data about bike collisions it could lead to more federal funding. But Kath Youell, a mom of two young children who totes them around in a cargo bike said data should not be the only focus: “Our kids are just trying to get to school, and our ‘safe routes to school’ aren’t safe. There’s no police report about that.”
Attendee Lillian Karabaic (who wears many hats including producer of the BikePortland Podcast and development manager for the Community Cycling Center) pointed out the assembled leaders don’t represent the entire community. “I want everyone to note the demographic makeup of this room,” she said, “People of color are 50% more likely to be injured in vulnerable roadway user crashes and the majority of people injured in pedestrian crashes are under 18. … The people most likely to be affected by the changes we’re talking about are not at this table.”
Data also played a role in the discussion about using traffic diverters on lower auto counts on neighborhood greenways. Several attendees voiced strong support for doing more traffic diversion — which is something PBOT is traditionally reluctant to do.
SE Uplift Neighborhood Transportation Chair Terry Dublinski-Milton said the city should use movable planters as temporary diverters that could be moved “from greenway to greenway.” “Clinton, Ankeny, 15th, Going, Michigan all need them and it would be a low-cost, easy fix.”
In an interview after the press conference, I asked Hales if he would give PBOT the authority to try a temporary diversion project like the one Dublinski-Milton suggested. “Yes,” he said, “Rather than study something to death, I’d love to try more of this experimental approach. If it works, then we can move more quickly to permanent installation.”
In the end, Vision Zero was the idea that won the day.
Advocates told me that Mayor Hales’ strong embrace about it was the best news of the day. After the meeting, here’s what Hales told the media at the press conference:
“We share a vision and it has a name — that vision is zero. Zero crashes that take away the lives of our citizens and all the hopes that go with them. That’s an obviously ambitious goal when we share streets with everything from trucks to skateboards; but it is our vision.”
Hales’ Chief of Staff Joshua Alpert told me they plan to set up a Vision Zero committee to make sure the implementation work actually happens once the heat around these recent collisions cools off.
Debra Dunn, former president of the Oregon Trucking Association (and now an industry consultant) said she supports it too. “I think it’s critically important for trucking industry to jump on board with vision zero.”
With broad support for the concept, Hales is poised to bring a vision zero commitment to city council. “Rob [Sadowsky] called on city council to formally adopt vision zero,” he said, “and I think we should. I think we should adopt it as our goal, which means other bureaus, besides PBOT would have to make that their goal.”
Other than the strong talk about vision zero and admonitions about speed and safer behaviors, there was very little concrete action announced yesterday. I left the press conference disappointed. Yes, we might have taken a few baby steps, but we are no longer babies and it feels like an opportunity to truly move the needle was squandered.
I saw Alistair Corkett in front of City Hall after the press conference and asked him what he thought.
“It wasn’t what I was hoping for, but it was what I expected,” he said. “I feel like a lot of it was bureaucrats who look at data. A lot of the people in that room were out of touch.” Then he added that the meeting was, “A push in the right direction and it was a start.”
Later on his Instagram account, he was more candid in a comment to friends: “pointless bureaucracy everybody.”
Now it’s our job to prove him wrong.
I look forward to reporting more about the concrete actions Mayor Hales and Commissioner Novick plan to take next.
UPDATE, 2:30 pm: The Mayor has released a statement outlining “bike safety action items.”
NOTE: The original version of this post stated that Kath Youell felt “data should be the only focus.” That is incorrect. It has been corrected to state that she thinks, “data should not be the only focus.” I regret the error.
Correction 6/4: The original version of this post misquoted Lillian Karabaic.
“Yes,” he said, “Rather than study something to death, I’d love to try more of this experimental approach. If it works, then we can move more quickly to permanent installation.”
OK. How about one on Clinton next week?
Next week? Why not this afternoon?
Fu@k yes. I’ll help put the planters back on Clinton today if somebody has access to them.
Citizens did it at NE 16th and Tillamook for a while before the city built an official diverter. There’s two ways to get real change re: traffic – bug the city until they do it, or DIY until the city does it.
You could also request to do a temporary installation by permit.
They were in a city yard visible from the street for a while. Now? Probably Mayor Hales could find them, unless they were taken out and crushed for being unlicensed and uninsured!
How about converting miles of seldom used on-street parking along 122nd into a protected bike lane using temporary planters and bollards? Why is it always the areas inside of 82nd that get this sort of “experimental” attention? How many East Portland folks were in attendance at this meeting?
I’d say both. No reason not to implement/experiment/highlight both or all areas that could use help. But you make a good point.
ABSOLUTELY. I specifically spoke up and said that any significant repaving -projects should be re-striped with modern NACTO COMPLIANT bike lanes as part of the project. If they reach out to the Neighborhood Association System and give us time to respond, we can help do outreach and consensus, educated and make street like this much safer. There is no reason with $4+ million going to much needed 122nd improvements a world class protected bikeway can not be part of the project.
I would go further and call for a Vision Zero PDX complete streets bill to have teeth so strong we never have to talk about whether some maintenance is enough to warrant a change. We just need a resolution that says it’s against policy to stripe/restripe/touchup non-NACTO designs. If it’s old, when it wears out, repaint it for the 21st century.
122nd is slated for safety improvements according to Mayor Hales, but no word on whether that includes protected bike lanes. It certainly should, though.
Yes. Every time I’m on 122nd I think this. It would be a perfect street to create to create bike lanes protected by planters, pedestrian crossing islands and floating bus stops. This would be a win for cyclists, pedestrians and bus riders. The only loss would be the on street parking, which almost completely unused.
This. Yes, please! I’ve heard the argument (not a good one, mind you) that there’s not enough demand… but I agree that a build-it-temporary-and-see-if-they-will come approach is arguably the best thing around — and that it will have amazing results.
122nd and Halsey east of I-205 are both great candidates for protected bikeways. Because we can’t have speed cameras (yet) people often drive in excess of 50mph on these streets.
Any data to back up that claim? Professionals have difficulty determining speed just looking at cars.
Ever helpful PDOT – why don’t you go drive up and down 122nd a few dozen times at various times of day and see how often you get passed while driving at over 40mph… then see why people think (without hard stats) that people do indeed drive 50mph with some frequency?
I’ll add a more constructive comment with a bit less attitude. I am somewhat sorry for the snark. I get a bit tired of “Show me the data.” It is dismissive. Although I agree peoples perceptions of too fast may be different and estimates of speed may be off, I do think that people can indeed, without a rigorous data collection, identify streets where there is a pattern of speeding. To simply dismiss an observation from someone who drives or cycles on the street regularly with “where is the data” denies a very basic fact that people who know a neighborhood and street best, are probably quite capable of knowing and judging where the safety issues are on the streets!
I don’t drive 122nd much, and don’t live in PDX but it fits my perception. What I do know is that I don’t need a speed study to tell me which streets I drive regularly in Vancouver have the most speeding and the highest speeds. I drive Mill Plain Blvd. pretty much every day, often long stretches, at different times of day, and I can tell you, too many people do drive 50mph and even faster on Mill Plain, especially between 112 St. and 164 St. I can tell you for sure that on Andreson, coming up the hill towards Mill Plain, heading south, the typical speed is 45mph to 50mph and it isn’t uncommon that some drivers are going even faster than that.
Insisting that you need a study and that people don’t have any clue what is going on on the streets they use the most is idiocy and tyranny of bureaucracy. This sort of stalling is why the cycling community does need to get militant. Because another government study is not the answer.
Second everything Paul said, including driving on the same streets. Another example, McGillivray Blvd, southeast Van’s e-w bike corridor, is posted for 25 but just try driving that speed for a few blocks and you’ll be passed constantly. My experiences on 122nd, while less frequent, lead me to accept Chris I’s observations.
paikiala, if you have data like that handy, what does it say about traffic speeds on major arterials like 122nd? 80th percentile? 99th? What’s the methodology on those figures? Are there times when speeds are higher?
122nd N&S/Glisan, 2002, 85th was 38 in a posted 35, 90th was 39 mph.
122nd N/Kelly, 2002, 85th was 40 in a 35 zone, 90th was 41 mph.
PBOT does not have any speed data for 82nd Avenue.
Counts are made using pneumatic tubes, and it’s difficult to achieve on multi-lane roadways. Clearly, speeds can vary by time of day.
Name calling is not likely to engender sympathy to your cause (idiocy).
It’s probably just me, but I think decisions made based on emotion are often poor decisions.
It’s pretty easy for me to hear the difference between 25, 30, and 35mph. I might be off by 10 either way if trying to judge 50mph, but one could always use a stopwatch.
I drive (gasp!) those roads occasionally, and get passed while going 40mph (the data on my dashboard informs me of that). It’s pretty easy to tell when someone is going 10+mph over your speed when they pass you. I normally don’t make a note of it, but it happens regularly on these streets (that is every large arterial in outer-east Portland).
I think this is a great idea and I have previously sent a letter to the Mayor and Commissioner Novick about this very issue. I sent my letter on May 20th and never received a response from anyone in the city government.
You can see the letter I sent here: http://i.imgur.com/YXKjCxq.png
Everyone in support of this idea, please take the time to contact Mayor Hales and Commissioner Novick.
Great letter Aubrey. I hope they respond and listen to you. If there’s anything I can do to help please let me know. I ride 122nd infrequently (about once a month) but it is insane every time.
Yes please. Easy cheap fixes that can be made permanent later.
A whole lot of talking… rarely accomplishes anything.
You gotta start somewhere. I’m going to be optimistic. Vision Zero continues to ripple outward. This is going to take time and we need to find ways to keep up the pressure. Thanks for the great report, Jonathan.
I’m not optimistic until I see someone advocate adding safe infrastructure for people walking and biking WITHOUT catering to the interests of people who want to store their private property on public roads.
Sure, but just look at Hales’ expressions in the photos Jonathan took. He’s timid, afraid, waiting to be pushed into doing something. If we keep up the pressure perhaps he’ll end up doing what we already know needs to be done!
I’ve been trying to get a face-to-face meeting with him. When I do, perhaps I can pressure him into supporting better infrastructure.
Nibble, nibble, nibble: we nibble at the issues until mysteriously they’re gone.
Or maybe a more apt metaphor is the frog in a pot of heating water: Hales looks like he can feel the water boiling and he wants to jump out before he takes the blame politically.
I’d start looking for groups most expeditious for Hales to dump the blame on and lobby them instead preemptively.
I’ve commuted to work off and on for the last 20 years and I think we as a community, the cycling community has to also look within our own actions and how a lot of us ride. About half of the time when I’ve had a close call it was because I wasn’t riding like I should of. I was assuming that the cars see me. A lot of us don’t ride defensively. Now and for the last few years I assume that the cars do not see me and ride accordingly.
We also have to look within and see that we are also to blame for some of these accidents. It seems like a one sided blame game of its all the cars fault and I don’t agree. I know I’m going to get a ton of hate but its not all them.
I agree. I’ve been guilty of bad cycling behavior in the past. And I see it all the time. The fact is, EVERYONE, no matter how they’re traveling, makes mistakes or uses bad judgement. We ALL need to up our games and use the public space in a manner that considers others’ needs, not just our own. Simply blaming people who drive won’t be an effective behavior change strategy.
Until Google can bring about cars that literally “see” us, our concern is not the vehicles but their operators and the infrastructure that encourages operating the vehicles in an inattentive, excessively fast manner. Yes, of course riding defensively, like driving defensively, is a good idea. But we shouldn’t have to assume that every intersection is a potential deathtrap because of the inattentiveness or flagrant lawbreaking of motor vehicle operators.
I’ve been wondering about the transition period to autonomous motor vehicles (which I believe are inevitable). In some sense, it’s already started: cars with backup cameras and side sensors, and a bunch of other outward-facing safety features on the newest cars, like (so I’ve heard) automatic braking when an obstacle is sensed in the car’s path.
So at what point does “automobile autonomy” change the traffic situation? When a small fleet of truly autonomous Google cars is introduced by, I dunno, Lyft or Uber? How many of them would have to be out there, perfectly obeying the posted speed limit and never turning across an occupied intersection, to change the behavior of the vast majority of human drivers?
I haven’t really seen any think pieces about this, but it’s an interesting area. The transition might be very quick in historical terms, but it’s going to have a long head and a long tail, during which I imagine there will be a lot of honking, road rage, and frustration.
I just wonder how it will work.
I can see it now… Autonomous vehicles must follow their prime directive: Don’t Crash! So human pilots in non-autonomous vehicles will be able to successfully flummox and “bully” the autonomous vehicles by driving aggressively, not yielding, etc., because the robot cars will be obligated to “get out of the way”. I can just imagine the chaos at a 4-way stop…
I disagree somewhat. Countless times I’ve nearly been right-hooked while riding at the left edge of a bike lane wearing bright yellow. Drivers aren’t paying attention. I’ve gotten to the point in the past few months where there’s *so many* drivers failing to see stop signs that I’ve taken to slowing down and looking both ways at every single intersection on side streets. And the list goes on…
Sure, we can all make improvements, but I don’t buy the concept of “drivers are getting crappier so we have to all be extra careful.” No… we need increased law enforcement and infrastructure improvements or this mess is going to get deeper yet…
My main point is until we have added law enforcement, new infrastructure and have some how got people to see us there are a lot of things that we can do ourselves for free and right now. Its not perfect and its never going to be perfect. But its a lot better then it was 20 years ago when bike lanes were rare and on a weekly basis I’d get spit on and called a f*gg*t.
I agree if we had unlimited resources and could get all bikes on protected cycle paths I would love that.And yes we need to keep pressuring our elected officials to make our roads safer. But until the cycle utopia is here lets do what we can do to make ourselves safer.
Thank you Jonathan for this great website and forum for discussion.
You’re right, it isn’t always the motor vehicle operators fault– but when those of us who scrupulously follow the law while riding, and wear high-vis and reflective clothing from helmet to toes, and have several sets of blinky lights and steady lights both front and rear, and STILL get hit or almost hit or buzzed or have too many close calls….. I honestly don’t know what else I can do while riding except DRIVE A CAR.
To butcher the saying from Peter Parker’s uncle: with greater lug nuts comes greater responsibility. As a driver, I know that it is MY responsibility to be aware of ALL things both on and near the roadway.
That the speed limit as posted is the UPPER LIMIT for the roadway. That I shouldn’t be texting or dialing or checking my apps on my smartphone while I’m driving. That I need to use my turn signal and watch for pedestrians and bike riders when turning. That if I miss my turn, I need to drive up the street, turn around in a parking lot and come back to my turn or find a street to turn on that gets me to the street I should have turned on– not cut in line, or sit in the through lane and wait for someone to let me cut in, or just take the turn from the through lane regardless of if there’s room for me or not. (Personal pet peeve right there!) That if a bike rider is taking the lane, I need to WAIT for oncoming traffic to clear out before passing, and then only if I can get by the bike rider completely and get back in my lane– or, you know, just wait and drive along.
Boom. That’s the kind of education we need. And some more people-friendly infrastructure sure would help, too.
Excellent. And that doesn’t account for the kids and other new riders who aren’t at that skill level yet. Do we want equity, where a person doesn’t need to invest in all that in order to get where they want and need to? Yes, bike defensively. Yes, be visible. But at some point it’s just victim blaming and drivers need to be responsible for their actions.
I had a comment yesterday, but it got moderated (not sure why). The condensed version is that I find it interesting that someone as conspicuous as you seem to be still has close calls with dangerous driving. This tells me one of two disturbing things:
1) Drivers are far more oblivious than we thought and even with lights and sirens they still can’t see you.
2) Drivers see you just fine, but they have no qualms about taking a “calculated risk” (with your life) to squeeze past, beat you to a corner, or cut you off to save themselves .8 seconds.
Pretty much everyone who has ever used a hammer on a nail has or will eventually hit their thumb. Well designed infrastructure, infrastructure that is age and ability inclusive, should assume that humans will do what humans do which is to say make mistakes and bad judgements. If the penalty for the most common cycling blunders is more than a few scratches and a bruised ego, then your infrastructure sucks.
No hate here. I take this approach myself. In general, I follow all traffic laws, partly because I believe it helps (helps) keep me safe, and partly because I like the smug-ish feeling of letting drivers see me be all unassailable. I also obsessively scrutinize reports of bad car-on-bike crashes, not to be holier than anyone, but to see if there’s anything I can learn from those situations that will keep my extremely risk-averse self safer on the streets.
All that said, I wonder how much of my safety comes from a peculiar form of privilege: I’m a gray haired lady on literally a granny bike, and people in cars (assuming they notice me at all) tend to be absolutely insultingly cautious around me.
Hey! Maybe we need a “drive like everyone on a bike is your grandma” campaign. 😀
I love that idea, Ann.
Anne, I like it.
People behave around police cars too. How about ‘Respect all road users like you do the Police’
I’ve often thought of trimming the base of my helmet with curly gray wig…
I agree, it is a mistake as a community to not agree that yes, our shit stinks too. I occasionally do not ride as I should but I try. It is the 20/80 rules, that 20% of bad bike riders or drivers cause 80% of the problems. I have never seen the bike community develop a consensus as to what is and is not acceptable behavior. Running red lights, unacceptable, riding against traffic unacceptable, passing another bike rider closer then 3 feet unacceptable. For a bike rider to go from sidewalk, to road to bike land to side walk there is no predictability there. How hard is it to say “on your left” sometimes.
“For a bike rider to go from sidewalk, to road to bike lane to side walk there is no predictability there. ”
You’ve just described typical bike facilities in most of the USA.
Couldn’t help but think about these guys.
“Action that counts, not words!”
I needed a laugh. Thanks for that.
Sorry Rob – But it is exactly about infrastructure. Auto and Bicycle infrastructure – its (poor) design and (lack of) implementation.
Double PPB’s traffic enforcement budget. When hefty tickets for speeding and stop-sign running become much more common, people will re-think their driving/riding habits. And it’ll pay for itself.
But that’s the problem, often it doesn’t, and expecting it to is part of why we don’t see more enforcement.
Per my own conversations with a PBOT staffer, the PPB traffic division won’t even cite a driver unless they’re going “11-14 mph over the speed limit.” This was later confirmed by the person at 823-SAFE when she said something along the lines of, “well, I can’t deny that.”
On the 20-25 mph streets of my neighborhood, this means a driver has to be going more than 50% over the limit before there’s a threat of getting a ticket. And that’s only if you actually encounter a cop running a speed enforcement in a neighborhood. In my 15 years in Portland, I’ve NEVER seen that.
As many drivers as are speeding down my street, my guess is that the vast majority of them slip under this buffer, so while the cops might show up, very few citations would be written.
The reason, again per my source at PBOT, is that if the speed is any lower than the buffer, the driver will likely fight it and WIN! Meaning, that the traffic division pays for the enforcement, and for the officers to go to court, and in the end they don’t get the money. So they actually LOSE money from the enforcement.
As much as I’ve been repeating, “enforcement” lately, when I say it or write it, the caveat qualifier is always “actual, real enforcement, as it should be. Not enforcement as is currently practiced.”
Apparently we have a judge problem that has trickled down to the PPB, and I’m not sure how any of these talking heads will solve it.
The paradigm that requires that enforcements be budget positive is wrong. Cops don’t patrol unsafe neighborhoods only if they make money. Why should road violence be subject to this economic hurdle?
Perhaps some of that $49 million budget surplus should be spent on enforcement.
Obviously the problem is too lenient judges, but even if the person speeding has to fight and win a ticket for going 1 MPH over, it’s still a hassle they have to deal with.
Yes, but it isn’t a hassle if the cops never write the ticket or run the enforcement. That’s why we need to accept that enforcement isn’t always going to make money.
Yep. If there were 50 other drivers in front of you to contest their 30-in-a-25 ticket, it would become a hassle. Also, how lenient is a judge going to be after hearing the same mathematically impossible excuse 50 times? At some point, it starts to at least break even.
Better enforcement, better laws, better adjudication..
Perhaps the solution to that is them not focusing solely on speed enforcement? How many times have you sat waiting at a red light and watched the cars driving past you with one person after another holding a cell phone?
I find it hard to believe that they couldn’t make some money and greatly improve road safety by running an enforcement that covered multiple issues…
Better users, better enforcement…..
>>“Much of this is not about infrastructure,” the BTA’s Sadowsky said
I disagree with much of what Rob says.
Looks like a show put on by those whose interests follow which way the wind is currently blowing 🙁 I have no faith that H & N care about cyclists..at all.
But, all that said, I cringe when watching riders blow stop signs and even experienced riders crossing red lights. We help perpetuate the negative attitudes.
What about all those car and truck drivers who speed, don’t use their turn signals, run red lights, don’t yield to pedestrians as the law specifies– why isn’t that perpetuating a negative attitude? Why do they get a pass, “it’s just normal behavior”, while people who ride or walk have to meet a higher standard just to be “allowed” to use the streets?
“What about all those car and truck drivers who speed, don’t use their turn signals, run red lights, don’t yield to pedestrians as the law specifies– why isn’t that perpetuating a negative attitude? …” KristenT
Their actions do perpetuate a negative attitude. I don’t know what kind of ‘pass’ it is you think they’re getting. Plenty of people don’t like bad driving or having to put up with it, but there doesn’t seem to be much in the way of realistic ideas to curb people that drive badly.
I think there’s a number of reasons, people that drive, effectively have carte blanche to drive badly if they’re so inclined. One, is that they’re not vulnerable road users, at least not in the palpably bare sense that people on foot, and people on bikes are. They’ve got the car’s body and all manner of safety gear to keep them somewhat safe in the event of collisions. Two, is the sheer number of motor vehicles in use on the road, and the overwhelming challenge that number represents in terms of monitoring and regulating them for bad driving. People feel strapped economically, and not prepared to pay more for the increase in police patrols it may take to cut the bad driving down.
Vulnerable road users are rightfully under pressure to hold themselves to a higher standard of safe road use because, seriously…if they’re involved in a collision with a motor vehicle, by potential injury and mortality to say the least: the odds are against them. First and foremost, the actions, choices and judgment of vulnerable road users themselves are their own best defense against being involved in collisions.
Of course, there are people that want to believe, maybe are determined to find out, that tougher drivers’ license testing, steeper citation amounts, jail sentences, can eventually put enough pressure on people inclined to drive badly, to make them shape up.
I think the “pass” being given, is that the actions of drivers are put forth as representative of all drivers, but that broad brush and expectation of collective influence is certainly applied to people on bikes.
Note that Amanda Fritz didn’t say, “We’re not going to improve auto infrastructure until drivers get other drivers to start obeying the law,” which is pretty much what she said about people on bikes.
I’ve been searching for her original quote but can’t find it.
I meant, “the actions of drivers AREN’T put forth as representative of all drivers.”
They get a pass because it’s become normalized that people who drive are going to speed, run red lights, run stop signs, not stop for pedestrians, drive in the bike lane, park in the bike lane, not use turn signals, cut in line, turn from the wrong lane, stop on railroad tracks– where’s the indignation? Where’s the vitriol? Where’s the “you’re giving other drivers a bad name”? Where’s the “you’re the reason people hate car drivers”?
It’s a double-standard, for sure– people driving get a pass on their bad behavior, but people riding bikes have to be perfect, and even when we are perfect we STILL are the focus for rage, for intimidation, for all those “you bikers” phrases that get tossed out.
“…where’s the indignation?…” KristenT
What’s the point in being indignant? There’s nothing much that can be done, at least by individual, basically good drivers, about the bad driving of the minority bad drivers. Most people driving just work to concentrate on their driving to defensively avoid bad situations, and keep their cool.
Plus, as I wrote earlier, people driving are comparatively less vulnerable as road users than are people that bike or walk. Not perfect of course, but it’s definitely somewhat more of a reassurance against injury or death than is being stuck out on a bike.
Some people will persist with the idea that expectations of safe road use from road users when it comes to chosen mode of transportation, is subject to a double standard. Well fine, but that really makes no difference at all in terms of people riding bikes minimizing the chances ASAP, of their possibly being involved in a collision with a motor vehicle someone is driving. Defensive biking is the essential first line response to this eventuality, and unfortunately is a measure that especially in heavy traffic urban and suburban traffic areas, just does not receive the emphasis it should.
Waiting around for who knows how long, years, decades, for bad drivers to be dramatically reduced from the number of overall road user seems like no realistic answer to the problem of unsafe conditions for biking.
Maybe there is no point in being indignant—but then why all the indignation when someone on a bike is spotted rolling a STOP or (legally) not wearing a helment, or (legally) taking a traffic lane, or (legally) using a sidewalk/crosswalk, or (legally) not wearing “hi-viz”—are these things done by a bicyclist more dangerous than speeding, distracted driving, or rolling STOP signs as done by motorists? Indeed, “what’s the point in being indignant”—in either case?
So…motorists have fulfilled their safety responsibility by choosing a military-grade armored vehicle to roll around in? They have no responsibility to those outside their vehicle?
The last part of this reorganized quote is the most interesting. What are the “unsafe conditions” that exist for bicyclists? Roads that are too bumpy? Too much broken glass everywhere? Roving packs of wild dogs/coyotes? Bricks falling from the sky? Or is it bad driving by motorists? If the latter, then the only realistic answer to the problem of “unsafe conditions for biking” is for “bad drivers to be dramatically reduced”. The problem with having a double standard is that it focuses all the responsibility onto the vulnerable user to be perfect, while excusing huge mistakes/negligence by motorists. That imbalance directly perpetuates the dangerous driving that constitutes 90% of the “unsafe conditions” with which bicyclists must contend.
I would say almost the opposite of this. Defensive/evasive biking is one of the last lines of defense, after lots of other things have already gone wrong (or appear to be about to go wrong) and some driver has put a bicyclist into self-preservation mode. Furthermore, “defensive biking” is about the only thing that does receive emphasis in so-called “safety” campaigns—or just unsolicited “advice”—aimed at bicyclist/pedestrian safety. “Be Seen, Be Safe!” “Ride like you’re invisible!” “Wear your helmet!” “Use hi-viz colors and lights, even during the day!” “Always follow the laws!” “No use being right if you’re ‘dead right’!” “Stay on the bike paths/in the bike lane!” “The laws of physics!” “The car will always ‘win'”. “Oh, and drivers, I guess don’t drive drunk, ‘k?”
My typical response when someone recites the “cyclists not stopping at stop signs” mantra “I’ll stop running stop signs when drivers stop killing 30,000 people every year”.
Sheriff, paraphrased: ‘If I start pulling people over doing less than 15mph over the speed limit, I’ll be pulling over everyone’.
No need to pull anyone over; let a camera snap a pic and cite by mail. Maybe we could let deputies collect a little data about how many drivers see fit to go, say, 10 over in a particular area so we could decide on priority of camera placement.
7mph over the speed limit, tops, should be the latitude given, and no more. 15mph over is way too much.
10% over maximum. It scales with the posted speed, which sort of goes with the road usage.
Yes. That also fits any gearing or tire size errors in the speedometer (supposedly this is a common excuse in court — whether it requires evidence is another question.) The manufacturer’s built-in error might be a simple offset of a few mph, but will always read more than the vehicle speed. I think the ORS violation class (A-D) definitions for speeding need to be revised to steps of far less than 10mph in zones posted 30 or lower.
Fine. Right now it’s more like 25-40%.
—wsbob (emphasis mine)
I highlighted a few words in your quote for further reflection:
Define “rightfully”. I see this more as “necessarily, for self-preservation”, there is nothing “right” about it. This is like saying that residents of neighborhoods that have a higher incidence of gang shootings “rightfully” belong in their houses and off the streets.
Also, define “safe”. The safest way to operate a bicycle in any given situation is not necessarily always within the law, and even when it is within the law, it is often misunderstood and perceived to be “illegal” by car drivers. Those drivers then feel justified in intimidating legally-operating bicyclists, and there is nothing done about such driver behavior. Well, except for the occasional U-Lock toss or other “road rage” response by a bicyclist who finally snaps after the hundredth time having their life threatened, but then the person who stands up to the automotive bully is viewed as the guilty party, rather than the reverse.
As much as we don’t like to think about a “war on cars” or “Us vs. Them”, “Cars vs. Bikes”, or other adversarial quasi-metaphors, we do tend to fall back on terms like “best defense” when discussing road safety issues. I’d like us to wonder a bit about against what or whom are we “defending” ourselves? Isn’t “defense” only necessary when one is being attacked? Isn’t the opposite of “defense”, “offense”? Then who are we thinking is doing the attacking or playing offense? Why is it necessary to learn “self defense” (in a manner of speaking) just to get from A to B on a bike? Why are we constantly under threat? And why is that threat only answerable by scurrying out of the way, hoping to live to “defend” ourselves another day? Why can’t the threat itself be addressed?
Lots of other counties have much better, more careful, less threatening drivers than we have here. It is possible to take “realistic” measures to curb outright deadly driving. Why have we here elevated the driving privilege to make it nearly the 11th amendment to the Bill of Rights? If drivers cannot find it in their constitution to apply the amount of diligent effort it takes to learn the laws, learn how to operate their vehicles (“which one is the brake, again?”), understand their duty to put down the phone and pay 100% attention to driving, then they absolutely have no business whatsoever being out on the road threatening me or anyone else moving about without the protection of a motor vehicle.
Now, none of this is meant to suggest you are wrong about bicyclists needing to operate safely and take appropriate self-preservation measures, and I’m really not trying to be confrontational, but I would like us to think about some of the assumptions that color the way we conceptualize “The Problem”, and whether the solutions that we propose are the right ones.
I think I’ve already answered the questions you’re asking. People on foot or bike in environments where motor vehicles are used, are vulnerable road users. It’s their own skin they have to look after, and toward accomplishing this, they don’t have the protection offered them that people driving inside motor vehicles do, against consequences of collision with motor vehicles.
Defensive road use is needed to be used by all road users. For their relatively safe use of it, everyone seeking or needing to use the road has to recognize that there are inherent dangers to prepare against in using the road.
People blow the stop signs that are already there, fail to obey the already posted speeds, run red lights. The evidence is right in front of you that much of the problem is not infrastructure. The bigger problem is clearly behavior.
Facilities are a part of the solution. But all the infrastructure in the world won’t prevent road deaths as long as it’s socially acceptable to ignore the rules and blatantly disrespect fellow road users.
“…But all the infrastructure in the world won’t prevent road deaths as long as it’s socially acceptable to ignore the rules and blatantly disrespect fellow road users.” Scott H
I’d say people aren’t breaking the rules and disrespecting fellow road users because it’s socially acceptable to do that: they’re doing it ‘because they feel like it.’, or ‘because they’re just not very well equipped to drive, or ride a bike on the road.’.
Some types of infrastructure improvements could definitely make biking on the road safer, easier and better. This happening often has been a very slow evolution, but it does seem to consistently be moving that way.
One small example I’d note, is that instead of past practice of just laying down a fog line on the edge of the road and calling the miniscule paved one or two foot part of the road to the right side of it, a ‘ride-able shoulder’, or ‘bike lane’, transportation departments actually have been for some years, arranging to have an accepted standard width part of the road, at least 4′, but often 5′ and sometimes wider, be set aside for a bike lane.
There is a need for infrastructure that will better support use of bikes for transportation, and that can minimize conflicts between bike and motor vehicle use. Portland’s mayor and commissioners may see and personally support that need, but they can’t get it done without people helping them make the case for it.
If Portland had, connecting it’s close in neighborhoods with Downtown, bike and walking infrastructure something a bit like the waterfront and east side esplanade, that could let practical biking and walking be something almost anyone could do. Starting on that, making at least one of them, could perhaps dramatically broaden public support for the substantial investment required to create cycle tracks.
Pledging to do something is only as good and concrete as the air coming out of your mouth as you say it. There’s no way to MAKE people do the thing they’ve pledged, even less so when it’s your boss making promises on your behalf. The people who have to deliver should be the ones making the pledge and then– and this is important — FOLLOW THROUGH.
“Studying the data” is almost as bad as pledging something. Data on this subject will only be useful when it’s applied to make the thing studied better.
As Edna Mode says in the Incredibles: “Yes, words are useless! Gobble-gobble-gobble-gobble-gobble! Too much of it, darling, too much!”
I am curious where the money would go if the city”embraced” vision zero? The bta is unlikely to receive funds from the city if the direction chosen is infrastructure improvements. Is the bta push for “vision zero” a back door attempt to get the city to pay them to provide education or something similar?
I’ve become a little cynical about the BTA, but not this cynical. Is there really some reason to suspect this of them?
Yes, I think keep the pressure on. Make it more than just words.
Given this is about all modes of getting around (and the fact people that drive and people that bike become people that walk), were there representatives from the driving sector? I see that someone from the trucking sector was there, yes?
Infrastructure goes so far, punitive actions go so far. How are the transportation officials planning to go after the culture? PSAs? Working with the media? For all the “be seen” PSAs, where are the “be looking” PSAs, the slow down PSAs? Where are the “stop throwing stuff at people on bikes” PSAs.
It is pretty hostile out there – my son has been egged – rolling coal, hate speech on forums. Vehicular bullying.
Yes, fix infrastructure, but how do we address the horrible culture?
“where are the ‘be looking’ PSAs, the ‘slow down’ PSAs? Where are the ‘stop throwing stuff at people on bikes’ PSAs.”
Yeah. Those are really good questions. I’ve not had much like trying to talk to Sharon White about these, myself. But I think there’s a chance we can eventually overcome some of this unhelpful Car-head stuff with Vision Zero.
I’m living proof that public awareness campaigns, when directed at school children, really work. I’m a native Portlander pushing 60, and I can still sing you the “Please, please, don’t be a litterbug” jingle from kindergarten at Beaumont School…and to this day, the idea of littering in the street absolutely appalls me. I’ll carry a piece of trash in my pocket or purse all the way home if I have to, in order not to be a litterbug, “because every litter bit hurts.”
Get both biking itself, and road equity messaging, to kindergartners and first graders, with ditties and posters and cartoons, and I might even live to see real social change in the use of our streets.
“I’d like to see speed framed the same way that drunk driving and seatbelts have been framed in the past.”
Excellent quote. We’ve banned smoking ads from TV and restricted alcohol ads, yet you can’t watch a half-hour of TV without exposure to scores of “professional drivers on closed courses” driving cars in a manner in which we don’t let (or want) people to on public streets.
Better users: education, perspective, social norms are all part of changing how people think about roads and what is possible in terms of safety for all users. This portion of the Vision Zero holistic approach may take the longest. It took MADD about 20 years to change the notion that driving while drunk was ok, and the process is still ongoing.
I tentatively reached Lillian Karabaic’s conclusion just looking at the first photo here, and I’m glad she spoke out about it.
When the people in power invite people already on their contact list to the table, they can be sure of hearing mostly what’s comfortable for them. They continue to look earnest without ever being discomfited by the outsider views that might actually get the machine cranking rustily and noisily forward.
They need to come down quickly from high level conversations and start hearing more diverse voices.
I saw the tweets going around and sent an email saying that I would be wanted to attend as Family Biking stakeholder. I gave my blog, tweet stream, being an admin of PDX Cargo Bike Gang on fb, and other reasons to support my request. I got invited after that one email.
Now I wonder if there were people who asked and weren’t invited? I’m not disagreeing about Lilian’s point at all, but saying they only invited people on their contact list isn’t accurate. I can say that Rob Sadowsky questioned whether I had been invited and seemed surprised that I was. (This was when we were the only ones in the room, so it wasn’t like it was a public “you belong here?”) It was my first time, so maybe I just don’t know that it was all the same people?
Fair enough — and I was glad to read that you were there — but some of the people I assume Lillian is referring to can’t get downtown, can’t attend a meeting during the day, or would otherwise have real impediments to attendance. Further, they may not be on Twitter. They may not be plugged in to the bike community in any way.
And, by no means least of all, they might feel so alienated from the whole power structure that even if getting downtown during the day weren’t a barrier, going in to City Hall and sitting down at a big, solemn table full of politicians and activists who look and sound nothing like them would be an insurmountable hurdle.
Heck, I worked next door in the Portland Building for 25 years and I’m a white, college-educated information worker, and I found meetings at City Hall terribly intimidating. I would never want to underestimate the power of privilege in these situations. It’s easy to think “they’re welcome to come,” but if they don’t know, can’t get there, or don’t feel welcome for any reason, their voices won’t be heard, and that’s everybody’s problem.
I don’t know that being “invited” after you went out of your way to email them and show your credentials is exactly what Anne is talking about though.
To me that sounds more like you asked to attend and they agreed.
I was invited because I am a person who knows who to ask, if I would not have been proactive, I would not have been their either. It is a serious problem, which as city we need to fix.
Some of those diverse voices may be vociferously anti bicycle.
Yes. And not wanting to listen to them resulted, as I understand it, in the North Williams debacle. But I think (from what I know of Lillian from her public work) that she’s referring specifically to poor people and people of color who do currently bike or walk for transportation, and who are disproportionately affected by traffic violence.
That sounds like people who look different, but think the same. I think if you want true diversity, you’d really have to include people who see the issue from a totally different perspective than you/we do.
And what’s wrong with that?
Maybe nothing. But it might not be effective.
Perhaps the people whom Chris is characterizing as ‘vociferously anti bicycle’ might not be all that productive in a meeting like this. Who, after all, might be so characterized? What are their reasons for this antipathy? Are these positions arrived at after careful weighing of the evidence, or are they perhaps a variant on the hateful Oregonian comments, based on prejudice, misunderstanding, misdirected anger, or some malignant version of Car-head?
Jonathan. Thank you for the reporting. And thank you for getting the Mayor on record that the city will take action.
And thank you for this quote:
“asked Hales if he would give PBOT the authority to try a temporary diversion project like the one Dublinski-Milton suggested. “Yes,” he said, “Rather than study something to death, I’d love to try more of this experimental approach. If it works, then we can move more quickly to permanent installation.”
When and where will the Mayor try the first temp diversion project?
That depends on you/us. All he needs is a proposal on his desk. Give him an easy way to take action, ask while the iron is hot, and we will have a project.
I say ask him for two. One in inner Portland and one east of 82nd.
(Ted Buehler mentioned his first choice would be
Yes. This now. Thank you Jonathan.
An easy, small diverter project that might solve one of the too high traffic neighborhood greenway segment problems in East Portland would be to put a diverter at 84th and Bush. It would help reduce the cut-through traffic from Westbound Powell that uses 86th then Bush to get to Southbound 82nd while avoiding the light at 82nd and Powell.
I would highly support this and will suggest it to David H when I see him next week. That section of the 80’s is awful.
“Ted Buehler mentioned his first choice would be 26th/Clinton FWIW.”
*28th* and Clinton.
Terry D-M and other BikeLoudPDX folks on the HAND and Richmond neighborhoods have been pushing for this.
28th is likely to be a headache. Better to stop eastbound auto traffic at 26th.
The biggest push back on Clinton is likely to be businesses and pass by traffic. The solution is net zero changes. Take 1,000 cars off Clinton so 1,000 to 2,000 more cyclists can use it.
The next is likely to be convenience concerns by local residents. This is muted a bit by the grid for ingress. Access to collector cross streets with signals at Division and Powell helps with egress – as at Chavez.
Alternating one-way shared roadways with contra-flow parking protected bike lanes helps with convenient access concerns and, since it is paint and signs, would be low cost to try out (under $2,000 per block).
Good coverage. Now…a general CALL to ACTION. If Mayor Hales is willing to try out temporary diverters like this, then we need to get the neighborhoods on Board to try them out. I will be reporting back to the transportation chairs of SE Uplift, and the full board about this. My article on Clinton has got people thinking, we can use it as an example.
Here are the neighborhood boundaries:
The Hot Spots:
Now, let us try to get rid of all of the red and orange, or your worst local qualitative problem, particularity around schools and parks. Very soon…wink, wink Roger….. we should get the complete results of the deep data dive in our greenway system including the mini speed zones.
Go to your neighborhood, quote Mayor Hales, and suggest a FIX.
Get BIG planters….everyone likes plants….and put a diverter in….and see what happens. We can always move them down the block.
That is my call to arms…p.s. I like the first Pic, Jonathan!
How about those giant planters like are on NE Multnomah. Aren’t there still some more of them on the Transit Mall, down by the US Bank tower (big pink)?
Why isn’t more anger directed at Commissioners Saltzman, Fish and Fritz, who seem to be completely absent from the conversation? If we want better infrastructure in Portland we need at least one of them to step up and work with Hales and Novick, who actually seem committed to improving safety on the roads.
That’s a good question maccoinnich, and it’s one of the reasons I would love to see City Council adopt a strong statement about Vision Zero. What Hales said is right… Currently traffic safety is only thought about in PBOT… But if City Council adopts a real (and holistic/comprehensive) vision zero policy than every city bureau would have to commit to it. Then you would have the real, collaborations and power structure needed to do big and great things.
I recently moved to SE and would love to volunteer to set up diverters.
We need safe streets for everyone! noticing we have massive issues regarding bike transportion!
You want safer streets for everyone? $600 divers licenses, quadruple the fines for speeding, running lights and cell use. Make it so that breaking a law that is defined to keep a drivers attention to the road qualifies a person to re-establish their license at $500, including a $150 course to educate people on avoiding distractions while driving.
The only people to not like this know they would be subject to the law at some point because they know they are represented in this diatribe.
Traffic fines as a percentage of income so they’re no longer a license to speed for the rich.
Actually the opposite might be true. As more shared space experiments are showing the key to safer streets might be to eliminate stop lights, stop signs, traffic lanes etc. The end result of these experiments has generally been slower speeds, and safer roads and actually improved travel times as demonstrated at the video at this link http://www.citylab.com/commute/2013/04/lots-cars-and-trucks-no-traffic-signs-or-lights-chaos-or-calm/5152/
Traffic enforcement seems to be virtually non-existent. Here are some statistics.
From PPB’s 2013 Annual Report: “In 2013, the Traffic Division completed over 50,000 citizen contacts through traffic/pedestrian stops…. responded to 51 call outs and investigated 35 traffic fatalities… and working over 140 special events…”
Also, according to the Annual Report, the Traffic Division has 51 sworn personnel.
The 50,000 traffic/pedestrian stops per year works out to about 140 stops per day. That works out to fewer than 3 stops per day for the 51 sworn personnel. Why so few? Even accounting for all the non-patrol activities, I’d have expected LOTS more. I can’t drive, walk or bike for 10 minutes without seeing an obvious violation by someone.
Another way of looking at it is traffic/pedestrian stops per vehicle mile driven. According to Metro, the Portland region has over 28.3 million miles of travel daily. Portland is over 1/3 of the metro region’s population, so assume 10 million daily miles of travel. 140 stops per day works out to one traffic/pedestrian stop per 71,000 miles of auto travel. It takes me 10 years to cover that mileage. Do we really believe there’s sufficient reason to perform a traffic stop once every 70,000 miles of driving?
I’m glad that the City of Portland is setting up a Vision Zero committee to help make sure implementation happens. However, this needs to rapidly translate into something more than the passive embrace of a vision. I would like to see a roadmap of what measures will be implemented when. For example, I would like to see a committee formed this week, and the chair of that committee present a plan for what will be implemented in June, by end of summer, by end of fall and in 2016. Viable implementations of all magnitudes need to be identified for the short and the medium term. Long term planning is fine too, but in order to be credible, there needs to be a solid plan published in short order of what is happening, starting right now. Without this type of believable roadmapping, the community will not be convinced.
Clearly there is a need to comment here, so I assembled a task force of like-minded individuals who will look to move forward to the construction of a committee that will be a collection of committee/task-force members who will then form a council of “action doers” who will assess, re-assess, assign, and re-assign all of the necessary committees and task forces to be assembled under one main branch/umbrella/structure/assembly by which we will really get a cohesive momentum going where we can finally get to the “task” at hand here within said task-force, and eventually arrive at the outcome that we are looking to achieve. Clearly we are dedicated to moving in the right direction.
I feel I can trust you because you’re from the government…
Um…I hope the 😉 was self-evident there.
I can’t say I’m surprised, but I will say I’m pretty disappointed in the outcome here.
Hales wants a proposal? How about the folks that installed the diverters on 34th and Clinton a while back go for it again? That’s a working proposal right there.
If PBOT removes them again, then it’s proof that they have no interest in working to make our city safer. I can’t believe they want to wait until things cool down a bit either. What an utter disappointment our government is. And the sad part is, we vote for them.
Sounds like more talk…. After a recent crash in Buffalo that killed a 3-year old, injured his 5-year old sister and his mother, it took the governor just 2 days (2 friggin’ days!) to put in 1/2 mile of jersey barriers to prevent it happening again. That’s action. Would love to see such action in Portland.
JM’s tweet about diverters got me remembering all the crazy traffic diverters in Berkeley CA from my youth. Some super cheap concrete planters, flowers optional. I read up on it and they were not aimed at biking at all, but to keep cars from cutting through neighborhoods. The result though is general traffic calming which means preferred bike routes (like our blvds and greenways), quieter safer neighborhoods and better walking. We have gotten so encamped here in PDX. Theres bike groups and ped groups and safe school route groups. Perhaps one day we can step back and instead of demanding facilities for our pet cause/mode/interest, we will demand holistically calmed streets which work for everything. Diverters can be cheap and fast, not a beautiful crafted $200K concrete thing. Heck lets try it!
I would like to see continuing education for drivers just like with teachers, electricians, etc. At the High Risk Driver and DUII victim panels, the vast majority of attendees say everyone should have to attend. I’m not saying for everyone to attend these in person, but at license renewal time there could be a mandatory video to watch at home (or DMV) detailing the traffic laws and the tragic consequences of not following them, followed by a test. We do this in Clark County for food permits. It’s simple, stream-lined. This is just one idea.
Yes much, much better education and training – and not just written tests. Do we have driver instructor certifications? Do these instructors have any anti-ped/anti-bike biases? Are these instructors taking their students out to areas of high pedestrian/bicycle congestion? Do these instructors instill a notion of “error on the side of safe”?
Honestly, unless some major hefty changes happened this morning, I’ll assume I’ll just be reading another recap of another “urgent” meeting in a couple months. My faith has become nil.
Thank you johnathan for calling me out! I would absolutely love for you to prove me wrong and I would love to be a part of that, proving myself wrong.
I’m not quite sure Lilian’s second point was either accurately stated or quoted, as the vast majority of people who die in traffic are over 18 years old. I’d presume injuries run roughly parallel. You can view state-specific data here:
But the main point — that our most vulnerable users are for various reasons underrepresented in these discussions — is critical.
It’s the same sort of problem I’ve seen in listening to legislators debate transportation funding — those in the discussion bring their personal perspective to the table, yet nearly all legislators drive and are of a certain age, while over a million Oregonians (more than one in four) cannot drive. We need to do more to bring those voices to the table.
For example, I was reading a study of Stockholm’s congestion charge, and it said “Inner-city children’s perception of the city environment has very clearly improved.” It made me wonder if researchers had actually interviewed those kids. We need to do that more (and interview seniors, and those without homes, etc.).
Want everyone to read this statement just put out by Hales on “Bike Safety Action Items”. Link is here and full text is below:
While I’m glad to see the temporary diverter item and the increased speed enforcement, everything else is things the City was planning to do anyway. The lack of “bike infrastructure” in the item about the complete re-dos of Burnside and 122nd is telling.
We need what Terry D-M has been pushing: every repaved arterial to come with NACTO-compliant bike infrastructure. That means buffered bike lanes for almost all of our arterials when they get repaved. 122nd and Burnside would both be great candidates. Repaving without a changed striping pattern that includes a wide bike lane is a missed opportunity for more bang-for-the-buck and speaks to a lack of true urgency by the City on this topic.
Burnside is going to get repaved from 20th to 32nd. That whole stretch has a very popular neighborhood greenway one block south (Ankeny), and a potential neighborhood greenway one block to the north (Couch). A road diet was recently put in that included a bunch of new crossings and median islands. I’m not sure what additional safety improvements might come with the Burnside paving project, but I doubt bike lanes would be feasible or even desirable given those parallel facilities. I would rather the focus be on making Ankeny and Couch better for bikes, and make Burnside work well for pedestrians and transit. Not every street can accommodate all modes, but a corridor sure can!
East of 32nd Ave is where I think bike lanes should be prioritized on Burnside, since the Couch-Davis-Everett route is not the most convenient route.
Terry was saying that repaving Burnside 68th-82nd was on the plate too, that’s where buffered bike lanes seem like a slam dunk to me (remove one side of parking as its utilization is extremely low).
That stretch is very whacky. At 77th the east-bound bike lane narrows and is along the curb. Would definitely require removal of the parking on the north side, though I am not sure how much buffering you could provide in that section.
Here is a street view looking east on Burnside.
Experiment with Diverters?.
Well, well. I like that idea! I am glad There was so much support in the room after I spoke up. It was the whole community coming together to get this concept approved!
Let us keep pushing, ride safe, and see you on the streets for Pedalpalooza!
Is everyone aware of the Powell-Division High Capacity Transit project? (It’s to be “bus rapid transit”) It would reconfigure inner Powell and outer Division ( with a crossover between the two at 82nd, most likely) to facilitate “Rapid Buses”. Apparently BTA has been hinting that a lawsuit may be forthcoming if 82nd is reconfigured for the bus, and bike accommodation is not added.
The project has two documents out: a “Pedestrian Access Report” draft, and a “Bicycle Element” draft. The Bicycle Element quotes ORS 366.514 (the Bike Bill) , and ODOT’s interpretation of it, listing exactly when the law would require bike and pedestrian facilities. Parallel routes are said to not comply. What would trigger the requirement to include facilities? “Typical in-street roadway improvements that trigger the requirements can include moving the curb and rebuilding the entire depth of the roadway bed.”
You can bet they’ll be looking at ways, along the entire route, to keep the curbs where they are, and only rebuild parts of the roadbed.
Very disappointing to see no mention of lowering some speed limits within the city.
The city leaders are pushing to have Selem let us set our own speed limits in our own timeframe. They are, but Salem works slower than snails…
The proposal, per OAR, is to change the process for determining the posted speed, not authority to change speeds devolving to PBOT. The alternative evaluation process discussion is under way, but the authority to vary from statutory speeds would remain with ODOT.
OAR 734-020-0015 (3)
I feel like the car commercials are working against us…. 🙁
Look at about any Nissan, Dodge, BMW, Mercedes ads , what are they pushing most ?
economy ? no
reliability ? no
price ? no
they are speed/power , speed/power and more speed/power.
…and dashboard entertainment systems!
Emergency long range goals restatement.
No projects, no policy changes, nothing. Vision Zero doesn’t happen by saying the words in front of a camera. Oh, well, people of Portland, let’s do this job ourselves!
OK, we’ve now heard a “yes” to temporary (at least) diverters. We need a “yes” to “temporary diverters NOW.”
I wondered who was responsible for those terrible commercials … hmmm , W & K from Portland
The new Dodge vehicles are too powerful for a simple road, they need a runway.
Spend Rank: 374 Airing Rank: 820
Wieden + Kennedy
Alcoholic beverage ads always include a “drink responsibly” message, which at least hints at “don’t drink and drive”. Why can’t we have a “drive responsibly” requirement on car ads? It’s not enough to say “professional driver on closed course”. Car companies themselves MUST join the Vision Zero movement. Surely there’s some way to make safe driving look attractive and sexy in ads.
You have the power to save lives! You’re sexier when you stop for people in crosswalks. You live a totally hip lifestyle when 20 is Plenty in your cool city. IDK. That’s three ideas off the top of my head.
The worst ones are the ads for more urban cars, subcompacts and such, where they show them flying around the city with ease. No traffic, no pedestrians. Drive around your city with speed and ease!
Dodge is the worst. I cringe when I see those ads where a guy gets pulled over and lectured by a dude and a fuzzy monkey (?) for misusing his car by not driving like an a-hole.
Funny, though, I had a former coworker who was a big Ram truck fan who got ticked off when I put a “Yeah, It’s Got a Hemi!” sticker on the back of my old S4 (to raz him). He was even less enthused after I explained to him that technically my Honda back-up generator also has a “hemi” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hemi_engine).
You see what many police are driving these days, yes?
One death of a well known, well connected driver promptly resulted in $7 million for cable barriers on the freeway.
One death of a young cyclist, an ordinary citizen, and multiple severe injuries of others, will result in . . .
Ugh! (http://www.portlandoregon.gov/police/news/read.cfm?id=6241&ec=1&ch=twitter) Infrastructure would not have prevented this. Current understanding is the driver turned right and hit pedestrian. This would be a culture issue of getting the habit of looking both ways.
Preliminary information indicates that the driver was traveling eastbound on Wasco Street then turned right onto 60th Avenue, where he struck the pedestrian who was crossing 60th in an unmarked crosswalk.
Looking left while turning right is a common user error.
Sounds like a culture issue of drinking and driving… but feel free to interpret it however you want…
63-year-old Richard Earl Dryden was booked into the Multnomah County Jail on charges of Assault in the Third Degree and Driving Under the Influence of Intoxicants (DUII). He will be arraigned today.
Sad. Some infrastructure may have helped. Are we brave enough to place some bollards in the road at every intersection to make a 9 ft gap between hard obstacles where drivers have to look where their 5k lb vehicle is going? (Yeah… oversized trucks would have a hard time negotiating city streets if they were not designed for oversized trucks.)
I’ve lived in Portland for 23 years now (biking being my primary mode) and City of Portland employees are the most flagrant violators of speed and traffic laws in company vehicles consistently, so yeah, staring with your own workforce would be pretty freaking nice.
starting, enough with the staring;)
I for one do not get the “experiment” with diverters approach. Just do it. Ever since coming to Portland 8 years ago, I have been perplexed by this city’s definition of “bikeways.” A sign and a sharrow do not a bikeway make. My formative biking experience occurred 25 years ago in Berkeley CA, where a “bikeway” is really a bikeway — planters and other divertes, with the street closed to all but local traffic. Now THAT is a bikeway!
That’s what “experiment” means–just do it, rather than waiting for a full public process to get total community buy-in. Just do it, and see if it works and whether people are still afraid of it after they get used to it. 90% of the time, people are fine with whatever happens once it happens. It’s fear of change that leads to inaction, so the theory behind “experiments” is that you try out the infrastructure in a way that could be reversed, and then you leave it there or make it “permanent” after doing evaluation and letting people see how it works in practice rather than in theory.
Agreed that testing a concept is the only way to see if it will work good enough to leave in place. Road users have a tendency not to be as predictable as expected. Testing also permits a low cost version to go in, avoiding high costs with permanent solutions and high costs to remove them if the test goes south (the unpredictability thing again).
———–Unprotected left turn w/bike lane-common accident——-
Chavez/Gladstone, 26th/Powell, 5th/Hall .
I noticed in the news lately that in Portland the same accident has happened multiple times. Where there is a unprotected left turn at a signal intersection with the opposing traffic having a bike lane. I think it was caused when an oncoming auto blocks the view of the oncoming cyclist. When the oncoming car wants to make a left turn and when i want to make a left turn i cannot verify that the bike lane is clear of oncoming cars. Until the oncoming car actually turns. I think alot of people dont have the patience for this, and just assume its clear.
See this link of video of similar accident