Support BikePortland

PBOT, Commissioner Novick to unveil city’s first ‘creative crosswalk’

Posted by on June 8th, 2015 at 11:03 am

Rain-themed crosswalk in Old Town.
(Photo: PBOT)

Portland is about to get its first “creative crosswalk.”

The Bureau of Transportation just announced that they’ll debut a new crosswalk design tomorrow (6/9) in Old Town.

Here’s more from a PBOT statement:

Commissioner Novick, community to dedicate city’s first creative crosswalk; Portlanders get to walk on raindrops in Old Town

Commissioner Steve Novick and PBOT Director Leah Treat will join Old Town business leaders on Tuesday, June 9 to dedicate Portland’s first pair of ‘creative crosswalks,’ an eye-catching pattern of raindrops with a giant umbrella that guides pedestrians across NW Third Avenue and Davis Street.

Thanks for reading BikePortland.

Please consider a $10/month subscription or a one-time payment
to help maintain and expand this vital community resource.

The raindrop installation, planned and designed with community input, is intended to improve pedestrian safety and contribute to the district’s vitality. It is one of several crossing improvements in Old Town Chinatown but the first artistic crosswalk.

I love seeing PBOT and Commissioner Novick get creative with our right-of-way space — especially when it’s in the name of making streets safer. This is also a positive sign that the partnerships formed during Better Block’s project on SW 3rd and Burnside earlier this year are continuing to bear fruit. Novick and PBOT Director Leah Treat will be joined at the launch even tomorrow by Old Town business owner Jake Kaempf and other members of the Old Town Chinatown community.

Please support BikePortland.

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

  • Evan Manvel June 8, 2015 at 11:09 am

    Sounds fabulous. We need more artistic, playful street design to slow traffic and encourage walking.

    But will it have a changing pattern when it rains?

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • jeg June 8, 2015 at 11:22 am

    Why are they wasting money on this when we need protected bike lanes? And normal crosswalks on the east side?

    Recommended Thumb up 0

    • Kyle June 8, 2015 at 11:23 am

      This is a public-private project, and one that is fairly cheap, so the actual public cost should be very little compared to just about anything else. And it’s very cool!

      Recommended Thumb up 0

      • jeg June 8, 2015 at 11:42 am

        If it’s privately run, I’m for it. The city, though, needs to get its head out of its cutesie ass and start providing safe infrastructure for modes other than automobile.

        Recommended Thumb up 0

        • Steve B June 8, 2015 at 1:51 pm

          This crosswalk is for pedestrians.

          Recommended Thumb up 0

          • davemess June 8, 2015 at 4:00 pm

            And I wonder if it cost less than a standard cross walk?

            Recommended Thumb up 0

          • BIKELEPTIC June 8, 2015 at 10:45 pm

            technically every intersection is for pedestrians. The paint job is to remind drivers that the intersection is for pedestrians.

            Recommended Thumb up 0

    • Anne Hawley June 8, 2015 at 11:52 am

      I say make all the crosswalks cute! NACTO for crosswalks! Whenever one needs repainting, and whenever a new one is going in, the city should draw from a library of fun designs, like the varying bike-and-rider symbols in bike lanes. Raindrops, footprints, a chain of baby elephants…doesn’t have to be super artistic. But fun.

      There is Vision Zero value in this idea: it says we care about people crossing the street. We’re thinking about pedestrians. We’re a walkable city. Real life happens here. I don’t think it’s a waste of money even if it all comes from PBOT’s budget. It’s paint. It’s peanuts.

      Recommended Thumb up 0

      • jeg June 8, 2015 at 12:06 pm

        So are bike lanes on roads that currently don’t have them. This is a distraction from the important infrastructure improvements we NEED.

        Recommended Thumb up 0

        • Beeblebrox June 8, 2015 at 12:42 pm

          There are far more pedestrian fatalities and injuries every year than bicyclists.

          Recommended Thumb up 0

          • jeg June 8, 2015 at 12:55 pm

            There are crosswalks on the east side with no signage or paint. Why waste money on this design instead of offering to pay for the crosswalks where they’re really needed. Private money can invest stupidly; I think this is stupid, and they’d have much more local good will if they painted practical crosswalks where we don’t have any.

            Recommended Thumb up 0

            • 9watts June 8, 2015 at 4:35 pm

              “I think this is stupid”

              Yeah, I think we got your point.

              Recommended Thumb up 0

            • paikiala June 8, 2015 at 4:53 pm

              Miles from where the business is actually located?
              Your assumption that marking a crosswalk magically makes it a safe crossing is curious. Do you have any data to back that up?
              The Zegeer report found that marking crossings can be less safe for pedestrians when traffic volumes exceed 15,000 cars per day. Which intersection did you have in mind?

              Recommended Thumb up 0

            • davemess June 9, 2015 at 10:33 am

              If you think this is “stupid” I have to wonder if Portland is the right city for you.

              Recommended Thumb up 0

            • Evan June 9, 2015 at 3:18 pm

              The design was donated.

              Recommended Thumb up 0

        • Anne Hawley June 8, 2015 at 2:40 pm

          Why not both? It’s paint.

          Recommended Thumb up 0

        • rick June 9, 2015 at 7:04 am

          People who are barely hanging onto life in Old Town on the streets need this crosswalk. I’ve personally seen a car hit a pedestrian who had the right of way at NW 3rd and Burnside.

          Recommended Thumb up 0

      • Kyle June 8, 2015 at 12:10 pm

        Well said. As a pedestrian I support this – I suspect drivers will be more apt to obey these crosswalks AND they’re pleasant on the eyes. Sounds like a win.

        Recommended Thumb up 0

        • jeff June 8, 2015 at 5:46 pm

          really, because I’d rather drivers aren’t distracted by cutsie art while they should be paying attention to the human being about to step off the curb

          Recommended Thumb up 0

          • paikiala June 9, 2015 at 11:10 am

            This would distract people driving from looking at their cell phones 😉

            Recommended Thumb up 0

    • Tom Hardy June 8, 2015 at 1:06 pm

      Everyone needs raised (speedbump type) crosswalks. Especially on the east side where the Gresham commuters are trying to bypass gridlock on the arterials to make a fast trip home or to work in their armored personnel vehicles (SUV’s)

      Recommended Thumb up 0

      • paikiala June 8, 2015 at 4:54 pm

        Which streets? What about emergency response delay?

        Recommended Thumb up 0

        • Alex Reed June 8, 2015 at 6:31 pm

          Hey Paikiala, do you know of any studies that compare the health cost of emergency response delay stemming from traffic calming with the health benefits of the traffic calming? If not, do you think some citizen research compiling various studies into some sort of a comparison would be helpful?
          e.g. if there was a good study on 4-3 road diets (and road diets were a hot topic w.r.t. emergency response) –

          *4-3 road diets are associated with a X% decrease in road fatalities (average of such and such studies)
          *4-lane roads in Portland have Y fatalities per mile per year on average so 1 mile of 4-3 road diet means a decrease in road fatalities of X*Y% per mile per year
          *4-3 road diets associated with Z% increase in biking and walking meaning a mile of road diet saves Q statistical lives per year due to increased physical activity
          *4-3 road diets associated with R seconds of delay per mile for motor vehicles (assume same/more/less for emergency response because XXX)
          *1 second of emergency response delay = S% increase in patient death rate
          *4-lane roads in Portland have T emergency response vehicles per mile per year
          *So a 4-3 road diet means a decrease in emergency response effectiveness of R*S*T statistical lives per year per mile

          Do y’all think PBOT, PF&R, Novick, and Saltzman care about such a comparison? If they did, it could take the policymaking framework for the interaction of emergency response and road design away from “It seems like a good idea to allow/disallow traffic calming in situation X because of emergency response concerns” to “There are health benefits of such-and-such number of statistical lives more/less than the health costs when we do traffic calming in situation X.”

          Recommended Thumb up 0

          • paikiala June 9, 2015 at 10:19 am

            I’m not aware of such a comprehensive study.
            Road diets are not speed bumps/tables. Transportation systems typically rely on an hierarchy of roads with different functions in that system. Some paths are meant for higher speeds and volumes, while others are meant for lower speeds and volumes.

            Mr. Hardy, as he has done before, made an unqualified blanket statement. While I agree that safety for all users is important, indiscriminate sprinkling of traffic calming is not, IMO, particularly wise.

            Speed bumps and tables have a quantified delay per device for a variety of ER vehicles. Speed bumps have about a 10 second delay per bump for the heaviest fire trucks (which usually must be sent to the 75%-80% of calls that are medical in nature due to OSHA 4 EMTs per response standards). 10 seconds might not sound like much, but cumulatively, 12 bumps is 2 minutes longer to respond. This is one reason PBOT and PF&R are working on fire friendly traffic calming. Preliminary estimates put the worst case delay for speed cushions and offset speed tables at about 2 seconds per device.

            Recommended Thumb up 0

            • Rob Chapman June 9, 2015 at 11:03 am

              I’m still wondering why it takes the heaviest of fire trucks to transport 4 EMT’s? Seems wasteful and dumb to me.

              I’ll try to find data on how many Fire Bureau calls are traffic related.

              Recommended Thumb up 0

              • paikiala June 9, 2015 at 11:09 am

                It doesn’t. PF&R are usually the first responders. Their ambulances only carry 2 EMTs. At most, a fire station has one ambulance. So, a truck or engine has to also be sent to get to 4 EMTs.

                Recommended Thumb up 0

        • Eric June 8, 2015 at 6:48 pm

          Is that calculated with two fire trucks responding in opposite directions, or four meeting at a 4-way stop? Of course, speed humps don’t do anything except increase noise from racing between them.

          Recommended Thumb up 0

          • paikiala June 9, 2015 at 10:24 am

            Any data to support that last sentence? PBOT has lots of data about high speeds between speed bumps.
            And the best response to such statements is ‘Compared to what?”. Stop signs every other block? Signals every 1/4 mile? The behavior you describe, ‘racing’ between programmed delays is outlier behavior.
            Most people don’t see the slow and normal people driving.
            “It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see.” — Henry David Thoreau

            Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Adam H. June 8, 2015 at 11:25 am

    Cute idea.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

    • Granpa June 8, 2015 at 1:29 pm

      Not as cute as My Little Pony, or Strawberry Shortcake. Much less cute than Hello Kitty. Sort of on par with Pokemon characters, or smurfs. I don’t think Portland should be satisfied until all of its pedestrian facilities are as cute as the Keebler Elves.

      Recommended Thumb up 0

  • tucker June 8, 2015 at 11:58 am

    Do ask where the money is coming from for this, who’s paying for the design who’s paying for the installation, this crossing could be more costly than one or more normal crossings that could have been installed somewhere needed. If this city is footing the bill shouldn’t it be for something the citizens really need.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

    • Steve B June 8, 2015 at 1:53 pm

      As I understand it, this project is cheaper to implement than a conventional crosswalk.

      Recommended Thumb up 0

      • tucker June 9, 2015 at 10:52 am

        Its Thermoplastic, it’s not a standard material shape so special order, it has to be placed out and torched down so more labor time, its going to cost more.

        Recommended Thumb up 0

        • paikiala June 10, 2015 at 9:47 am

          $8k for this versus about $600 for ladder bars.

          Recommended Thumb up 0

    • Evan June 9, 2015 at 3:25 pm

      The neighborhood and businesses did ask for it, the design was donated, and the reason that the East Side has trouble getting crosswalks painted is that businesses often resist improving bike/ pedestrian infrastructure, i.e. 28th ave, and the SE Quadrant plan under current design.

      Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Jeff P June 8, 2015 at 12:10 pm

    Drawback is familiarity – people have a tendency to only recognize repetition and consistent signing [hence why all stop signs/lights look alike] – recognition goes a long way.

    If someone sees that – albeit unique and fun – design but does not recognize it as a cross-walk, what good does it do for meeting that vision -zero thing? We already know people do not flow the ‘every intersection is a cross-walk rule’ so if we are marking them they should be consistent across the board. The first thing a lawyer will argue in court is that his client had no idea that the street art meant there was a cross-walk since cross-walks are and always will be 18″ solid white striping.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

    • Spiffy June 8, 2015 at 12:35 pm

      some driver will claim they thought the umbrella meant that peds stay off the road there just like an umbrella keeps rain off of peds…

      other drivers will sympathize because they also have no idea what an umbrella symbol on the roads means they’re supposed to do…

      this would be a better experiment at a signaled intersection…

      Recommended Thumb up 0

      • Steve B June 8, 2015 at 1:55 pm

        Every corner is a legal crosswalk in Oregon. Any changes to make our crosswalks more visible is a win in my book.

        Recommended Thumb up 0

      • Anne Hawley June 8, 2015 at 2:42 pm

        I thought about this, but a simple solution would be to make sure the cute designs are delimited by standard wide white stripes.

        Recommended Thumb up 0

    • paikiala June 8, 2015 at 4:57 pm

      It’s not a crosswalk. It is street decoration at a crosswalk.

      Recommended Thumb up 0

    • John Hart June 8, 2015 at 5:24 pm

      “The first thing a lawyer will argue in court is that his client had no idea that the street art meant there was a cross-walk”

      Exactly. No matter how badly injured a cyclist or pedestrian is, and no matter how blatantly at-fault a driver may be, some insurance-company lawyer will defend his client’s “driving” and blame the victim. Every time, no exceptions.

      Put REAL crosswalks where crosswalks are needed, REAL bike lanes where bike lanes are needed, and stop this foolish artsy nonsense.

      Recommended Thumb up 0

      • paikiala June 9, 2015 at 10:27 am

        The ‘real crosswalk’ is already there. A crosswalk is defined by law, not markings on the roadway (unless at a non-statutory location). Ignorance of the law doesn’t go very far in court, particularly since you had to know the law to get your permission to operate the vehicle.

        Recommended Thumb up 0

    • Evan June 9, 2015 at 3:22 pm

      Not true, drivers automatically slow down when they see something different. Check out directors park, where there is no curb, but the street is the same pattern as the park interior, you will see what automatic traffic calming looks like.

      Recommended Thumb up 0

  • B. Carfree June 8, 2015 at 12:45 pm

    I much prefer that the public right of way have standardized signage and street markings. Substandard implementations will be misinterpreted and ignored.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

    • paikiala June 8, 2015 at 4:59 pm

      I’m trying to follow the logic, if any. Standards, by their nature, are the minimum required effort. But that says nothing about the quality of the standard.
      Since it is not a crosswalk marking, but street art, who cares if they ignore the artwork. The legal status of the crosswalk is unaffected by the color of the road it crosses.

      Recommended Thumb up 0

      • A.H. June 9, 2015 at 7:42 am

        Rrrrright, but if we have crosswalks that come in this color or that, with stripes or spots or cutesy umbrellas, and maybe some are raised and some are lit and some are painted with day-glo, etc. then yes, among the many other things accomplished, we will have complicated the driving process. Drivers already struggle with basic signage; it’s a prudent question to ask if we really should be making that more complicated for any reason.

        Recommended Thumb up 0

        • paikiala June 9, 2015 at 10:30 am

          The crosswalk is there regardless of the pavement color. It is defined by law.
          A legal crosswalk marking is extra to a legal crosswalk. There are several flavors, but PBOT predominantly uses two versions of legal crosswalk markings: Two parallel lines and what I call ladder-bar, aka, continental style.

          Recommended Thumb up 0

  • scott June 8, 2015 at 2:48 pm

    Cars, cyclists, and pedestrians in this city are already expert at reading the road signs we have and following them to a T. This should pose no problems. Maybe we can take a page from Dora the Explorer and randomly assign other languages to street signs and traffic controls? I’m sure all the really good expert super awesome best ever road users of Portland will have no problems.

    Hey!!! Maybe we can have art laws too!!! Guest artist from different genres interpret laws and apply them as they see fit to different parts of the city! How exciting. Laws can change artistically as you move through the city.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

    • Jeg June 8, 2015 at 4:36 pm

      You sound super angry and like you’d extend your life by moving away.

      Recommended Thumb up 0

      • scott June 8, 2015 at 5:22 pm

        I’m exquisitely funny. You must have projected personal feelings when you read my comment. Try reading all comments in monotone. It helps increase reading comprehension.

        Also please don’t threaten my life.

        Recommended Thumb up 0

    • Caesar June 8, 2015 at 5:50 pm

      I’m gonna stay well clear of the Surrealist art law areas of town. Too many possible interpretations will lead to carnage and mayhem. The safest areas will be the Late 19th Century Realists. Boring, but safe.

      Recommended Thumb up 0

      • A.H. June 9, 2015 at 7:51 am

        I’d ride the Rothko Intersection every day. Bold lines, bright colors, no “put a bird on it”-ness.

        Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Todd Boulanger June 8, 2015 at 2:54 pm

    The City of Hilo (HI) and the downtown business association did this back in 1998 with their “tattoo” crosswalks. Polynesian arm band tattoos worked well for traffic conspicuity and art. It is a clever intersection repair treatment for lower volume and lower speed streets.

    [I would caution PBoT on the design of art crossways to not adopt design(s) that are too fine in detail, as they lose their conspicuity once worn and especially in the winter, rainy periods. The rain drops in the example above may be too fine…perhaps enlarge them by 50x for any future crosswalks.]

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • kittens June 8, 2015 at 3:28 pm

    What the heck is going on in PBOT? This is just lunacy.

    There was a time when each county and state across the nation had it’s own unique standards for road design, signage and construction. By the 1920s we saw the limits of such a cacophony of design. Then came some recognized best practices and finally legislation which mandated the national standards. You can fly to Miami and be fairly certain of what a stop sign will look like, how a freeway curve will bank or the distance signage will be placed from the road.

    I think this as one small step back to the dark ages. We know what works. We know how to design crosswalks. Though this is novel and cute it does nothing to address the systemic problems facing road design.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

    • 9watts June 8, 2015 at 4:45 pm

      I’d be curious to hear from Novick & Company what their thinking is. I like art, and art fused with traffic symbols is intriguing, could be some stealth Vision Zero branding or something – who knows? But there are urgent transportation safety needs currently going unfulfilled everywhere, as some have argued. So it would seem incumbent on PBOT to articulate how this fits in with the larger scheme of things, or if this is just a bit of whimsy, something Steve ‘thought up last night’.

      Recommended Thumb up 0

      • jeff June 9, 2015 at 12:02 pm

        he just asked his staff instead of actually doing his own homework or making his own opinions, if memory serves…

        Recommended Thumb up 0

    • paikiala June 8, 2015 at 5:01 pm

      ‘dark ages’? like, stone spears and hunting mammoths? hyperbole much?
      It’s not a crosswalk marking any more than the intersection repair artwork is.

      Recommended Thumb up 0

    • Zach H June 9, 2015 at 1:45 pm

      Standardization also allowed drivers to start going really fast. The decade you reference — the 1920s — is incidentally also the decade when the auto lobby came up with a new term, “jaywalking,” to villainize a practice that was very common up until that point. A practice that, enacted en masse, while messy and inefficient for some parties, also managed to keep street traffic very slow and deaths from that new mode for the rich — cars — minimal. The pedestrian zebra-stripe crosswalk, while keeping people “safe,” also sidelined pedestrians to increasingly narrow sidewalks and freed up formerly public space to fast moving private automobiles.

      Not advocating a return to those “dark ages” (though sometimes that vision of the pre-1920s street-life past seems like a decent vision for the future), but just pointing out that crosswalk design does not need to be static, and that we should care about our streets enough to not be afraid to play with crosswalk design and make places inviting and a little less standardized.

      Recommended Thumb up 0

  • J_R June 8, 2015 at 4:35 pm

    The cute crosswalks will certainly be more expensive to install and maintain if only because it takes more hours to make the templates and apply the paint or thermoplastic.

    The added expense will be cited by the tax haters as proof positive that PBOT wastes money regardless of whether private funds are used. Remember the outrage about the Hawthorne Bridge counters paid for by Cycle Oregon?

    Recommended Thumb up 0

    • 9watts June 8, 2015 at 4:56 pm

      This is exactly my worry, and the reason I am hoping PBOT has some good copy ready in anticipation of pushback like this.

      Recommended Thumb up 0

    • paikiala June 8, 2015 at 5:02 pm

      Cutting out thermo isn’t that expensive. And who said the City would maintain private art?

      Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Tomas LaPalella June 8, 2015 at 5:00 pm

    What garbage is this? The east side is falling apart. I have to walk IN THE ROAD to get to my bus stop or jaywalk across four lanes of cars speeding by at 50mph because there’s no crosswalk on my street. This is why we need real representation, and now! No more wasted money on vanity projects!

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • HJ June 8, 2015 at 5:08 pm

    Cute but seems like the money could be much better spent. Also I can guarantee it will lead to driver confusion which is not something we want to encourage.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

    • Evan Manvel June 8, 2015 at 5:18 pm

      There’s actually some data showing we *do* want driver confusion.

      That is, we want things that force drivers to start paying attention and engage with the world around them, instead of driving on auto-pilot.

      Whether it’s naked streets or the unexpected item, it’s likely people will slow down around it.

      Recommended Thumb up 0

      • Eric June 8, 2015 at 9:17 pm

        Unexpected item: large boulders in the road. (Optional: sign which says “rocks”.)

        Recommended Thumb up 0

        • rainbike June 9, 2015 at 10:46 am

          KGON rocks

          Recommended Thumb up 0

    • paikiala June 9, 2015 at 10:32 am

      ‘lead to driver confusion’? Like having to put down the cell phone and think while driving?

      Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Dwaine Dibbly June 8, 2015 at 6:06 pm

    I want to be a grouch and complain that there are greater needs than this, but I’ll take the view that it’s akin to public art. If the cute factor takes somebody’s stress level down even a little, perhaps it can help prevent a rage incident.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • SW June 8, 2015 at 6:13 pm

    You guys don’t “get it”

    Steve, aka “The Merry Prankster” is just funnin’ us. Or, maybe it’s his revenge for all those who been pickin’ on him.

    If it is thermoplastic, just watch the “slip & slide” effect when the rains start.

    Lawsuits ? Payouts ? It’s the PDX way.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

    • paikiala June 9, 2015 at 10:34 am

      Thermo comes with fine aggregate embedded to increase friction, and can be added when it is still tacky from the melt-in process.

      Recommended Thumb up 0

  • BIKELEPTIC June 8, 2015 at 10:54 pm

    What bugs me is that they took an intersection in downtown that was already well marked and wasted any pennies on it, even if it is considered “inexpensive” when there are miles and miles of unimproved roads, roads without sidewalks, ginormous potholes and unmarked sidewalks throughout the city. . . and not just an intersection two blocks away from the college of fine arts. Makes one grunt and roll their eyes. Such a parody of what safe infrastructure really is. I’ll go play frogger across my unmarked intersection (82nd and Russell) where my #72 bus stops are tomorrow morning for work, like I do every morning and hold my breath I don’t die crossing the road. . . but good for them. They redid their already existing striping.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

    • ethan June 9, 2015 at 9:09 am

      There were no existing crosswalk markings at this location.

      Recommended Thumb up 0

    • paikiala June 9, 2015 at 10:34 am

      ‘They’ who? A local business is the impetus for this, not PBOT. It is being installed near their business.

      Recommended Thumb up 0

      • BIKELEPTIC June 9, 2015 at 3:32 pm

        How did you get that from the article? All this article says is that Chinatown is getting a creative crosswalk and that PBOT is involved. Nothing about it being donated. (And I assume that it’s being constructed near a business since it’s mostly commercial down there…)

        So what we have here is either badly written press release which doesn’t include all the information from PBOT or an article without all the facts. And if told that I could “google it” – an article about the feature should include all the information. Otherwise it’s just gossip and hearsay.

        How do YOU know that it’s a local business? Documentation since it’s lacking from the article. I work three blocks from there and all I know is that there have been murals and art popping up; the entire area has been gentrifying as if over night.

        Recommended Thumb up 0

        • paikiala June 9, 2015 at 3:57 pm

          from the press release:
          Jake Kaempf from Ampersand Content, an experience design firm in Old Town, led the design process as a contribution to the community. “Portland is a creative town and Old Town Chinatown is the historical center of Portland. I am extremely proud of contributing to the betterment of the city I grew up in and where I own a business,” Kaempf says. “It was a wonderful experience to work with the city, my neighborhood, and local businesses to come up with a new, iconic installation that we expect will improve safety and draw positive attention to the neighborhood and businesses here.”

          “We at The Society Hotel are so thrilled to be part of the revitalization of Old Town/Chinatown,” said Jessie Burke, co-owner of the Old Town hotel that opens this fall. “We’ve seen in the almost two years since we purchased The Mariner’s Home on NW 3rd and Davis, that it’s the little things – like safer crosswalks – that have made the biggest difference. And it makes it all the more fun to see these safety measures being made more creative by neighborhood design firms like Ampersand Content. It’s projects like this that make me love this city – getting to be a little more creative, and in turn, bring the community even closer.”

          Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Scott Kocher June 8, 2015 at 11:24 pm

    Jeff P and John H,
    As a lawyer on the side of people injured in crosswalks, I really doubt any insurance defense lawyer would suggest to a jury that this art crosswalk is in any way less effective than a “normal” one. It would be a losing argument. Art crosswalks will require attention to detail in their location and design, but done right they should offer low-cost benefits for pedestrians and public spaces. Would be neat to see (or collect) data on before/after speeds and yield rates.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

    • A.H. June 9, 2015 at 7:46 am

      You can’t imagine an insurance lawyer arguing that artwork in the middle of the roadway distracted their client? These are the folks for whom a driver “just not seeing” is a defensible position…

      Recommended Thumb up 0

      • paikiala June 9, 2015 at 10:36 am

        Prosecutor: Sir, where you in control of your vehicle when you struck the victim?

        Accused: Yes. verdict, guilty
        Accused: No. verdict, guilty.

        Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Noel June 8, 2015 at 11:24 pm

    How come bikes get to have all the fun??

    There was maybe one negative comment in regards to the multiple examples of bike related art put together by PBOT over the last year:

    This initial crosswalk cost a tiny bit of money. Every future one will need to be requested and paid for by biz districts. This will be a brand new marked crosswalk that did not exist before. And yes, it’s cute. People will be walking and smile just looking at it.

    Also, following Michael and Jonathan’s recent article on the importance of showing up to tonight’s ODOT meeting on safety improvements for bikes and peds on Outer Powell, I wish I had seen more people there to support the kinds of things needed in East Portland that some people have mentioned in this thread. The work happening on Powell (and other spots in E Portland) is so important and it would be great to hear from more community members directly on those projects.

    It is also indeed possible to support both things!

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Mabsf June 9, 2015 at 9:19 am

    I am with the “cute, but not recognizable” party, especially since we have painting on our streets that don’t carry any traffic significants. I would rather see an electric sign telling cars they are going too fast or that a cross walk is coming up…

    Recommended Thumb up 0

    • paikiala June 9, 2015 at 10:37 am

      Yeah, ’cause more signs will fix everything.

      Recommended Thumb up 0

  • SW June 9, 2015 at 11:46 am

    Prosecutor: Sir, where you in control of your vehicle when you struck the victim?Accused: Yes. verdict, guilty Accused: No. verdict, guilty.Recommended 0

    or lose your cellphone privs for 2 years because you were distracted while you killed the cyclist ?

    “No cellphone for 2 years for Michigan driver in fatal bike crash”

    A Michigan woman accused of being distracted by her cellphone when her car struck and killed a bicyclist has been barred from using any portable communication device for two years.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • PaulaF June 9, 2015 at 12:55 pm

    Here is the PBOT site page on the project:

    Here is their Flickr site showing the installation:

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Zach H June 9, 2015 at 1:29 pm

    Aren’t a lot of cyclists also pedestrians? Don’t we want our city to feel “human” sometimes? Bike is not the only mode! It’s puzzling to see so many folks get up in arms about a very small (and sure, “cutesy”) ped improvement in a pretty well ped-trafficked part of town.

    I think it’s fine (and neccessary) to question the priorities of PBOT, but it’s not like all work in the central city is going to stop, even if we were able to get PBOT and other agencies to work in East Portland on all the projects and infrastructure that it is due.

    Sure, it can feel like a bit of a PR project; sure, it’s twee and cute and non-standardized — but, will a lot of pedestrians like it and smile and feel like the city is at least paying attention to the fact that they’re getting around by foot? I bet. And that’s a small little thing to be happy about in the wide sea of bad infrastructure right now.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • El Biciclero June 9, 2015 at 2:08 pm

    I think this design is highly appropriate, since a crosswalk protects pedestrians from cars to about the same degree a picture of an umbrella protects them from rain.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Evan June 9, 2015 at 3:48 pm

    most of the commenters here do not have enough information or facts about the project and are making false assumptions. I would invite anyone who wants to learn more about what the neighborhood is trying to do to come to a Old Town/ China Town community association meeting. MULTIPLE businesses are requesting ped infrastructure improvements and finding ways to make it happen with private partnerships instead of just complaining. The notion that the city paid for the design is false, it was donated. The notion that there was already markings there is false, there were not. Volunteers in the neighborhood have been working on solving problems that we see every day and are actually doing something about it through avenues both inside and outside of PBOT. A hotel is about to open on that corner and the pedestrian traffic will baloon, this is a much needed intersection treatment. If you want better infrastructure on your street, go to your neighborhood business association and ask them to request it, it is often the business associations that push back. It is not a secret that businesses have more sway with local politicians. I’m not advocating for businesses having more sway than individuals, but I know a pattern when I see one. If you genuinely want to learn more about the project instead of just listing false information on a comment thread then work with the current Third Ave stakeholder group who is investing in the neighborhood and get involved. I dare you.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • SW June 9, 2015 at 7:08 pm

    This “crosswalk” appears not to be paint or thermoplastic, but a series of mats (about 2×2) laid together. Cannot tell if they will be “glued” down or not ?

    Cost is almost 6X what a parallel painted line one would cost.

    Wonder how long before the mats are worn out or stolen ?

    PBOT strikes (out) again …. 🙁

    Recommended Thumb up 0

    • paikiala June 10, 2015 at 9:45 am

      Thermo comes in mats and is melted into the roadway. The green bike boxes were done this way.

      Recommended Thumb up 0

  • SW June 9, 2015 at 7:37 pm

    >>At one point during the dedication, Novice and Treat recreated the famous image from The Beatles’ “Abbey Road” album cover in the crosswalk.

    that may be the zenith accomplishment of their 2 undistinguished careers. it’s all downhill after this. 🙁

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Roger Averbeck June 9, 2015 at 9:39 pm

    Perhaps unlike many commenters on this thread, I stopped by this intersection today. I took some photos and watched cars yield to pedestrians in this previously unmarked crosswark. I support this project for the benefit to local business working to revitalize and improve Old Town. I also considered the visibility of the markings as I approached the intersection riding south on 3rd Ave. I definitely appears different than conventional ladder markings but is quite visible and not distracting. I need to check it out again at night…

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Amanda July 6, 2015 at 3:32 pm

    OK, I realize this thread is a month old now, but this thing is on my commute route and therefore is bugging me every day. Cost/materials/priority debates aside — WHY DID THEY INSTALL IT UPSIDE DOWN???

    If you’re crossing as a pedestrian, it’s going to be sideways from your perspective either way. If approaching as a vehicle operator, there’s a clear “up” and “down” to the design, and it was installed on a one-way street in an orientation that is going to be viewed as upside down to 100% of traffic moving in the legal direction.

    How does this happen? Did no one actually look at the design and the traffic flow before breaking out their hot glue guns?

    Recommended Thumb up 0