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After 83 cars park in Mississippi Ave bike lanes, city issues 83 tickets

Posted by on July 11th, 2016 at 3:21 pm

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Somebody started it and many others decided to follow suit. Bad idea.
(Photo: Portland Bureau of Transportation parking enforcement)

When an urban neighborhood holds a beloved street festival, space becomes scarce — and less space-efficient transportation options become a much worse way to get there.

A single city parking enforcement officer almost certainly paid for his or her time at the Mississippi Street Fair Saturday, issuing 83 parking tickets for $80 each to cars parked in Mississippi’s bike lanes during the annual north Portland festival.

City code prohibits parking any vehicle “on or within a bicycle lane, path, or trail,” among other places.

The Mississippi Street Fair’s website warned that “parking enforcement will be out” and highlighted the paid parking lots at two nearby schools, with proceeds to benefit the schools. It also noted three temporary bike parking locations and transit access via the Yellow Line and TriMet’s frequent No. 4 bus line.

City spokeswoman Hannah Schafer said Monday, in response to our email query based on some Twitter chatter, that the city’s parking hotline (503-823-5195) had “received a service request at 12:22 p.m. on Saturday.”

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Schafer sent over some photos taken by the enforcement officer who responded to the call:

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This definitely isn’t the first time a Portland bike lane has been illegally converted to parking, and it won’t be the last. The city’s complaint-driven parking hotline can often be frustratingly inconsistent or slow to respond.

But we’re willing to bet this’ll be the last time for at least 83 attendees of the Mississippi Street Fair.

— Michael Andersen, (503) 333-7824 – michael@bikeportland.org

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Glenn Fee
Guest
Glenn Fee

Thank you! Now, let’s put that 83 x $80 the city just earned back into better bike lane markings and signage……

rachel b
Guest
rachel b

Good on you, dear parking enforcement officer! All of Portland is a parking lot anymore, many neighborhood streets completely choked. Cars are so damned cumbersome and (space) needy.

andy
Guest
andy

That bike lane has issues with car parking, particularly where it ends at N Cook. There are no bike lane icons or signage in the two block stretch between Cook and the curve in the road, so it’s easy for a driver to come in from the north and never see any indication (other than the stripe) that it’s a dedicated bike lane. It really needs a bike icon with “bike lane ends” where it ends at Cook – or, better yet, a continuous bike lane all the way to Fremont.

Adam
Subscriber

Glad to see enforcement here, but towing would be better because it solves the problem in the immediate-term. I say let the private for-profit towing companies call open season on illegal parkers. People actually need to feel like there will be immediate consequences for their actions rather than just paying a ticket later.

charlietso
Subscriber
charlietso

Thank you PBOT for delivering enforcement on an issue that has happened too many times. I’d love to buy the parking enforcement officer who issued the tickets a beer!

Caleb
Guest
Caleb

There were also car blocking the entire Skidmore bike lane all the way across I5 (oddly enough only on the south side). When we walked back in the area hours later the cars that remained had parking citations so we were happy to see that.

Mark
Guest
Mark

So cars illegally parked in a bike lane just gets ticketed and not towed, but the city wants to impound bikes locked to bikeshare racks because they “obstruct or impede..vehicular traffic”?

barblin
Guest
barblin

Well on the plus side 83 people, plus all their friends now know for sure where the bike lanes are, and no those are not just skinny parking lanes.

Spiffy
Subscriber

The city’s complaint-driven parking hotline can often be frustratingly inconsistent or slow to respond.

they really need to overhaul their system in regards to actually responding to complaints… I’ve sent in many complaints of daily repeat offenders that were never ticketed… easy pickin’ for ticket writing… cars are still parked illegally today… and I’ve had the parking supervisor straight up tell me that they won’t ticket somebody if they feel they’ll have to spend time in court having to defend themselves…

bikeninja
Guest
bikeninja

Three cheers for this enforcement officer. I ride this bike lane l 5 days a week and frequently a car or two will be parked in it. The hazard in this spot is real as the hill is steep so bike speed is very low while the big sweeping curves encourage cars to speed up the hill making going around a car in to traffic dangerous.

Todd Hudson
Guest
Todd Hudson

“The city’s complaint-driven parking hotline can often be frustratingly inconsistent or slow to respond.”

Hey, that sounds exactly like the PDX Reporter app!!. I have many parking complaints that they have not closed…going back to 2013. Although I can’t check anymore after I migrated back to Android – the app just crashes when I try to submit something.

bikeninja
Guest
bikeninja

The photo of the parking cart giving out tickets to the endless line of scoflaws in the bike lane warms my heart so much I have decided to make it the wallpaper on my computer

K'Tesh
Guest
K'Tesh

I WISH parking was enforced here in China… People parked on the sidewalks (completely blocking it), parked on the corners (blocking what few ramps there are), parked in the bike lanes (completely blocking them), parked in the middle of the F’n travel lane. If I wasn’t afraid of being deported, I’d be losing a fortune attaching “You Park like an @$$H***” cards to 1/3 of the vehicles here.

Aaron
Guest
Aaron

In Seattle if there isn’t a street sign saying no parking the road markings don’t mean a thing. Possible loophole, but for sure confusing.

Eric Nelson
Guest
Eric Nelson

Hello from Minneapolis! I know Portland and Minneapolis joke a bit back and forth about cycling but I do have to admit this is nice work, Portland!

andrew
Guest
andrew

That’s $6,640, probably enough for a ‘no parking’ sign or two.

DisconnectedInCully
Guest
DisconnectedInCully

It’s so great to and refreshing to see the city that works actually work!

Now, there’s a couple dozen more cars parked in bike lanes everyday over on Lombard (Portland Hwy) in NE Portland. There’s even a few mechanics businesses using the clearly marked ‘no parking’ zones as overflow parking.

$80 all day long…

Nathan Hinkle (The Bike Light Database & NearlyKilled.me)
Guest

Now if we could only get them to do the same thing on Multnomah in front of the Moda Center and under the I-5 overpass when there’s an event at the Moda Center. A continuous line of ubers, taxis, and random drivers idling while waiting to give a ride, or just flat-out parking and leaving their vehicles. I tried contacting the City of Portland and the Moda Center about it, but so far nobody wants to take responsibility for it.

m
Guest
m

83 people doing this could also be an indicator that maybe, just maybe, it wasn’t marked very clearly as a bike lane. Are there bike symbols on that section of the road? Or any street signs?

Skid
Guest
Skid

Now if they would start ticketing people for parking facing oncoming traffic, that would be great. Too many times have I been scared half to death by someone crossing the centerline to park against the curb just to my right, and too many times I have had someone head right at me as they leave after parking facing oncoming traffic. I know it is illegal, I have looked it up, and I do not understand why it is overlooked and allowed.

eawrist
Guest
eawrist

Bollards or those tough half-spheres might be a better indicator of a bike lane–and deter people from parking.

q
Guest
q

The Oregon Driver Manual describes bike lanes as being “identified by a wide white line with a bicycle symbol or a bike lane sign”. I don’t see any symbols or signs. I assume there are probably some symbols underneath cars that parked there before some of the other cars followed.

I’d guess some people didn’t know it was a bike lane, and others may have known but figured the chances of getting ticketed were slim, and if they did get ticketed, they could avoid a fine by arguing there were no symbols or signs.

This isn’t to say people shouldn’t have known from the wide white stripe and context that it was a bike lane, or that they shouldn’t have been ticketed. I’m just saying signage would have made it clear for people who didn’t know it was a bike lane, and would have closed a loophole (no visible signage) that people who figured they could get away with may try to use to get out of a ticket.

Pdx driver
Guest
Pdx driver

80 bucks for event parking? Yeah it’s kind of high but I didn’t want to walk any further. Thanks COP!

Adam
Guest
Adam

The frustrating part is, oftentimes it is after hours when this happens.

Does parking enforcement think motorists park like jackasses during office hours?

Two examples – 1) cars park in the bike lanes on NE 7th Ave in the Lloyd District whenever there’s a Blazers game at night.

2) Last weekend, about a dozen cars parked in the bike lane on NW Naito to attend the Beer Fest being held at the Fields Park in the Pearl.

Both times, it was after hours.

I’m told you can ring the PPB’s non-emergency line, but it hardly seems like the Police are going to put down the donuts long enough to rush to yr aid for THAT.

buildwithjoe
Guest

Ticket and tow. The bike lane cars are safety hazard. Hey, the Mayor can tow in seconds because he towed a very safe car2go downtown for being in a 15 minute zone too long. Novick/Hales/PBOT are using your safety gas tax money to stab your #visionZero dreams in the back and make streets faster, aka N Bryant at Knowles. https://twitter.com/rsadowsky/status/748220268070371329

dan
Guest
dan

was replying to Adam H’s comment…
Adam H.
My thinking was that towing companies would be more motivated to enforce illegal parking than PBOT seems to be.

shirtsoff
Guest
shirtsoff

The city parking enforcement is amazingly quick to respond to calls to their Parking Enforcement line. I noticed infractions over towards 72nd Ave and SE Foster and within the hour they were out to issue a ticket. Luckily the owner of the vehicle noticed the enforcer and move their vehicle. Thank goodness! Otherwise it would’ve been difficult visiting every business in the area and asking every patron if it was their vehicle. Give the the city Parking Enforcement hotline a call if you ever notice an infraction or unsafe violation of parking code. 503-823-5195!

JeffS
Guest
JeffS

Find me an elected official or a spokesman from one of the business groups who thinks this is a problem. Bet you can’t.

Talking about a resolution is irrelevant if you can’t get anyone to care in the first place.

Predicted response from Novick/Fritz/Hales: “where else are all these people going to park?”

Kyle Banerjee
Guest
Kyle Banerjee

I have no sympathy for parking scofflaws. If people don’t like being fined/towed, they shouldn’t park illegally.

If several people park illegally in an area, many more often join in. I’ve seen people just park all over the grass at Willamette Park several times.

On my way to work, I see people parked or waiting in the bike lanes pretty much every day. Just to make sure I understand things straight, a bike taking a few feet of space that’s moving along is too slow, but a vehicle moving zero mph in what should be a travel lane is OK? If cars weren’t parked all over the roads, movement would be a lot easier in this town for everyone.

kittens
Guest
kittens

This is awesome! Thanks parking people.

rick
Guest
rick

Yes !

Jeff
Guest
Jeff

I’ve seen that at least twice on MIssissippi – whenever Ecliptic brewing hosts an event.

Vince
Guest
Vince

I think the fines should double if you park in a bike lane while driving a car with Share The Road plates. Among the cars parked in the bike lane on SW Vermont during Hillsdale Farmers maket days, there are always a couple of cars with the “bike friendly ” plates.

LM
Guest
LM

Near Reed College, the bike lanes on SE 28th are filled with cars occasionally when events are held at Crystal Springs Garden. It is on a hill and a curve which is especially dangerous. I called the traffic enforcement number this spring but was told someone had a permit to allow on-street parking in the bike lane during the weekend event. There was plenty of parking available at Reed, at the city golf course or on side streets. The safety of people using bicycles was deemed less important than the slight inconvenience of walking a few hundred feet by people using cars.

Edward
Guest
Edward

I hate to say it, but this is not good.

Yep, Portland city code says you cannot park in a place which prevents the free passage of other vehicles (16.20.120(E)) — and specifically references bicycles. But what does that mean? Can a car not park anywhere there’s a white line? That’s a (currently) ridiculous reading/interpretation that I don’t think any judges would enforce. Besides, bicycles are vehicles and are free to use the regular traffic lane, right? So theoretically, they could just go around the cars and are not prevented in passing.

Portland City Code also says you cannot park in a bicycle lane, path, or trail. (16.20.130(U)) But the city code does not seem to define “bicycle lane”. So we are left with the regular State Code default, ORS 801.155, which says a bicycle lane is any part of the highway or roadway designated by official signs or markings. So what was the official sign or marking here? Just the white line?

And that’s the problem. If the City wants this section of road to be an official bike lane with enforceable no parking (and maybe it does), then it should do what it does with other such sections of such bike lanes: add no parking signs.

Because otherwise, every stretch of road in the city with a white lane marker immediately becomes a de facto “No Parking” zone.

On the other hand, if the lane really was appropriately marked, then the city already has/had the authority to immediately tow without notice under the City Code. 16.30.220.

So if the parking enforcement officer was right, then each of these vehicles should have also been towed at owner expense in addition to the $80 ticket. But they didn’t do that.

Each of these vehicle owners should fight the ticket in traffic ticket court, and they’ll probably win.

Meanwhile, the City should add some signs “No Parking Bike Lane, Subject to Immediate Tow” or some such, and/or some red paint on the curb to designate “no parking”. That’s what the city’s traffic engineers seem to think is necessary to make and designate a safe bike lane when I’ve talked to them about other similar sections of road.

This is just plain old “not good”.

CaptainKarma
Guest
CaptainKarma

I’ve had a gun shown to me by a certain predatory tow company in portland after i simply asked where to go to deal with getting the car back. I was not hostile in any way. Upon retrieving the vehicle, they had broken off my side mirror and would not pay for it. The company is not Captain’s or Corporal’s towing, but something like that…

Chris I
Guest
Chris I

One major thing that people seem to be missing while defending these drivers and blaming the city for a lack of signage: can you point to a single vehicle here that is actually parked IN THE LINES? Since when is it okay to park with your wheels hanging over into the travel lane? These drivers all knew exactly what they were doing, and they deserved to get nailed.

Ted Buehler
Guest

Thanks to whoever reported the parking infractions to Parking Enforcement.

And thanks to Parking Enforcement for doing the ticketing.

Folks, don’t be shy about calling in complaints. Even if we had enthusiastic politicians, strong advocacy groups, and a supportive police department, we, as citizens, would still need to call in things like this to get problems taken care of.

Send those emails, make those calls.

Ted Buehler

Doug
Guest
Doug

They should tow the cars then crush them and send the driver the bill. Then draw and quarter the driver.

I am just so glad I don’t live in Portland Oregon.

Mark McClure
Guest
Mark McClure

(Recycling tweet I sent yesterday.) “@BikePortland I was taken aback when walked to fair and saw all the cars. Can’t @trimet offer park-and-ride service?”

Yes, the scofflaws should’ve been ticketed. But I think the important questions really are … (1) see @trimet above, and (2) why did so many people decide to drive to the fair and park?

Ron
Guest
Ron

Brilliant!

Middle of the Road guy
Guest
Middle of the Road guy

Why is it that whenever cyclists fail to do something it is a failure of infrastructure but if a driver fails to do something it is the individual’s fault?