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City’s Vision Zero survey says distracted driving, speeding are top concerns

Posted by on August 19th, 2016 at 9:13 am

Results from a street safety survey conducted by PBOT show extent of traffic crash epidemic.

Results from a street safety survey conducted by PBOT show extent of traffic crash epidemic.

We hear a lot of debates about our roads: Who pays for them, who’s at fault when vehicles and people collide, and so on. But there one thing that’s relatively clear. The reason people fear traffic is because too many of us drive distracted, drive too fast, and simply don’t follow the rules.

Those are some of the key findings from a survey conducted by the City of Portland Bureau of Transportation that was released on Thursday. Done as part of their Vision Zero program, PBOT gathered 848 responses to a 19-question survey taken between April and August of this year.

If you ride a bike or walk on a regular basis the survey findings will likely validate many of your frustrations and fears. Take this one for instance: 79 percent of respondents said they felt threatened by auto users when whey were walking in a crosswalk. 79 percent!

The rude and dangerous behavior of inching into crosswalks — and often blocking them completely even when human beings are present — is rampant in our sick street culture. A great example of this happens on the west end of the Hawthorne Bridge every single day. Portland activist Josh Chernoff has recently taken to Twitter to document the issue.

When asked how those crosswalk violators should be punished, over 50 percent of respondents think jail time would be appropriate.

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And lest you think the survey was skewed by the mode choice of respondents, nearly 70 percent of them identified themselves as drivers. Another notable statistic about who filled out the survey: a whopping 86 percent where white.

Another finding that jumped out at me was that a majority of respondents said they know someone who has been seriously injured or killed in a traffic crash in Portland. 16 percent of the survey-takers themselves had been injured in a crash.

The open-ended questions and comments are also illuminating. When asked who they thought was responsibile for street safety, over 750 people answered. Most of them said either PBOT or “everyone who uses the streets.” Another question that recent many interesting comments was the “other” category of how a crash was caused.

You can read all the responses here.

It’s been over a year since Portland officially adopted a Vision Zero resolution and formed a special Task Force to help get us there. Now the plan they’ve created is almost ready for prime-time. It’s expected to be released soon after the final Task Force meeting on September 8th and will be in front of City Council in October.

— Jonathan Maus, (503) 706-8804 – jonathan@bikeportland.org

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NOTE: We love your comments and work hard to ensure they are welcoming of all perspectives. Disagreements are encouraged, but only if done with tact and respect. BikePortland is an inclusive company with no tolerance for discrimination or harassment including expressions of racism, sexism, homophobia, or xenophobia. 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

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rick
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rick

I don’t understand why SW Beaverton-Hillsdale Highway doesn’t have a Washington County-matching 35 mph speed limit. The Portland side just got the first apartment built adjacent the highway in over ten years. More real-world, on-the-street investigation is needed like what Josh has just shown. That bridge needs a bridge diet.

Josh Chernoff
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Josh Chernoff

Thank you for highlighting the issues of the lack of responsibility from drivers to observe traffic devices. I mostly focused on this spot due to the volume of rebuttals I hear on a daily basis about how “I see cyclists breaking X law all the time” as if that some how expunges their responsibilities as a driver. I go for just one hour after work and in that time I could say that I record up to 30 people who try and use the crosswalk only to have a vehicle in the crosswalk even though there are signs posted that state “don’t block crosswalk” as seen here. https://twitter.com/JoshChernoff/status/762833737356718080

Whats worse is the general aggression I also observe that is not well shown in the photos. People fly right up to the line without even stopping at the crosswalk most the time.

Just look at the volume of photos in the last few days. Again this is an observation over an hour each day, I have a day life I cant spend all day doing this. So whats that say when in an hour sample I can produces such numbers? Thats beyond “I see drivers breaking X law all the time”. At some point the city should also be liable for this.

Adam
Subscriber

This is good news, but I hope that PBOT and PPB’s solution isn’t simply to up enforcement. Upping police enforcement often results in an increase in profiling of black, latino, and other minorities. Many of the unarmed black men that are killed by police were stopped for minor traffic offenses. We should not be giving officers more opportunities for these deadly interactions.

There are better way to address speeding and distracted driving that don’t involve police. The infrastructure can be designed to encourage the behavior you want – no officer needed. Raised crosswalks, separated cycleways, concrete turning islands, and lane width reductions are all ways to get drivers to behave. Use automated enforcement that take the cop interaction of of the situation, such as red light and speed cameras, to supplement the infrastructure.

Eric Leifsdad
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Eric Leifsdad

20 is plenty http://www.20splenty.org/

But “the state” controls speed limits. (It doesn’t control which roads/intersections are open to motor vehicle traffic.)

Spiffy
Subscriber

Josh is a man after my own heart… I too sometimes wish I didn’t have a steady job so that I could spend my time writing citizen citations to people I catch on video…

this spot is especially telling because it’s not the “bike lobby” pointing out some slight to cyclists, but rather one person pointing out the blatant illegal behavior of many (majority?) drivers nullifying the protections put in for all vulnerable road users…

soren
Guest

All of the improvements described above cost money. Without a significant increase in funding Vision Zero could end up being another example of Portland’s feel-good planning hypocrisy. I’m fed up with listening to elected officials proclaim that safety is their first priority while cutting safety funding that would save lives. The commitment of the Mayor and Commissioners to Vision Zero will be evident not by passing another plan but by putting money where their mouths are.

Josh Chernoff
Guest
Josh Chernoff

Its super frustrating that when showing people the photos of cars blocking traffic in the volume that I have I get replies like.

“I see lots of cyclists not getting hurt in your tweets.”
– Some self proclaimed cyclist.

“we hear you but a little unclear what you’re trying to do. want more enforcement, a redesign?”
– Bike Loud

“sorry to be dense. What are you referring to specifically? Not clear from the link. Thx.”
– Ted Wheeler

“…”
– Portland Department of transportation

“…”
– BTA

“…”
Portland Police.

So far only Bikeportland has not once asked me what I’m doing or what should be done about this. Thank you Jonathan for getting it!.

Give me a break people. If theres no money to do something about this then whos getting a pay check to sit on their asses? In addition why do I have to provide solutions or explain the problem when its so painfully clear.

All of this amounts to just how complacent we have all become to the abuse we get from others when they drive their car.

bikeninja
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bikeninja

Massive crew of volunteer deputized traffic enforcers ( they do it in Salem for handicap parking ) with Special certified cameras to document all traffic law violations. Mail tickets to scoflaws. Take license of repeat offenders. Crush cars of no license drivers. Goal: Get 25% of the drivers off the street. Time to get tough with this army of dangerous auto zombies.

NM
Guest
NM

I think the comment that 50% of respondents believe crosswalk violations should result in jail time in this article is misconstruing the survey data. 50% of respondents said if a person KILLS someone in a crosswalk they should go to jail.

Also, 23% of respondents make over $100k/year?!?!? That is the largest income group of survey respondents. Interesting.

Dan A
Subscriber
Dan A

Per KATU: “Witnesses said one car stopped to let the girl cross and then a second car went around the car that was yielding to the teenager. Witnesses said the second car hit the girl.”

buildwithjoe
Guest

Blame Transportation Commissioner Novick. He said said vote him out if we don’t like his agenda. Literally. I say Vote Chole Eudaly in Nov.

Novick is to blame for all talk and very little action. Me and activists gave him 5 zero cost action items at a rally with 100 people and 900 postcards. That was June 2015.

This teen was killed in a crosswalk by a deadly street design and a driver who broke many laws a) failed to maintain lane b) illegal passing c) failure to stop for pedestrian and D) most important the general speed rule of too fast for conditions.

City staff deny speed is a problem. Video! People know this is a lie in the survey. See the end the video below. Novick and Hales say they lack funding for safety. The truth is that safety is just about moving money focus to safety, and away from faster trip times. Faster trip times is an endless and deadly rabbit hole.

Note that a bike PAC endorsed Novick who supported an affordable CRC. That PAC is a few people vote behind closed doors, They act like it’s a member driven organization. They exclude people who don’t agree with them.

video links:

http://koin.com/2015/06/24/hales-to-cyclists-get-transportation-bill-funded/

video link above and below.