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15-year-old clings to life after being hit by a driver near north Portland school – UPDATED

Posted by on August 30th, 2016 at 9:28 am

The intersection of Columbia and Midway. George Middle School is on the left in the background.

The intersection of Columbia and Midway. George Middle School is on the left in the background.

Despite pleas from the police to slow down due to the start of the school year, there has already been a major collision and a 15-year-old boy is clinging to life.

According to the Portland Police Bureau, the crash happened at around 7:45 am this morning at North Columbia Boulevard and Midway — right across the street from George Middle School. The Oregonian has confirmed that the boy is an incoming freshman at nearby Roosevelt High School and was headed to his first day of classes.

As you can see in the photos below, Columbia Blvd is a major industrial freight route with a wide, five-lane cross-section. And Midway is at an angled intersection. The street is so dangerous to cross and so close to a school that it has one of those walking bridges that goes up and over it (bridges that planners and engineers often see as symbolic of a failed street). The speed limit is 40 mph at this location. There’s a speed reader board a few tenths of a mile from the collision site which means that PBOT has been trying to slow speeds down in this area.

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Here’s more from the PPB about the collision:

Officers and medical personnel arrived and located a 15-year-old male suffering from traumatic injuries. He has been transported to a Portland hospital for treatment to potentially life-threatening injuries.

The driver stopped approximately one block away from the scene then walked back to talk with police.

Due to the severity of the teen’s injuries, the Traffic Division’s Major Crash Team is responding to conduct an investigation.

All traffic on North Columbia Boulevard is closed between North Midway and Burr Avenues.

In the last few days the police have tried to warn the public to be extra careful while driving:

This crash comes just 11 days after 15-year-old Fallon Smart was hit and killed while trying to cross Hawthorne Boulevard. And on August 10th a Gresham man used his car as a weapon to kill a 19-year-old.

UPDATE, 3:46 pm: Police have just released names and more details:

The 15-year-old male injured in this morning’s crash has been identified as Bradley Fortner of North Portland.

Traffic officers learned that the driver, 28-year-old Natanael Lopez-Castillo of North Portland, was driving a gray 1993 Nissan pickup eastbound on North Columbia Boulevard when he struck Fortner in the roadway. Fortner was crossing from the southside of the street to the northside at the time of the crash. Lopez-Castillo did not exhibit any signs of impairment.

No citations have been issued and Lopez-Castillo was not arrested.

The investigation is continuing and once complete it will be given to the Multnomah County District Attorney’s Office for review.

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

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Spiffy
Subscriber

why do we allow a 40 mph road next to a school? and why no school zone speed limit of 20 mph? this should (obviously) never have happened…

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

It’s probably because there is a bridge. But, obviously, not everyone is using it. Having kids crossing that street looks like a safety disaster.

Chris I
Guest
Chris I

A better question is, why did they think that building a bridge was the solution, rather than fixing the road itself? You have one grade-separated crossing of this deadly road, the only one for miles and miles in each direction. Pedestrians have to go blocks out of their way and climb several flights of stairs to cross the street? This is outrageous.

Adam
Subscriber

Typical engineer line of thinking. They technically fixed the problem (people can’t cross the street safely), but failed to actually address the cause of the problem.

paikiala
Guest
paikiala

No stairs, all ramp.

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

Stairs are probably better for able bodied pedestrians than a ramp is. The real question is do people use or eschew the structure, taking their chances on the street?

Sancho Villa
Guest
Sancho Villa

I wonder if, like many stair overpasses in this city, the one in question is inhabited by bums sleeping on the landings and a constant strong smell of urine and feces? Perhaps a contributor to people not using the overpass.

Kyle Banerjee
Guest

I agree that 40 mph is way too fast bordering a school.

However, I think that people tend to focus too much on school zones because kids can be anywhere and the vast majority of drivers are already careful where kids are known to be.

If anything good results from this tragedy, I hope it leads to more attention to areas sorely in need of infrastructure and ideas for realistic ways to improve safety.

I am hugely in favor of improving infrastructure and driver behavior, but even in a best case scenario, it will take a very long time to dramatically improve safety. In the meantime, it is critical for vulnerable road users to be aware of of things they can do to mitigate dangers they face. Even if the driver is found 100% at fault, that won’t undo the permanent damage to this young man’s life.

lop
Guest
lop

>However, I think that people tend to focus too much on school zones because kids can be anywhere

Like on Hawthorne by 43rd.

paikiala
Guest
paikiala

RE: School Zones, If the school is not immediately adjacent to the roadway, i.e., is elevated above the road (in this case), or in a depression below the road, or includes a fence (this case) to prevent young children from leaving the school grounds chasing a ball, etc., Portland does not install a school zone.

B. Carfree
Guest
B. Carfree

That is pathetic.

Mark S
Guest
Mark S

Since there is no school zone speed limit on N Interstate Ave behind Ockley Green Middle School, is that also pathetic? There is a 4 ft fence separating the playfield from the sidewalk next to the street.

There are probably numerous examples of this around town. In my opinion, not pathetic at all.

paikiala
Guest
paikiala

Spiffy,
have you been there?

Spiffy
Subscriber

yes, but about a year ago…

Adam
Subscriber

This is a CRISIS and there’s been nothing but silence from City Hall. Their inaction and utter indifference is killing people. Tweets to slow down does not count as Vision Zero; we need infrastructure and we need to slow down cars. City Hall needs to take a stand and LEAD by telling their constituents that their auto-mobility is not more important than people’s lives.

Will City Hall finally respond to this crisis, or will we get more silence? The blood of our children is on their hands.

Chris Anderson
Guest
Chris Anderson

All this city can do is say they are asking ODOT for lower speed limits. This is an emergency, and deserves an emergency response. The governor is the one who can declare a state of emergency and lower speed limits in our cities by 5-10mph across the board.

It would take Kate Brown an afternoon to make our streets significantly safer. What is she waiting for?

Dan A
Subscriber
Dan A

Another off-ramp improvement to smile in front of.

Dan
Guest
Dan

In my dreams, the city quits asking ODOT for permission and just changes the speed limit signs without telling anyone in the statewide office.

paikiala
Guest
paikiala

In your dreams, do all Portland’s speeding citations also get thrown out for not complying with the law?

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

That’s my dream. Then I could finally ride as fast as I want!

Eric Leifsdad
Guest
Eric Leifsdad

ORS 810.180 (9) allows PBOT to designate an emergency speed for 120 days under their own jurisdiction http://www.oregonlaws.org/ors/810.180

jen
Guest
jen

even if they did lower the speed limit, it wouldn’t matter unless there was some enforcement. We have speed limits now that most think means “minimum speed, must go 10mph faster”

Dan A
Subscriber
Dan A

20 + 10 = 30

is better than

40 + 10 = 50

Hello, Kitty
Guest
Hello, Kitty

Though, mathematically speaking, both are correct.

Eric Leifsdad
Guest
Eric Leifsdad

9 is fine

Hello, Kitty
Guest
Hello, Kitty

One’s a ton.

J_R
Guest
J_R

Traffic enforcement is a joke, but not a funny one. There is virtually no chance of getting a citation.

According to the PPB website, the traffic division makes about 50,000 stops per year. That’s only 140 per day. Using Metro figures, there are about 10,000,000 miles driven per day in Portland, so that works out to one traffic stop per 70,000 miles driven. I can’t walk, bike or drive for 5 minutes without seeing a traffic violation. In fact, all I have to do is look out the window and watch autos roll through the stop signs on the two nearest corners. I walk four blocks to the nearest collector with a bike lane and have a hard time seeing three consecutive cars that do not drive in the bike lane where the road curves.

If citations are even issued, the fine is usually less than $300 and often reduced if people go to court.

And, of course, there’s always the excuse of “I didn’t see him” or “the sun was in my eyes.”

We need to hold drivers to a much higher standard. The bar is set so low, I think it’s a chalk line drawn on the ground. I’m sick of it.

Vision Zero appears to be just a way of spending some quality meeting time so we can claim we’re doing something about it.

Edward
Guest
Edward

Enforcement can only do so much (very little). We need a built infrastructure that naturally keeps all users safe.

This infrastructure is built to look like a freeway and to make vehicles go 40 mph. The sole driver who might try to slow down to 20 mph while everybody else is passing at 45mph would be making it even more dangerous.

This is an absolute disaster. I hope the kid pulls through.

B. Carfree
Guest
B. Carfree

I disagree with the potential of enforcement to do great things. Unlike almost all of us, I have actually lived in a city that did zero-tolerance traffic law enforcement. Other than making traffic collisions almost unheard of, all it did was get ridership up to incredible levels (pity no one was actually counting back then, but I’d hazard to guess that over 75% of all trips were by bike at the peak). When the enforcement stopped a decade later, the ridership fell to about an eighth of its peak and crashes became common.

Think about it. If you’re fairly certain that having the habit of rolling stop signs or going a couple mph over the speed limit will result in the hassle of a citation, you’ll change your driving habits. It’s not the cost of the citation, it’s the certainty of receiving one that makes the difference.

gutterbunnybikes
Guest

I get so tired of people saying enforcement doesn’t work, especially since it really hasn’t been taken very seriously by most for such a very long time.

Enforcement does work very well if the jurisdictions are vigilant about it. I remember well highway 90 in the (late 80’s and early 90’s – can’t say if it’s still that way) speed limits were much more relaxed on the Ohio part of the highway – but man, you’d better look out once you hit the Pennsylvania border not only did the speed limit drop to 55 there but the State Troopers were like hungry Parahanas waiting for you too. Very few went even a few mph over the speed limit once they crossed into PA.

You also have to remember that enforcement is also education. Not only is the offender reminded of the laws which were broken, most people then also tell the story to their friends, family, and co-workers. The more everyone hears stories of their associates getting tickets the more they’ll likely police their own behavior.

And just like design, enforcement will never be 100% effective. There will always be those that will do what they will regardless of design, enforcement, or education.

Paikiala
Guest
Paikiala

Add to this that more people, on average, die annually from fatal crashes than murders in Portland. BP should find out and compare what resources are spent on reducing the two.

rachel b
Guest
rachel b

Awful news. I hope he recovers.

I’m just girding myself for someone to get hit on SE 26th. All the kids from Cleveland H.S. walk down to Clinton and back, throughout the day. So much foot traffic. Everyone around here scurries like rabbits across the road, even old and infirm folks, parents with strollers. Impatient drivers of cars and trucks absolutely rule. I hear them honking at cyclists and pedestrians (and other vehicles) more and more, too.

Alistair Corkett
Guest
Alistair Corkett

Ive been hit on 26th. Its a challenging intersection. I am however very optimistic with the new-ish turn signals.

rachel b
Guest
rachel b

I’m glad you’re ok, Alistair! I’m talking about the section of SE 26th between Powell and Clinton, which has heavy foot and bike traffic, zero crosswalks, no school zone traffic calming and a whole slew of boneheaded, single-minded drivers. So few obey the 25mph speed limit, it’s remarkable when I see a driver who does. The increase in the number of speeders (and speeds) has increased the traffic noise a lot. 25mph traffic, besides being safer, is a whole lot quieter.

jeff
Guest
jeff

I wouldn’t say Alistair is “OK” but he is coming back strong.

rachel b
Guest
rachel b

Yikes. I thought that name was familiar! Sorry I didn’t recognize you, Alistair. Understatement, indeed! I hope you’re doing well. What an ordeal. 🙁

Paul Atkinson
Guest
Paul Atkinson

This comment goes into the understatement hall of fame.

I ride through there every day…the new signals help, but they were a bit too expensive for my taste.

rick
Guest
rick

40 mph speed limit by a school? epidemic.

paikiala
Guest
paikiala

Rick,
Have you been there?

Lester Burnham
Guest
Lester Burnham

Remember all this when it comes time to vote. Or allow the same ineffective people to continue to run the city into the ground.

Chris
Guest
Chris

Maybe instead of sending a couple of tweets warning people to drive carefully PPB should actually engage in some speed limit enforcement.

Scott Mizee
Guest

This is a tragedy. How much longer do we have to wait? What can we do to help? #visionzero #today

Robert Burchett
Guest
Robert Burchett

This is another awful thing. The driver stopped _a block away_? The standard of what is ‘reckless’ and ‘careless’ needs fixing (besides speed limits, enforcement, design, see above). I really feel that part of the problem is an excess of discretion in who gets prosecuted. Let a person explain in court why they caused so much pain. Let people know that carelessness means their driving privilege is, just, gone. Oh yeah, and that sweet car goes to the crusher.

I hope this kid recovers as well as may be.

Buzz
Guest
Buzz

That’s probably how long it took him to slow down and stop.

Spiffy
Subscriber

I wonder how far away they allow you to stop before it’s considered hit-and-run…

Cory P
Guest
Cory P

It’s how long it took him to put away his phone.

Dave
Guest
Dave

Cameras. Timing traps (old auto racing technology.) Extra-constitutional enforcement of all laws governing motorist behavior.

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

Like shooting speeders on sight? Due process can be such a hassle, when you can just deal with the situation and be done with it.

Maybe the city can offer a bounty and let our well armed citizenry apply a 2nd Amendment solution to the problem of traffic infractions.

Adam
Subscriber

Considering this is literally something police do to black men, I find your attempt at jest in extremely poor taste.

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

How else can one interpret extra-constitutional punishment for traffic offenses? Pay your fine (in cash) directly to the officer? I was just clarifying what we were discussing.

m
Guest
m

Speed limits around all schools should be 20 mph. No brainer. That said, the insurance company and lawyers for the driver will be asking why the student didn’t use the bridge.

Dan A
Subscriber
Dan A

School speed zones ought to be wider too. Why do we only care about the last little bit near the school? Our school speed zone is literally just the last 100 feet to the school. Completely ignoring the 200 kids who walk on a different route and get to cross Bethany BLVD during rush hour.

Spiffy
Subscriber

20 mph on all city streets all the time will save a lot of lives…

paikiala
Guest
paikiala

Dan,
how far would you extend the ‘school zone’?
The current standard is 100 feet in advance of the school property line.

MaxD
Guest
MaxD

I think a 4-block radius would be a good start. I was at a NACTO conference and saw a presentation on mapping walking routes. It is possible to create a map of where families on the way to school are likely to concentrate. So, a better start would be to empower PBOT to engage Ellen Vanderslice and the software she helped develop to use their considerable expertise and discretion to create safety zones around schools with advisory signs, lower speed limits, painted crosswalks, stop bars and increased enforcement.

Dan A
Subscriber
Dan A

I would look at the school walking routes as designated by the school district, and start by applying school speed zones in targeted areas where they are most needed. Our school has greater need for a school speed zone on Bethany and the street next to it where 150-200 kids regularly cross than it does right next to the school, where maybe 10 or 15 kids cross.

Additionally, we can’t have a school speed zone on a road right next to the school because there is a strip of HOA-owned green space between that road and the school, so the road is not directly adjacent to the school. The guidelines for these zones is far too literal and gives no leeway for common sense.

paikiala
Guest
paikiala

Dan,
Because safe walking routes is something school districts must do, right?

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

It’s something PBOT should be doing.

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

Look, I know PBOT has been a supporter and participant in Safe Routes to School, and that’s great. But if the agency’s position is that because there’s a fence around a school, no school zone/lowered speed limit is warranted, then you still have more work to do.

Dan A
Subscriber
Dan A

In the absence of busing, yes. It’s the main argument they give when cutting bus service.

Dan A
Subscriber
Dan A

If routes are ‘safe’, the districts cut buses for kids up to 1 mile away. So why are school speed zones only valid for the last 100 feet? Do we not actually expect kids to walk, like we say?

wsbob
Guest
wsbob

“…That said, the insurance company and lawyers for the driver will be asking why the student didn’t use the bridge. …” m

As they well should be asking, and so should be everyone else. If you’re thinking they’ll be asking such a question to try justify whatever incorrect actions the person driving made, I think that if they do make such an attempt, they’ll not successfully persuade a judge or jury to their point of view.

Pedestrian bridge or not, the collision site is in a school zone. Period. People operating motor vehicles shall do so according to conditions associated with a school zone. There is, or should be in the mind of anyone operating a motor vehicle, an automatic association between school, school zone, and the likelihood of kids being within a school zone before, during and after school hours.

Mark
Guest

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor)
they do Chris. Do you really think they have enough human resources to enforce speeds on every mile of Portland roads? Not even close.
I personally find the calls for “more enforcement” not to be the most important thing right now. Unless we put up photo cameras on every block I guess..

Jonathan, I agree that we need better designs and all of the other conditions you cite. However, many of those take a very long time to develop–years–and the here and now is when people are getting killed and injured. We cannot enforce speed limits and other violations in every mile in Portland, but enforcement can be targeted to those places where the big problems are. Right now, that’s probably in vulnerable areas near schools.

And, we can have enforcement while we work to get better design and reduce the lethal nature of too many of our streets.

m
Guest
m

To get a sense of how auto-centric our laws are, it took me about 10 seconds to find this. The driver will most certainly use this as part of their defense.
ORS 814.060
Failure to use pedestrian tunnel or overhead crossing:

(1) A pedestrian commits the offense of failure to use pedestrian tunnel or overhead crossing if the pedestrian crosses a roadway other than by means of a pedestrian tunnel or overhead pedestrian crossing when a tunnel or overhead crossing serves the place where the pedestrian is crossing the roadway.

(2) The offense described in this section, failure to use pedestrian tunnel or overhead crossing, is a Class D traffic violation. [1983 c.338 §557]

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

To my unlawyerly eye, the bridge serves a different location than the corner where the crash happened.

m
Guest
m

These are the kind of details that will come out in the investigation and scrutinized by the lawyers. The article says it happened at the corner of Midway and Columbia. The ramp starts right at the northwest corner of Midway and Columbia but appears to finish on the south side a bit away from the corner. As a Roosevelt student (not George), maybe he was walking on the other side of the street. All speculation.

A tragedy under any set of facts.

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

Agreed.

Mike Sanders
Guest
Mike Sanders

In other words, the overpass – which is not ADA-friendly – is considered to be the legal crossing at that location, and the location on the street adjacent to it, therefore, is not a legal crosswalk. Wonder what was the last time this outdated law was even enforced? Illogical to say the least.

Paikiala
Guest
Paikiala

Mike,
Have you been there? It’s a ramp, not stairs.

Mike Sanders
Guest
Mike Sanders

No, but we do have several such crossings, with steps, not ramps, of 1960s vintage that need to be replaced. Noticed this law was passed in 1983. Love to see the reasoning behind its passage.

wsbob
Guest
wsbob

Except that, as I’ve just written in a comment above, this collision occurred within a school zone, where people on foot are likely to not simply just be a pedestrian, but the particularly vulnerable type of pedestrian that kids are.

An emphasis on the extra vulnerability of children and high school kids compared to that of older, hopefully wiser and more experienced adults, is part of what laws relating to school zones seek to accomplish.

The pedestrian bridge in this school zone, is not there to relieve people operating motor vehicles of having to be especially watchful of people needing to cross this road to and from the school, and who for whatever reason, may not happen to use the pedestrian bridge for their crossing. The purpose of the pedestrian bridge is to allow people on foot, safer crossing in a school zone, across a busy road.

Paikiala
Guest
Paikiala

False.
There is no school zone there.

Ian
Guest
Ian

Isn’t it? ORS 801.462 defines a school zone as a zone that’s indicated as such by “signs marking a school zone [that] may include any words, symbols or combination of words and symbols that gives notice of the presence of the school zone,” and I believe that this is an example of such a sign:

https://www.google.com/maps/@45.5976594,-122.7376079,3a,30.5y,170.11h,88.99t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1sVlW0LWI4lGJTDGeWzSig7Q!2e0!7i13312!8i6656

paikiala
Guest
paikiala

That is the warning sign for school children. A school speed limit includes the sign SCHOOL LIMIT 20

Ian
Guest
Ian

I agree that a school speed limit sign would be labeled as you noted, but I believe the warning sign for school children is still sufficient to denote a school zone. That is, I suspect that we’re both right, in the sense that reduced-speed school zones (which are a subset of school zones generally) include SCHOOL LIMIT 20 signs.

As further evidence that this stretch of Columbia is a school zone, check out this ODOT policy document regarding school zones:

https://www.oregon.gov/ODOT/HWY/TRAFFIC-ROADWAY/docs/pdf/english_chapter_7.pdf

In particular, page 7-15 (“school building away from highway or school grounds fenced”) seems to illustrate this case perfectly, where George Middle School represents the fenced school grounds.

Dan A
Subscriber
Dan A

How you can zoom past a school warning sign at 40-50mph on the morning of a school day and be completely unprepared to encounter pedestrians is beyond me.

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

Not even if it’s the first day of school after several months of no kids around?

Dan A
Subscriber
Dan A

To me a school zone is a school zone year ’round. Kids appear with much more frequency in school zones, even in the summer. Something to do with playgrounds and sports fields.

Aside from that, don’t all people know school is starting up? Haven’t they noticed the big uptick in car traffic?

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

The student who was struck was not in a school zone (though I agree he should have been). If you don’t have kids, you could easily be oblivious to the start of school.

I’m not trying to excuse the driver, just understand what happened as objectively as possible so we can make the best assessment about how to prevent it from happening again.

Dan A
Subscriber
Dan A

The driver passed this bright yellow school zone sign 1000 feet before he crashed into a 15-year-old.

https://goo.gl/maps/8PGDNzCkyQ82

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

That’s not a school zone sign.

Dan A
Subscriber
Dan A

Okay, it’s a “school area sign” or a “school crossing sign”. The top part, known as S1-1, when used with the bottom part, is

“to warn road users that they are approaching a crossing where schoolchildren cross the roadway”.

http://mutcd.fhwa.dot.gov/htm/2009/part7/part7b.htm

Spiffy
Subscriber

despite there being signs that designate the speed on “school days” that list of days isn’t given to anybody and there’s no way to know when it’s a school day unless you call the school and ask…

there are a lot of people that had no idea that school was starting that day at that school…

Ted Timmons (Contributor)
Editor

Why does it matter? There can be kids near school zones/parks at nonschool times. There can be others at crosswalks.

wsbob
Guest
wsbob

False? You say “…There is no school zone there.”? That’s interesting, given that, according to this story, and the google maps picture in the story, there appears to be a big ol’ school adjacent to the road…just as the story reports.

“…According to the Portland Police Bureau, the crash happened at around 7:45 am this morning at North Columbia Boulevard and Midway — right across the street from George Middle School. …” bikeportland

The school looks to be clearly visible from the road. And, the big pedestrian bridge over the road. Ian commenting here, mentions what you refer to as “…the warning sign for school children. …”. Is there one or more of those signs on the stretch of road past the school, where the collision occurred?

These are, or should be to any fairly competent road user, clear indication that they within a school zone, whether or not there is an official MUTCD ‘school zone’ sign obliging road users to limit the speed of their vehicle to 20 mph.

Being aware, by being alert for other indications besides a sign, that they are passing through a school zone where children and other young people may be present, is a basic responsibility…an obligation of road users operating motor vehicles. This awareness is a responsibility and obligation that transcends the letter of the law.

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

Being near a school is not the same as being in a school zone. A school zone is a thing. He was next to a school. He was not in a school zone.

wsbob
Guest
wsbob

I hear what you’re saying. Maybe the idea that you and paikiala are maintaining, is that if there is no official ‘school zone’ sign on roads immediately adjacent to school zones, such roads are not within a school zone.

Ask yourself this question: ‘Would reasonable persons that are competent operators of a motor vehicles, and that have approached and are driving by property (play fields with big school buildings next to them.), buildings (again, readily apparent school type buildings…rather than retail, office, industrial, etc.) and pedestrian infrastructure ( the pedestrian bridge.), not pick up clear cues from those items, that they are driving within a school zone?

I think reasonable persons that are competent operators of a motor vehicles would notice indications I’ve suggested and that seem to be present at the scene of this collision, and would recognize that they are passing through a school zone…official school zone signs or not.

Recognizing they are passing directly in the vicinity of a school, reasonable, competent operators of motor vehicles would, I think, automatically would be on extra alert for kids crossing the road or along it, whether or not school was in session, and whether or not there were official ‘school zone’ signs with reduced mph speeds on them, along the road.

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

Obviously there were plenty of indications the driver was near a school. He hit a kid. He fucked up, bad.

Spiffy
Subscriber

I’m sure you realize the irony of asking if drivers see things around them while they’re driving…

Dan A
Subscriber
Dan A

A traffic engineer from WashCo gave me a clarification last year on the difference between a School Zone and a School Speed Zone. By his definition, this was a School Zone:

School Zone – A section of roadway adjacent to a school or school crosswalk where signs designating a school are present. Typical signage for a school zone include School Advance warning signs (fluorescent yellow-green, doghouse style signs showing kids walking) placed in advance with additional signs at the crosswalk

School Speed Zone – A special 20 MPH speed zone for schools established by the road authority. Typical signage for a school speed zone would include School Advance warning signs and crosswalk signs with a 20 mph school speed signs (flashing lights are an option used to supplement 20 mph zones)

Ian
Guest
Ian

To be honest, I’m really having a hard time seeing how this could not be interpreted as a school zone.

ORS 801.462 defines a “school zone” as “A specific segment of highway that is adjacent to school grounds and that is marked by signs described in subsection (2) of this section,” where subsection (2) states, “Signs marking a school zone may include any words, symbols or combination of words and symbols that gives notice of the presence of the school zone.”

This page (http://mutcd.fhwa.dot.gov/htm/2009/part7/fig7b_01_longdesc.htm) names the sign in question as “S1-1.” This page (http://mutcd.fhwa.dot.gov/htm/2009/part7/part7b.htm) clearly refers to S1-1 as a “School Zone Sign” and states, “If a school zone has been designated under State or local statute, a School (S1-1) sign shall be installed to identify the beginning point(s) of the designated school zone.”

Additionally, I believe that page 7-15 of this document (https://www.oregon.gov/ODOT/HWY/TRAFFIC-ROADWAY/docs/pdf/english_chapter_7.pdf) clearly illustrates the configuration around George Middle School.

So, if (1) the yellow signs adjacent to George Middle School are the same sign as what the Federal Highway Administration calls “S1-1”; (2) the Federal Highway Administration calls S1-1 a “school zone sign” and notes that it “shall be installed” to designate a school zone; and thus (3) S1-1 qualifies as a sign described in ORS 801.462(2), how does the segment of Columbia that is adjacent to George Middle school and marked with the S1-1 signs not qualify as a school zone? Which of these statements do you disagree with?

Robert Burchett
Guest
Robert Burchett

How about, if your car causes suffering on the order of what we have seen fit to call torture, it gets crushed and you have to sue the state in civil court (if you feel wronged?). This is regardless of who was driving the car or their mental state. If the driver is culpable that’s a separate matter.

I think a few car crushings, with live coverage, would get people’s attention in a way that the mere prospect of hurting another living being apparently does not. And that’s a very sad comment.

Spiffy
Subscriber

like the mayor of the Lithuanian capital of Vilnius that drove a tank over an illegally parked car to make a point that it will no longer be tolerated…

I like this tactic…

highrider
Guest
highrider

I live a few blocks away from here and remember a few years ago, maybe 5-10 years ago now, a woman was crossing right there with her child. Both were murdered by a speeding driver. I knew the carnage wasn’t done there yet. Crap.

Spiffy
Subscriber

trying to look this up but there are so many crashes on Columbia Blvd I’m floating in a sea of online carnage… seems like this road seriously needs a diet…

Catie
Guest
Catie

Thank for for reporting on this. I dont want a single collision involving a vunerable road user to go unnoticed.

PNP
Subscriber

Unless I’ve missed it, I’m surprised nobody’s commented on infrastructure. If a street is built like a freeway, drivers will go faster. That’s just human nature behind the wheel of vehicles increasingly designed to encourage and enable greater speeds. It’s all well and good to talk about enforcement, but what really needs to change is the DOT mentality that getting cars through faster and with minimal delays is the primary goal.

I live in Beaverton, where the traffic signals are triggered by side traffic, which means that cars on the major streets, such as Murray Blvd., always seem to roll from one red light to the next. Some days, I find that supremely annoying, but it does keep traffic speeds down. Is that the right solution? No, I don’t really think so, but without that nutty light “system,” people would drive 50+ on Murray and streets like it. I live a couple of blocks off Hall Blvd., where stretches have 40 mph speed limits, which is too high for a residential area. When I drive on Hall at 40 mph, I’m passed right and left.

We all need to slow down. It’ll never happen unless we’re forced to by multiple factors, including streets that are built to encourage a slower pace.

Preaching to the choir here, I know.

Adam
Subscriber

Yep, a five lane road like that should never exist in a civilized city.

Kyle Banerjee
Guest

If you have a densely populated area, you need ways to move large numbers of people and huge amounts of goods around.

That simply is not possible with slow narrow roads.

soren
Guest

Fortunately, additional lanes for motor-vehicles are not the only option.

Kyle Banerjee
Guest

They aren’t and time has shown that cities can’t pave themselves out of the problem.

Columbia and a number of other roads are truly dangerous which is why I think it is a disservice to dedicate so much attention dedicated to some of the best cycling areas (such as Clinton)

Arterial roads are necessary and Columbia should definitely be one of them. That is an industrial with lots of tandem trucks and the 20mph limits frequently advocated for here will never and should not happen there. Rather, we should seek safety improvements that are achievable with resources and the society that actually exist.

Adam
Subscriber

The only reason that the city “dedicated so much attention” to Clinton was the lengthy public outreach process typical of inner SE. The actual implementation was literally done in a week’s time. I would like it if there was a standard process for safety projects that doesn’t require a year’s worth of outreach and could be implemented on an accelerated manner.

If this was an infectious disease we were talking about, do you think there would be a year-long outreach program? Traffic violence is a public heath crisis, and the city needs to stand up to the car-heads and tell them “tough sh!t” and make the street safer whether they like it or not.

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

>>> If this was an infectious disease we were talking about, do you think there would be a year-long outreach program? <<>> the city needs to stand up to the car-heads and tell them “tough sh!t” and make the street safer whether they like it or not. <<<

I know you don't like public involvement, but it's part of doing things in a democratic society.

Adam
Subscriber

I never said I don’t like public involvement. My problem is that we need to draw the line between public involvement and a public health crisis. If this was a different issue, even something as contentious as density, then let everyone be heard (even if I disagree with a lot of them). However, there are people dying on our streets because of City Hall’s inactions, and we should not have to go though a lengthy and drawn-out public outreach program when the issue is so clear as “our streets are dangerous and the cause is cars”. Because we all have seen the city come to a compromised solution where every stakeholder got a say but in reality the freight industry and businesses got a bigger say. How many more people are going to die while the city figures out a strategic plan on how to piss off the least amount of people?

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

I thought the opinions of “privileged people” were to be discounted in any discussion. Regardless, the situation on Clinton was hardly a “public health crisis.”

I don’t disagree with the concept of looking at traffic safety through a public health lens, but in a world of constrained resources, we’re going to need to make choices and trade-offs and set priorities, and different people are going to disagree on what those should be.

Who should make the decision? You’re saying that your view of where those priorities trade-offs should lie trumps everyone else’s. Why do your views (which I generally share, despite our disagreements) trump those of other people who may see the issue very differently?

If you get to decide priorities today, you’d better be happy when someone else gets to decide tomorrow.

Kyle Banerjee
Guest

If you want a public health crisis, try the obesity epidemic which is much more profound in its magnitude. If we take the position that nothing is more important than physical well being, people should be forced to eat healthy and exercise whether they like it or not.

If you want things safer for bikes and peds, progress will happen much faster if we build on areas of mutual interest rather than dismissing all the reasons people do things that we don’t understand or care about as irrelevant. If you think there are no areas of mutual interest, that is part of what is holding things back.

soren
Subscriber

“mutual interest”

the ironic thing is that helping make clinton a more comfortable place to bike is a “mutual interest”. just imagine the gridlock if clinton had not siphoned away car traffic on divisoin and powell and converted it to bike traffic.

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

Yes, and that project moved forward. A success, no?

Middle of the Road guy
Guest
Middle of the Road guy

He doesn’t like public involvement from people with different viewpoints than his.

Spiffy
Subscriber

yes, car crashes are a disease on society… a self-imposed one…

who should make the decision to remediate them? it doesn’t matter! but SOMEBODY needs to make the decision… and I don’t care who makes it as long as it’s made…

Dan A
Subscriber
Dan A

Putting a 20mph school zone sign here would cost the surrounding businesses exactly $0.

soren
Subscriber

i’m going to guess that clinton was a “best cycling area” for you because you are accustomed to riding in close proximity of aggressive motor vehicle traffic. i also enjoy the adrenaline rush of riding in traffic. however, the vast majority of people cycling are not like you. they are not “annoyed” by diverters that needlessly *slow* them down; rather, they welcome the marked reduction in conflict and stress on one of portland’s most heavily used cycling arteries.

i’m also not sure why cycling infrastructure improvement prevents pbot from spending money on pedestrian improvements. if pbot allocated its budget based on mode share this road could have seen active transportation improvements years ago.

Spiffy
Subscriber

there’s no reason an area “That is an industrial with lots of tandem trucks” cannot also have “20mph limits”…

freight advocates scream they don’t want to be slowed down… too bad… leave earlier if you’re on a schedule… freight timelines do not trump public safety…

Adam
Subscriber

For one, Portland is not densely populated by any measure. Two, there are cities far denser than Portland that don’t have massive trucks circulating their streets. Three, there’s this new invention called a “train” that seems to fit the bill. Four, what kind of society prioritizes movement of goods over the lives of it’s residents? Perhaps we need to learn to wait a few extra days for that shipment of bicycle frames to come in.

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

What is one of these big cities without big trucks?

Middle of the Road guy
Guest
Middle of the Road guy

Cities arose because they offered more efficient transfer and trade of goods and services.

SD
Subscriber

I would like to know if this is true.

Chris I
Guest
Chris I

Columbia does not have the traffic counts here to justify 5 auto lanes, and it definitely doesn’t need to be designed for 40-50mph travel.

9watts
Guest
9watts

“If you have a densely populated area, you need ways to move large numbers of people and huge amounts of goods around.

That simply is not possible with slow narrow roads.”

Of course it is. You think the Swedes don’t live in densely populated areas? The Germans? The French? When the cars dry up and blow away we’ll still find ways to get our business done, but they’ll be a lot less killing-by-auto on our streets.

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

Large, multilane streets with heavy traffic in dense urban areas are common in Europe. Admittedly they don’t usually have a center turn lane, but they are pretty intimidating nonetheless. One big difference is they have signalized crossings all over the place — no one would be expected to cross without one.

Here is just one example of several I happen to know of:
https://www.google.com/maps/place/Stuttgart,+Germany/@48.7685825,9.1729873,272a,20y,209.42h,45t/data=!3m1!1e3!4m5!3m4!1s0x4799db34c1ad8fd3:0x79d5c11c7791cfe4!8m2!3d48.7758459!4d9.1829321

Psyfalcon
Guest
Psyfalcon

Sure, but in your example the buildings are up against the street, and the lanes look narrower. A lack of center divider/ turn lane is going to slow some of that traffic too.

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

I find the proximity of buildings to create an even more pedestrian-hostile environment. You’re trapped in a very hard and unpleasant environment, right in the core of the city. And cycling? Forget it.

soren
Subscriber

And that road has very narrow lanes (with turn lanes every few blocks) and a speed limit of 18.6 mph.

https://goo.gl/maps/XvEb4jPu6i92

soren
Subscriber

the turn lanes reduce the major road to a two lane road.

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

That’s probably related to the merge or the construction. The speed on that street will be 50kph, which is about 31mph, the same as almost all arterials in Germany. In residential zones, the speed falls to 30kph (18.6mph).

SD
Subscriber

In the past, I thought streets like this were “old Portland” road design, where 30 plus years ago no one imagined routine pedestrian or bicycle use or significant residential development. And, it was just a slow moving process to have these roads reflect their current use.
Now, I know that there are ridiculous design rules for ODOT and PBOT that prohibit consideration of multimodal road use, keeping roads in conflict with modern Portland.
It is becoming clearer everyday that radical redesign across the city is needed. If we over step by lowering speed limits or restricting car access in certain areas and find out that it causes unacceptable problems, we can make further adjustments to increase efficiency.
I would rather start from a place of being too safe and make allowances to improve efficiency than work from our current conditions that are too dangerous with plans that take 20 years or more to implement.

SD
Subscriber

Responsible coverage from local TV news and “whatever the Oregoninan is” would go a long way as well. The time for them to capitalize off of an uninformed public that craves convenience and speed over safety and doesn’t understand the point of view of people who live/ walk/ cycle in Portland should be over. They could do a lot to clarify ROW laws and endorse safe driving practices without being “advocates.”

Bald One
Guest
Bald One

This is tragic. I feel terrible for the kid, and I hope he will recover. Columbia Blvd in this area is a pure race track. Heavy haul trucks doing 45 – 60 mph on a regular basis, 2 wide in the lanes, no ability to stop for kids or other peds. So many tailgaters on this road. I go through this area a lot, and I have only see someone using the ped bridge a few times, but frequently see pedestrians trying to cross the road, here (sometimes directly under the ped bridge), which is difficult with the speeds people drive around here. Although professional drivers are better than most private auto drivers, the truckers think they own this stretch of road and most drive that way. I would like to see truck safety inspections performed on a regular basis and make sure all these commercial guys are up to regulations, not talking on cell phones, and send a message they need to be careful through here.

I wear many hats
Guest
I wear many hats

Why is this so normal? I can’t tear up every time I read the news.

Adam
Subscriber

Because our elected officials prioritize the movement of cars and trucks over the lives of their people.

TJ
Guest
TJ

ODOT is hardly elected.

Lola Utz
Guest
Lola Utz

*hug* me too with those feelings of despair.

Josh G
Guest
Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

When Boston gets ahead of you in traffic safety measures, you know you have a problem.

kittens
Guest
kittens

Its 40 mph here because of the “freight community”. People have been dying on Portland’s streets since the start of time. Nothing new to see here.

TJ
Guest
TJ

I really really really disike this comment.

Scott Mizee
Guest

you dislike kittens’ comment?
kittens August 30, 2016 at 12:11 pm
Its 40 mph here because of the “freight community”. People have been dying on Portland’s streets since the start of time. Nothing new to see here.

…or you dislike the reality of the facts?

TJ
Guest
TJ

I dislike the comment. Facts or not, we can be sensitive to the youth, to the family, and to my neighbors who live along Columbia who live with this daily. I get the sarcasm. But this is a personal and wrenching reality for a family today. It deserves more than a shoulder shrug and a simplistic view.

If you’re Scott from SJ. I’m Travis.

Scott Mizée
Guest

I gotcha Travis. I agree. I dislike the last line of that comment too. It is uncalled for.

I’m from University Park. So, technically not St Johns, but I’m heavily invested in the St Johns community.

TJ
Guest
TJ

Yep — I see you on our various forums. I’m currently on SJNA’s board (Safety and Livability Team facilitator), heavily involved in traffic/selfish driving issues on the Peninsular, and struggle with how terrible Columbia is for all modes crossing and turning.

kittens
Guest
kittens

Relax, I was making a point about how these victims are nothing but collateral damage in the service to special interests. It is absolutely ridiculous that it is 40 here.

Every death or serious injury is a tragedy and incredibly destructive to those who loved them.

Scott Mizee
Guest

I understand kittens. thanks for clarifying.

B. Carfree
Guest
B. Carfree

There was a time when I was driving tanker trucks up hwy 99W in the dead of night. That’s a freaking freight road; it runs the length of the state and on into SoCal. And yet, at each and every little hamlet along the way, the speed limit dropped to 30 mph and there was a local cop to make sure I obeyed it. Why can’t PDX manage to do with its freight roads what every little city in the state manages?

Lola Utz
Guest
Lola Utz

Yesterday I stood at 30th and Division and waited as car after car flew through the crosswalk. Finally I said “crosswalk” to a car with two teen males with their window rolled down. They slowed down appearing to allow me to cross. As I took a step towards the intersection they sped up and screamed “F*%k you!” and drove away.

As a pedestrian, I have this experience far more than it sane. Ever-increasing in the last year. It is not only negligence of drivers, it is an entitled aggression too.

My husband, as a biker, has had almost identical experiences. Seems biking and walking in Portland is now an at-your-own-risk choice. I miss Portland of 10 years ago. When people were kind and when drivers screwed up, would gesture apology instead of the middle finger.

Dan A
Subscriber
Dan A

Had a similar experience today in the crosswalk between 7th & 9th on Multnomah. Driver of pickup was speeding towards the crosswalk that I had already entered, and I stayed out of his path while I waited for him to notice me & slow down. Finally, right before the crosswalk, he slammed on his brakes and stopped. I pointed to the striped paint on the ground and began walking across. He yelled at me out of his truck, “I didn’t see you! I stopped! What the **** do you want?!”

I want people to drive as if pedestrians might enter the roadway, especially when approaching a crosswalk. Surely he could see the painted crosswalk on the ground from a block away, even if he was too scatterbrained to see me enter it.

Adam
Guest
Adam

I didn’t know Columbia Blvd was a PBOT facility???!!!

Why is it not safer? If it was ODOT, I could understand, as ODOT hates doing anything that would make a street less dangerous to anything other than something with an internal combustion engine.

But PBOT?

COME ON!!!!!!

kittens
Guest
kittens

I am guessing it is the Port or Portland which has convinced them the world would end if it took an extra 10 seconds to get from the freeway to their properties.

Dan A
Subscriber
Dan A

Right, and I suppose their drivers run to get around whenever they aren’t behind the wheel, because every second counts.

TJ
Guest
TJ

Port of Portland has been fairly cooperative on safety fronts. They are far more community facing than other freight lobbies. Not perfect, but I do not think they deserve complete blame — freight and N. Portland is complicated.

To be honest, freight moves fast here, but the drivers and motorcyclist are far more reckless. Neighbors in cars fret making left turns. Right turns are scary too. No one is winning.

The sidewalks, where the exist, are terrible.

The speed limit needed to be lowered yesterday.

Adam
Guest
Adam

I don’t think this is a freight issue, it’s a speed issue. However, the freight lobby is more powerful than the car lobby as it were. If PBOT announced they were lowering speeds along here, individual drivers would hardly kick up a fuss. Freight community would have a collective heart attack.

Bald One
Guest
Bald One

The freight route loop-hole in safety that PBOT has seemed to create all over the city for the benefit of their lobbyists in the trucking/shipping industry needs to be ripped open and exposed to the light of day. Latest article last week about PBOT slowing speeds on main roads had this big caveat listed, but not highlighted – that improved safety will be a goal “except on designated freight routes”. Guess what, these freight routes are all over the city, and on many smaller streets that you would never expect were protected against safety improvements by this lame excuse that PBOT hides behind. And much of this is not local freight for your local household delivery, but regional and national / international freight passing from one industrial way station to another.

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

SE 11th & 12th are truck routes, as are every other street in the inner eastside industrial area.

Spiffy
Subscriber
rachel b
Guest
rachel b

The proliferation of heavy trucks on small neighborhood streets has been exponential in recent years. They go fast, too. UPRR is rolling in the $$$$$, freight traffic increasing hugely, every year—‘passing through’ traffic, mainly, as Bald One notes. How much of that $$$$$ gets funneled to the city? Maybe we could buy some more cops….

Bald One
Guest
Bald One

Not to mention all the trucks that serve the interest of the port of Portland and UPRR are independent (read: limited liability to UPRR, Port) and operating as small business – frequently registered outside of Portland city limits, yet fully operating inside of Portland on local routes, even though all the cargo and trailers they are hauling have out of state and out of country ownership and much non-local cargo. City needs to start putting pressure on these operators to check they are up to date with compliance regulations, DEQ, fuel tax, operators licenses, safety inspections, etc. They pretty much have a carte blanche on unencumbered operations in Portland, as long as they are sticking to “freight routes”, and they don’t always do that. If you get right-hooked by one of these trucks, they won’t even know they ran you over, and it is impossible to identify their vehicle from behind, and challenging from any other vantage.

Kyle Banerjee
Guest

What small neighborhood streets are getting inundated with heavy trucks?

A huge percentage of our streets are not wide enough for two cars to pass in opposite directions. Unlike cars which can duck into a driveway or intersection while another passes, this cannot be done with trucks.

rachel b
Guest
rachel b

SE 26th, between Brooklyn Yard and Division. Big increase when UPRR moved major operations to Brooklyn Yard (without neighborhood input). And you’re right–the street’s not wide enough. Many trucks crowd both bike lane and middle line and they vibrate the street and houses as they rumble by. I also see them go up and down Woodward and Clinton.

Kyle Banerjee
Guest

I have trouble taking this seriously. Until a few months ago, I lived between Woodward and Clinton. In addition to being impossible for me to go anywhere without me taking one of those streets, I spent over an hour a day dog walking both of those streets.

Both are sleepy streets that are super cycle friendly. Cars can’t use Clinton as a through road and there are hardly any trucks to speak of. Cars go faster on Woodward than Clinton, but it’s nothing compared to what most of the city is like.

There are difficult streets in this town, but those are two of the easy ones.

Bald One
Guest
Bald One

SE 26th from Gladstone to Holgate.

SD
Subscriber

NE Beech from Whole Foods

Adam
Guest
Adam

It’s like when they say they can’t put speed bumps on emergency response routes.

Um, excuse me!

If there were speed bumps on them, traffic speeds would be lower, and they wouldn’t need to respond to so many emergencies in the FIRST PLACE. Thus freeing up their vehicles to respond to all the other emergencies that aren’t the result of stupid people in vehicles.

Kyle Banerjee
Guest

In other words, it’s not important if emergency responders are slowed getting to people nor does it matter if it takes longer to get them to hospitals.

Funny that emergency responders don’t buy this logic.

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

I guess I would have to disagree (hey, it’s what I do!) There may be a trade-off between access to emergency services and prevention of emergencies. I think the question merits more than a pat answer, and, all else being equal, I’ll take prevention. I don’t know what the cost-benefits analysis looks like, and I wonder if any have been done to support this policy, or if it is based on “common sense.”

Kyle Banerjee
Guest

The tradeoffs are relevant. Reducing emergencies is important, but there are *many* emergencies that are not car related. But I think even car related emergencies are important to address quickly. I would argue that getting people and goods around efficiently is also important. There’s more to safety than simply lowering speeds.

I was just thinking yesterday that Columbia is one of the streets where 40mph actually makes sense even if there are specific areas that might benefit from additional lights or lower limits. Things are far from the road, sight lines are good, and there’s very little visual noise.

I hope some of the posters here never move from Portland or attempt to ride elsewhere as they will find significantly less infrastructure and higher speeds.

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

I agree, but I think these tradeoffs should be quantified, not just presumed to exist. This work may have been done, though I suspect it hasn’t.

Let’s take a street like 26th, that has no traffic calming because it’s an emergency route (also because it’s a collector, but let’s leave that aside). How much extra time would, say, 5 speed bumps add to a typical emergency trip (that might only traverse 2 or 3 of them)? What would the impact of that additional time be on “customers” having a health or police emergency? What is the benefit (safety and otherwise) of slowing traffic on that street (which is still a major bike route).

rachel b
Guest
rachel b

[Not in favor of speed bumps on 26th (too much vibration–the houses are too close to the road and we really pick up the thump, big time, even from road patches), but crosswalks, curb build outs, etc.–yes!]

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

Well… it was just an example that I know is relevant to a lot of folks here.

rachel b
Guest
rachel b

I know. I just feel compelled to mention it anytime it comes up because my fear is that–if and when we get anything to calm traffic on SE 26th–it’ll be speed bumpity bump bumps, agh. Every time TriMet buses go over simple, barely raised/recessed patched areas of road in front of our house, it feels like an earthquake in here.

paikiala
Guest
paikiala

HK:
delay per standard speed bump is a function of the response vehicle weight, power, and direction of travel.
going to an emergency the delay is very low for light vehicles, up to about 10 seconds per standard speed bump for engines and trucks. for speed cushions the delay per device is up to about 2 seconds.
Since PF&R is the primary responder, they have few ambulances, and a medical emergency (super-majority of responses) requires four personnel (OSHA), a truck or engine always responds. these are the heaviest vehicles with the most delay.
Ambulances that transport patients have the least delay getting to an emergency, but I don’t know if the transport to hospital delay has been studied.
the standard for response is about 4 minutes – the length of time the brain can go without oxygen before damage begins.
The traffic calming issue arises not from an one device, but the accumulation of small delays over the length of a response call.
one solution is speed cushions on Major Response routes to minimize built in delay. Another might be smaller response vehicles (power/weight ratio) that can move quicker. Another solution would be more fire stations to reduce the average travel distance.
Lastly, the current vehicle selection is based on having one vehicle that can do as much as possible, from fire suppression and vehicle extraction to heart attacks and other medical issues. Slowing traffic could reduce high energy crashes. Housing code could require built in fire suppression systems. A variety of policies affect how big a fire truck currently is.

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

The section of SE 21st between Clinton and Powell is about .25 miles, and has 4 bumps. If an uncalmed firetruck would traverse that span at 40MPH (which is way faster than it would actually go), that means it could make the trip in 22.5 seconds. If we add 40 seconds of delay (at the low, low rate of 10 seconds per bump), that would mean the truck would make the same trip in 62.5 seconds, which looks to me to be about 14.4MPH (if I did the math right).

That seems awfully slow. I’m guessing that 10 seconds/bump number has a huge factor of safety built in.

paikiala
Guest
paikiala

HK,
No factor of safety. Portland actually tested delay for speed bumps, speed tables and the small traffic circles. Delay also varies with posted speed, and PF&R can only go 10-15 above posted.
the ten seconds is actual.

Paikiala
Guest
Paikiala

Kyle,
The supermajority of emergencies are medical and Fire is usually the first responder.

9watts
Guest
9watts

Right. Which is why it has long seemed rather peculiar that the trucks have long hoses and axes and all that jazz on them.
So much of what we do in this country is peculiar. It is as if we habitually forget that other countries all somehow manage to solve these very same problems too. Hm.

Bald One
Guest
Bald One

This comment about N. Columbia is not really true at this location. Columbia has a big curvy section in it along here – not too much to have to slow down a speeding vehicle, but certainly not great sight lines, and they are made worse by the overgrown vegetation. I drive along here, routinely. When you add these poor sight lines and fact that most (nearly all!) vehicles, including many heavy semi-trucks, are speeding in excess of 50 mph, it makes slowing down and stopping for a pedestrian trying to cross the street here a calculated risk of being hit from behind – nobody drives with the expectation of having to stop in this area. This section of Columbia does not have good visibility. The section of Columbia which does have straight sight lines immediately East of here has a 45 mph speed limit.

Spiffy
Subscriber

“nobody drives with the expectation of having to stop in this area”

that’s a weird thing to say because when I’m driving anywhere I always have the expectation that I may need to stop instantly at any second for a wide variety of reasons…

that’s why I laugh whenever I see a “prepare to stop” sign… I’m always prepared to stop, it’s part of my duty as a driver…

9watts
Guest
9watts

Hans Monderman. Such a brilliant individual. His ideas could be applied to the conversations we have here just about every day.

Chris I
Guest
Chris I

If we really cared about emergency response time, we would have congestion pricing.

Bay Area Rider
Guest
Bay Area Rider

There are the new Actibumps, sort of like high tech speed bumps. It is a metal plate in the road.If you are doing the speed limit the plate stays in place and you get a smooth ride. If you are speeding a portion of the plate lowers so that you get a jolt when you hit the edge created by the lowered portion of the plate. Emergency responders can have a transponder which prevents the plate from lowering https://www.eta.co.uk/2016/08/12/actibump-traffic-calming/

paikiala
Guest
paikiala

cost?
speed cushions have a similar benefit, for about $2,000 each.

9watts
Guest
9watts

$2,000 for a lump of asphalt? Yikes. I must be in the wrong business.

paikiala
Guest
paikiala

Bald,
you seem uninformed about freight routes and Portland’s authority.
The hole in the air rule can be over-ridden for safety reasons.

Trucks move most of what we buy and some of the things they move are long, tall, wide or heavy. These loads are called ‘over-dimensional’.
Tell us which roads you would designate as the pathways from the ships that bring stuff to Portland to the destinations in Portland and Oregon those thing, small to large, including the over-dimensional ones.

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

The existence of over-dimensional goods does not require that we use large trucks for under-dimensional goods. We could restrict the size or movement of trucks on our streets and make an exception for over-dimensional goods, which are only a tiny component of our overall freight picture.

paikiala
Guest
paikiala

That still does not answer the question of what street you put OD vehicles on and what that means for speed management the other 362 days a year.
Columbia Blvd and Marine Drive are the two streets that access port facilities on the peninsula.

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

It makes it much less important — if we treat these vehicles as unusual outliers (how many OD loads are there, really?), they could go on any street with sufficient clearance. It’s a bit like the wide load vehicles you see on the highway. They might need to extend a bit beyond a narrow lane, but because everyone knows they’re unusual, they give them a wide berth.

We don’t necessarily need a whole network of streets to move large volumes of big vehicles at high speeds.

I would prefer to build the streets we want, then use vehicles that fit those streets, rather than building our streets to accommodate the biggest size vehicle someone wants to use.

Bald One
Guest
Bald One

I have no problem with freight use of N Columbia and N Marine, this is routine. Those streets lead directly to I-5 from the port. I have a problem with the behavior of some of those freight drivers (common and unnecessary speeding and aggressive driving) and the unnecessary pollution of many of the older trucks which are commonly used in the local freight circuits (you can sometimes tell which trucks are used for just running cargo around Portland and the valley and which are running interstate traffic by looking at their stickers (Calif clean idle is required and commonly used by most interstate trucks which essentially means >2010 model; whereas many older trucks are just moving cargo around Portland between rail yards and require zero pollution mitigation and cannot qualify for CA clean idle cert). BTW, if COP wanted to move oversize freight on N. Columbia, why did they put a pedestrian bridge with restricted height clearance across it at this location?

And, I have a big problem with UPRR using city streets SE Holgate and SE 26th avenues to move 53′ box container freight within their yard (their own RR tracks cross their own yard and they have no internal bridge to get the containers over these tracks, so they put the containers on a big, old truck and drive it around the block, through the neighborhood and up SE Holgate and back into the yard. This company should have to build internal infrastructure to accomplish this internal container movement (their own bridge or lift crane over their own tracks in their own yard), and they should not be allowed to shuffle these containers around using COP local streets all day and night for this purpose.

Lastly, I have another problem with the traffic cutting that the freight container movers going from UPRR Brooklyn to Albina and Port of Portland – that is picking any street they want to get from Brooklyn Yard to N Portland when the traffic on I-5 is bad: SE 11th/12th; SE 7th; SE Division; N Interstate, NE MLK, N Greeley, N Willamette, N. Lombard. These guys should have to go sit on I-5 to Marine Dr where the big trucks belong instead of cutting through on any side street to save a few minutes. That traffic cutting tends to lead to aggressive driving – especially around SE Portland.

9watts
Guest
9watts

I’m learning a lot. Thanks for this, Bald One.

Lola Utz
Guest
Lola Utz

I hope the community begins to talk about the various reasons why people are so negligent as drivers these days. Texting while driving should be as criminal an offense as being drunk and driving. We’re going too fast as a culture. We’re juggling 100 things and consider ourselves “good multitaskers” and we’re always irritable, rarely willing to step into accountability when we screw up. Why? We have to unplug from the box. Seriously. The internet is rewiring our brains and making us automations of our former selves. Sure, there needs to be more police (where are they anyways?) willing to arrest, not ticket, ARREST, people texting and driving or driving erratically. But the bulk of the work is the responsibility of the community. Each of us being present when we drive. Not driving when agitated, on the phone, etc. Caring more about the lives of vulnerable bikers and peds than getting to work 3 mins faster.

We have to slow down. In our own lives and as a culture. Otherwise, this will only increase.

Spiffy
Subscriber

science keeps showing that people are terrible at multitasking…

9watts
Guest
9watts

“Texting while driving should be as criminal an offense as being drunk and driving.”

I’d be inclined to agree with you – but: Just the other day I read on I think it was the Monday Roundup that someone (not in Oregon) was booked for their NINTH DUII. Something’s not adding up here.

Mike
Guest
Mike

lowering speed limits, more marked crosswalks etc will only go so far. As the dude on hawthorne demonstrated, there are certain people who rules don’t apply to. It would be awesome to have the ability to change the driving habits of everyone but I am not sure that is ever going to happen. All the infrastructure changes in the world won’t remove all car vs ped interactions. Not to sound too defeated but is it time to take defensive walking to a whole new level? By that I mean don’t ever assume a car is going to stop. Make eye contact before crossing the road. Don’t feel safe just because you are in a marked crosswalk. Just because you have the right doesn’t make it safe to cross. I know I will get skewered for my opinion but it is the way I walk and ride. I can’t change the way some idiots drive but I certainly can take actions myself to keep me and my family safe. I don’t trust the motorist in this city and though I don’t walk or ride in fear I am careful not to assume they have my safety in their best interest.

Eric Leifsdad
Guest
Eric Leifsdad

A shorter way to say it: Some people don’t follow the rules, so instead of trying to make streets that demand more care from drivers, people walking should wear armor and carry assault rifles.

Stephen Keller
Guest
Stephen Keller

m
…As a Roosevelt student (not George), maybe he was walking on the other side of the street. All speculation.

He could also have been crossing Midway. This is part of my extended neighborhood, and I’ve observed people driving around that corner at what seem to me to be higher than advisable speeds. The curb on the school-side of Midway is beat up and crumbling, suggesting the possibility that some folks go fast enough to hammer the curb with their wheel rims. In other words, the student might well have been doing nothing wrong with respect the state’s “sidepath” laws.

Stph

bikeninja
Guest
bikeninja

Maybe we need to bring back public lashings and apply them to speeders and auto lawbreakers in the middle of pioneer courthouse square.

Rachel
Guest
Rachel

This is my neighborhood. This is one of our local kids just doing a normal kid thing like going to school. Thoughts and prayers to him and his family and friends.
Despite the massive Portland gentrification, this neighborhood remains primarily lower income people of color. We are not a priority to this city. However, if we ask the police to stop more drivers I fear they would start here where a $300 ticket would be financially devastating and getting to the courthouse would take at least an hour to travel back and forth.
We have been begging the police for lower speed limits here and more stop signs or speed bumps here and are told it will never happen.
I agree with the the comments that these injuries and deaths scream for a systemic change. Portland streets will only get more crowded. Let’s elect people who care about communities more than businesses. In the meantime let’s teach ourselves and our kids that the culture of driving in Portland is changing with our growing population and we can’t just assume cars will stop for us like they did in the past.
Today let’s send our love and thoughts to Bradley.

9watts
Guest
9watts

Middle of the Road guy
Thank you for not taking the “Eliminate All Cars” approach many of your readers do.
Recommended 7

I don’t know if you’re implicating me, MOTRG, but I’ll just say that my most common refrain here isn’t to eliminate all cars, but rather that PBOT and other agencies at least plan for the possibility that cars will dry up and blow away, not because some nefarious car-zapping authority took everyone’s keys away but because the conditions that gave rise to ubiquitous automobility no longer obtain.

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

If all cars go away, there will be plenty of warning and plenty of time to plan for it. I wouldn’t want PBOT using their very limited resources to spend time on this possibility.

9watts
Guest
9watts

I’d love for you to explain your thinking a bit. Because I see this entirely differently. I don’t see the end as chosen, as the result of a (gradual) preference shift, but as the result of an external (very possibly cataclysmic) set of constraints that forces the issue. Assuming this is roughly accurate, there will be no time and no resources to do what you’re saying. Knowing what we know about the relationship between expensive to extract oil and the economic system we have, never mind climate change, the writing is already on the wall for those who care to read it, so in my view the ‘time to plan for it’ is upon us.

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

My thinking is that things will change slowly; yours is that they will change quickly. Neither of us really knows; we are both guessing. I’m not sure how much value there is in debating the nuances of our respective guesses. PBOT doesn’t have the resources to handle what’s happening today, never mind exploring our respective speculative guesses about tomorrow.

9watts
Guest
9watts

“PBOT doesn’t have the resources”
I don’t think it has ever been about resources, but rather about priorities and imagination and spine.

As for your opinion vs. mine, I don’t think it is quite that one-dimensional. It isn’t as if the two of us were alone on this planet; there are a lot of other smart people out there who have thought about not just the prospects for rapid unwelcome change, but about our species’ special propensity to persuade ourselves that everything is going to be OK, especially when the threat is large and without precedent.

http://media.chelseagreen.com/what-we-think-about-when-we-try-not-to-think-about-global-warming/