Tour de Lab September 1st

Memorial, guerrilla traffic calming on Hawthorne has unknown future

Posted by on September 23rd, 2016 at 11:47 am

The intersection of SE Hawthorne at 43rd where Fallon Smart was killed one month ago. PBOT intends to clear this out next week.
(Photos: Paul Jeffery)

Much of the impact Fallon Smart’s death has had on our community has been emotional. It has bonded citizens and activists together. Combined with other recent tragedies, it has created a deeper sense of urgency to improve street safety — and a growing frustration at the slow pace of change — among many of us.

But Smart’s death has also left something physical and tangible. Hours after the tragedy, someone painted an unsanctioned crosswalk across Hawthorne at 43rd. Along with the crosswalk, signs and traffic cones sprouted up in the center turn lane that was used recklessly by Smart’s speeding killer.

Less than a week after she died a memorial ride brought hundreds of people to the intersection. They left flowers and notes and candles. Then community activists who had adopted the intersection brought more permanent planters and flowers. These physical objects have turned this notoriously high-speed stretch of Hawthorne into a more humane place. A place that still allows people to drive through the intersection, but in a way that’s less harmful to people who are not driving.

“PBOT let us know this week that everything would be taken down… that there was a lot of pressure from people who had been calling into the city with a number of very angry and nasty emails and voicemails about it.”
— Dan Rutzick, Sunnyside Neighborhood Association

By effectively closing down the center turn lane, the community has created change in the street that is both symbolic and physical. It raises awareness of what happened and lowers the speed of road users.

In a city whose five elected leaders have unanimously committed to a “Vision Zero” future where no one is seriously hurt or killed on our streets, it seems like taming a deadly, high-speed road for a few pennies would be embraced — especially when it’s supported by many nearby businesses and residents.

One month after Smart was killed, the Portland Bureau of Transportation still hasn’t touched the guerrilla crosswalk, the planters, the cones, or the signs. But now, according to neighborhood advocates and transportation activists close to the issue, PBOT is getting pressured to remove everything and plans to do so next week.

Advertisement

Sunnyside Neighborhood Board Member Dan Rutzick says PBOT told him they’ve received several complaints from people who drive on Hawthorne. They say the memorial items are impeding their travel, forcing them to drive more slowly, and are inherently unsafe.

“PBOT let us know this week that everything would be taken down,” Rutzick shared with us in a phone interview today, “And that there was a lot of pressure from people who had been calling into the city with a number of very angry and nasty emails and voicemails about it… And about how the City of Portland is giving too much influence to bicyclists and pedestrians.”

“This is a very sensitive issue, and we’re going to take our time to get it right.”
— John Brady, PBOT

Asked about this issue on September 7th, PBOT spokesman John Brady said they wouldn’t do anything to the temporary memorials until an engineering analysis was complete. At that time, he said, they would “come back to the community to explain any actions we do take.” Asked for when that might happen, Brady said they didn’t have a timeline.

Asked again yesterday for the official status of the intersection, Brady said they are planning a statement with more details later today. “This is a very sensitive issue,” he said, “and we’re going to take our time to get it right.”

Based on conversations with various sources, it appears PBOT is caught between a rock and hard place. They understand why the cones and flowers and signs are there and they sympathize with the community about the need for a safer Hawthorne — but they also have to consider laws and politics. They can’t just let the public think it’s permissible to place unsanctioned items in the middle of a street. And they also have to take the complaints they’re getting seriously.

From the neighborhood’s perspective, Rutzick says he won’t be surprised if there’s a citizen protest once the cleanup happens next week. He doesn’t blame PBOT and he appreciates how they’ve handled the situation thus far, but he also says he and his neighbors want real, permanent change in the short-term and will hard to make it happen.

Rutzick also told us he has talked about the issue with a member of Fallon Smart’s family who said they plan to gather some of the items from the intersection before PBOT crews show up. The family is also asking for privacy while this happens.

UPDATE, 4:10 pm: PBOT has confirmed their intention to clear the intersection; but they will leave the crosswalk. Here’s the official statement:

We will be restoring the center turn lane on Hawthorne. We have let the family know and we are working with them so they have the chance to take items that they would like to be part of a permanent memorial for Fallon. We also let the neighborhood associations know about our approach.

None of this will affect the crosswalk.

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

BikePortland is supported by the community (that means you!). Please become a subscriber or make a donation today.

Please support BikePortland.

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

119 Comments
  • Avatar
    Paul September 23, 2016 at 11:55 am

    “…impeding their travel, forcing them to drive more slowly, and are inherently unsafe.”

    #1 (impeding travel): Maybe
    #2 (forcing them to drive more slowly): Agreed
    #3 (inherently unsafe): Complete bullshit

    Recommended Thumb up 0

    • Avatar
      Chris I September 23, 2016 at 12:40 pm

      The people that are complaining can go fornicate themselves. Solid medians every few blocks would be a big safety improvement on Hawthorne. This display should only come down if PBOT is going to be a solid median in its place.

      Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Adam H.
    Adam H. September 23, 2016 at 12:00 pm

    Sunnyside Neighborhood Board Member Dan Rutzick says PBOT told him they’ve received several complaints from people who drive on Hawthorne. They say the memorial items are impeding their travel, forcing them to drive more slowly, and are inherently unsafe.

    Just let that sink in for a second. These people are actually arguing that driving slower is less safe. The fact is that by “forcing them to drive more slowly” the street is inherently more safe, not less. Instead of caving to angry mobs of impatient drivers, PBOT should do the right thing here and make the street safer for PEOPLE.

    And by the way, FWIW I live in this neighborhood and I emailed City Council in support of leaving the memorial in, but apparently my voice doesn’t count because I don’t drive on Hawthorne.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

    • Avatar
      Brian September 23, 2016 at 12:24 pm

      I thought this was a joke when I read it. I use this crosswalk almost daily now, and I love the effect it has had. It”s a busy shopping area, not a highway! Yesterday I saw a motorcycle rider give a small wave of acknowledgement as he rode past it. It was a small, but touching action.

      Recommended Thumb up 0

      • Adam H.
        Adam H. September 23, 2016 at 12:27 pm

        Agreed. A busy shopping district heavy with foot traffic needs crosswalks at every corner, a 20 mph or lower speed limit, and additional traffic calming to ensure people driving slow down. Get on I-84 if you want a highway!

        Recommended Thumb up 0

        • Avatar
          Gary B September 23, 2016 at 12:56 pm

          FTFY: “needs marked crosswalks at every corner.”

          Although I’d argue that if it had a 20 (15?) mph speed limit and infra/enforcement to actually limit drivers to those speeds, then it wouldn’t even need those markings.

          Recommended Thumb up 0

        • Avatar
          paikiala September 23, 2016 at 1:50 pm

          Adam,
          there is no lower speed limit permitted than 20 mph.
          Speed differential is the most common reason for rear end crashes, so, yeah, those going slower than posted represent a hazard to those observing the speed limit or speeding.
          The speeders don’t concern me much, but the people they might run into do.

          Recommended Thumb up 0

          • Avatar
            naess September 23, 2016 at 2:47 pm

            you do realize that’s a “limit” and not a “minimum”, yes?

            Recommended Thumb up 0

          • Avatar
            Tom Hardy September 23, 2016 at 3:01 pm

            There is a 15 MPH speed limit posted on Hall Boulivard in downtown Beaverton. About 2 blocks south of the red light camera.
            Yes the camera still gets a lot of exercise.

            Recommended Thumb up 0

            • Avatar
              Work Account September 26, 2016 at 8:35 am

              Also all of Downtown Tillimooks main drag.

              Recommended Thumb up 0

          • Adam H.
            Adam H. September 23, 2016 at 3:09 pm

            I don’t see anything about the inability to set speeds under 20 miles an hour in the laws regarding this. Do you have a link to this information?

            Recommended Thumb up 0

            • Avatar
              paikiala September 26, 2016 at 12:27 pm

              Anything non-statutory is a speed order by ODOT, and they lean heavily on the 85th percentile. You’d have to ask ODOT if they’ve ordered speeds below statutory limits.

              Recommended Thumb up 0

              • Avatar
                Dan A September 26, 2016 at 2:26 pm

                Right, why let non-drivers have a say?

                Recommended Thumb up 0

          • Avatar
            J_R September 23, 2016 at 7:26 pm

            Rear-end crashes represent the most or one of the most common types of crashes at signalized intersections. Yes, there is a speed differential; the following car is ALWAYS going faster than the car in front. The car in front is almost always responding to going slower than the speed limit do to something such as a stopped vehicle in front of them or maybe a red light.

            I’d like to see some evidence that speed differential is a significant factor in crashes involving people driving on a uncongested street segment between traffic signals or stop signs at less. Are you really claiming that if the posted speed is 25 or 30 mph that I am causing a safety problem by driving 5 mph less than that? Sorry, but I don’t believe it. Maybe if I’m driving 40 on the 70 mph freeway, but not in the city in places like Hawthorne Blvd.

            Recommended Thumb up 0

          • Avatar
            Kyle Banerjee September 24, 2016 at 6:45 pm

            Any speed faster than I can run is unnatural and should be prohibited.

            Besides, no one has a legitimate need to travel any distance for work, leisure, or any other purpose. Even if they did, roughly 1 out of 4000 deaths are on a bike and 1 out of almost 700 involve a ped. No experience in life could possibly worth that kind of risk.

            http://www.nsc.org/NSC%20Images_Corporate/odds-of-dying-graphic.jpg

            Recommended Thumb up 0

          • Avatar
            Kyle Banerjee September 25, 2016 at 8:55 am

            Come to think about it, running is prohibited in many public places for safety purposes. Better limit everyone to walking speeds. A bit of extra time is no big deal, and anyone who feels otherwise is just being selfish.

            Recommended Thumb up 0

            • Avatar
              pruss2ny September 25, 2016 at 2:17 pm

              dude, are u “mansplaining” again?

              Recommended Thumb up 0

              • Avatar
                Kyle Banerjee September 26, 2016 at 12:51 pm

                This is progress — at least you guys now apply that term to me when I direct comments at men rather than using exclusively when someone disagrees with a statement I made in reply to a woman.

                I don’t hold out much hope that this progress will extend to the point that the label won’t continue to be applied to people who fail to express very narrow range of opinions in an effort to shut them down. But one can dream 🙂

                I seriously wonder what percentage of the posters here would even ride, let alone enjoy riding, if they had to deal with conditions faced by easily 95% of the cyclists in this country. We have some of the easiest urban riding and nicest motorists in the country. But anyone who spends too much time here would never know that.

                Recommended Thumb up 0

              • Avatar
                Ted Timmons (Contributor) September 26, 2016 at 12:54 pm

                “you should be happy with the crumbs we give you”

                Recommended Thumb up 0

              • Avatar
                pruss2ny September 26, 2016 at 1:14 pm

                🙂

                Recommended Thumb up 0

              • Avatar
                Kyle Banerjee September 26, 2016 at 3:11 pm

                More progress comes with constructive engagement than conflict, even though that progress inevitably involves compromises. The way things are done now, enormous amounts of energy get devoted to a handful of specific projects in a tiny area.

                One thing I find amazing is that whenever there’s talk of a section of road or a potential project, it’s an area that I know well and have ridden many times. Given that Portland is a major urban area, I would expect not to have even heard of most of these places, let alone ridden on them.

                To the extent we have crumbs, it’s because we magnify division. Actual progress would require identifying common ground that everyone would be willing to build on.

                One of the great ironies of living in PDX for me is that I have more sympathy for drivers than I do for cyclists on some roads I ride but have never driven and have no intention of driving on. I have never held that sentiment before, and I’ve been riding a long time.

                Recommended Thumb up 0

              • Avatar
                soren September 26, 2016 at 3:18 pm

                and I’ve been riding a long time…

                every time you write this i feel like riding on the sidewalk without a helmet and dressed in black.

                Recommended Thumb up 0

              • Avatar
                Ted Timmons (Contributor) September 26, 2016 at 3:36 pm

                The irony of discussing ‘constructive engagement’.

                Recommended Thumb up 0

              • Avatar
                Kyle Banerjee September 26, 2016 at 7:15 pm

                I keep forgetting. What passes for cycling advocacy here looks like something straight out of Portlandia.

                You realize that show is a comedy and is not intended to set an example to emulate?

                Recommended Thumb up 0

              • Avatar
                Kyle Banerjee September 27, 2016 at 4:27 am

                soren
                every time you write this i feel like riding on the sidewalk without a helmet and dressed in black.

                I would expect no less.

                Careful — that post came across as suggesting you think this is a dumb/dangerous way to ride. Be aware that if you imply people should ride responsibly or use common sense, you will become a PB pariah like me.

                Recommended Thumb up 0

      • Avatar
        Edward September 23, 2016 at 2:35 pm

        Everybody who reads or posts here should take some action. Send a letter to the city council. Send an email to Leah Treat. Take your own picture and tweet it to take over the PBOTinfo feed.

        Recommended Thumb up 0

        • Avatar
          TonyJ September 23, 2016 at 4:42 pm

          I would suggest taking the action to City Council rather than PBOT. I think PBOT understands this issue, but we need Council to provide the authority for these type of installations to be sanctioned.

          Recommended Thumb up 0

    • Avatar
      Justin September 23, 2016 at 3:03 pm

      You should’ve used more profanity, apparently.

      Recommended Thumb up 0

    • Avatar
      Kyle Banerjee September 25, 2016 at 9:12 am

      Adam H.

      FWIW I live in this neighborhood

      I find this curious. You think Clinton and the section of Hawthorne between the bridge to Ladds have issue, but you don’t complain about the entire length Hawthorne from there to here?

      Once you get beyond Ladds, Hawthorne is not a good cycling street and Clinton is way far away though there are other rideable streets. This is the kind of place that can use a lane. And once we have that, we can worry about putting a stoplight at every intersection equipped a crossing gate to prevent right hooks.

      Recommended Thumb up 0

    • Avatar
      Paul Cone September 26, 2016 at 3:26 pm

      Have you made any donations to someone on or running for City Council lately?

      Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Adam H.
    Adam H. September 23, 2016 at 12:03 pm

    They can’t just let the public think it’s permissible to place unsanctioned items in the middle of a street.

    But somehow deadly cars that are responsible for 30,000 needless deaths a year are considered a “sanctioned item”?

    Recommended Thumb up 0

    • Avatar
      paikiala September 23, 2016 at 1:51 pm

      Adam,
      Actually, yes, cars using the public rights of way, like cyclists, or pedestrians, are sanctioned objects.

      Recommended Thumb up 0

      • Avatar
        Tom Hardy September 23, 2016 at 3:03 pm

        cyclists and pedestrians are sanctioned targets for motorists texting on their phones.

        Recommended Thumb up 0

      • Avatar
        BB September 23, 2016 at 3:49 pm

        Cars using public right of way in an illegal manner are not sanctioned objects, in any way or interpretation.

        Recommended Thumb up 0

      • Avatar
        Dan A September 23, 2016 at 8:17 pm

        Noorah was an unsanctioned driver operating with a suspended license.

        Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Avatar
    bikeninja September 23, 2016 at 12:05 pm

    How come PBOT never has any trouble finding the budget money to fund the removal of guerrilla traffic calming materials but are always constrained when it comes to small changes that would improve safety for vulnerable road users.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

    • Avatar
      paikiala September 23, 2016 at 1:53 pm

      Bn,
      examples please.
      The illegally placed objects, unlike the designed and legal objects, represent a liability to the taxpayers of Portland. Not removing them exposes the city to liability, particularly if the city knows they could decrease safety.

      Recommended Thumb up 0

      • Adam H.
        Adam H. September 23, 2016 at 1:54 pm

        And a dangerous street somehow isn’t a liability to the “taxpayers of Portland”?

        Recommended Thumb up 0

        • Avatar
          Eric Leifsdad September 24, 2016 at 7:26 pm

          Is the city being sued about Fallon’s death? It should be liable — isn’t taking responsibility for designing safe roads a key part of Vision Zero?

          Recommended Thumb up 0

          • Avatar
            paikiala September 26, 2016 at 12:37 pm

            Eric,
            Expecting the citizens of Portland to be liable for every illegal use of the roadway is going to get expensive pretty quick. Most, if not all, of the roads in Portland could be better, but so could the enforcement, the user knowledge, the laws, etc….

            Recommended Thumb up 0

            • Avatar
              Eric Leifsdad September 26, 2016 at 8:13 pm

              If it’s dangerous, we better shut it down.

              Recommended Thumb up 0

      • Avatar
        johnr September 23, 2016 at 5:19 pm

        Does the city know that they decrease safety?! How do they know this? I’m not a traffic engineer, but that area feels inherently safer now.

        Recommended Thumb up 0

        • Avatar
          paikiala September 26, 2016 at 12:34 pm

          John,
          The Zegeer report is the first study relied upon. It tells you where marking crosswalks increased collisions and where marking crosswalks appeared to have no effect. The width of Hawthorne and speed and volume of traffic indicate marking crosswalks alone would increase the likelihood of a collision.
          NCHPR 562 is the next step. It describes treatments to enhance crossings based on traffic speed, volume, street width and pedestrian use. The resulting output describes what to install for a variety of pedestrian ranges.
          Hawthorne is recommended for refuge islands ($) or rapid flash beacons ($$) if crosswalks are to be marked.

          Recommended Thumb up 0

      • Avatar
        J_R September 23, 2016 at 6:00 pm

        A few years ago some people in my neighborhood placed their own NO PARKING signs directed at parkers using a particular institution a block or two away. The signs, which appear to have been made by someone familiar with the MUTCD, stated “No xxxx parking in this block.” (where xxxx was the name of the establishment.

        I complained to the city immediately because it was clearly illegal. PBOT gave the offending property owners thirty days to remove the illegal signs.

        Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Avatar
    Dan A September 23, 2016 at 12:06 pm

    Forcing them to drive more slowly? That sounds unbearable. Sheesh.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Avatar
    rainbike September 23, 2016 at 12:14 pm

    So, PBOT is required to take some complaints seriously, acting on them, and other complaints can be ignored? How do I make sure that my complaints about bicycle and pedestrian safety issues get put in the “serious” pile?

    Recommended Thumb up 0

    • Avatar
      paikiala September 23, 2016 at 1:53 pm

      rb,

      What makes you think they are not?

      Recommended Thumb up 0

      • Avatar
        J_R September 23, 2016 at 6:04 pm

        We see things being done. The city endorses a concept called Vision Zero, establishes a task force, creates a website, holds media events, and congratulates itself on doing something. We’re thrilled at the progress! Can’t wait for the second annual report congratulating ourselves on progress.

        Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Avatar
    Lester Burnham September 23, 2016 at 12:15 pm

    Put in a concrete island, set the speed to 20 mph, and put in radar cameras. Done.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

    • Avatar
      Alan 1.0 September 23, 2016 at 12:39 pm

      Yeah. When I read, “Brady said they are planning a statement…” all I could think is that it better be a very concrete statement, as in slaked lime and aggregate.

      Recommended Thumb up 0

    • Avatar
      paikiala September 23, 2016 at 1:55 pm

      LB,
      Fixed radar cameras are not permitted on Hawthorne – the law is pretty specific.
      the other items are permissible. the islands cost about $20k per crosswalk.

      Recommended Thumb up 0

      • Avatar
        Lester Burnham September 23, 2016 at 2:42 pm

        Is there a specific reason for that? Appearance or something? Just curious.

        Recommended Thumb up 0

        • Avatar
          soren September 26, 2016 at 11:56 am

          1) Fixed speed cameras are illegal except for limited “test” installations on designated high-crash corridors (in Portland these are mostly ODOT-controlled roads).
          2) Lowering speed limits requires approval from ODOT via a highly bureaucratic process. Moreover, ODOT is typically unwilling to lower speed limits because it tends to prioritize motorist convenience over the safety of human beings.

          Recommended Thumb up 0

          • Avatar
            paikiala September 26, 2016 at 12:39 pm

            the fixed photo enforcement can only be used on the worst of the worst streets. this segment of Hawthorne has had relatively few crashes.
            Business 20 mph zones are statutory and a jurisdiction can post them so long as a speed order does not exist for the roadway.

            Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Avatar
    mran1984 September 23, 2016 at 12:32 pm

    It’s not the evil car. It is people. There are too many people. People run over other people, not cars. I live in this neighborhood. The thousands of people who keep arriving are not an improvement in any way. The only calm traffic is less of it. People make the choices, not the tools.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

    • Avatar
      Lester Burnham September 23, 2016 at 1:34 pm

      If Tom McCall could see what we’ve become…

      Recommended Thumb up 0

    • Avatar
      bikeninja September 23, 2016 at 1:49 pm

      Major technologies are not neutral, they shape our societies and the people who use them. The private automobile technology creates within its users an isolated us vs them mentality as opposed to cooperation. It puts its users in an isolation chamber causing them to be seperated from others and to view those outside as intruders. It creates the illusion within its users that getting to a destination fast is all important and anything which impedes this goal is to be derided. It is the ultimate tool of late stage market capitalism where everything is turned in to dollars signs, including time and lives. The automobile by itself is neutral, but in the hands of humans it creates a disfunctional and destructive symbiosis.

      Recommended Thumb up 0

      • Avatar
        dan September 23, 2016 at 8:31 pm

        I am in Mexico City now and I notice that when someone walks across the street in front of a motorist, the motorist slows down. It’s not just technology that’s the issue, our culture of entitlement is a huge (yuuge) part of the problem.

        Recommended Thumb up 0

      • Avatar
        Alex September 24, 2016 at 7:24 am

        Actually, major technologies are neutral. It is how we choose to use them and the dialogues that surround them that dictate how those major technologies influence our lives.

        Recommended Thumb up 0

    • Avatar
      nuovorecord September 23, 2016 at 4:10 pm

      Cities should welcome people, their ideas, their energy, their talents, their capital. Those are all things we need more of and should encourage. I’d rather see more people in Portland than cars. So maybe it’s time to start congestion pricing and getting serious about putting the proper pricing on auto use in heavily congested cities?

      Recommended Thumb up 0

      • Avatar
        rachel b September 23, 2016 at 7:16 pm

        You absolutely can have too many people. Too many people have made formerly pleasant life here decidedly unpleasant for many of us. I’m with you all the way on congestion pricing, though.

        Recommended Thumb up 0

    • Avatar
      TonyJ September 23, 2016 at 4:46 pm

      So let us get SERIOUS about getting people out of their cars. Most folks won’t really get behind this because it might lead to a need for personal sacrifice so we have calls, like this, to let the people already living here carry on as they always have and, hey, screw everyone else!

      Much of the traffic on our close-in streets is from people driving through from farther out. Fighting development in Richmond or Sunnyside will probably lead to more traffic than building more housing and actually making drivers pay the social cost of their habit/need (via parking, gas, and congestion charges).

      I found the several arguments I heard blaming these traffic tragedies on “density” to be baseless and tasteless.

      Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Avatar
    lop September 23, 2016 at 12:45 pm

    >Based on conversations with various sources, it appears PBOT is caught between a rock and hard place. They understand why the cones and flowers and signs are there and they sympathize with the community about the need for a safer Hawthorne — but they also have to consider laws and politics. They can’t just let the public think it’s permissible to place unsanctioned items in the middle of a street.

    Then PBOT should approach the family and ask for any input they have to offer on the design of a memorial to be placed on the permanent PBOT engineer approved pedestrian refuge that will be going in as soon as weather permits.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Avatar
    Spiffy September 23, 2016 at 12:51 pm

    “They can’t just let the public think it’s permissible to place unsanctioned items in the middle of a street.”

    I agree… and those unsanctioned items are speeding motor vehicles! get them off the road, NOW!

    Recommended Thumb up 0

    • Avatar
      paikiala September 23, 2016 at 1:57 pm

      Cars being driven are sanctioned, just as are bikes being ridden and shoes being walked.

      Recommended Thumb up 0

      • Avatar
        bikeninja September 23, 2016 at 2:39 pm

        But if you read Spiffys comment carefully you will see he said “Speeding” motor vehicles on the street. I take this to mean vehicles being operated above the legal speed limit which means by definition that they are not sanctioned if driven this way.

        Recommended Thumb up 0

        • Avatar
          Dan A September 23, 2016 at 8:18 pm

          Unsanctioned drivers should be removed from their vehicles.

          Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Avatar
    Alan Love September 23, 2016 at 12:52 pm

    I think PBOT should be commended (for once) for it’s inaction thus far. The fact that the memorial and several impromptu crosswalks haven’t been so much as touched after several weeks says something. PBOT’s reaction thus far has been quite different from what ODOT might do in a similar situation (see K’Tesh’s saga with the storm grates on Barbur – ODOT immediately blamed Jim for supposedly increasing the danger). Let’s remember they are a part of the bureaucracy, and can’t immediately change infrastructure to everyone’s liking. If this was ODOT’s turf, it would have been removed the next day. The memorial has sent a message, and for a whopping 2 blocks, most drivers do indeed slow down. Drivers are actually occasionally yielding for people crossing in the newly marked crosswalks. I’m quite optimistic that PBOT will make some changes here after seeing how things have changed. PS, I don’t work for PBOT.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Avatar
    Spiffy September 23, 2016 at 12:57 pm

    impeding their travel? no, it’s an extra lane that doesn’t even need to be there… we could remove the entire lane and it wouldn’t impede their travel any more than the car going the speed limit in front of them or the pedestrian they have to stop to let cross the street…

    forcing them to drive more slowly? YES!!! that’s entirely the point! no argument there, it’s a good argument to leave it as it is…

    inherently unsafe? who are these people that think all center medians with vegetation are unsafe? and why are they still driving?

    PBOT needs to stop taking these selfish driver complaints seriously if they ever want to make things better… it’s ok to tell your citizens that they’re wrong… actually, that’s why they elected you…

    Recommended Thumb up 0

    • Avatar
      paikiala September 23, 2016 at 1:58 pm

      Spiffy,
      Which selfish complaints should they take seriously?

      Recommended Thumb up 0

      • Avatar
        Austin September 23, 2016 at 2:44 pm

        whichever ones that have to do with consideration for other humans.

        Recommended Thumb up 0

    • Avatar
      Mossby Pomegranate September 25, 2016 at 8:39 am

      Actually the center median with vegetation on MLK *is* unsafe at the intersection of Going and MLK. The height of the vegetation impedes sight lines up MLK when you are trying to cross it.

      Recommended Thumb up 0

      • Avatar
        paikiala September 27, 2016 at 11:05 am

        The vegetation was cut back to the tree and the median filled with concrete to remove the sight line issues. People crossing at Going and MLK only have to concentrate on one direction of traffic at a time, not both, because of the median. It is only the westbound people crossing for which the former island vegetation might have posed an issue.

        Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Avatar
    Bikeninja September 23, 2016 at 1:22 pm

    The real reason for the complaints is that deep in thier subconscious these drivers feel guilty for their destructive and wasteful choice of transportation and this memorial reminds of that.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Avatar
    Todd Hudson September 23, 2016 at 1:27 pm

    “forcing them to drive more slowly”

    those. poor. people.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

    • Avatar
      nuovorecord September 23, 2016 at 4:11 pm

      The horror…

      Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Avatar
    bikeninja September 23, 2016 at 1:54 pm

    The most ridiculous part of this whole thing is the caller who claimed,

    “And about how the City of Portland is giving too much influence to bicyclists and pedestrians.”

    If those darned bicyclists and pedestrians keep getting their way, soon an entire 2% of the transportation grid will exclusively devoted to cycling and walking and we can’t have that.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

    • Adam H.
      Adam H. September 23, 2016 at 1:59 pm

      Well, to someone who thinks that bicyclists and pedestrians should have zero influence, I suppose how I can see that even the tiny scraps we get could be considered “too much”.

      Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Avatar
    Tim September 23, 2016 at 1:54 pm

    Good to see that the memorial traffic calming is having an affect on drivers.

    A little off topic, but does anyone know anything about the status of the criminal case against Abdulrahman Noorah? I understand that a judge reduced bail over the objections of the DA and the Saudi Embassy bailed him out. Is he still in the County?

    Recommended Thumb up 0

    • Avatar
      Tom Hardy September 23, 2016 at 3:17 pm

      Last I heard he was out of the country heading home in a private jet before midnight when he was released.

      Recommended Thumb up 0

      • Avatar
        David September 23, 2016 at 3:31 pm

        Source?

        Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Avatar
    stephan September 23, 2016 at 1:59 pm

    so here PBOT has to consider the law but when it comes to enforcing speed limits — or not enforcing these — they consider other factors? Sounds to me their primary factor for deciding which law to enforce and which one not is convenience of car drivers.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

    • Avatar
      paikiala September 26, 2016 at 12:42 pm

      Stephan,
      PBOT does not enforce law, that is the police bureau.

      Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Avatar
    kittens September 23, 2016 at 2:14 pm

    Super mixed feelings about all of this.

    For me, the issue comes down to the following two lines of reasoning.

    In favor:
    1: Were this not an attractive young white woman, in a liberal neighborhood, would the reaction be similar? Is that fair?

    2: The ROW is a public asset and should not be appropriated by ANY particular cause no matter how laudable such efforts.

    3: Roads have fairly uniform standards which permit safe passage by remaining predicable.

    4: If citizens are able to redesign roads at-will, why are we employing a huge redundant organization PBOT for exactly same purpose?

    5:This is a distraction and all neighborhoods’ traffic concerns should be treated fairly regardless of affluence or activism.

    Points in favor:
    These actions positively affirm the community’s response to a tragedy, raise awareness of a problem and empower citizen involvement in shaping their city. The city has proven slow to react to prior calls for action and this citizen lead initiative forces government accountability.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

    • Avatar
      kittens September 23, 2016 at 2:18 pm

      too bad I cant edit it

      Recommended Thumb up 0

    • Avatar
      KYouell September 26, 2016 at 12:19 pm

      Regarding your first point, I agree. I’ve been disappointed to see that the crowdfunding page for the young man that was hit in NoPo but survived and has huge medical bills hasn’t been seeing the same kind of donations as Fallon Smart’s fund did. Heck, we donated and and have been reminding people they should on social media and *I* can’t remember his name.

      Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Avatar
    JeffS September 23, 2016 at 5:04 pm

    Obviously it can’t stay like this forever. Blaming the removal on some complaining a-holes is a cop out and largely dishonest.

    Oddly enough, I had to explain why the flowers were there to my daughter last night as we were walking to East Side. We had talked about Fallon getting killed, but didn’t realize she hadn’t seen it. I pass by all the time, but usually when she’s in school.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Avatar
    pooperazzi September 23, 2016 at 5:19 pm

    Set up a tent in a public right-of-way or park, leave garbage, shoot drugs, and the police will leave you alone. But a memorial for a murdered teenager that helps to reduce the likelihood of it happening to other (non-driving) people? GTFO.

    When will this city get some real leadership? Our elected officials do not adequately represent their voters preferences

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Avatar
    ethan September 23, 2016 at 6:04 pm

    I can’t answer for rb, but I’ve personally had my complaints not taken seriously.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Avatar
    Robert Burchett September 23, 2016 at 7:53 pm

    Too bad all the available flower pots have been expended so once the memorial traffic calming device is gone, it’s back to regular programming 😉

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Avatar
    Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) September 23, 2016 at 11:41 pm

    UPDATE, 4:10 pm: PBOT has confirmed their intention to clear the intersection; but they will leave the rosswalk. Here’s the official statement:

    We will be restoring the center turn lane on Hawthorne. We have let the family know and we are working with them so they have the chance to take items that they would like to be part of a permanent memorial for Fallon. We also let the neighborhood associations know about our approach.

    None of this will affect the crosswalk.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

    • Avatar
      Mark September 25, 2016 at 3:45 pm

      Jonathan,

      Do you have any way to follow up on the status of the driver? I can see that bail was lowered from $1mil to $250k, and that he was released, but is he still in the country?

      Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Avatar
    Kyle Banerjee September 24, 2016 at 7:10 am

    Once Hawthorne is successfully slowed down, I look forward to all the complaints about the increased traffic on residential streets

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Avatar
    Eric Leifsdad September 24, 2016 at 8:21 am

    Spineless leaders “giving too much influence to bicyclists and pedestrians”, that’s what’s wrong with the world.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Lenny Anderson
    Lenny Anderson September 24, 2016 at 9:16 am

    This section of Hawthorne, between C. Chavez and 50th should have been put on a diet and restriped 20 years ago! There is plenty of room for a motorized travel lane in each direction, parking, wider sidewalks, not to mention bike lanes. This reallocation of ROW is what’s happening on Foster, right?
    Sad that auto commuters continue to dictate the use of public ROW, and kill innocents to boot!

    Recommended Thumb up 0

    • Avatar
      paikiala September 26, 2016 at 12:45 pm

      Lenny,
      is has already been changes from 4 lanes to three. Confused?

      Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Avatar
    still riding after all that September 24, 2016 at 3:02 pm

    Spiffy has captured the essence of the problem in just 2 words: “selfish driver”

    That describes many of today’s motorists. Not all, of course; I drive, and I am very careful and aware of cyclists (cuz I frequently am one), pedestrians (yes, I walk sometimes, too), and other cars/trucks/etc.

    The problem attitude is this: “I’m in a hurry, so the rest of you better get the F*** outta my way cuz I don’t care if I kill you.” That applies to people who drink and drive, drug and drive, or just drive like a-holes, especially the guy going 55+ in the middle lane on Hawthorne. Sadly, they are allowed – by our elected judges – to drive that way (even after their license gets suspended) and in many cases get away with killing or injuring other people.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

    • Avatar
      rachel b September 25, 2016 at 6:35 pm

      There is something that happens to a person when they get in a car and drive. I haven’t had a car for 3+ years now and had one ticket in my life prior to giving up the car. I could be characterized as a “good driver.” But I became an asshole when I drove a car. Not all the time, but often. Everyone else was witless, everyone was impeding me. I was definitely more careful than most, given the evidence, but that’s no comfort to me.

      I guess it’s the fact that you have way more power than any one person should have, in this mammoth, lethal projectile that’s been fashioned into something more like a living room on wheels than something you’re actually having to pilot around fragile beings. And the fact of that power doesn’t escape you, even if it’s not in the forefront of your mind.

      You have disproportionate power, and it’s all been made so easy for you, driving. I mean, you can pilot a car w/ one finger anymore. It rolls forward FOR you when you take the foot off the brake, It reverses for you when you take your foot off the brake. It even parks for you, in some cases, now. And you are unquestionably the “winner” in any face-off between you and bikes, you and peds, you and tinier vehicles.

      That’s why I favor mandatory old-timey cars–stick shifts, no power steering, manual everything (windows etc). Cars shouldn’t be so easy to drive, to tune out and “drive.” I know, I know–driverless cars are the future. Good for driving, maybe: but we’ll still have cars clogging up the world. And the pollution. That’s a discussion for another day, though.

      Anyway–it’s been interesting to notice I’m very different when I drive now, after three years carless. I think it’s partly because I enjoy going as slow as possible, and I take care to make sure I’m never in a hurry to get anywhere. Not so hard to do, shockingly.

      Recommended Thumb up 0

      • Avatar
        Kyle Banerjee September 26, 2016 at 4:40 pm

        How someone acts behind the wheel is personality dependent — when I’m riding with friends, only a few of them have ever displayed irritation or impatience with other drivers. One thing I noticed immediately when I moved here is that Portland drivers are the most chill and considerate I’ve encountered in US urban environments. While some certainly act as you describe, I often find myself wishing they’d be more aggressive with me when I’m on my bike and I know a number of other cyclists that feel the same.

        If you’re wondering why I’d want that, it’s that staying safe absolutely requires assuming that others will screw up. As soon as anyone does anything that indicates they may not be predictable, I have to be a lot more careful — which slows them down as well as me. Also, a lot more people can move through crowded environments if people push a bit don’t respond so slowly to lights, gaps, and the like.

        On a positive note, I find PDX drivers as a group are really good at communicating if you engage them directly via hand signal.

        BTW, if you want to go as slowly as possible, you need to drive — at least if you travel during rush hour. One of the many reasons I bike is that no other form of transport can touch it for speed in many areas of town, particularly during peak times.

        Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Avatar
    joel September 25, 2016 at 5:29 pm

    Ive been at 4019 se hawthorne for the last ten years. im pretty sure these people complaining should just move out of portland.

    I am so supportive of what is happening up the street. whoever is complaining id like to talk to you. id like to slow this entire street. id like to target my neighbors who are speeding and ignoring pedestrians.

    25mph is portlands- kind of best speed for neighborhoods. I think we all want to live and be in such a neighborhood. im not talking 25 signs and driving 30- but 25.

    Portland Police Bureau- i hope you are reading this. I would like you to stop at intersections for pedestrians as well. lead by example?

    I should have responded to STILL RIDING AFTER ALL- these people are licensed- sober, and maybe even your elected official- or the neighborhood organizer. its the people who live and work here who are driving without caring for others.

    the signs are awesome and make people rethink- fallons signs.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Avatar
    Randy September 25, 2016 at 8:05 pm
  • Avatar
    S. Brian Willson September 25, 2016 at 10:02 pm

    The most important policy Portland can implement toward Vision Zero is to change street designs that dramatically restrict speed using physical barriers literally obstruct capacity to drive fast. In addition, add more crosswalks with flashing lights initiated by the pedestrian, while constructing physically protected bike lanes that further narrow the streets now physically designed to slow traffic. Portland is not serious unless it is committed to making speed on Portland streets virtually impossible, while enhancing protected bike lanes everywhere.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

    • Avatar
      paikiala September 26, 2016 at 12:46 pm

      SBW,
      Please, don’t keep it to yourself. Tell us what this silver bullet looks like.

      Recommended Thumb up 0

      • Avatar
        Alan 1.0 September 26, 2016 at 8:06 pm

        Jeopardy! Who is Hans Monderman?

        Recommended Thumb up 0

        • Avatar
          paikiala September 27, 2016 at 11:01 am

          This Danish traffic engineer adopted chaos as a traffic calming tool by removing all traffic control signs and curbs in several town squares in Denmark, ushering in the concept of ‘shared space’.

          Recommended Thumb up 0

          • Avatar
            Alan 1.0 September 27, 2016 at 11:07 am

            Yes, and maybe a few other little details, too, but you know that.

            Lots of respect to you, paikiala, but not so much when you choose arguing snark with Brian W as when you actually put forward solutions.

            Recommended Thumb up 0

      • Avatar
        Eric Leifsdad September 26, 2016 at 8:15 pm

        It’s about 3ft tall, 10in in diameter, brightly painted, every 9ft or so.

        Recommended Thumb up 0

    • Avatar
      Kyle Banerjee September 26, 2016 at 2:42 pm

      Absolutely. Just because cops are rushing to a shooting, emergency vehicles are trying to reach or transport someone, or a regular citizen is trying to transport someone experiencing an emergency is no reason for them to selfishly drive less safely. Emergencies are pretty rare, so there’s no reason to build with them in mind…

      Part of the street design change needs to be to incorporate those gizmos that cause severe tire damage built right into the roadway to stop scofflaws who don’t do what they should. Or if we really want to get them out of their cars, configure the tire damage mechanisms so they’re always up and only bicycles can get through 😉

      Recommended Thumb up 0

      • Avatar
        paikiala September 26, 2016 at 3:22 pm

        Define ‘rare’.
        Your second paragraph is so bizarre, it implies all of your ideas are as poorly thought out.

        Recommended Thumb up 0

        • Avatar
          pruss2ny September 26, 2016 at 4:02 pm

          fwiw think that might be a touch of sarcasm in his 2nd, and 1st, paragraph responding to the blanket suggestion that we impede auto traffic throughout the city…as though there is never ever any good reason to be in a car, nor any reason to be able to go faster than, say, 15mph.

          Recommended Thumb up 0

          • Avatar
            Kyle Banerjee September 26, 2016 at 4:43 pm

            Exactly.

            That I can make such a ridiculous statement and it not be immediately obvious that I’m not serious speaks volumes about this place.

            Recommended Thumb up 0

            • Avatar
              paikiala September 27, 2016 at 10:56 am

              or about the range of commentators on this blog.

              Recommended Thumb up 0

              • Avatar
                Eric Leifsdad September 27, 2016 at 11:53 am

                broken records all of us.

                How much faster than the posted speed are emergency vehicles permitted to travel? At some point, excess speed is a risk to the responder, bystanders, and/or the person they’re trying to save. Trained professional drivers?

                See also retractable bollard. Making it harder for drivers to speed will save more lives than even these fictionally obstructed emergency vehicles.

                Recommended Thumb up 0

              • Avatar
                Kyle Banerjee September 27, 2016 at 12:18 pm

                I don’t think there is a limit. I swear the cops were going over 70mph on Denver just yesterday. I’ve seen them go fast in the area, but nothing like that before — the engines were running wide open. I was on the sidewalk, but found it a bit scary since it would be really hard to get out of the way had I been crossing and with that kind of speed, I’m not sure they’d necessarily see you.

                However, they get in a LOT of trouble if they hit someone, they’re specially trained, and it’s not like the cops are constantly mowing people down. I like to imagine they only do this when the threat posed by being slowed down is greater than the threat to public safety by this sort of driving, even if I personally sometimes find it unnerving.

                Recommended Thumb up 0

              • Avatar
                Kyle Banerjee September 27, 2016 at 12:28 pm

                Restricted emergency vehicles are a real problem. This is not a new issue.

                Though arguably, that often has to do with allowing people to park on both sides of narrow streets with only one relatively narrow lane through the center. Fire trucks occasionally can’t get through, but it’s hard for anyone.

                Emergency vehicles are a threat cyclists in multiple ways whether or not space is an issue. Even if you’re in a bike lane or shoulder, people look behind them at the vehicles with flashing lights as they pull over while still in motion (not necessarily checking for cyclists first). It’s super dangerous, particularly on highways when everyone is carrying a lot of speed.

                Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Avatar
    Zaphod September 26, 2016 at 5:51 pm

    I’m fairly certain my cargo bike could deliver new planters to that location.
    I might even fund this with the company and have it be a business expense. It truly is time we take back the streets. I’m not kidding

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Avatar
    Pablo September 26, 2016 at 8:16 pm

    The cross walk is a great start. Next I would recommend a speed bump of of concrete. Requires only a few minutes to build.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

    • Avatar
      paikiala September 27, 2016 at 10:55 am

      Pablo,
      you don’t work with concrete much.

      Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Avatar
    Todd Boulanger September 27, 2016 at 4:08 pm

    Perhaps it would be a good site for a refuge island AND bike corral.

    (The City of London installs center median bike corrals when curbside space is limited…such as the one on the Kensington High Street near Holland Park.)
    https://www.google.com/maps/@51.4993991,-0.1972016,112m/data=!3m1!1e3

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Avatar