It all started on the evening of March 30th.
Brian Duncan, the former chair of the Arbor Lodge Neighborhood Association, was hit while trying to bike across North Rosa Parks Way at Greeley. He’s now paralyzed from the neck down. Then at the same intersection just three months later, Diana Miller-Dixon died after someone ran a red light and crashed into her car. Then two months after that on August 30th, and just two blocks away, Stanley Grochowski was walking in a crosswalk when he was hit by someone driving a car. Grochowski died from his injuries 10 days later on September 9th and police are still looking for the person that ran into him.
These tragic and violent acts committed by people driving dangerously on neighborhood streets have forever altered the lives of Brian Duncan and the families that Diana Miller-Dixon and Stanley Grochowski left behind.
And they’ve also filled residents of this usually quiet and family-oriented neighborhood with anger, fear, and sadness.
This Thursday night the Arbor Lodge Neighborhood Association is hosting a vigil for Grochowski — a man who was homeless and had very few connections to local family or the community at large. Neighbors also want to bring attention to these safety issues.
Christopher Jones is trying to work at a neighborhood level to raise the profile of these incidents and make changes that will lead to safer streets for he and his growing family. “But change is slow going,” he shared with us in a recent email.
All three of these crashes happened on N Greeley Avenue, a busy corridor that’s a main conduit to Arbor Lodge Park and Chief Joseph Elementary School.
Thursday night’s event will take place at 6:00 near the crosswalk on Greeley at Bryant. Here’s the description from the neighborhood’s Facebook page:
Please come and show your support for safe streets, honor this man who was killed by a hit and run driver, and bring a sign. We will have some signs asking folks to slow down, to look, some saying, “this was preventable”. But bring your own too!
We will stay for 30 minutes. Please join your neighbors in the visible show of support for safer streets and to honor this man who died.
All over Portland neighbors are rallying together to reclaim their streets from dangerous driving. The city and advocates are doing their part to help, but change isn’t happening fast enough.
If you live, work or ride in this north Portland neighborhood please consider showing up and get involved to make things better.
— Jonathan Maus, (503) 706-8804 – firstname.lastname@example.org
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Got no-signal left-hooked by a minivan pulling into the New Seasons on N. Williams last week. He “didn’t see me” even though he had just passed me two seconds previous. Thankfully he only murdered my bike and bruised my collarbone.
Drivers really need to start assuming some of their responsibilities out there, for I am seriously getting tired of almost getting killed by people who can even bother to use their blinkers in this town.
Just wondering….will the driver pay for your replacement bike…or did the driver simply apologize and drive off?
I always tense up a bit on Williams when I am biking around that New Seasons.
that is my least favorite section of williams whether I am driving or cycling.
As long as they were insured and it was their fault, their insurance should cover the cost of replacing the bike.
Source: I have been hit and had my bike replaced.
if you aren’t hurt the insurance company is quick to pay off damage to the bike in order to settle the claim… it’s small change compared to their driver hitting another car…
I drive and/or bike this stretch of road daily. Something about it makes vision tough. The cross-walks are way too dark and its hard to see much until you are right up on them. I always slow way down when approaching them but not everyone does. Greeley should be avoided on bike except for crossing the street.
Approaching Greeley on Rosa Parks from the west you are certain to have to be careful with cars trying to turn right. Approaching from the east, you have a LOT of cars crossing the bike lane to make a right. I’ve never had a problem there but its a high risk crossing.
I am afraid that just asking the ” extreme deviant” drivers to slow down is not enough. We need concrete physical changes to the streets, low speed limits and strict enforcement to put a stop to the deadly wave of joyriding, distracted driving,and motorized violence that has plagued the land since the days of Henry Ford.
At minimum there needs to be a button for pedestrian/bike crossing at this intersection that gives drivers a red light with no turn on red while bikes and peds are crossing Greeley.
I’m thinking about starting a go fund me to fund my efforts of filing citizen citations and start going after people where it hurts, their pocket book!.
Have you managed to successfully see any of these citations through to the end? I’d love to hear about your experience. For me, this seems a more theoretical than practical exercise.
I have not tried yet, I’m just now working on my first one after a guy rolled coal on people on the hawthorne bridge yesterday. I have so many photos and videos of aggressive driving I figured it was time to try something new. Time and money has always detoured me from wanting to file citations myself.
if I knew how to get grant money for this sort of thing I’d already have a non-profit set up and be working on it full-time…
Greeley probably could use a light at Bryant. I pass through that intersection two or three times a day and there are a lot of people that use that crossing to get to the park.
Cars tend to go through this area of Greeley pretty fast and often don’t stop for peds. Not sure why they behave worse here than most places, especially with the park right there.
Thanks for the heads up on this, Jonathan. I’ll be there with my son, who commutes across Greeley twice a day to get to Chief Joseph. Unfortunately, one large issue for speed on these streets (Denver included) is that they serve as cut-throughs for Vancouver residents who work downtown and wish to avoid I-5. This isn’t the only issue, of course, but it’s a complicating factor on streets that are already designed for cars to go entirely too fast for their surroundings.
Slight correction – 2 of the accidents happened on Greeley, one happened on Rosa Parks (although very close to Greeley!).
I have lived in this neighborhood for a number of years and the traffic down Greeley is pretty bad, but the traffic down Lombard is _really_ bad. I would love to see some changes to that street.
Lombard is horrible… if we could strip it of it’s Hwy 30B status then maybe we could do a complete redesign and bring it down to 20-25 mph…
The solution is obviously for Commissioner Novick to have more media events where he talks about drivers needing to exercise more personal responsibility.
that’s about all your going to get since PPB isn’t going to be ticketing motorists anymore in case they might be accused of profiling them…as what? speeders? scofflaws that fail to yield the right of way or signal their intentions?
Unfortunately the standard motorist response is “I did not see him/her/you!” This is especially the no ticket excuse to policemen as they WILL NOT WRITE A TICKET with this one. No matter how neglegent the motorist. even witnesses are not accepted by the PPB. It remains to be seen if camera’s with face shots as the collision is happening will work.
A single lane modern roundabout would fit at Rosa Parks and Greeley with only minor right of way needed at the NW corner.
The one at SW Palater/Terwilliger is the size I’m thinking, and it serves about 11,000 trips per day. This intersection has closer to 25,000 per day, so it would have to be well thought out.
Sounds nice, and expensive. Let’s just close the street until we come up with the money.
Roundabouts are good for moving vehicles efficiently, not so great for peds or cyclists who aren’t really comfortable in traffic. Speeds on Rosa and Greeley are comparable to Palater/Terwilliger but there’s a lot more ped and bike traffic.
Your statement is a common myth. Modern roundabouts are designed to the target speed of 15-20 mph in the circular roadway. These speeds are much easier for pedestrians and cyclists to work with. All modern roundabouts have splitter islands that break the crossing into two phases, a very safe layout, particularly for our youngest and oldest pedestrians.
Modern roundabouts usually accommodate cyclists in one of two ways (often both). Either leaving the roadway and using a wide shared path on the outside, or merging with traffic and riding around like a motorist would.
I’m not sure you can say there is more pedestrian or bike use at Greeley/Rosa Parks than at Palater/Terwilliger. Palater/Terwilliger is the Lewis and Clark College roundabout and the main path between the main campus and the law school. 2011 pedestrian counts found peaks of 50-80 per hour.
One correction though, the 2016 entering vehicle count at Palater/Terwilliger was in excess of 15,000 vehicles.
The ped and bike situation is very different near L&C than at Rosa and Greeley. At Rosa and Greeley, most of the traffic continues on the same road meaning you have to cross traffic on a busy road that’s moving through.
Palater and Terwilleger has only 3 roads connected, the lion’s share of the peds and bikes don’t need to cross anything, and when bikes are going up the hill, they don’t have to worry about crossing a busy lane of traffic.
I ride both of these areas and it’s no skin off my nose since I’m happy in traffic and love avoiding stoplights. But a roundabout would be harder to navigate for most people than many intersections people here complain about.
Riding in a roundabout isn’t bad at all… speeds are generally low, and since passing isn’t a thing, just take the lane and go for it.
The lion’s share of pedestrians at Lewis and Clark cross the SE leg – Terwilliger to LO, which is also the majority path of the auto traffic.
At Rosa Parks/Greeley, most of the Greeley traffic is to or from the west leg of Rosa Parks.
Part of the problem at RP/Greeley is the back ups caused by it being one of the few split-phase intersections in the city for the N-S movements.
I agree the ped use is different and would bet the north Portland intersection has no where near the peak pedestrian use the SW intersection does.
I don’t agree that direction of travel, or majority flow, has so much impact, since the speed at a roundabout is so much slower most of the time compared to a full speed green signal.
I totally agree that riding roundabouts is no big deal — I personally like them. The Palater/Terwilliger one can be taken at full speed if there are no cars in the way, and there usually aren’t.
But given how much trouble people here have with simple right turn lanes, I seriously doubt we won’t have tons of hand wringing if a roundabout is put in that location because bikes and cars would actually have to work together.
I witnessed horrible driving here just last week. I was driving my car on N. Greeley near Bryant and I stopped for a pedestrian (a Mom with a little kid on a skoot bike) waiting to cross Greeley at the corner intersection. The approaching car stopped also. The mom turned to get her kid moving, and I watched in horror in my rear view mirror as the car approaching me from behind sped up, swerved around me, passed my stopped car on the right, and zoomed on down Greeley. Luckily the pedestrians had only just stepped into the street when this happened and were on the left side of the road, so they were still 15 feet away from the speeding car in the other lane. A horrifying thing to witness this near miss. Ridiculous driving behavior.
I suspect there is a lot more impaired driving than we’d like to acknowledge. Last Friday, a van came up on the sidewalk on Interstate to pass a car on the right. I was only about 10′ behind in the bike lane at the time.
why do you think they were driving impaired? it could just as easily been deliberate, what do you think the spread in Las Vegas would be on this?
Let’s see — a driver acts totally erratic and does something that less than 1 in 100,000 would do.
This stuff is only confusing to people on BP. No wonder you guys have so many troubles with cars.
When driving and stopping for a pedestrian who is crossing, I put on my 4-way emergency flashers, and if possible stick my hand out to flag the drivers in the lane to my left. It sometimes seems to help.
When I stop for pedestrians, I invariably get passed by multiple bicycles.
“Gee, I wonder why that car is stopped at that crosswalk. I’ll just speed up and swerve around them.”
Actually cross street was at N. Buffalo and N Greeley. Bryant has the curb bump outs which prevents this right hand passing of stopped cars, but Buffalo doesn’t.
I have been helping neighbors along that stretch of Greeley sign up for PBOT’s Vision Zero Sign Lender program, and we talked to several neighbors who shared stories of people plowing through the crosswalk on the wrong side of the median because they didn’t want to wait for a bus or pedestrian. All of the people we talked to along N Greeley had a story of their car, tree, telephone pole, etc. being taken out by hit and run type behavior, drag racing and fear of the street in front of their house. Our neighborhood association doesn’t have very many transportation-savvy volunteers with a lot of time on their hands at this point. We do want to see change and would love help from anyone who has some time and expertise to help us with strategy!
I got hit at the intersection on Rosa Parks and Greely on April 9th. I was heading east through the light on Rosa Parks and a driver turned left onto Greely right into me. He hit my back wheel and sent me spawling and I was able to walk away largely unscathed. Driver stopped, I waived a police officer over who was driving by and the driver gave me his insurance card while the officer watched. The insurance ended up being over 5 months expired and I have not received a single cent from the driver. The police officer has not been much help. I was a few feet from being killed, I refuse to ride Rosa Parks now, Ainsworth is much safer.
the cop is a dick if he won’t help you, the motorist was basically uninsured, expired insurance is as good as no insurance as far as the law is concerned.
Call a lawyer ASAP. I suggest Ray Thomas or Mark Ginsberg markjginsberg attt yahoo.com
There’s no way to come out whole in this. You could try suing for damages and legal expenses, but you might wind up just losing money.
I don’t know that Ainsworth is better than Rosa. Drivers like that can cause trouble anywhere.
Thanks for covering this, Jonathan!
Arbor Lodge is working toward safer streets for everyone. We’ve had some horrible events this year, but I’m thankful that we’re organizing to make things better. Anyone interested in joining the discussion is welcome to. Check out https://groups.google.com/forum/#!forum/team-lodge-traffic-safety
Also, all credit for the vigil is due to Ginger Edwards and Katy Asher. While it’s been a team effort in Arbor Lodge to improve safety, they’ve particularly been leading the charge. I’m really proud to have them as neighbors.
I’m looking forward to meeting folks at the vigil. See you there.
Is your neighborhood group looking at the situation on N. Willamette, between Killingsworth and Rosa Parks? This is the slow /curvy winding part that is isolated from traffic by the “no right turn” sign on Rosa Park. This street is a popular spot for biking and walking. There are a lot of illegal right turns on Willamette, as well as much “cut-through” traffic on Villard and Curtis of folks trying to avoid the back up traffic on Greeley for a few blocks. These cut-through drivers tend to speed through this area and not pay attention to peds and bikes.
Need a diverter on Villard, maybe on Curtis, also. Maybe just some signs for people to slow down and pass only when it’s safe.
‘speed through’? over the bumps?
it’s more of the unsafe passing through all the curves. with a parked car on one side, a cyclist moving at 10 – 14 mph in the lane, a person walking their dog in the road or joggers, and cars wanting to overtake the cyclist through all this congestion on a curve. Cars probably not speeding, technically, but racing around vulnerable road users at clearly congested areas and performing unsafe passing. Plus just failing to look both ways at the stop signs before they turn – it’s kind of a driver mentality that everyone is heading one direction during rush hour, so as you turn, you only need to look one way. But, many joggers, walkers, and bikers are using this road. Clearly, >90% of the drivers are just cutting traffic around 8 blocks of backup on Greeley.
Bald One – I like on Curtis, and bike along the Willamette Bluff each morning. Your spot on. It’s such a dangerous place with drivers using it to avoid Greeley. Because they’re driving along there to cut off 30 seconds or so, they’re already prone to impatience. Some are cruising at 35 or 40 MPH in the morning (despite the speed bumps), where 20 MPH – especially given bikes, joggers, dogs each – should be the max.
“live” on Curtis
2 more North Portland crashes in the last year a few blocks from my house.
a) Add RIP Nicholas Horsey Greeley and Lombard 11 months ago. Less than a mile from where Dianna and Stanley were killed. A witness said the DUI driver was going 50mph.
b) about 12 months ago. A student (name not released) was legally crossing in a crosswalk when a bus honked at her. A car that had the legal obligation to stop did not. The city removed the bus stop because crossing Lombard at Oatman is so dangerous.
Another North Portland pedestrian hit recently. Bradley Esperanza Trujillo
I live near Greeley directly on Rosa Parks. In the mornings it can often take 5 to 10 minutes to wait for an empty space in traffic just to back out of the driveway, and often times another car will be coming around the corner from Willamette, see that I am backing out of the drive way then speed up right behind me, visibly cursing at me until they turn off onto Greeley. Also, I often walk my daughter to Chief Joseph. Being on the south side of Rosa Parks, we need to cross both Rosa Parks and Greeley to get to school. Villard is listed on the safe routes to school as the nearest recommended place to cross Rosa Parks but the actual intersection is circled as being very difficult. No one wants to stop for pedestrians on Rosa Parks if there is not a signal. Even at the Willamette/Rosa Parks crosswalk where the speed tracking sign tells people to slow down, no one wants to stop. I constantly hear vehicles speed up when either turning from Greeley or Willamette on to Rosa Parks. The traffic between Rosa Parks and Lombard increased dramatically over the summer while there was work being done on Willamette which seems to left off a little but has put more traffic back on Rosa Parks. As far as the light at Greeley and Rosa Parks, the lanes create too many situations in which drivers can’t see pedestrians crossing. Heading east on Rosa Parks and turning left on to Greeley, a driver can get a green light (there is no turn signal) while the pedestrian gets a walk signal. Drivers are not looking for pedestrians when in that situation, they are just trying to make it through the light. This is what I have observed over the last couple of years.
These spots are along my jogging route and my experience reflects these observations.
There are a lot of people out here and there are not non car options that most would find viable. The closest MAX is miles away on Interstate, buses take forever, and the distances a lot of people have to cover are intimidating to people who aren’t dedicated cyclists (and the hill is a bonus)
Commuter traffic, especially when people have been all plugged up can get a little aggressive. If you take Greeley to Interstate by bike, traffic can get heavy and you sometimes have to ride pretty assertively to keep the traffic taking the I-5 ramp from cutting you off.
I’m sure there’s a better way to mellow things out and make it easier for people to cross, but I’m also sure that if traffic is just plugged up, all this traffic would do is filter as fast as it could down narrow neighborhood streets.