PBOT will install permanent crosswalk and median island at site of Fallon Smart’s death

Posted by on October 17th, 2016 at 10:46 am

Coming soon: A permanent refuge island and crosswalk installed by the City of Portland.
(Photo: Paul Jeffery)

Ending weeks of emotional back-and-forth between transportation reform activists, neighbors and the City of Portland; the Bureau of Transportation confirmed with us this morning they plan to install a permanent crosswalk and a median island on Southeast Hawthorne Boulevard at 43rd.

This is the intersection 15-year-old Fallon Smart was walking across on August 19th when a man recklessly and illegally drove his car into her and killed her. It’s also a stretch of Hawthorne that local residents and business owners have complained about for many years; because despite being a bustling main street filled with popular destinations there are no marked crosswalks for eight full blocks (between 41st and 48th).

Just days after Smart was hit the community made a presence at this intersection with their own bodies and a variety of objects. They had one goal: Slow people down so that a tragedy like this never happens again. The intersection became filled with a mix of memorial items like flowers, signs and photos; and guerrilla traffic-calming devices like a orange traffic cones and an unsanctioned crosswalk. The center turn lane used by Abdulrahman Noorah to speed passed someone who had stopped to let Smart cross was effectively closed.

“”It has taken time and unfortunately a terrible tragedy happened in that time, but the action they plan to take now will save lives in the future.”
— Katherine White, works at a nearby business

After about a month had passed and the city felt Smart’s family and the community had time to grieve, they decided to clear the intersection and re-open the center turn lane. Sources we spoke to from the Sunnyside Neighborhood Association said the City received complaints from some Hawthorne Blvd users that the unsanctioned closure and objects were making the road unsafe.

PBOT’s plans did not sit well with people who are tired of the speeding and dangerous driving on Hawthorne — especially in a city that has committed to Vision Zero and has a Livable Streets Strategy that aims to make public roads more than just places to speed through in cars.

We published a letter from an employee of a nearby business who implored the city to keep the memorial up until a permanent solution could be installed. “The memorial is making a difference,” wrote Katherine White of One With Heart, a martial arts studio. “Cars are no longer racing down the street at 40 miles an hour… Isn’t it sometimes worthwhile to let go of policy and procedure, to step outside the bureaucratic road blocks and just do the right thing?”

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On October 6th, PBOT removed all the memorial items and restored the center turn lane.

All the while PBOT staff had been meeting with Sunnyside Neighborhood Association board members to respond to their safety concerns. This morning we received an email from White that included a forwarded message to her from an SNA member. “PBOT is proposing a permanent crosswalk with a median at Hawthorne & 43rd to be constructed over the coming month.”

We reached out to PBOT to confirm the news and heard back from spokesperson John Brady. “We proposed a crosswalk with a pedestrian island for the intersection.”

Brady didn’t release a timeline but said since the work could be done by in-house PBOT crews it could, “start fairly quickly.” A final design needs to be hashed out and SNA members are meeting this week to go over the proposal.

White is thrilled that the City is acting so fast.

“I am so happy that PBOT is finally listening to us, following through and working with the neighborhood to make Hawthorne safer,” she shared with us via email. “It has taken time and unfortunately a terrible tragedy happened in that time, but the action they plan to take now will save lives in the future.”

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

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135 Comments
  • Avatar
    rick October 17, 2016 at 10:54 am

    yes

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  • Adam H.
    Adam H. October 17, 2016 at 10:57 am

    Glad PBOT is doing this, but isn’t it curious how they only responded in this manner in a white affluent neighborhood?

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    • Hello, Kitty
      Hello, Kitty October 17, 2016 at 11:23 am

      On what do you base your charge of racism? Has PBOT ignored other recent community outpourings where a simple, cheap fix was sufficient to address the issue?

      Serious charges require serious evidence **deleted national politics -ted**

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        TJ October 17, 2016 at 11:43 am

        PBOT’s targeting approach to improvements is based on squeaky wheels where the most vocal and organized get attention. Most agencies in Oregon are set-up like this. It is not equitable.

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        • Hello, Kitty
          Hello, Kitty October 17, 2016 at 11:53 am

          I too wish PBOT would be more proactive. On a practical level, it’s hard to see how they can be responsive to citizen complaints without oiling the squeaky wheel. They are different sides of the same coin, no?

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            TJ October 17, 2016 at 12:06 pm

            I don’t disagree. But we cannot ignore how such a system more benefits communities that have the resources and time. The Peninsular has had several fatalities and severe injuries to pedestrians this year. The pollution and air toxins are worse than anywhere in the city. Yet too much of the focus has been on SE. Leah Treat showing-up to a Sunnyside meeting while laying quiet on some of the messes in North Portland is a testament. Deep SE too.

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            • Hello, Kitty
              Hello, Kitty October 17, 2016 at 1:24 pm

              I don’t disagree either! I’m just not sure how to correct the imbalance… those with the skills, time, motivation, and energy to organize will usually do better when it comes to advocacy. How could it be otherwise?

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                SilkySlim October 17, 2016 at 2:21 pm

                I think technology is becoming quite the disrupter in advocacy. Things like petition.org let any one with connectivity attach their name to a cause. And I’ve heard of some very simple apps that let you connect with government or other big organizations. Little example from this weekend, people on twitter (again, free as long as you have some connectivity) connecting w/ PGE to respond to outages. Isn’t there even one where you can “drop a pin” to show where potholes are?

                Yeah, there is some cost to building up these services, but hopefully we have some community minded tech savvy people (these are all perfect for a college student project) to whip up tools for the masses.

                But what were we talking about, oh yeah, Hawthorne. So glad to get that island on the agenda, how about 3-4 like on Woodstock?

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              SE Rider October 18, 2016 at 7:56 am

              Richmond and Sunnyside aren’t “deep SE”. I don’t think there were 10-20 years ago, and they definitely aren’t now.

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                Ted Timmons (Contributor) October 18, 2016 at 9:17 am

                Anything past Ladds is deep SE for me.

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              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty October 18, 2016 at 9:53 am

                Ladd?? I remember when everything past 3rd was orchards and bandits.

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      • Avatar
        JeffS October 20, 2016 at 3:35 pm

        He bases it on his own racism and self-hatred.

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    • Avatar
      Dan G October 17, 2016 at 11:30 am

      The equity argument doesn’t go very far, it never has. East Portland activists need to muster some panache. I say this as someone who lives east of 205, albeit beyond the city limits.

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      • Adam H.
        Adam H. October 17, 2016 at 11:33 am

        East Portland activists need to muster some panache

        This argument ignores the fact that our system is set up in a way that disenfranchises minorities and discourages them from participating in local government.

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        • Hello, Kitty
          Hello, Kitty October 17, 2016 at 11:47 am

          Please tell me more about how the city gives preference to whites over minority groups who are similarly economically situated.

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      • Avatar
        Alex Reedin October 17, 2016 at 11:39 am

        City Council should really have half of its meetings in East Portland, and often hold them after hours or on weekends, and provide child care. Newly living east of 205 and newly having kids, I realize like never before how huge barriers time and place present.

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        • Hello, Kitty
          Hello, Kitty October 17, 2016 at 12:08 pm

          And maybe hold the other half in St. John’s. And maybe half again in Multnomah Village.

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            Alex Reedin October 17, 2016 at 12:21 pm

            Nice rhetorical technique, but it elides that there are substantive and relevant differences between those locations.

            Multnomah Village is 10 minutes by car from City Hall. And the portion of North Portland that is more than 15 minutes from City Hall does not have very much population. On the other hand, most of East Portland is more than 20 minutes from City Hall, and East Portland comprises more than a quarter of Portland’s population. I can see an argument for having a smaller number of meetings in far North Portland but all of Southwest Portland has pretty good access to downtown. And honestly, there are many fewer poor people and minorities in Southwest Portland than in East Portland, so the need for extra outreach for equity’s sake is less.

            And all the above are assuming people are driving (and there’s no traffic). Going by transit or biking (or even driving at rush hour), the obstacle that distance presents is much greater.

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            • Hello, Kitty
              Hello, Kitty October 17, 2016 at 12:37 pm

              I don’t dispute your core comment that time/distance/logistics can make participation in forms held downtown difficult. I was mainly trying to point out that other areas suffer from similar problems. I don’t think driving time was the main reason you identified why getting to meetings is difficult; if it was, 5-10 minutes wouldn’t be much of a hurdle.

              As for non-automotive transport, I would argue that East Portland has better bike accessibility to downtown than does deep SW, and perhaps better transit connections as well (though that probably varies greatly by specific location). St. Johns is probably just as bad from a cycling perspective, and probably worse for transit.

              Your core idea of having meetings roving around town is interesting, but the logistics of someone from East Portland attending a meeting in SW would be even more daunting, and keeping track of where today’s meeting is adds an additional barrier to participation.

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            • Avatar
              Alex Reedin October 17, 2016 at 2:07 pm

              I think just City Hall and East Portland is the way to go. Looking at a map of the populated areas of Portland, the population-weighted center of the city is somewhat in the environs of Chavez & Hawthorne. Given that we have a huge investment in facilities in downtown Portland, supplementing that with a meeting space in say Gateway would average out to somewhere near the center without TOO much confusion. And living in East Portland, there’s a palpable sense that my neighbors feel excluded and ignored by City Hall – much more so than when I lived closer in. Given the history, I think it’s a justified feeling. Holding half Council’s meetings in East Portland would be a theatrical exercise to address that – but meaningful theater.

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              Alex Reedin October 17, 2016 at 2:10 pm

              Also, East Portland is just further from City Hall than St Johns or Southwest – including by transit. Multnomah Village to downtown by transit: 22 minutes. St Johns to downtown: 45 minutes. David Douglas High School (still two miles from the eastern border) to downtown: 1 hour.

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              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty October 17, 2016 at 3:28 pm

                45 mins vs. 1 hour is different, but not hugely so; from Rockwood, times are similar to St. Johns. In any event, it is not clear that a traveling City Council would improve participation overall; if “your issue” isn’t the one being discussed at the meeting near you, it may not help at all.

                If we could demonstrate that it would be an improvement, I’d be in favor, but I’d want to see it visit all corners of the city, not just two.

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              TJ October 17, 2016 at 5:02 pm

              Honestly Alex. I think it is great to rep where you live. But do it without marginalizing other historically shafted communities. St. Johns is not and has never been 15 mins to city hall. By bike it is 9-10 miles (cause it is a big neighborhood) of less than awesome riding. By bus, counting walks you’re at an hour easy. By car — good luck, because traffic has grown to impossible measures. Even at midnight when the roads are clear it is a 20+ minute drive from my house and I’m close-in STJ. We’ll be over 5,000 households shortly and 15,000 residents. This is without counting Portsmouth, Cathedral Park, and University Park.

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                Alex Reedin October 18, 2016 at 6:03 am

                My intention is not to further marginalize other excluded communities – but it is to point out some facts. East Portland just has way more population, and a way larger poor population, than all other excluded corners of the city. With a generous count, it looks like far North Portland has about 40,000 people here: http://statisticalatlas.com/neighborhood/Oregon/Portland/Cathedral-Park/Population

                That’s in comparison to ~130,000-160,000 in East Portland (depending on how you draw the boundary) Average incomes are lower in East Portland too, it looks like.

                40,000 excluded people matter – but 145,000 excluded people matter *more.* Coming back to it, I do think that if we did some Council meetings in East Portland, we should do some in North Portland too – but not as many. And seriously, even the furthest corner of Southwest that I could find was only 45 minutes from downtown by bus. That’s my bus ride – in one of the closer, best-transit-served areas of East Portland to downtown.

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              Eric Leifsdad October 18, 2016 at 1:17 am

              Google maps says the ride from city hall to SW 62nd and Taylors Ferry is 3 minutes less than to NE Halsey and 160th (at 8mph and 10mph, respectively.) An electric bike might more easily run 20mph headed east than southwest.

              SE Deardorff and Flavel is about the same amount of time if you take Foster (good luck getting google maps to let you set enough overrides to calculate Foster on a bike.)

              All of Portland looks to be within about a 1hr ride of city hall. Is that what you were saying?

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            • Avatar
              lop October 18, 2016 at 8:02 am

              30 minute transit time map form city hall.

              http://i.imgur.com/RlIqztw.jpg

              http://www.mapnificent.net/portland/

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              • Avatar
                Eric Leifsdad October 18, 2016 at 9:55 am

                Neat. But that map is off by about 15 minutes? Maybe once you get on, it’s 30min to your stop.

                It does show the relative connectivity though. Move the point just to MLK & Hawthorne and you lose a big chunk of the west side without gaining much to the east. Any transfer to cross the river is 20 minutes, sometimes faster to walk.

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              • Avatar
                Alex Reedin October 18, 2016 at 10:04 am

                It also shows that the vast majority of East Portland is further than 45 minutes from City Hall via transit. Another insight I got by moving the destination is that Gateway has a considerably higher percentage of Portlanders within its 45-minute transit-shed than City Hall does. That surprised me! There’s better access from Far North Portland to Gateway than to City Hall according to that map… is that because of Line 75?

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              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty October 19, 2016 at 11:11 am

                As you may know, I’m hoping we can develop Gateway into a sort of “alternate” downtown. To date there seems to have been little interest outside of planning circles, but maybe our current real estate crunch will get things moving on that front.

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                Alex Reedin October 19, 2016 at 11:19 am

                In terms of things the City can do directly – some investment in City of Portland jobs and offices in Gateway would be a good thing. Office workers are not an economic panacea but many of us do buy lunch and occasionally go out after work – and want to live reasonably near our jobs. Taking taxes from the whole city and spending most of it in downtown near the western edge of the city I would guess contributes somewhat to the economic malaise of East Portland.

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          Dan G October 17, 2016 at 1:36 pm

          The distance and time involved are all the more reason to emulate what was done on Hawthorne: direct action on site + invite Commisioners & PBOT to neighborhood meeting.

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      Spiffy October 17, 2016 at 12:42 pm

      people of other races may be afraid of what the police would do to them if they tried to stage this level of protest in the middle of a street on a busy commercial corridor…

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      • Adam H.
        Adam H. October 17, 2016 at 1:18 pm

        Yep. Just look at how the city reacted last week to people of color trying to peacefully testify at City Hall.

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        • Hello, Kitty
          Hello, Kitty October 17, 2016 at 1:33 pm

          From the video of the event that I saw, the city reacted more-or-less the same as they did to the white people trying to similarly testify. It looked pretty rough all around.

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    • Avatar
      John October 17, 2016 at 2:24 pm

      Your comment underscores how much my neighborhood has been gentrified in a short amount of time. However, it’s great to know that I’m now considered affluent!!

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        Ted Timmons (Contributor) October 17, 2016 at 5:02 pm

        “gentrified”. Hawthorne. Can you explain why you feel this way? Perhaps some nuance?

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          John October 18, 2016 at 2:50 pm

          Upper Hawthorne.

          Richmond has never been an affluent neighborhood. Mt Tabor, Laurelhurst, Eastmoreland, Ladd’s, yes. Richmond and Sunnyside, no. However, this is changing and quickly.

          I’m talking about economic gentrification… seen in both local businesses and in family housing. $150k house in 2000 is now a $600k house. This dictates who can live in the neighborhood and changes the demographic… classic definition of gentrification.

          Apparently is has gone far enough that everyone in the neighborhood is considered affluent. This isn’t true… see some stat’s below. However, I don’t find it surprising that Adam has this perspective given the recent astounding jump in home prices.

          The same thing that has been happening on lower Division has occurred on upper Hawthorne:

          http://www.wweek.com/portland/blog-33311-division-street-gentrification-seen-through-google-street-view.html

          As a long term resident, I find it hard to dispute the gentrification… what is your take?? I’d really like to hear your perspective…

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          • Adam H.
            Adam H. October 19, 2016 at 10:24 am

            I moved to the very eastern edge of Richmond about a year and a half ago and if I were buying today, I could not afford the neighborhood. Perhaps “affluent” wasn’t the best term to use, but Richmond is now expensive and is most certainly privileged compared to other neighborhoods further east.

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              John October 19, 2016 at 10:41 am

              Yes, expensive is a more appropriate term.

              Unfortunately, that means that in a few more years that affluent will most likely apply as well (hence my reference to gentrification).

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              • Adam H.
                Adam H. October 19, 2016 at 10:53 am

                Yep, although Richmond can sometimes act an the manner of an affluent neighborhood, given how much influence over City Hall they have. Most of the fault of the parking minimum increases a few years back can be attributed to Richmond NIMBY’s crying foul. And parking minimums are often a proxy for keeping “undesirables” out of a neighborhood – hence my initial “affluent” claim. Currently the undoubtedly affluent Eastmoreland neighborhood is using a historic district proposal to accomplish this.

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              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty October 19, 2016 at 11:16 am

                Equating the parking issue with excluding “undesireables” (in Richmond that probably means ***deleted by moderator, see below – JM*** supporters) is either totally disingenuous or a total misread of the situation. Do “undesireables” have more cars?

                =====
                Hello, Kitty… Please do not mimic the style I use to moderate comments. It confuses readers and makes my job much more difficult. Thank you. — Jonathan

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              • Adam H.
                Adam H. October 19, 2016 at 12:03 pm

                No, by “undesirables” I mean low-income and minorities. Restrictive land use policies always hurt the working poor, and many in the neighborhood know this and fight upzoning and reduction in parking minimums tooth and nail because they know it will make the neighborhood more racially and economically diverse.

                https://fee.org/articles/shut-out-how-land-use-regulations-hurt-the-poor/

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                John October 19, 2016 at 1:11 pm

                Again, I find your perspective interesting and completely different than mine.

                My take on the parking mandate is that it is was more about maintaining the status quo… plenty of parking available for residents (as it was ~10+ years ago). I don’t think it had anything to do with keeping undesirables out.

                If anything, the long term residents are more tolerance of economic diversity. But yes, they are protective of ‘their’ street parking…

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              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty October 19, 2016 at 1:19 pm

                Again with the (baseless) charges of racism. What evidence do you have that your neighbors are motivated by a desire to keep out minorities and poor people? Is there no other possible explanation?

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            soren October 19, 2016 at 11:33 am

            >$150k house in 2000 is now a $600k house. This dictates who can live in the neighborhood and changes the demographic… classic definition of gentrification.

            your assumption that owning/loaning a home “dictates who can live in the neighborhood” is an example of bias. almost half of those who live in richmond rent. rental housing prices have been far more impacted by discriminatory land-use policies (and associated artificial scarcity) than the capital gains of the “owner/loaner” class.

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              John October 20, 2016 at 9:30 pm

              My assumption is that the pricing dictates who can live in the neighborhood (my comment wasn’t intended to correlate anything to owning / loaning / renting).

              I should have mentioned the impact on home/apartment rental prices along with business rent and single family home prices.

              The message is the same… high prices impacts who moves to the neighborhood, whether they rent or buy. High prices impact what businesses move to / stay in the neighborhood.

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        Alex Reedin October 17, 2016 at 5:06 pm

        Well, I don’t know if you’re affluent (sounds like you don’t consider yourself affluent) but the average Richmonder did have more money than the average Portlander in 2010. $59,100 average household income in Richmond vs. $52,700 for the average Portland household.
        http://statisticalatlas.com/neighborhood/Oregon/Portland/Richmond/Household-Income

        Honestly, that was a smaller difference than I expected, so my erroneous preconception was exposed. Richmond is nowhere near the wealth of some other Portland neighborhoods (average HH income $118,000 in Eastmoreland!). Household size is also a factor (Richmond households are a little bit smaller than average Portland households, so more money per Richmonder) but not a huge factor.

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      Middle of the Road guy October 17, 2016 at 9:56 pm

      Yes. And isn’t it amazing that the highest attended protests are for white kids who get killed?

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      Dave October 20, 2016 at 10:38 am

      So what? Nobody is restricted from using it based on color or demographics. We’re not perfect but we’re not Munich in 1938 either.

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    bikeninja October 17, 2016 at 10:58 am

    Thumbs up to PBOT for this one. Unfortunetly it took such a tragedy to make this happen.

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    I wear many hats October 17, 2016 at 10:58 am

    Excellent news! Activism works. Now is the time to take that enthusiasm and grief and to act more before someone else is killed.

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    B. Carfree October 17, 2016 at 11:02 am

    If a striped crosswalk and median are the right thing for this intersection, why did PBoT remove the make-shift version and bring the intersection back to its prior deadly dangerous state? If it’s not the right thing, then why is it happening? PBoT is either incompetent or it just acts in an ad hoc way depending on the perceived politics of the moment, both of which are not good things in a public agency.

    I suspect there are thousands of other dangerous intersections with similar defects. Will they also get crosswalk painting and medians, or do we have to first have another tragedy?

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    Adam October 17, 2016 at 11:08 am

    Great news.

    Shame that, apu with PBOT, we have to wait for a body before citizen complaints stretching back decades are taken seriously by the agency.

    Whether it’s bike lanes, green bike boxes, crosswalks, PBOT won’t install it until somebody has been killed there.

    It does rather make my blood boil.

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  • Hello, Kitty
    Hello, Kitty October 17, 2016 at 11:23 am

    How about installing these fixes before someone is killed?

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    mike October 17, 2016 at 11:34 am

    Not to stop everyone from patting themselves on their backs but would a crosswalk have made a difference in this case? One car had stopped and then this horses arse speeds down the center line. It isn’t as if crosswalks provide some sort of force field in fact, they may give a false sense of security. Nothing substitutes being aware of your surroundings i.e. looking both ways before crossing.

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      TonyJ October 17, 2016 at 11:45 am

      The median island will prevent the turn lane from being used as a passing lane which would prevent a repeat of the tragedy.

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        SE Rider October 17, 2016 at 12:53 pm

        But only at this specific intersection right? The median turn lane isn’t going away, and we’ll need a lot more islands to cut it down every couple of blocks.

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          Chris I October 18, 2016 at 8:22 am

          Yes, we will. And not just here, but on every street with a uninterrupted turn lane. Burnside, Glisan, Stark, etc. The city needs to target the ones that see the most abuse first, but they all need it. It should be a standard part of any road diet project. Even if it something as simple as the concrete planters they have been using as diverters lately.

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      B.E. October 17, 2016 at 11:48 am

      They are installing median island as well as crosswalk. Are you implying that “looking both ways” would have prevented this tragedy ?

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        B.E. October 17, 2016 at 11:49 am

        I’m missing some a’s in that post

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    • Hello, Kitty
      Hello, Kitty October 17, 2016 at 11:48 am

      The crosswalk, no. The median island, probably.

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      Todd Boulanger October 17, 2016 at 11:52 am

      If I understand the original incident and what PBoT is proposing to do…then “most likely” this treatment may have made a difference…the addition of a median refuge island in the old center turn lane [if large enough >200 square feet per island end and with large trees]…then the driver most likely would have slowed or avoided the median refuge…

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      Adam October 17, 2016 at 11:54 am

      The concrete median island would have prevented the perpertrator who killed Fallon Smart from overtaking in the center turn lane.

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      Adam October 17, 2016 at 11:57 am

      @ mike: aaaaaaannnnnnd here we go with the victim blaming! That didn’t take long. The killer was doing what police estimate to be 55 to 60 mph in an overtaking lane. That’s the speed people drive on I-5 through Wilsonville, just for some perspective. The poor girl didn’t stand a chance.

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      • Hello, Kitty
        Hello, Kitty October 17, 2016 at 12:04 pm

        I read mike’s comment not as victim blaming, but rather as reinforcing the idea that 95% of the time, it is defensive walking/biking/driving that will prevent accidents, not infrastructure.

        It is clear that in this case, there is little Smart could have done to avoid the collision.

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          Adam October 17, 2016 at 1:24 pm

          I happen to believe the opposite. 95% of the time, streets ENGINEERED for low-speed, and removing the possibility of overtaking, prevent incidents.

          Oh, and it is “incidents”, not “accidents”. Even PBOT has not allowed its staff to use the word “accident” when issuing press releases, talking to media etc, since about what, 2008?

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          • Hello, Kitty
            Hello, Kitty October 17, 2016 at 1:42 pm

            It was a collision. It was an accident. It was a pedestrian being struck by a motor vehicle. It wasn’t an aseptic “incident”.

            Until our streets are rebuilt to physically restrict bad behavior, I hope you will rely on good practice to protect yourself from the poor and dangerous choices of others.

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              TonyJ October 17, 2016 at 2:10 pm

              Please look up “crash not accident.” Then again, you read this blog and comment all the time, to continue to use “accident” must be willful antagonism.

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              Spiffy October 17, 2016 at 2:24 pm

              crash, not accident!

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              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty October 17, 2016 at 3:15 pm

                Seriously people… I used collision in my message in addition to the offensive word. Rhetoric aside, “accident” (as it is commonly understood) accurately describes what happened. I get the crash-not-accident rhetoric. I’m in the choir, but not a fanatic.

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                TonyJ October 17, 2016 at 4:32 pm

                If you “get it” then you wouldn’t be defending your accidental (and that’s an appropriate usage) of it referring to this tragedy.

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              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty October 17, 2016 at 5:39 pm

                “it is defensive walking/biking/driving that will prevent oopsies, not infrastructure”

                Better?

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                q October 17, 2016 at 8:41 pm

                I hope “incident” doesn’t catch on. “Crash” or “collision” takes no longer to say and gives more information. If it also applies to other traffic things besides those–traffic jams, road rage, etc.–then it becomes meaningless anyway. “Incident” also sanitizes, just like “An officer-involved shooting occurred” sanitizes “officer shot someone”.

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                Adam October 18, 2016 at 6:39 am

                Oh, the killer just “accidentally” pressed his foot down on the gas pedal until his speedometer hit 55mph?

                Just like the killer “accidentally” decided to use the center turn lane as a second throughway lane.

                Gee, they sure are clumsy!!!!!!!

                I’d like to see you look Fallon Smart’s mother in the eye, and tell her her daughter’s death was simply an “accident”.

                It was not an accident. It was a wholly preventable incident. Show some respect.

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                Eric October 18, 2016 at 9:57 am

                Driving 55-60MPH on inner Hawthorne and murdering someone can in no way be described as an “accident”. That is a likely outcome.

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              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty October 18, 2016 at 10:14 am

                It was also a wholly preventable accident. The word accident does not mean “unforeseeable” or “without cause”. It does mean “unintentional”, which seems to fit, even in this fairly extreme case.

                I also prefer “crash” to “accident” (though it doesn’t quite feel right in this case), but you are simply mistaken to say that the word “accident” is wrong.

                This was a textbook accident. It was also preventable, and directly caused by the reckless behavior of the driver.

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                pruss2ny October 18, 2016 at 7:09 pm

                Fatigued by people losing the forest arguing over terminology…what purpose does this serve? there is a ton that can be accomplished if you want to educate by pointing out sloppy verbiage, but bashing people who clearly “get it” and are down for the cause b/c you don’t think they used a term correctly accomplishes what? aside from maybe proving that YOU belong to the cool-kid club and “they” don’t.

                Fwiw tonyj, i wouldn’t refer to what happened on hawthorne as a “tragedy”, but rather an “atrocity”. Shall we spend 50 lines arguing this?

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              Middle of the Road guy October 17, 2016 at 9:59 pm

              Well stated. It would be nice if we lived in a world where we did not have to be aware of our surroundings. Until we are, I look both ways, put my phone in my pocket and cross the street with my head on a swivel because I don’t trust others with my safety.

              I am constantly amazed at how many people cross an intersection looking at their phone. It can wait.

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                Chris I October 18, 2016 at 8:25 am

                She was aware of her surroundings, and she looked both ways. She was hit by a sociopath driving 60mph on Hawthorne, in the turn lane. No one has time to react to a car moving that quickly, obstructed by surrounding traffic.

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              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty October 18, 2016 at 10:58 am

                No one is blaming Smart for this tragedy.

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                Ted Timmons (Contributor) October 18, 2016 at 11:02 am

                the beginning of this thread: “Nothing substitutes being aware of your surroundings i.e. looking both ways before crossing.”

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              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty October 18, 2016 at 12:14 pm

                And that statement is absolutely true. Look at it in context:

                >>> It isn’t as if crosswalks provide some sort of force field in fact, they may give a false sense of security. Nothing substitutes being aware of your surroundings i.e. looking both ways before crossing. <<<

                The statement isn't about Smart at all; the author said you can't rely on infrastructure to protect you.

                Smart was not at fault, and the author of that statement did not suggest she was.

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        Mike October 18, 2016 at 3:27 pm

        Oh I love the victim blaming response. I guess I am raising a couple of future victims when I try and instill safety in their daily lives.

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      Spiffy October 17, 2016 at 12:38 pm

      “would a crosswalk have made a difference in this case”

      it’s possible…

      with a painted crosswalk the driver might have thought “those cars could be stopped for a pedestrian”…

      it’s also possible that the driver was going so fast that they didn’t realize the car they were overtaking had stopped…

      either way, if every intersection on that street had a crosswalk I think this crash would have been a lot less likely because faced with so many crosswalks you’d have to assume that there were pedestrians all over the place and you’d drive slower…

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        Gary B October 17, 2016 at 1:33 pm

        Or ignore all marked crosswalks, as they’d no longer provide any special indication. And whatever unmarked crosswalks remained (surely there’d be some), would lose all meaning to drivers now accustomed to every crosswalk being marked.

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          Spiffy October 17, 2016 at 2:43 pm

          what I’m reading is that people who mainly drive on the freeways to get to downtown won’t drive any more cautiously around marked crosswalks because they are used to them being everywhere…

          but those crosswalks are often full of people… so wouldn’t they be used to crosswalks meaning lots of people are near?

          I understand about becoming so used to something that you ignore it… but in this case you are used to people in crosswalks… these are things you can’t ignore or you’d run people over…

          so I’m thinking that yes, they might ignore the crosswalks, but they’re instinctively be driving slower without realizing or knowing why they’re doing it…

          it’s one thing to become used to something you don’t need to take direct action for, but pedestrian areas are not one of those things…

          crosswalks remind me that people are likely to be crossing there… even if I don’t see the crossroad (because cars are illegally parked right up to the curb) I’ll know to be more cautious due to the paint…

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          q October 17, 2016 at 8:47 pm

          Actually, if most crosswalks became marked, many unmarked ones WOULD become meaningless under the current law. Because as I understand, it’s illegal to cross at an unmarked crosswalk within 150′ of a marked one. The law needs to change if many more crosswalks become marked, because adding them can damage walkability near them.

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            Chris I October 18, 2016 at 8:33 am

            Can you find the statute on that? I can’t seem to find it.

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      Tom October 17, 2016 at 12:38 pm

      Look both ways does not work that well for 60mph traffic. Otherwise crossing freeways on foot would be no problem.

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        Kyle Banerjee October 17, 2016 at 1:21 pm

        Crossing a road where traffic is moving 60mph is no big deal — anyone who lives by a rural highway knows this.

        What is a big deal is trying to cross when traffic is moving way faster than you expect.

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        • Hello, Kitty
          Hello, Kitty October 17, 2016 at 1:34 pm

          Yes. And on a rural road, you generally have better visibility of what’s coming than you do in a busy corridor like upper Hawthorne.

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          Spiffy October 17, 2016 at 2:30 pm

          a couple of people died in Portland this year trying to cross the freeway…

          no big deal?

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          • Hello, Kitty
            Hello, Kitty October 17, 2016 at 3:35 pm

            Rural highway does not equal I-84.

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            Middle of the Road guy October 17, 2016 at 10:00 pm

            We can all agree that is a poor decision.

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          Chris I October 18, 2016 at 8:35 am

          Many deer would seem to agree with you.

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          Tom October 18, 2016 at 6:26 pm

          A senior citizen may need 15 sec to clear the lane, so would need a quarter mile visability to see a car goin 60mph in time, or about six blocks. And not just visability, but the ability to judge speed accurately enough, again from six blocks away.

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          soren October 19, 2016 at 11:45 am

          >Crossing a road where traffic is moving 60mph is no big deal

          fact-check: FALSE

          on a population adjusted-basis pedestrians die in rural areas at about the same rate as in urban roads (there are fluctuations from year to year).

          https://crashstats.nhtsa.dot.gov/Api/Public/Publication/812124

          overall, people are far more likely to die on rural highways than on urban roads:

          https://crashstats.nhtsa.dot.gov/Api/Public/ViewPublication/812181

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        Mike October 18, 2016 at 3:24 pm

        If you look both ways you would know that a car is quickly approaching and hopefully you would decide not to enter the freeway.

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    Paul Atkinson October 17, 2016 at 12:24 pm

    The city is relatively responsive when it comes to retroactively installing safety improvements once someone has died or been seriously injured.

    Given that predilection, I’d kind of like to have the improvements named after the dead. Memorialize each with a small plaque and remember the person who had to die in order to get PBOT off its ass.

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      Eric Leifsdad October 18, 2016 at 12:43 am

      Not just any death, but the death of a young person and a lot of protest about it. Vision Status Quo.

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        Adam October 18, 2016 at 5:25 pm

        For real. Tracey Sparling 2.0.

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    Spiffy October 17, 2016 at 12:47 pm

    at this point we shouldn’t be surprised that it takes a death and a high level of activism to get safety improvements installed in the road…

    we know that the majority of motor vehicle infrastructure is deadly… we can’t ask that the city fix everything at one… so they focus on “high crash” areas…

    until there’s a high profile death with loud activism… then they’re able to use that as an excuse to deviate from the norm and install a safety improvement that otherwise would have taken decades to be installed…

    we’ll continue not to see the safety improvements they make that don’t immediately follow a death…

    we’ll continue to insist that the city immediately install safety improvements directly following the death of a vulnerable user…

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      B. Carfree October 17, 2016 at 5:09 pm

      If PBoT is only going to work on so-called high crash corridors and a few places where people mobilize after a tragedy, then it should be honest with us and drop all the Vision Zero stuff.

      Budgets show priorities. If essentially all of PBoT’s budget isn’t going into eliminating roadway deaths, then they’re not committed to Vision Zero. I’m not even sure they’re committed to Vision Less Than This Year.

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    Chasing Backon October 17, 2016 at 1:13 pm

    This is great news. the City has improved safety for pedestrians, cyclists and drivers at this location.

    It’s sad that this action from PBOT required a pedestrians life, huge public outcry and temporary island to happen and only at this single location. I would like to see the city install VRU improvements at a huge number of locations around the city which are dangerous.

    As someone who crosses Foster at 80th both before and after the HAWK signal was installed and who has also been nearly hit at 76th and Powell in the crosswalk(no hawk signal here), i believe the city can install infrastructure that will help work towards the goal of zero transit deaths in the city.

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    • Hello, Kitty
      Hello, Kitty October 17, 2016 at 5:25 pm

      Such a high price to pay for such a tiny improvement.

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        Chasing Backon October 17, 2016 at 5:30 pm

        That’s exactly my point and i wish this wasn’t so. These types of marked crosswalks and median islands should be install all over the city, in addition to host of other safety improvements. Let’s also not forget enforcement to go with them.

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    rachel b October 17, 2016 at 2:41 pm

    Delighted to hear it. Thanks, PBOT! Now, please do come on over to SE 26th between Clinton and Powell for some more crosswalk crafting! I’ll bring you coffee and treats!

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      rachel b October 19, 2016 at 3:08 pm

      While you’re at it, please replace the obscured and defaced bike merge sign at that critical point just south of Clinton near Taggart (on SE 26th–you know, the one where drivers speed up to prevent cyclists from merging in front of them where the bicycle lane suddenly disappears and dumps cyclists into traffic. If drivers were actually going the speed limit, this wouldn’t be so scary. But they aren’t. Instead, they are tearing up to the four-way stop at the intersection of Clinton and 26th, only a block away. I don’t get it. 25mph, my aunt fanny. Neglect has bred some very very very bad driving habits on SE 26th).

      And also, at least two of our rare SE 26th speed limit signs (25mph) are completely obscured by tree branches (again, near SE Taggart, on SE 26th). I’ve reported them. No action. Not that seeing the signs and speed limit would make a difference to our speeders (they are legion! they are loud! they are completely self absorbed!). But it might matter to some.

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    Carrie October 17, 2016 at 4:18 pm

    I am now a broken record, but “Brady didn’t release a timeline but said since the work could be done by in-house PBOT crews it could, “start fairly quickly.” A final design needs to be hashed out and SNA members are meeting this week to go over the proposal.” The sidewalk and RFB at SE 19th at SE Bybee has been funded for TWO YEARS and is still somewhere in the design phase and the part where they put it out to bid to install has been pushed out more than once (now we’re being told late October, with implementation in 2017).

    I am so very glad to see this median and crosswalk going in at Hawthorne. But both very irked and very cynical that it will go in ‘fairly quickly’.

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    Suburban October 17, 2016 at 7:24 pm

    If you attend the driver education slide show upon getting a traffic ticket you can see police photos of the dead bodies of those killed by Tara E. Stanlick at 54th and Foster (34 year old mom and her 8 year old son,Creston student)in a traffic situation nearly identical to Fallon’s last moment. You can not visit their cross walk.

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      Chris I October 18, 2016 at 8:38 am

      And even with the Foster streetscape project, this location will not be getting a marked crosswalk.

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    SE October 18, 2016 at 8:22 am

    very glad to hear that this is actually happening , but there are also so many more streets that need help. Does it take a senseless death to get PBoT moving ?

    JM: any news on Abdulrahman Noorah ?

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      Eric Leifsdad October 18, 2016 at 9:46 am

      We’ve had plenty of senseless deaths with no results. I think it’s the outrage that gets government moving, and the death of a young person tends to generate outrage. But note, one constantly outraged person is dismissed as a crank activist, aka “the bike guy” at neighborhood meetings.

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      • Hello, Kitty
        Hello, Kitty October 18, 2016 at 10:23 am

        Don’t be the “bike guy”. Be the guy who participates regularly, and contributes to a variety of topics, and who can be trusted to offer a reasonable opinion about the issue of the day. Then, when the topic is cycling infrastructure, your opinion will carry a lot more weight. If you’re Johnny Onenote on bike issues, and stake out the most extreme positions, you will be stuck playing the “bike guy” and it will be hard to get much traction.

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          Eric Leifsdad October 18, 2016 at 1:26 pm

          I agree, but even if you ride a kick scooter to the meeting and the entire time is spent on land-use (I mean, free parking) issues, you’re still “the bike guy” because you didn’t drive a car there and you don’t know what it’s like to spend 3 minutes looking for a free parking spot. I mean, sometimes people need to carry groceries or otherwise spend money at a local business (I mean, starbucks) and how are we going to do that without a car?

          You can’t tell the emperor isn’t wearing any pants when he’s sitting in a car. Well, at least they can’t from inside their cars. The “bike guy” cannot unsee it.

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      • Adam H.
        Adam H. October 18, 2016 at 11:35 am

        one constantly outraged person is dismissed as a crank activist

        And a group of constantly outraged people is called a “Neighborhood Association meeting”.

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        • Hello, Kitty
          Hello, Kitty October 18, 2016 at 12:18 pm

          Exactly; channeling that outrage helped get PBOT to make the guerrilla crosswalk on Hawthorne made permanent.

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    Fawn Lengvenis October 18, 2016 at 11:33 am

    Thank you to the Sunnyside Neighborhood Association and everyone who worked hard to make this happen. Hopefully this helps keep others safe.

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      rick October 19, 2016 at 8:01 am

      Thanks for your dedication.

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    TheCat October 18, 2016 at 12:01 pm

    Kyle Banerjee
    Crossing a road where traffic is moving 60mph is no big deal — anyone who lives by a rural highway knows this.
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    My 8 year old niece and 80 year old aunt would strongly disagree, as would I. If we want our infrastructure to be 8-80 friendly, we can’t expect the young, elderly, and/or disabled to play frogger on a 60 mph street. We need to do better than that.

    I’m a relatively healthy 50 year old, and crossing a 60mph street without a stoplight scares me.

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    Lester Burnham October 18, 2016 at 2:13 pm

    It’s a shame this level of discussion and activity would never take place over other less trendy parts of the city. People have been getting mowed down for years on the east side without even a hint of “outrage”.

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      JeffS October 20, 2016 at 3:46 pm

      I agree, it’s a shame that other parts of the city don’t care about protecting their own.

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        Lester Burnham October 21, 2016 at 8:12 am

        Well you can only be gentrified and marginalized for so long. Chickens will come home to roost.

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        Alex Reedin October 21, 2016 at 9:35 am

        Have you stopped to wonder whether the less-obvious outrage in most cases in East Portland after fatalities might have something to do with poverty, time-poverty, a justified sense of estrangement from the power brokers of Portland, activism fatigue because there are so many fatalities in East Portland as well as other inequities to advocate about, the fact that a significantly higher percentage of adults in East Portland are raising kids which diminishes time available for other things, and/or other factors like that rather than not caring?

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        • Hello, Kitty
          Hello, Kitty October 21, 2016 at 12:13 pm

          You may be right; I’m also willing to bet that people further out have a different relationship with their cars, with transportation issues being more prominent than they are closer in. That might lead to less outrage when something goes wrong related to autos.

          There are some vocal people in inner SE/NE who want to ban cars from the city; I’ll bet there are far fewer who share this sentiment further out.

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          Alex Reedin October 21, 2016 at 12:53 pm

          Yeah; I think there is more ambivalence around the (cars+speed) vs. (safety+health+modal options) conflict. I think developing Gateway as a bona fide jobs center as you’ve supported and Gateway and Lents and a few other places further east as full-service walkable commercial districts would go a long way towards addressing this ambivalence. I think that would help because fewer East Portlanders would see going many miles quickly (in a car – the only current quick option) on a regular basis as “something most everyone needs to do.” Getting transit service to downtown that is actually rapid (I’m talking 30 minutes to Pioneer Courthouse Square) and reliable serving most of East Portland would help too, but that sadly seems unrealistic.

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            Eric Leifsdad October 21, 2016 at 2:31 pm

            Washington state was talking about taxing carbon and using that revenue to give tax breaks to lower income residents, local jobs, and reduced sales tax. Gasoline is only going to stay at $2/gal for as long as that benefits those who are setting that price.

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              Eric Leifsdad October 21, 2016 at 2:36 pm

              As in, your gasoline will cost $250 more per year if you don’t change anything, but you’ll get $500 back on your taxes (and if you use that to buy a bike, you’ll save at least $4000 this year.)

              I’m trying to be conservative with those numbers. Has there been a study on the cost of car ownership when the car is a stinky beater with a busted taillight and cracked windshield?

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    BB October 19, 2016 at 4:26 pm

    Hello, Kitty
    Equating the parking issue with excluding “undesireables” (in Richmond that probably means **name of presidential candidate accused of sexual assault and being an unrepentant racist deleted ** supporters) is either totally disingenuous or a total misread of the situation. Do “undesireables” have more cars?
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    Sounds to me like some bike portland moderator is pro trump and editing people’s posts accordingly.. Definitely something to keep in mind about this website in the future..

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      Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) October 19, 2016 at 4:46 pm

      BB,

      You are wrong. Hello, Kitty thought it would be clever to use our moderation style himself to make it look like his intended word was moderated. I deleted a portion of his comment and left a note. Thanks.

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        dwk October 20, 2016 at 6:08 am

        A few days ago someone wrote a page long pro trump rant that I responded to.
        My response was deleted, I was sent a personal email telling me not to bring up Trump.
        The original pro Trump rant was left unedited.

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    • Hello, Kitty
      Hello, Kitty October 20, 2016 at 10:01 am

      Yes, that comment was mine, and not the edit of any other party. I apologize for creating confusion; I was a bit miffed that an earlier reference to Trump was deleted, not because I think anyone here will be swayed on who to vote for by what I said, but because I think he is comedic gold, and the reference was so mild. I don’t think references to national politics should be removed (though I would support removing wholesale trolling/politicking unrelated to the topic of the day).

      National politics are an important part of the framework in which we all live, but then again, it’s not my site, and I don’t make the rules.

      Again, I am sorry for creating confusion.

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