Tour de Lab September 1st

On night of protest, police stop 43 people for driving violations on St. Johns Bridge

Posted by on November 4th, 2016 at 9:57 am

Portland Police Sgt. Ty Engstrom on the St. Johns Bridge last night.
(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

On the same night hundreds of community members took over the lanes on the St. Johns Bridge for a solemn memorial and protest event, the Portland Police Bureau was doing their part to raise awareness of safety issues.

The Traffic Division is stationed right at the eastern end of the bridge and they took advantage of their presence on last night’s ride to conduct an enforcement action — a.k.a. “traffic safety mission”. The bureau also said the recent death of Mitch York was a key motivator of this action.

The result: According to a police bureau statement they made 43 stops in just two hours. 30 citations were written and they made 13 warnings. The violations were “numerous” but predominantly for speeding. One person was arrested for driving on a suspended license.

Imagine if we did more enforcement like this and Joel Schrantz — the man driving with a suspended license who lost control of his vehicle and killed Mitch York on Saturday — was arrested before he had a chance to commit that tragic act of violence?

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And imagine if we designed our roads in such a way that we needed less enforcement. Despite the fact that nearly everyone drives over the speed limit on the St. Johns Bridge, so far the Oregon Department of Transportation has done nothing to address it. This past week I’ve been researching the fateful decisions they made in 2002 to maintain the four, 10-foot standard vehicle lane configuration we have today. As early as 2001 local planners and engineers were pointing out that the bridge was a dangerous thoroughfare where illegal speeding was rampant.

Chart from 2002 PBOT document showing 85th percentile speeds over St. Johns Bridge.

One document that presented several different lane configuration options included a chart of the 85th percentile speeds in 2002. The 85th percentile speed is what engineers use to set speed limits (an absurd practice that should be abolished, but that’s a different conversation). It means that 85 percent of people drive at or below the speed and 15 percent go faster.

As you can see in the chart, in 2002 all most of the traffic was going above the posted speed limit — with people in cars choosing to drive 9-12 miles above the limit.

Perhaps it’s time for ODOT to consider taking measures to reduce speeds on the bridge? Photo radar cameras would help, as would reconfiguring the lanes or perhaps adding rumble strips on the span.

Expecting the police to enforce speeding 24/7 is ridiculous. We must begin to change driving behaviors and more humane road design is a great place to start.

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

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102 Comments
  • Avatar
    Champs November 4, 2016 at 10:11 am

    Rest assured it was back to the status quo by the time I rode the bridge around 10.

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      rick November 4, 2016 at 12:06 pm

      People often drive and (ride motorcycles) at the speeds with which they feel comfortable.
      Safe streets now.

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        Spiffy November 4, 2016 at 12:26 pm

        people often drive (and ride motorcycles) at speeds at which they feel an adrenaline rush…

        the roads should not be a wild west amusement park for motor vehicles…

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        Chris I November 4, 2016 at 2:19 pm

        The 35,000+ dead people this year thought they were traveling at a “comfortable” speed. Humans are not equipped to effectively judge the risks of driving. Our senses are not up to the task.

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    Dan A November 4, 2016 at 10:14 am

    And 15% of drivers were going faster than the 85th percentile speed.

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    • Adam H.
      Adam H. November 4, 2016 at 10:30 am

      Yes, that is what 85th percentile means. 😛

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        Champs November 4, 2016 at 11:24 am

        If 85% of adults understand this mathematical concept, how large is the innumerate population that benefits from this explanation?

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      fourknees November 4, 2016 at 1:23 pm

      I was thinking the same thing. I’d bet speeds declined on non-linear curve, but that still means there were most likely observed speeds going 20+mph.

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    SilkySlim November 4, 2016 at 10:18 am

    How out of your mind must you be to get caught (which almost surely indicates speeding) driving with a suspended license past a protest of terrible tragedy caused by somebody driving recklessly with a suspended license???

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      Todd Boulanger November 4, 2016 at 10:25 am

      I doubt they read BP or tune into the evening news / read the Oregonian…so it was news to them that there would be a demo on the bridge.

      PS. I love what the Paris newspapers do (or did) … they have an icon for planned “demonstrations’ on their daily roadway maps giving notice of road works and construction detours…perhaps Waze or Google needs to do it too.

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        rick November 4, 2016 at 11:37 am

        Waze needs to be removed.

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      Middle of the Road Guy November 4, 2016 at 11:01 am

      It kills me that the majority of the comments on Olive are about cyclists breaking the law to protest. Very few comments about people driving on suspended licenses (breaking the law!). Just about how they were inconvenienced by others.

      That’s kind of what civil disobedience is all about.

      There does seem to be an expectation that others should obey the law 100% of the time and the self-perception what the individual never does.

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        Middle of the Road Guy November 4, 2016 at 11:17 am

        THAT, not what.

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      Spiffy November 4, 2016 at 11:56 am

      you don’t have to be out of your mind… you just have to know that the system is so broken that even on the small chance you’re caught the most that will happen is you spend the night in jail…

      the system is wide open to be exploited and some people know how to play the game to their advantage (and our fear of death)…

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        lyle w November 5, 2016 at 11:58 am

        Exactly. Risk vs. Reward. You’re suspended for a year… reward: You will probably get away with it if you drive semi-safely, don’t ride at night a lot, etc… with the added benefit that you won’t have car insurance payments to worry about.

        Risk: You get pulled over, your car gets towed, you get a couple hundred dollar fine, you go straight home and pretend like nothing happened.

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    Todd Boulanger November 4, 2016 at 10:22 am

    Well from the 2002 ODoT data, it looks like the posted speed limit needs to be raised and not lowered…assuming one were an old school traffic engineer…and the rate of crashes / injuries on the bridge were acceptable…

    Yes the 85th percentile speed as a tool for setting posted speeds on urban arterials is an outdated tool (only makes sense for limited access highways, where it came from).

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Speed_limit
    “The theory behind the 85th percentile rules is, that as a policy, most citizens should be deemed reasonable and prudent, and limits must be practical to enforce.[49][50] However, there are some circumstances where motorists do not tend to process all the risks involved, and as a mass choose a poor 85th percentile speed[citation needed]. This rule in substance is a process for voting the speed limit by driving; and in contrast to delegating the speed limit to an engineering expert.[51][52]” Wikipedia

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      SilkySlim November 4, 2016 at 10:26 am

      Thanks for the background. Although my faith in the masses dwindling these days… More than 15% are poor drivers, so maybe we can go to a 60% rule? Or lower.

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        Spiffy November 4, 2016 at 11:58 am

        around 10% are driving while suspended so it makes sense that they’re poor drivers…

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    Chris I November 4, 2016 at 10:25 am

    Speed cameras.

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    bikeninja November 4, 2016 at 10:26 am

    I still don’t understand why there is not a massive revenue opportunity for the police and the city in these enforcements. Scofflaw Portland drives have become such low hanging fruit that it seems the revenue obtained for the time spent would be enourmous. Maybe we need to modfy the financial flows from citations to reinforce the manpower needed to carry out more of them. This could be a win/win for everyone ( except driving scofflaws, boo hoo).

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    • Adam H.
      Adam H. November 4, 2016 at 10:33 am

      It is a very bad idea to give cops “revenue opportunities” for enforcement. This almost always results in an increase in unequal enforcement and racial bias.

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        Brian November 4, 2016 at 10:48 am

        Do you (or anyone for that matter) have some links to peer-reviewed research on this?

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        • Adam H.
          Adam H. November 4, 2016 at 11:12 am
        • Adam H.
          Adam H. November 4, 2016 at 11:13 am

          In Ferguson, cops were pressured by the city government to raise as much revenue as possible by ticketing residents. Since they were most active in neighborhoods that are predominantly black, these residents were targeted at hugely disproportionate rates: Ferguson is about 67 percent African-American, but from 2012 to 2014, 85 percent of people stopped, 90 percent of people who received a citation, and 93 percent of people arrested were black.

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            Middle of the Road Guy November 4, 2016 at 11:19 am

            Adam, one example is not a trend. While I personally believe there is indeed a systemic bias, listing a study pertaining to a single area isn’t helpful. You’d want to look at nation-wide data.

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            • Adam H.
              Adam H. November 4, 2016 at 11:21 am

              I suggest you read the article.

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        Middle of the Road Guy November 4, 2016 at 11:02 am

        Are cameras racist?

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        • Adam H.
          Adam H. November 4, 2016 at 11:21 am

          No.

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            B. Carfree November 4, 2016 at 11:56 am

            And yet when cameras are used they also disproportionately result in citations for people of color. I suspect this goes to our incredibly unequal access to education problem, but I’m not willing to have dangerous drivers on the road simply to try to be “fair”. There’s better ways of rectifying our racist problems than endangering people on our roadways with poor drivers.

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            • Adam H.
              Adam H. November 4, 2016 at 12:06 pm

              Cameras don’t kill black men though.

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              John Lascurettes November 4, 2016 at 12:10 pm

              The tickets don’t go out automatically, they get reviewed by a human. They have to confirm that the face of the driver is “identifiable”. So someone green lights or rejects every photo citation before it goes out. Still plenty of room for selective enforcement.

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              • Adam H.
                Adam H. November 4, 2016 at 12:25 pm

                Yes, that is a problem. However, a camera will never overreact to a traffic stop of a black man and shoot him dead. This is why cameras should replace actual officers for traffic enforcement, as cops simply can not be trusted not to use deadly force against people of color.

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              Middle of the Road guy November 4, 2016 at 12:36 pm

              is it possible that different groups of people have different cultural norms that may result in different behaviors towards laws? Or do we have the expecation that all people regardless of personal and cultural differences break the same laws with identical frequencies?

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              • Adam H.
                Adam H. November 4, 2016 at 1:11 pm

                You’re partially correct. There can be a marked reduction of respect and trust of laws and police in communities of color, but this is entirely caused by the racist policing policies to begin with.

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          Spiffy November 4, 2016 at 12:03 pm

          cameras don’t write tickets…

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        bikeninja November 4, 2016 at 11:23 am

        I don’t agree Adam, the bias in enforcement in places like Ferguson were caused by other dynamics. Logical thinking would lead to a different type of conclusion. If the police were targeting enforcement to raise revenue ( without other biases in play) they would target rich people who could afford to pay for the citations,

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        • Adam H.
          Adam H. November 4, 2016 at 11:28 am

          If you think that racial bias only happens in places you hear about on TV, well I’ve got news for you…

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            bikeninja November 4, 2016 at 11:38 am

            A rational economic move would be to target cars with washington license plates for enforcement to maximise the income stream in to Portland, instead of redistributing the money already here.

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            bikeninja November 4, 2016 at 11:41 am

            The answer is too end racial bias in enforcement, not to do less enforcement and allow drivers like the one who killed Mr. York to run free with nothing but rumble strips and narrow lanes to impede them.

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            • Adam H.
              Adam H. November 4, 2016 at 11:50 am

              Ending racial bias in enforcement will require a multi-faceted years long approach that must target the systemic racism that penetrates all facets of American politics and social constructs at its very core. Adding traffic-calming on a bridge can be done in a week.

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        • Adam H.
          Adam H. November 4, 2016 at 11:38 am

          And if you read the article, it states that because more cops are assigned to patrol minority neighborhoods, that an increase in enforcement will by its very nature be applied more heavily upon minorities. Ferguson is an extreme case for sure, but the factors that cause racial bias exist in every city in America — Portland included.

          Cops won’t just go after “rich neighborhoods” for a variety of reasons. “Rich neighborhood” typically means “white” (especially in Portland), and cops just don’t patrol white neighborhoods as much as they do minority ones. The people living in those neighborhoods also have greater means to defend themselves in court. Three — and this is the kicker — white affluent neighborhoods often implicitly use the police to keep their neighborhoods segregated by calling in “suspicious people”. If the police are actively defending rich whites, then they’re not exactly going to target them for bigger payouts, are they?

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            longgone November 4, 2016 at 12:10 pm

            I want shitty lawless people to stay out of my neighborhood no matter what color they are. I am poor. Despite the lack of racial diversity Portland is blanketed with shady crime boarder to boarder. Plenty of crime committed by people of all colors here. You wanna chat sometime over coffee about crime in my old neighborhood in Missouri? You couldn’t handle the truth. I moved to St John’s 13 years ago. No matter the color of their skin, people of any moderate affluence pull their kids out of our schools up here and move elsewhere, usually before middle school. Portland is so soft compared to other towns it’s size. Id love to see you bike commute like I did every day for 25 years in Kansas City. 20 bucks says you would freak. Just saying… No apology for antidotal rant. Cops patrol poor neighborhoods ’cause crime is off the hook.

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        AC November 4, 2016 at 12:03 pm

        Automate it. Cops can’t catch everyone, cameras can.

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        • Adam H.
          Adam H. November 4, 2016 at 12:07 pm

          Yep, and cameras don’t kill people.

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      Todd Boulanger November 4, 2016 at 11:20 am

      The current legislative requirements about processing tickets from automated enforcement (as a moving violation) require a lot of labor to check them ($$$) and then any fine revenue is split with the county for legal processing/ court overhead, etc…so typical the true value of automated enforcement for OR/WA cities would be on the education and safety side…not $$$…if such a program were expanded.

      [My recommendation to the City of San Jose Vision Zero program was just that – move from a fine/ revenue outcome to a safety education / poor driver intervention outcome.]

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      • Adam H.
        Adam H. November 4, 2016 at 12:26 pm

        That’s fine. Traffic safety programs should never be about generating revenue, but about increasing safety. If this ends up costing taxpayers, well that’s the price we all must pay for safer streets.

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      Spiffy November 4, 2016 at 12:02 pm

      there are currently thousands of illegally parked vehicles that cops drive past every day without citing…

      if they wanted to make a different in how people act with their cars they could start with the ones that are just sitting around illegally…

      even if you report these illegally parked cars they’re not that likely to be fined unless a parking enforcement officer is already in the area… unless the car is blocking a driveway, then they’ll be out fairly quickly…

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      • Adam H.
        Adam H. November 4, 2016 at 12:09 pm

        I reported a f-ing boat that is blocking the diverter at 32nd and Clinton, twice. It’s still there months later…

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          Middle of the Road guy November 4, 2016 at 12:38 pm

          If you let the air out of the tires they will tow it.

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          • Adam H.
            Adam H. November 4, 2016 at 2:17 pm

            Boats don’t have tires.

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          Chris I November 4, 2016 at 2:23 pm

          Selfishness of that magnitude deserves to be punished.

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          • Adam H.
            Adam H. November 4, 2016 at 3:04 pm

            I honestly don’t care about punishment, I just want the damn boat off the street. That is proving to be quite difficult.

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          Caitlin D November 30, 2016 at 1:15 pm

          I noticed today that the boat has a Tow Warning sticker on the side, so maybe it will be gone soon…

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        Mark November 4, 2016 at 2:57 pm

        ORS 811.550 (17)

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    Todd Boulanger November 4, 2016 at 10:27 am

    …and thank you PPB Traffic Division for getting out on the streets and enforcing the traffic laws last night.

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      Spiffy November 4, 2016 at 12:07 pm

      I try not to thank people for things they’re obligated to do…

      no wave from me when you stop to let me walk across the street…

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  • Adam H.
    Adam H. November 4, 2016 at 10:28 am

    Everyone speeds not because of a lack of enforcement by cops, but because the bridge is designed for fast traffic. Adding passive speed control measures would be a better approach. Solutions such as flexible bollards on the centerline, flashing “your speed” signs, narrow lanes, automated speed cameras, and – most needed of all – a 4-2 road diet with protected cycleways all would be far more effective (and less susceptible to racial bias and ebbs and flows of police funding) than sending a few cops on the bridge a few times a year.

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    wsbob November 4, 2016 at 10:40 am

    Consistently confining mph speeds traveled by motor vehicles across the bridge, to about 25 or 35 mph, may be one of the easiest and most economical means of enhancing the safety of everyone using the St Johns Bridge.

    Could a photo speed camera array work on this bridge?…exceed the speed limit by 6 mph, you get your picture taken, and a citation in the mail.

    I wrote in comment to an earlier story this week, that it seems to me that the St Johns Bridge is abused, with people in cars driving at mph speed levels in the mid to high 40’s.

    Truck drivers that do, deserve some commendation for keeping their top mph speed no more than 40 mph, but honestly, for this relatively short span and the type of bridge it is, architecturally and from an engineering standpoint, as well as to its function to the neighborhood and the city…40 seems too high. 25 would be far better (speeds cited, going by the ’02 PBOT document page posted in this story.).

    The St Johns Bridge is not a heavy duty rugged style bridge like the Fremont Bridge, closer to Downtown, specifically built for today’s high volume of traffic, including many heavy trucks. It’s an old, comparatively delicately constructed suspension bridge. Bounces around a lot, I’ve heard. It would be a big expense, but the best option might be to take a much more serious look at constructing an additional bridge to handle the heavy, fast traffic. Allow the burden on the St Johns to be eased up a bit, by diverting the heavy, fast traffic to a new bridge.

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      Todd Boulanger November 4, 2016 at 12:11 pm

      …yes …and wait, I thought ODoT built the Fremont Bridge to move freight off of the delicate St Johns Bridge…back in the day (1968). 😉

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    mikeybikey November 4, 2016 at 11:06 am

    at the height of the polio epidemic in the USA, 3K people died and over 21K became permanently disabled. motoring in the USA today causes btw 30-40K+ deaths and over 2 million injuries, many of them permanent disabilities, each year. these are all classified by the CDC as preventable deaths and injuries. its time that we consider people who accept and advocate for the status quo in motoring culture and law as being just as anti-science/modernity as climate change deniers, anti-vax, etc.

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      Chris I November 4, 2016 at 2:28 pm

      It is our greatest public health crisis, yet it gets so little attention. Part of the problem is that a huge portion of our country believes that a higher power is somehow protecting them from harm, another big chunk just thinks of it as the cost of doing business, and the rest recognize that it is a problem but think that they are good enough at driving that it won’t happen to them.

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    Kyle Banerjee November 4, 2016 at 11:29 am

    I don’t know what is best for SJB, but I’d definitely be against rumble strips as they represent a greater safety threat to cyclists than traffic moving a few mph faster than it should.

    One thing I do wonder though, is whether SJB is a good place to focus a lot of attention right now? Sure, it’s not great to ride, but it’s hardly a major cycling route. Ignoring that many cyclists who use it are headed for the hills or other destinations that require dealing with traffic — i.e. the sort of riders can handle the bridge traffic — the sidewalk is rideable for people who want more separation.

    In any case, I believe the emphasis on speeding is misplaced — you’re dead whether the vehicle that hit you is going 35mph or 50mph. Rather, it is more about encouraging safer passing.

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      rick November 4, 2016 at 11:34 am

      Bridges over water are critical. Check the bicycle corridor that the Sellwood Bridge / Riverview Cemetery have become.

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        Kyle Banerjee November 4, 2016 at 11:50 am

        You mean all that needs to be done is have the bridge totally replaced and surrounding roads reengineered as they did with Sellwood?

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      wsbob November 4, 2016 at 12:03 pm

      “…In any case, I believe the emphasis on speeding is misplaced — you’re dead whether the vehicle that hit you is going 35mph or 50mph. Rather, it is more about encouraging safer passing.” banerjee

      May be true about mph speed impact by motor vehicles, relative to the occurrence of vulnerable road user death…but it would seem that high motor vehicle speeds traveled on this bridge, may also be having a negative effect on the general driving experience the bridge is designed for and capable of offering. As well as the negative effect those high motor vehicle speeds have on the biking and walking experience.

      Especially for Portland, the St Johns is a singularly beautiful bridge. More gracefully designed than any other bridge in town, besides perhaps, the new Tillikum. Show this bridge the respect its due, by slowing mph traffic speeds down, letting people traveling over the bridge, enjoy it more as a result.

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      Spiffy November 4, 2016 at 12:24 pm

      it’s not a great cycling route because it’s not a great ride… it’d get a lot more bike traffic if people thought it was safe to cross and ride down hwy 30 to get to town as it’s a very good route when there are no motor vehicles to scare you away…

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        Kyle Banerjee November 4, 2016 at 1:15 pm

        I’m sure it would get a little more use, but I just don’t see the potential — where would they be going? I doubt more than a few hundred tops would use it in a day.

        It’s a little shorter if you’re going downtown — I sometimes use it for that purpose myself — but 30 is noisy with plenty of debris. I find it difficult to believe many cyclists who find that road viable that wouldn’t ride the bridge (or even the sidewalk).

        I’m not saying I don’t think SJB couldn’t use some improvements, only that the likely cost involved would deliver more bang for the buck in an area that has the potential to serve more cyclists persuade more noncyclists to ride.

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      highrider November 4, 2016 at 2:39 pm

      I live in St. John’s and I think it is a major cycling route for recreational cyclists, and would certainly be embraced by more commuters if it were safer to use, and had safe entry points from hwy 30.

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    • Hello, Kitty
      Hello, Kitty November 4, 2016 at 3:08 pm

      The speeds have a great impact on the experience of other users, and, also, higher speeds mean less time to react or respond to events; lower speeds may avoid accidents* that otherwise would occur.

      *Don’t jump down my throat, dear readers… this one’s intentional and correct

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    rick November 4, 2016 at 11:33 am

    Attaboy and attagirl ! Justice ! Still we ride.

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    Eric Leifsdad November 4, 2016 at 11:41 am

    The cost of enforcement needs to come from ticket revenue, auto user fees, or at least pavement budgets. Otherwise, I have a much simpler suggestion with zero moving parts for how we can keep auto users from imposing costs on everyone around them.

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    • Hello, Kitty
      Hello, Kitty November 4, 2016 at 3:09 pm

      Law enforcement should never be funded by enforcing laws. It creates all the wrong incentives.

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        Dan A November 4, 2016 at 4:42 pm

        Maybe we can fund it with the Arts Tax.

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        Eric Leifsdad November 5, 2016 at 8:09 pm

        It should be a break-even deal and excess revenue should be aimed at reducing the violations (and thus the associated revenue.)

        Not enforcing laws creates all the wrong incentives.

        Making law-abiding citizens bear most of the costs for those who break the law? Sounds about the same as what we have now.

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        • Hello, Kitty
          Hello, Kitty November 6, 2016 at 9:02 pm

          It’s mostly non-criminals who have to pay for policing society. That’s just the way it works.

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            rachel b November 7, 2016 at 1:09 pm

            PPBTD Kickstarter. Cyberbegging FTW! USA!

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    Spiffy November 4, 2016 at 11:47 am

    “Imagine if we did more enforcement like this and Joel Schrantz was arrested before he had a chance to commit that tragic act of violence?”

    he likely was… then the next day you see a judge, tell him you’ve learned your lesson, and they let you go… every time… then you get back in your car and keep driving… been there, done that…

    we need to be keeping their cars…

    we need background checks before you’re allowed to buy a car, similar to buying a gun… sell a car to somebody without a background check? you should lose your license and any car you own…

    that’s are the only way we’ll get control of the issue…

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    Spiffy November 4, 2016 at 11:50 am

    “Despite the fact that nearly everyone drives over the speed limit on the St. Johns Bridge”

    it’s not just the bridge, it’s everywhere… everywhere people speed and it’s not being addressed… they continue to make roads where it’s easy to go twice the posted speed limit and don’t properly punish those that break the laws…

    we need roads that are more difficult to drive on and fines that will make people stop breaking motor vehicle laws…

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      Middle of the Road guy November 4, 2016 at 12:53 pm

      Spiffy, you’ve touched on something I have been observing for the last 10 years or so…the levels of impatience people have has gone up dramatically. Everyone believes they are in a hurry and get angry when there is the slightest delay (even a few seconds to pass a cyclist).

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        Kyle Banerjee November 4, 2016 at 1:19 pm

        I agree with the observation that people have gotten more impatient, but curiously they seem to be able to wait for long periods of time when someone wants to back into a parking space, turn left across a busy lane rather than continue a block to a light that has a turn arrow, or pull some other maneuver that is less efficient for everyone.

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          Middle of the Road guy November 4, 2016 at 1:38 pm

          Those things you mention all make sense when one does not have an awareness of the impacts their actions have on others. They are all inherently selfish and myopic.

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        highrider November 4, 2016 at 2:48 pm

        Americans are more productive workers than ever before. Many people have precious little time to enjoy life.

        http://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/13/sunday-review/americas-productivity-climbs-but-wages-stagnate.html

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          rachel b November 7, 2016 at 1:14 pm

          Hmm. A whole lotta people in Portland now seem to have a whole lotta time to hang out during work hours… Just my observation after a lifetime here. It’s a relatively new thing, and very noticeable.

          This Killing My Lobster Twilight Zone spoof is about SF but it made me laugh–definitely feels applicable to Portland of now!

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R8vJgYQU_lY

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    Allan November 4, 2016 at 12:11 pm

    As on Williams, going to a single lane will have a dramatic effect on speeding when multiple vehicles are around

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      Spiffy November 4, 2016 at 12:45 pm

      race ahead to wait in traffic!

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    q November 4, 2016 at 12:11 pm

    There are lots of drivers who’d also appreciate crackdowns on speeding and other forms of bad driving. It’s nerve-wracking to drive the speed limit with people constantly tailgating, swerving around you…actually dangerous.

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      Spiffy November 4, 2016 at 12:46 pm

      you’re describing every time I drive on the Morrison bridge…

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      jonno November 4, 2016 at 3:49 pm

      THIS.

      I ride my bike a lot but when I do have to drive I am constantly amazed by the maneuvers pulled by idiot drivers. I cringe every time I get behind the wheel (or walk, for that matter). Safer roads aren’t just for bikes!

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    Dan A November 4, 2016 at 12:18 pm

    Drove home yesterday on Hwy 26 at 4:30pm. Next to me I noticed a woman texting with both hands, while presumably steering the car with her knees. I watched her do this for at least a minute, wondering how long it would go on. Finally she put her phone away, and then proceeded to place a bong on the steering wheel and take a hit. Green Pontiac, OR license plate 038 JML. The world has gone crazy.

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      Eric Leifsdad November 4, 2016 at 3:07 pm

      I’m not so worried about self-driving cars on access-controlled freeways.

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      still riding after all that November 5, 2016 at 12:23 am

      She couldn’t very well take a bong hit while she was using both hands to text, could she? Obviously she had to finish texting before she could light the bong. Sheesh, give people a break already.

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        BB November 7, 2016 at 10:44 am

        Left knee – Steering wheel
        Right knee / mouth – Bong
        Left hand – Phone
        Right hand – Lighter

        Give people more? credit?

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          Dan A November 7, 2016 at 12:53 pm

          I bought a Honda Del Sol with a manual transmission many years ago from a guy in SE PDX. He took us for a drive around, and he had a large drink in between his legs. At some point, he answered his phone with his right hand and struck up a conversation. Since we were driving through the city, he needed to shift frequently, which he did by reaching across his lap and shifting with his left hand while operating the gas & clutch with his feet, steering with his knees, and keeping his cup upright between he legs. Pretty impressive, I guess.

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      Pete November 7, 2016 at 12:53 pm

      “Next to me I noticed a woman texting with both hands, while presumably steering the car with her knees.”

      I was gonna say that I’ve seen that more than once, but with older people driving with their reading glasses on so they could read what’s on their phones (at the expense of seeing lines on the road, as evidenced by their trajectories). Definitely got me beat with the bong though!

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    paul h November 4, 2016 at 12:50 pm

    One statistical nitpick. You say “As you can see in the chart, in 2002 all the traffic was going above the posted speed limit”. But you can’t make that assertion. You can only say that all traffic at the 85th percentile and above was higher than the posted speed limit.

    We don’t have enough information to speculate on the shape of the distribution of speeds for each class of vehicle.

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      Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) November 4, 2016 at 12:56 pm

      good catch. Sorry Paul. Fixed it.

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        paul h November 4, 2016 at 2:01 pm

        It’s better, but you’re still making an assumption about the median (50th percentile) speed, which we can’t do. Feel free to email me if you want a more detailed explanation of the statistical concepts that go behind all of this.

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    Kevin Wagoner November 6, 2016 at 3:12 pm

    We need to automate enforcement in this town. It is inefficient to not do this.

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