Splendid Cycles

Two more people were killed while walking across Southeast Division Street last night

Posted by on December 8th, 2016 at 11:00 am

(Note: This post is a mix of news and opinion.)

Two people were killed while walking on Division Street last night in separate collisions. The first one happened just before 7:00 pm at 156th Avenue. The second one happened around 9:00 pm near 87th. These are the 13th and 14th people to be killed while walking (about three over our average since 1996) and the 39th and 40th traffic fatalities so far this year. That’s the most fatalities we’ve had since 2003.

Division is already known as one of the most dangerous streets in Portland for vulnerable road users. This year alone five people have died in traffic crashes while using Division (four people walking and one person driving). In addition to those fatalities there have been at least three serious injury crashes on Division in 2016, including one with life-threatening injuries and another with traumatic injuries. Seven of these collisions happened on a two-mile stretch between 124th and 156th.

Details on what exactly happened last night are still unknown, but both collisions involved a motor vehicle operator who struck a person on foot.

As news of these latest tragedies on Division rolled in last night, the community was justifiably horrified, frustrated, and angry.

Despite the road being managed by the Portland Bureau of Transportation as an interstate highway where motor vehicle capacity is the top priority, this stretch of Division runs through vibrant neighborhoods full of places where people try to live, work and play.

Why is PBOT holding people in this neighborhood hostage to the terrors of dangerous auto use while preserving and protecting the interests of motor vehicle speed, capacity and convenience?

SE Division looking east toward the crosswalk at 156th.

If we know so clearly about the inherent dangers posed by Division Street — and if we truly accept responsibility for what a commitment to “Vision Zero” means — why have we not done more to keep people safe?

On January 12th 84-year-old Francis Weaver was crossing Division in the crosswalk at 156th when she was struck and killed by 61-year-old Carolyn Bettin. Less than one month later the Portland Bureau of Transportation installed a “rapid flash beacon” at the intersection. In a tweet on February 8th they said “it’s working great.”

PBOT, like the Oregon Department of Transportation, appears to be impotent when it comes to taming motor vehicle traffic on these urban arterials. Their only response is a few yellow signs, some paint and a few flashing lights — none of which appear to be significantly changing the roadway environment. Here’s an inconvenient truth: We must make people slow down on Division (and elsewhere). We can’t afford to wait for our typical incrementalist approach or culture change or public education campaigns to work. The options are to reconfigure the roadway to make it nearly impossibly to drive dangerously and/or to develop a fair and effective method of enforcement.


In a sad twist to last night’s news, both of the locations — 156th and 87th — are the same locations where Kim Stone and Kristi Finney lost their sons. Joe Stone was killed while walking across Division at 156th in 2013 and Dustin Finney was killed while biking on Division near 87th in 2011.

Last night on Twitter, reeling after reading news of both fatalities, Kristi Finney wrote, “I feel like a complete and utter failure.”

It’s sickening that Finney has to add the failure of our broken transportation system to the already massive emotional burden of her son’s death.

Graphic from Bike Loud PDX. They feel Division has too much space for motor vehicle traffic.

Volunteer activist group Bike Loud PDX has already responded to these latest deaths. They are planning a “takeover” of Division Street this Saturday. Bike Loud says despite knowing the dangers of Division for years, PBOT “has only made baby steps” to improve it.

“Where the City hasn’t addressed this crisis, we the people of Portland will,” reads a statement on their Facebook event page. Here’s more about the event:

All are invited this Saturday when we will implement emergency traffic calming measures along the stretch of SE Division where the street widens to five traffic lanes (the deadliest stretch of the road). All you need to bring is yourself, but the especially enraged should bring signs, and anything large and visible (traffic cones, old pallets, planters, hay bales, patio furniture, etc). Remember Fallon Smart’s memorial on Hawthorne? So far, it’s been the only tactic that actually got the City to listen and seriously respond, so we’re doing it again.

Please note that this is not a shutdown: we will be maintaining functionality of the road, including driveways and bike lanes. Our goal is to show that the unnecessary and dangerous outer lanes could be removed (or converted to other purposes like bus/bike lanes) immediately and not cause undue impact to functionality!

This is a citizen-lead emergency traffic calming event on SE Division St in response to the crisis-level number of fatalities and serious injuries on this road. We’re shutting down the deadly and unnecessary two outer traffic lanes through the 5-lane stretch of Outer Division.

Last week the City of Portland passed an action plan to reach zero traffic deaths. That’s what Portland usually does to address big problems. But business as usual is no longer enough. The threat we face is growing at a faster rate than our steps to mitigate it. People will continue to be hurt and killed until we catch up and leave the status quo far behind.

UPDATE: The police have released more details on one of last night’s fatalities. They say 65-year-old Rohgzhao Zhang of Southeast Portland was walking home from work at a nearby restaurant at the time of the collision. The 19-year-old driver was going westbound, “when Zhang stepped into traffic and was struck by Moore’s vehicle.”

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

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  • q December 8, 2016 at 11:15 am

    Jonathan–great point about the street also being needed by the neighborhood, while only the highway use is prioritized. People living there don’t have a choice of going elsewhere to cross the street. They deserve a safe, walkable street as much as anyone anywhere does–probably more so since they also have the disadvantage of having to put up with highway traffic running through it that keeps that much traffic out of other neighborhoods.

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  • Scott Bricker December 8, 2016 at 11:34 am

    I agree that on multiple fronts the community needs to rise up to stop this traffic violence. The St. Johns Neighborhood Association (SJNA) — http://stjohnspdx.org — recently held a traffic safety forum and we are committed to drastically lowering speeds, improving safety and more. Through North Portland Neighborhood Services, the coalition of NOPO NAs, I am urging us to take on one or two core issues and unite, with traffic safety as the #1 push for the SJNA. As one organizing unit, I implore all NA leaders to push traffic safety as a top issue for us to unite behind as let’s see if we can collaborate to support and drive change along with the other traffic justice leaders in Portland.

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  • bikeninja December 8, 2016 at 11:40 am

    I think an electric eye and rocket launcher connected to the Rapid Flash Beacon would do the job. Cross the beam when the rapid flash beacon is in operation and the rocket launcher would be engaged to neutralize the dangerous motorist intent on running down innocent pedestrians.

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    • Spiffy December 8, 2016 at 1:33 pm

      except that the point of the rapid flash beacon is so that cars can cross while it’s flashing but nobody is in the crosswalk… otherwise they could just put a normal traffic light there and the red light would stop all traffic…

      but the city has no guts to slow down traffic just to save a few lives…

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    • Ted Timmons (Contributor) December 8, 2016 at 2:37 pm

      I’ve been calling for crossing bricks.

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  • Kyle Banerjee December 8, 2016 at 11:45 am

    This is exactly the sort of problem that needs more attention. Some sections such as this one are especially dangerous for a variety of reasons.

    If converting the outer lanes to other purposes can improve safety while allowing sufficient flow, I’m all for it. As someone who has lived along major arterials the vast majority of my time in Portland, I’m highly sympathetic to the often overlooked needs of people who live there and can’t get away.

    At the same time, I would be wary of simply choking traffic flow as doing so could easily lead to people engaging in even more dangerous behavior such as tearing down neighborhood streets where visibility is worse.

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    • SE Rider December 8, 2016 at 1:21 pm

      I can’t help but think “What if the Mount Hood Freeway was actually built”. Would we still have a real need for a street like Division? Instead of a highway we have some monster streets like outer Division.

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      • Adam H.
        Adam H. December 8, 2016 at 1:29 pm

        If the Mount Hood Freeway was actually built, I’d be living underneath a concrete on-ramp.

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        • J_R December 8, 2016 at 2:43 pm

          Well, at least it would provide you with the grade separation you desire.

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      • Spiffy December 8, 2016 at 1:36 pm

        we don’t currently NEED any of our 4-lane streets… people simply WANT them so they can get home a few minutes earlier driving themselves in a huge vehicle…

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        • Hello, Kitty
          Hello, Kitty December 8, 2016 at 2:52 pm

          The question you need to ask is would our transportation system function well without these roads?

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          • Adam H.
            Adam H. December 8, 2016 at 3:23 pm

            Sure, if you add bus lanes or an elevated MAX line on Division.

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            • Hello, Kitty
              Hello, Kitty December 9, 2016 at 11:14 am

              You are assuming that drivers on Division are coming from and going to somewhere served by the bus. I’m sure some are, but I’m going to guess that most are not.

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      • Gary B December 8, 2016 at 2:01 pm

        Need? I don’t know. Would we? See: Barbur Blvd.

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      • Gary B December 8, 2016 at 2:02 pm

        And many more people would have a freeway in their neighborhood, with all the wonderful amenities that brings.

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        • David Hampsten December 8, 2016 at 6:53 pm

          When the county built Division with 96 foot width, it was six lanes plus bike lanes, no parking, specifically in response to the future Mt Hood freeway. When Portland annexed the area in 1986-91, they reduced the number of lanes and added parking, which is still not used very much.

          If they “need” to preserve the number of lanes, why can’t they reconfigure them as a series of chicanes (slant northward for three blocks, then southward, etc), forcing traffic to slow down? How about reducing lane width to 10 feet? Eliminating all unused parking spaces? With the savings in land, how about “depaving” the street and creating a series of pocket parks and street-side cafes?

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          • Chris I December 8, 2016 at 8:22 pm

            Keep the 20ft excess ROW for high-capacity transit. This is the best way to use it.

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          • Gary B December 9, 2016 at 1:29 pm

            Wow, that’s intense–6 lanes of traffic. Very interesting idea with the chicanes!

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    • Gerald Fittipaldi December 8, 2016 at 1:52 pm

      Unlike in inner Southeast, this portion of Division lacks parallel routes that can be used as cut-throughs. Nearly every single street that isn’t an arterial dead ends or kinks every few blocks. This development pattern dates back to generations ago.

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      • David Hampsten December 8, 2016 at 6:54 pm

        In the 1960s and 70s this was known as “best practice” in the planning manuals of the time. Unfortunately, it’s still used in the deep south.

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      • GutterBunnyBikes December 8, 2016 at 7:30 pm

        And as someone that lives between Division and Powell within a half mile of one of these intersections, all I can say is thank God (note – I’m not religious at all).

        As is my street gets cut through traffic, couldn’t imagine how bad it’d be if everything though here was paved and straight.

        Road corrections have worked wonderfully west of 82nd, I see no reason they wouldn’t work well east of 82nd too. It’s busy and rush hour, but off hours both stretches are pretty vacant.

        I’ve never understood why roads are built with the traffic for 20 hours of the week, there is another 148 hours of that week which belongs to the people that live off these streets which they aren’t designed for.

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        • Gerald Fittipaldi December 8, 2016 at 10:47 pm

          Comparing neighborhoods east of 82nd to those in inner southeast is like comparing night and day. Inner southeast and inner northeast have short blocks, generally every 250-ft, making it relatively easy to create bike boulevards using nothing but diverters. To achieve the same type of low-stress bicycle network east of 82nd would cost hundreds of millions, if not billions of dollars. Properties would have to be raised all over the place, and countless streets would have to be constructed from scratch.

          If anyone disagrees with how vast of an undertaking this would be, I’m open to the debate. Give an example of a place that started out like East Portland and then became transformed to include low-volume, low-stress, bike-friendly streets. Certain arterials in East Portland may have potential to become more bike-friendly, but I don’t see any potential whatsoever for a meaningful Neighborhood Greenway system to take shape in our lifetime east of 82nd.

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          • GutterBunnyBikes December 9, 2016 at 8:20 am

            This part of the thread was all talk of auto traffic, not bike traffic.

            Putting that aside, greenways aren’t the correct solution through this part of the East SIde. And as one who has lived and biked on the border of both East Portlands for 20 years there are more than ample opportunities for greenways in East Portland, the problem isn’t with the streets, it’s with how the commercial sections are all zoned on the arterials. Which means greenways on the outer east side will be insufficient for real use because they will only ever connect residential zones to residential zones with few commercial/industrial connections.

            There are lots of jacked up Greenways in inner East side, lots of examples of streets patterns that don’t conform to the grid, like Ladds, Alameda, Laurelhurst, the I-5 corridor. The biggest difference is that inner east side has a better mix of commercial and residential that works well together (more an old-timey town center concept), the outer east side has strip malls.

            Likewise there are some great greenways in the outer east side too, like NE San Rafael, NE Shaver, SEBush, SEMarket/Mill,

            Short of massive rezoning the only, and cheapest way to affect change in the outer east side is with traffic calming measures with better bike infrastructure and better mass transit on the arterials, not a greenway system (other than ones that connect the commercial corridors through the residential areas). Bicycle routes that don’t mix different zoning uses will nearly always fail – which incidentally is why those I listed above don’t work and are largely ignored or forgotten by people.

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          • David Hampsten December 9, 2016 at 2:36 pm

            I’ve traveled to Europe 13 times. I have come across only two cities with a grid street pattern similar to inner Portland: Mannheim and Glasgow, neither of which are particularly bike-friendly. All the rest were irregular, including all the bike-friendly cities. Given that, I think East Portland could fairly easily become even more bike-friendly than inner Portland, if we all start thinking more like your favorite Europeans (Dutch? German? Danish?), and less like an inner Portland hipster.

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    • wsbob December 8, 2016 at 2:41 pm

      “…If converting the outer lanes to other purposes can improve safety while allowing sufficient flow, I’m all for it. …” banerjee

      More than one lane in each direction can help a lot to ease traffic congestion, and aid traffic flow; less slowing to a stop and waiting behind motor vehicles driven by people waiting to make turns both left and right. Efforts towards keeping traffic moving steadily, rather than top high speeds, may be most effective for maximizing traffic flow.

      First thing to question, I’m inclined to think, is whether the posted speed limit could be reasonably reduced for an improvement to road use by everyone, but particularly vulnerable road users, and still maintain reasonable traffic flow, by the numbers, for this street.

      Notice one of the pictures has the street posted for 35mph. Could help if that was brought down to 30 or 25, and reinforced with speed light cameras and other compliance inducing measures.

      To another story from I think, last week, I posted links to stories of a couple collisions in the Portland area, about people on foot having been killed while trying to use crosswalks at which main lane traffic was regulated by the flashing yellow beacons.

      One major thing from those stories, and from personal conversations I’ve had, is that there may be a serious lack of awareness on the part of many people that drive, as to what these signals are and how to respond to them. Introduction of these signals to people driving, needs to be extensive enough to be reasonably certain people know what the signals are, and how they’re supposed to handle them, whether they’re walking, or driving.

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      • JL December 8, 2016 at 3:21 pm

        If the driver of the vehicle isn’t speeding or tailgating, then having cars on front of them turning wouldn’t be an issue. Cars turning off of the road in front of you isn’t a good thing??

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        • wsbob December 8, 2016 at 6:51 pm

          There’s a number of variables factoring into how streets and thoroughfares function relative to the traffic they’re configured to support. My understanding from first hand use of roads…two lane…four lane…five lanes…seven lanes…is that for example, two lane roads with a lot of traffic, such as rush hour traffic, and many turns off the road, can result in serious traffic backups.

          Nobody behind can proceed until the person in the lead car completes their turn off the road.Multiple lane roads with more than two lanes in each direction, allow traffic to proceed without stopping, past the motor vehicle or vehicles waiting for a chance to make their turn.

          I would say that interest in avoiding this kind of congestion problem, is a major reason why planners and traffic engineers transform two lane roads into multiple lane roads.

          Excessively high speeds allowed with motor vehicle use of the road, rather than the multiple lanes themselves, seems to me to possibly be one of the biggest factors contributing to the occurrence of collisions. Perhaps, rather than rush hour, during off-peak use hours when the road is relatively free of other motor vehicle traffic, may be the time of day some of the people that drive become less watchful of cross traffic and vulnerable road users, and the speed their vehicle is traveling.

          That’s some of the reason I’d favor better efforts to keep mph speeds of motor vehicles down, before resorting to reducing the number of main lanes in each direction.

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          • Beeblebrox December 8, 2016 at 11:47 pm

            The main determinant of driver speed is the roadway design, not the posted speed limit. The only exception would be if there were constant enforcement, but even then there will be people who don’t mind paying the ticket or won’t bother paying the ticket. Roadway design is crucial. The easiest way to slow speeds is to remove travel lanes, though there are other methods. Medians, protected bikeways, frequent marked crosswalks, chicanes (where the lanes meander side to side like on inner Sandy), roundabouts…these all add to the visual and physical friction needed to slow down drivers.

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      • wsbob December 8, 2016 at 7:58 pm

        …by the way…found the links to the oregonian stories of the two collisions that occurred at a flashing yellow beacon crosswalk:



        I encourage people to carefully read those articles, and try to not automatically react extremely to the advanced age of one of the people that was driving. In those collisions, as I mentioned earlier, a big contributor to the collision having occurred, may be due to lack of sufficient familiarity on the part of people using the road…with the flashing yellow beacon crosswalk signals. That’s a lack of familiarity that could be fairly easily corrected, and should be corrected.

        The beacons are definitely better than no signal at all, but they do leave more room for road user error to be made, than do the standard crosswalk signals with a red light stopping main lane traffic.

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    • B. Carfree December 8, 2016 at 3:15 pm

      “If converting the outer lanes to other purposes can improve safety while allowing sufficient flow, I’m all for it.” – Kyle Bannerjee

      And there’s where we differ. It’s a values thing. I cannot put convenience, and traffic flow is simply a matter of convenience, ahead of safety. These two things don’t always conflict, but where they do if we continue to value convenience over all else, we will continue to experience these tragedies.

      I’ll add that those of you who agree with Kyle on this should start owning the deaths that are caused by those sort of values. That may sound rude, but we are talking life and death here.

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      • Kyle Banerjee December 9, 2016 at 6:26 am

        Flow is about both convenience and safety.

        Flow prevents problems by reducing the magnitude of adjustments people need to make. It helps people more quickly identify things that are out of place.

        Whether driving, cycling, walking, or whatever, it’s safest and easiest when the number of inputs (speeding up, slowing down, stopping, turning, etc) needed to maintain travel is minimized. I thought about this last night as I rode home in conditions everyone is afraid to drive in. A feather light touch is what keeps things safe. Same thing in a car. It’s not nearly as important in perfect conditions, but the dynamic is the same.

        If there are any values causing deaths, that would be the ones that encourage willfully reckless behavior and that encourage vulnerable road users to act in a way that puts them in mortal danger if someone else makes a mistake. They should be fine when everyone does everything wrong in the real world we have right now.

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        • Alex Reedin December 9, 2016 at 1:16 pm

          Do you have any citations to back up your assertion that flow is an important determinant of safety? All the research I’ve seen says speed (low) is a huge determinant – even though some research says congested cities have more crashes, those crashes are so much less severe that safety is greater than in areas/times with free flow.


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          • Kyle Banerjee December 9, 2016 at 1:31 pm

            Read some research about interstates. Cars go faster there than just about anywhere else. And yet they are pretty safe.

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            • TheCat December 9, 2016 at 7:18 pm

              Interstates don’t have non-motorized traffic!

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              • Kyle Banerjee December 9, 2016 at 8:00 pm

                I beg to differ. https://www.oregon.gov/ODOT/HWY/BIKEPED/docs/bike_manual.pdf or if you want to go straight to the horse’s mouth, see OAR 734-020-0045. I have personally ridden much of it.

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              • David Hampsten December 10, 2016 at 11:43 pm

                In addition to Oregon rural interstate roadways, North Dakota allows bicycles on all parts of its interstates, except a bridge in Fargo that crosses into Minnesota (not that you’d want to bike there.) Near Morgantown WV there is a stretch of I-68 that explicitly allows bicycles, since there are no alternatives, to get to a local state park.

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            • Alex Reedin December 10, 2016 at 7:42 am

              I just don’t think interrstates. (minimizing the ability to enter/leave the roadway) are a viable model for surface streets streets, especially on the east side of Portland. Do you? I could see benefits from reducing curb cuts for driveways, but that’s a long and hard political fight with legacy curb cut owners, and even if you win, you’ll still have lots of intersections to deal with. The “slow and congested” safety model seems far more viable to me.

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              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty December 10, 2016 at 10:18 am

                ODOT has been doing just that on inner Powell for decades. It’s slow work, but they take every opportunity they have.

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              • Alex Reedin December 10, 2016 at 12:19 pm

                “Slow and congested” and/or “minimize opportunity to enter/leave?” 🙂

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              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty December 10, 2016 at 8:11 pm

                Limit street access.

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              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty December 10, 2016 at 8:11 pm

                They’ve got slow and congested in the bag.

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        • David Hampsten December 10, 2016 at 11:58 pm

          I live in a community that is rated by the USDOT as having the least (car) traffic congestion and quickest commute times in the whole of the USA (and third best in the world, apparently, bested by two unnamed French cities). We have a very smooth flow of traffic in our city of 288,000 (Greensboro NC), in a county of 500,000 (Guilford) and our 9-county metro area of 1.6 million. That said, fully 20% of our crash fatalities are pedestrians getting hit by cars, and our crash rate is somewhat higher than the national average (and much higher than Portland’s.) Since over 75% of our sidewalks are missing and we have only 20 miles of any kind of bikeways, it’s amazing that anyone walks or bikes. And yet, in spite of the horrible conditions, they do walk and bike, as they do in East Portland. According to our city, 55% of our cyclists are black, a higher proportion than the population (43%). As in East Portland, our immigrants and foreign workers (we have many migrant Japanese and Germans) are far more likely to walk or bike than the white natives.

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  • Paul Atkinson December 8, 2016 at 11:46 am

    UPDATE: The police have released more details on one of last night’s fatalities. They say 65-year-old Rohgzhao Zhang of Southeast Portland was walking home from work at a nearby restaurant at the time of the collision. The 19-year-old driver was going westbound, “when Zhang stepped into traffic and was struck by Moore’s vehicle.”

    I’m sure that’s what the driver believes, and being the only survivor the police have no further need to question his actions. After all, people leap out in front of speeding cars every day because they actively want to die. It couldn’t possibly be that the driver simply didn’t pay enough attention to notice the unarmored person until he crushed the man.

    I am so goddamn sick of the reflexive, presumptive victim blaming that the police and press so regularly participate in.

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    • AC December 8, 2016 at 1:08 pm

      You automatically assume the driver is at fault and it fills you with rage. You have no more details than the rest of us. Calm down. It’s unfortunate someone was killed but people step into roads unsafely all the time.

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      • Paul Atkinson December 8, 2016 at 2:35 pm

        I object strenuously to the assumption that the pedestrian was at fault. “Stepped into traffic” implies the driver had no chance to avoid him. If he entered the lane far enough ahead of Moore’s car that Moore could possibly have stopped were he going the speed limit and paying attention, then Moore is at least partially to blame. Instead the police say he “stepped into traffic,” which places the onus 100% on the victim.

        I object to that. You should, too, if you ever get out of your car — which I assume you do. If you don’t then quit posting while you drive. 🙂

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        • wsbob December 8, 2016 at 7:44 pm

          “I object strenuously to the assumption that the pedestrian was at fault. “Stepped into traffic” implies the driver had no chance to avoid him. …” atkinson

          If that’s the implication you’re drawing from that excerpt from the police statement, I’d have to say you’re attempting to discern more conclusions than are reasonably possible from the info provided in that excerpt or the full police statement you’re drawing it from, as to what things both parties did that contributed, or didn’t, to the collision having occurred.

          spiffy posted what he says is the full police statement: http://bikeportland.org/2016/12/08/two-more-people-were-killed-while-walking-across-southeast-division-street-last-night-196893#comment-6742751

          Big thoroughfares like this section of Division St, can be very dangerous to cross on foot. Plenty of ones like that, as dangerous, out in Beaverton. The potential for making mistakes, on the part of everyone using the road, is huge.

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    • Middle of the Road guy December 8, 2016 at 1:22 pm

      Your post is kind of reflexive and presumptive as well, dontcha think?

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    • Gary B December 8, 2016 at 2:04 pm

      I didn’t take it that way. It read to me that the police statement went out of its way to not blame anyone, driver or pedestrian, but just state plain facts. I actually think it was responsible and avoided the normal embellishments that often read as victim blaming.

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      • Gary B December 8, 2016 at 2:07 pm

        On further review, and Adam’s comment below, “stepped into traffic” is a poor choice. “Entered the roadway” would have been neutral.

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        • Paul Atkinson December 8, 2016 at 2:30 pm

          That was the language that bothered me. I thought it would be obvious to most folks here, but clearly not.

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  • Craig Giffen December 8, 2016 at 11:48 am

    How about we make posters of everyone killed this year and go stand outside of PBOT so they can see that their inaction is actually getting people killed? Those numbers on their spreadsheet cells were real people.

    I don’t want more tri-fold pamphlets and billboards and “awareness”, I want the city to actually take real action against speeding, drunk, red-light ignoring, distracted drivers.

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    • Adam H.
      Adam H. December 8, 2016 at 12:44 pm

      Out City Commissioners (especially Fritz) voted unanimously for Vision Zero; now it’s time for them to put their money where their mouths are! Remembering the victim’s names is not enough – they need to actually fix the road to be safe for all users! Pocket flashlights won’t fix Outer Division!

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      • Middle of the Road guy December 8, 2016 at 1:24 pm

        Adam, you have enough background to know that things don’t happen overnight and that project like Vision Zero will take at least a decade to implement. Now, if you want to cause annoyance to Frtiz, I completely support that.

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        • J_R December 8, 2016 at 2:45 pm

          What do you mean? We already have a task force and a logo!

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        • Adam H.
          Adam H. December 8, 2016 at 2:49 pm

          Of course I know that. I was suggesting to our city leadership to look at this tragedy and immediately start working on securing funding and concrete ideas for implementation. My fear is that this plan will only amount to nice thoughts, but without action. If City Hall isn’t planning action now, there’s something wrong.

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    • Spiffy December 8, 2016 at 1:42 pm

      pictures of the people alone won’t work… you need to use pictures of them hugging loved ones to show the void of love that they left…

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  • Matt December 8, 2016 at 11:51 am

    How many people get hit and not killed on Division?
    Here’s one from a few weeks back-

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    • Gena December 8, 2016 at 12:17 pm

      It happens so often, that I didn’t even hear about this one! Horrible.

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  • bikeninja December 8, 2016 at 11:54 am

    If this many citizens were killed this close together in this length of time by “Terrorists” the federal government would spend billions of dollars, create an entire new agency and install elaborate security features on this entire street. But since the reign of death and destruction was caused by drivers pursuing “happy motoring” it is not so important. Madness.

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    • Spiffy December 8, 2016 at 2:31 pm

      if that many people were killed at my office for any reason we’d be shut down… OSHA would throw a fit… we’d be forced to take extreme remedial actions to prevent ANY further deaths…

      but if your work facility is a public road it’s OK…

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  • J_R December 8, 2016 at 11:56 am

    We could try some E N F O R C E M E N T for crosswalks for more than two hours per month at a marked crosswalk with advance warning signs.

    We could sentence drivers who blow through crosswalks to serving as a decoy pedestrian in a subsequent enforcement action.

    We could have some meaningful penalties.

    Just a thought!

    Gosh, no. It might result in targeting of minority populations. Scratch that. Better a few dozen more dead citizens than to take the chance that someone would feel discriminated against.

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    • James December 8, 2016 at 2:40 pm

      The “We could sentence drivers who blow through crosswalks to serving as a decoy pedestrian in a subsequent enforcement action.” idea sounds pretty good.

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      • Kevin December 8, 2016 at 3:34 pm

        I don’t see a lawyer agreeing to shoulder the risk. Is this a common sentence from a judge?

        I do believe we should fine and suspend the license of individuals that do not stop for pedestrians. Start giving people a week of riding transit to think about the privilege and responsibility that comes from driving. If this we’re broadcast all over the “news” I recon you’d quickly see a change in behavior. Would that change a motorists’ belief? Hard to say, but it would be an effective way of achieving the (sub-)objective.

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    • Kelly Francois December 9, 2016 at 12:59 am

      Says the white guy. Way to be dismissive of a very real concern for all road users who aren’t white. Don’t forget, many people of color die at the hands of police for simple traffic stops. It’s not just a fear of discrimination, it’s a fear of increased interactions with people with police that could lead to more death.

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      • Hello, Kitty
        Hello, Kitty December 9, 2016 at 10:43 am

        What do you think is a greater danger? Dying at the hands of the police, or dying at the hands of a drunk or distracted driver?

        I think this is a false choice, but everyone keeps presenting it this way.

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        • Adam H.
          Adam H. December 9, 2016 at 11:10 am

          No, the problem is with white people asking for more enforcement despite the known issues with police and POC’s. The people that are okay upping enforcement yet don’t care about the police issue are essentially asking to trade black lives for white lives. There lies your false equivalency. Why are white lives more important than black lives? Hint: they’re not, and that’s the problem with this whole enforcement argument.

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          • Hello, Kitty
            Hello, Kitty December 9, 2016 at 11:29 am

            White lives are not more important than anyone else’s life, of course. Why do you assume that the benefits of better traffic enforcement (and policing in general) in “communities of color” are only enjoyed by “white people”?

            Fix the police, don’t get rid of them.

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          • B. Carfree December 9, 2016 at 12:35 pm

            Please provide some reasonable numerical estimate based on reality that shows that dramatically increasing enforcement would cause more loss of lives for POC than leaving our streets a free-for-all. Don’t forget to include the massively high rates of heart disease, hypertension and diabetes currently plaguing black America at rates that are far worse than what white America experiences.

            It is also reasonable that if we actually invested in meaningful levels of traffic enforcement, we would be implementing far more automated enforcement (cameras may shoot pictures, but they don’t shoot people) and that the human enforcement will make greater use of body and dash cameras.

            Let’s also not forget that a much higher percentage of POC are living in neighborhoods that expose them to damaging levels of air pollutants, much of it from exhaust pipes. Those pollutants cause brain damage, which can lead to violent behavior. In fact, one leading hypothesis for the dramatic reduction in violent crime that we have been experiencing for the past quarter-century is that it has been caused by removing lead from gasoline. Further reducing emissions through traffic law enforcement may well reduce violent crime, and POC are disproportionately victims of this crime.

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  • EricIvy December 8, 2016 at 12:01 pm

    Thanks for the coverage BP

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  • Chris I December 8, 2016 at 12:04 pm

    Center-running BRT/LRT with dedicated lanes would do a lot to reduce the average speed on this street. The visual divider would reduce the perceived width of the street by 50% or more. Think Interstate with slightly more width (enough for actual bike lanes). Something should be done in the interim, but we need to think big and long-term as well.

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    • Adam H.
      Adam H. December 8, 2016 at 12:21 pm

      Too bad the Powell-Division project was watered down to just an articulated express bus running 100% in mixed traffic. Outer Division has seven lanes dedicated to moving and storing vehicles. If TriMet/PBOT couldn’t find room for dedicated bus lanes, there may be no hope.

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      • Spiffy December 8, 2016 at 1:45 pm

        “Outer Division has seven lanes dedicated to moving and storing vehicles.”

        7 lanes for motor vehicles…

        since it’s 9 lanes if you count bike lanes…

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        • Hello, Kitty
          Hello, Kitty December 8, 2016 at 4:20 pm

          13 with sidewalks!

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          • Hello, Kitty
            Hello, Kitty December 8, 2016 at 4:20 pm

            Or, rather that would be 11. Back to 3rd grade for me!

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      • Spiffy December 8, 2016 at 1:50 pm

        I thought it was pretty stupid of them to remodel Division to get rid of the curb-side commute-hour lanes and THEN decide they want BRT to run down it with no dedicated lanes…

        HELLO?! you just took away your BRT lanes! use Powell!

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  • Gena December 8, 2016 at 12:23 pm

    Ok Portland, you’ve lost the privilege to drive on Division Street from 82nd to 181st, until you can figure out how to operate a motor vehicle along this stretch of road without killing someone.

    PBOT should immediately close Division Street due to the serious public health threat it is imposing on us all. Everyone in Portland should be appalled by this. However, it hits very close to home, literally, as I live on 88th just a few blocks north of Division.

    Please keep us posted on Saturday’s demonstration.

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    • Tom Hardy December 8, 2016 at 1:56 pm

      Gena. Participate please! Even if it is only hot chocolate for the protesters.

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      • Gena December 8, 2016 at 5:07 pm

        Yes! I will be there. Just tell me when and where.

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        • Alex Reedin December 8, 2016 at 6:02 pm

          2pm-5pm this Saturday, at SE 82nd & Division!

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  • Adam H.
    Adam H. December 8, 2016 at 12:39 pm

    Zhang stepped into traffic

    Wow, biased much? Shame on PPB for using this car-centric language!

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    • Mike 2 December 8, 2016 at 12:54 pm

      So what did happen? I don’t see any information about how this occurred, but it seems like you know.

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      • Adam H.
        Adam H. December 8, 2016 at 1:02 pm

        It’s not about the events, it’s about the language used. “Stepped into traffic” automatically puts the blame on the person walking. Better would have been “was crossing the street”. It’s more neutral and doesn’t assign blame right off the bat.

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    • AC December 8, 2016 at 1:13 pm

      Car-centric language? You have got to be kidding me! If vehicles are moving on a roadway that is traffic by definition. Why do you find it so necessary to control other’s language?

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      • SD December 8, 2016 at 1:27 pm

        “Zhang was crossing the road…” vs. “Zhang stepped into traffic when…” vs. “Moore drove his vehicle into Zhang when Zhang was crossing the road.”

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        • AC December 8, 2016 at 2:02 pm

          How do you not see that you are doing the same exact thing from an opposite point of view? You’re perfectly fine putting the onus on the driver. The pedestrian has no responsibility for their own behavior? We have no evidence of fault. All we know is he was hit by a car, implying there was traffic in the immediate area.

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          • Gerald Fittipaldi December 8, 2016 at 3:03 pm

            Your response proves the point Adam and SD are making. “Stepped into traffic” is not neutral language. SD flipped the script to prove that the police report is biased against the pedestrian.

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          • q December 8, 2016 at 3:22 pm

            That’s the whole point. Saying, “Moore drove his vehicle into Zhang when Zhang was crossing the road” IS exactly as accurate as Zhang “stepped into traffic”. But the first one makes it sound like the driver was at fault, and the second one that the victim was. So neither one is appropriate until the facts are known. And in fact the first one is probably more neutral than “stepped into traffic”.

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      • Adam H.
        Adam H. December 8, 2016 at 1:28 pm

        While it may technically be true, the wording creates an unnecessary negative reaction towards the victim. “Why did he step into traffic? The street is for cars!” would be a natural response to that wording. Compare this to “attempted to cross the street”. People frequently need to get to the other side of the street. I am sure that you would never willingly “step into traffic”, but I’m willing to bet that you’ve crossed the street more than a few times.

        See how the wording matters? Both phrasings are equally as true, but the former sounds like a dangerous activity and the latter sounds like something anyone could do.

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        • AC December 8, 2016 at 1:57 pm

          Correct, I cross a street when there is no traffic in my immediate area or when the traffic has stopped to allow me to cross.

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          • Kevin December 8, 2016 at 2:39 pm

            That’s great you have a found a way to cross the street that has worked for you (thus far.) Unfortunately, we probably won’t know the street-crossing philosophy to which Mr. Zhang subscribed. What we do know is that he was hit and killed while crossing the street.

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          • q December 8, 2016 at 3:12 pm

            But in both those cases, you still are technically “stepping into traffic”. Of course what you’re doing is entirely different than stepping out right in front of a moving vehicle that couldn’t stop in time, but that’s the impression that “stepping into traffic” gives.

            We don’t know if the victim was stepping right in front of a moving vehicle that couldn’t stop or, like you, stepping into the street when there was no traffic in the immediate area (the street was wide and he may not have been able to move fast enough to get out of the way of a car coming from some distance) or stepping in front of a stopped car only to be hit by another passing it. But the impression given by the report is the first one only.

            And it very well could be he did step right in front of a moving car that had no chance of stopping. In that case, the report should have said that, for clarity’s sake, and to avoid casting suspicion on the driver. But if it wasn’t known that that’s what happened, then “crossing the street” would have been much better to say.

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        • Tom December 8, 2016 at 3:24 pm

          Or how about… “driver drove onto crosswalk occupied by pedistrian traffic”.

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      • El Biciclero December 8, 2016 at 2:04 pm

        How about:

        “They say 65-year-old Rohgzhao Zhang of Southeast Portland was walking home from work at a nearby restaurant at the time of the collision. Zhang was crossing the street when the westbound 19-year-old driver struck Zhang with his vehicle.”

        See the difference? In the original version, Zhang took the only action (“stepping into traffic”), while the vehicle (not the driver) was passively involved in Zhang’s “being struck”. Implication: pedestrian caused his own death by stepping into traffic. This is “traffic as a force of nature” framing, similar to “the hiker stepped off a cliff and fell to his death”—not gravity’s fault…

        In the above version, both parties took actions (Zhang was crossing, and the driver struck), and the combination resulted in tragedy.

        To really turn it around, we’d have to say something similar to, “…the street was being crossed by Mr. Zhang when the westbound 19-year-old driver used his car to strike the pedestrian”.

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      • Spiffy December 8, 2016 at 2:09 pm

        “Zhang stepped into traffic” isn’t the same as “Moore did not see Zhang before the victim tried crossing the street”…

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    • SE Rider December 8, 2016 at 1:27 pm

      Jonathan, why did this part get put in quotes? In the original police update, it’s not in quotes.

      Putting it in quotes suggested to me that it was a statement from the driver.

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      • Spiffy December 8, 2016 at 2:12 pm

        maybe because Paul Atkinson did? it’s his statement…

        here’s the FULL release:

        The man killed on Thursday evening has been identified as 65-year-old Rohgzhao Zhang of Southeast Portland. Investigators believe he was walking home from work at a nearby restaurant at the time of the crash.

        The driver, 19-year-old Ryan Michael Moore of Southeast Portland, remained at the scene and was cooperative with investigators.

        Investigators learned that Zhang was crossing Division Street from the North to the South, approximately 1/2 block from a controlled, lighted crosswalk.

        Moore was driving westbound when Zhang stepped into traffic and was struck by Moore’s vehicle.

        Moore did not display any signs of impairment and there was no evidence of distracted driving.

        The investigation is continuing and, once completed, will be presented to the Multnomah County District Attorney’s Office for review.

        This is the 40th traffic fatality in the City of Portland in 2016.

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        • Hello, Kitty
          Hello, Kitty December 8, 2016 at 3:43 pm

          Was Zhang in a crosswalk, or crossing mid-block?

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          • El Biciclero December 8, 2016 at 3:55 pm

            If he was “half a block” from a crosswalk, it’s likely he was crossing mid-block. Otherwise, the “controlled, lighted” crosswalk would have to be mid-block, in which case, Zhang would have been crossing at an intersection where a crosswalk would exist, marked or not.

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            • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) December 8, 2016 at 4:23 pm

              IMO at this point it really doesn’t matter who was at fault. I’m more concerned about the fact that these collisions are hapening than I am about knowing which party to blame.

              Seriously, it’s time to move beyond blame and focus on the big picture: This section of Division is a ticking time bomb, a public health hazard, an emergency — whatever you want to call it.

              While we worry abt whose at fault, more people will be hurt and killed.

              This is a neighborhood full of people who want to move around and do stuff… But they are forced to contend with a vast monstrosity of dangerous pavement full of multi-ton steel objects flying by at death-making speeds. IMO the only thing worth focusing on is changing the design of the street and stepping up enforcement — anything to lower the amount of dangerous and unneccessary driving.

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              • B. Carfree December 8, 2016 at 4:37 pm

                I must say I am very pleased to see you include enforcement as a necessary step to making our streets safe. It may also be sufficient, but we’ll not know until we actually do it.

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              • Beeblebrox December 8, 2016 at 11:53 pm

                Well said! Assigning blame and arguing about it doesn’t really help the situation. Pedestrians will always cross where they want to cross, usually by the shortest path…that’s just human nature. And drivers will drive fast if that’s how the street is designed. The combination of high speeds and vulnerable users is lethal. That’s basically what it comes down to.

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              • SE Rider December 9, 2016 at 7:33 am

                I disagree a bit. I know this will likely fall on deaf ears, but I think a lot of us aren’t always looking to assign blame, but more trying to figure out what happened. It’s much harder to prevent these problems when we don’t know more specifics about why they are happening. I don’t think EVERY incident is on the drivers, and I don’t think “fixing” the roads will prevent all collisions. Very likely altering things like road design, speed limits, and enforcement is a major part of the puzzle, but I also think there is a place for trying to improve the other side of the equation, like education on not crossing mid-block, ticketing cyclists for running red lights, reminding peds and cyclists to be decently visible, and improved mental health treatment.

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              • Adam H.
                Adam H. December 9, 2016 at 8:30 am

                100% of crashes are preventable. Most can be fixed with road design. Roadways do not need police to function properly, and thus, are cheaper and more reliable – which is why design should get the majority of attention.

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              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty December 9, 2016 at 11:16 am

                I wasn’t looking to assign blame. I just wanted to better understand what happened. Regardless of who was at fault, this is a great tragedy for all involved.

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              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty December 9, 2016 at 11:17 am

                Also, the notion that 100% of crashes are preventable is patently false.

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              • q December 9, 2016 at 11:33 am

                “Disagree a bit” matches my feelings. Jonathan is right about the “big picture”, and who’s to blame in this one case is barely relevant.

                But yes, I don’t care about assigning blame, but it is important to understand what happened. It’s also something people can be uncomfortable with–it’s easier to view a death as something that was unavoidable. In some activities–mountain climbing, water activities where people drown, flying–reviewing why it happened is common, so people can learn. You can’t choose the best route for improving safety if you don’t know why these incidents are happening.

                Some of the “blame” comments also weren’t so much trying to assign blame, but the opposite–pointing out that describing this as a case of the victim “stepping into traffic” is itself a form of blaming, that might not have been accurate.

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              • q December 9, 2016 at 12:45 pm

                100% of crashes aren’t preventable.

                And if I get killed, I’d guess the reason as likely as not will be someone driving over me while texting. You could say design could have prevented that, say by putting barriers between roads and sidewalks, but design is tremendously expensive and inefficient when it comes to trying to overcome problems like people not looking ahead while driving.

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  • SD December 8, 2016 at 12:44 pm

    The solutions are all on the table. No elected officials or agencies want to take the heat for implementing identifiable change. They would rather remain invisible and work incrementally. We need someone who is willing to put their career on the line and risk having driver’s rage directed at them. Or at least find a way to empower those who are strong enough to make this happen.

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    • Adam H.
      Adam H. December 8, 2016 at 12:48 pm

      If only there was some project in the works that could take two car lanes away and replace them with bus rapid transit… Alas, no such project exists.

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      • Hello, Kitty
        Hello, Kitty December 9, 2016 at 11:22 am

        If we removed two travel lanes from that street, what happens to the vehicle traffic it currently carries? How much could be transferred to a better bus service? How much would simply disappear? How much would start finding ways through the neighborhoods (as we’re seeing on the streets parallel to Clinton where the diverters were installed)? What are the ramifications of that decision?

        And, importantly, is that an action that would be supported by local residents?

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        • Adam H.
          Adam H. December 9, 2016 at 11:40 am

          Those are questions that could be answered with a traffic study, however, I have found that such studies almost never take into account how many people would switch from driving alone to taking public transport. If we make the bus or rail line fast and frequent enough, we should expect people to switch, but until traffic engineers get out of their car-focused mindsets, we may never know just how many.

          There’s also the notion of traffic evaporation (i.e. the opposite of induced demand). Many car trips will simply disappear. Not be diverted to side streets, but just gone. Try to explain this to non-wonky people and they look at you like you are crazy, but there is significant evidence to support the concept.

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          • Hello, Kitty
            Hello, Kitty December 9, 2016 at 12:11 pm

            People will only switch if the transit line connects origin/destinations that serve the potential rider better than alternatives would. Improving the journey and making the alternatives more difficult will change the calculus for some, but if the line doesn’t go where you need to go, you’re not going to start using it.

            Planners understand that induced demand runs backwards, but just invoking that like a magic incantation is not good enough. The studies required to answer the question are difficult, and the people who do them are not “car heads” — they are well aware of the issues involved.

            Maybe we should start from the proposition that reducing auto capacity on a street like Division is not nearly as easy as it sounds, and that there is significant potential for things to get messy. Residents may not like the change if they have a large bump in traffic on their street, or if walking in their neighborhood gets more dangerous, or if they can’t get where they need to go.

            Your job and your neighborhood are not on the line if things go wrong.

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          • B. Carfree December 9, 2016 at 12:52 pm

            Thanks for that great link on disappearing traffic. I haven’t dug through all the references in it, but it looks like that will be both enlightening and fun.

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    • El Biciclero December 8, 2016 at 1:28 pm

      I don’t think we want all solutions on the table. If the problem is “people getting run over”, then one possible solution is “ban people, unless they’re in a car”. Close the crosswalks, remove the bike lanes, erect “non-motorized vehicles prohibited” signs—make it a real freeway.

      I certainly hope that solution isn’t on the table…

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      • SD December 8, 2016 at 1:40 pm

        point being that we are not waiting for or lacking reasonable solutions.

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      • Spiffy December 8, 2016 at 1:52 pm

        that’s not a solution, that’s another problem…

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        • El Biciclero December 8, 2016 at 3:01 pm

          I now understand the original meaning of SD’s comment (I hope), i.e., “there are several existing reasonable solutions to choose from”.

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          • SD December 8, 2016 at 5:03 pm

            Yeah. Just saying that we know what needs to be done. We just need elected officials and agencies to step up.

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  • bikeninja December 8, 2016 at 1:20 pm

    The whole automobile thing seems like a giant Faustian Bargain. Henry Ford meets Satan, and is given a fatefull choice. Get the wish of the private automobile and with it convenience, ease, the thrill of speed and trips to costco to buy cheese doodles. But to get this, mankind must sell its soul and accept the deaths of 10’s of thousands per year, never being able to travel the roads and sidewalks by foot without the fear of instant death and the destruction of earths climate. Could we get a do-over?

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    • Hello, Kitty
      Hello, Kitty December 9, 2016 at 10:55 am

      I’ve posted this before, but it is worth noting that streets were more dangerous before the advent of cars than they are now. Cars definitely have their problems, but they are a big improvement over what came before.

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    • Dave December 10, 2016 at 1:32 pm

      Just think of the reaction if a new recreational drug hit the streets that suddenly started killing 30,000+ people a year. Government agencies would go apeshit, the US Constitution would go into a paper shredder.
      Think of automobiles as a new street drug…………………………

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      • Hello, Kitty
        Hello, Kitty December 10, 2016 at 8:14 pm

        Deaths on the street have been a fact of life for as long as we’ve had streets, and far longer than we’ve had cars. I would imagine if we suddenly had 30,000 traffic deaths that we didn’t have last year, that would get everyone’s attention, just as your drug scenario would.

        The problem is that we’re accustomed to this level of carnage, and no one has found a good way to remedy it.

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  • rick December 8, 2016 at 1:33 pm


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  • Spiffy December 8, 2016 at 2:06 pm

    “Investigators learned that Zhang was crossing Division Street from the North to the South, approximately 1/2 block from a controlled, lighted crosswalk.”

    this means he was crossing between 87th to the north (where the signal is) and 87th to the south…

    this means he was jaywalking… (distance between streets less than 300′, Portland City Code 16.70.210)

    and since there were no reported witnesses to the driver’s speed this will be the pedestrian’s fault for crossing illegally…

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    • Mark December 8, 2016 at 7:20 pm

      I read it that he was crossing Division where the unmarked crosswalk lines up with the sidewalk along SE 87th south of Division. I know that if there’s a marked crosswalk at an intersection, one is supposed to use only that crosswalk, but SE 87th actually has two separate intersections with SE Division due to the alignment.

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    • Ted Buehler December 9, 2016 at 1:22 am

      Spiffy —

      I don’t know this neighborhood well, but looking at Google Maps I see that 87th and other nearby streets are offset at Division.


      As I understand the Oregon laws, any intersection includes legal crosswalks.

      My interpretation of the police report is that Zhang was crossing 1/2 block from the lit crosswalk at 87th Ave “north”, which would likely be the legal crossing at 85th Ave south or 87th Ave south, since they are spaced at 1/2 block intervals.

      Ted Buehler

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      • bradwagon December 9, 2016 at 11:15 am

        Likely that he was crossing at 87th South location as there is a pedestrian crossing over division at 85th South.

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  • Catie December 8, 2016 at 2:33 pm

    What a tragedy, looking forward to more information about these collisions as it becomes available.

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  • pepe lucho December 8, 2016 at 3:53 pm

    fact is, all of these deaths were not happening 10 years ago *before* all of the road dieting, and traffic calming that has taken place in recent years.

    fact is, more people are moving to pdx and therefore there is more congestions on the roads.

    fact is, making it easier for bikes to share roads (specially narrow roads) with cars is just boneheaded and the bikers ultimately are the ones who lose in the even of a collision.

    fact is, portland’s population will keep on growing and so will congestion.

    the solution is to make it easier for cars to navigate our roads, and not more difficult so as to allow a tiny minority to enjoy their dangerous choice of transportation.

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    • SD December 8, 2016 at 4:37 pm

      You may be unfamiliar with the conventional use of the word “fact.”

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    • B. Carfree December 8, 2016 at 4:44 pm

      Follow your model out to its logical conclusion. If the population and population density of PDX continues to rise indefinitely, at some point the congestion will be terminal and there will be no movement of cars whatsoever. The higher the percentage of the population that persists in using cars, the sooner that terminal congestion will be reached.

      Gee, how should we avoid having complete gridlock? Perhaps we could make use of transit, bicycles and walking to meet some, or even all, of our personal transportation desires. Short of building a completely new and separate roadway system, that means we’re all going to be using the same roads.

      That being the case, the fact is that we should be taking steps to make it harder to navigate our road system by personal automobile in order to forestall congestion. Look up induced demand, now a proven concept, and consider the wisdom of reducing congestion by reducing travel lanes.

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    • Catie December 8, 2016 at 5:32 pm

      We are all pedestrians at some point in the day.

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    • Kevin December 8, 2016 at 6:53 pm

      Not make it harder, make it safer.

      fact is, we ought not continue with the thoughts and actions of the past. We should create a better future for all.

      fact is, that the future will almost certainly require a shift away from single-occupant vehicles (cars/trucks) used for most trips. This is due to health concerns, climate concerns, safety concerns, and concerns over sanity (congestion.)

      fact is, just building more roads and giving primacy to auto traffic will not fix everything. Look at other cities around he world that did what you propose — there is mass gridlock, the roads aren’t safe, and people aren’t happy.

      fact is, we need solutions, not going all-in on a broken system.

      How do you like those facts?

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    • Chris I December 8, 2016 at 8:28 pm

      30,000+ dead drivers in the US so far this year. Enjoy your “safe” mode of travel, friend.

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    • rick December 8, 2016 at 9:03 pm

      Who said cities were initially built hundreds of years ago just waiting for highways to divide neighborhoods?

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    • bottom bracket December 8, 2016 at 9:53 pm

      These are not trick questions:

      What are the major sources of population growth in the US of A?

      What 2016 presidential candidate suggested ways to slow the population growth of the US of A?

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      • Dan A December 9, 2016 at 8:17 am

        He’s pro choice again?

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    • Toadslick December 8, 2016 at 11:20 pm

      fact is, all of these deaths were not happening 10 years ago *before* all of the road dieting, and traffic calming

      This article in discussion is about a road with zero traffic calming.

      fact is, making it easier for bikes to share roads…

      This article in discussion is about two pedestrians who were killed, not cyclists.

      …(specially narrow roads)

      This article in discussion is about a seven lane road.

      Not only are your baseless assertions contradicted by evidence, but they also have nothing to do with this article. You’ve managed to contribute nothing to this discussion in more ways than one.

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    • Mr. Impossible December 9, 2016 at 4:13 pm

      Dashboard mentality. Thanks for the tailpipe.

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  • bottom bracket December 8, 2016 at 4:01 pm

    Getting ready to go for a walk. I’ll do my part to prevent this type of thing. I’ll look both ways twice before I step into the street. I will not blame a driver who hits me if I dawdle in the road as they approach – I will not get in the road unless I can clear it before they get to my location – unless, of course, I’m in a crosswalk – then I do expect them to stop (but only if they have a red light). No, all intersections are not “crosswalks” no matter what the law says. I’ll take responsibility for myself because I know the car drivers will not.
    Happy sledding.

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    • Hello, Kitty
      Hello, Kitty December 8, 2016 at 4:33 pm

      All intersections are crosswalks, no matter what bottom bracket says.

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    • El Biciclero December 8, 2016 at 5:03 pm

      I’ll make sure there are no Big Kids on the playground before I go out there, I’ll stay off the equipment I know they like to use, I’ll hand over my lunch money when one of them demands it, and I won’t blame them when they punch me in the face for getting to the drinking fountain first. I’ll take responsibility for myself, because I know the bullies won’t.

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    • Chris I December 8, 2016 at 8:31 pm

      You sound like a fun person.

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    • Kyle Banerjee December 9, 2016 at 12:10 pm

      There is what is supposed to happen and then there is reality.

      Whether you’re on foot, on a bike, or in a car, you need to act based on actual circumstances rather than on what the law, morality or philosophy would define how circumstances should be.

      Why do people think it’s OK to intentionally step in front of a car driven by someone who may or may not be sober, may or may not have seen you, and may or may not be sane? A certain percentage of drivers are chemically altered, suffer from mental issues, and make mistakes.

      Why would you bet your life that an entire population that you have no control will do what they should?

      I always hope that people will do what they should, but staying out of trouble requires walking/riding as if everyone is trying to kill you all the time but not take it personally. Seems like 80% of the people do the opposite — ride/walk like everyone will do things perfectly and take it personally when they don’t. Strikes me as a bit reality challenged.

      A car is a big obvious thing that is easy to avoid. Even if I have a walk signal, there’s no way I’m simply stepping in front of a car unless I have specific reason to believe it’s safe to do so.

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      • El Biciclero December 9, 2016 at 1:29 pm

        “There is what is supposed to happen and then there is reality.”

        One could argue that if “reality” is different from “what is supposed to happen” frequently enough, then there are many people who don’t believe that “what is supposed to happen” is correct. There are lots of folks who believe that pedestrians and bicyclists scurrying out of the way of inattentive motorists is “what is supposed to happen”. The more we talk up “safety” in terms of what pedestrians and bicyclists “should” do to avoid problems, and fail to point out the responsibilities of motorists, the more we give credence to the notion that “reality” IS “what is supposed to happen”, and safety (not to mention dignity and freedom) suffers as a result.

        “Whether you’re on foot, on a bike, or in a car, you need to act based on actual circumstances rather than on what the law, morality or philosophy would define how circumstances should be.”

        Let me be clear: This is good, pragmatic, self-preservation advice—I don’t want anyone to be “dead right” (ugh)—but again, when discussed and framed as though it is also one’s ethical/moral obligation to society to always defer to and scurry out of the way of imperious drivers, it creates a greater expectation that this is how people on foot and on bikes “should” behave. With those expectations, drivers begin to see certain law-abiding behavior by pedestrians and bicyclists as unexpected and “wrong”, when really, it is the drivers (most likely speeding or failing to yield) who are posing risk to everyone around them that fails to take extreme measures.

        “Why do people think it’s OK to intentionally step in front of a car driven by someone who may or may not be sober, may or may not have seen you, and may or may not be sane?”

        Language nit-pick, but “OK” suggests moral/ethical correctness. As long as the behavior referenced is within reasonable bounds (say, stepping in front of a stopped car, or a car that is far enough away that it’s driver should have time to stop), I would say “prudent” or “wise”. What is definitely not “OK” are “a certain percentage of drivers [being] chemically altered…” or otherwise impaired or incompetent.

        “Why would you bet your life that an entire population that you have no control will do what they should?”

        This is a matter of degree. Everyone has different risk tolerance—there are those who won’t leave the house for fear that the entire world is “too dangerous”. Just riding along in a bike lane, as much as we may check our rear-view mirrors, you and I both are counting on all those overtaking drivers to do what they should, are we betting our lives each time?

        “Even if I have a walk signal, there’s no way I’m simply stepping in front of a car unless I have specific reason to believe it’s safe to do so.”

        Similar to risk profile, your “specific reasons” and mine might be slightly different; how does either of us know we’re right until something bad happens? It’s hard to prove prevention.

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        • Kyle Banerjee December 9, 2016 at 2:30 pm

          Basically in agreement with everything you just said.

          Don’t get me wrong — I do not believe in encouraging or tolerating the wrong sort of behavior. I do believe in being prepared for it. I am much more assertive with motorists than most cyclists. I take what’s mine, signal to them what to do, and brush their mirrors with my shoulders when they’re in too far. Likewise, I do not cower when I walk.

          However, I don’t trust any of them for an instant. I might frequently be close enough to touch them, but I’m always ready for them to do something dumb.

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      • soren December 9, 2016 at 2:42 pm

        Have you ever considered that friends and family of the deceased might not appreciate your concern trolling?

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  • K'Tesh December 8, 2016 at 5:14 pm

    Two people, separate incidents, on the same street, in the same places that others had been struck and killed?

    PBOT Knew!

    Prayers for the families and friends who lost loved ones.

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  • JeffS December 8, 2016 at 8:24 pm

    “The options are to reconfigure the roadway to make it nearly impossibly to drive dangerously and/or to develop a fair and effective method of enforcement.”

    Both of those sound like phrases without meaning. Akin to “we need to do better or try harder”.

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  • kittens December 9, 2016 at 12:59 am

    I love how the elected officials and underlings all talk a big game of vague generalities like the bike plan and Vision Zero, but in reality are all retroactive, waiting around to make sure enough bodies stack up before anything other than talk, happens.

    And let me add that I think we would see pitchforks if this were happening a few miles west on Division.

    Why do we have such impotent leaders?
    For decades we were a leader in planning. Portland is finally becoming a world-class city and has never been richer in money or quality of life but we are simply coasting on the momentum of our former greatness.

    Imagine MAX, the Westside Tunnel, Pioneer Square or Waterfront Park happening today? Impossible.

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    • Kevin December 9, 2016 at 4:41 am

      This is a common criticism of Portland and Oregon in general.

      I do think we lack vision and leadership from our elected officials. I also think the average Portlander/Oregonian likes to sit around and pat themselves on the back.

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      • Adam H.
        Adam H. December 9, 2016 at 8:52 am

        Seattle and Vancouver BC are both kicking our butts at planning for future growth, while Portland argues for a year over one diverter and downgrades a BRT project to buses with a different paint scheme.

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      • q December 9, 2016 at 6:08 pm

        That’s how it seems to me. What seems most different about Portland compared to places like Seattle isn’t what Portland is actually doing in regard to transportation, planning, recycling, etc., it’s that Portland (government especially) has a far higher opinion of Portland’s performance than it deserves. Weirdly, people in other cities often seem to believe it about Portland, too.

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        • Kittens December 9, 2016 at 7:27 pm

          thats because we had such an illustrious past when it comes to urban planning. no more.

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      • Kittens December 9, 2016 at 7:38 pm

        I feel like yet another armchair urban designer and whiner but what is the alternative? I am not a traffic engineer nor an elected official. And I don’t want to be. I think it is completely acceptable for the folks of Portland to voice their feelings in a public forum without having directly actionable ideas or ability to make it happen. A democracy!

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    • Adam H.
      Adam H. December 9, 2016 at 8:46 am

      Mayor Hales just won an international award for a plan to combat climate change. Just a plan! No action! We need to stop giving out awards just for thinking hard about problems and hand them out for actually solving them! Why would the mayor actually want to fix anything when he can get praise just for talking? Here’s hoping Wheeler has more sense than the outgoing Hales.

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      • Kittens December 9, 2016 at 7:28 pm

        The governmental equivalent of a participation award.

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  • David Lewis December 9, 2016 at 1:00 am

    Reading all of these comments is depressing because nobody in government gives a shit, and that’s not likely to change.

    Street design is absolutely the last thing that needs to change in order to reduce roadway collisions and their consequences, and nobody who posts here regularly seems to understand that, because you guys are all amateur traffic engineers. And I get why you’re that way, because of how awful PBOT seems to be managed, and how criminal ODOT seems to be.

    It’s not rocket science that reducing and enforcing speed limits, whether by patrol or even better, cameras, increases throughput by reducing vehicle spacing – fast cars need more bumper space. I am not aware of a single street in Portland – or America for that matter – where speed is enforced. I some theories as to why, but that’s another matter.

    The pejorative term “cut-through” is laughable, especially in Portland. Spreading automobile traffic across the city rather than concentrating them on “arterials” reduces density and improves throughput. As a motorcyclist, I always take minor roads, partly for fun, but mostly to avoid interactions with clueless speeding drivers. I think there needs to be far fewer arterials, and I think a lot of soul searching needs to happen in this city to undo the ridiculous warren of dead end streets and diverters and zig zags that make navigating nearly impossible.

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    • q December 9, 2016 at 2:08 pm

      You wrote, ‘The pejorative term “cut-through” is laughable, especially in Portland. Spreading automobile traffic across the city rather than concentrating them on “arterials” reduces density and improves throughput.”

      Yes, everybody already knows that taking traffic off arterials and onto nearby streets does that. That doesn’t mean it’s a good idea. “Cut-through” is accurate, and it’s only pejorative because it describes something that is essentially negative. Plus, it’s a concise, useful term.

      “Improves throughput” sounds like something a traffic engineer would say when they’re proposing running traffic through a quiet street and destroying its safety and livability, and hoping nobody will notice that that’s what’s being proposed.

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    • q December 9, 2016 at 2:14 pm

      And navigating here isn’t difficult at all if you use routes that are intended to accommodate through traffic. Of course if you instead try to travel through the “warren of dead end streets and diverters and zig zags” it will be more difficult.

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      • El Biciclero December 9, 2016 at 4:34 pm

        “Of course if you instead try to travel through the “warren of dead end streets and diverters and zig zags” it will be more difficult.”

        Exactly. The zig-zags and dead ends are reserved for bicyclists.

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  • Todd Hudson December 9, 2016 at 8:54 am

    Good thing the city is beefing up enforcement of traffic violations.

    Just kidding, they’re not and just hoping people will drive slower.

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    • Kittens December 9, 2016 at 7:31 pm

      And turning the spin machine on high. Vision Zero! Be Safe Be Seen! Cross street with caution, vehicles may not stop

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      • Todd Hudson December 12, 2016 at 11:46 am

        And don’t forget Commissioner Fritz’s recommendation: “You should be carrying a flashlight when crossing the street.”

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        • q December 12, 2016 at 12:38 pm

          Does anyone know how many pedestrians are run over at night vs. day? And of those at night, how many are in marked crosswalks with red lights or amber flashers, and how many are hit by people who are texting, drunk or otherwise distracted, or who have poor night vision?

          The reason I’m wondering is that I’d guess the percentage of pedestrians hit where having a flashlight or reflective clothing would make a difference is pretty low. If you’re struck in the day, at night when there’s a red light or flashing lights, struck by someone looking at their phone, etc. a flashlight isn’t going to make any difference anyway.

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          • El Biciclero December 12, 2016 at 4:18 pm

            Exactly why “be seen” is almost an offensive bit of advice.

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            • q December 12, 2016 at 5:40 pm

              Yes, and you could even make an argument the other direction–that being seen gives pedestrians a false sense of security, because they’ll think if they wave their flashlight, they’ll be safe, and may be more prone to “stepping into traffic” thinking the flashlight makes them visible and invulnerable.

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  • Middle of the Road guy December 9, 2016 at 9:49 am

    That road is wider than many highways and people will drive as if it is a highway because road width is very often associated with speed.

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    • Eric Leifsdad December 10, 2016 at 11:19 pm

      At least the amount of clear space sets an expectation of safety at high speeds. Put some stuff in the road (even a hay bale) and watch it slow down.

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  • Hello, Kitty
    Hello, Kitty December 9, 2016 at 3:16 pm

    >>> One could argue that if “reality” is different from “what is supposed to happen” frequently enough, then there are many people who don’t believe that “what is supposed to happen” is correct. <<<

    I'd question that. I'd bet that most people who drive while drunk would say that drunk driving is wrong, and could articulate why.

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    • El Biciclero December 9, 2016 at 4:11 pm

      That’s why I left “frequently enough” deliberately ambiguous. See also 85th percentile speed limits.

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