BuddyRider from The eBike Store

Portland launches ‘PedPDX’ to update citywide walking plan

Posted by on March 29th, 2017 at 9:12 am

East Portland street scenes-8

Crossing large arterials in east Portland — like 122nd — should be much easier.
(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

When it comes to moving people in Portland, “walking” is listed in our 2035 Comprehensive Plan as the highest priority mode. To make sure that policy makes it into practice, the Bureau of Transportation has embarked on the first update of their Pedestrian Plan since 1998. They call it “PedPDX”.

PBOT should stop using “ped” and “pedestrian” and replace it with “walk” and “walker”.

Yesterday PBOT launched a survey to recruit 15 Citizen Advisory Committee members and unveiled the plan’s new website.

“The plan will prioritize sidewalks, crossing improvements, and other investments to make walking safer and more comfortable across the city,” the site reads. “It will identify the key strategies and tools we will use to make Portland a truly great walking city.”

The plan will aim to do that by producing a project list that will guide investment, create policies that influence how projects are implemented, and help walking compete with other transportation modes as our city grows. PBOT acknowledges that a new plan is needed to address the fact that, “significant gaps and deficiencies remain” in the walking network, especially in neighborhoods far from the central city. The existing 1998 plan was created in a time long before we considered transportation equity and Vision Zero — two principles that dominate investment and policy decisions today.

When the 1998 Pedestrian Plan was passed, the Pearl District was, “a tangle of dirt streets, railroad tracks and warehouses.”

Portland mode priority policy in the 2035 Comprehensive Plan (adopted June 2016).

Here’s what PBOT says PedPDX will do:

— Establish a clear plan vision, goals, and objectives
— Identify gaps and needs in Portland’s pedestrian network (including needs for new sidewalks, crossings, and other pedestrian improvements)
— Prioritize needs to ensure that we are directing funding to locations with the greatest needs first (project prioritization will reflect the City’s commitment to improving equity outcomes and reaching our Vision Zero goal)
— Articulate the strategies, actions, and tools we will use to improve walking conditions within prioritized areas, and across the city
— Identify context-sensitive design solutions for various part of the city
— Update the City’s pedestrian classifications and designations, which help drive pedestrian design requirements; and
— Identify the performance measures we will use to track our progress implementing the plan over time

This plan will likely have many intersections with bicycle use. With construction of a network of protected bikeways downtown expected to begin next year, PBOT needs clear policy guidance for how to integrate walkways into these new street designs. Another issue that’s like to come up is a design standard for separating bicycles users from people walking on popular paths like the Waterfront, Esplanade, and Willamette Greenway paths.

Another major issue PBOT will address as part of this plan is street crossings — a very weak link in both our walking and biking networks. The plan will include a “pedestrian network gap analysis” where crossing gaps citywide will be quantified. A related and extremely important issue that PedPDX will tackle is parking setback standards. Whether walking or biking, many of Portland’s crosswalks would be much safer if PBOT would enforce and/or create new parking restrictions near corners. When people park too close to corners, it’s difficult for walkers and bikers to see oncoming cross-traffic.

PBOT hopes to have a draft plan completed by July 2018 and council adoption by fall of that same year.

Learn more and apply to be on the CAC at the PedPDX website.

— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and jonathan@bikeportland.org

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156 Comments
  • rick March 29, 2017 at 9:17 am

    This plan requires PBOT to build and maintain their paper streets, and unbuilt right-of-way trails throughout the city. Redo the trails policy. Lower speed limits. Enforcement.

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  • Paul Atkinson March 29, 2017 at 9:38 am

    Will this initiative prioritize the removal of citizen-painted crosswalks, or will it encourage and enable people who want to help improve safety for pedestrians?

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  • J_R March 29, 2017 at 9:49 am

    Here’s the plan:

    Build sidewalks per ADA and city specifications;
    Require property owners to maintain sidewalks per city code, including removal and trimming of intruding vegetation;
    Install more signalized pedestrian crossings;
    Lower the speed limits throughout the city to 25 mph unless specifically authorized for a higher speed by 1) an engineering study 2) a public hearing 3) a unanimous vote of the city council;
    Aggressively enforce the requirement that motorists yield to pedestrians in crosswalks;
    Jail any motorist who injures or kills a pedestrian on a sidewalk.

    There, the plan is done.

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    • SilkySlim March 29, 2017 at 10:17 am

      While I would probably many some little adjustments here and there to your plan, I couldn’t agree more with the sentiment.

      I have a hard time these days not rolling my eyes at plans to build committees to get input on how to make decisions on how to build plans. Gonna quote Nike on this one: “Just do it.”

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    • soren March 29, 2017 at 11:31 am

      just a note that every intersection is a legal crosswalk. this includes offset intersections and t intersections.

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      • turnips March 29, 2017 at 12:31 pm

        crosswalks are old hat. shared space is the ticket.

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        • soren March 29, 2017 at 3:16 pm

          all urban roads should be shared space!

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      • Adam H.
        Adam H. March 29, 2017 at 2:13 pm

        If you need to tell people walking exactly where to cross the street, then you’ve already failed.

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  • curly March 29, 2017 at 9:51 am

    A great start would be to provide East Portland residents sidewalks on all arterial streets. Plans mean very little unless funded, and funding projects doesn’t necessarily guarantee implementation. The city of Portland has done a very poor job implementing funded projects in East Portland. By all means, let’s do another study!

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    • David Hampsten March 31, 2017 at 3:31 pm

      Your cynicism is justified. You are right on 2 counts:

      1. East Portland sidewalks that “meet the code” in the 1998 pedestrian plan are rare. For a minor arterial like 102nd, the 12′ wide section from Glisan to Halsey is what the code calls for. On 122nd, a section just north of Division on the east side, there is a “model” 20′ commercial sidewalk, while on 122nd north of Holgate is a “model” 12′ residential portion. Many sidewalks that were funded in 2010-12 using Federal or state funds were unnecessarily delayed by PBOT, especially along 102nd from Glisan to Washington, Sandy from 122nd to 141st (an ODOT project contracted out to PBOT), and Division from I-205 to 148th, to the point that inflation and “extra” VZ design work by PBOT ate up over half the budgets, only allowing half the estimated funding needed to be actually used on building the sidewalks. There are several other sidewalk projects that were similarly also delayed further back, such as on Foster and in the Lents neighborhood. There are parts of Halsey, Foster, and a few other arterial road that still need funding, as well as most of the collector streets in East Portland.

      2. When Sam Adams was both mayor and the PBOT Commissioner, I worked with most of the East Portland neighborhoods to seize a funding opportunity. As part of the EPIM process (East Portland In Motion), we worked with EPAP and SWNI to convince Adams to spend $8 million (each) for sidewalks in both SW and East Portland. He made several promises, found the money, and basically breathed down the necks of the PBOT officials who would normally delay such projects. We in the neighborhoods knew that if PBOT built sidewalks to the required code, we would only get a much smaller number of miles than if they simply poured in concrete within the existing 7 feet of right-of-way. So we deliberately asked the city “to wave the code requirements” and quickly build 7-foot sidewalks instead, which you see now on Glisan, Stark, 122nd, 112th, 102nd, 162nd, 136th, 160th, etc. Yeah, they are substandard, but they were far better than the muddy paths that were there before, and it may be a long time before we get funding like that ever again.

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  • 9watts March 29, 2017 at 10:10 am

    Pointedly no language about making driving more difficult….

    ”Geller said the City hasn’t made good on promises in its Bike Plan for 2030 that passed four years ago. ‘Our policy says that we need to make bicycling more attractive than driving for trips three miles or less. We haven’t really done that yet,’ he acknowledged. ‘It’s really easy to drive a car in this city.’”
    http://bikeportland.org/2014/09/23/panel-ponders-portlands-slide-cycling-superstardom-111205

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  • Stephan March 29, 2017 at 10:26 am

    Agree with all of the above. I got an invite to join this committee but am on the fence whether this is not a waste of time. Anyhow, one thing to add to J_R’s list: Someone suggested a while back in the comments sections to have bike shares / bike parking placed at intersections. I think that’s is an excellent idea, since it would improve bike infrastructure and make intersections safer.

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    • Alex Reedin March 29, 2017 at 11:02 am

      “Please join our committee so you will fight among yourselves to allocate our vastly insufficient funding provided for walking among a huge number of worthy options. Oh, and remember – the most cost-effective solutions significantly inconvenience motorists, so they’re off the table.”

      If the committee members use the committee to build bridges between different organizations/communities to form a powerful coalition to advocate for more funding and political will, now that would be something great. But somehow I suspect that City staff don’t feel empowered to put that on the agenda….

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      • 9watts March 29, 2017 at 11:07 am

        Haha. Good one.

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  • soren March 29, 2017 at 11:44 am

    imo, a necessary step towards changing our automobile-might-makes-right culture is to make it illegal for people driving to hit, injure, maim, and/or kill people crossing a roadway.

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    • Dan A March 29, 2017 at 1:33 pm

      This is a very good point. It’s illegal to accidentally speed. It’s not illegal to accidentally hit someone.

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      • Kyle Banerjee April 2, 2017 at 9:29 am

        Whether or not it is illegal, there is still the civil system. If you hit someone, you could lose everything you own and have your wages garnished forever.

        Are you advocating that hitting someone always be a crime, regardless of circumstances?

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        • Dan A April 2, 2017 at 2:59 pm

          Hitting someone should always be a violation, like speeding is. Violations are punishable by a fine, not prison time. Right now if you hit someone you might not even get a ticket.

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        • 9watts April 2, 2017 at 3:44 pm

          “If you hit someone, you could lose everything you own and have your wages garnished forever.”

          Yeah that is a theoretical possibility. But have you ever heard of that coming to pass? I certainly haven’t. But I have heard, over and over and over, what Dan’s suggesting, which is not even so much as a (metaphorical) slap on the wrist when driving into or over someone.

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          • Dan A April 2, 2017 at 5:39 pm

            “If you hit someone, you could lose everything you own and have your wages garnished forever.”

            Only if you are doing something illegal, like DUI, speeding, driving recklessly, etc. Taken strictly by itself, it is not even a violation to hit someone.

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          • Kyle Banerjee April 3, 2017 at 9:44 am

            It is not a violation to hit someone by itself. But there are certainly vehicular homicide laws in OR and you can absolutely go to prison for hitting someone if you did other things wrong.

            For those of you who’ve never heard of someone being sued under the civil system even when no crime is committed, I suggest you read more and ask around. It’s actually quite common. Even when no ticket is issued, the driver can be held liable. Speaking from personal experience, a buddy and I were taken out by a car some years back. My buddy got a couple hundred grand in medical bills and even though he didn’t sue (he had awesome health insurance), his insurance company certainly cared so I had to make a legal affidavit to sort out how much

            Why on earth should hitting someone by itself be a violation any more than it is if the victim is in a car? If the driver makes some kind of error, sure. But if the ped/cyclist makes an error (or for an extreme example, commits suicide that way), why should the driver be charged?

            How does throwing everyone in prison help things? Once you have a prison record, have fun getting a job. Having no job or anything to lose isn’t exactly the greatest incentive for good behavior. And of course, no one like a wife, kids, or infirm parents would ever depend on someone who would commit such a horrible crime as hitting someone while driving. Decades of get tough on crime initiatives hasn’t exactly erased crime or drug problems.

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            • Dan A April 3, 2017 at 2:15 pm

              “Why on earth should hitting someone by itself be a violation any more than it is if the victim is in a car?”

              Drivers get tickets for hitting other cars and physical objects all the time. Just not for hitting people, unless there are other reasons to give the driver a ticket.

              “But if the ped/cyclist makes an error (or for an extreme example, commits suicide that way), why should the driver be charged?”

              There is a difference between being charged and being cited. There is a difference between a violation and a crime. If you can’t separate the two in your mind, then this is a pointless discussion. Hit somebody? You get a ticket. Want to get out of that ticket? Go to court. Just like a speeding violation.

              “How does throwing everyone in prison help things? [blah blah blah life is hard if you go to prison]”

              Again, there is a difference between being charged and being cited. It’s like you’re in so much of a hurry to defend drivers from suicidal leaping pedestrians that you’re not reading what you’re responding to.

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              • Kyle Banerjee April 3, 2017 at 3:46 pm

                Dan A
                Drivers get tickets for hitting other cars and physical objects all the time. Just not for hitting people, unless there are other reasons to give the driver a ticket.

                Simply hitting other cars and physical objects isn’t what gets the ticket — they actually have to do something wrong. This same principle applies with people.

                Whoever can be demonstrated as causing or substantially contributing to a collision should get a ticket, and no one should get a free pass just because of their mode of transport. Whether someone is issued a citation should depend on the circumstances.

                I’ve actually known a couple people who were ticketed for stepping in front of cars and being hit (obviously, this didn’t happen in PDX). By their own accounts, they weren’t paying attention and really did step in front of cars. The tickets struck me as harsh since both had broken bones. But both knew they messed up and weren’t trying to pin their mistake on someone else.

                This blog is amazing. My friends, family, and coworkers have me a cycling yahoo almost my entire life. But somehow here I’m a car apologist. There’s a reason you guys feel so marginalized.

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              • 9watts April 3, 2017 at 3:48 pm

                ” But somehow here I’m a car apologist. There’s a reason you guys feel so marginalized.”

                I don’t feel marginalized, thank you very much. But (here at least) you very much do come across as a car apologist.

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              • 9watts April 3, 2017 at 3:48 pm

                car apologist:
                “Simply hitting other cars and physical objects isn’t what gets the ticket — they actually have to do something wrong.”

                So you’re saying hitting cars and physical objects with your car isn’t on its face wrong? I see.

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              • Kyle Banerjee April 3, 2017 at 4:45 pm

                Not if you made no mistake.

                Evasive action that results in an accident doing less harm or even deliberately crashing into something to accomplish the same when no better option was available is the mark of an excellent driver — presuming they were already operating prudently for conditions.

                If hitting things and people is on its face wrong, I propose that cyclists be ticketed in all circumstances where they hit a car door or person. Of course, this would mean that cyclists be ticketed in all situations where they crash into a right turning car or t-bone someone pulling out. If some kids playing on a wagon suddenly zip into the street from an obscured driveway and a cyclist crashes into them, the cyclist should be charged.

                Bikes move way slower than cars. If cars are at fault for whatever they hit, it stands to reason bikes should be too.

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              • 9watts April 3, 2017 at 4:50 pm

                you are insufferable.

                brick wall.

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              • Kyle Banerjee April 3, 2017 at 5:06 pm

                Logic is not your thing…

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              • 9watts April 3, 2017 at 5:07 pm

                What is your thing?

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              • Dan A April 3, 2017 at 5:07 pm

                “If some kids playing on a wagon suddenly zip into the street from an obscured driveway and a cyclist crashes into them, the cyclist should be charged.”

                Do you know the difference between being charged and being cited? It seems clear to me that you don’t.

                I do think the cyclist should be cited. I do not think they should be charged, unless there are separate grounds for that.

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              • 9watts April 3, 2017 at 5:12 pm

                Aren’t these hypothetical mayhem scenarios where it is always the cyclist who causes harm great fun?

                I love them.
                And I especially love those who post them; their motives are so transparent.

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              • Kyle Banerjee April 3, 2017 at 6:47 pm

                I wonder how much some of you actually ride. All the people I’ve known who ride anywhere in anything seem very level headed.

                When I’m riding anyplace where you actually need to use your head, everyone I encounter uses pretty good sense. In easy areas and on this blog, not so much.

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  • Carter March 29, 2017 at 1:41 pm

    I know this is a really minor quibble but, as a pedestrian, one of the things that makes me feel like an afterthought are the buttons required to turn the walk signal green/white. If the traffic signal is already going to turn green for cars, there should be no reason I need to wait a full cycle of traffic to legally and safely cross the street.

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    • Alex Reedin March 29, 2017 at 2:01 pm

      I think a design criterium for all signals should be that the probability that a person walking arriving at the intersection will be legally able to immediately proceed in the direction of their choosing should be equal to or greater than the probability that a person driving arriving at the intersection would be legally able able to immediately proceed in the direction of their choosing. I think that this would require two Barnes dances (all-way walk signs for people walking, all-way red lights for people driving) per full signal cycle, with no beg buttons. That change would represent actual prioritization of pedestrian travel. What we have now is so far from that as to make the idea that walking is at the top of PBOT’s transportation pyramid absurd.

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      • 9watts March 29, 2017 at 2:14 pm

        That is an excellent idea and test of their resolve.

        Some ten years ago I called PBOT (and perhaps spoke to Peter Koonce?) about the fact that in my experience the pedestrian light at Chavez (then still 39th) & Taylor had gotten slower (i.e., it took longer between when I pushed the button and when I got a walk signal) which I’d assumed had to do with the carbon credits from signal retiming that the city had just contracted to have done (March 2007). The person I spoke with strenuously denied this, but it stands to reason that if you’re trying to prioritize (car) traffic on the arterials, something’s got to give.

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    • J_R March 29, 2017 at 2:53 pm

      There actually is a reason for pedestrian call buttons.

      Except in the downtown areas, where signals operate on fixed time, most signals in the area are demand actuated. That is, they respond to the presence of vehicles (which are detected by a loop in the pavement or a video camera) or the presence of a pedestrian (who is expected to identify his/her presence by pushing a button).

      The nice thing about an actuated signal is that it doesn’t continue to give a green light if no one is there to use it. You will notice that if no pedestrian shows up to push the pedestrian call button, the WALK signal will not come on and the green for motorists will terminate soon after the last auto has been served. The same thing happens if, for example, no auto occupies the left-turn lane, the green arrow that gives that auto priority will not illuminate. It helps improve the efficiency of traffic flow through the intersection and reduces the delay for all users.

      If we chose to have a WALK signal illuminate every time the autos flowed in the same direction, we would end up with very long cycle lengths. When pedestrians are present, the length of the WALK signal is enough so a pedestrian moving at 3 to 4 feet per second has time to cross. To cross a four-lane road with a center turn lane and bike lanes, that would work out to more than 15 seconds on the count-down timer after the WALK signal. That would cause lengthy delays for the main street traffic movement. Remember that will also delay you as a bicyclist or pedestrian on the main street, too.

      Certainly, the WALK signal could be automatic, but it would definitely impede traffic flow on major streets, which I would predict would cause more motorists to divert to neighborhood street, increase red light running, etc.

      There have been experiments with video detection of pedestrians so they don’t have to push a button, but that has not been widely adopted.

      I don’t consider pushing a button to be all that onerous if they are well-placed and the signal timing is relatively responsive.

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      • Alex Reedin March 29, 2017 at 3:36 pm

        What I find obnoxious about pedestrian call buttons is that, although they could be used in a way that has net-zero impact on travel on foot, or even makes it more convenient, they are instead only used more or less only in ways that speed auto travel and make traveling on foot less convenient.

        Why don’t pedestrian call buttons at crosswalk-only intersections call a crossing signal more or less instantly (assuming that the crossing signal wasn’t just active)?

        Why doesn’t pressing a pedestrian call button just after the walk signal at a fully signalized intersection would have turned, or did turn, to flashing don’t walk result in a slightly longer signal length for that cycle so that the person wanting to cross can cross?

        And, what about those video-actuated versions? How much R&D funding has gone into that? Has it been more than a tiny fraction of the amount that would have gone into it were it a technology for motor vehicle travel convenience?

        And, people don’t like walking along busy streets. It’s noisy and smelly and feels (and, I would guess, is) dangerous. So any benefit to not having to stop as long at red lights at side streets is proportionally lessened because many people choose non-busy-street routes (or another mode of travel) when possible rather than walk much on a busy street.

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        • SE Rider March 30, 2017 at 8:52 am

          “Why don’t pedestrian call buttons at crosswalk-only intersections call a crossing signal more or less instantly (assuming that the crossing signal wasn’t just active)?”

          Some do. Springwater intersection with SE 122nd is a good example.

          As a runner I do get annoyed that signals don’t automatically include crosswalk phases (meaning the light will be longer), but as a driver and cyclist I understand why it works like this (and it’s the same for cars, if you show up too late to the light to trigger the signal you won’t get that turn arrow). Thus I don’t have a big issue with the buttons as how else would you trigger a signal?
          Consider that you’re also saving time for pedestrians going the other way across the street.

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          • Alex Reedin March 30, 2017 at 9:46 am

            I guess the issue is mostly that so few people walk in most of Portland, and walking routes are often more distributed across multiple streets than driving routes, that including a beg button means causing anyone who is walking to wait essentially 100% of the time that they get to a signalized intersection because the signal will not have been triggered by a prior street user walking the same way. Because so many people drive, and those who do drive tend to use larger streets disproportionately, a very large percentage of the time that one gets to a light while driving, the light has already been triggered by someone else driving (or is programmed to turn regardless of whether it’s triggered).

            I walk, bike, and drive too, and yes, the beg buttons make life more convenient when I’m driving and less convenient when I’m walking. I really don’t walk that much, so they probably make my life more convenient on net. Yet, I think that, as currently implemented, they are a negative for society so I am advocating to changes to how they work. There are so many ways that our transportation system has prioritized driving and de-prioritized walking that almost every way that this happens needs to be re-considered in order to come back to balance, much less to a state where walking is truly prioritized higher.

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          • Alex Reedin March 30, 2017 at 9:52 am

            Yes, there’s I believe a pilot program to have pedestrian wait intervals at a handful of crosswalk-only intersections be smaller, such as at SE 122nd & Springwater. I think it started about five years ago. I think I read that it was successful and ran into no sizeable problems. Yet, it has not been rolled out consistently to all cross-walk-only intersections. Given what I’ve seen over the past decade, I have to assume that there is a sad lack of urgency around these kinds of improvements within PBOT management and the Commissioners who have been in charge of PBOT, even though I know there are a good number of staff who are strongly committed to them.

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            • SE Rider March 31, 2017 at 2:05 pm

              Part of the problem is that there are so few pedestrian only signals. I can only think of a couple within 2 miles of me, and they’re all Springwater oriented.

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      • Adam H.
        Adam H. March 29, 2017 at 3:38 pm

        Yeah, that’s all car-centric BS. The “nice thing” about beg buttons (for drivers, anyway) is that they won’t slow down cars. Most streets give the average person barely</i enough time to cross – ODOT facilities being particularly bad. Most beg buttons do not actually activate anything until the next cycle – often you will wait minutes before you are allowed to cross. They should operate like PHB’s, in that they should interrupt the current phase and trigger a red for cars (after a few second gap and a yellow phase). Our concern should be to make it easier to cross the street (walk signals at every phase whether the button was pushed or not), instead of making motor traffic flow smoother.

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        • paikiala March 29, 2017 at 4:08 pm

          Most inductive loops don’t activate anything for people driving until the next cycle either.

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          • GlowBoy March 30, 2017 at 11:15 am

            Actually, inductive loops do affect the current cycle. Most signal controllers are programmable (and programmed) to have a minimum green time, and to extend it (up to a specified maximum) if vehicles continue to be detected. If no additional vehicles are detected within a certain “gap” period (which progressively decreases as the green phase gets longer), then the light will go yellow and proceed on to subsequent phases.

            In Portland, most intersections with inductive loops have one right at the intersection to identify waiting vehicles, and additional detectors somewhat spaced further back that help determine not only queue length but also approaching vehicles. An approaching vehicle can easily trigger an extension of the green phase.

            ODOT, on the other hand, often doesn’t put in detectors at the stop line at all, but as a highway agency used to dealing with higher speed roads, its standard calls for multiple advance detectors spaced as far as 200+ feet in advance of the intersection. If you’re approaching a stale green, there is a very good chance the green phase will be extended as you approach the intersection, and it would not do so if no one was coming.

            Pedestrians get no such benefits because pedestrian detection technology does not currently exist. And of course the benefits to cyclists are limited on ODOT facilities, since many of their detectors don’t seem to work for bikes and their timing assumptions are based on much higher-than-bicycle speeds. A 200 foot advance detector is going to hold the green long enough (2.5 seconds) for a 50 mph car to make the light, but not the 8 seconds or so that a 15 mph bicycle would need.

            (I took a Signal Timing class at PSU – taught by Peter Koonce – a few years ago).

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            • paikiala March 31, 2017 at 9:49 am

              How many signals in Portland are fully actuated?

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              • GlowBoy April 4, 2017 at 10:54 am

                Not the majority, but many of them on larger arterials – including many of the most dangerous intersections in town. In suburban areas, most signals are actuated, and the bias of actuated signals against pedestrians becomes more obvious.

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        • J_R March 29, 2017 at 6:59 pm

          The reason you can’t interrupt the auto flow after a few seconds is that you would also need to interrupt the walk signal. You do want the pedestrians to have time to complete their crossings too, don’t you? Even an emergency vehicle pre-emption won’t change the approach to green without allowing the pedestrian time to complete his/her crossing. It’s rather complicated.

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          • Alex Reedin March 29, 2017 at 7:12 pm

            I appreciate that it’s complicated… but there are times when Adam’s idea would work. For example, at a fully signalized intersection with beg buttons. If the E/W street is on a green phase, with the beg button not having been pressed (thus no walk signal), then there is no reason (aside from prioritization of auto travel) why pressing a beg button when going N/S couldn’t cause the signal to change quickly like Adam proposed. Yet no signal I’ve ever encountered does this.

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            • GlowBoy March 30, 2017 at 11:29 am

              The one that frustrates me is when I come to an intersection with a DON’T WALK, but a green for the parallel green movement. Even if I get there one second after the green began, I won’t get a WALK until the next cycle.

              This is true even if the parallel green ends up being much longer than the WALK phase. Most intersections with beg-buttons have short minimum phase times for green phases, but the presence or continued approach of vehicles can trigger extensions of the green to much, much longer than the WALK phase. It’s really annoying to be standing there not getting a 20 to 30 second WALK while heavy parallel traffic marches by on an extended green often amounting to 60, 90 seconds or more. This happens to me a LOT on suburban stroads.

              What I’d like to see is for beg-button activation to trigger a WALK even if the parallel green phase has begun, and adding the walk phase would not cause the parallel green phase to extend beyond its programmed maximum duration. I’m not 100% sure if current controller models allow for this, but they should. It would be a lot more humane.

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              • paikiala March 31, 2017 at 9:50 am

                The pedestrian signal would need to be a countdown type to let you know time had been added. More flashing don’t walk wouldn’t work.

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              • wsbob March 31, 2017 at 10:19 am

                “The one that frustrates me is when I come to an intersection with a DON’T WALK, but a green for the parallel green movement. Even if I get there one second after the green began, I won’t get a WALK until the next cycle. …” glowboy

                I’m trying to think whether I’ve experienced intersection crosswalk signals that work this way; I don’t think I have, but do feel that people waiting on foot, and calling for the crosswalk signal to turn to ‘walk’, while parallel traffic has the green, might be worth providing for. The question occurring to me is, ‘How much time might there be remaining on the green for parallel traffic, when the person reaches the intersection wishing to call for the ‘walk’ signal to turn on; will there be enough seconds left, to allow for a safe crossing? If there isn’t enough time, it’s just a guess for the person waiting on foot: will they get the ‘walk’ signal while parallel traffic is proceeding, or wont they?

                By the way…I feel it’s generally a bad idea for people to refer to the pedestrian crosswalk signal call buttons as ‘beg buttons’. If nothing else, using terms like that one, is demeaning to people using the street on foot, and seems to encourage contempt towards other people that work to have conditions for using the street become better for people walking.

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              • Alex Reedin March 31, 2017 at 1:00 pm

                On the contrary, I think the term “beg-button” indicates respect for walking. It indicates that the person using the term recognizes that 90+% of the uses of this technology to date have had a differential negative impact on people walking. It is impolitic and ineffective to use it to persuade the unconvinced, though.

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              • SE Rider April 1, 2017 at 8:08 am

                Can’t you still leagally cross as a ped in this situation if you have the green light (even if you don’t have the walk signal?

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              • wsbob April 1, 2017 at 9:31 am

                “On the contrary, I think the term “beg-button” indicates respect for walking. …” reedin

                …wow, that’s a new on me. Like all those panhandlers asking for handouts, indicates ‘begging’ is a respectable way to earn money? Doesn’t matter…I can’t really take the analogy, either one, seriously.

                I look at the pedestrian crosswalk signal buttons as order buttons. They’re a means by which people walking can put their order in that they have need of crossing the street, using the signal phase that has been provided for that use; ‘pedestrian call button’ is fine with me too though, I think.

                At least for the big intersections with great numbers of motor vehicle traffic, people crossing the street on foot, do wind up having to spend a lot of time waiting for their turn in the signal cycle to be appear, giving them the ‘walk’ signal. I don’t see a good way around that. Traffic engineers have to keep the motor vehicle moving, because there’s so much of it.

                On late night hours when traffic is very sparse out in Beaverton, say 11pm, I notice the 117th/Canyon Rd signal cycle phase is definitely set differently for a shorter cycle, meaning that after pushing the pedestrian button, the ‘walk’ signal appears much more quickly than it does during peak road use hours. Then again, often at this time, traffic on this road is so light, a person on foot may be able to fairly safely just walk against the light, making it across without anything bad happening. Though given the nature of the street, I don’t recommend doing so. The occasional person driving that time of night may decide to travel very fast…and a little speck in the distance could wind up arriving at the intersection much faster than at normal, posted speed limit rate of speed.

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            • El Biciclero March 31, 2017 at 7:28 pm

              What needs to change first is the rule that it is illegal for a pedestrian to begin crossing after about 4-5 seconds. I would like to see a conversion of all pedestrian signals to countdown timers, and a change in the law to make it legal to start crossing when you know you have enough time to make it across. That way, if a pedestrian slapped the beg button after the corresponding green light phase had started, there might be a chance of getting a walk signal for the remaining time—perhaps even extending the green signal phase for a few seconds. The way we do pedestrian signals now, if you’re not standing there waiting when the walk signal turns, you’ve got next to no chance of crossing legally. I think that’s why if you just miss a green phase, you can’t get a walk signal by pressing the button; your four seconds for starting to cross are up.

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              • wsbob April 1, 2017 at 10:39 am

                Countdown crosswalk signals are a fairly new innovation in pedestrian safety infrastructure, at least in my area out in Beaverton, they seem to be. I think people using them are likely to have some uncertainty about whether they’re allowed by the law, to start crossing, once the countdown begins.

                Common sense is probably going to be the bigger deciding factor as to whether it’s safe and acceptable to cross in the remaining visible time on the countdown…rather than the specifics of the law, which isn’t really obvious from seeing the signals and how they operate. For people that have access to the numbers…is anyone actually been given a citation for starting across the street on foot, after the countdown has begun?

                The continuing factor all road users have to keep in mind…those driving, those biking, walking, etc, is whether the person on foot, or bike, crossing the street using the crosswalk, will actually use good judgment in doing so. Answer for me, is, they won’t necessarily, so that’s something everyone has to be especially alert for.

                Last night at the intersection 117th/Canyon, close to 8pm, I cross the street with time to spare on the countdown. Just as I’m almost to the other side, a couple young kids, early teens, coming from the other direction, see the countdown and decide to start proceeding across, with just 12-13 seconds (total time, about 28 seconds, 5 of which are the ‘walk’ segment.) remaining. I paused and turned around to see if they could make it to the other side within that amount of time. Good thing: they didn’t run, but walked fast, but still were 3 seconds over the remaining time. Bad thing: When exceeding the allotted crosswalk countdown time, I think the potential for a problem with someone turning right, is probably greater.

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          • Adam H.
            Adam H. March 29, 2017 at 11:37 pm

            This system seems to work just fine when it’s called a “pedestrian hybrid beacon”. Perhaps it’s not as complicated as you claim.

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            • J_R March 30, 2017 at 11:29 am

              A pedestrian hybrid beacon is a really simple installation. It is essentially only two directions and serves only two (maybe 3 modes): main line road and crossing pedestrian or bicycle traffic. There are no turns involved. Compare that with a standard intersection: four directions of travel; left, through, and right turns by autos; bi-directional pedestrian movements across all approaches; bikes in the mix, too. Maybe it is as complicated as I claim; maybe you should occasionally admit to knowing less than others.

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              • wsbob March 31, 2017 at 10:36 am

                J_R…thanks for you clear explanation here about pedestrian hybrid beacons (formal term? I tend to think of them as ‘pedestrian activated’ flashing yellow lights. And also in your earlier comment here: https://bikeportland.org/2017/03/29/portland-launches-pedpdx-to-update-citywide-walking-plan-223319#comment-6791004

                My personal experience on a small number of roads I’ve used them or seen them work, is that they work great…amazingly well. Like you mentioned though, they’re employed only where traffic activity is simple…not a lot of lanes, no turns.

                Contrast that with an intersection out in Central Beaverton, I personally cross on foot, many times in a week: 117th and Canyon Rd. 117th, north side, has at least four lanes at the intersection. Canyon has at least 6 lanes, I believe, and is some 70′ wide. Lots of motor vehicle traffic, many hours of the day. The crosswalk signal has a total of about 28 seconds for crossing. To keep traffic flowing during peak use hours, all lanes, and the crosswalks, are on a repeating cycle. Cross the intersection enough times on foot, and you start to get to know how the cycle works, and when you can expect to get the ‘walk’ light.

                A lot more waiting on foot at the light than I like, but I have to recognize also, that if the crosswalk signals at this intersection functioned like the pedestrian activated beacons, during peak use hours, motor vehicle traffic could be hopelessly backed up. Different issue, but that screwy WES crossing messes up traffic flow bad enough as it is.

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        • GlowBoy March 30, 2017 at 11:21 am

          Adam, if you’re seeing “barely” enough time to cross, you may be dealing with an intersection that hasn’t been updated to the MUTCD 2009 standard (which would be more likely the case for ODOT facilities). I believe the current standard assumes walking speeds of 3.5 feet per second for most crossings, or 3.0 ft/sec (just under 2mph) if significant numbers of elderly, disabled or child humans are known to use the crossing regularly. If I remember right, the previous standard was 4.0 ft/sec, which definitely required a fairly brisk pace to make it across.

          If there’s a particular intersection where you’re seeing this, it’s pretty easy to pace the crossing distance and figure out the walk speed being assumed (make sure to include both the gumby and blinking-hand cycles). If it’s not meeting the current standard, hold ODOT’s feet to the fire and get them to update it.

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          • paikiala March 31, 2017 at 9:53 am

            or,
            measure the crossing distance, divide by 3, round up and add 3 seconds for perception/reaction time = crossing time needed, which is usually the flashing don’t walk portion of the pedestrian phase.

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    • GlowBoy March 30, 2017 at 11:01 am

      Yes, Carter! Ban the Beg Button!

      I am 100% serious about this. They should be banned in all urban environments, including the entire City of Portland.

      Making pedestrians (and cyclists forced to use pedestrian infrastructure on unsafe-for-bicycles roads) wait an extra cycle to cross every street – and often two extra cycles to accomplish a diagonal crossing – is unconscionable.

      And at many intersections, not only do motorists not have to stop, push a button and wait for “permission” to proceed, as pedestrians do, but they now get advance vehicle detectors that not only detect their presence at the intersection, but even their approach – giving them the green before they even get there. All in the name of “snappy” signal timing and making things flow as quickly as possible for cars.

      A pedestrian at a light should always get a WALK signal within a cycle. In the short term that means banning the Button and always giving a WALK signal. This would incentivize several things:
      – When a 90 foot pedestrian crossing requires a 30 second WALK phase (current MUTCD standard is 3 ft/sec, IIRC), jurisdictions will work to reduce pedestrian crossing distances, where possible.
      – Knowing the impact of mega intersections on pedestrian WALK phases and thus overall cycle times, governments will develop fewer of them.
      – Signal manufacturers will quickly develop pedestrian-detection technology (not at all technically challenging) that would local jurisdictions to restore their precious “snappy” signal timing while also providing more equitable pedestrian access.

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  • Autodeps are People too March 29, 2017 at 1:50 pm

    Highest priority mode? I could have sworn I heard something about tens of millions of dollars were slated to widen freeways. Glad that will be dedicated to pedestrians now!

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    • Dan A March 29, 2017 at 3:03 pm

      I-5 Broadway/Weidler: $450 million
      I-205: $450 million
      Hwy 217: $100 million

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    • Paul Atkinson March 29, 2017 at 4:43 pm

      “Don’t tell me what you value. Show me your budget, and I’ll tell you what you value.”

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  • rachel b March 29, 2017 at 2:03 pm

    I personally would appreciate a crosswalk at Mr. Peeps. And other important areas.

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    • paikiala March 29, 2017 at 4:09 pm

      by which you mean marked crosswalk.

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      • rachel b March 29, 2017 at 4:22 pm

        I….yes? Though, I was just kidding. sigh. 🙁

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        • Wabashabi March 30, 2017 at 2:27 pm

          There is a marked crosswalk with a center curb in the background of the picture by the library. The man in the picture is jaywalking at a non intersection. Probably not the best photo for this article. But who has time for marked crosswalks a block away. If you only have 30 min for lunch, you gotta get to Mr. Peeps in a hurry!

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          • rachel b March 30, 2017 at 4:50 pm

            🙂 Absolutely!

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          • Dan A March 30, 2017 at 6:36 pm

            Do they serve lunch?

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          • David Hampsten March 31, 2017 at 3:08 am

            The person crossing may be foreign in origin; it’s a crossing behavior that is very common throughout most of the world outside of the US. I’ve noticed when I’m in Europe, drivers are much more predictable, that you can in fact “jaywalk” (as we say in the US, and only in the US mind you) and cross a busy multi-lane roadway by crossing between cars moving at a predictable speed. US drivers are terrible – among other reasons, their speeds are erratic, so the kind of crossing you see in the photo is more dangerous in the US.

            By the way, motorists are not legally obliged to stop at a “rapid flashing beacon” crossings, such as at the library, just at intersection crossings (both marked and unmarked). Silly but true.

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            • paikiala March 31, 2017 at 9:56 am

              It should also be pointed out that crossing at an intersection has many more potential conflict points than away from an intersection.

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  • Adam H.
    Adam H. March 29, 2017 at 2:12 pm

    Instead making it easier to walk, we should be making it harder to drive. It’s too easy to drive in Portland and this results in cars infecting all of our public right-of-ways and pushing every other mode to the side. Our greenways should be more like Dutch shared streets, rather than cut-though streets for drivers.

    If this plan fails to address the issue of motor traffic, then it will be a failure – just like our bike plan.

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    • Kyle Banerjee March 30, 2017 at 5:47 am

      I don’t think making it easier to walk will make much difference. It’s already super easy to walk in many areas yet hardly anyone does it even though it is very efficient compared to driving during busy times.

      It also doesn’t need to be harder to drive. Driving is already so miserable I can’t understand why anyone does it. Few people will ever walk even a mile or cycle more than a couple miles. Many people are not able bodied enough to do that. The last thing we need is to intentionally sabotage the transportation grid so people can only go short distances.

      Then there are the psychological reasons people drive. A huge percentage of people will drive literally a couple of blocks even if the walking path is great. A surprising percentage will literally drive across the street when there is an easy crossing — we’re literally talking a stone’s through. Few people will go out in cold, rain, heat, or anything that’s not super comfortable. Even if it is super comfortable, many still drive because they like the controlled environment in their car.

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      • 9watts March 30, 2017 at 7:01 am

        Somehow you managed to miss the point of the article (and city’s effort) that recognizes and seeks to redress the present imbalance, and yet you also illustrated a manifestation of the imbalance you just dismissed.

        “It also doesn’t need to be harder to drive.”

        You dismiss the significance of the built environment to mode choice, yet lament the psychological biases that cause (many) people apparently to prefer the car over the body.
        Something’s not adding up.

        Right hand: “Driving is already so miserable I can’t understand why anyone does it.”

        Left hand: “Even if it is super comfortable, many still drive because they like the controlled environment in their car.”

        Maybe those whose perspectives you castigate are onto something you’ve not yet grasped?

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      • Alex Reedin March 30, 2017 at 8:09 am

        Given that I believe you said you biked to Salem on the shoulder of I-5 for fun, maybe you have an atypical perspective on what is “super easy?”

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      • Alex Reedin March 30, 2017 at 8:20 am

        Also, I don’t know about driving being so miserable. I have a mindset that driving at rush hour is always stressful and horrible, but when I do it, I’m usually pleasantly surprised. For example, I drove to work this morning. It took 25 minutes, and traffic was not too bad. Google Maps told me the lowest-traffic way to go. If I e-bike for the same trip, it takes 45 minutes+ because I am not willing to bike on Foster and Powell and thus am hit by a longer route, tons of stop signs, bad pavement, and stop lights. We have created a transportation system wherein driving is heavily prioritized, and is thus the fastest and least stressful way to get from A to B for the vast majority of people and pairs of points A and B, despite the presence of traffic.

        I personally don’t think making driving harder without making anything else easier is a good thing, but I do think that policies that reallocate space from motor vehicle lanes to bus/freight lanes or bike lane would have a large net benefit for society despite the fact that those policies would make driving harder.

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      • Kyle Banerjee March 30, 2017 at 11:41 am

        Much of Portland has good signaled crosswalks and/or slow traffic. Even in these areas, ped traffic is really light. Getting people to walk beyond short distances in good weather even under the best circumstances will be tough.

        I agree that reallocation of space makes sense in many situations — and doesn’t even necessarily make driving harder. As far as your driving experience this morning, I’ve noticed traffic has been especially light this week. I believe it may related to spring break, but don’t know for sure.

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        • Alex Reedin March 30, 2017 at 3:03 pm

          I think you’re saying that the causality is: people in Portland are not willing to brave the weather / the outdoors / walking –> few people venture out on foot

          I have another theory: Our local and state governments have not managed our transportation and land use to make it convenient/pleasant/prioritized/close enough to get from A to B by foot –> when people try walking, it’s not fun/fast/safe-feeling –> few people travel regularly by foot –> those who don’t travel regularly by foot aren’t prepared to travel by foot even occasionally (mental maps, clothing, packing habits, ability to accurately estimate travel times, etc.), and aren’t in the habit of realizing that they *could* walk somewhere –> people don’t walk places even in seemingly absurdly easy situations

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        • Kyle Banerjee March 30, 2017 at 4:36 pm

          I follow the train of thought and agree that there are things that could be done to get people in the frame of mind that they could walk.

          However, that the already small (but significant) number of peds and cyclists plummets whenever the weather changes. The fair weather peds and cyclists already know the benefits so it does make a difference.

          Convenience and closeness are huge. Try getting someone to walk even two blocks to a grocery store or anyplace that results in carrying anything. Add kids to the mix, and that small number drops even more.

          Think about the number of people that take an elevator up just one or two floors when the stairs are right there and it’s faster to walk.

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          • 9watts March 30, 2017 at 4:48 pm

            Your perspective on this question is familiar: look at the average and lament how far removed that average is from engaging in the behavior we are talking about.
            But I prefer to look at this from exactly the opposite viewpoint: who are all the folks who are carfree now? And what can we learn from them?
            See, the problem in my view isn’t so much that Mr or Ms Average prefers convenience, so construed, as that the pleasures of the alternative, typically human-powered,way of getting around is so poorly understood, folks have so little experience with it. If we were instead to highlight the families, old people, disabled folks, wealthy, poor—pick your demographic category—that right now already get around without a private motor coach, I think the whole premise, that walking and cycling are weird, for the young and fit, etc. could melt away pretty quickly.
            Inferring inertia from the average is a function of our society’s predisposition to over-interpret the social significance of the mean; to assume that there is something *natural* about that point on the distribution.

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            • Kyle Banerjee March 30, 2017 at 6:56 pm

              The carfree thing isn’t so simple. In some cases, it reflects a real commitment to certain values. In others, it’s a practical adjustment to a situation you can’t control.

              I’ve toyed with ditching my car many times. I barely drive. Despite having a perfect driving record spanning almost 35 years, my cost of insurance alone for each trip is almost $20 (it would be way less if I drove daily). Add in gas, maintenance, etc. and I’m paying a lot for the few times I drive.

              Yet the ability to take that car when/where I want is worth that much to me because it allows me to do things I wouldn’t otherwise be able to do. And no, renting or car share are not viable for the simple reason that you can’t treat such vehicles the way I need to treat mine (unless I want to pay huge excess charges).

              Walking and cycling are viable only for short distances when you don’t have to carry much. It works fine in dense multiuse areas for commodity services and small goods. It doesn’t work for much else and lots of stuff falls into that category. Giving that up is a big deal.

              Many people are trapped in my view. I personally won’t live like that if I have a choice. Not at least until my body doesn’t allow me to do what I value so much now.

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              • 9watts March 30, 2017 at 7:41 pm

                “The carfree thing isn’t so simple.”

                You just gave a great description of why it isn’t so simple FOR YOU.
                But I think you are making my larger point, which is that if we, collectively, knew more about those who have jettisoned their car we wouldn’t have to extrapolate from our own experience when it comes to this sort of thing. We could instead learn from others who have gone about this in a thousand ways we may have not thought of or thought viable or realistic or simple or…..

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              • Kyle Banerjee March 31, 2017 at 5:30 am

                For most people, going car free requires a significant lifestyle change. But possibly even more significantly for many people, it requires a change in values.

                A lot of people are very connected with their cars, to the extent that they associate their own identity with their vehicle. That’s partly why people spend crazy money on their vehicles and often have more vehicles than drivers. For them, the car is a goal so they don’t want to figure out how to deal without it. It’s not entirely unlike expecting a die hard meat eater to go vegan.

                No matter how you look at it, going car free requires a certain physical layout and population density. It can work in dense urban areas like PDX, but the distances one has to cover to obtain or do anything are simply too great for many if not most people. Huge areas of the country have no public transit whatsoever and people might live far from work or services. In households where multiple people work, it’s simply not possible for everyone to be close to work.

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              • 9watts March 31, 2017 at 6:51 am

                “For most people, going car free requires a significant lifestyle change. But possibly even more significantly for many people, it requires a change in values.”

                Perhaps, but putting it like this reflects *your* struggles as much or more than it may describe how this looks to others. The fact is people have gone carfree for many different reasons and under widely divergent circumstances. It is happening under our noses.

                “A lot of people are very connected with their cars, to the extent that they associate their own identity with their vehicle. That’s partly why people spend crazy money on their vehicles and often have more vehicles than drivers. For them, the car is a goal so they don’t want to figure out how to deal without it.”

                I think this used to be more true.

                “It’s not entirely unlike expecting a die hard meat eater to go vegan.”

                This is no doubt true for some but I dare say this is not accurate or useful as a general rule. We’re talking here about peeling away those already ambivalent, frustrated with their relationship with their car for any of a thousand reasons.

                “No matter how you look at it, going car free requires a certain physical layout and population density.”

                No. It does seem to be easier under those circumstances but people do without cars when neither of those obtain. This is my point. If we had a clearer understanding of who currently doesn’t have a car and how they do it we could move beyond these broad brush, instrumental assumptions about what is required.

                “It can work in dense urban areas like PDX, but the distances one has to cover to obtain or do anything are simply too great for many if not most people.”

                You’re just making this all up. (Some) people find that overcoming those distances by other means (bus, bike, foot) are perfectly OK. In my view this is much less about physical parameters than priority and attitude. If you get rid of your car for whatever set of reasons you figure it out.

                “Huge areas of the country have no public transit whatsoever and people might live far from work or services. In households where multiple people work, it’s simply not possible for everyone to be close to work.”

                Again you are looking at this from the opposite end of things than I’m suggesting would be helpful. Let’s find those who, under all those conditions you say are impossible, don’t have or use a car and ask them what it is like. Claiming that what they are doing is impossible before we’ve investigated this is both inaccurate and needlessly defeatist.

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              • Kyle Banerjee March 31, 2017 at 9:44 am

                9watts
                . We’re talking here about peeling away those already ambivalent, frustrated with their relationship with their car for any of a thousand reasons.

                This group can give up their vehicles and many will. The issue is many people love their cars as much as the biggest pain in the butt dog. You don’t give that up without a fight because it’s near and dear to your heart.

                9watts
                “No matter how you look at it, going car free requires a certain physical layout and population density.”
                No. It does seem to be easier under those circumstances but people do without cars when neither of those obtain. This is my point. If we had a clearer understanding of who currently doesn’t have a car and how they do it we could move beyond these broad brush, instrumental assumptions about what is required.

                People here simply don’t get how far basic services like grocery stores, let alone other services, can be. There are no buses. You can’t walk 10 miles or more to do simple things. That there is ZERO bike infrastructure in many areas, no shoulders, and speeds and traffic situations people here can’t fathom.

                The things I see people complain about here are crazy easy compared to what pretty much everyone except people who live in a few lucky areas get to deal with. Cycling is a cakewalk in the likes of Portland, Salem, Corvallis, Eugene, and Ashland. But you don’t have to go far at all to change that picture dramatically.

                9watts
                “Huge areas of the country have no public transit whatsoever and people might live far from work or services. In households where multiple people work, it’s simply not possible for everyone to be close to work.”
                Again you are looking at this from the opposite end of things than I’m suggesting would be helpful. Let’s find those who, under all those conditions you say are impossible, don’t have or use a car and ask them what it is like. Claiming that what they are doing is impossible before we’ve investigated this is both inaccurate and needlessly defeatist.
                This describes areas where I’ve spent most of my life. The only way to go carfree is to do everything you can to not need to buy things and have friends/family help you with their vehicles. I’ve been here 5 years, and I still marvel at how easy it is to get everything.

                Consider towns that only a few hundred people live in and remember that many live miles from there. You know how Burns (almost 300 miles from PDX) always seems to be in the news — feels like a significant place, yes? 2,700 people live there and it gets mentioned because it is the most significant place for many miles.

                I won’t say it’s impossible to be without a car because it isn’t. But when I hear the reasons why people don’t walk/bike here, I don’t think it’s reasonable to expect these people in other areas to go down that route. It’s harder by orders of magnitude.

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              • SE Rider March 31, 2017 at 9:55 am

                9, I don’t agree with your point. For example a vast majority of readers of this site have drivers licenses (and I would wager that a majority also own a car, including Jonathan). These are some of the people most likely to be car free, and they read this site so certainly have lots of exposure to and awareness of those living car free. Yet despite this they still choose to own and use a car (even as they bike commute).

                We’re in Portland, one of (if not the most) bike friendly major city in the country. We have relatively mild weather, much of our residential areas are relatively flat (esp. the east side), and cycling is culturally accepted here better than anywhere else in the country. And yet we’re still sitting at a relatively flat bike commute rate in the single digits (which drops substantially when the rainy season hits). You think this is because people don’t know about being car free or that they could possibly bike commute? I would postulate that a majority of people in Portland have a friend, coworker, neighbor, etc. who bike commutes, so the idea is certainly not foreign to them.

                I agree with Kyle, the vast majority of Portland residents don’t want to be car free. They don’t want to sacrifice (whether it be convenience, time, comfort, flexibility) to be car free. To you these things might not be a sacrifice, but to many they are not worth giving up. And educating them about being car free (even stressing the benefits) is not going to move the needle. Sure these residents “could” go car free. But the majority don’t want to. I’m sure many of them have weighed the issue and decided against it (including many on this site who talk about having kids or moving and buying a car).

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              • 9watts March 31, 2017 at 11:28 am

                Kyle Banerjee:
                “People here simply don’t get how far basic services like grocery stores, let alone other services, can be. There are no buses. You can’t walk 10 miles or more to do simple things. That there is ZERO bike infrastructure in many areas, no shoulders, and speeds and traffic situations people here can’t fathom.”

                What you can’t seem to fathom is that for some people infrastructure is not an impediment to getting around by bike or on foot. I never said half the population in the metro area is ready to jettison their car, but some nontrivial percentage already doesn’t own one (18% for renters and 6% for homeowners as I recall in certain Portland census tracts I’ve monitored over the years). The number who might join them is unknown but certainly not as low as your comments suggest. You focus on all the ways the US makes living without a car impossible because this is your experience, but I say let’s talk to those in the US who already have no car and get their perspective; allow ourselves to be open to surprises, before we dismiss the whole thing out of hand.

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              • 9watts March 31, 2017 at 11:30 am

                SE Rider:
                “And yet we’re still sitting at a relatively flat bike commute rate in the single digits”

                You are assuming that those who are carfree have commutes or don’t take the bus.

                “I agree with Kyle, the vast majority of Portland residents don’t want to be car free.”

                I submit that you have no idea what percentage of Portland households are open to that possibility or could become more open if they were aware of those who are demographically just like them but don’t have one. I suspect you didn’t know that some 18% of renter households and 6% of homeowner households in some parts of Portland already don’t own a car.

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              • Kyle Banerjee March 31, 2017 at 11:55 am

                Getting people to give up cars requires them to find their own path to do so. We tell people what we think should convince them rather than encouraging them to navigate their own process using their own values.

                They love their cars and trying to convince them they’re wrong to do that will go nowhere. Much better to embrace that and get them engaged in a conversation that might lead them to see things differently.

                How many people here have actually complimented a motorist on their vehicle while riding? I’ve do it regularly and I guarantee my appreciation of good machinery/work/maintenance really softens people up and engages them since they think of me as someone they can relate to rather than some nut with an agenda. Likewise, I thank drivers on every single ride just for being considerate. Yeah, they’re supposed to do it, but showing appreciation and recognition of their efforts goes a long way. You get treated completely differently.

                If you think of drivers as selfish, polluting, ninnies that need to be converted, you’ll have an experience similar to the religious nuts who tell us all what’s wrong with us and how we should live — you get marginalized and have to pretend the rare convert represents actual progress.

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              • SE Rider March 31, 2017 at 12:22 pm

                Actually 9 I do know those numbers. And they prove that a vast majority of people aren’t car free. You’re suggesting that many of them are choosing to have a car because they just can’t imagine their life without it. I’m suggesting that many of them have tried to imagine their life without it and chosen to keep the car (and again we’ve heard plenty of antidotes on this very site talking about people who were car free and then go on to buy a car again). I don’t think lack of imagination is what his holding people back.

                But I know this will go no where, so have a good weekend.

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              • 9watts March 31, 2017 at 1:14 pm

                “We tell people what we think should convince them rather than encouraging them to navigate their own process using their own values. […] trying to convince them they’re wrong…”

                Now we’ve drifted into Weirdville.

                + You have been saying all along, in essence: it’s hopeless, they don’t want to give up their cars, drawing on your own reluctance to give up your car.

                + I have said, in essence, we have a knowledge problem: most carfree living is pretty invisible; let’s not prejudge things but instead give folks an opportunity to discover what others unbeknownst to them may have learned about living carfree and see where this goes.

                + And now you’re claiming I’m trying to convince them, tell them they are wrong?! Where did that come from?

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              • Kyle Banerjee March 31, 2017 at 1:41 pm

                That you consider it a knowledge problem shows you think they need convincing.

                If it’s a knowledge problem, they are under or misinformed. But this is not a knowledge problem. It’s a values issue. Most people don’t live car free because they simply aren’t interested and/or are unwilling to make the lifestyle changes. The “car culture” phrase tossed around here is not meaningless. Our society really does worship cars.

                Once people are willing to consider that they don’t like/need cars, that’s where the knowledge helps out. Until they get to that point, a different approach is necessary

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              • 9watts March 31, 2017 at 1:52 pm

                “Most people don’t live car free because they simply aren’t interested and/or are unwilling to make the lifestyle changes.”

                Neither you nor I know this.

                I’m saying one way to find out is to increase our collective understanding of what is involved.

                “a knowledge problem shows you think they need convincing.”

                Weird. I don’t know what to say.
                O.K., let’s take you and me. Both of us know very little about what the range of people who are currently carfree in the metro area do, how they get around, what they like/don’t like, what they consider feasible/difficult, etc. We could both benefit from a fuller understanding of this topic. This has exactly nothing to do with convincing you or me that carfree is for you/me. I’m not sure why you are lumping knowledge and what I know to be good for you (which incidentally I’ve not been talking about) together here.

                “is not a knowledge problem. It’s a values issue.”

                And why is it either/or? Are you suggesting the two aren’t related? How can I have a value about car/or no car if I have no idea what the minutiae of living without a car in 21st Century Portland involves?

                “Once people are willing to consider that they don’t like/need cars, that’s where the knowledge helps out. Until they get to that point, a different approach is necessary”

                I don’t follow that sequence at all. To, as you put it, be willing to consider that I don’t need a car is going to be informed by a knowledge of carfree living that most people currently don’t possess – not the other way around.

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              • David Hampsten March 31, 2017 at 2:30 pm

                You guys are having a great philosophical discussion. Love it!

                “Converting” folks to a car-free way of life is a lot like trying to convert them to your way of thinking or your religion – pointless, painful, and usually unsuccessful, but we try anyway.

                Personally, I’ve been car-free my whole life (nearly 50 now), never learned how to drive in spite of growing up in North Dakota. I once did own a car, a Camry I inherited from my (much shorter) dad, but since I had no idea how to use it, I gave it to a needy nephew. I have no objection to folks owning and using cars, as long as they use them responsibly, and I will on occasion take advantage of offered rides. I’ve even had some wonderful road trips (which is how I discovered my present town of Greensboro NC). However, I dare say that those of us who have been “blessed” to be car-free our whole lives, at least those I’ve met, seem to be bigger users of intercity trains and other odd modes of travel (seaplane, hovercraft, hydrofoil, etc.) than most car drivers I’ve met.

                For those who love to drive, try going to Europe. Experience driving there. Then use the train & walk. Compare.

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              • Kyle Banerjee March 31, 2017 at 4:05 pm

                I’d ditch my car in a heartbeat if I could and am a huge fan of practically every alternative. But it is too useful for accessing remote areas. Car alternatives inevitably require others going to the same destination. But no one else is going to the best places where you have to find your own way.

                As soon as I lose the will or ability to go these places, I could give my car up. Though curiously I was just talking to my GF about this. PDX is way too crowded and living in the sticks has a lot of appeal. Cars are handy out there 🙂

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          • 9watts April 1, 2017 at 8:36 pm

            “I’d ditch my car in a heartbeat if I could”

            The conversation I thought we were having was about problematizing the ‘If I could’ phrase. Could we make more sense of this dilemma, get past it, by drawing on the experience of those who manage to get beyond that impasse? Simply asserting that ‘I can’t’ doesn’t really cut it as far as I’m concerned. We all could benefit from challenging ourselves to interrogate this reflex, home in on what about the car isn’t readily substituted, and see if we can’t think of or discover workarounds.

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            • Kyle Banerjee April 3, 2017 at 10:14 am

              It’s not about being unable to live without a car. I absolutely could and will if I have to.

              But giving up the car would require me to give up things I highly value. For example, last Saturday, I explored a glacier, next Sunday I’ll be paddling off the coast. There are caves out there big enough to fit a small building in, incredible wildlife, and fun surf. It’s literally National Geographic quality stuff and some of my pictures get distributed by major outdoor companies.

              I do things like this almost every week and my car is an incredibly useful tool that facilitates this. Getting rid of a useful tool makes no sense as a goal, especially if it means I can’t do some of the things I value most.

              The workaround is to ride in someone else’s car which I often do. No one I know ever drives alone except when on solo expeditions. That means that me getting rid of a car has no effect on the total number of vehicles on the road but it does affect your ability to get partners as everyone has to pull their weight. BTW, none of my car owning companions drive to work. We all bike a fair amount and one runs to work — 7 miles each way. You’ll never hear excuses from any of us about how we couldn’t ride or run because the infrastructure, traffic, and weather wasn’t nice enough.

              Getting rid of cars is not a good objective because why would they be interested in that? I could teach people how to sleep outside in below zero weather. It’s really quite easy, and having no heat or electricity in your home is also no biggie if you know how to deal with it. You’d save tons on utilities and it would help with climate change. Who’s on board?

              The objective has to be about living better. People won’t give up cars until they feel the alternative is superior, and that is about people making a determination based on their individual circumstances. That something is possible is not a good enough reason.

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              • 9watts April 3, 2017 at 2:40 pm

                “Getting rid of cars is not a good objective because why would they be interested in that? ”

                Well external constraints for one. Why wait for them, pretend none of this concerns us until it is too late to manage an orderly transition.
                The way you reply here it is all about you, about your weekend adventures, as if there were no larger world out there that is being wrecked by among other things your sense of entitlement to fossil-fuel enabled diversions that end up in outdoor magazines where even more people are enticed to follow your example.

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              • Kyle Banerjee April 4, 2017 at 10:21 am

                You raise an interesting issue that I have discussed with friends, family, and the companies I work with. I am acutely aware that if many people did what I did, it would wreck the areas I love the most even if sensitive areas require permits and observance of leave no trace practices to manage impact.

                I don’t just go anywhere anytime — it depends on what the environment and animals can handle. For example, I won’t go anywhere near certain areas in nesting, pupping, and other times that would be disruptive, and I only go on terrain that can handle it which varies at time of year. I avoid disturbing things, because doing something like making a bird fly causes it to waste a lot of energy.

                What I consistently hear is that my going out helps people feel a connection with nature, appreciate what is at stake, and it also gives them a way to enjoy these places so others don’t need to.

                It could be argued that it’s a selfish act and to some extent it is. But there is also a social value in having people who can help others understand why it’s so important to care about what’s going on in the oceans, mountains, forests, deserts, rivers, skies, etc. For example, why do you care so much about it? I find urban environments extremely depressing — the words I use most often to describe them is “concrete wasteland.” The connection I feel with animals, plants, and environment I directly experience is far more intense than can be replicated in a populated area which is artificial by necessity because real nature is brutal.

                The transition you seek will eventually occur because we *will* run out of resources. But people won’t change until they have to. As the oil and whatnot disappears and becomes way more expensive, the alternatives gradually become the only viable options. Dinosaurs ruled the world for hundreds of millions of years. I personally believe it’s much more likely that will happen again than it is for people to run the planet for another few thousand.

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  • Mark March 29, 2017 at 3:46 pm

    Enforce ORS 811.550(17).

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    • Dan A March 29, 2017 at 6:29 pm

      First need to remove all of the illegally-marked spaces.

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    • Kyle Banerjee March 30, 2017 at 4:38 pm

      This would significantly improve safety for peds, cyclists, and motorists.

      I’ve never lived in a place before PDX where tolerance of vehicles blocking sightlines at intersections is so high.

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      • SE Rider March 31, 2017 at 9:55 am

        Yes, the idea of being able to park right under a stop sign is so odd.

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  • SE March 30, 2017 at 4:51 pm

    As a cyclist who rides the area illustrated in your pic of a ped braving crossing 122nd , it makes a big laugh.
    That location (about 100yds south of Stark) is about 100 feet – to the left in the pic- of the signalized strobe crossing at the Library. In fact if the pic were cropped a little less tight, you would see that crossing and rather invalidate the idea of the pic. The brick building is the library and you can even see the crossing sign for “crossing ahead”.

    I drive 122 often, there are 2 areas where lighted crossings are within 100yds of each other, but peds will still dart across traffic instead of walking an extra 20 feet to be in an official strobed beacon crossing. Happens VERY frequently at Safeway (122nd & Powell) . They’ll risk life & limb rather than a 30 second walk to the light on the corner at Powell.

    The guy in the pic could have been in one of those crossings had he walked 100 feet south .

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    • 9watts March 30, 2017 at 4:57 pm

      It’s fun to take whacks at folks who cross at places other than those designated as right and proper, but let’s not forget the history of the concept of jaywalking; for what purpose and it was invented and whose interests it advanced….

      http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-26073797

      http://www.salon.com/2015/08/20/the_secret_history_of_jaywalking_the_disturbing_reason_it_was_outlawed_and_why_we_should_lift_the_ban/

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    • Dan A March 30, 2017 at 6:42 pm

      I think it’s funny to suggest that people who walk from place to place are lazy.

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      • SE Rider March 31, 2017 at 7:50 am

        Where did he say the ped was lazy? I believe his point was that you can build up all the infrastructure you want, but it’s still up to people to use it.

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        • Dan A March 31, 2017 at 9:55 am

          “peds will still dart across traffic instead of walking an extra 20 feet to be in an official strobed beacon crossing”

          “They’ll risk life & limb rather than a 30 second walk to the light on the corner at Powell”

          This is a common refrain. Read any story about a pedestrian being run over outside of a crosswalk and you’ll find at least one comment suggesting that the pedestrian was too lazy to walk over to the nearby crosswalk.

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      • Kyle Banerjee March 31, 2017 at 12:51 pm

        Dan A
        I think it’s funny to suggest that people who walk from place to place are lazy.

        How so? It’s often the easiest way to get around…

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        • Dan A March 31, 2017 at 1:18 pm

          I don’t understand your question here, unless you misunderstood my comment.

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          • Kyle Banerjee March 31, 2017 at 2:05 pm

            I was just yanking your chain.

            But I do think peds can be lazy. Just because someone is on foot, bikes 20 miles to get where they’re going, etc doesn’t mean they’re incapable of lazy actions.

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    • Kyle Banerjee March 30, 2017 at 7:04 pm

      So just skip the crosswalks, signals, etc and let people watch out for cars?

      I’m totally cool with the idea of deciding for yourself when it’s safe and crossing where you want based on your own assessment. But given the commitment here to paint, signals, and barriers everywhere, I don’t expect that idea will fly.

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    • David Hampsten March 31, 2017 at 3:17 am

      The fellow is more like 300 feet from that ped crossing at the library. East Portland has much larger blocks than the puny 200′ ones in the inner city. Welcome to camera lens distortion.

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    • wsbob March 31, 2017 at 10:50 am

      “…The guy in the pic could have been in one of those crossings had he walked 100 feet south . ” se

      That’s an excellent point made about people on foot not using nearby crosswalk signals, and instead trying to cross mid-block through heavy traffic; but was the person in the picture, really 100′ away from the intersection, or actually 300′ away as david hampsten believes?

      Some of you reading here, may recall discussion about the collision involving a motor vehicle and someone on foot, out in Beaverton on Baseline Rd. What I’ve heard, word of mouth from several sources, is that the person on foot, killed in the collision, was attempting to cross Baseline, just some 30′ away from the pedestrian activated beacon crossing for the Westside Trail.

      Why the person would choose not to walk an additional 30′-60′ for a safer crossing, is anyone’s guess. It’s not like this is an area where there’s a store or coffee shop, etc, right across the street that would have been a likely destination.

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      • Kyle Banerjee March 31, 2017 at 1:10 pm

        There is also the issue that it’s a great idea to watch out for multiton steel objects moving at speed when crossing a path they’re known to be on.

        Crosswalks improve safety because they remind drivers to look for peds and of their legal obligations. However, they can never be regarded as safe — no matter how well marked and lit. If drivers don’t see someone crossing, they’ll continue at the same speed they would have had there been no crossing at all.

        It is easier for a pedestrian to notice a large noisy object on a road from a single perspective than it is for someone in that object to identify a small object mixed in with all the visual noise — particularly at night when the big noisy object is well lit and the small one isn’t. People just have to use their heads about this stuff.

        About a week ago, I was behind a car on my bike at night in the wet moving less than 15mph. The glare situation with oncoming headlights and other things in the wet was bad and I just barely made out a ped as we approached the crosswalk. The car did not see the ped, but the ped clearly saw the car and stepped right in front of it. At that point, the car saw the ped, engaged the antilock brakes, and stopped with about 2 inches to spare. Ped pounds on hood and offers choice words to the driver who apologizes.

        The driver is obligated to stop for the ped, but it was obvious she didn’t see the ped in first place. And the ped who was watching the car not slow down all along stepped in front on purpose. I see behavior like this frequently among peds, cyclists, and drivers alike. In my book anyone who intentionally fails to make a reasonable adjustment for an obvious situation caused it regardless of who is legally liable.

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        • 9watts March 31, 2017 at 1:22 pm

          “The car did not see the ped”

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          • Kyle Banerjee March 31, 2017 at 2:09 pm

            Car = driver

            Kind of like “bike = cyclist.” Point being, look both ways before crossing the street and don’t intentionally step in front of something that will kill you. Small kids seem to get this, but many adults in the PDX area struggle with it.

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  • Steven March 31, 2017 at 4:33 am

    This absurd! You can see the signal crosswalk not 100 feet behind this guy trying to cross mid block! What can we do if morons aren’t going to use the infrastructure already in place. Jaywalking is illegal.

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    • 9watts March 31, 2017 at 7:40 am

      “Jaywalking is illegal.”

      The outrage!

      Maybe speeding should also be illegal? killing people with your car?
      Na. I guess not.

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      • Dan A March 31, 2017 at 9:56 am

        People never get killed in crosswalks. Oh wait….

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    • soren March 31, 2017 at 10:33 am

      What is absurd is your ignorance of the law and your concomitant willingness to demean others. Oregon law allows pedestrians to cross the roadway at any point as long as they yield to vehicles.

      https://www.tcnf.legal/app/uploads/2016/10/OPRlegal_guide.pdf

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      • Kyle Banerjee March 31, 2017 at 1:19 pm

        Not so. See ORS 810.080

        In any case, the pedestrian is in no danger if they actually yield to vehicles when crossing.

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        • soren April 1, 2017 at 8:12 pm

          roadway does not equal crosswalk. click my link. it is fairly authoritative.

          portland has an ordinance that requires pedestrians to use a crosswalk if one is within 150 feet (but this does not apply here as others have commented).

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        • Kyle Banerjee April 2, 2017 at 9:26 am

          So what’s your point? It looked like you said they can cross anywhere they want. They can’t as you point out with your observation about the 150′ ordinance.

          And what is the problem in general? Is the idea that having people walk a few hundred feet is an undue burden? If so, why would we think people would find walking a suitable way to go more than a couple blocks tops?

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  • SE March 31, 2017 at 8:23 am

    David Hampsten
    The fellow is more like 300 feet from that ped crossing at the library. East Portland has much larger blocks than the puny 200′ ones in the inner city. Welcome to camera lens distortion.
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    You DO realize that 300 feet (100 yds) is the length of a football field ? The ped is about even with the bar between Mr. Peeps and the taco place that used to be Wendys. A football field distance to the library crosswalk (you can even see 2 crosswalk signs) ??? Nope.

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    • Alex Reedin March 31, 2017 at 10:01 am

      Check out Google Maps. Mr. Hampsten is correct. The distance from the Magic Inn to the Midland Library is estimated as 390 ft.
      https://goo.gl/maps/x1gqYNo1FAT2

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    • paikiala March 31, 2017 at 10:06 am

      SE, check your ‘facts’, visit the aerial.

      In the photo you can see the end of the white left turn lane line for SE Stark. The end of that line is 560 feet north of the north edge of Morrison and 670 feet north of the library island.
      The pedestrian appears to be south of the space for turning into that left turn lane, which puts him about 250 feet south of Stark, or about 440 feet north of Morrison. Looks to be going to the restaurant on the west side, about midblock.

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      • David Hampsten March 31, 2017 at 2:02 pm

        They have good nachos there.

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    • Kyle Banerjee March 31, 2017 at 6:21 pm

      Just to make sure I’m following this discussion — we need to encourage people to get about by walking but the prospect of adding a few hundred feet to a journey is a major impediment?

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      • Dan A March 31, 2017 at 6:55 pm

        It sounds to me like you have once again found yourself addicted to discussing a topic that you have no interest in.

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        • Kyle Banerjee April 1, 2017 at 4:59 pm

          If I ever become interested in this sort of thing, I hope someone will put me out of my misery. It would be an act of kindness…

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          • Dan A April 4, 2017 at 3:46 pm

            30 comments so far. Keep going, I’m almost convinced that you have no interest.

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  • Dan A March 31, 2017 at 9:50 am

    David Hampsten
    By the way, motorists are not legally obliged to stop at a “rapid flashing beacon” crossings, such as at the library, just at intersection crossings (both marked and unmarked). Silly but true.

    Can you clarify this? Do you mean that drivers aren’t legally obligated to stop for pedestrians in this crosswalk here?

    https://goo.gl/maps/Py2ZDYaRfFr

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    • David Hampsten March 31, 2017 at 2:00 pm

      I don’t know. What you show in the Lloyd district on the photo is completely different from those in East Portland. It looks more like a traditional “crosswalk.”

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      • Dan A March 31, 2017 at 5:10 pm

        Can you show me an example of a rapid flashing beacon crossing where motorists aren’t legally obligated to stop for pedestrians? I don’t know what you’re referring to, but I’d like to know so I can protect myself (seriously). Or did you just mean that they aren’t obligated to stop when there’s nobody in the road?

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        • David Hampsten April 1, 2017 at 2:01 am

          The example being discussed is a mid-block crossing at the Library, just south of SE 122nd and Morrison. Cars are “required” to stop at red signals, stop signs, and when a pedestrian is crossing at either a marked or unmarked intersection, but apparently not anywhere else, including at many of these RFB crossings in EP.

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          • Dan A April 1, 2017 at 9:11 am

            You’re saying drivers aren’t legally required to stop for pedestrians in this marked crosswalk, shown here?

            https://goo.gl/maps/axt1KDGZYkz

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            • David Hampsten April 1, 2017 at 10:25 am

              Yup. You got it. Even the folks at PBOT who design and implement these devices say this. As I said, silly but true. Essentially a pedestrian relies on the honor system for motorists to stop, and according to PBOT, 80-90% of them do. However, I’ve even seen non-emergency police cars zoom on by, even with the RFBs flashing and a pedestrian trying to cross.

              The issue here is safety versus the law. The pedestrian crossing at either the RFB or in the middle of a turning lane that no one ever uses (or has reason to use, as in the photo at the beginning of this story) is actually in a far safer position than any pedestrian crossing at a signalized intersection, given all the potential conflict points (thanks Paikaila) and driver distractions, even though the latter is more legal. At an intersection, you hope (vainly sometimes) that motorists are not distracted while turning by their ipads, kids in the back, etc, and that they not only are looking for you (rather than other cars), but that they’ll actually yield to you. The guy jaywalking has no such illusions. Anyone who stops at an RFB is not looking for other cars, but for pedestrians, if they are looking at all (and alas some do not.)

              For me, when I’m a pedestrian, the safest multi-lane arterial crossing is one with a grassy median mid-block, with as few curb-cuts as possible (ideally, none at all). I cross two lanes that only go one way, wait on the grass, then cross two more lanes that go in the opposite direction. Far better than any intersection. The RFB just formalizes the process, but the process is still the same.

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              • Dan A April 1, 2017 at 10:47 am

                Do you have a source for this? I’d hate to see somebody run down in one of these thinking they had the legal right of way, only to discover that they were actually jaywalking, and entitled to nothing.

                This statute seems to disagree with what you are saying:

                https://www.oregonlaws.org/ors/801.220

                “Crosswalk” means any portion of a roadway at an intersection or elsewhere that is distinctly indicated for pedestrian crossing by lines or other markings on the surface of the roadway that conform in design to the standards established for crosswalks under ORS 810.200 (Uniform standards for traffic control devices).

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              • wsbob April 1, 2017 at 1:20 pm

                It’s not just an honor system regulating whether people driving, stop at RFB’s…by Oregon law, they must stop, when the light is flashing, and someone is crossing, or wanting to cross (even if the light isn’t flashing, actually…but that’s beside the main point here.).

                RFB’s (rapid flashing beacons), aren’t the same as red lights and stop signs, meaning they don’t make of road users, as extensive an obligation of people driving, as red lights and stop signs do:

                …vehicle road users are obliged to stop at stop signs and stop lights, whether or not a pedestrian is crossing, or is preparing to cross the street.

                …vehicle road users do not have to stop at RFB’s, if there is there is no pedestrian crossing, or preparing to cross the street.

                If a pedestrian is crossing, or preparing to cross the street after having activated the RFB, they do have to stop, nearly the same way they do as if the beacon were a stop sign or stop light. Here’s a link to the Oregon statute for info about ORS 811.028 ‘Failure to stop and remain stopped for pedestrian’.

                https://www.oregonlaws.org/ors/811.028

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              • soren April 1, 2017 at 8:25 pm

                rapid flash beacons have no statutory legal meaning in oregon. it’s very sad that ODOT and the legislature have not codified this widely used signal into law.

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              • Dan A April 2, 2017 at 2:51 pm

                The beacon itself doesn’t, but the painted crosswalk does. The beacon is an indicator that there is a crosswalk present.

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              • soren April 2, 2017 at 4:54 pm

                the painted crosswalk has the same legal meaning as every corner in oregon. if rapid flash beacons had legal meaning (e.g. like a red light) compliance would be higher and violations would be more severe than (e.g. running a rfb AND failing to yield to ped). why on earth does so much bike/ped infrastructure, signage, and signaling have absolutely no legal meaning?

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              • El Biciclero April 3, 2017 at 3:18 pm

                A pedestrian still has ROW in a marked crosswalk. The RFB provides the exact same protection as a flashing yellow light on top of a pedestrian’s head. Drivers don’t have to stop for the light, but it is supposedly an indication that there is a ped in the crosswalk for whom they still must legally stop.

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              • 9watts April 3, 2017 at 3:45 pm

                Isn’t it interesting how much duplication we sanction here. unmarked cross walk -> marked crosswalk -> flashing yellow light… all to get the attention of the (distracted?) pilot of the automobile. Doesn’t it seem like all this redundancy is reifying inattention? Taxpayer money is spent on all this and to what end? Maybe we should have crosswalk stings ONLY in the unmarked crosswalks, and every day of the year?

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              • Dan A April 5, 2017 at 7:22 am

                True enough, the extra markings and lights do a pretty good job of weakening unmarked crosswalks everywhere else. The biggest complaint we hear on our neighborhood safety forum is that drivers don’t stop at unmarked crosswalks to allow kids to cross the street.

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  • GlowBoy April 4, 2017 at 10:52 am

    wsbob
    “On the contrary, I think the term “beg-button” indicates respect for walking. …” reedin
    …wow, that’s a new on me. Like all those panhandlers asking for handouts, indicates ‘begging’ is a respectable way to earn money? Doesn’t matter…I can’t really take the analogy, either one, seriously.
    I look at the pedestrian crosswalk signal buttons as order buttons. They’re a means by which people walking can put their order in that they have need of crossing the street, using the signal phase that has been provided for that use; ‘pedestrian call button’ is fine with me too though, I think.
    At least for the big intersections with great numbers of motor vehicle traffic, people crossing the street on foot, do wind up having to spend a lot of time waiting for their turn in the signal cycle to be appear, giving them the ‘walk’ signal. I don’t see a good way around that. Traffic engineers have to keep the motor vehicle moving, because there’s so much of it.
    On late night hours when traffic is very sparse out in Beaverton, say 11pm, I notice the 117th/Canyon Rd signal cycle phase is definitely set differently for a shorter cycle, meaning that after pushing the pedestrian button, the ‘walk’ signal appears much more quickly than it does during peak road use hours. Then again, often at this time, traffic on this road is so light, a person on foot may be able to fairly safely just walk against the light, making it across without anything bad happening. Though given the nature of the street, I don’t recommend doing so. The occasional person driving that time of night may decide to travel very fast…and a little speck in the distance could wind up arriving at the intersection much faster than at normal, posted speed limit rate of speed.
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    I call them Beg Buttons quite specifically because of the way our transportation system demeans pedestrians. They force us supplicants on foot to actually ask for the chance to cross, while automobiles are granted passage automatically.

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    • Kyle Banerjee April 4, 2017 at 2:11 pm

      Exactly — don’t even get me started about the expectation that peds should stop for trains.

      We need to quit victimizing and emotionally traumatizing vulnerable road users with this demeaning “might makes right” logic!

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      • Dan A April 4, 2017 at 2:16 pm

        Please do explain how a single-occupant car is the same thing as a train.

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        • Kyle Banerjee April 4, 2017 at 2:36 pm

          Are you suggesting that the train should pass just because it’s bigger or is shipping goods to make someone money? Or even worse, that the most vulnerable road users should just have to stay out of its way?

          You sound like a train apologist to me.

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          • Dan A April 4, 2017 at 3:02 pm

            That is not a very good explanation.

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        • Kyle Banerjee April 4, 2017 at 2:56 pm

          I can’t understand why you accept being victimized in this way. You don’t even get a beg button to stop the train.

          I hope you don’t engage in victim blaming behavior when road violence caused by trains going too fast results in death or injury of vulnerable road users.

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  • GlowBoy April 4, 2017 at 10:56 am

    paikiala
    The pedestrian signal would need to be a countdown type to let you know time had been added. More flashing don’t walk wouldn’t work.
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    Countdown-type signals are now mandated by the MUTCD. It will take jurisdictions quite a few years to update them all, but they do have to be updated with visible countdown timers anytime changes (such as implementing my idea) are made to the intersection.

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  • GlowBoy April 4, 2017 at 10:58 am

    SE Rider
    Can’t you still leagally cross as a ped in this situation if you have the green light (even if you don’t have the walk signal?
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    Absolutely not. The DON’T WALK carries regulatory weight, and crossing when it’s active is considered jaywalking.

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