Here are the most noteworthy stories we came across last week…
A politico’s Pronto post-mortem: Former Seattle City Councilor Jean Godden said fear of not appearing progressive enough was part of the political “hubris” to blame for the system’s failure.
Clear and present bias: A perfect (and perfectly sad) example of police and media bias in a case where a driver was initially exonerated without facts, only to be found guilty of distracted driving after a court hearing.
A new terror: Terrorism is the new frontier of motor vehicle violence, and it’s also the latest impetus for street infrastructure that protects vulnerable road users.
The problem with technology: Elon Musk and his acolytes like to think they can solve any transport problem with futuristic tech. That’s why it’s sort of funny that auto parking is such a mess at Tesla HQ.
Walking is a crime in Sacramento: A police officer is being investigated for criminal misconduct after tackling and beating-up a man who was legally walking across a street.
Drunk biking and walking: The Wall St. Journal covered a report by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety that encourages road agencies to take drunk biking and walking more seriously as factors in crashes.
London’s low-emissions zone: As a way to curb air pollution and make their city center safer for humans, London will establish an “Ultra Low Emission Zone” by next year and charge the most polluting vehicles to enter it.
Eudaly’s incomplete narrative: During her election campaign, Portland Commissioner Chloe Eudaly told a gripping story of her father being killed while driving — but didn’t mention he was legally intoxicated and that the collision he caused took the life of
another person two innocent people.
More development, more people: Get the lowdown on all those new buildings springing up on the eastside near the Burnside Bridge.
State of the road bike: More adventure and individuality are the takeaways from this year-old (new to me) essay that I think is a very good take on what’s happening to the road bike market.
It’s the road design, stupid (or stupid road design): Finally! A mainstream media article on the rising vulnerable user death tollthat looks beyond lazy victim-blaming and considers the role of bad road design.
Anonymously on-point: Portland Mercury I, Anonymous article is a good reminder that our city’s outdated form of government needs to go.
Oslo knows: Speaking of our local government, they need to watch and learn from the latest Streetfilm that documents the inspiring strategies Oslo, Norway is using to have their downtown completely carfree by 2019.
Oslo: The Journey to Car-free from STREETFILMS on Vimeo.
“Rogue bike share”: The PR campaign against a new wave of bike share companies is in full-effect. This reminds me of what happened when Uber bullied its way into cities without waiting for regulations or often the blessing of local governments.
Thanks to everyone who sent in suggestions.
— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and email@example.com
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John Eudaly killed TWO people that day: an 11-year-old boy and his mother, who died 52 days later in the hospital.
Wow, her quotes are really bad.
“My biggest takeaway from my dad’s early death was…this realization that you could do everything you’re supposed to do, work hard, support your family, give up your personal dreams and have it all taken away in an instant,” she said.
“It was not my intent to misrepresent my father’s role in the accident,” she said.
He was doing 60-75mph in the rain around a 30mph curve with a bottle of Boones between his legs.
Perhaps she was referring to the children of the other family who did what they were supposed to do, worked hard and had it all taken away from them because of a drunk driver.
No, no. Because of bad tenants.
I kind of believe that when she was a kid her mom probably told her that her dad was working hard when he was killed, but I don’t really buy that she never learned the truth. Based on what he was drinking it seems like he probably hit the bottle pretty hard and liked to drive around real fast while he did it regardless of the consequences to other people.
I don’t know. Denial is a powerful force in families dealing with alcoholism, and not just for the alcoholics. I think WW was right to investigate and print the truth, but I find it entirely plausible that she wasn’t fully aware of the crash circumstances until recently.
But she most likely was aware that her father was an alcoholic. It is typically well known for someone with an addiction to that level (based on the police report). Even a 13 year old would be aware. This story deserved a public statement, at minimum. A private Facebook post for friends is not sufficient, since this story used to shut down opposition testimony during the public process.
In the private Facebook post she admits a relative told her the truth a few years later but she suggests didn’t want to believe it.
Didn’t say she was in denial about her father’s alcoholism, but denial could easily have contributed to a reluctance to connect the dots about the incident.
I have a problem calling a motor vehicle collision an accident when it caused by the inability of an intoxicated driver to operate a motor vehicle in a safe manner. Intoxicants (including, but not limited to, alcohol, cannabis, opiates, cocaine, meth amphetamines, many prescription drugs) and driving or cycling don’t mix. If you intend to consume any, you should plan not to operate a vehicle on a public street. In the days of horse drawn vehicles, we could rely on the good sense of the horse to get everyone back to the stable fairly safely, but Mr. Eudaly clearly wasn’t driving a team of six white horses when he came around the mountain.
This should be a full-blown scandal. The way she presented this story during the rental housing discussion made it seem like her father was killed because of bad renters. I am really upset about this, and I think this needs to be more widely publicized. Her father killed an innocent child and a young mother, and she had the audacity to use it as a misplaced anecdote during a discussion about rental policies?
I agree, especially as the connection between her anecdote to current rental policies was a stretch to begin with.
Yes, the worst part is that this is totally self-inflicted. That anecdote about her past was at best tangentially related to the rental market.
“This should be a full-blown scandal. …” chris I
Are you sure about that? Are you enough sure, based on what you’ve read about eudaly, how you may happen to know her and so on, that she ought to be subject to a pile on? As in, you feel certain she’s done or is doing something so bad, that she should get cut no slack for being a novice politician that maybe hasn’t yet picked up the skill of avoiding saying things that people will decide to use to attack her?
There’s a lot of reasons people become drunks and alcoholics, that become out of control, have their life fall apart, and find themselves doing terribly stupid things that hurt other people. Some of them are people that work hard, support their family, and give up their dreams, only to lose it all, as Eudaly recounted in her comment.
Some of the people that are alcoholics, are very good at camouflaging it from family and friends. If a parent really hides it, a kid might never know their mom or dad is an alcoholic. Sure the parent might be seen having a drink now and then, but an alcoholic? It can be hard to tell if the person isn’t the falling down drunk type.
I’ve never met eudaly, though I was in her store a few times and saw her working. It seemed to me a good thing that someone new that wasn’t a career politician, was interested in being a city commissioner and actually got elected. Seems like a good person with good intentions.
From the article on Salem area distracted driving collision: “…It took over a year for the facts to surface, …” http://breakfastonbikes.blogspot.com/2017/04/distracted-driver-in-walking-death-was-held-blameless-james-alton-melody-krewson.html
Why did it take so long for authorities to arrive at the conclusion that the person driving, was texting while driving? And for that conclusion to be factored into the penalty meted out. The blog story doesn’t offer any info about this.
Not unlike the case we watched here when my neighbor was killed by a girl texting, criminal charges can stay pending for a while, and prosecutors are rarely as motivated to uncover details as family members who hire private investigators. Just speculation, but I’ve seen it play out before. (Plus, police detectives are often juggling many cases that frequently change priority).
…motivation and money…both of those two are factors I think, in why collisions don’t get thorough attention they may be due. I think a lot of people don’t realize just how strapped Oregon, and especially many Oregonian residents are. Maybe they just see the multi-million dollar budgets, and figure there’s lots to go around, if only the priorities were different.
I took what I read in the ‘salem breakfast on bike’ story with a lot of reservation, because the writer uses certain words implying assumptions about the police and press without offering anything really, to support the assumptions; I could write here, what those words were, but I shouldn’t have to..anyone really interested, can look and decide for themselves.
Still, the point raised by the blog writer, about such a long period of time passing before discovering that the person driving was up to no good, represents a very serious problem that needs to be addressed asap.
I think that failure to promptly investigate to determine whether road use negligence (distracted, careless, reckless) by people driving…and people walking, biking, etc…may have the result of people drawing assumptions about cause that aren’t supported by fact, and worse, aren’t accurate…which in turn, may prompt efforts that aren’t going to be good ways to solve the problem, if the measures chosen even do solve the problem.
Chloe was 13 at the time and she did not even know all the details of the crash as her family shielded her from the facts. She knows a lot more now due to the reporters looking into the crash.
She never thought to double check what her family told her were about her father’s death when she was a 13 year old girl.
The scandle here is reprinting tabloid journalism. I lost a lot of respect for the Willamette Week. After hearing Chloe’s side of the story I find the article to be worthy of the Daily Mail or National Enquirer.
How do we know that she didn’t learn of the details until after she made the statements?
She’s now admitted otherwise on her personal Facebook.
You really think that she just found out the full truth? If so, why didn’t she say that in her statements after this story surfaced?
I do believe her personal account, but I am not going to publish details from a personal facebook post. I trust her from my personal interactions with her as well. I also know how politicians are drug over the coals for ratings.
Personally, my father was an alcoholic that totalled so many cars in my teenage years that he had to ask favors high up in the corperate world so he could stay insured. He had so many DUIs that i suspected he bribed a judge to keep his license. I know several collisions involved other cars.
I also know that if he killed anyone there was no way he would have told me. Neither would have mother. Now, I have been a safe street advocate in this town for five years….. Does this mean I am obligated to go back and check what my stupid father did 35 years ago before I can tell my story about how my father’s drunk driving has affected my views on street safety? Him staying out of jail told me growing up how white privilege worked…..It was the start of me breaking out of a suburban white flight obsurdity.
Personally, I don’t have time to back and check the reports of what he when I was 13. I know what I learned from it and should be able to relay that message…..And will continue to do so.
If someone uses their fathers actions in order to further their agenda, you’d better believe you are obligated to go back and find out if what you’re saying amounts to a lie or not.
Agreed, BB. It’s the using the story to achieve a political end that’s the problem. It was a questionable (I would say inappropriate) use of the very personal in a political arena to begin with. I hope that at least the WW’s reporting on this will forestall any future targeted tear-jerkings from public officials.
If you read her personal account you know she found out a few years after the accident. Don’t invoke that post without telling people what it says.
i find it curious that a willamette week reporter with an history of aggressively attacking chloe eudaly on social media is chiming in here. almost makes me wonder whether the willamette week might be showing a little political bias.
Attacking the media because they are disclosing facts that you don’t like? Who else do we know who does this?
pointing out political bias is an attack? i guess the mean things i say about CNN and Fox news also threaten our democracy…
I read the WW and O descriptions of the event, and, even more than her lack of judgement about using this story the way she did, I am concerned that she shows no patience for listening to people she may disagree with. That seems to be a developing pattern, both in this story, and in the way she dismissed the directors of ONI and BDS without meeting with them first.
I want leaders who are willing to listen, and are willing to change their minds as they learn more about an issue or hear another point-of-view. I’m still hoping that Chloe can do these things, but I’m growing wary.
The cnn tech story talks about some of the things that can make roads difficult and even dangerous for people to use while walking. Some people don’t seem to want to much concentrate on what those things may be, but instead just simply claim the road’s design is bad. This article goes into greater detail about what general things can make a road dangerous and difficult for someone on foot to use. Here’s some of the things mentioned:
Too much emphasis given to road designers and engineers to make roads fast:
“…”In the past, every time we did a project, we were always told, ‘By the way, speed this road up, it’s supposed to be running at 45 [mph],” Carver said of redesigning rural roads. …”
…obvious, easiest first step for bringing down speeds traveled on the road: lower posted speed limits.
Next thing the article mentions as a factor contributing to roads being difficult and dangerous for people on foot to use, is roads that too often don’t include a sufficient number of designated and signaled crossing points for pedestrian use. I feel that’s an excellent point.
The article also suggests that road lane widths of 12’, are a factor that makes roads difficult and dangerous to use on foot. Also mentions roads that are straight, rather than curvy. I don’t personally feel that reducing lane width to a point to which operating a motor vehicles feels cramped, is a good way to try bring down the speeds of the ten percent or less of the people on the road driving dangerously in excess of the posted speed limit.
Rogue bikeshare, huh? Not sure piles of junk bikes in China are a legitimate argument against them. Nor did the article give any evidence or examples of the “rogue” sharebikes being unsafe.
What form of government should our city have? A strong mayor system consolidates power into one individual because city council’s are more anonymous than a state legislator. And out-dated is an odd criticism for a system without a powerful executive. Powerful executives are more anachronistic than any other system. If anything a commission system with regional representation is the answer.
If we’re going to have commissioners, I want to be able to vote for or against the commissioner who has been running PBOT, regardless of what part of town they (or I) live in.
In Commisionor style government, a professional department head is usually hired like Congress, in theory, approved cabinet secretaries. Our arcane system that puts a political person, who may know little about the topic, as head …at the whim of the mayor … is outdated for a city of our size.
For me the argument isn’t about a strong-mayor vs. a weak-mayor system, but about the election of councillors on an at-large versus a ward basis.
Personally, I lean towards the ward (as I now have in Minneapolis) or at least a hybrid system (as Seattle has*). I think it works better for making sure people in poor and politically un-powerful neighborhoods get representation. It doesn’t completely solve the problem of certain parts of town being marginalized and better-connected areas getting all the goodies, but I think it reduces it. And you also usually end up with a scrappy councillor or two on the council from those areas, able to regularly generate headlines by pointing out the inequities in council behavior.
* Seattle now has a hybrid system with 7 councillors elected geographically, and two elected at large.
The key take-home messages of the Oslo car-free downtown efforts are, for me anyway:
1. Minimize the width of the travel lanes to the bar minimum and maximize the width of the bike lanes to the greatest extent possible. Portland, and many other cities, have done the opposite which has created a sense that bike lanes are dangerous, which is true for the overly-narrow things we keep putting in, and this spawns the demand for segregation of facilities.
2. Remove on-street parking. Sadly, on-street parking is considered a right in Oregon and it’s preventing us from having nice things.
3. Massively upgrade public transit, including bike-share, and don’t prevent car-share.
Not included in the video because it’s just part of their social infrastructure is extensive traffic law enforcement and motorist education.
On most streets, parking is a signal to drivers to slow down. Would you prefer no parking and bike lanes on Clinton?
I don’t think anyone is proposing the removal of parking on Greenways, except perhaps in a few targeted areas to improve certain intersections (visibility, space for diverters, etc). The removal of parking would be on busier streets, where the bike lanes are currently sub-standard (like Burnside east of 70th) or on streets that have no bike infrastructure at all.
In reality, parking doesn’t signal to slow down to anyone who isn’t already intending to stop their car. Don’t try to equate removing automobile parking with unsafe conditions for bicycle use.
I don’t equate them at all. While parking slows traffic, thus improving cycling conditions, it also creates new hazards, especially with old school bike lanes.
“On most streets, parking is a signal to drivers to slow down. ”
This is a perennial favorite trope of yours, but I don’t see any evidence for this.
Parking isn’t a signal to drivers unless you are thinking that if all those parked cars were removed the road would be that much wider (like Barbur) and thus encourage speeding. But that seems a really convoluted way to go about calling it a signal.
Street narrowing is part of it, as it the presence of people on the street getting into and out of their cars, with the associated possibility that a door will open in front of you. Parking de-streamlines things, adding an element of chaos, that slows most drivers.
Look what kinds of streets have parking. It’s generally not the really fast ones.
“Signal” may not be the exact right word, but it’s close.
OK perhaps consequence, as in one consequence of having a full line of cars parked alongside a travel lane is to decrease the potential for speeding, but the problem here is that this line of thinking reifies the presence of parked cars everywhere, provides a salutary gloss for a dreadful set of conditions. Why not set out to narrow/calm/beautify/populate streets with things other than immobile autos?
Because (on an already built street) it is by far the cheapest solution, and it also solves the issue of where cars should be parked while drivers are doing whatever they’re doing?
Ah, yes. Expediency. The first cousin of Inertia, and sister niece of the Status Quo.
And brother of affordable and possible.
Only apparently. Affordable and Possible are the step-siblings who snuffed out Creativity and Innovation when their surviving parents remarried.
And there you have inadvertently hit on the key to the problem. As long as we provide large chunks of our precious public space for the convenient storage of cars, they will continue to be the default means of transportation. Cars as a default means that most people will find the streetscape to be too hostile to even consider riding a bike or waiting at a public transit stop.
We really do have to make the choice: cars first or people first. So far, we have chosen cars. Oslo is moving in a different direction. I suggest we follow.
We can’t even fix the holes in our street; money for wholesale reconstruction is simply not on the table. With infinite money, many problems become trivial.
We’re not sort of money; we’re short of priorities. Fighting wars in half a dozen foreign countries costs lots and lots of money.
Not short on money? Sure, on some level that may be true. But it is so far disconnected from the reality of transportation in Portland, it’s effectively false.
Ok, so I agree that once we cut our federal military budget by 50%and reapportion that to municipal transportation agencies, we can talk about rebuilding all our streets so they don’t have parking.
Here’s a billion dollars: https://bikeportland.org/2017/03/01/the-skinny-on-the-three-portland-area-freeways-lined-up-get-fatter-with-state-funding-219465
Unless you are counting interstates as “streets”, that argument doesn’t really hold water. Which streets in Portland have parking? All of them. In outer-east Portland, where people drive 45+mph, those streets have parking. There are a few exceptions (39th, 82nd, etc) but those cases are due to constrained ROW. Parking does nothing to slow people down on outer Division. It is only a useful tool when the street is already fairly narrow. And if you remove paring and replace it with actual protected bikeways (jersey barriers), the road will feel just as narrow.
You are right about wider, multi-lane streets, especially where there is “buffered parking” (aka a bike lane) creating some nice separation. On streets like outer Division, I think it would be better to have a world-class bike facility than parking. On smaller streets, though, I’d prefer slower traffic and narrower shared lanes. A good example is SE 26th, which I think might be just as good to cycle on with parking on both sides and no bike lane (and, perhaps, no center line striping).
But I guess my bottom line is that there are no hard-and-fast rules; every street operates in its own way, and what works one place may not work as well somewhere else.
The “exceptions” are the streets that Kitty is talking about (82nd, 39th, Powell, etc.). Many other arterials only have parking on one side. But of course there are exceptions.
I find the US obsession with the idea of jaywalking bizarre. We have no such laws in the UK (motorways excepted) and we manage reasonably well, crossing on ordinary marked crossings, signal-controlled crossings or anywhere we think reasonable/safe. I’ll cross from my local garage to the newsagents, 30 yards from a marked ped. crossing and no-one bats an eyelid, including the police.
If we are to believe that this is horrifyingly dangerous, our pedestrian death rate would obviously be well above yours. Tain’t so.
Jaywalking is an artificial offence with no basis in rationality.
Either you have laws prohibiting jaywalking, or you don’t jaywalk.
By definition, you can’t jaywalk unless you “cross a roadway where regulations do not permit doing so”.
That said, we jaywalk plenty here. In NYC they are quite proud of it. The rest of us just do it and get on with our lives.
Did you miss the part where those assaulted for jaywalking seem invariably to be black or brown?
Well, the argument being addressed was why the UK doesn’t talk about jaywalking, which is because they can’t really jaywalk until they make it illegal.
My understanding of the story you are addressing was that the man assaulted was not jaywalking, he was crossing legally.
Whether jaywalking,…or crossing the street outside of a designated, assisted crossing point on the street for people on foot…is dangerous or not, depends on a range of factors, none of which you touched on in your comment. Ex: the type of setting…the width of the streets…the allowed, and the generally traveled motor vehicle mph, as well as top speed for the street.
Just today, on a former highway, now evolved to a neighborhood street in the neighborhood where I grew up..still has a 40 mph posted limit (under consideration for a reduction to 35mph, a year long process.). Two lane road, one in each direction, partial bike lanes and sidewalks. Just three signaled pedestrian crossings over the entire half mile length of the road. At about 3pm, as I’m driving along at a little over 20 mph (because the 40mph posted seems to me to be completely inappropriate for this street.)…there’s a couple people trying to cross the street, far from the signaled crossing point. They were both in a ‘get ready, set, go’ position.
Sure, they probably made it safely across. Was the situation dangerous? I’d have to say…very dangerous. In fact, some people that ride in this area, and read the news, know that just a quarter mile west on this road, someone on foot in the process of crossing the street, outside of a very close signaled crosswalk, was hit and fatally injured by someone driving a car.
Was only the person driving at fault? Probably not. It’s likely that the person walking also was at fault (word is…headphones, looking downward instead of down the street for traffic coming fast around a curve.) As was also, the city and the state speed limit regulating committee for not getting their heads together to arrive at a mph vehicle speed that could allow safe use of the street for people on foot.
The UK has the distinct advantage of driving on the wrong side of the street. I think if we tried that here, the fraction of crashes involving a pedestrian would drop sharply.
It will be interesting to see how the Sacramento PD/ DA spins that they educated the pedestrian as to the dangers that walking can create when drivers fail to observe traffic control devices.
Jay walking was a crime “created” in the late 1920s by the nascent DOTs / traffic engineers struggling with a wave of new poorly “trained” drivers, faster cars and a poorly designed roadway network…so basic victim blaming / shaming as communities urbanized.
“For the first few years that it was in use jaywalker had little, if anything, to do with pedestrians crossing the street, and was used solely to scold those who lacked sidewalk etiquette. Both jaywalker and jay-driver are taken from a sense of the word jay, meaning ‘a greenhorn, or rube’.” Merriam-Webster
“…the term “jaywalking” came from the term “jay driving,” which used to mean driving with no regard for the rules, on the wrong side of the road or through a stop sign?” Incidental Cyclist.
I have long thought that it is too bad the term “jay driving” is no longer used for the wave of distracted driving/ poor lane manners (lack of signalling/ broken safety equipment etc.) injuring so many road users these days…IMTO
On her personal Facebook she wrote that a relative first told her the truth a few years after the accident.
The story was also major news in the Oregonian during the civil trial, when she was 16.
Did anyone read the Washington Post (Not WSJ) article on drunk biking and walking?
Did anyone notice the odd framing, the curious deployment of statistics?
First bold statement: pedestrian deaths […]soared more than 25 percent between 2010 and 2015, a rate far faster than the overall increase in traffic fatalities.
Second statement: more than one-third of the pedestrians and one-fifth of bicyclists who were killed in crashes in 2014 were legally drunk.
Third statement: the percentage of pedestrians who were fatally injured and had blood alcohol readings of at least .08 had declined from 45 percent in 1982 to 35 percent by 2014; the percentage of bicyclists with high BACs dropped to 21 percent from 28 percent in the same period. In that same period, however, the percentage of motorists in DUI fatalities dropped to 32 percent from 51 percent.
Although the author and the studies he cites appear to be trying to pin the blame for the spike in deaths on those who are not in cars being drunk, the trends in drinking have all headed down: -22% for pedestrians, -27% for cyclists, and -37% for drivers. While the percentage of pedestrians who were (presumably run over and killed) while drunk is now higher than it is for motorists, the spike in pedestrian deaths doesn’t logically follow from these rates at all. The article and its sources seem to be missing the culprit which doesn’t appear to have to do with alcohol at all.
And furthermore to equate DUII with walking drunk is highly questionable since the drunk pedestrian isn’t typically hurting anyone, as we had occasion to discuss at considerable length here:
Sure, I read that story. Here’s an excerpt, right from the top of that story:
“…You should think twice before you stagger into the street – or climb aboard a bicycle — after boozing it up.
That’s the message from a group of safety advocates who studied more than two decades of traffic fatalities. They also say transportation agencies should do more to spread that message by making people aware of the risks drunken pedestrians and bicyclists face. …” washington post
Note that safety advocates are reported as saying that transportation agencies should be doing more to raise awareness of the risks drunken pedestrians and bicyclists face. The stats provided, may be suggesting that people driving, are getting the message at a better rate than are people biking and walking, that intoxicated road use is dangerous.
Can it be safe to walk or bike drunk on the road? Everyone that goes out drinking, ought to be asking themselves that question. People in a state of intoxication rendering them incapable of using the road competently, walking or biking, don’t have a right to use the road just because they aren’t driving.
I was brought up short by the phrase ‘climb aboard a bicycle.’ Who are these clowns? Are we talking Penny Farthings?
If people are only going to ride downhill, maybe we should be talking scooter share.
You can access Wall Street Journal articles for free with your Multnomah County Library card through this portal: https://multcolib.org/resource/wall-street-journal
That is good to know, though I’m not a little sorry a portion of my tax dollars are going to Rupert Murdoch.