She told them exactly what they needed to hear.
An emergency speed limit reduction for outer Southeast Stark Street was unanimously approved by Portland City Council this morning (see the ordinance here).
The move comes as no surprise, given the priority for traffic safety shown by our current Mayor Ted Wheeler and city commissioners and the commitment to Vision Zero by our Bureau of Transportation. As we reported last week, this action on Stark comes after a spate of deadly collisions and its continued ranking atop PBOT’s “high crash corridor” charts for biking, walking and driving. In addition to lowering the speed limit, PBOT has set aside $10 million for infrastructure upgrades.
During this morning’s hearing, two staff members of the nonprofit community development organization, The Rosewood Initiative, were invited to testify. One of them was Yoana Molina. Molina is the director of operations for the group and has been an active volunteer in the neighoborhood for over 15 years. During her testimony she spoke without notes and her words came straight from the heart.
Here’s what she said
“Thank you for the oppoprtunity to be here and to speak up. I think you need to hear from somebody who lives in that neighborhood. And that’s me.
I want to thank everybody who’s behind this emergency ordinance. With this ordinance you guys give the opportunity to mothers to go back to their sons at home – and for sons to go back to their mothers at home. Five miles maybe it’s not a big deal for everybody; but it makes a huge difference in people’s lives… on the people who live there. [unfortunately the recording skipped for a few seconds]… It’s scandalous I found it safer to drive my car to work just five minutes [away] because I want to go back to my house with my kids [crying]. So I want you guys to keep that in mind [and] put in place this emergency ordinance.
The last time I was corssing 166th… I waited in the middle. And I almost get hit. The car, it touched my clothes and I stopped to check if I was fine. I was scared. But I can bet you the guy who was driving the car was scared too since he stopped like 30 or 40 feet away. Again, five miles, it’s not a big deal, but it will make a huge difference in my life and in the life of everybody who lives in that neighborhood. Thank you.”
You can watch Molina’s testimony below (and rewind the video a few more minutes to see the excellent comments from fellow neighborhood advocate Kem Marks):
We’re lucky to have a City Council that supports traffic safety measures and they all “get it” when it comes to the need to lower speeds. But none of them live beyond 82nd Avenue. And short of living there, they’ll never understand the urgency of these issues unless they continue to hear from people like Ms. Molina.
It’s great to see PBOT taking action on Stark. We wish it didn’t come after so many people had to be hurt and killed and held hostage by the daily traffic violence — but at least something is finally being done.
Never miss a story. Sign-up for the daily BP Headlines email.
BikePortland needs your support.