Support BikePortland

City Council hears Yoana Molina’s powerful testimony for a safer SE Stark

Posted by on April 11th, 2018 at 1:27 pm

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.

Advertisement

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.

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

Never miss a story. Sign-up for the daily BP Headlines email.

BikePortland needs your support.

NOTE: We love your comments and work hard to ensure they are productive, considerate, and welcoming of all perspectives. Disagreements are encouraged, but only if done with tact and respect. If you see a mean or inappropriate comment, please contact us and we'll take a look at it right away. Also, if you comment frequently, please consider holding your thoughts so that others can step forward. Thank you — Jonathan

42
Leave a Reply

avatar
7 Comment threads
35 Thread replies
0 Followers
 
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
18 Comment authors
BelyndaEric LeifsdadRyansorenJ_R Recent comment authors
  Subscribe  
newest oldest most voted
Notify of
J_R
Guest
J_R

Until there is some enforcement, it’s not going to change a thing.

I regularly have other motorists “riding my bumper” when I drive the speed limit. When I turn off the major street, they show their displeasure at my having slowed them down by stomping on the accelerator and quickly achieve a speed of 10 mph over the speed limit.

Sorry, but I think the change of speed limit on Stark from 35 to 30 will not alter safety by any measurement. Vison Zero. Ha!

Mike Quigley
Guest
Mike Quigley

Yeah. Enforcement. Give Portland cops something to do other than gun down people with problems. PLUS, generate some much needed cash for the city.

rainbike
Guest
rainbike

Portland cops put their a$$es on the line every day to keep citizens of this city safe. What do you do every day for the community?

paikiala
Guest
paikiala

MQ,
Have you looked into how much a citation actually goes back to Portland?

Ryan
Guest
Ryan

If they can just add cameras like they did on Division, I think it would achieve this. I have driven/ridden down Division both before and after the change and, from my perspective at least, it has made a significant difference.

soren
Guest
soren

PBOT added one camera, not multiple ones. Moreover, the Division project lead communicated to me that PBOT’s speed data suggests that the camera has not been particularly effective (people slow down momentarily and then speed up again).

Ryan
Guest
Ryan

I’ll guess I’ll take your word for it – that seems like quite a complex setup for a single camera, but after being in the military that doesn’t really surprise me when a government (even local) is paying for it. And yes, I do see that people slow down and then speed up again, but it seems like there are less cars in that area now (maybe moved to Stark). Though, that could possibly be a coincidence of the times I’ve been there. Did the project lead communicate anything about a difference in the #’s of cars? Regardless, the fact that people slow down at all in that section means that camera(s) being there do offer some deterrent (justification for adding more), and during the busiest times it could have a ripple effect where cars slowing down for that section could force cars further back to slow down as well.

soren
Guest
soren

PBOT has substantial evidence that speed limit reductions decrease vehicle speeds and serious collisions. Speed limit reduction is also the primary safety tool for Vision Zero in Sweden.

Dave
Guest
Dave

Context and cultural norms matters. I would happily trade the drivers on my street in North Portland for a bunch of Swedish drivers.

soren
Guest
soren

did you miss my reference of the Portland Bureau of Transportation?

J_R
Guest
J_R

How about a specific citation for studies in Portland and a few other agencies, please?

Ken S
Guest
Ken S

Maybe, but if people keep driving 40-45mph after the speed limit drops to 30mph, that’s still a $160-220 ticket. That’s not a slap on the wrist.

Perhaps we should also lobby for all roads in the high crash network to be classified as “safety zones” (like much of hwy 26 from sandy to government camp). Double the fines for all driving offenses and use the ticket revenue to fund safer pedestrian facilities.

That would be a one-two punch of disincentivizing bad driving and funding safer street design.

Alan Love
Guest
Alan Love

Sounds great, but as BP reported recently, there aren’t nearly enough traffic enforcement officers at present. The number of speeding/traffic citations is something like 1/3rd of what they were a few years ago. You could make the ticket $1000 (which of course would disproportionately doom low income folks), but speeding will still be the norm because no one fears actually being ticketed. Until PPB’s structural problems are remedied, I welcome our robot overlord speed cameras! Every high crash corridor needs a few. If the city council made that part of the recent proclamation, it would signal true commitment.

Belynda
Guest
Belynda

They could free up 28 more cops for traffic by disbanding the worthless gang task force.

BB
Guest
BB

A slap on the wrist is exactly what that is.

paikiala
Guest
paikiala

Ken,
Portland only gets a fraction of any final fine a judge decides.

Dave
Guest
Dave

We need enforcement, now. While I applaud efforts by the City and activists to reduce speed limits – as this is certainly part of the solution – without effective punitive action for law-breaking drivers, we will not achieve Vision Zero goals. No threat of real consequences = more tragic and preventable crashes.

soren
Guest
soren

Can you provide a single example of an effective implementation of Vision Zero that *emphasized* enforcement.

J_R
Guest
J_R

Can you provide an example of Vision Zero, other than Portland, that has excluded enforcement and has been effective?

paikiala
Guest
paikiala

JR,
No one said exclude, just not exclusive focus. VZ is a multi-legged table, and no table stands on one leg.
see page 12 of this guideline:
https://visionzeronetwork.org/project/roadmapforaction/

Dan A
Subscriber
Dan A

Our table is missing the leg for removing illegal parking spaces in Portland.

soren
Guest
soren

“excluded” is your language, not mine.

Dave
Guest
Dave

Effective implementation? Perhaps too early to tell in the US, but every Vision Zero policy I’ve seen, including Portland’s, includes enforcement as one of the key strategies. I’m not saying street design and lower speed limits are not important – I’m saying that we need enforcement and real consequences for egregious driver behaviors such as speeding and driving while distracted and/or under the influence.

soren
Guest
soren

“as one of the key strategies”

you say this and, somehow, fail to provide a link. why is that?

Dave
Guest
Dave

Cause it’s easy enough to Google – why don’t you show me a Vision Zero strategy in the US that doesn’t “emphasize” enforcement as one of the key pillars?

soren
Guest
soren

See the link paikiala posted above.

J_R
Guest
J_R

I looked through the entire Vision Zero materials. Most of the enforcement activities appeared to be for speed cameras with a little more for DUI.

soren
Guest
soren

exactly. enforcement is a minor component of vision zero — with an emphasis on speed cameras as a temporary mitigation until the system can be redesigned.

Kem Marks
Guest
Kem Marks

Thank you Jonathan. To everyone who pointed out the need for enforcement, PBOT is looking at putting speed cameras at 122nd and 148th. Originally it was only 148th but we pointed out the need for more. We are going to push for one closer to 162nd as well. But as I said at the hearing, these are only parts of the solution. Redesigning Stark and other East Portland streets a big part of the solution. If we redesign Stark to 3 vehicle lanes and add protected bike lanes, we will have made this nightmare of a street much safer for all modes.

SafeStreetsPlease
Guest
SafeStreetsPlease

This means nothing without enforcement. I understand the concern over low income residents being targeted and receiving harsh penalties, but I think there is a way to find compromise rather than take the current approach (near zero enforcement in East Portland). The current approach is leaving people dead on our streets.