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Signs vandalized in separate incidents on Skyline Blvd and Rosa Parks Rd

Posted by on July 5th, 2018 at 11:50 am

New sign broken off and discarded and a broken wand on Rosa Parks. A vandalized sign on NW Skyline.
(Photos: Jonathan Maus)

As Portland marches forward in an effort to reform streets from auto-centric speedways into more humane and safe spaces for a variety of users, not everyone is taking it well.

Back in March we reported on someone who had painted red X’s on the sidewalk outside homes of people who supported changes to make SE Lincoln safer for bicycle riders. A month later we shared how vandals defaced dozens of orange “20 is Plenty” signs on a north Portland street that’s frequently used as a cut-through.

And now we’ve seen more of this anti-safe streets vandalism.

Up on NW Skyline Road (just north of Germantown) someone has spray-painted one of the City of Portland’s new 35 mph speed limit signs so it now says 85 mph. (Update: A commenter below shares that several signs were vandalized). The context here is that Skyline is a very popular road for bicycling and it’s relatively narrow with not much of a shoulder. For that and other safety reasons, earlier this spring the Bureau of Transportation lowered the speed limit from 40 mph. The change impacts Skyline from Cornell to the city limits (Multnomah County takes over jursidiction a few miles north of Germantown at NW McNamee).

Slow and safe speeds on Skyline are absolutely vital. PBOT is aware of the vandalism and we’re confident this will be fixed soon.

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A separate vandal struck in north Portland near Peninsula Park around midnight on July 3rd. In video sent to us from the owner of a nearby business (thanks Wake!) a man can be seen standing next to a new sign on the northeast corner of Rosa Parks Way and Albina. He then purposely shakes the sign and it breaks free of its stanchion (not captured on the video). In another clip, the man can be seen walking with the sign near the Peninsula Park Community Center. He then places the sign across the newly striped protected bike lane.

The sign in question was recently installed (see it below). It’s a caution sign that advises right-turning drivers to stop and watch for people on foot and on bikes. I also noticed that one of the plastic wands installed by PBOT near the community center has been broken off just above the base. I assume this damage is related to the man who broke off the larger sign because it happened at the same time and the broken wand is right next to where he flung the sign across the bike lane.

The sign in the upper right is no longer there.

These cost PBOT $90 each in case you were wondering.

These are unfortunate incidents. They’re a waste of PBOT’s time and resources and they demonstrate entitlement and a basic lack of respect. On the flip side, maybe this is a sign of progress. After all, if PBOT isn’t making people mad, then they’re probably not doing enough to change the status quo.

And I have to say, it’s a bit satisfying that finally, instead of safe street activists, it’s those who are used to having all the power and privilege that are resorting to guerrilla tactics to get their point across.

UPDATE, 7:13 pm: That was quick. PBOT has replaced the sign on Rosa Parks:

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

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NOTE: We love your comments and work hard to ensure they are welcoming of all perspectives. Disagreements are encouraged, but only if done with tact and respect. BikePortland is an inclusive company with no tolerance for discrimination or harassment including expressions of racism, sexism, homophobia, or xenophobia. 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

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Hello, KittyEl Biciclerosoren9wattsq Recent comment authors
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9watts
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9watts

“On the flip side, maybe this is a sign of progress. After all, if PBOT isn’t making people mad, then they’re probably not doing enough to change the status quo.”

This.

Champs
Guest
Champs

PBOT will pay lip service for now, get around to cleaning it up in a few weeks, and hope by then that we just forget about it.

I see no sign of progress until PBOT starts doubling down on vandalized projects.

aweiler
Guest
aweiler

It wasn’t just one sign that was hit on Skyline – I noticed at least 3 on my ride yesterday.

Johnny Bye Carter
Subscriber
Johnny Bye Carter

The sign is a waste of money. If they think it’s needed then they’re doing a lot of other things wrong.

And it reinforces the myth that you only have to stop when there’s a sign, rather than conveying that drivers always have to cede the right of way to peds/cyclists .

SafeStreetsNow
Guest
SafeStreetsNow

Harder to vandalize curbed protection than wands. At $90 per wand, and I’m guessing that doesn’t include labor, PBOT has probably spent an absurd figure replacing them all around town. I see them missing all the time.

Johnny Bye Carter
Subscriber
Johnny Bye Carter

Those wands are quite ugly and we’re better off with a true cement median island. I know they always blame the budget. But they wasted the money to widen all these roads, so the least they could do is give them back to the people.

Beth H
Guest
Beth H

Please explain how increased anger at/vandalism to safer streets infrastructure is considered “progress.”
Must the anti-bike/per crowd be royally pissed off FIRST, and THEN educated?
What does such a progression look like to you, Jonathan?
I’m all for improvements in bike/per infrastructure, and I understand that a longer I view is often required; but I live in the here and now. I sure don’t want my safety sacrificed while planners wait for people to evolve.

David Hampsten
Guest

Here in North Carolina we call such signs “bash-overs.” Unlike interstate signage, city signs poles are too easy to destroy – they are intentionally designed that way, to cause the least damage to cars hitting them.

Clicky Freewheel
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Clicky Freewheel

Stay classy, Portland.

Kittens
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Kittens

Sorry you don’t get to drive your Canyonero AWD as fast as you want whenever.

pdx2wheeler
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pdx2wheeler

Guy is irritated he has to wait a few seconds for cyclists and pedestrians to clear before turning… then wastes his night vandalizing the sign… Smart!

q
Guest
q

Years ago I tried to get PBOT to lower the speed limit on a stretch of Skyline, and got the “Can’t do it because of the 85% rule”, so it’s great to see PBOT has come around. Hopefully the vandalism is just a phase that will pass.

The eBike Store
Guest

From my point of view, the worst thing in the Rosa Parks incident is placing the sign / pole across the new bike lane… In a spot not illuminated well by street lights. Could have killed someone.

Matt
Guest
Matt

My “20 is Plenty” yard sign, on my own property in inner SE Portland, was stolen less than a month after I put it up.

Clark in Vancouver
Guest
Clark in Vancouver

This reminds me of Amsterdam years ago.
https://youtu.be/YY6PQAI4TZE?t=4m14s

Anytime people try to change the status quo there will be those who feel threatened. Keep going with it and don’t let stuff like this deter what needs to be done.
If there’s opposition that’s a sign that it’s effective.

ps
Guest
ps

Ah, but is it truly impatience or your perception of it? When I run the red at 1st and Main, it is to beat the cars so I can turn onto 3rd without having to change lanes through traffic, pretty rational when you consider that not dying while I ride to work is my chief goal.

John Liu
Guest
John Liu

Slow news day.

Sean
Guest
Sean

When are they going to fix the park/no-park signs that were installed on the Rosa Parks wands? Half of them were installed wrong pointing at parking in the bike lane and no parking in the new parking strip.

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

The truth is there is a lot of vandalism out there in general, and we don’t really know what was in the hearts of the vandals in these cases. I for one don’t see this as a threat. If there is an overall theme, I see it as a reaction against the steadily worsening traffic situation overall.