Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on July 5th, 2018 at 11:50 am
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.
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.
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.
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