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Driver, student collide in crosswalk in front of Harriet Tubman Middle School

Posted by on October 17th, 2018 at 11:54 am

Looking southbound on N Flint at Russell. The school is on the right.

Many of us had bad feelings about the chaotic traffic on North Flint Avenue during school drop-off. Now those concerns appear to have been very warranted.

Less than two months into the school season, a young student walking to class was injured by an auto user as she crossed the street in front of Harriet Tubman Middle School yesterday morning.

Several readers contacted us about the collision and we were eventually forwarded this email from the school’s principal, Natasha Butler:

Dear Harriet Tubman Families,

I wanted to inform you that one of our students was involved in a car accident this morning. She was crossing the intersection of Flint and Russell with her brother when she was struck by a car. The student’s family was informed, and after her mother arrived at the scene, she was taken by ambulance to a hospital. The student suffered some scratches, but was talking and coherent.

Police were at the scene and took a report. The driver of the car was not speeding and was not on a cell phone, and no charges will be filed. If your child witnessed or has knowledge of this accident and is in need of support, please contact our School Counselor, Ms. Drew.

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Portland Police Bureau Public Information Officer Sgt. Christopher Burley confirmed the collision with us today, saying the girl was transported by ambulance to a nearby hospital for treatment of her injuries. “The girl was in the crosswalk at the time of the crash according to witnesses,” Sgt. Burley shared, “At this time there have been no citations or arrest.”

One school parent who emailed me about this collision said, “There have been a lot of concerns from families about walking to [school].”

Another source who contacted me about this said he thinks, “They should ban cars on that street in the morning and afternoon.”

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

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pkulak
Subscriber
pkulak

Umm, is it not a crime to hit a child with your car in a crosswalk???

Allan Rudwick
Subscriber

no charges will be filed — why?

Ted G
Guest
Ted G

Uh, well, would you rather encourage students to cross there, or have them cross at the traffic light that is 50 yards to the east of Flint? The answer is not always more infrastructure.

Eric Longstaff
Guest
Eric Longstaff

They just added zebra stripes at Flint and Page fairly recently too. I’m all too familiar with this busy street since I live off Vancouver Ave in between Russell and Page. I frequent Ex Novo and bring my dog to the park across the street. In fact my dog was almost hit 4 years ago and that prompted me to write PBOT about N Flint. I let them know it was craziness not having striped crosswalks or speed bumps so close to a school and park. That and it’s a busy bike greenway.

So years later the speed bumps go in, but little has changed. People fly down this street. And yes, this includes occasional commuters on bike going too fast when there is congestion.

Spend a half hour having a beer on the patio at Ex Novo and you’ll be audibly reminded too often hearing the undersides of cars scraping against the street because they are going too fast over the speed bumps.

Ted G
Guest
Ted G

“Many of us had bad feelings about the chaotic traffic on North Flint Avenue during school drop-off.”

I followed the link you provided and did not find any comments specific to this issue. In particular, I did not see where anyone was expressing concerns about children trying to cross Russell at Flint. Being that there is a traffic light at Russell and Vancouver, about 50 yards east of Flint, it would seem the student chose a riskier place to cross. Is it now PBOT job to “do something about this” so that kids can cross safely here rather than at the traffic light?

joan
Subscriber

It turns out that my son, a Tubman eighth grader who walks to school, witnessed this collision. I don’t have any extra information to add about the collision itself, though I do know he gave a witness statement to police.

But I do know that parents have been talking about that particular intersection quite a bit because of the potential (and now realized) danger. Faubion was at Tubman for a while, but more of those kids were taking the bus to school. Tubman mornings seem much busier, likely because more kids are walking and biking from home to school. There also seems to be a lot more car traffic than with Faubion. I asked other parents to please consider carpooling if they weren’t already.

There are almost six hundred kids attending Tubman. It’s a large population going to one place in a very short window of time.

I’d encourage folks who bike through that area in the mornings during drop offs to consider staying on Vancouver for a few blocks more and turning right onto Tillamook and then left onto Flint, and bypassing the school area completely. This is a change I’ve made in my morning route. It’d be much better if there were fewer cars on Flint, but reducing commuting bike traffic might help reduce the volume overall. It’s also a lot easier to bike if you don’t have to dodge kids and cars.

I’d also ask folks who drive cars down Flint who aren’t going to Tubman to stay off of Flint. But I’m not sure those folks are reading BikePortland.

We need PBOT to step in and look at the safety situation for a few blocks around the school.

joan
Subscriber

Yes, sorry! Faubion PK-8 was temporarily relocated to the Tubman building during a big renovation/construction project. That’s a different neighborhood, and many of those kids took a school bus. Since Tubman is the middle school for the neighborhood, my sense is that many more kids are walking and biking there and getting dropped off by parents, versus when Faubion was using that building.

Buzz
Guest
Buzz

On a different but related subject, I regularly walk by Harriet Tubman during the school day and routinely see several dozen or more student bikes locked to the railing along Flint in front of the school.

They just spent a bunch of money retrofitting this building, why didn’t that work also include new, upgraded bike parking for as many students who want to use it?

The old bike racks at this school were pathetic in type, weather protection and number of spaces available, and I believe they are currently inaccessible because they are inside the ongoing construction zone.

MTW
Guest
MTW

We do not need to continue to allow minimally (at best) trained amateurs to operate killing machines. We hand out drivers licenses to minors after a laughable written and “behind the wheel” test with no continuing education requirements. Would you tolerate that from your dentist? CPA? Electrician?

And suggesting that modifying/ending car culture would amount to limiting people to 20 mph travel is the strawman. Commercial pilots and train engineers go through rigorous training. But when people end up injured or dead in collisions with motorists the internal defenses within the public kick in which says ” I could have made a mistake like that.” Because we all know it; we all know that very few of us possess the skills and concentrated effort needed to safely operate such powerful machines.

And yes, this is my fiercest anti-car rant which I know isn’t practical. But on a news item which can best be summed up with “middle school student hit by car operator while walking to school (in a crosswalk!) and city police shrug”, I’d rather go full “war on cars”

SD
Guest
SD

Slow your roll, everyone. According to the unofficial, but fully binding manual of Portland street safety, we should wait for a fatality before making a small incremental change.

J_R
Guest
J_R

Great, another Vision Zero success! (It was not a fatality.) Pats on the back all around city hall!

Sarcasm!

Marked crosswalk; sunny day; taken by ambulance to hospital. Zero Consequences.

Granpa
Guest
Granpa

It is not just Tubman. more than once I have been pinched to the curb on 26th at Cleveland High. the last time, I used my “outside voice” to draw attention to myself, and the embarrassment I imparted on the “little darling” in berating the oblivious haus frau may have a more lasting effect on the driver than a ticket.

Lester Burnham
Guest
Lester Burnham

I love sitting at Ex-Novo enjoying a beer watching the madness unfold. N.Flint is madness at that school.

Toby Welborn
Guest
Toby Welborn

Even if there is not a fine the citation/warning, the process is needed to collect data and prevent these accidents in the future.

john prentice
Guest
john prentice

My car has been stolen twice, and each time when recovered, the police did nothing other than remove it from the stolen vehicles list. My bicycle was stolen, internet sleuths helped me identify the perpetrator. Police helped me recover the bike, but did nothing else. A group I was dining were accosted while seated outdoors at a restaurant, police were called, individual was asked to depart by police.

In each case, a law was broken and perpetrators identified. Police did nothing.

“Car culture at work” is a glib way to overlook the fact that the Portland Police don’t issue citations or pursue charges all the time on what are deemed to be low level incidents, crime, thefts, etc.

Get over yourself. This isn’t car culture. It’s a city that is groaning under the strain and no one is going to write tickets over minor offenses. And yes, this one seems minor, as much as you see it symbolic of a larger problem, police seldom write tickets to support symbolism.

X
Guest
X

Did I miss something? Where does it say what street the student was crossing? If they were crossing Flint at Russell, that’s a perfectly reasonable thing to do. People making the left onto Flint: quit passing aggressively in the corner!

If they were crossing Russell at Flint, that is _still legal_, although more risky because of rampant disregard of well-known crosswalk traffic laws, but just the sort of thing a human operating Any Vehicle should expect near a school. Expect, prepare for, and defend by slowing their own vehicle. I will drop my bike in front of you if I see a small pedestrian in the corner whilst you are, like, hitting your apex. Take it to the track.

bendite
Guest
bendite

Hello, Kitty
Like driving blindfolded?Recommended 2

Not looking and blindfolded are almost the same thing.

q
Guest
q

I’m curious about the minimum pedestrian volume requirements for installing crosswalks. Is there any negative about installing them, other than cost? Perhaps an idea that if there are too many people will ignore them?

It seems like a school is a special case. There may not be a high (4,000 per the chart) daily volume of people crossing, but twice a day there’s high demand for it, and the people crossing are especially vulnerable.

When nobody’s using a crosswalk, it creates no inconvenience for people driving. It’s not like a stop sign. Why not mark all the crossings near schools?

paikiala
Guest
paikiala

John,
You probably shouldn’t believe everything you read. The school’s property ends about 350 feet south of Flint. The crash did not occur “..in front of Harriet Tubman..” as stated. PBOT places school zones up to 100 feet from school property, and school crosswalks are typically marked only near schools, or where schools agree to patrol those marked school crosswalks. Standard pedestrian crosswalks can be marked, but since all intersections have crosswalks, marking can be redundant. Also, I believe the student was struck crossing Flint. PBOT would encourage pedestrians to use the Vancouver signal controlled crossing to cross Russell.

mark smith
Guest
mark smith

10 over-get a ticket. Hit a kid, off the hook.

Ryan
Guest
Ryan

sikoler
“prioritizing the safety of PEOPLE over the convenience/mobility of CARS”this is a false dichotomy…and it speaks to the core of why the “kill all cars” paradigm is actually counterproductive**we can do both simultaneously**

“False dichotomy”? You’ve obviously made your mind up and aren’t bothered to see what’s actually going on, but whatever…

You conflate what I said about making safety for people a higher priority than car mobility/convenience as a “kill all cars” mentality. Hardly. As I’ve gotten older and have been able to experience many different countries/cultures/transportation environments all over the world, I can totally understand where people come from who are in the “kill all cars” camp, but stating that car convenience should be a lower priority is not the same as wanting them all gone. You think that we can increase safety for all people while simultaneously keeping car mobility at the top of the list of priorities, yet history is not on your side. While on the other hand, prioritizing alternate transportation modes has actually been shown to also increase safety for ALL people, strengthen local economies, reduce health care and insurance costs, reduce instances of preventable diseases…. But yeah, I’m just some wacko with no common sense that wants to destroy all cars.