At first I thought the Portland Police Bureau sent out a duplicate statement by mistake. Then upon closer inspection of the emails, I realized there really were two traffic collisions that caused serious injury to someone walking within just a few hours on Sunday night.
Both the collisions happened in places that are absolutely unsurprising to everyone who follows safe streets advocacy in this town: Northeast 82nd and North Fessenden.
North Fessenden is in crisis. Since November 2017 there have been two serious injuries and one death within a short, 0.58 mile stretch. It’s a location local residents and advocates have been clamoring for help with for many years. Thankfully, the City of Portland has finally started construction on their St. Johns Truck Strategy Phase 2 project which will bring much-needed safety upgrades to Fessenden.
The latest glaring example of why this project is long overdue happened Sunday evening around 9:51 pm. According to the Portland Police Bureau, a man was “struck by a car” in the 7500 block of Fessenden and is currently in the hospital with life-threatening injuries. We hope to hear more about the man’s current condition soon.
The other collision happened around 6:00 pm when officers responded to NE 82nd and Jonesmore. This is a section of 82nd made infamous by “The Wall” ODOT erected in 2010 to prevent people from running across the street to a transit center. It’s unclear what caused Sunday’s crash. So far the PPB have only said the victim is a female who was walking in the southbound lanes prior to being struck. UPDATE: KATU reports that the 16-year old is clinging to life.
Jonesmore and 82nd was the site of a fatal crash in October 2017 when 58-year-old Charles Bergeron was struck and killed by a drunk, distracted driver as he tried to cross the street.
Police are looking for leads on both these crashes. If you saw or know anything, please let them know via the non-emergency line, (503) 823-3333.
And keep your fingers crossed that both of these victims pull through.
— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and email@example.com
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“The pedestrian struck by a vehicle on Saturday October 7, 2017 at Northeast 82nd Avenue and Northeast Jonesmore Street has died of injuries sustained during the crash. The deceased person was identified as 58-year-old Charles L. Bergeron of Portland.”
Those lanes on 82nd are way too wide. They need to be tightened up a bit, to no more than 10 feet, preferably 9, with a white fog line on the right-hand side. Wide lanes simply encourage drivers to go faster.
As a state highway and major truck route, with transit, 9 foot lanes would be unsafe.
Nine foot lanes are perfectly safe, it’s the speed and manner on which motor vehicle users choose to drive on them that is unsafe.
How wide is a truck? If it’s more than 9′, you have an automatic problem.
Tractors can pull two or three trailers if the combination is legal in that state. Weight maximums are 20,000 lb (9,100 kg) on a single axle, 34,000 lb (15,000 kg) on a tandem, and 80,000 lb (36,000 kg) total for any vehicle or combination. There is a maximum width of 8.5 ft (2.6 m) and no maximum height.
So 6″ to spare, assuming no mirrors or other projections.
I’d give 1′ on each side for mirrors, making it 9.5′ wide, so even 10′ is kind of narrow. But you could do a wider curb lane (for trucks and buses) with a narrower lane towards the center.
In general, the widest truck you’ll see is a ladder fire truck, the kind with a rear driver. But many US cities are starting to purchase narrower fire trucks designed for narrower roads overseas, but assembled in the USA, as required for federal subsidies.
If the posted speed limit is 30 mph, then the roadway should be designed for such, not 45 mph. Ditto with 20 mph.
The legal width limit is 102″ (8.5′) wide. This does not include mirrors.
Ah, if only major bike routes warranted such concern.
“…9 foot lanes would be unsafe.”
Uttered without irony.
Unlike now, right, when everything is soooo safe.
N Fessenden is supposed to be 20 MPH.
N Fessenden is also an excessively wide street that creates a false sense of ‘safe to speed’. Memory is that it is 30mph speed limit (correct me if i am wrong,i no longer live in SJ). One problem of extra wide streets is it exposes anyone crossing the street for a longer period of time. Fessenden has long been a divider of community, if one cannot safely cross, one cannot partake of the many things SJ has to offer.
It is 30mph on the stretch at issue (drops down in the quieter portion east of Columbia Way). The new painted bike lanes have narrowed the actual driving lanes, but it still has the appearance of being very wide and thus “speedable.” And the bike lanes predominantly serve as passing lanes for cars that don’t want to wait for a turning car in front of them.
“N Fessenden is also an excessively wide street that creates a false sense of ‘safe to speed’.
I live on a rat-run to Fessenden that avoids the all stoplights from the freeway, and it’s a 30-35 foot residential street, and people regularly (several times a day) pass my house clearly in excess of 45 mph and several times a week go through here at freeway speed.
They’re not speeding on Fessenden because it feels safe. They’re speeding because there are absolutely no consequences for doing so, and they know it.
Major ER routes do not get posted below 25 mph.
Emergency vehicles are not held to speed limits.
“Major ER routes do not get posted below 25 mph”
Irony free zone?
Why do we need speeding ambulances here?
Oh, right, because Car head.
Heart attacks more than carheads.
I would suggest that, to put some teeth and muscle into the mincing and mewling about “vision zero” that for 30 days after every pedestrian death ***Portion of comment deleted because it encouraged vandalism. Please don’t do that, no matter who it’s directed at. Thanks – Jonathan***.
***Comment deleted by moderator.***
It should also be legal to rough up ANTIFAs and Anarchists for 30 days after every incident of property destruction. I mean, as long as we are associating entire groups of people with the actions of individuals.
Someone suggests unjust violence, and your counter to that is additional unjust violence. I guess that explains America these days.
No Dan, I used an absurd example to point out how absurd something else is. This is called Satire.
I already assume most of your comments are satire.
While a bit extreme, Dave’s comment points out a truism that has been observed throughout history and across cultures. If a civilization or culture has important laws or behaviors that it ceases to enforce through normal legal channels one of two things happen. The people who bear the damage from the lack of enforcement of those laws rise up and take matters in to their own hands, or it creates the rise of powerful local ( but extralegal ) officials who create their own system of quick, often violent,justice. These outcomes are very undesirable but inevitable if we choose to ignore enforcement of important crimes ( yes dangerous driving that kills people is a crime). Cheaping out on traffic enforcement is not a choice that comes without consequences. And those who choose to behave (drive) in extralegal ways just bring those consequences down on themselves and others who may be innocent more quickly.
Believe it or not, I also fear for the safety of the ANTIFAs who block traffic (unjustly). They might encounter a driver who has had enough of that kind of behavior.
Thank you Jonathan, that’s why this site is what it is!
No enforcement + No or insignificant consequences for unsafe vehicle operation = Predictable results.
It is worth noting that the intersection at Jonesmore is slated for a new pedestrian and bike crossing of 82nd as part of the Halsey Safety Project, federally funded for 2021-22.
When someone dies at an intersection that is clearly dangerous, 5 years is far too long to wait before making changes to that intersection.
Absolutely, which is why we need to stop relying on federal money for these relatively small ($10 million or less) Vision Zero roadway modernization projects. We can fund these ourselves much more quickly with local money if we stop subsidizing single occupancy vehicles..
It looks like the new ped/bike path will go under 82nd Ave.
Although that path will completely remove car/ped incidents it will only do so for people using the path. There’s no way for them to stop people from darting across 82nd to catch a bus/train. (unless they want to extend that wall through the intersection and block access to Jonesmore, which they won’t do)
NE Jonesmore & 82nd Ave is sketch AF. Each time I’ve crossed the intersection in the southern crosswalk at the end of the overpass there, there is always a close call where a second or too faster in stride would result in injury from a turning vehicle. ODOT, can we please get a Leading Pedestrian Interval here??
At the NE 82nd Ave. Max station, they should build stairs connecting west sidewalk of 82nd to the MAX platform. Many transit users, myself included, get to this station by bus route 72 or 77 — and end up having cross 82nd on the surface to get over to the MAX entrance. It’s four lanes of fast-moving, shitty traffic. This could be avoided if we had stair access to the MAX on the west side of the street. It’d be a capital investment, but this would makes things easier and safer for hundreds of TriMet passengers every day.
That would be ideal but the tracks start to narrow on that end and there probably isn’t room for a switchback stairwell. And possibly no room around the support pillars for a proper walkway over to that side.
While I agree a stairway would likely be safer (if not ADA compliant), Portlanders have a long-standing and proven record of not using such facilities when they are available, especially for the 4 in East Portland built in the 70s (Division & 87th; Division & 136th; Glisan & 128th; 122nd & Russel), plus the one at Powell and 17th.
It’s true that pedestrians tend to avoid safe crossings if there are quicker alternatives. This case would be different: a direct stair link from west side of 82nd to the MAX platform would actually be shorter and faster than the current surface crossing. So the remedy would be safer AND more convenient. There may well be some expensive construction challenges to this solution — as referenced by Johnny Bye Carter — but you’d have to weigh those against the benefits, which would be enormous.
Safer because it’s more convenient. I hope our *DOTs and *BOTs internalize this lesson.
So, please, if that’s not an acceptable idea to you, how do we change the behavior of several hundred thousand speed-fixated, oblivious drivers in less than a generation? How many pedestrian deaths are acceptable if we are only to entertain inoffensive ideas in how to control their behavior? I think there could be worse things than random collective punishment of all drivers–letting pedestrians continue to be clay pigeons in the shooting gallery would be one of those.
Dedicated activists successfully turned drunk driving from acceptable to aberrant in fairly short order, without sanctioned arson and destruction. Not that the problem was completely solved, but it accomplished the large-scale behavior change you speak of. I’d settle for that, where someone driving 10 over the speed limit is scorned rather than the norm.
That said, collective awareness (“punishment”) measures could be useful. I’m thinking less arson, and more along the lines of ‘this road (and others nearby) is closed for 30 days due to dangerous activity by users.’ That would seem effective in instilling the new norm.
Collective punishment is immoral, ineffective, and a violation of international law. But other than that, what’s not to love?
Oh, I didn’t realize that when Portland reduce speed limit by 5 mph as an emergency measure it is a violation of international law. Someone call the Hague. The ability to drive on a road, which is a privilege and not a right, is not protected by international law, and restricting that ability is not criminal punishment.
>>> That said, collective awareness (“punishment”) measures could be useful. I’m thinking less arson, and more along the lines of ‘this road (and others nearby) is closed for 30 days due to dangerous activity by users.’ That would seem effective in instilling the new norm. <<<
Sorry, I didn't realize that you meant lower the speed limit for increase safety. I must have misread.
Of course, there is the de facto “closure” of roads to peds and cyclists due to lack of infrastructure and unchecked dangerous behavior by motorists. What kind of collective punishment is that? I guess more of a vigilante mob than authoritarian government; tomayto tomahto…
That would be brilliant.
“Welp, cars are too dangerous to be on this road. I guess it’s pedestrians only now…”
Am I correct in thinking that younger drivers speed a lot more nowadays? When I was taught how to drive, back in the stone age, my driver-ed program had a very authoritarian tone. We were basically yelled at constantly about driving slowly and carefully. I know it didn’t work for everyone, but I’m wondering if that tone has disappeared from driver instruction and there’s a much more permissive cast.
It would be great if Jonathan or one of the correspondents would visit some driver-ed programs and report on what students are learning, esp what they are taught about sharing the road with VRUs.
Great question–how to drive the import of civilized driving behavior home to teenagers who aren’t aware of their own and by extension others’ mortality yet? A little trauma delivered by drivers’ ed teachers might be a good thing. I’m of the generation that saw films like “Red Asphalt;” gave me definite second thoughts if not nightmares.
I didn’t take driver’s ed, I learned from my mom. She taught me that I should drive up to what I could get away with, which is 10mph over everywhere except 25mph streets. It took me a really long time to unlearn that.
I’m not sure when your definition of the Stone age is, but when I think if the driving mentality we are fighting, I can not help but frame it through the movie “American Graffiti.”. Watch it through a vision zero lens, the acceptance of background levels of traffic violence is enlightening….and horrifying. It is an example of the driving mindset of the baby Boomer generation through a Hollywood coming of age film, academy award nominated, George Lucas 1973.
I do not think this movie would resonate with the current generation’s attitude toward traffic violence.
As a nominal, somewhat unwilling boomer: I grew up in a family that at one point had four licensed drivers and one car. That was a bit odd even then but it contrasts with Oregon now where if I’m not mistaken there are more cars than drivers.
Rash driving by young people may be an issue in keeping streets safe. However a lot of the actions that nibble away at my safety on the street seem to come from people in mid-career who are trying to make a busy schedule work, get their kids to one place and their kids to another. I don’t have numbers, sorry, but I see the car seats in vehicles rolling stops across “greenways,” and I noticed how empty the streets were today with schools closed.
Oops: . . .their kids to one place and them selves to another. . .
This doesnt add teeth or muscle, just makes you a person who lacks the courage to do or endure dangerous or unpleasant things.
Seems like you are lacking the trajectory to becoming a useful part of society.
Best of luck when you do decide to begin your journey.
“a person who lacks the courage to do or endure dangerous or unpleasant things” quite succinctly describes the average motorist in America today, and encouraging that specific cowardice is how we’ve gotten to 40,000 deaths of my fellow citizens, annually.
The average motorist is a coward? Really?
I bike on and around this section of Fessenden on a regular basis. During rush hour, it’s a lot of WA plates using a convenient cut-through. It’s a wide street, with not enough traffic to have grid-lock, so there is lots of speeding at all hours. There is a diverse mix of local, cut-through, and commercial truck vehicle traffic. It is a mixed street, with business, residential on it – apartments, churches, houses, stores, restaurants, businesses. Bus stops. Pedestrians trying to get across this wide, and fast street. It is not easy to cross this street if you are a ped. There are reasonable bike lanes that go the whole stretch of it. I like riding on it in this area, but the eastern end of it, the bike lanes are only about 3-foot gutters, and they are uncomfortable.
Also, this road is lined with parked cars on both sides of the street for the distance. This makes turning traffic onto side streets extra dangerous for folks biking along it and peds crossing the side streets.
The planned safety improvements will be helpful to peds that want to cross the street where these installations get built – every few blocks. These safety improvements will make bike travel along Fessenden less safe, and more prone to side-swipes from passing cars encroaching into the bike lanes as they pass through the safety zone (ped island bump out); also, from cars attempting to enter or exit Fessenden from a side street at one of these engineered safety zones – cars will tend to block the bike lane or cut across it blindly to on-coming cyclists in these new areas. The new design is not a bike-freindly design, but it should help with pedestrian safety where it is applied.
Bike Portland blog is basically a dozen commenters roll playing at this point
How is everyone enjoying their speed bumps every 100′? “Let’s make the road safe by ruining everyone suspension of make them swerve into the bike lane to avoid the bumbs”