2019 is off to a harrowing start in Portland when it comes to the safety of people who are not driving cars on our streets.
As of this weekend we have had five fatal traffic crashes. Four of the victims were walking, one of them was someone on a bicycle. All of them were struck by someone driving a car. There are also two other victims struck by drivers who are still clinging to life at area hospitals.
One of them is 16-year-old Juana Jiménez Francisco, known to family and friends as Juanita. Francisco is a 10th grader at Madison High School who immigrated from Guatemala to Portland in March 2017. According to a GoFundMe page she was returning home from a weekend job at McDonalds when she was hit on February 24th.
Just like the person hit and seriously injured that same night on North Fessenden and the man killed back in January while trying to cross SW Salmon, this tragic incident occurred on a stretch of road — NE 82nd and Jonesmore — that is very well known for its unsafe conditions and where plans to make it safer have been in the works for many years.
We must expedite these projects in a way that matches the urgency of the safety crises they aim to address.
As we’ve reported, the $5.1 million Halsey Safety and Access to Transit project received the top ranking for funding priority from Metro when it was up for consideration in 2016. The project is currently funding and slated for construction in summer 2021.
A major element of that project will focus on the location where Juana Jimenez was hit (keep in mind the exact location and behaviors of Jimenez and the driver are unknown to us at this point in the investigation). Here’s the salient excerpt from the project description:
“The 82nd & Jonesmore intersection has been prone to a high number of pedestrian/vehicle crashes due to the high volumes of transit riders who want to cross 82nd Ave to transfer between transit lines. Several years ago, a barrier was constructed to prevent pedestrians from crossing mid-block, but conflicts between pedestrians and left-turning vehicles have still been reported and observed at the southern leg of the 82nd & Jonesmore signalized intersection.”
Over the weekend I heard from a person who has called the City of Portland several times requesting changes at this intersection. “There are 15 seconds to completely cross from East to West at 82nd and Jonesmore and only the first six seconds are protected with a “walk” sign, so you have nine seconds crossing with the flashing hand when a car is considering turning left into you while you are walking.” It’s unclear if this where Jimenez was hit, but this person’s concerns and activism underscore the dire need of changes here.
This intersection is adjacent to one of the busiest bus stops and MAX light rail stations in the region.
According to ODOT’s 82nd Avenue of Roses Implmentation Plan, the Jonesmore bus stop has over twice as many boardings as any other stop on line 72.
Jonesmore is also the busiest intersection on 82nd in terms of people on foot during peak hour:
In 2010, ODOT constructed a controversial a wall at this location to block people on foot from crossing at mid-block where this is no crosswalk or signal. And just as many activists pointed out back then, erecting a wall is not an effective way to improve safety.
Last year Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler was joined by the entire city council and several elected officials in directly calling out ODOT’s “lack of stewardship” of this urban highway.
More significant changes are on the way thanks to the Halsey Safety project. Below is what’s in the works (note the new crossing that will have dedicated walk/bike signal phasing)…
82nd Avenue has been the source of planning and pain for our community for way too long. Finally there’s momentum to transfer it from ODOT to PBOT jurisdiction which would allow us to make people outside of cars the priority. If you’d like to get involved and/or learn more about this, check out the 82nd Avenue Plan. The Portland Bureau of Planning and Sustainability is hosting an open house on it tomorrow (Tuesday 3/5) at PCC Southeast.
Make sure to support House Bill 2846 which would hasten the jurisdictional transfer process and stay tuned for updates on the Halsey project. PBOT plans to begin the outreach, scoping, and design phase this spring.
— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and firstname.lastname@example.org
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This is getting crazy. For at least a few days, there should be very heavy-handed enforcement activities going on to at least make people realize there are still police out there and that there is a need to follow the laws and be more attentive drivers.
Enforcement! Yes! But as you know this town looks down on law enforcement. We can’t have it both ways.
Never understood why enforcement isn’t a priority since so much money could be made for so little effort. Also fines need to be at least quadrupled. Heck, let photo-enforcement do the job like in Europe and Asia. Wouldn’t even need cops on the streets. Let’s go!
The wisdom of our legislature holds that traffic cameras should be strictly regulated. While we’re wishing, I’d like an inch or two of off-camber at the front of every left turn lane and in places where a so-called bike lane is on the inside of a curve (the NE Couch-to-Burnside transition is a very fine example of this.)
Ehhh… careful what you wish for. I know this isn’t NYC, but the heavy-handed enforcement could just as easily end up being against “jaywalkers”, bike lane line-riders, and bicycling STOP sign-slow-rollers as against motorized speeders and right-on-red-with-no-stoppers. There will not ever be an “enforcement action” against bike lane-encroaching drivers in the United States. The day that happens, I’ll buy an e-bike.
PPB will get right on this and enhance enforcement at [fill in the blank] ______.
[Likely Ladds Circle, since there is safe parking and hot coffee near by.]
Yes this is a horrible situation that has gone on for too long! (My sympathy for the family and friends.) Additionally, [looking at exhibit 3 in the this article] why has Trimet not applied pressure on ODOT or made service changes to NOT keep “re-setting the table” for this horrible Pedestrian Black Spot to occur multiple times per hour…again each day.
Finally! Someone brave enough to stand up and demand a police solution to a policy problem.
“All of them were struck by someone driving a car.”
We’re assuming the last one on Killingsworth was a car since it wasn’t specifically stated. All we know is that it was a “driver of a vehicle” which could have also been a bicyclist, but unlikely. Rereading the police statement is confusing when removing the assumption that “driver” means “motor vehicle operator”.
Either way the first paragraph still holds true.
“2019 is off to a harrowing start in Portland when it comes to the safety of people who are not driving cars on our streets.”
Ah yes, the usual blame game. ODOT can’t afford to fix the problem because they don’t have the money (or willingness to divert the funds from other needs), so the offer the roadway to PBOT. PBOT is also broke and will only take over the road if ODOT rebuilds it to PBOT specs. And so nothing happens, except people continue to die young and the rest of us continue to suffer through neglect and a lack of action.
Middle of the Road Guy:”. . . there should be very heavy-handed enforcement activities going on to at least make people realize there are still police out there and that there is a need to follow the laws and be more attentive drivers.”
*a few police, say 5, a few days, maybe a hundred traffic stops? No result.
*our existing police force isn’t geared for traffic enforcement.
*it’s dangerous for the police.
*it’s dangerous for the community (you knew that was coming right?)
Sorry Guy, I’m with the infrastructure people on this one. Unless you start crishing the cars live on TV. That MIGHT work.
A problem with nearly all ODOT controlled roadways is the skimpy duration and frequency of walk signals on light controlled crossings. A very fair way to help stope these tragic accidents and phase out excess motoring is to break the city ( and region) in to logical zones. Then whenever a vulnerable road user is injured or killed in that region ,all crossing lights in that zone are ratcheted up 10% in both frequency and duration. If the offending motorists’ don’t behave themselves and stop killing and injuring pedestrians and cyclists then the gradual creep of the light cycles will choke off their nasty transportation habit, problem solved. But it is fair because they can avoid this fate if they stay alert, and follow traffic laws. Also, consequences for running lights will have to be draconian. I recommend cameras and a mobile car crusher for offending vehicles.
While I waited for my daughter to get off work on Sunday evening. I observed the signal at Hawthorne/34th Avenue for 15 minutes. During that interval, I saw six westbound drivers on Hawthorne blow through red signals. These weren’t just yellow-turning-to-red, but full-fledged RED signals. Motorist choosing to ignore a solid red signal, knowing that there’s green in the opposing direction, are hardly going to be persuaded to yield to a pedestrian depending on whether the ped signal is showing a solid, white “walk” or a flashing “don’t walk.”
When there’s no enforcement and no meaningful penalty for ignoring traffic control devices, lawlessness by motorists and dead pedestrians are a predictable result.
The hope we have now is for Jaunita to recover health.
The information on those graphs was available before a car crashed into this young person. This is tobacco-company-executive-before-Congress stuff. ODOT, level of service, #carhead.
I see a parallel to this situation in the SE 14th railroad crossing footbridge situation. Who will be hurt or killed? Well heck, let’s go park some trucks.
Please let us know if you hear of any crowd funding for her medical expenses, I can’t imagine dealing with the physical and emotional traumas of being hit by a car at 16, much less trying to cope with the huge cost of treatment and recovery….Lifting up Juana the highest.
There’s a GoFundMe, just kind of buried in the article:
So, were citations filed?
Trimet should have made stairs and elevators on both sides of 82nd.
Checked out the street view and saw the divider/wall for the first time. Pretty telling that they on the one hand decided the situation was dire enough to act, but on the other hand did so by using “pedestrian calming” at its finest.
Don’t worry folks. Just as soon as ODOT gets through fixing all the freeways, they’ll get right on this problem intersection. Should be any decade now…
Yeah, remind me again how deadly slow-speed merges are in the RQ I-5 area…
“…first six seconds are protected with a “walk” sign…” False.
People’s trust in technology needs to change.
None of a signal crossing, for any of the users, is ‘protected’ from user errors.
The only ‘protected’ crossing is one where the pedestrian crosses when a driver cannot turn. All such safety depends on all users obeying the signs and signals in place.