NOTE: Please see updates at end of this story. It was originally reported as a bicycle fatality; but we have since confirmed that the woman killed was walking prior to being hit.
Portland Police say someone has been hit and killed in the area of NE Grand Avenue and Broadway.
We don’t have any details at this time other than the victim is a woman.
From a photo of the scene provided by reader Tom Cooney, the woman’s body came to rest on Broadway between Grand and Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. This is a very unsafe place for vulnerable road users. The road design and land-use pattern at this location strongly prioritizes driving above everything else. Broadway is one-way (westbound) and has five lanes for drivers (four through lanes, one parking lane). There’s a narrow, unprotected bike lane on the right curb. On the block prior to Grand the bike lane moves away from the curb to allow for drivers to turn right (north).
This past November, City Council passed the Central City in Motion Plan. Project #18 — which is among the high priority projects slated for construction within 1-5 years — would create a protected bike lane on this section of NE Broadway.
By our tally, this is the 16th fatal traffic collision so far this year and the ninth involving a person on foot.
If you have any information about this collision, please get in touch. We’ll update this post as we know more.
UPDATE, 4/19 at 10:45pm: I’ve heard from a woman who was at the scene. Here’s what she saw:
“She was crossing Broadway holding her groceries, I know she had the right of way because I was also about to cross the road. A huge delivery truck was turning left, northbound from Grand onto Broadway and they didn’t even slow down. They hit her, she fell to the ground and they ran over her body with the front and back tires. I was 10 feet from her and I cannot get it out of my head.
The passenger of the truck yelled out something to her along the lines of “What the hell lady?!” before he realized what had happened and a man who was walking behind me (and ended up running to help her) yelled back to tell him.”
Based on this eyewitness account, below is a diagram showing the movements of the truck driver (red arrow) and the walker (green arrow).
KGW TV’s Mike Benner snapped this photo of the large delivery truck that was driven into the woman:
Portland Police have not issued any further information. Stay tuned.
UPDATE, 12:58 pm, 4/20: PPB have issued an update:
The investigation is continuing into yesterday’s fatal traffic crash. It appears a commercial delivery truck was on Northeast Grand Avenue turning westbound onto Northeast Broadway Street when the truck collided with a pedestrian. That pedestrian, a female in her fifties, died as a result of her injuries.
The driver of the truck remained at the scene and was cooperative. Speed and alcohol do not appear to have been a factor in this collision.
The Forensic Evidence Division and the Multnomah County Medical Examiner also responded to the scene. The Multnomah County District Attorney’s Office was consulted during this investigation as well.
If anyone has information relating to this crash, they are asked to contact Investigator Dave Enz at 503-823-2208.
— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and email@example.com
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Two hours ago I biked through this intersection.
It’s my daily commute. So sad. We need good cycling infrastructure that will keep us all safe.
Have you considered adjusting your commute? I switched to the Steel Bridge, which takes me a little bit longer but IMO Weidler/Broadway are just not worth the risk, unless you have to go somewhere in that area.
PBOT planners like to say that the Rose Quarter Freeway expansion project would make local streets safer for people walking and biking. I like to hear from PBOT how widening a freeway, which will increase the left-turn traffic volume at this intersection, will help prevent another tragedy like this one.
Ugh. Sending love and good vibes to family and friends.
Horrible. It was just a matter of time until this awful tragedy happened. It happened 4 blocks from my workplace. My own commute is along the Weidler/Broadway couplet. I navigate through all the bad design, the constant conflicts with auto traffic, the aggression, and sometimes I’m amazed at not having been hurt (or worse) yet. It’s frankly not a safe route for vulnerable road-using humans.
Bicycling has been my main form of transportation in Portland ever since I was an 8-year-old girl riding my little green Schwinn to the corner store for candy in the 1980s. My niece is 8 now. I was just thinking the other day on my commute that I’d never dream of taking her for a ride on that route.
Condolences to the woman’s family and friends, and may she rest in peace.
Another place where safety improvements are planned and have been funded for years. Good thing we formed that working committee for the central city in motion projects instead of getting shovels into the ground.
How much more talk do we need? Just look at other cities and start building. It’s not rocket science.
KGW is saying she was a pedestrian and the bike belongs to a good Samaritan who tried to help her. Tragic and devastating nonetheless.
Yeah looks like it was a beverage truck that hit a pedestrian.
Another “professional driver” involved in killing a vulnerable road user.
Columbia Distributing drivers are not professional based on all the laws I see them breaking all the time.
From the photo, this seems more likely. The pedestrian is just west of the marked crosswalk, and the bike is upright. Wouldn’t be surprised if the truck was “trying to beat the light”.
Certainly too fast for conditions. Those conditions being turning movement in an urban environment where pedestrians could be present.
Speed is ALWAYS a factor.
If a vehicle is not moving, no one will die.
When you say “speed is always a factor”, do you mean to suggest that it doesn’t matter how fast the driver was traveling? It’s a bit reductionist, even for me.
The appropriate speed to be driving through a crosswalk where a person is occupying the lane is 0 mph.
If people didn’t ride bikes, they wouldn’t get in bike crashes.
There are certain components that cannot be removed from a transportation network, and I would suggest “Motion” is one such component. I get that you are trying to make a point, but it’s kind of absurd – just like my statement above.
It’s legal to ride bikes, and bike crashes happen when no laws are being broken. It is illegal to run over someone in a crosswalk, no matter what false equivalencies you try to present here.
I don’t believe it is “illegal” to run someone over in a crosswalk. Drivers don’t even need to yield to pedestrians in a crosswalk in all circumstances, and it would be possible to construct several scenarios where, given the very limited facts that we know, the truck driver acted fully within the law. I highly doubt any of those scenarios reflect what actually happened — my argument is with your blanket statement. I am not defending the driver.
Luckily, we have a system to determine the legality and, beyond that, responsibility for an event such as this. One can still be held responsible for their actions, even if no laws were broken.
I’m not sure why you would post something that is easily proven false:
The driver of a vehicle commits the offense of failure to stop and remain stopped for a pedestrian if the driver does not stop and remain stopped for a pedestrian when the pedestrian is
a) Proceeding in accordance with a traffic control device as provided under ORS 814.010 (Appropriate responses to traffic control devices) or crossing the roadway in a crosswalk; and
(b) In any of the following locations:
(A) In the lane in which the driver’s vehicle is traveling;
(B) In a lane adjacent to the lane in which the driver’s vehicle is traveling;
(C) In the lane into which the driver’s vehicle is turning;
(D) In a lane adjacent to the lane into which the driver’s vehicle is turning, if the driver is making a turn at an intersection that does not have a traffic control device under which a pedestrian may proceed as provided under ORS 814.010 (Appropriate responses to traffic control devices); or
(E) Less than six feet from the lane into which the driver’s vehicle is turning, if the driver is making a turn at an intersection that has a traffic control device under which a pedestrian may proceed as provided under ORS 814.010 (Appropriate responses to traffic control devices).
I concede the point.
“I am not defending the driver.”
You sure are all for pointless bickering however, regardless of how incorrect or useless your argument is. Good job with that.
Isn’t there a general law that requires drivers to yield to pedestrians regardless of any other circumstance (in a crosswalk or not, etc.) if yielding is necessary to avoid hitting them, and it’s possible? So if you see someone in front of your vehicle, and you are able to avoid hitting them (without say, crashing into someone else) you have to slow or stop or maneuver to avoid hitting them?
This has come up in the past here when periodically someone claims it’s not illegal to run a pedestrian over if they’re not in a crosswalk, etc.
I’d guess in this case the driver didn’t see the pedestrian in time, but I think it is true that it IS illegal to hit a pedestrian if it can be avoided, due to that general law I think must exist.
One key to avoiding liability is to not watch where you’re going. In this fatality, the driver saw a woman walking in the bike lane, then he looked away from her and then ran her over:
A more complete summary, based on the article you linked, would be:
In this fatality, the driver saw a woman walking in the bike lane, then he looked away from her at a traffic signal, she stepped into his travel lane, and he ran her over.
Though the police stated there is no evidence the driver did anything to directly contribute to the incident, we don’t know if the driver did, in fact, avoid liability.
I don’t know of any mention of “turning speed” in law or in driver education (other than the basic speed rule, which is never consequential.) This may be because it was previously difficult or costly to continuously measure speed. Now, it is not difficult to measure and should be incorporated into law and driver education. There should be a uniform “safe turning speed” established in urban areas that is independent of the speed limit on those roads. Professional drivers should receive feedback from their vehicles on what a “safe turning speed” is and what it feels like.
In fact, driving speeds of all commercial vehicles in the city should be recorded by the vehicles and reviewed by the state or city. People who exceed the legal limits should lose their professional licenses and the companies should be fined. Fleets of commercial vehicles, including uber/lyft, driving the speed limit would have a huge traffic calming influence.
Our current system of ticketing drivers who are caught speeding by chance shows that we believe that people should drive the speed limit. But our implementation of speed control contradicts this belief and shows that we really don’t care and are all too ready to except tragic deaths like the woman killed on Broadway as a consequence.
There’s a 10 mph-cushion. Besides that, on the rare occasions (once every month or two) if the PPB does any speed enforcement they place warning signs in advance that essentially say “By the way, watch out because for the next few hours, we’re going to warn people on this road we would like to have motorists pretend to there’s a speed limit.”
I agree. We have speed enforcement in theory more than in practice. And this makes me favor solutions that bypass the resource intensive use of the PPB, which even with increased PPB enforcement will leave gaping holes. We have had the technology to address this for years and now is the time to implement it.
You explain it well. Another way of saying it might be, “Driving faster than safe given his degree of attention and/or his ability to see his surroundings and react” which is pretty awkward.
In regard to his speed, you could accurately say, “He was driving so fast that he didn’t see a woman in the middle of the crosswalk directly in front of him–in excellent visibility conditions–in time to stop before running her over”.
I get the feeling some people (including some law enforcement) think no further than, “Well the speed limit is 30 (or whatever) and he was going under that, so speed wasn’t a factor”.
It’s unlikely the speed was blinding, so there was likely something else going on — another vehicle moving that the driver was watching, a spilled drink, or an incoming text message. Speed probably really wasn’t a factor in any notable way.
I agree, the speed undoubtebly wasn’t great, and I’d guess it’s likely something else was the primary factor. And that’s where the focus should be. Nevertheless, none of that means that speed wasn’t A factor. And it could have been a significant one. Maybe if the truck was going slightly slower, the victim could have dodged it. Or maybe it would have changed the outcome from death to an injury.
My first reaction to people saying speed was a factor was doubt, but as I think through it, it makes some sense.
Here’s a link from an article here recently about New York City’s bumps to make left turns safer:
From the article:
“…drivers drive faster when making left turns because they have a wider radius than with right turns….The speed makes crashes more fatal.”
I can’t be any sadder than to get this news. As an experienced cyclist I’ve had scary interactions in that area and tend to avoid it. Bike lane markings could tend to lead someone to believe this is an acceptable route. Very misleading. My heartfelt sympathies and condolences to family and friends of this cyclist.
I happened to drive by moments after this had happened. I saw her body laying there, lifeless and uncovered. I am still shaken by the visual and can only imagine how devastated her family is. (I have to say that I’m disappointed in the first responders for leaving her body exposed for as long as they had. I realize I don’t have the whole story but it doesn’t take much to cover her up out of respect.)
I’m curious how ‘very unsafe for vulnerable road users’ is defined? Something objective, or subjective?
curious about that paikiala? Really? Have you ever walked or biked at that location?
I can make an objective and/or subjective argument for that statement. It’s dominated by auto users and their awkward, dangerous, vehicles. The space for bicycling is unprotected and completely inadequate. As you very well know, this area is bounded by two absurdly wide, unsafe, and inappropriate couplet streets (broadway/weidler and Grand/MLK). Do you disagree with that? And please don’t ask me about crash statistics. Those are a very limited way of assessing the danger/safety of a street.
I’m sick and tired of leaders and PBOT/ODOT sitting around on their hands knowing full well these areas are death traps for vulnerable users. We need to act more quickly. I don’t care about the politics or the LOS or the backups or signal operations… Drivers need to be hemmed in. We need more car control, not more incremental steps and compromises. Thanks for listening. Sorry I’m fired up.
He’s asking a reasonable question. Clearly the pedestrian was vulnerable and whatever hit her was not (or not as much.) But the term “vulnerable user”, where does it come from and how is it defined, and by whom?
It’s wild how people on this blog talk about laws and rights but yet when it comes to any type of enforcement efforts then they get quiet or talk about equity. It’s crazy. So what happens as a result? Nothing. Nothing happens. Well, until after the fact and then the conversation continues about which law and blah blah blah.
It is a never ending charade where we just keep talking. We hang our hats on PBOT and VZ like they can actually do something. Meanwhile, shit like this keeps happening and nothing changes.
Yep, there are some bad cops out of the 1,000 that are currently employed by the city and I’ll be damned if most of them aren’t here for the good. But yet, we hand cuff them to fail and all they become are investigators to tell us where our “do good” transportation bureau failed in their road diet and redesign schemes.
This conversation, quite frankly, just gets old.
Yes, we have to wait for “infrastructure” to be built apparently which can take years and decades and in the meantime, cyclists and pedestrians are being run over (33 last year) about 10 or so already this year…
Having any police presence is racist so they say, better for a women like this one to be struck down crossing the street…
Maybe the virtue signalers here ought to show up and help move the bodies….
Or join the police force to make sure we are adequately staffed with people with the “correct” political views.
Many thumbs up for this one.
I’m not sure what this has to do with cops. The problem is on the back end of the legal system after the investigation. “I didn’t see him/her” is accepted as a defense and there are no consequences, even when the driver was breaking the law. This happens over and over again.
You must live in a different America. Yeah, Portland is definitely different.. Where police are unable to proactively enforce rules. In most other parts of our country this happens, DUI checks, distracted driver stings, and speed enforcement. Sorry if this is new to you but I think the readers of this blog might actually like something like the proactive model. I mean, since they are directed at those evil People driving those climate change devices.
It doesn’t take long for one to realize trends. Also, for a comment of mine to receive 25 likes is abnormal so there you have it 😉
It’s wild how people on this blog like to put people into categories.
Are you going to post an update correcting the misinformation about the victim being a biker and not a pedestrian?
Crash stats can be useful, but I don’t know that we have enough data to say with a statistical certainty that an intersection is “safe” as opposed to just “lucky”. We have to use an element of judgement, and in this case, I think it’s safe to say that this intersection is dangerous. It did not transition from “safe” to “dangerous” as a result of today’s tragedy, even though the crash stats changed.
I would be interested in hearing a professional explanation of why this assessment is incorrect, if we could actually find a professional who thought this was a safe intersection for people on foot or a bike.
Wow. The actual editor of this site really responded like that?
yeah. Crazy huh?
I want to say that it’s too easy to blame PBOT after something like this happens. I’m guilty of doing that too much. There are a lot of factors at play here. We need more bold leadership from city Council in order for PBOT to do more.
On the other hand, I’ve seen plenty of examples of poor performance by PBOT staff that has nothing to do with leadership from City Council. I’m talking about things like staff not knowing traffic codes or laws, building hazards in the roadway, abandoning repair projects before they’re finished, letting landscaping block visibility at crosswalks and stop signs…
Certainly Council leadership is necessary for PBOT to tackle the “big picture” projects, but nobody should need a City Commissioner to, for example, tell PBOT what code to use.
Hear hear! When the separated bike lanes were being build on SW Multnomah Blvd, I contacted PBOT to ask why a certain section wasn’t being completed in a timely way and cyclists were being forced to navigate a really sketchy section. I got a very snippy response from a staffer who basically said, We’re trying! – leave us alone! It eventually got finished but it doesn’t give you much confidence in their competence.
One could argue that there is a time and place for a PBOT traffic engineer to go online and be defensive, and that this isn’t one of those times.
Whenever somebody says it’s not the right time and place, then I’m pretty sure it’s the right time and place. But this blog is one of those places where they’ll censor you for insisting we have a conversation.
UTILIZING HIS EXECUTIVE AUTHORITY: It is time for Mayor Wheeler with the City Council to declare a proclamation that a “State of Emergency exists” for the safety of our vulnerable roadway users, just as if this were a flood or fire or other “disaster” killing the good citizens of Portland/ Oregon, and thus shift resources (enforcement and engineering) and pick up the [re]education of vehicle operator’s about Vision Zero…and not killing other roadway consumers. The mayor may do such for periods up to 2 weeks with additional 2 week extensions.
[Perfect timing for Bike Month and a massive planned dose of tactical urbanism!]
“The goal of regulations and the emergency code is to decrease human suffering…”
The purpose of this Title is to provide for regulations which set forth the responsibilities of the City in the event an emergency exists within the City. The regulations are intended to reduce the RISK OF THE CITY TO LOSS OF LIFE, INJURY TO PERSONS, property, and the environment. The goal of regulations and the emergency code is to DECREASE human suffering and financial loss resulting from emergencies or disasters and to assign authority and responsibilities to various City bureaus. THE STATE HAS ASSIGNED THE RESPONSIBILITY FOR RESPONDING TO EMERGENCIES AND DISASTERS TO LOCAL GOVERNMENTS. [Capitalization added for emphasis only.]
A. “Emergency” means any … TECHNOLOGICAL OR HUMAN-MADE EVENT OR CIRCUMSTANCE causing or threatening: widespread loss of life, injury to persons or property, human suffering or financial loss, including but not limited to …or TRANSPORTATION EMERGENCIES, …acts of terrorism and war.
15.08.020 AUTHORITY DURING A STATE OF EMERGENCY.
A. Upon the declaration of a State of Emergency, the Mayor shall assume centralized control and shall have authority over all bureaus, departments and other City offices as among other powers. The Mayor may delegate any authority vested in the Mayor.
B. Upon the declaration of a State of Emergency, in addition to any other power that may lawfully be exercised by a local government, the Mayor may: [edited following to include only pertinent sections]
1. Utilize all City owned resources;
5. Barricade streets and PROHIBIT VEHICULAR or pedestrian TRAFFIC, OR REGULATE THE SAME ON ANY PUBLIC STREET LEADING TO THE AREA DESIGNATED AS AN EMERGENCY AREA for such distance as may be deemed necessary under the circumstances;
11. Order such other measures as may be necessary to protect the life, safety and health of persons, property or the environment;
12. Adopt rules for the expeditious issuance of permits necessary to address issues that arise from the emergency or disaster;…
15.08.050 CONTROLLING PROVISIONS.
In the event of an emergency, THE PROVISIONS IN THIS TITLE SHALL CONTROL OVER ANY CONFLICTING PROVISIONS IN THE CODE OF THE CITY OF PORTLAND.
Have you spent much time walking or biking in this area? I re-routed my commute away from Broadway-Weidler years ago after too many close calls.
I still walk around here when I go out for lunch, and it’s very sketchy.
From a 1998 USDOT study (from FHWA, the source of all highway wisdom):
Who are “vulnerable road users”?
“Vulnerable road users” is a term applied to those most at risk in traffic. Thus, vulnerable road users are mainly those unprotected by an outside shield, namely pedestrians and two-wheelers, as they sustain a greater risk of injury in any collision against a vehicle and are therefore highly in need of protection against such collisions. Among these, pedestrians and cyclists are those most unlikely to inflict injury on any other road user, while motorised two-wheelers, with heavier machines and higher speeds, may present a danger to others. The mandate of the scientific expert group therefore focuses on pedestrians and pedal cyclists.
In Oregon, vulnerable road users are defined in our revised statutes. See ORS 801.608.
Thanks for the link. It looks like Oregon codified it in 2007, about 9 years after the feds started using the term, who in turn got it from the Dutch.
Broadway is part of my commute, and I sure as hell feel vulnerable biking there. And I’m a seasoned cyclist!
Fatal collision with a bike, since Outlaw believes that pedestrians and bikes are part of the problem, I assume that the driver could be the victim here and that is just as likely as the cyclist having lost their life. Or else why would she both-side the issue?
What statement are you referring to?
UPDATE: A ghost bike has been installed at the location (Photo: Ted Buehler/BikeLoudPDX)
If only our official organizations worked this quickly…
This is the 2nd ghost bike for a pedestrian that I know of (the other at 39th/Salmon). How many ghost bikes are there denoting pedestrian deaths?
My experience with Columbia Distributing operators from Oregon/ Vancouver is not the best, as I all too often have had to call into their dispatcher/ route manager about their operators parking on crosswalks, too close to crosswalks, on bike lanes (signed no parking allowed), in front of fire hydrants, etc. The City of Vancouver Police Department used to be responsible for “permitting” commercial delivery trucks but they so often failed at their responsibility that they pleaded with City Council to remove this codified task from their plate. [Sadly the City Manager and Council approved of it…but without shifting of enforcement FTE resources and permit issuance to another department.]
I usually only go through this intersection when I’m driving and I hate it. It’s a horrible intersection with too many traffic movements happening at once.
I cross Broadway and Weidler ( a few blocks down) often, both by foot and by bike. As I wait for the crosswalk light to change I often carefully observe the drivers. I am not sure if it is the rush to get to the freeway before traffic gets worse, or the lane changes, or the hill, but the folks driving here seem to be overtaken with a special type of motoring madness. They seem like they are mice in a maze racing for the last pellet of food, or movie extras trying to get home before the “purge”. I never trust them the tiniest bit and never attempt to cross until all the lanes have come to a stop, as I have seen way too many run the light. This was a tragedy waiting to happen and I am not sure what will stop the madness short of powered steel crossing gates. Yes it is that bad.
bikeninja has a good point here. I think that proximity to the freeway affects the driving style in this area. MLK and NE Grand are designed as freeway-lite as well. People driving cars often come off freeways with speed, and they begin to accelerate in anticipation when a light turns green even when the on-ramp is one or two turns away.
This may have no relation to the lamentable death this evening but it has something to do with why our streets are dangerous. Does proximity to on-ramps correlate with VRU deaths and injuries?
If we can’t get separated cycle tracks on Broadway / Weidler then it’d simply be best to have no bike lane at all there. It is already too narrow and doesn’t remotely come close to the 8-80 principle or rule. Now as far as design and connection that’s a different conversation in regards to connecting routes to the Broadway bridge, etc. I teach a class every fall for college freshman called Bicycles, Equity, and Race: Urban Mobility in PDX. After 4 years I might have had 1-2 students (out of 60) who said they’d even be interested in biking on Portland’s streets. And we wonder why our bike mode split has been plateaued for so long as other cities put in safe and separated bike routes.
We may have plateaued, but we’re still doing pretty darned good:
There has to be some ceiling for bike ridership in Portland, given our culture, weather, and topography; I don’t know what that is, but it is possible we’ve hit it. It’s hard to know how many more people would actually ride if the street network were better. I hope we find out.
Yeah…we are doing “pretty good” if this is defined as declining cycling and mass transit use.
Transit ridership is down ~6% since 2012 (Trimet overall ridership stats) and cycling is down ~12% since 2014 (census 1yr ACS data).
And the trend towards cycling mode share decline is even more worse in PBOT’s own annual bike count data. (Bike counts used to be trumpeted each year but are now buriedin the recesses of PBOT’s web site.)
I defined it as in comparison to other cities, appropriate as I was responding to a comment talking about the good infrastructure being installed elsewhere.
I don’t know what level of cycling is sustainable over time in Portland. Maybe, like other cities, cycling had its moment, and that moment is passing. I don’t know whether our mode share is a function of infrastructure (which, for all its frustrations, is getting better even as our mode share is falling), demographic shifts, new options (e.g. Uber, Lyft, etc.), or an overall change in transportation culture. I don’t think anyone does.
So yes, mode share is flat or falling, the question is why, and what can we do, if anything, to improve it?
Sorry to be prosaic, but your question(s) are interesting and got my brain working a bit this morning at 5:30 am EDT.
Trimet does a good job measuring their ridership as does C-Trans and any other fixed-route transit agency, most of which have seen declines in ridership nationwide. Factors include routing systems that are slow, don’t get riders where they need to go, etc, problems that also existed when ridership was rising. To a certain extent, both transit ridership and bicycle-ridership-on-own-bike (BROOB) have been impacted by bike share, Lime (while it lasted), scooters, and even walking, but most importantly, the large increase in people working from home.
The term “mode share” is usually measured just through census and ACS and largely ignores Trimet’s ridership reports, bike share use reports, car counts, etc. Mode Share is based upon surveys. All surveys can be manipulated, all have biases based on who receives the survey and who answers the survey. There have been charges over the years that car drivers are more likely to receive the ACS, and of the people receiving it, older and whiter people are more likely to send it in filled with information. But fewer people are sending them in, raising the overall error rates on them. And the survey measures trips to “work”, but not errands, school, pleasure, etc. As we move more and more towards a gig economy, to what extent does the ACS measuring “trips to work” become increasingly irrelevant?
So “mode share” as measured by ACS in most cities is showing a decline in bicycle use (albeit from a very low level to begin with in most cities.) Same with transit, walking, etc. Scooter use falls under “other” on the survey. But how much does this actually reflect reality?
So implied in your question is, “how much has bike and transit use changed” in the real world, outside of the ACS/Census? Hence the usefulness of bike counts, transit ridership, ADT counts, and surveys by agencies such as Oregon Walks or PBOT.
If someone uses a ride share such as Uber, does that count as “transit”? If so, then overall transit is probably up in Portland and elsewhere, but Trimet’s not gaining anything from it.
Similarly, if most bicycle rides are for errands, trips to school, pleasure, etc, what percentage of all trips are taken by bicycle versus SOV? Does “bicycle” include bike share, scooters, BROOB, and club rides? If bike counts are down on the Hawthorne Bridge, does it necessarily imply that people are bicycling less? Or does it instead imply that people are bicycling to downtown less often, possibly because they no longer need to, that they work/play/do errands elsewhere?
“So yes, mode share is flat or falling, the question is why, and what can we do, if anything, to improve it?”
1. the state of being able to proceed with something with little effort or difficulty.
Most Americans are ruled by this principle. That which is the most convenient will be the selected option. Until the most destructive, resource-intensive modes are made entirely too inconvenient, or (better, but much less likely), more civic- and environment-minded modes are made much more convenient, the mode share will be fairly predictable.
Ironic that as driving is becoming less convenient (slower, more crowded roads), the mode share of alternatives is falling. There must be more to the picture.
I can speculate on two confounding factors, which are related to each other:
1) I’ll call it “perception of convenience”. Similar to “perception of safety”, it’s possible car overuse feels more convenient, even if it really isn’t. Or maybe, since using a car is truly convenient for some things, the assumption is that it must be convenient for everything, even if for certain kinds of trips, it isn’t.
2) Driving now may be less convenient than driving a few years ago, but it still is vastly more convenient (in whatever perceived absolute terms) than other options. It is also possible to pay (for parking) to make it more convenient, which cost is perceived as an “unavoidable” burden of modern life.
While I don’t doubt convenience is part of the picture, I suspect other factors are at play as well, such as changing demographics and availability of new options (such as Uber/Lyft). I also believe we’re becoming more like the rest of (coastal) America than we used to be, and are collectively adopting more of its habits.
Even in places where driving is supremely inconvenient (NYC, San Francisco), a lot of people do it.
“I suspect other factors are at play as well, such as changing demographics and availability of new options (such as Uber/Lyft). I also believe we’re becoming more like the rest of (coastal) America than we used to be, and are collectively adopting more of its habits.”
OK, I’ll give you Fashion. So convenience and fashion—the other thing most Americans are ruled by.
What a telling statement on the safety of our streets that ghost bikes are in-stock awaiting deployment. 🙁
Please note I’ve updated the post to note that reports from local say witnesses claim it was a person walking who was killed, not a bicycle rider. We regret any confusion and will await official word from the police.
Bike rider or person on foot, it’s the same to me. . .for whom the bell tolls. . .I saw the covered form on the street. It’s as much a sacrifice as if we had picked one of ourselves to die because deaths on our streets are an expected cost of the business of moving ourselves around.
As somebody who rides a bike on the street a lot, NE Broadway makes me uneasy in all weathers. paikiala stand down. Your defensiveness is not wearing well in this case. Go count the number of potential conflicts between the bike lane (or sidewalk) and car-borne traffic on the adjacent 8 blocks and when you are done give us another comment.
KGW is reporting that it was a pedestrian, not a cyclist killed. Is the headline for this blog post going to be updated? Is the ghost bike for another fatality or was it installed by assumption?
Yes. Updated. I’ve confirmed it w witnesses too. Thanks. More updates coming.
Completely sucked single lady laying out there today I still can’t sleep.I am not a bicyclist but I do write a motorcycle and what people need to understand no matter how mad you get at us we have no shield I’m sure she probably had kids that thought she was coming home I cannot sleep.☹️
I was talking into my phone hopefully everyone could understand my message, sometimes my phone says things that I didn’t say
UPDATE, 4/19 at 10:45pm: I’ve heard from a woman who was at the scene. Here’s what she saw:
Based on this eyewitness account, below is a diagram showing the movements of the truck driver (red arrow) and the walker (green arrow).
Can the city mandate that all commercial vehicles be fitted with dashcams? In my view this should have been done years ago.
It’s probably not something that can be done at the city level. Perhaps at the state level, but maybe it would need to be at the federal level.
If we can’t mandate it at the city level, how about instead providing an incentive at the city level? You get a special tax credit if your delivery trucks have dashcams. Credit is for taxes or fees collected by the city, such as business license fees, application fees for land use changes, water bills, etc. You can keep or sell the credit.
My heart breaks for this womans family and the people who saw this happen. Beyond horrific.
Beyond the standard “wow I bike here all the time and I feel vulnerable” reaction – I also drive through the area frequently. (Daycare is at Flint and Broadway, my and my kids dentists are at Grand Clackamas, etc.) They (the city?) “improved” a lot of the car traffic lanes a few years back – this turn, the turn fr Broadway onto Williams or i-5 north, et al. – but when I’m driving, those improvements make me feel like I’m on a freeway and need to (and can) drive faster, not slower and more carefully. This left turn in particular, you are to the left side of Grand and the two left lanes are designated turn lanes – making you feel you should be able to safely barrel through the turn. I’m not sure how that holds against current traffic engineering theory but from behind the wheel,. It sure feels like I can and should press harder on the gas pedal rather than look for pedestrians. Also, there are so few pedestrians in this area, and I think it’s partially because of these street designs. I could pretty easily take my kids to daycare on the bus. But, to get from daycare to the bus stop north bound on Williams 2 blocks away, we can’t stay on the same side of the street (no sidewalk) so have to cross freeway offramp, cross 3 (4?) Lanes on Broadway, cross 3 or 4 lanes on Vancouver, cross Williams, and cross Broadway again – right where cars are barreling through to turn north onto i-5 at rush hour. No thanks. To this day after almost 2 years I have yet to use the bus to go to daycare. We drive if we can’t bike for whatever reason.
PPB just shared this update:
It appears she was crossing with the Walk signal while the truck was turning on Green. She had the right of way, but who cares. Sad, sad, sad!
Reminds me always to J-Walk…never trust a signal and mid block there are no turns to kill you. I know many folks who have been struck in a crosswalk with the Walk signal. Couplets are urban “freeways” and should be eliminated. Grand, MLK, Broadway, Weidler should all be de-coupled and put on diets…with wider sidewalks, protected bike lanes and more parking.
And image how much worse B-W at I-5 will be with 70′ turning radius to facilitate vehicles on and off I-5.
Our laws are written to prioritize motor traffic over all others.
Vehicles turning right onto Weidler at Victoria are already a serious threat to VRUs:
I’ve had to stop and give up my right of way a few times on my bike to avoid being hit by drivers rolling through that green stripe without looking. It’s one of the primary reasons I don’t ride Weidler anymore.
Lenny are you still down with the Daimler folks on Swan Island?
Left- and right-turns on green are dangerous, and double lane L and R on green may be twice as dangerous to pedestrians. These moves should be banned at all signalized intersections. Separate phases for the pedestrian movements.
And the truck occupant was surprise. Perhaps they didn’t believe that traffic engineers would actually give pedestrians a green to cross there at the same time that two lanes of traffic were turning there.
A person crossing in the crosswalk getting hit by someone turning left is the problem mentioned in the recent article here about New York City’s bumps and striping being installed to force drivers to take slower, sharper turns, so they will be more likely to see people crossing.
PBOT staff mentioned to me that PBOT has identified this as a main safety problem for pedestrians. It happens regularly to me–drivers making left turns directly at me in the crosswalk in perfect visibility–almost always it’s the first car turning when the light turns green for both of us.
The NYC project is one way streets turning onto two way streets where the bumps slow down the turns. This situation is one way onto one way – no place to add infrastructure easily.
Small curb medians between the lanes at the entries and exists might do the trick, but could not cross the crosswalk. Designing for large truck is hard as well. Might have to remove a lane to fit in the lane line medians.
Yes, I was just mentioning that the issue–people crossing being hit by people turning left–was the same. The NYC article was a bit frustrating because as you said the example was not a typical situation. I’d love to see the solution that PBOT proposes for this one.
Maybe a leading pedestrian interval would be of benefit.
This sounds similar to the case reported back in December – a pedestrian carrying groceries across the road with the white walk signal, but still hit by a left-turning truck.
Did anything ever happen with that case? Seems like these drivers don’t even get a ticket, and it’s left up to the victim’s family to file a lawsuit seeking damages.
Law enforcement grants people driving the impunity to negligently kill and the solution is more law enforcement?
A huge problem is the semi trucks driving on city streets. What was this truck carrying that couldn’t have been offloaded to a more reasonable vehicle for delivery? Perhaps a driver not trying to maneuver a semi-truck around city streets would have been paying more attention to what was in front of him, vs looking in the mirrors to see if the trailer was clearing traffic and the curb.
This is not in any way meant to decrease the drivers culpability for killing this woman. Its to state that we need to get semi-trucks off our city streets.
I agree with you about huge trucks on urban streets, but, the truck pictured above was not a semi, and was probably a reasonable size for urban deliveries.
No surprise that it’s Columbia Distributing. They break the law all the time with their vehicles. Only a matter of time before they were responsible for a death due to their negligence.
Why in the world trucking companies don’t have dashcams is beyond weird. Yes, I have talked to some of them. They are like netscape navigator in the world of google chrome.
That crosswalk at that corner, with two left turning lanes on a left turning arrow, is in fact a deadly design. My opinion, sadly confirmed by the violent end of a life. I sometimes visit a business on that corner and would never accept the invitation of the pedestrian walk signal there. I’m against closing crosswalks in principal but I believe the only way to safely serve pedestrians at that corner would be a walk-only phase (or walk-and-bike).
SE 26th & Powell now has a pedestrian crossing phase that doesn’t allow crossing left-turns. We have the technology, and it definitely makes things feel safer.
26th and powell are a couple of 2-way streets. Grand and Broadway are a couple of one-way streets. The different operation changes how users interact, and the ease of solutions.
But what about HK’s idea of having a signal that doesn’t allow left turns while people are crossing? Would Grand/Broadway’s one-way/one-way configuration preclude that?
Delay to all users is the issue to work through. If you let N-S pedestrians go first, then the northbound left turns, then all the westbound traffic and pedestrians it would add about 20 seconds delay per cycle to that intersection.
A scramble pedestrian operation might be more efficient, but might result in pedestrians waiting longer.
The usual change is to prohibit that pedestrian crossing where dual turns occur onto a one way street as it is most likely to eliminate the conflict.
The thing to work through is how much delay is acceptable for safety and who should be delayed most.
A leading pedestrian interval, 5 to ten seconds due to the crossing length, might be the least disruptive solution.
What’s more important? The lives and future well-being of people walking or a 5 second delay.
I also believe this is exactly the kind of “disruption” the city and PBOT committed to in the Vision Zero plan, comprehensive plan, and climate action plan. And instead of improving one intersection in a reactive manner PBOT should commit to rapidly deploying this inexpensive but effective safety improvement to all high-collision-risk intersections.
I have to agree — the benefit seems so much higher than the cost. If we can’t do at least this much, then further talk about VZ is rather pointless.
I was wrong, it’s not a turn arrow. But, the green at NE Grand & Weidler actually lasts longer than the green at NE Grand and & Broadway. A person chasing the green at Weidler can carry that speed up to Broadway and swing a left through the yellow to hurry to the freeway.
The light on NE Grand at NE Weidler should be shortened and the Weidler lanes should see “No Turn On Red”.
I am glad there was a witness to verify that the victim was crossing with the right of way. I hope her family is able to sue Columbia Distributing in to the stone age and thus force the insurance carriers for all types of trucking operations, such as this ,to crack down on their negligent customers. I would prefer to see us achieve safety through proper enforcement of laws, good road design, and stricter training and licensing of operators but if draconian civil punishment is the only thing that gets the job done then so be it.
I was reading the original post as what happens after the fact. I agree that enforcement needs to be made a greater priority. Having commuted in Eugene, Corvallis, Portland and now Bend, it’s clearly worse up here with general ignorance around how to drive around cyclists and open hostility. Enforcement would help that.
I live 2 blocks away from this intersection and I’ll always remember my reaction the first time I proceeded through this crosswalk heading northbound. When I walked forward I realized that TWO left turn arrows were on in the traffic lane and I had both of those lanes full of cars bearing down on me as I tried to cross. Awful design… I wouldn’t put even one turn lane against an active crosswalk. Add another turn lane and you’ve just got auto users flying through the motion. Most cars in my neighborhood do what I call ‘the creep’; if you are a ped crossing an intersection they will continuously move through their turns until you are clear of their trajectory (even if it means your ankles are at their bumpers!). Anyway, the setup at this intersection scared me to the core and Ive avoided it ever since. As others have noted auto users here drive FAST and like I said YOU ARE IN THEIR WAY.
I would like to know the results of the Police’s investigation of this fatal collision. I have made note of the Police Investigator’s name and phone number, from above. Other than calling that Investigator (which I have so far been too timid to do), how can I learn the results of the investigation? ( I assume there is at least some portion of the results that is a part of the public record?) Any advice appreciated.