Harvest Century September 22nd

As ‘No Crossing’ signs proliferate, every intersection is no longer a crosswalk

Posted by on August 29th, 2019 at 2:12 pm

PBOT installed these “No Crossing” signs on SE Foster at 72nd last month.
(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

This post is part of an ongoing look at crosswalk closures. It was written by contributor Catie Gould and Jonathan Maus and edited by Emily Guise.

“They’re allowed to do it. Whether it’s a good idea for the community or the right application is another issue.”
— Scott Kocher, lawyer

As we reported last month, readers have been noticing “No Crossing” signs all over town. The signs are being erected by both the City of Portland (a newly-crowned Platinum Walk Friendly City) and Oregon Department of Transportation.

In Oregon we’ve had it drilled into our heads that “every intersection is a crosswalk.” It turns out that’s not exactly true. With each new pair of these signs that go up, we lose another legal crosswalk. Given how important crosswalks are to a safe transportation system we’ve been trying to learn more about the policy impetus and practical impacts of these closures. For this post we asked active transportation advocates and personal injury lawyers Scott Kocher and Ray Thomas (both of whom are financial and content contributors to BikePortland) for their thoughts on the legal ramifications.

First, some background on the signs themselves. According to the FHWA’s Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD), the “No Crossing” sign in question is categorized as a “Selective User Exclusion” sign. These are used to give notice to road users that state or local statutes or ordinances exclude designated types of traffic from using particular roadways or facilities.

So from a technical standpoint, the signs are legit. But there’s more the this issue than meets the eye.

“They’re allowed to do it,” said Scott Kocher, who’s most upset about the closed crosswalk near the food carts on SE Hawthorne and 12th. “Whether it’s a good idea for the community or the right application is another issue.” Then there’s how the signs impact a person’s culpability in a collision. “If a person is injured in those crossings and calls a lawyer,” Kocher adds, “the lawyer wouldn’t take the case because there isn’t a viable legal claim since the pedestrian was at fault.”

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“Historically, a lot of the decisions made around when we put in pedestrian crossing facilities and when we don’t, were made around motor vehicles. But for the last few years we’ve challenged that.”
— Mike Kimlinger, ODOT

Ray Thomas pointed out a “No Crossing” sign erected on Southwest 2nd Avenue near the Morrison Bridge. “It’s a real tough place to make a safe crosswalk, but people have the legal authority to do it,” he explained. “What you’ve got to do is to start back before that, and say, ‘What were all these places?’ They’re all the public way. The public way is what we, the public, have a right to and these are open to us. And when the government or a private party takes it away, they’d better have a pretty darn good reason for doing it.” For Thomas, things like parking or vehicle throughput aren’t good reasons.

Sign at SE 12th and Madison.
(Photo: Catie Gould)

We’ve heard different justifications for the signs from PBOT and ODOT. PBOT has said they’ll install “No Crossing” signs when there’s a corner that’s matched by something “that restricts free movement” (like a parked car or bioswale) on the opposite corner. They’ve also said crossings are closed when they’re deemed too unsafe due to the presence of multi-lane roads with high speeds and/or high volumes of traffic. They’re also more likely to cross one crossing if there’s a safer place to cross nearby.

ODOT says they still haven’t developed standardized guidelines for the practice. And the public has no input on closure decisions. ODOT State Traffic Roadway Engineer Mike Kimlinger told the Oregon Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee (OBPAC) at their meeting on August 14th that he’s been closing about two crosswalks per month. So far, the final closure decisions rest solely with himself and State Traffic Engineer Bob Pappe. “We try to not close very many,” he told the committee. “But there are places where it’s probably not a good idea for people to be. The interaction between a three or four thousand pound vehicle — even if it’s going 25 or 30 mph — is not good if they can’t be seen or if they’re unexpected.”

This sign was recently installed by ODOT in Tillamook on US Hwy 101, just yards from the entrance to a new park.
(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

ODOT Roadway Traffic Engineer Mike Kimlinger.
(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

When a committee member voiced concerns that motor vehicle flow is often prioritized over walkers in these situations, Kimlinger agreed. “Yes, historically, a lot of the decisions made around when we put in pedestrian crossing facilities and when we don’t, were made around motor vehicles,” he said. “But for the last few years we’ve challenged that.” Kimlinger said he’s had “many conversations” with Region 1 (Portland) staff about crosswalk closure decisions.

The way Kimlinger sees it (which would likely be the same for the City of Portland), the presence of these signs changes the legal standing of the crossing. Asked by a committee member if it would be legal to cross where a “Crosswalk Closed” sign had been installed, Kimlinger replied, “You can legally cross there, as long as you give right-of-way to every other user. You don’t have enhanced right-of-way as you would in a crosswalk… If something happened it would be their fault.”

Government entities have broad authority to define legal road use and neither lawyer we spoke to for this story could think of any cases that have challenged it. “It would take a huge amount of legal effort and a special case to challenge this,” Kocher said.

“It’s almost like they’re making us trespassers on our own crosswalk.”
— Ray Thomas, lawyer

“I don’t think that PBOT or ODOT is giving sufficient weight to the fact that what they’re doing is infringing upon our right to roam, to be in the public way,” Thomas said. “It’s almost like they’re making us trespassers on our own crosswalk.”

What about people with disabilities? In recent years, walking advocates have been racking up legal victories under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). In 2016, a lawsuit against the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) that alleged the agency had failed to install adequate curb ramps as part of its highway construction and maintenance projects as required under the ADA, was settled when ODOT agreed to fix all non-compliant curb ramps by 2027. At the recent OBPAC meeting, ODOT said they completed 663 curb ramps last year and have 27,327 ramps remaining to fix statewide.

A similar lawsuit was brought against the Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) and it settled in September 2018. Under terms of the suit PBOT must build 1500 ramps per year for the next twelve years, doubling the pace they were built from 2010-2015. Additionally, PBOT is required to upgrade or install new curb ramps whenever sidewalks are reconstructed, as long as people are permitted to cross there.

Which leads to another question: Are these agencies closing crosswalks because it’s cheaper than making them ADA compliant? “If there was a single case of closing a crosswalk instead of adding an ADA ramp,” Kocher mused, “I think that would raise an eyebrow with the judge.”

— Catie Gould, @Citizen_Cate on Twitter

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NOTE: We love your comments and work hard to ensure they are productive, considerate, and welcoming of all perspectives. Disagreements are encouraged, but only if done with tact and respect. If you see a mean or inappropriate comment, please contact us and we'll take a look at it right away. Also, if you comment frequently, please consider holding your thoughts so that others can step forward. Thank you — Jonathan

74 Comments
  • Avatar
    JeffS August 29, 2019 at 2:31 pm

    I thought you liked diverters.

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      Dan A August 29, 2019 at 2:59 pm

      Ah, the dangers of cut-through pedestrians! Thank you for reminding us that people are the same as cars.

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        JeffS August 29, 2019 at 3:05 pm

        Diverters for thee. Not for me.

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          Aaron August 29, 2019 at 4:41 pm

          “Diverters for thee. Not for me.”

          Well yes, exactly. The reason he favors diverters is because they allow for a safer environment for cyclists and pedestrians with less through-traffic by cars, which given that this site is called BikePortland should be understandable. Use of “diverters” to benefit cars at the expense of pedestrians is antithetical to the whole stance of this site. It’s the same principle by which it’s not hypocritical to decry induced demand for cars while praising induced demand for bicycles. Or praising the use of hammers to hit nails while criticizing the use of hammers to hit people. In your search for hypocrisy, you’ve essentially stumbled upon the abundantly obvious: this site is pro-cycling and pro-pedestrian.

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            Aaron August 29, 2019 at 4:49 pm

            Apologies for use of the wrong pronoun. I wasn’t paying attention to the who the author was and thought that Jonathan Maus wrote the article instead of Catie Gould.

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            9watts August 30, 2019 at 3:10 am

            “It’s the same principle by which it’s not hypocritical to decry induced demand for cars while praising induced demand for bicycles. […] this site is pro-cycling and pro-pedestrian.”

            Actually it is considerably stronger than that. It isn’t relevant that this site is pro-cycling, so much as the induced demand for bikes is ‘good for everyone,’ as Ivan Illich discovered more than forty years ago, whereas induced demand for cars is ‘bad for everyone.’

            Bikes scale; cars do not.
            And this is true regardless of whether Jonathan has a blog or not.*

            * though I don’t in any way wish to minimize the importance, value, greatness of bikeportland.

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              Aaron August 30, 2019 at 11:45 am

              Fair enough. I agree with all your points; I guess yesterday I was more in the mood to pick apart the sheer stupidity of coming to a bike forum and questioning why we would support pro-cycling policies. Your approach is probably more productive ;-).

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                Brendan August 30, 2019 at 7:58 pm

                BikePortland is large enough that people who are not bike centric visit it. It is a great source for bike topics (obvs) but also for general community news and city/regional events.

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                Brendan August 30, 2019 at 8:00 pm

                maxD
                I see this as a subversion of Vision Zero: increasing safety by making things more predictable for drivers. That is the lazy way to achieve some measure of safety and the by-product is pedestrians being inconvenienced and people driving being coddled. The more difficult way to increase safety is to create maximum accessibility for people walking, then people biking, then transit users, then freight, and Single Occupant Vehicles dead last. This is purported to be the way PBOT make decisions, but there are hundreds of examples that show where PBOT’s true values lie: making it fast and easy to drive.Recommended 17

                When you want zero deaths, and that is the metric, you might do things that take away the agency of those who could die.

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                9watts August 30, 2019 at 10:59 pm

                “When you want zero deaths, and that is the metric, you might do things that take away the agency of those who could dIe.”

                Who is the ‘you’ in that statement? Is that how other countries who have (quite successfully I might add) pursued Vision Zero do it? I don’t think as a general rule; I think in those countries they have recognized that it is thencar menace that is the problem and have focused their energies on that.

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            9watts August 30, 2019 at 3:21 am

            This part has me confused:

            “a lawsuit against the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) that alleged the agency had failed to install adequate curb ramps as part of its highway construction and maintenance projects as required under the ADA, was settled when ODOT agreed to fix all non-compliant curb ramps by 2027. At the recent OBPAC meeting, ODOT said they completed 663 curb ramps last year and have 27,327 ramps remaining to fix statewide.”

            Isn’t this similar to cheaping out on paving the shoulders on Hwy 101 and other roads around the state that ODOT got its fingers slapped for a few years ago?

            And am I right that it isn’t ODOT, but us, the taxpayers, who are actually footing the bill twice: once for doing it wrong, and the a second time for complying with the law that was already on the books but ignored by ODOT?

            This seems entirely wrong. Why shouldn’t this come out of the pension for the fool who oversaw these ‘errors’?

            Oh, wait a minute, that woukd also come out of our pockets!

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              Engineer August 30, 2019 at 10:19 am

              Keep in mind any infrastructure built before 1993 (pre-ADA) also needs an upgrade. That’s a whole lot of infrastructure.

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                Dan A August 30, 2019 at 12:19 pm

                Yes, but first we need to blow half a billion on RQ slip lanes.

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                9watts August 30, 2019 at 11:03 pm

                “Keep in mind any infrastructure…”

                I did keep that in mind; that is why I highlighted the word *construction* in my reply.

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    Tim August 29, 2019 at 2:47 pm

    Question – are any of these being installed at locations where people would want to cross the street and are there reasonable alternatives to crossing near these locations? Or, are these being used to keep people from crossing because drivers are not expected to follow the laws?

    I daily cross a busy road with a red stop light pedestrian crossing. Drivers frequently run the light and in the last week I have been yelled at and flipped off by drivers running the red light while I was crossing the street with the walk signal. I guess if the rule of law is not enforced, might makes right.

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      maxD August 29, 2019 at 3:12 pm

      Tim,
      these are almost all being installed in places where people would want to cross the street. The most egregious examples in my daily life ar at the west end of the Morrison Bridge and at 12th and Madison. Plenty of worse examples in East Portland, where crossing the street is already difficult, and plenty more on the way with the coming “safety” projects on Outer Halsey, Division, Powell, 136th…

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        Chris I August 29, 2019 at 3:58 pm

        That one at 12th and Madison is especially infuriating because they have a curb cut on the corner. They built the street for a crossing and then closed it later with a sign. So many areas don’t even have curb cuts at corners.

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    maxD August 29, 2019 at 2:48 pm

    I see this as a subversion of Vision Zero: increasing safety by making things more predictable for drivers. That is the lazy way to achieve some measure of safety and the by-product is pedestrians being inconvenienced and people driving being coddled. The more difficult way to increase safety is to create maximum accessibility for people walking, then people biking, then transit users, then freight, and Single Occupant Vehicles dead last. This is purported to be the way PBOT make decisions, but there are hundreds of examples that show where PBOT’s true values lie: making it fast and easy to drive.

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      meh August 30, 2019 at 5:30 am

      Sounds fair and equitable that Vision zero being implemented on old infrastructure is going to inconvenience everyone at some time, be they drivers, cyclists or pedestrians. It’s about safety isn’t it? A little inconvenience to ensure safety shouldn’t be an issue, for anyone.

      Every red light allows for a right turn, well unless otherwise indicated. Every intersection is a crosswalk, unless otherwise indicated.

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    bikeninja August 29, 2019 at 2:56 pm

    These are a form of transportation triage. As PBOT or ODOT slowly loses the funding and the will to make crosswalks safe they just triage them like cutting the frostbitten finger to save the hand. Unfortunately now these decisions are being made in favor of autos and trucks because they have the most power. More destructive, dangerous and less sustainable but certainly more powerful. Our best hope is that entropy takes its toll on happy motoring the way it has with the fracking companies now going bankrupt in the shale oil business.

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    SS August 29, 2019 at 3:03 pm

    Time to stop subsidizing roads for motor vehicle users. If individual private motor vehicle users won’t or can’t pay for roads in their entirety, close roads to private motor vehicles.

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    Huey Lewis August 29, 2019 at 3:32 pm

    There is a store with snacks I like real close to work. It’s on the same side of the N-S street as I am when I’m here at work. But it is north of a big E-W street. The big E-W street has had some much needed work done to it. Great! But they closed a crosswalk at the intersection. Now to get to the store I have to cross from the west side of my street to the east side (1 crossing). Then cross north at the big street (2 crossings). Then again back to the west side where the store is at (3 crossings). Repeat this in reverse when I go back to work.

    Hardly the end of the world, right?, but super annoying and honestly, I do not understand why the west side crosswalk near us was closed. It’s stupid. I don’t like it.

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      bikeninja August 29, 2019 at 4:15 pm

      Huey, You need to get with the program and jump in a fossil fuel burning SUV and drive the short and convenient route provided for motorists. You are being given a message.

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      Caesar August 29, 2019 at 5:50 pm

      Those must be some damn good tasty snacks!

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      GlowBoy September 3, 2019 at 10:52 am

      THIS is why Americans don’t walk. It’s too much of a PITA. The situation you describe is one I encounter fairly regularly: To cross the street, you must do THREE (and even more often, two) crossings of different sides of the intersection. Frequently each of these legs requires that you press a button and, depending on whether you got to it fast enough, wait an extra cycle before you get permission to cross. Meanwhile, not only do drivers not have to stop and ask permission to traverse the intersection, they often get advance vehicle detectors that will trigger or extend a green light for them. Not exactly what you’d call parity.

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    clay August 29, 2019 at 3:48 pm

    This is reminiscent of when ODOT allowed PBOT to keep the bike lane on 26th and Powell but only if the markings were removed. It’s for the purpose of CYA liability maneuvering, not safety.

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      Bald One August 30, 2019 at 3:31 pm

      The pavement on SE 26th got ripped up this week for re-paving. So, the final remaining bike lane paint is now gone. So wrong for so many reasons.

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      Bald One August 30, 2019 at 3:35 pm

      I would like to hear your opinions about painted, zebra-striped cross-walks that are also adorned with “STOP” signs pointed at the pedestrian, and no traffic control sign at all for the motor-vehicle operator.

      These designs now showing up in newer Tri-met areas, especially, but I expect the city plan to use them more often, in order to eliminate liability, even while putting down a zebra-stripe crossing and in some of the more “creative” new and seemingly random bike/ped/car/bus interchange zones.

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    Engineer August 29, 2019 at 3:54 pm

    This is a direct result of the ODOT and PBOT ADA lawsuits and nothing more. You are now required to file explicit design documentation requesting corner closure and the signs in place are a physical marker of that closure. The categorization of every pedestrian crossing under the purview of these jurisdictions in order to match the terms of the lawsuit is what is bringing about this attention and change. Otherwise these agencies would not be spending the money to do this or hire designers to file this paperwork. See page 11 of this document: https://www.oregon.gov/ODOT/Engineering/DOCS_ADA/ADA-Curb-Ramp-Process.pdf and the associated form: https://www.oregon.gov/ODOT/Forms/Pages/default.aspx?wp9627=se:%22closure+request%22

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    maxD August 29, 2019 at 3:58 pm

    Another great example of PBOT giving lip service to bikes and pedestrians in the Greeley repaving project. PBOT’s website has this titled “N. Greeley Multi-Use Path” which implies that there is space for pedestirans and that it connects to something ina meaningful way. However, take a look at what they are going to build:
    https://www.portlandoregon.gov/transportation/78552
    This is not a MUP, it is 2-way cycletrack. The north end connects to bike lanes, but as the “MUP” only extends 2/3’s of the way to Interstate. At that the point, the “MUP reduces down from 11.5′ to less than 10′ when it enters a an existing concrete sidewalk. This sidewalk is currently used as a driveway by residents of Hazelnut Grove (3 cars/van last time I checked) and to service the dumpster and port-a-potty. At the southern end, the “MUP” joins the sidewalk on Interstate with a right angle, past a catenary pole, then another right angle down a single sidewalk ramp (for 2-way bike traffic!) and a hard right for bikers heading south into a 5′ bike lane. So not real connection, and no space for pedestrians, and there are a lot of pedestrians. Also regular vehicle use is baked into the existing concrete walk. So PBOT’s MUP is less than 10′ wide and the mixed-use part include bikes, peds, and large trucks.

    Meanwhile the ENTIRE stretch of motor vehicle lanes is getting brand new paving with wider lanes. Even though the existing average speeds are in excess of 55 mph in each direction, and there was just a fatality in which speed was a factor, PBOT is widening lanes and not doing anything to address the speeding in this location. Don’t look at what PBOT claims their values area (pedestrian priority, safety, etc) look at how they spend their money: making it fast and easy to drive a car or truck.

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    Another Engineer August 29, 2019 at 4:13 pm

    There is danger in absolute thinking – I challenge the activist community to appreciate the nuance of this issue, especially at signalized intersections. Questioning the intent of closures is a good thing – saying that vehicle throughput should never be used as a reason to close a crossing is in my opinion counterproductive absolutist thinking. Excess vehicle delay leads to increased GHG emissions, this is a disincentive to pedestrian only phases like the Barnes Dance. Without pedestrian only phases pedestrians must cross during a point when there is likely a permissive vehicle conflict which is a safety issue. If the vehicle movements are heavily imbalanced at an intersection with a one-way approach the safest decision is to separate the conflict and close the pedestrian crossing with the heavier permissive flow. Context is important to balance the needs of modes at individual intersections, sometimes the balanced outcome at an intersection involves legally closing a crossing.

    Example 1: Standard Interchange Ramps – N Rosa Parks @ I-5
    Interchange ramps will generally close pedestrian crossings nearest the over/undercrossing. If the eastern crossing for I-5 SB @ N Rosa Parks intersection were opened it would either need to run with permissive left turns conflicting with crossing pedestrians or it would need its own time in the cycle where no vehicles would be travelling through the intersection greatly reducing the efficiency of the intersection and increasing delay for SOV’s and public transit leading to increased GHG emissions from idling. The eastern pedestrian crossing would not do anything to increase pedestrian access in this location.

    Example 2: 1st @ Multnomah
    The western crosswalk has been closed at this location to reduce conflicts between the heavy, two lane, left turn volume. Adding a western crosswalk here would either lead to increased pedestrian and vehicle conflict or excess delay to all non-pedestrian users inclusive of cyclists by adding a pedestrian only phase.

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      maxD August 29, 2019 at 5:29 pm

      Another Engineer,
      it is true that in the short term, adding time to intersections by benefiting peds over SOV’s will result in higher GHG emissions. But by propping up the use of SOV’s, PBOT is ultimately committing to ever-worsening GHG emissions. IMO, PBOT should be following their stated values, and prioritizing pedestrians, then bikes, then transit, then freight, then carshare, etc and finally personal motor vehicles (see page 5 https://www.portlandoregon.gov/bps/article/441509). PBOT really needs to commit hard to making easy and fast to walk, bike and take the bus. The fact that it is 2-4 times slower to take transit than to drive, and that it is cheaper to drive and park than take the MAX really says it all. The conversation cannot just be about keeping a crosswalk open or not, it has to about how to keep crosswalks open and move bike/buses through them quickly and safely. Cars and freight may end up having to wait a few cycles- eventually their habits/patterns will change. Couple that with increased parking rates and PBOT is starting to make a move in the right direction

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        John August 30, 2019 at 7:41 am

        It’s only cheaper to drive and park versus taking transit if you have a free car and get a new free car anytime major maintenance is needed.

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          maxD August 30, 2019 at 10:32 am

          I am part of a one car family that relies on bikes and transit for many our trips. Our car is over 15 years old and has nearly 250,000 miles on it. We have a dog and most of our vacations involve driving somewhere for a long weekend, so we would choose to have a car regardless of transit. However, for our in town trips, it is much faster and much cheaper for most trips, even less than 4 miles, to drive and park than to take the MAX. We live within a 5 minute walk of the MAX, and my child goes to school downtown. The MAX SHOULD be faster, cheaper and more convenient than driving, but it is not. I get your point that there is an inherent ownership to owning a car, but many families will own a car for reasons outside of or in addition to driving around town. Portland (PBOT, TriMet, Metro) needs to get very serious about making massive improvements, revolutionary improvements!, to transit AND bike insfrastructure, preferably at the expense of personal vehicle use. BTW, my partner and child each have bikes and enjoy riding them. Neither of them will ride downtown (or really anywhere) because the infrastructure is such complete garbage! Any route we might take (Interstate, Michigan, Skidmore, Vancouver/Williams, Rodney, Going, any one) has terrifying gaps or pinch points that are straight up deal breakers. PBOT is not addressing these and in fact, they are making them worse in favor of making it even easier and faster to drive (see my earlier rant about Going).

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            SS August 30, 2019 at 2:56 pm

            “Because you have to buy a car anyway” is my favorite reason for why to not factor in the cost of a car, maintenance or insurance to the cost of car trips. It makes no sense and is a perfect analogous concept to the nonsense of saturating our society with cars in the first place. Absolute crackers.

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              maxD August 30, 2019 at 3:42 pm

              SS,
              I am not advocating for considering the total cost of car ownership, that is the reason we only have one car when most of my peers have 2 or 3. I am saying that a lot of Portlanders have a car at their disposal. If they choose to have it for reasons in addition to getting around a town, they will paying those fees regardless. I am advocating for a system that makes driving MORE expensive than transit, and slower and less convenient, on top of the costs of car ownership. This means much higher parking rates, tolls, increased gas taxes, increased registration based on vehicle weight, length and mileage. At the same time, reduce personal vehicle lanes all over town. Create a robust network of transit only, full-time streets. Not just a 3 blocks here and a half block there- whole corridors of transit only lanes. Remove on-street parking as necessary to infill the bike infrastructure to create an actual network for the first ever in Portland’s history where you can actual go multiple places ON bike infrastructure- close the gaps and expand like crazy to include SW and East Portland. What I am trying to say is that a given trip in Portland should be CHEAPER and FASTER to take the bus or MAX than it is to drive and park. It should be more DIRECT, and SAFE to ride a bike for that trip.

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            Steve D September 2, 2019 at 2:08 pm

            Where do I find your earlier posting about Going?

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              maxD September 3, 2019 at 11:44 am

              Another great example of PBOT giving lip service to bikes and pedestrians in the Greeley repaving project. PBOT’s website has this titled “N. Greeley Multi-Use Path” which implies that there is space for pedestirans and that it connects to something ina meaningful way. However, take a look at what they are going to build:
              https://www.portlandoregon.gov/transportation/78552
              This is not a MUP, it is 2-way cycletrack. The north end connects to bike lanes, but as the “MUP” only extends 2/3’s of the way to Interstate. At that the point, the “MUP reduces down from 11.5′ to less than 10′ when it enters a an existing concrete sidewalk. This sidewalk is currently used as a driveway by residents of Hazelnut Grove (3 cars/van last time I checked) and to service the dumpster and port-a-potty. At the southern end, the “MUP” joins the sidewalk on Interstate with a right angle, past a catenary pole, then another right angle down a single sidewalk ramp (for 2-way bike traffic!) and a hard right for bikers heading south into a 5′ bike lane. So not real connection, and no space for pedestrians, and there are a lot of pedestrians. Also regular vehicle use is baked into the existing concrete walk. So PBOT’s MUP is less than 10′ wide and the mixed-use part include bikes, peds, and large trucks.

              Meanwhile the ENTIRE stretch of motor vehicle lanes is getting brand new paving with wider lanes. Even though the existing average speeds are in excess of 55 mph in each direction, and there was just a fatality in which speed was a factor, PBOT is widening lanes and not doing anything to address the speeding in this location. Don’t look at what PBOT claims their values area (pedestrian priority, safety, etc) look at how they spend their money: making it fast and easy to drive a car or truck.

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      BB Queen August 30, 2019 at 1:26 pm

      This is standard Auto-moving engineering garbage. This claim that delaying traffic increases GHG has been debunked. California has accurately confirmed that GHG emissions are a function of VMT, and VMT goes up with traffic flow (induced demand). As pedestrians lose locations to cross and where they have right of way, they lose rights to the street and inconvenience. This is a loss to pedestrians, a gain to drivers, and it appears the decisions are in the hands of auto-oriented professionals.

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    Tasha Danner August 29, 2019 at 4:50 pm

    As a pedestrian and cyclist who crosses SE 12th and 11th on a very regular basis, it always feels safest to wait until there is no traffic to cross, since there are no stripes, lights, or indications that this is a “proper crosswalk.” It annoys me when ONE car in the 2 lane street stops and waves me through, while the cars in the other lane continue to move at 25-35mph (and often the car stopped behind the “nice driver” goes around him, causing even more of a hazard. Predicability and consistency are key to safety and if one driver thinks “every intersection is a crosswalk,” and one does not, it puts the pressure on the pedestrian/cyclist to trust all the drivers or wait until traffic clears. I prefer crossing at actual crosswalks, though drivers can be inconsistent here too. It IS very confusing and as a driver 15% of the time, I do see how it could be maddening to have to stop at every single intersection. Cyclists wouldn’t enjoy this either. The solution, IMHO, is to have regularly spaced crossings for convenience and get rid of the expectation that EVERY SINGLE intersection is a crosswalk. If the rules are clear, there is less confusion. It doesn’t completely get rid of the issue that drivers will always break the rules, but at least for the ones that follow them. they are clear and not confusing.

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      pruss2ny August 30, 2019 at 5:20 am

      “i prefer crossing at actual crosswalks”

      exactly. the infrastructure failure is partly the placement of the signs, but on a larger scale the edict that every intersection, marked or unmarked, is a crosswalk. its lazy and confusing. i know NYC has the same regulation, but its nearly impossible to find an intersection in manhattan that isn’t signalized or at least has a stop sign.

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      Andrea Capp August 30, 2019 at 9:51 am

      I completely agree that predictability and consistency are key. However, as a person who drives & rides, I don’t mind stopping at any intersection where peds are crossing. Admittedly, it took some personal mindset training to CTFO about this but I see the problem from a different angle now. Street parking, speed limits, lack of street lighting and allowing asshole drivers to make me feel pressured are my biggest downfall when it comes to executing this law flawlessly. By car, it’s nearly impossible to check every intersection for people when there’s street parking and the speed limit is higher than 20mph. When I travel by bike I almost never see people as I approach the intersection at SE 13th and Ankeny westbound until they’re in the street past the parked cars (and I’m traveling slower than 20mph and don’t have the frame of a car blocking my sight lines).

      Lastly, it does feel important to have every intersection remain a crosswalk (with a few exceptions) when considering people with limited mobility. Personally, I think the whole thing is a little silly. Any neighborhood where people live (which is most of Portland) should have free crossing anywhere and speed limits should be 10mph or less if there’s street parking on both sides of a narrow block.

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      Tim August 30, 2019 at 1:20 pm

      I don’t mind stopping on my bike for pedestrians, but the cars keep going by like their driving convince is more important than their neighbors lives.

      Again – Every intersection is a real pedestrian crossing. If this is confusing – the driver may not have the cognitive abilities to be operating a motor vehicle. Drivers actually know they are doing wrong when they don’t stop. Don’t believe me, take out you phone and start the movie function and cars start stopping. Sad.

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    Andrew Kreps August 29, 2019 at 5:16 pm

    Annnd the flow of motor vehicles still rule our transportation options. Am I surprised? Not even a little.

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    Andrew Kreps August 29, 2019 at 5:18 pm

    The related article tells the real story:

    ODOT campaign says it loud and proud: ‘Every Intersection is a Crosswalk’
    September 11, 2015

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    Andrew Kreps August 29, 2019 at 5:30 pm

    Ok logistical question: What is the cost of a crosswalk closure vs two signs closing said crosswalk? Is it only an issue of money? That’s something we can fix. Crosswalk closures shouldn’t ever happen. Ever.

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    Mark smith August 29, 2019 at 6:02 pm

    Just remember, it’s up to two men (whitenment?) To close off access to everyone, forever. And take your legal rights to move freely forever.
    Hmmm.

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      Toby Keith August 29, 2019 at 9:13 pm

      No need for racism and sexism.

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    Granpa August 29, 2019 at 6:28 pm

    What about 12th and Morrison is owned or under the jurisdiction of ODOT? The Bridge is Multnomah County and the streets are PBOT. Powell us HWY 26 and MLK/Grand is Hwy 99E, but Morrison? I don’t get the rationale for ODOT appropriating oversight of local streets…

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    Charlie August 29, 2019 at 8:47 pm

    I’m reminded of the Mitch Hedburg joke:

    “An escalator can never break: it can only become stairs. You should never see an Escalator Temporarily Out Of Order sign, just Escalator Temporarily Stairs. Sorry for the convenience.”

    Apparently a broken crosswalk turns into an impossible barrier that no human could possibly cross, at least not without forfeiting all legal rights.

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    Claire Vlach August 29, 2019 at 10:04 pm

    There doesn’t seem to be a map or list anywhere of closed crosswalks in Portland. Feel free to add any you know about to this map, which could help give us a sense of the extent
    and nature of the issue. https://drive.google.com/open?id=13wM2C6ms6co4-DsrAIFBSCFQNk6tChJ1&usp=sharing

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    q August 29, 2019 at 10:15 pm

    I think a case can be made for not allowing crossing at certain locations–say an intersection with a freeway entrance, where crossing at the other side of the intersection would be safer and preferred by most people walking anyway.

    PBOT’s examples of conflicts with parked cars or bioswales are not in that category. PBOT created those conflicts, and should be ashamed of taking the position that parked cars and bioswales trump people needing to cross the street.

    Since PBOT used those examples, PBOT should speak honestly: “We sometimes prioritize parking spaces and bioswales over pedestrian crossings, and will force pedestrians to cross three streets in order to eliminating one parking space or one section of bioswale”.

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      maxD August 30, 2019 at 10:42 am

      q,
      I really appreciate and agree with your comment about PBOT just being more honest about its priorities. Their hypocrisy is so blatant that really undermines their credibility. I disagree about the freeway ramp intersections with the City grid. When I live in Vancouver, BC, the City has doing away with ramps and slip lanes on to bridges wherever possible. People driving just had to slowly go around a block instead of zipping down a curved ramp. I think Portland is making a huge mistake by keeping the freeway-style ramps on to the bridges and on to and off of the freeway. I believe it would be much safer for freeway users to be asked to slow to 30 mph as quickly at possible. Exits and entrances to the freeway should be at 90-dgrees with tight radii. to mimic the rest of the City grid. The freeways should also be limited to 45 mph within City limits to limit the need to get up to speed or slow down. Creating infrastructure like ramps that allow/encourage to begin speeding up to highway speeds while still on City streets is a terrible idea. Unfortunately, PBOT and ODOT are proposing to build more freeway-style infrastructure as part of the Rose Quarter I-5 expansion.

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        q August 30, 2019 at 1:09 pm

        Thanks. We don’t really disagree on the freeway ramps, either. I was just trying to think of an example where it could make sense to restrict crossing, and came up with that, which wasn’t an ideal example. I’d certainly prefer Vancouver BC’s approach, that you mentioned, of eliminating the reasons for closing a crossing by removing slip lanes, etc. altogether.

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    Todd Boulanger August 29, 2019 at 11:06 pm

    It is important that ODoT engineers finally make such an overt action and communicate that the motor vehicles have made these legacy unmarked crossings unsafe for pedestrians. THUS there needs to be changes made…mitigations…or reductions in speed and volume of MV traffic to bring it back into compliance with the original multimodal functions of the roadway AND adjoining land uses.

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    Todd Boulanger August 29, 2019 at 11:09 pm

    It is important that ODoT engineers finally make such an overt action and communicate that the motor vehicles have made these legacy unmarked crossings unsafe for pedestrians. THUS there needs to be changes made…mitigations…or reductions in speed and volume of MV traffic to bring it back into compliance with the original multimodal functions of the roadway AND adjoining land uses.

    I like to use Charlie Zegeer’s (UNC Highway Safety Research Center) traffic safety research recommendation of vehicle volumes as the ‘livability ceiling’ for urban arterial roadways…that IF the responsible jurisdiction CANNOT make the REQUIRED safety improvements (refuge islands, signalized crossings, etc.) that they then MUST reduce the speed and volume of traffic to bring it into alignment with the existing facility conditions….at least until the “repairs” can be designed, funded and built.

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    Scott Kocher August 30, 2019 at 12:12 am

    After a driver killed Betty G. in the crosswalk at the St. Vincent hospital exit WACO closed the crosswalk. Now to cross Barnes (five lanes) you’re supposed to cross 3 sides, roughly tripling exposure. Which most people predictably won’t do. For 10,000 years humans walked where we wanted. In the last 100 engineers have ruled the ROW. Capable people go to the crosswalks. Push a button that does nothing. Stand and wait. Look, step and hope. The rest are jaywalkers. Among them, addicts and schizophrenics. Teenagers. Most people who are late. Time to rethink, and design for people.

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      maxD August 30, 2019 at 10:46 am

      I nominate Scott Kocher’s comment for Comment of the Week!

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    Opus the Poet August 30, 2019 at 6:03 am

    It takes months of public hearings and meetings to take away one parking space and reallocate that space for bikes and/or pedestrians, but two guys in a back room behind a sign saying “Beware the leopard” can eliminate crosswalks all on their own?

    On the one hand eliminating a parking spot just means a driver will have to find someplace else to park, on the other hand blocking crosswalks means pedestrians face multiple exposure to crossing the street somewhere else and then crossing again to get back on the right side of the street, as was pointed out above, measurably increasing the hazards of a trip along with the trip time and distance. So why is the convenience of drivers worth multiple meetings, when the safety of pedestrians is at the whim of bureaucrats?

    I smell multiple lawsuits.

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    Jim Lee August 30, 2019 at 8:17 am

    Toby Keith
    No need for racism and sexism.Recommended 1

    What pronoun buttons are they wearing?

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    Ricky August 30, 2019 at 8:44 am

    In Oregon, every intersection is a legal “crosswalk”(ORS 801.220), unless prohibited with crosswalk closed signage.
    PBOT’s PedPDX plan which prioritizes walking over other modes (Policy 9.6) has strategies to do this and a list of actions they will take. Nowhere in there strategy and action plan do I see mention of the need to close more existing crosswalks or install crosswalk closed signs. How does this prioritize walking over other modes and fit in with the PedPDX masterplan?

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      mark August 30, 2019 at 4:13 pm

      hint: it doesn’t

      Our city loves to trumpet its concern for prioritizing walking and biking, but it’s a big lie.

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    ROW August 30, 2019 at 1:44 pm

    Kimlinger replied, “You can legally cross there, as long as you give right-of-way to every other user. You don’t have enhanced right-of-way as you would in a crosswalk… If something happened it would be their fault.”

    Huh?

    By that logic, if there’s not a crosswalk speeding drunks on their phones are free to murder anyone that gets in their way? Seems like if there’s not a crosswalk, it’s like crossing mid block and operators of lethal machines still need to avoid killing people.

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      Dan A September 3, 2019 at 11:04 am

      You can be speeding, on your phone, or just not paying attention. But you can’t be drunk and get away with it, assuming they catch you.

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    Glenn II August 30, 2019 at 2:24 pm

    Close the street. The volume of pedestrians at the location makes it too unsafe to allow a crossdrive. And there are plenty of other streets nearby where cars can more safely cross the stream of pedestrian traffic. Because as we all know, the interaction between a 4,000-lb vehicle and a pedestrian is not good.

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    Bald One August 30, 2019 at 4:31 pm

    Anyone else have any issues with painted zebra cross-walks that also have a stop sign for the peds, giving full right of way to vehicles in the crosswalk? Thinking of the difficult MUP crossing the bus lane down on the orange line at SE Division Pl and 7th….

    Why would the city put down a painted zebra-stripe cross-walk, and then expect peds to stop there and wait for passing vehicles, who are not indicated to stop (and certainly don’t)? This design idea seems to be gaining in use and popularity, especially in the Ped/Bike/Car/Bus interchange zones that the city is getting unusually “creative” with new designs.

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      Johnny Bye Carter September 4, 2019 at 8:50 am

      The stop signs are for cyclists, because most of them don’t know you have to enter the crosswalk at a walking speed when there are vehicles approaching. Coming to a stop is the only way they could think of to slow down cyclists.

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        Bald One September 4, 2019 at 3:30 pm

        I have never seen a #9 bus stop here for a pedestrian or cyclist attempting to cross the road in the painted crosswalk, have you? This is at the new self-storage place. The bus don’t slow down or stop b/c there is a stop sign for the peds/bikes at the cross-walk. It appears to be the Tri-met process – don’t stop for peds or cyclists in the zebra stripes. Maybe it’s just driver-specific.

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          q September 4, 2019 at 5:27 pm

          That’s why I hate those stop signs aimed at path users (along with the fact that path users may outnumber the people they’re being told to stop for by 10:1 or 100:1). There’s no consistent view of what they mean, which is dangerous. Even if you ask the people who put them up, you don’t get clear answers. That would actually be an interesting experiment–ask 10 or 20 people at agencies who erect them what they mean (without allowing them to confer) and compare the answers. I guess add a few bus drivers to that group, too.

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    Beth H August 30, 2019 at 6:13 pm

    So if closing a crossawlk this way renders it a non-crosswalk, and they’re closing two or three a month, this is about streamlining the auto-centric landscape further to benefit those who drive. And those who walk can go pound sand, apparently.
    Another example of my tax dollars at work? Meh.

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    rick September 3, 2019 at 11:09 am

    pathetic

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    Mark smith September 3, 2019 at 5:28 pm

    Toby Keith
    No need for racism and sexism.Recommended 3

    No need to hide behind poligt correctness

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    mark smith September 4, 2019 at 6:58 pm

    Just imagine if the city was remove two or three parking spots per month..or two or three roads per month for cars to no longer use….would they with no public process?

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    Dave September 6, 2019 at 4:19 pm

    Brendan

    maxD I see this as a subversion of Vision Zero: increasing safety by making things more predictable for drivers. That is the lazy way to achieve some measure of safety and the by-product is pedestrians being inconvenienced and people driving being coddled. The more difficult way to increase safety is to create maximum accessibility for people walking, then people biking, then transit users, then freight, and Single Occupant Vehicles dead last. This is purported to be the way PBOT make decisions, but there are hundreds of examples that show where PBOT’s true values lie: making it fast and easy to drive.Recommended 17

    When you want zero deaths, and that is the metric, you might do things that take away the agency of those who could die.Recommended 2

    Why not take away the “agency” of those who kill, instead?

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