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PBOT hopes ‘Thank You Crew’ cheerleaders will slow drivers down

Posted by on September 24th, 2019 at 9:32 am

PBOT Thank You (for not speeding) Crew.
(Photo: PBOT)

“PBOT needs your help to begin shifting cultural attitudes around speeding – it should not be the norm.”

Speed bumps, speed reader boards, lower speed limits, yard signs, photo radar cameras, enforcement missions — the City of Portland has used many tactics to get people to slow down while driving. But still, too many people speed. And still, too many people die.

Desperate for anything that will shake drivers out of their speeding stupor, the City of Portland’s latest initiative will take the message directly to them with a new marketing campaign and the power of peer pressure. Two events this week aim to create teams of “Thank You Crew” cheerleaders that will hold signs and encourage people to slow down on high-speed corridors.

“These events are designed to provide community members with an opportunity to change driver behavior by cheering on safe driving – literally!,” PBOT says.

The first two events will happen this Thursday (9/26) and Friday (9/27). PBOT plans to erect bleachers adjacent to two streets in their High Crash Network — Southeast Stark and Division — and install a speed reader board to let drivers know how fast they’re going.

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Examples of new slogans and marketing graphics for the campaign.

As added enticement to show up and cheer for 20-30 minutes, PBOT will give all volunteers who pre-register the opportunity to take home one of their new anti-speeding yard signs. The new marketing slogans and graphics will also be put to use on billboards PBOT plans to purchase overlooking high-speed streets.

Here’s more from PBOT:

“2019 has been a very deadly year on Portland’s streets – we have lost 38 people to fatal crashes in the first nine months of this year alone [our tracker has the total at 40]. The Portland Bureau of Transportation is delivering safety projects around the city, but we know that infrastructure is not the only piece of the puzzle. Unsafe speeds are a factor in 47% of the deadly crashes in Portland. As people drive faster, the chance of survival for those involved in a crash decreases dramatically. PBOT needs your help to begin shifting cultural attitudes around speeding – it should not be the “norm.” It is a preventable dangerous behavior that contributes to death and serious injury.”

Event details:

September 26, 10 AM to noon at Ventura Park near corner of SE 113th Avenue and Stark Street.
September 27, 10 AM to noon – 15004 SE Division Street *This event has been cancelled and has yet to be rescheduled.*
RSVP here

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

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Johnny Bye Carter
Subscriber
Johnny Bye Carter

A few people cheering will not counter the thousands of aggressive drivers honking, tailgaiting, and otherwise pushing you to drive over the speed limit. We are social creatures and when most of society tells you to speed (and belittles you when you don’t) then you speed for fear of being outcast.

Drivers will not give up speeding unless they have to. Drivers will not give up their cars until you give them a better option.

SE 34th
Guest
SE 34th

Carrots don’t work without sticks.

pdx2wheeler
Subscriber

What did that sign say? I was driving too fast to read it… Oh well!

TonyT
Subscriber
TonyT

This all reinforces the notion that people outside of cars are the guests who are left to beg for accommodation from those in cars who are of course entitled to the space by default and enjoy an 11-14 mph buffer (quoted to me by a PBOT staffer) before risking a ticket. On most of Portland’s streets, this equates to permission to drive more than 50% over the limit before risking a ticket. 30mph instead of 20mph quadruples the death rate of pedestrians from 10% to 40%.

Enforcement is a sticky topic for sure, but what are we left with? Do we surrender our streets because we’ve given up on fighting racial profiling? “Sorry we can’t do anything about the deaths on the streets because our cops are too racist and out of our control.”

EP
Guest
EP

I drove to work today and honked at a woman who was swerving in and out of the Broadway bike lane…while putting on Mascara!!! Got the finger waved in response. HOW WILL SHE EVEN SEE THESE PEOPLE WITH SIGNS?!

mark smith
Guest
mark smith

When pbot turns all of its race tracks, I mean one ways that are downtown into protected bike lanes and two-way roads, then drivers will know they are serious about controlling speed. Until then it’s do as I say not as I do

Stephen Keller
Guest
Stephen Keller

I fervently hope it doesn’t happen, but I wonder how the media will respond when one of these cheerleaders is injured by someone driving too fast. It seems like PBOT is just setting itself up for irony.

Ted
Guest
Ted

I’m just as skeptical as everyone else. Will PBOT do any pre/post measurements of speeds to prove us wrong?

joan
Subscriber

Yup, I’m feeling cynical. But also, sure, let’s try this. Because we need to try everything.

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

I would rate this pretty high on the Hello, Kitty Scale Of Things Not Likely To Be Effective.

bikeninja
Guest
bikeninja

With all this talk of automation replacing humans in jobs perhaps we have a good opportunity here. We can’t seem to afford enough sworn officers to do actual traffic stops and even if we did profiling is a problem. We can’t have non-sworn staff doing traffic stops because of the potential for dangerous situations. Speed Cameras seem like a hard sell because of the privacy and profiling potential of the humans reviewing the photos. So it seems logical that we just go to speed enforcement robots. Lawbreakers would be pulled over ( the robot could engage the cars computer if compliance is an issue) and given the opportunity to pay a fine with a card or cash to the robot, which would be programmed to be blind to all known human characteristics so profiling would not be possible. If the lawbreaker fails to pay it could summon the car crushing robot to recycle the lawbreakers car. Robots would be dispatched by overhead drones that would only be tuned to highest frequency of law breaking ( as observed from the sky at that moment in time) in any part of town and no other variable would be used. This seems like a far more useful technological vision than the streets filled with robot cars. Lets get going now, and enjoy the safe streets that would result.

hussain
Guest
hussain

awwwwww, this is precious :3

PBOT is so proud of its minimalist attempts, and just keeps crowing about their “Doing the most to do the least” wastes of time/effort!!
With no enforcement, nothing will change.

Velograph
Guest
Velograph

Give me a f*$%ing break.

Anthony
Guest
Anthony

Anything to avoid actual changes to the infrastructure that might mildly inconvenience drivers.

jered bogli
Guest
jered bogli

how about a group of people that bounce a ball in front of speeding cars.

q
Guest
q

One the one hand, at least PBOT is aiming something at slowing down traffic. On the other hand, I think I’d rather see those four employees working at desks so when I report a safety problem to PBOT, I don’t get a “Due to a backlog of safety requests, please plan to wait 12-16 weeks for a response” message.

q
Guest
q

It may be just me, but wearing of safety vests outside of a construction or flagging situation just seems demeaning and pathetic. I dread reading that PBOT cheerleaders are standing at corners handing out safety vests for people to wear so they’re safer when walking. Or have they already tried that?

The only thing worse would be safety vests with slogans printed on them.

Actually, getting warned or fined for walking without a safety vest would be worse.

Toby Keith
Guest
Toby Keith

Well at least the silly signs won’t racially profile.

Fred
Guest
Fred

These signs, waved by attractive young people, will certainly stop the tailgating and dangerous passing and lane-changes I observed yesterday during a rare but routine drive across Portland.

I’d be okay with this initiative if it were accompanied by more ENFORCEMENT. But if waving signs is all we’re doing, then it really means we have given up.

Austin
Guest
Austin

Check out PBOT’s Facebook post about this – judging from the comments on there, cyclists and pedestrians are doomed no matter what.