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$5.9 million lawsuit says City of Portland is negligent for allowing parking at intersections

Posted by on February 20th, 2020 at 10:10 am

Graphic from lawsuit filed by Scott Kocher/Forum Law Group.

The idea of no-parking zones at intersections started with a state law. Then it became a point of contention for transportation activists, then a City of Portland policy, then a campaign from a walking advocacy group.

Now it has become the basis of a lawsuit.

Yesterday, Portland attorney Scott Kocher of Forum Law Group filed a $5.9 million lawsuit (PDF) against the City of Portland for negligence in the death of Elijah Coe, who was hit by a driver while riding his motorcycle on East Burnside in May 2019.

According to the lawsuit, “Eric Whitfield, who was driving northbound on SE 17th Avenue, stopped at the stop sign, and attempted to turn left (westbound) onto Burnside. People had parked vehicles along the curb as the City’s signage invited them to do, blocking Mr. Coe and Mr. Whitfield’s view of each other.”

“Mr. Coe’s death in the resulting collision,” the suit declares, “could have been prevented if the City complied with the law.”

Kocher is suing the City of Portland and Whitfield on behalf of Coe’s estate.

Graphic from lawsuit filed by Scott Kocher/Forum Law Group.

Kocher’s name might ring a bell as he’s well-known in local advocacy circles. Last year he won a $145,000 settlement in a case against the City of Portland in a case where a man riding a bicycle was hit and injured by a TriMet bus operator. Last month Kocher published an article on BikePortland where he urged readers to request lower speed limits on neighborhood streets.

With his lawsuit on behalf of Elijah Coe, Kocher will test the city’s justifications for not implementing one of their own policies.

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Conditions on SE Ankeny are more dangerous because people are allowed to park all the way up to the corner. (Photos © J. Maus/BikePortland)

Graphic from lawsuit filed by Scott Kocher/Forum Law Group.

Known as “daylighting” of intersections, Oregon law (ORS 811.550) states that parking is not allowed within 20-feet of crosswalks at an intersection. Portland City Code (16.20.130) also specifies a 50-foot parking buffer at intersections and a prohibition of vehicles over six feet high. Armed with those laws, activists have for years begged PBOT to enforce them. The issue is especially important for vulnerable road users like those in wheelchairs, on foot and on bikes, because they can be very hard to see by cross-traffic when tucked behind parked cars.

The problem is especially acute on streets like Southeast Ankeny which have a high volume of bicycle traffic and are filled with drivers and their parked vehicles. In April 2018 we reported on a bicycle rider who was hit by a car driver and many of your comments mentioned the problem of reduced visibility at intersections.

In the past, the City of Portland Bureau of Transportation has said another state law (ORS 810.610) gives it the right to deviate from the 20-foot requirement and establish their own local regulations. In an email to Portland resident concerned about this issue in February 2018, then PBOT Director Leah Treat wrote, “Parking Enforcement officers use their discretion when enforcing these rules.” Treat also said the agency relies on citizen complaints to enforce specific locations.

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This intersection on SE Clinton was daylighted after someone filed a complaint to PBOT.
(Photo © J. Maus/BikePortland)

In September 2018, PBOT unveiled their new “vision clearance at intersections” policy. To improve safety, PBOT updated their design guidelines to include a 20-foot minimum setback to on-street parking at certain intersections. But those guidelines would apply only to “pedestrian priority streets” and would only be triggered on new capital projects. And of course there are thousands of intersections that need this treatment right away.

Kocher thinks road users shouldn’t have to wait. In a Willamette Week article on the topic last year Kocher called PBOT’s complaint-driven system a “feeble half-measure” (especially in light of an adopted commitment to Vision Zero).

And in the complaint he filed with the court yesterday, Kocher wrote, “The City’s failure to provide adequate sight distance at intersections endangers people regardless of what mode of transportation they are using… The City’s practices described herein violate PBOT’s enabling statutes under which PBOT has a duty to make travel on its streets “reasonably safe to the general public”… This duty is fundamental to PBOT’s role as a transportation agency and
is not subject to any excuse, justification, or loophole.”

“The City’s ongoing failure to provide parking setbacks (or reduce speeds, or both), achieve adequate sight distances and visibility at intersections throughout Portland,” he continues, “creates an ongoing and substantial risk of harm to people who use Portland’s city streets daily.”

In addition to the $5.9 million, Kocher wants a court order that would force the City of Portland to implement parking setbacks citywide.

(Disclaimer: Forum Law Group is a financial supporter of BikePortland.)

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

“Kocher wants a court order that would force the City of Portland to implement parking setbacks citywide”

Yes please.

Since Portland is already improving ~18,000 corners citywide for ADA access per the 2018 class action lawsuit, it wouldn’t be too hard for crews to just go ahead and daylight the intersections by moving/adding the no parking signs and some yellow paint while they’re at it.
https://www.portlandoregon.gov/transportation/article/686828

Babygorilla
Guest
Babygorilla

Its been a bit since I looked at the details, but I was under the impression that to comply with the state law, a ton of parking signs and markings that allow for parking right up to the intersection would have to be removed (since the placement of those signs is what exempts the city from the state law).

I think tele / power companys have databases to inventory their street poles. I would be curious if Portland has a similar database for its parking signage or whehter PBOT has put together any cost estimates for getting that sort of system in place or for getting citywide new signage and markings that respsect the state law.

Babygorilla
Guest
Babygorilla

Also, I agree with the yes. This should be a PBOT priority to improve intersection sightlines and I wonder if there is a huge unknown cost that’s kept this issue unaddressed.

Dan A
Subscriber
Dan A

Loss of revenue.

mh
Subscriber

I think there is more free parking within Portland city limits than there is paid. Doesn’t sound like a money-loser to me (although Multnomah County does take a cut of parking ticket costs).

Becky Jo (Columnist)
Member

This is so amazing, and these clear, clean graphics are my most favorite ever – I like basic, technical illustrations that get the point across. I’m going to borrow their style for my school traffic work when I draw up our dangerous intersections. Scott, thanks for doing all of this work, setting precedents, and sharing all of this information for the rest of us to use. Linking in all of the laws is a big help.

**oops, I didn’t meant to nest this. my bad.

paikiala
Guest
paikiala

1,500 ramps per year over 10 years is 15,000 ramps, not 15,000 corners (maybe 8,000), nor 15,000 intersections. The presumption that this is not part of any of those changes also seems premature.

Candor Cane
Guest
Candor Cane

Do you know if there is a place to reach out and support this lawsuit? I was hit in an intersection on SE Salmon Street in December. I was traveling westbound through the roundabout that intersects 28th on Salmon. A HUGE box truck was parked on the corner that obstructed the view of the woman traveling southbound on 28th, so that when she ran her stop sign, it resulted in her plowing a Cadillac Escalade directly into my body.

Rebecca
Guest
Rebecca

That is horrible and I am so sorry that happened to you. Hope you had a full recovery and full compensation from this stop sign-running scofflaw driver.

Candor Cane
Guest
Candor Cane

I should clarify that I am now mostly recovered, I was treated nicely by the driver (at least after she hit me) and was compensated by her insurance company. I was ‘lucky’.

I am interested in getting involved only to prevent these situations from happening to those who may be less prepared for the necessary hours of paperwork, phone calls and knowledge of legal nuances. Or those who have been hit by the 20% (!) of Oregon drivers who do not have insurance of any kind. Or lastly, those who do not survive to tell their side of the story…

PBOT needs to step up and daylight corners, especially on routes that feature high numbers of vulnerable road users.

B. Carfree
Subscriber
B. Carfree

I have to wonder if PBOT is just waiting for those who didn’t survive such crashes to complain before they step up and remedy this crazy situation.

Needless to say, I absolutely hate complaint-driven enforcement. If a policy is worth having, it’s worth enforcing pro-actively.

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

A supporter of the pro-active enforcement of stop sign running at Ladd Circle, by chance?

Gary B
Guest
Gary B

There’s not really a way to formally “support the lawsuit.” It couldn’t make for a class action, and the separate facts of your case wouldn’t bear on this one. But it sounds like you may have a case of your own. You should probably reach out to an attorney to discuss your case, and it seems like Mr. Kocher would be a good option. He’d be able to manage the two cases together to potentially acheive a better result (e..g, he’d have more leverage to force the City to change if he’s settling 2 suits instead of one).

Catie
Guest
Catie

I think what you are looking for is an amicus brief. These are filed by people or organizations who are interested/have a stake in the outcome of a court case but are not involved. Certainly common in higher court cases. Scott Kocher, or a number of any lawyers, could likely help you file one.

mh
Subscriber

Maybe some public-spirited attorney will advise us on filling amicus briefs. There could be quite a few.

Betsy Reese
Guest
Betsy Reese

Call 503-823-5644 (PBOT Parking) to report motor vehicles more than 6 feet in height parked within 50 feet of an intersection in violation of Portland City Code 16.20.130:

It is unlawful to park or stop a vehicle in any of the following places:

A. Within 50 feet of an intersection when:

1. The vehicle or a view-obstructing attachment to the vehicle is more than 6 feet in height;

While parking patrol won’t ticket a vehicle under 6 feet in height parked gnat’s ass at the crosswalk in spite of state law, they WILL ticket those over 6 feet tall (including their gear on the roof) for parking within 50 feet of an intersection
.

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

50ft is half a block, and most vehicles are over 6ft (especially if you count Subarus with roof coffins).

mh
Subscriber

Portland’s admittedly compact blocks are generally platted at 200′, so double the 100′ you state. Offset intersections should restrict parking more, so some blocks could be close to 100″ of parkable length.

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

Bad kitty! Do better math! No tuna for you!

I’ve only had three cups of coffee, so still a little fuzzy.

mh
Subscriber

Tuna is probably good brain food (hold the mercury). 😉

mh
Subscriber

THANK YOU, SCOTT! And as I keep telling anyone who will listen, the city should not mark individual intersections, because that suggests those marked intersections are different than the norm. PBOT needs to comply with state law, they need to get the word out to every driver that they will be enforcing the 20′ law, and then they need to enforce it. Enforcing it should be the norm. Parking patrol needs to ticket offending vehicles.

Betsy Reese
Guest
Betsy Reese

“(T)he city should not mark individual intersections, because that suggests those marked intersections are different than the norm.” – mh

I hear you, mh. And agree with you, in principle. (And BTW, many intersections need to be ‘unmarked’ – signs removed that specifically appear to authorize parking up to the crosswalk.)

But while we keep working on the higher goal of enforcing state law at all intersections, let’s save a life in the meantime with something less than perfect: make requests (I prefer this word in this context over the word ‘complaints’) for the Daylighting of particularly dangerous intersections.

Advocates have worked for years on this and Daylighting is a huge step forward. Since it is required of new public capital improvement projects, the Ladd-Lincoln-Harrison Greenway got in on this. The Clinton Greenway was done before it was enacted. I’m not sure where Ankeny stands at this point, for example, but it has had a great need for Daylighting.

I want to encourage everyone to adopt an intersection with visibility obscured by parked cars and nominate it for Daylighting. Andrea Brown and I had pretty speedy turn-around success with back-to-back requests to 823-SAFE to Daylight intersections on SE Clinton near our homes (x35th and x33rd). https://www.portlandoregon.gov/transportation/article/697596

I recommend choosing intersections you very familiar with where you can describe a chronic problem of obscured visibility hazard caused by parked cars. While you may have to bird-dog your request, I do believe it will pay off.

This issue of parked vehicles obscuring visibility at intersections is one that everyone who moves through our streets, regardless of mode, complains about. Common ground.

resopmok
Guest
resopmok

Along with a change in practice would need to come better enforcement. Right now the only times I see parking violations enforced outside metered zones is when I call the enforcement hotline and report illegally parked vehicles. The city would also need some sort of outreach plan to make sure the general public is aware of the city’s policy change, assuming this lawsuit has the intended effect.

Parking Jerk
Guest
Parking Jerk

There are parking violations on damn near every block in the city as I type and as you read. I’ve spoken with parking enforcement because apparently I’ve turned into an uptight busybody in my 40s. They say they can’t just roam neighborhoods ticketing cars parked by impatient and selfish assholes, you know, fully on the sidewalk, blocking crosswalks, facing the wrong way for the side of the street they are on, up the edge of a corner etc. unless called out by someone like me, an uptight busybody. They don’t want to give the impression their just out collecting money. But they would be and that’s fine….because people park illegally ALL THE TIME. It’s not cool, often selfish and lazy and very often not safe. Pisses me off to no end.

Matt Picio
Guest

“they can’t just roam neighborhoods ticketing cars parked by impatient and selfish assholes” – I’m confused, isn’t that actually very specifically what their job is? I think it’s totally BS to say you won’t do your job because of how the public will perceive it. (i.e. just going after money). I mean, I recognize that Parking Enforcement has a reputation problem, but either they’re ticketing people illegally parked, or they’re not – if they’re ticketing only people who are actually BREAKING the law, (one presumes that’s the case) then whether or not they’re making money for the city is irrelevant.

dan
Guest
dan

The handful of times I’ve called parking enforcement (or had it called on me [hangs head in shame]), the response has seemed to be pretty lickety split. Maybe they just don’t care if the issue you’re reporting is that a car is blocking a bike lane.

Rider
Guest
Rider

Never say bike lane, say travel lane. They come real quick based on my experience and sometimes ticket sometimes tow.

Rider
Guest
Rider

I used to ride my bike down Pine next to Buckman elementary every morning. Often a tall work van would legally/illegally park right up to the crosswalk meaning you couldn’t see the little kids with their crossing guard flags until they were into the lane. Insanity. This city won’t even daylight intersections next to an elementary. I really hope the city loses this lawsuit in a big way, but I wish it didn’t have to come from meaningless death… again!

Doug Busack
Guest
Doug Busack

Wow, this brings to mind the story that “forced” me into bike commuting. In Spring 2018, I was living in Saint Johns and was a Lyft Driver. Fall 2017-Spring 2018 gave me plenty of “signs” to retire from Lyft driving (hit and runs, accidents, working 60 hours a week to make ends meet, etc.). One afternoon, around rush hour, I was returning home from Safeway on Ivanhoe. Because I lived near Fessenden, I crossed Lombard at John Ave. I waited at the stop sign for 15 seconds or longer, hoping for a clearing, and unable to see clearly due to parked cars on either side of the road.

I thought I was clear, so I attempted to gun it across the intersection. Instantly, my driver side front corner collided with an Eastbound driver’s passenger front corner. My car was totaled, and the accident was deemed my fault as a “failure to stop”. The other driver’s car had much more damage than mine, indicating he was going faster than 20mph, as I was coming from a dead stop. I asked insurance if they checked the impact for speeding, and they sarcastically asked me if I knew how fast he was going. I didn’t fight beyond that, but had to start riding a bike while I looked for work since the total valuation was used for living expenses. It was a terrible year, but I’m glad I’m part of the Portland bike community now!

Becky Jo (Columnist)
Member

uh, “control of vehicle” in Oregon, and a lawyer can clarify this… but I thought it couldn’t be 100% unless one vehicle was at a complete stop. That’s an insurance company that just rolled on you, dude, and not legally. that sucks. (this of course coming from the chick on here who had her kid bring down the MPAA/FBI on her and didn’t fight it – meh. I’d rather be here now too. I feel we’re in good company. 😀 )

Doug Busack
Guest
Doug Busack

I remember reading your story about the FBI, and thought that was insane! We both seemed to find hope in the dark spaces, though 🙂

I do believe that what the insurance company did was illegal. I wish it was easier to fight things like that, instead of needing to pay for a good lawyer. I made a hyperbolic comment to a friend today that was out of jest but has some truth: “It would be nice if the Police would stop tear-gassing protesters and start upholding traffic laws.”

Maybe all we need is a strong community behind us!

Steve B
Guest
Steve B

My deepest appreciation and condolences to the family of Elijah Coe. Thank you Scott for leading the way on this important effort. Let’s go!!!!

Chris I
Guest
Chris I

Can we get sidwalk bulb-outs and bike corrals for the last 20ft of each block?

Todd Boulanger
Guest
Todd Boulanger

I was wondering when this “issue” was going to hit the preverbal “fan”.

Thinking out loud: there are 2 +1 ways to address this traffic safety need for daylighting:
1) lower the speed limits (add calming if needed) to match the “daylight available (interim emergency safety measure);
2) pull private vehicle parking back (as discussed earlier) to match the posted / 85th percentile speed (long term); or
3) do #2 BUT add in bike corral / bike share dock station / shared micro-mobility station (e-Scooter, etc. tech flavour of the month)

Todd Boulanger
Guest
Todd Boulanger

PS. I forgot to add to #3 concept: the bike share dock / scooter zone would be in place of the pulled back “private vehicle storage” (aka parking), as this infill parking would self enforce / keep the buffer clear of illegally parked cars while improving the “parking” capacity of the block AND meet the safety / engineering objectives of daylighting.

dan
Guest
dan

I love the idea of bike parking or micromobility pods rather than the bulb out, and I’m sure we would save money on construction too. I’m not sure quite how much bike parking we need, but if you build it, maybe they’ll come.

maxD
Guest
maxD

a 6′ wide by 20′ long curb extension to replace parking would allow for a large tree to be planted 15′ from the back of the crosswalk to maintain visibility and still have room for bike racks closer to the intersection. An advantage to this tree planting location is it would move the center of the tree in-line with other parked cars, and out from underneath powerlines so you get a bigger, healthier canopy shading more of the street with fewer utility conflicts.

paikiala
Guest
paikiala

Check out the trees within 15 feet of the corner on NW Everett. BTW, it’s 15 feet of the property corner, not cross street curb line. Curb extension cost a minimum of $15,000 each. Drainage issues can bump that to over $20,000. That’s a refuge island not built somewhere else.

Doug Klotz
Guest
Doug Klotz

That’s a new wrinkle from PBOT. Forestry’s brochure they’ve been using for years, and I confirmed that it’s still what they follow, says trees must be min. 25′ from the intersecting curb line. With the usual 12′ pedestrian corridor (sidewalk & planting strip) that works out to near the 15′ to prop corner you cite. But some PBOT traffic engineers claim that 25′ from the property line corner is their standard.

Intersections are already a big heat island, and we need trees as close as possible (or spreading over them) and is safe, to mitigate for all that asphalt. I hope your 15′ will be the adopted standard in Streets 2035 unless we can keep the 25′ from intersecting curb, which makes more sense as sidewalk corridor widths vary.

As Oregon Walks’s drawings show, parked cars are way more of a visual obstruction than trees, which are set back behind the curb, and average about 12″ wide.

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

We also need places to plant bigger trees than the piddly ones now allowed on most parking strips.

Caishen
Guest
Caishen

Totally missing from the article is that Kocher’s motivation here is not to make Portland a better place. It’s to get his client’s medical bills paid and take home $1.95 million from Portland taxpayers for himself.

Does this seem like reasonable way to run a society to you?

Dan
Guest
Dan

No, and it’s a damn shame this is the only way to get the city’s attention to this kind of issue.

Caishen
Guest
Caishen

Well, that is the situation. But it’s not the *only* way. Effective active transportation advocacy could have achieved the same result without the multi-million dollar hit to the taxpayer. Being “scrappy” is great and all, but it aint getting it done.

B. Carfree
Subscriber
B. Carfree

I guess you’re new here. People have been trying to get this situation rectified without resorting to lawsuits for years. PBOT simply hasn’t been interested. Hopefully a multi-million dollar payout will provide the necessary motivation to get the job done.

Sometimes you have to follow the advice of Portland’s best mayor ever and sue the city. It gives staff the necessary political cover to do the right thing in the face of people screaming at them about changes that take away some of their privilege.

JP
Guest
JP

Oh, you talked to him, and he told you this? Thanks for this important insider information.

Caishen
Guest
Caishen

Maybe you should do a little research into how the legal system works, bro.

Careful Caishen. I realize you are new here. I’m giving you some leeway, but I really don’t like the “bro” here. Please stay focused on the issues, not the personal back-and-forth. Thanks – Jonathan

JP
Guest
JP

Not a bro, and I’ve actually been to law school, so I think I’m good.

Chris I
Guest
Chris I

Bro!

Hotrodder
Guest
Hotrodder

Brah!

JeffS
Guest
JeffS

Yes, it’s great.

I only wish every mayor and councilperson who has chosen to ignore the law was named personally.

Chris I
Guest
Chris I

No, but in our low-regulation society, we get what we deserve. Governments and corporations are not held accountable, and they abuse their power as they see fit. The only way to force change, in some cases, is through legal challenges. Check out the documentary: “Hot Coffee”.

bikeninja
Guest
bikeninja

A reasonable way to run a society is to have the public agency that is in charge of building roadways and sidewalks to enforce the laws in place to insure the safety of the users of such facilities. If getting sued for less than altruistic reasons is the price they pay for the failure to uphold the law and protect the safety of the public than so be it. As they say, ” If you can’t do the time, don’t do the crime.”

mh
Subscriber

Believe what you want, but I believe Scott’s main motivation IS an improved city for vulnerable road users. The time and money he spends on Oregon Walks suggests that some of his percentage of that settlement (assuming a win for the full amount) would go to advocacy organizations (and advertising in BikePortland). I don’t begrudge a bit of it.

Michael Mann
Guest
Michael Mann

Absolutely the way to do it. The history of our republic is rich with examples of how to move unwieldy bureaucracies in the direction of justice by hitting them hard in the wallet. If the City of Portland didn’t see this coming, shame on them. They had ample warning.

Betsy Reese
Guest
Betsy Reese

“Kocher’s motivation here is not to make Portland a better place. It’s to get his client’s medical bills paid and take home $1.95 million from Portland taxpayers for himself.” – Caishen

Dear Caishen,

I am glad you said this out loud because many people think it, but are afraid to say it. We do need to talk about the stereotypes and pre-judging of the lawyer profession, especially lawyers who bring suit for personal injury and wrongful death, “ambulance chasers”. I confess to being averse to filing suit, and having been guilty of stereotyping and prejudice of lawyers myself.

However, I have seen more than once that it is a lawsuit, or the fear of one, that gets changes made, rather than actually caring about sparing someone’s friends and family the grief of losing their loved one in a preventable traffic collision, murder by police, etc., etc.

And while you did not also accuse the bereaved family Elijah Coe of money-grubbing motivations, please consider the pain and sacrifice they must go through in addition to their grief to participate in this precedent-setting justice that may help prevent the same thing from happening to someone else.

As far as Scott Kocher goes personally, his years of tireless volunteer transportation safety advocacy and philanthropy are well known. This is his genuine passion project, in addition to his job. I’m bothered too that it is ultimately us taxpayers who are footing this bill, but the blame for that lies with our government, not with Scott.

Again, thank you – sincerely. This is a conversation that is important to have.

Betsy

Dan A
Subscriber
Dan A

Called it.

Matt
Guest
Matt

Put bike racks in the street at more intersections. Mark designated scooter parking spots. Gets bikes and scooters off the sidewalks and makes it easier for everyone to see. Nobody loses except the person who now has to park a car an extra 15 feet away.

Carter Kennedy
Guest
Carter Kennedy

I have long wished the city would enforce those no-parking zones at corners. For me, it’s not so bad when I’m riding, because I’m relatively slow and I can peek around or over the parked vehicles. But when I’m driving it’s huge problem. I have to slowly stick five feet of my car into the car lane or the bike lane before I can see any traffic. I wish I had front-bumper cameras looking left and right.

It should be illegal (if it isn’t already) to park so as to obstruct a stop sign. The city should also have a permanent stop sign cleaning program using volunteers or people serving public-service sentences. Way too many stop signs are obstructed by branches in the summer.

Dirk McGee
Guest
Dirk McGee

While I support daylighting intersections generally, I wonder if that just makes a 20′ parking spot for Uber, Lyft, Deliver Vans, etc

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

I wish the city would enforce laws against speeding, running stop signs, illegal turns on red, and other behaviors that result in far more deaths in serious injuries than parking.

Gary B
Guest
Gary B

@HK I wish they’d enforce those things, too. But this isn’t even about enforcement, it’s about not putting parking signs in the wrong place. The vast majority of people comply with parking signs. Setting them back from intersecitons would be a huge improvement, without a lick of extra enforcement.

And, for the record, you seem to be really underrating the harm caused by the practice. There are the physical harms, like the victim in this case and the commenter above, and presumably others. Then, e.g., there are also the countless pedestrians who can’t safely cross a street because drivers can’t see them when they enter the crosswalk.

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

I don’t mean to discount the harm (most of which comes from taller vehicles, which are in fact already prohibited from parking near corners by a largely unenforced Portland law), but I am hard pressed to think it’s worse than, or even close to as bad as the harms I cited.

Tom
Guest
Tom

Do you have a study to reference showing that blocking intersection site lines is not even close to as bad as the other things you listed?

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

I do not, but that has little bearing on whether it’s true or not.

I would, of course, consider evidence that parking near the corner is as serious a safety problem as speeding, running stop signs, and illegal turns, and would change my opinion if the facts supported it.

Gary B
Guest
Gary B

But that’s my point, the relative harms are irrelevant. The things you cite are already illegal and thus would improve with enforcement. The parking at intersections would significantly improve if PBOT simply prohibited it. (And, as a bonus, the people that enforce such new parking rules have zero bearing on the amount of enforcement of the things you’re concerned about.)

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

I mostly agree with what you wrote, but it’s important to remember that it is already illegal to park near a corner in Portland if your vehicle is over 6ft tall, and if that provision were enforced, the situation would improve dramatically.

Maybe we could start by asking Eudaly to simply enforce the existing provisions?

Jason
Guest
Jason

I look for pedestrians, very vigilantly. But not being able to see a crossing ped at a corner until they’ve cleared a parked car is dangerous. A parked car that is right up to the edge of the corner.

maxdainty
Guest
maxdainty

having cars parked up to the stop signs also induces cross traffic to roll through the crosswalk and stop at the street so the driver can see cross traffic. Of course, this blocks the crosswalk for pedestrians who are forced to wait, walk in front of the car in the street, or walk behind the car placing you out of the crosswalk and in danger of being hit by a car turning on to the street they are walking across

Chris I
Guest
Chris I

The city doesn’t need to necessarily “enforce” anything here. They need to build infrastructure that complies with the state law. It could be as simple as a few hundred gallons of yellow paint, 20ft before every corner. And when streets are repaved, installing bike corrals or bulb-outs at the corners.

Granpa
Guest
Granpa

Even if Kocher wins the lawsuit I doubt enforcement practices will change. Clearly tragic outcomes can result from blocking sight lines, but Portland (“The city That Works” S/) doesn’t enforce violations or crimes worse than illegal parking.

Jason
Guest
Jason

I understand this is an issue, but the only way to stop it is to put a bump out at every corner.

Becky Jo (Columnist)
Member

I like the bump outs… until I’m biking and a driver gets pissed at me because I’m taking the lane again… or I just don’t yield the lane at all because of the parked cars and bump outs…. (NE 7th from Multnomah to Skidmore every time.)

Jason
Guest
Jason

I hear you. Motorists are going to get pissed at you either way, at least with bump outs they can’t block vision at a corner. At least not by parking at an intersection.

Tristan
Guest
Tristan

This is great news.

The intersections in close-in SE are dangerous for drivers, bicyclists, and pedestrians.

As a pedestrian I’ve almost been hit crossing Hawthorne (at SE 11th) because a box truck was parked on the corner and drivers were making a left turn without slowing down. I was crossing with a lighted walk sign.

As a driver I’m always concerned I’m going to be t-boned crossing a busy street when I can’t see around cars. I whisper a little prayer every time. This happened to me a month ago on SE 11th and Main: https://twitter.com/twaddington/status/1222267771142074368

As a cyclist I have to creep out so far into the intersection to see cars coming it’s dangerous.

Tristan Waddington
Guest
Tristan Waddington

I love how they prioritize ticketing for “no front plate”, which endangers no one, but can’t prioritize “daylighting” at intersections, which is literally killing people.

Phil Richman
Subscriber

A Vision Zero City would day-light intersections without having to be sued first. Anecdotally it seems like parking is brought closest to the corners at the newest redevelopments. i.e. SW corner of SE 7th & Morrison. There is a clear, but unspoken battle happening between BDS/developers wanting to maximize public right of way private property storage for their building users and PBOT.

mh
Subscriber

Is PBOT actively fighting for this? If so, we should support Chloe and pressure Wheeler.

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

Eudaly could make the change with a phone call if she wanted to. If you want PBOT policy to change, give her a call.

mh
Subscriber

I doubt she feels she can afford to right now.

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

She really has nothing to lose.

Tom
Guest
Tom

My son was struck by a car at that 17th and Burnside intersection in similar circumstances, 23 years ago. Fortunately he was ok physically, but his nice Peugot PX-10 was totaled.
I ride the Ankeny Bike Boulevard every day. The lack of consideration for pedestrians and cyclists from drivers of motor vehicles on this supposedly set aside safe conduit for non motorized traffic is appalling.

Steve Scarich
Guest
Steve Scarich

Of course, this is a problem in every city, as population grows, and the number of parking spaces does not. Over here in Bend, parking right up to the apex of the corner is becoming commonplace. There is a crucial sentence in this article from Ms. Treat. That is to the effect that, except in city cores, enforcement is complaint based. I call the non-emergency parking enforcement line, when cars park in bike lanes. My experience is that they are good about getting out there, but it usually takes a day or two. That is mostly OK with me, because I am addressing chronic bike-lane parking at popular restaurants outside the city cores. Now, the new parking issue for me is parents lining up on one of our most popular east-west streets, waiting in the bike lane, with their cars idling, for their kiddos to get out of school. Oh, and the latest, off topic, is the City is going to put traffic flow lights at roundabouts, because lineups are now 10+ minutes at roundabouts, mostly parents driving across town to the school of their choice. End of rant.

paikiala
Guest
paikiala

‘traffic flow lights at roundabouts’? where? what’s your source of info? There are only three roundabouts in Portland.

Jason
Guest
Jason

There are at least eight roundabouts in Portland, by my count.
NE 21st on the Hwy 84 overpass
Coe Circle
Terwilliger and Palater
Ladds Circle
The four diamonds in Park & Rose Gardens

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

Ladd Circle is not a roundabout, and the rose gardens aren’t even round!

Jason
Guest
Jason

I’m actually surprised you didn’t ding me for the roundabout at 21st and Hwy 84 overpass. But you’re correct, Ladds does have stop signs. However, I will disagree with you on the diamonds. They are not round, which is true. A “round about” is not called such because it is round, it is called such because you go around it. And you can go around a diamond shaped island as well as a circular one. That’s not me trolling by the way.

“A non-circular roundabout is a good choice when constraints such as right of way, existing roadway alignments, buildings, and/or environmentally sensitive areas influence the shape. ”
https://www.wsdot.wa.gov/publications/manuals/fulltext/M22-01/1320.pdf

Steve Scarich
Guest
Steve Scarich

If you had bothered to actually read my post, you would have learned that I live in Bend.

mh
Subscriber

None of them, of course, are supposed to have stop signs on two of the legs, but we’re Portland and we’re different. Thank you, though, those are useful definitions.

Mark McClure
Guest

Thank you, Scott, for your action on this important matter! And thank you, Jonathan, for your reporting. As an avid pedestrian, I think this is a very big deal.

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

I have a friend who walks a lot, and he feels fairly strongly that having cars parked up to the corner actually improves his safety. He can step off the corner and proceed 5ft or 6ft across the street while being totally protected by a metal barrier (i.e. parked car). This gives him a chance to see if anyone is coming, and lets drivers see him from his protected position.

I think curb extensions would be even better (because they give pedestrians an extra few inches of height), but I think his view is worth consideration.

Mark McClure
Guest

I’m always pleased to find curb extensions (ramps, island, etc.) when I find them at an intersection. However, I stand with Oregon Walks and think we should clear the corners where we can, particularly at busy (pedestrian) intersections. I think it is also important to consider the needs of people who require walking devices, are young, are elderly, are sight impaired, and so forth. I’m not any of the above yet but I can see the day coming when I don’t feel like I should need to peek around cars/trucks/RVs before I cross an intersection. I just got back from a very long walk in NE Portland, so my thinking is still fresh 😉