How far will some people go to prevent any loss of car access? At least one resident of the Roseway Neighborhood in northeast Portland is willing to sabotage city equipment to ensure they can still drive as easily as they do now.
Earlier this week, someone in the Roseway PDX Facebook group appeared to encourage others to drive their cars over a set of hose counters that had been laid across NE 72nd where it goes through the Rose City Park Golf Course. The idea was to make sure the tally of cars was high enough to prevent the Portland Bureau of Transportation from moving forward with a plan to turn the street into a one-way for drivers.
As we reported in 2021, PBOT is working on their 70s Neighborhood Greenway project. The plan calls for making the northbound lane a carfree path and allowing car users to only use this section of the street in the southbound direction. The person behind this effort is under the impression that if the hose counter gets more than 3,000 cars per day, PBOT will reverse course on that plan.
Keep in mind that one of the main goals of PBOT’s neighborhood greenway program is to reduce auto traffic in order to create a safer environment for walkers and bikers. Northbound NE 72nd dumps right into NE Sacramento, a street that has become a very nice, low-car environment since PBOT added speed bumps, concrete diverters, new striping, and other measures.
Speaking of NE Sacramento, let’s not forget that some folks in the Roseway neighborhood were opposed to the traffic calming project because it ruined their view.
Back to the hose counter issue.
After some folks in the community were confused and/or not satisfied with an email from the PBOT project director, I called the Communications Director Hannah Schafer and asked her about it.
“I know there’s a lot of concern right now and there’s been talk in the neighborhood about trying to game the hoses to a degree one way or the other,” Schafer shared in a phone call this morning. “Our engineers are able to tell when they pull that data if someone’s been trying to, you know, do something that is not a normal travel behavior.”
Schafer didn’t want to go into any more detail about how engineers can spot fake traffic on the hose counters. That’s understandable, since the more they share, the easier it might be to game the system. The fact that PBOT is aware of folks posting to the neighborhood FB group about it, makes it even easier for them to ferret out any dubious data.
So if you thought a car critical mass going back-and-fourth over the hose counters would fool PBOT, you might want to think again.
And lastly, what does this episode tell us about people people and their driving habit. Can you imagine someone being so blinded by their attachment to their car and the status quo — and their fear of change — that they are willing to resort to this level of subversive behavior? Sheesh.
UPDATE, 9/11: PBOT has already made their decision to close the northbound lane to drivers. It’s official now. Stay tuned for updates and a first look once the project is complete.