Five dead in three days: A grim holiday of predictable traffic violence in Portland

Five Portland intersections where people where killed in traffic collisions since Christmas Eve.

For too many families, the holiday break has been a nightmare instead of a joyful celebration.

Portland streets claimed five more victims since Christmas Eve and our annual traffic toll has once again reached its highest level for at least three decades. Despite years of local leaders being committed to “Vision Zero” and a return of the Portland Police Bureau Traffic Division, 71 people have been killed on Portland streets so far this year.

After choosing to scale back its Traffic Division as part of a political game to win more funding from City Hall, the PPB renewed its enforcement efforts back in May. At a press conference to announce 14 officers would return to patrol streets for traffic violations and crimes, Portland Bureau of Transportation Public Information Officer Dylan Rivera said, “We are hopeful this will help us kind of set a new trend, post-pandemic, of less traffic violence on the streets.”

Unfortunately that has not yet come to pass. Too many of our streets remain dangerous by design, and too many road users remain woefully unwilling to use them safely.

PBOT map showing High Crash Network streets (light yellow) and crashes.

The five deaths since December 24th have all happened in predictable places: N Columbia Blvd, SE Stark, SE 122nd, SW Barbur, SE Powell. These are part of PBOT’s “High Crash Network” where we’ve seen a higher than average amount of traffic violence year after year after year.

PBOT has tried for years to provide safety on N Columbia near N Oregonian, where 18-year-old McKenzie Libro was killed while riding as a passenger in a car on the Sunday before Christmas. A dangerous street design and 45 mph speed limit was compounded by a speeding driver who was arrested for several crimes including Manslaughter, Negligent Homicide, and DUII.

Less than 24 hours later, on Christmas Day, someone walking across SE Stark at 106th was hit and killed by the driver of a car. The driver in that collision also committed felony hit-and-run. Another driver who police suspect was under the influence, drove through the scene as the Major Crash Team was doing their investigation.

Around 1:00 pm that same day, officers responded to a single vehicle fatal crash on SW Barbur Blvd at Taylors Ferry Rd. Police say the victim is an adult male.

The third fatality on Christmas happened on SE 122nd just south of Powell Blvd. This appears to have been two drivers who collided with each other. It also marked the fifth person to be killed while using 122nd Ave so far this year. When someone was hit and killed while walking across 122nd at SE Glisan earlier this month, I referred to 122nd as a serial killer. The street remains on the loose while authorities piece together a strategy they hope will prevent it from killing again.

And underscoring the depths of driver dysfunction in our city, Portland Police Public Information Manager Mike Benner revealed at a press conference Tuesday that two drunk drivers rolled onto the scene while officers investigated the crash.

122nd would strike again about 24 hours later. Just yesterday (12/26), police found themselves standing over another dead body just one mile north of Powell on 122nd. Another walker had been hit and killed crossing the street by two separate drivers. One driver failed to stop and is now wanted for hit-and-run.

This isn’t just a transportation problem. Street design and safety projects are important — but this is largely a crime problem and a cultural problem. And pinning this on the “failure of Vision Zero” is mostly lazy scapegoating that blames government and absolves individuals from taking responsibility for their actions.

City Commissioner Mingus Mapps has been in charge of the transportation bureau for nearly one year now. After yet another spate of violence traffic collisions this past summer, Mapps (like many of his predecessors) called an emergency press conference. In an interview following that event Mapps singled out driver behavior as a major culprit and said he was “dissatisfied with the culture change piece” of the problem and told me, “The next thing that I’m leaning into is, how do we bring about this culture change?”

Mapps said his goal was to do weekly educational events to remind drivers their decisions can lead to terrible consequences. Unfortunately, to my knowledge, Mapps has done nothing to follow up on this promise. Instead he has overseen a bureau that has been beset by controversy, has made decisions that put road users at more risk, and has lost the trust of many Portlanders.

To restore trust in our leaders, and more importantly, trust in our streets, we must do something dramatically different. Our streets are a reflection of the problems we face as a city and they will remain unsafe until we throw out our current playbook, grab the bull by the horns, and move forward with a political resolve that is stronger than the threats we face.

Here’s to hoping we get our act together in 2024; and that I never have to write a story like this again.

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor)

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor)

Founder of BikePortland (in 2005). Father of three. North Portlander. Basketball lover. Car owner and driver. If you have questions or feedback about this site or my work, feel free to contact me at @jonathan_maus on Twitter, via email at maus.jonathan@gmail.com, or phone/text at 503-706-8804. Also, if you read and appreciate this site, please become a supporter.

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BB
BB
6 months ago

Looking forward to the onslaught from the usual suspects telling us that having a real police presence with Cops that pull over people for driving infractions is just racist and worthless and creates more problems…
If only we build a better system which takes years that would be so much better.
The 140 or so fatalities a year from cars and pedestrian “accidents” in the meantime is necessary for the proper outcomes.

jakeco969
jakeco969
6 months ago

“This isn’t just a transportation problem. Street design and safety projects are important — but this is largely a crime problem and a cultural problem. And pinning this on the “failure of Vision Zero” is mostly lazy scapegoating that blames government and absolves individuals from taking responsibility for their actions.“

Definitely nominate for Comment of the remaining year!!!
Powerfully and brutally spoken, Jonathan. MADD was a huge smack in the face to the bar hopping/ drunk driving stupidity that was the late 70’s and 80’s and did make a change. Something like that would be very welcome in Portland now. Not only increased enforcement, but increased shaming as well!

SD
SD
6 months ago

“And pinning this on the “failure of Vision Zero” is mostly lazy scapegoating that blames government and absolves individuals from taking responsibility for their actions.”

Targeting personal responsibility or culture always strikes me as an odd framing for most of our collective problems that arise from dangerous tools. Have people yearning for personally responsibility met other people? If you had a room full of 1000 people and you gave them all knives, over time, a few people are going to stab someone, a few people are going to stab themselves and a few people are going to put the knives up their butt. If dangerous knives were essential for the survival of the 1000 people, then sure, one could argue that the harm caused is outweighed by the benefit. However, if knife distribution is primarily to make money for the knife makers, it is a losing proposition to think that controlling human behavior will work well enough to meaningfully shift the harm vs benefit equation.

The action that individuals really need to take responsibility for is believing car manufacturers when they tell them that they are helpless and sad without a using a car to go everywhere. Or, running for city council and then shirking the responsibility entrusted to them by voters.

Watts
Watts
6 months ago
Reply to  SD

dangerous tools

That’s the issue in a nutshell. Dangerous and extremely useful tools that have become necessary for modern life.

SD
SD
6 months ago
Reply to  Watts

But, much more stabby than necessary.

Pkjb
Pkjb
6 months ago
Reply to  Watts

Not at all necessary for modern life.

Necessary for transportation in a society that has doubled down again and again on building car focused infrastructure and neighborhoods that are difficult or dangerous to navigate without a car.

Inasmuch as a necessity exists, it’s due to the fact that so many others insist on traveling in a way that makes it dangerous for all those who step outside without the protection of a car, and due to the fact that planners, engineers, and politicians continue to insist on street designs that promote this behavior. But there are many cities in other countries that are more easily navigated by means other than cars that are thoroughly modern.

Watts
Watts
6 months ago
Reply to  Pkjb

“Necessary for transportation in a society…”

Yes. Necessary for transport in our society. We would probably agree that auto dependence has some significant drawbacks, but it is where we are.

I agree that cities like New York, Paris, and Tokyo that have invested huge sums in building non-automotive transportation networks over the past century are both modern and pleasant. Cars still play a large role in those cities, though they are perhaps less central there than in Portland.

Regardless of how desirable it may be, I see no viable path for a city like Portland to build a transportation infrastructure like Tokyo.

9watts
9watts
6 months ago
Reply to  Watts

You mentioned Paris. I don’t think their recent and impressive shift away from auto dependence took centuries. But it took willpower, leadership.

Watts
Watts
6 months ago
Reply to  9watts

it took willpower, leadership

And an urban design they’ve been building since 1853. No doubt political will has played a huge role (then and now), but having an excellent Metro and human scale streets has helped immensely. Having a generally supportive public helps too.

9watts
9watts
6 months ago
Reply to  Watts

You can be insufferable.

having an excellent Metro and human scale streets has helped immensely. Having a generally supportive public helps too…”

These are are interlinked. Leadership can spawn trust, which improves everything. Strengthening social fabric by delivering results can’t help but lead to more good things, Your attitude by contrast seems always to be that //we can’t do anything because well, status quo//.

Lisa Caballero (Assistant Editor)
Editor
Reply to  Watts

Watts, Paris was completely overrun with cars 25 years ago. You are simplifying away the history of the past few decades. Paris offers a lesson to Portland precisely because the city was able to change so rapidly, as did other European cities which had torn out trolley lines, bull-dozed low-income areas in the name of urban renewal, and embraced automobility. Cars were a menace then, and the drivers were awful.

What’s inspiring is that those European cities were able to change relatively rapidly.

9watts
9watts
6 months ago

That was my sense too, but Watts tends to whistle a different tune that makes it hard to recognize/hear/absorb/ these counterexamples.

Watts
Watts
6 months ago

the city was able to change so rapidly

Paris at least had the physical layout, major infrastructure, and public support to facilitate a change.

How do we do make a similar transformation in a Portland that has none of these things?

It’s not that I don’t want to see a transportation revolution here (I do), I just see no plausible way for it to happen given where we are.

How could we accomplish the most transformative urban transition in modern American history if we can’t even keep requirements for bike storage in new construction in place?

It’s fun to dream big, but we actually need to get stuff done.

Lisa Caballero (Assistant Editor)
Editor
Reply to  Watts

Those are good questions Watts, I think about them a lot. I think we are living through that transformation right now. But, to quote Bette Davis in All About Eve, “Fasten your seat belts, it’s going to be a bumpy night.”

maxD
maxD
6 months ago
Reply to  Watts

Portland has an excellent transportation grid to transform. Our compact grid means we have a lot of roads and lot of redundancy in routes. We would need leadership to take away on-street parking (which seems like a long-shot these days, but with some talented politicians it could happen). I think we could literally re-allocate a street, or even a half of a street to bike traffic, but leave the curbs, traffic signals, etc. For example, imagine removing one driving lane and one parking lane form both 11th and 12th from NE Couch to SE Division. That be a low-cost way to create a super useful piece of bike infrastructure and make the road safer to walk along/across and safer to drive on. Now add a 6-foot wide, curb protected bike lane on Cesar Chavez from NE Tillamook to SE Steele replacing a driving lane in each direction or a parking lane. Now repeat this every 1-2 miles across the City.

alex
alex
6 months ago
Reply to  SD

I recently just found out that “personal responsibility” was a phrase that came to popular culture from the tobacco companies. It makes so much sense. While I agree there are some elements of “personal responsibility” in everything, I think it really only acts to minimize how we as a society got to the place/state we are in today.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4062031/

Watts
Watts
6 months ago

we must do something dramatically different

Here are some of the things the city can do:

-Rebuild dangerous roads and intersections
-Lower speed limits
-Increase automated enforcement
-Increase in-person enforcement
-Make transit more attractive to people who would otherwise drive, especially those prone to driving drunk and lawlessly
-Discourage people from camping in especially dangerous locations

We are doing all of these things to one degree or another, and the problem continues to be awful.

So yes, we need to do something different, but that’s a lot easier to say than to identify actual things that we can do differently that are politically and economically feasible.

Unrealistic ideas (like banning cars on all major streets as the Street Trust has proposed) may be fun fantasies, but don’t actually help, and in fact may hurt by making proponents of safer streets look like crazed lunatics.

(For those who think I should have added “driver safety campaign” to the list, I listened to an interesting Planet Money episode last night about why the 1990s were the golden era of the mass advertising. They didn’t talk about traffic issues at all, but it strikes me that the same sorts of challenges advertisers face in reaching mass audiences would impact any sort of driver safety campaign, and a recent episode of Freakonomics about traffic safety said studies showed such campaigns were not effective anyway.)

Happy Guy PDX
Happy Guy PDX
6 months ago
Reply to  Watts

“Discourage people from camping in especially dangerous locations”

Nope we need to BAN dangerous street camping. “Discouraging it” is yet another half measure.

SD
SD
6 months ago
Reply to  Happy Guy PDX

There are reasons that people camp in the dead undesirable spaces near stroads.

Middle o the Road Guy
Middle o the Road Guy
6 months ago
Reply to  Watts

How could you have left out Equity and Climate Crisis?

David Hampsten
David Hampsten
6 months ago
Reply to  Watts

Arrest 122nd for being homeless, drunk and disorderly. Until 122nd sobers up, not allow any traffic on 122nd – ban all traffic, make it pedestrian-only.

Watts
Watts
6 months ago
Reply to  David Hampsten

122nd is being enabled by a misguided 123rd and 124th.

David Hampsten
David Hampsten
6 months ago
Reply to  Watts

For over 30 years PBOT has kept denying responsibility and keeps blaming a previous relationship with Multnomah County. The shame of it all…

BethH
6 months ago
Reply to  Watts

I don’t mind looking like a crazed lunatic if it means safer streets.

Harry Lime
Harry Lime
6 months ago
Reply to  Watts

The city could also mandate reflective sashes at night for pedestrians, similar to how helmets are mandated for bikers and previously, masks. Being visible at night is a public health issue.

And the city could enforce jaywalking laws.

David Hampsten
David Hampsten
6 months ago
Reply to  Harry Lime

Maybe the city could extend its reflective sash program to include stray cats, dogs, squirrels, opossums, and raccoons, to reduce the number and severity of roadkill, to reduce the spread of avian flu among our bankrupt Birds?

Lois Leveen
Lois Leveen
6 months ago

Things that ought to be done:

  1. Invest heavily in photo-enforcement of red lights and speed limits, which can by-pass PPB and thus avoid biased policing procedures and losing future enforcement when PPB shifts its budget priorities.
  2. Have a uniform speed limit across every street/road/stroad in Portland, of 20 miles per hour. Slower traffic means fewer deaths, and 20 is plenty, and why are we currently expecting drivers to remember what the speed limit is on each different section where they drive?
  3. Put in many more stop lights. Yes, it will inconvenience drivers and slow traffic. And slower traffic means fewer deaths. Human life is too high a cost for drivers’ convenience.
  4. Any corridor where there is a traffic death or major injury should be closed to all motor traffic until it is physically reconfigured to be safer. Will this be inconvenient and unpopular? Yup. You know what is even more inconvenient and unpopular? Losing someone you love to a preventable crash.
  5. Recognize that the size and weight as well as the speed of vehicles has a direct effect on how deadly they are in crashes, and follow the suggestions in the county’s 2023 public health report on traffic fatalities to impose increased registration and parking fees on, and restrict on-street parking of, SUVs and trucks.
  6. Seriously examine why driving under the influence is increasing. What does having an economy, from breweries/wineries/distilleries to bars/restaurants/”hospitality”/pot shops that depends so heavily on inebriation mean for human life? Alcohol-related deaths of all kinds (including but not limited to traffic fatalities) have increased 40% in Oregon in the past three years, and 20 percent of Oregonians are “excessively drinking.” We cannot ignore the larger issue of how Oregon’s economy pushes alcohol consumption as a factor in how our streets are becoming more deadly. Yeah, it’s a buzz-kill to address that, but a buzz-kill beats a pedestrian-kill, bicyclist-kill, or driver-or-passenger-kill any damn day.

Will any of the above happen? Not if Mapps or other current city council members proceed as they wish to proceed. That means it is up to us, we the people, to force elected officials and policymakers to move on these issues.

BB
BB
6 months ago
Reply to  Lois Leveen

Like the homeless issue you just prefer to list a dozen ways of not solving the problem in any meaningful short term way.
People are dying at an incredible rate in this city due to tent living and not pulling over impaired drivers.
Your solutions fix neither immediately which can be done.
What is the reasonable death count number in Portland before we ban camping and begin arresting drunk drivers?

bjorn
bjorn
6 months ago
Reply to  BB

Ah yes the Mothers against drunk driving approach, a driver is never at fault unless they are drunk. This has arguably led us to a situation even worse than where we were at prior to the start of their campaign.

Do not misunderstand me drunk driving is a big problem that has impacted my family enormously in a very negative way, but I think we have reached the end of the gains we can make with simple enforcement. Even if the cops weren’t on strike they can’t be everywhere at once. The best catcher of drunk drivers I ever saw was a tiny island in the middle of the intersection of grant and 10th in Corvallis, I lived near it for a couple years and know of 3 separate times that it incapacitated a vehicle being driven by a drunk driver.

The best way to end drunk driving is to place heavy things in the road that are difficult to navigate when you are drunk. They are on the job 24/7 and in my experience the cops will generally bother to come slap the cuffs on once the hard part is done.

Phil
Phil
6 months ago
Reply to  bjorn

Unfortunately, Corvallis has gotten rid of that tiny island.

Dusty
Dusty
6 months ago
Reply to  BB

In your estimation how many camp sweeps and cops arresting drunk drivers before they kill do we need to stop all of the death by car crashes?

Watts
Watts
6 months ago
Reply to  Lois Leveen

Any corridor where there is a traffic death or major injury should be closed to all motor traffic until it is physically reconfigured to be safer. 

Do you think that there is any degree of pubic support for measures like this? If not, how do we force elected officials to take such unpopular steps?

Lois Leveen
Lois Leveen
6 months ago
Reply to  Watts

I remember a time before seat belts were required; people weren’t overjoyed to be told they had to wear them or face fines, but they did. And honestly, we are in a climate crisis that demands huge changes not just in terms of transit but across every aspect of our lives. Without the political will to implement these changes, we are all going to suffer in many ways. In Oregon, we have already seen the economic toll from the climate crisis — climate fires, but also outdoor businesses from the Oregon Shakespeare Festival to river rafting outfits, etc. — yet we allow the few corporations that profit from the kind of consumption we’ve grown used to, to persuade us we cannot achieve the deep, structural changes that are vital for our species and many others to survive. So yup, let’s start by the relatively small scale of recognizing there is not an inalienable right to operate a motor vehicle in unsafe conditions. It can be a useful way to remind the public that we can indeed solve pressing problems by working for the greater good. (See, I’m pissy regarding the reality of how dire things are yet can summon some optimism about the potential to make them better!!)

Watts
Watts
6 months ago
Reply to  Lois Leveen

You (and others) cite the need for “political will”. This is no doubt true, but that will has to be backed by a critical mass of voters, or it simply cannot be sustained.

The real question is how to build the desire for change and sacrifice among voters so they will pick leaders who can push change forward.

I see not even the faintest glimmer of a hint that America, even in its most progressive pockets such as Portland, Cambridge, or San Francisco, is ready to embrace austerity around driving and turn to the currently available alternatives.

PS Without downplaying the reality of our current times, I think there’s lots of reasons to be optimistic that we may, with the help of electrification and automation, be on the verge of addressing many of the most vexing and intractable problems with our current transportation system (while, no doubt, creating a bunch of new problems, as happens with every technological change).

PS
PS
6 months ago
Reply to  Lois Leveen

All due respect, but if things are as bad as you say they are, we definitely don’t need river rafting or Shakespeare festivals.

bjorn
bjorn
6 months ago
Reply to  Lois Leveen

I’d also like to see stop sign cameras at stop signs that have significant problems. I live near the corner of 72nd and prescott but I cross the street away from the corner because you can’t predict when someone will run the stop sign and be turning, at least mid block it is easier to predict when it is safe to cross. Come sit at Samo’s deli or upright brewing on the patio with me for 10 minutes and you will see a dozen or more folks roll the stop sign and at least one not slow down at all. It is no wonder that you frequently see broken glass and car parts scattered about. The intersection would benefit greatly from automated enforcement, although it certainly would require a lot more enforcement of requiring valid visible plates, something that I think parking enforcement should be tasked with doing. There is no reason not to tow any vehicle spotted by parking enforcement with obscured plates or plates that are more than 1 month expired.

Matt
Matt
6 months ago
Reply to  bjorn

Every time I’ve sat and watched that intersection, I’ve seen the exact same driving behavior. It’s become not surprising to see someone exceeding the posted speed limit run through the intersection without coming close to stopping at the stop sign. And it’s not easy to cross as a pedestrian. This is all in an area with posted 20 and 25 mph speed limits that are overwhelmingly ignored.

There just seems to be in Portland a casual,disregard for even the most sensible, basic driving behavior by far too many.

Notwithstanding the sick farce that statistics make of Vision Zero, we are encumbered by politicians and a bureaucracy that don’t act with the urgency that is required.

The question is simple: What can be done to reduce the deaths and injuries on our streets?” Whatever the answer, any success will come from political will which doesn’t appear to presently exist and from a sweeping scope (to replace the piecemeal approach) which, again, can’t happen without forthright leadership.

Lois Leveen
Lois Leveen
6 months ago
Reply to  Matt

So true. As I’ve posted elsewhere, this past August, I had a “meeting” with Millicent Williams, PBOT’s director, where we sat at the corner at which a driver killed Jeanie Diaz, a corner where we observed red light-running, speeding, and other dangerous driving similar to what you describe. She promised there would be changes. And the only change there has been is one that makes it more likely that drivers will accelerate into bicyclists and pedestrians who are legally in the crosswalk. Williams is such a disappointment to anyone who cares about safety and human life, but presumably is doing exactly what Mapps appointed her to do.

Mark Paterson
Mark Paterson
6 months ago
Reply to  Matt

There just seems to be in Portland a casual,disregard for even the most sensible, basic driving behavior by far too many.

Now realize how many people are here illegally and the city is not taking their vehicles if they are uninsured. An autoparts store is two buildings South from NE Precinct. And you can see untagged, unplated cars going in and out of there all day, every day. Right next to a police cars. Blue-city blues.

Middle o the Road Guy
Middle o the Road Guy
6 months ago
Reply to  Lois Leveen

“Invest heavily in photo-enforcement of red lights and speed limits, which can by-pass PPB and thus avoid biased policing procedures and losing future enforcement when PPB shifts its budget priorities.”

Cameras are biased?

Margo J.
Margo J.
6 months ago

It’s interesting how the left leaning transportation advocates and many commenters on Bike Portland think traffic cameras are some sort of race blind panacea and can eliminate the need for police traffic enforcement which they think is unneeded and racist. Hate to burst their bubble…..

https://www.propublica.org/article/chicagos-race-neutral-traffic-cameras-ticket-black-and-latino-drivers-the-most

Watts
Watts
6 months ago
Reply to  Margo J.

From that ProPublica article:

A ProPublica analysis found that traffic cameras in Chicago disproportionately ticket Black and Latino motorists.

Disproportionate to their demographic size, perhaps (based on zip code), but no attempt to quantify whether it is disproportionate to their share of traffic violations (which can be determined by crash rates and other measures).

Young men also receive a disproportionate number of speeding tickets, but no one is lamenting the inherent age or gender bias in ticketing.

But regardless, speeding is a purely voluntary activity, no matter how much one is seduced by road conditions.

J_R
J_R
6 months ago
Reply to  Margo J.

The motorist featured in this story about discrimination against minority drivers was cited 8 times for speeding a three times for running red lights in a single year!

Do you really think it was because he was black?

I have a hard time being sympathetic towards someone who doesn’t change behavior after two or three wake-up citations.

X
X
6 months ago

Mingus Mapps will get moving on traffic violence when several hotel owners call his office.

Fuzzy Blue Line
Fuzzy Blue Line
6 months ago

Beyond the almost universal calls for more automated enforcement, I have not heard a single person that is against more uniformed officers on the street (a prevalent view among many progressive Portlanders) explain to me how automated enforcement will reduce the number of impaired drivers on our streets. Either you support more uniformed law enforcement to target impaired drivers like we did in the early days of MADD or you stop complaining about impaired driving. You can’t hold the ACAB view while in the same breath complain that impaired drivers are killing people on our streets.

Pete S.
Pete S.
6 months ago

There were more PPB officers enforcing traffic laws this year than there were last year and deaths still went up. Why would we trust and throw more resources at an organization that has shown no competency at reducing traffic violence?

Pkjb
Pkjb
6 months ago
Reply to  Pete S.

I still hardly see any police patrols on the streets, and when I do see them, I never see them pulling people over for infractions. The role of police officers in this city is still largely just providing social services to the homeless and responding to crashes and break-ins after the fact.

Middle o the Road Guy
Middle o the Road Guy
6 months ago
Reply to  Pete S.

Or, the rate might have been higher than it was had they not been there.

Also need to consider that there is often a ciritical mass of something needed to have an impact. One sandbag against a flood does nothing – but several hundred can have a profound impact.

qqq
qqq
6 months ago

Automated enforcement frees police to spend more time targeting impaired drivers.

Plus the things that automated enforcement can target–running red lights and speeding–are significant traffic safety problems themselves.

Building sidewalks or improving lighting or any of a number of other traffic safety strategies may not take any impaired drivers off the streets either, but that doesn’t mean they’re not valuable traffic safety strategies.

Mark Paterson
Mark Paterson
6 months ago
Reply to  qqq

Automated enforcement

You are basically asking for more authoritarianism. Most of your countrymen are against such. And you know this too.

Caleb
Caleb
6 months ago
Reply to  Mark Paterson

You really like that “a” word, don’t you? Do you consider traffic enforcement by police officers to also be authoritarianism?

qqq
qqq
6 months ago
Reply to  Mark Paterson

I’m not asking for anything. I was replying to someone who said

 I have not heard a single person that is against more uniformed officers on the street (a prevalent view among many progressive Portlanders) explain to me how automated enforcement will reduce the number of impaired drivers on our streets.

I gave him a reason.

I also don’t “know” or care if “Most of your countrymen are against such”. I think in Portland there’s actually quite a bit of support for increased traffic support. If traffic enforcement is “authoritarianism” then so are other types of law enforcement, which I also don’t “know” that most people in Portland (or the country) are against.

Watts
Watts
6 months ago
Reply to  Mark Paterson

Authoritarianism… Most of your countrymen are against such.

Are they? I see the opposite when I read polls showing strong support for Trump, the most authoritarian candidate in living history.

Regardless, if data on non-ticketed drivers is not retained (which could be ensured with a simple law), automated enforcement doesn’t strike me as particularly authoritarian.

qqq
qqq
6 months ago

You can’t hold the ACAB view while in the same breath complain that impaired drivers are killing people on our streets.

Why not?

X
X
6 months ago

Enforcement hasn’t been shown to reduce traffic fatalities. But, widespread adoption of roundabouts as traffic control devices reduces both fatalities and injury accidents by over 80 percent. They also increase the passage of vehicles through an intersection without increasing the number of lanes. People stay alive: they also get where they’re going faster.

Why wish for more cops? The job is awful. It turns a good person into someone that nobody wants to talk to, officially. Portland, Oregon cannot hire enough police officers to regulate all driving and if it could, you wouldn’t want to live here.

Happy Guy PDX
Happy Guy PDX
6 months ago
Reply to  X

I don’t want to live here now. And the police officers have nothing to do with that (except we don’t have enough of them).

Mark Paterson
Mark Paterson
6 months ago
Reply to  Happy Guy PDX

Most of my not wanting to live here anymore is due to the type of people that are here now, and the ones who keep voting to make life more expensive cause they dont know how to read the doublespeak, or they are modestly wealthy people that want to price the poor out of their sight, not realizing that is not how any of this works, and will just turn their habitat into a third world Poorland.

Fuzzy Blue Line
Fuzzy Blue Line
6 months ago
Reply to  X

“Enforcement hasn’t been shown to reduce traffic fatalities.“

This statement is so blatantly false I don’t know where to begin. You can find numerous research studies that show otherwise including from the Centers for Disease Control, National Institutes of Health, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and Governors Highway Safety Association to name just a few.

Watts
Watts
6 months ago
Reply to  X

Enforcement hasn’t been shown to reduce traffic fatalities.

Is this because such a relationship doesn’t exist, or because, as the following excerpt suggests, there hasn’t been sufficient study of the question? (emphasis mine)

Note that the study did find a positive correlation between enforcement and reduction of dangerous behaviors, but they couldn’t quantify it to the same degree as they could for seatbelt law adherence.

The primary research question was whether a relationship could be established between the amount of the change in enforcement activity and the magnitude of the change in safety outcome for highway safety enforcement campaigns. A positive and statistically significant relationship was found between seat belt use and both the number of checkpoints and, under certain conditions, the amount of media spending during occupant protection enforcement campaigns. However, for enforcement campaigns related to distracted driving, alcohol-impaired driving, speeding, and aggressive driving, no such relationship was identified. The reasons likely stem from the small number of studies that provided sufficient information upon which to make cross study comparisons and a lack of variability among the levels of enforcement used across studies. Nonetheless, the synthesis concluded that for all targeted behaviors, enforcement campaigns were effective at reducing prohibited behaviors, even though the magnitude of the observed safety improvements cannot be predicted by the level of enforcement activity used in the effort.

https://rosap.ntl.bts.gov/view/dot/62378, 2022

John V
John V
6 months ago

I’m sure it has been explained to you, you just have selective amnesia and want to repeatedly pretend you’ve never heard the argument.

People who drive impaired don’t do it just once. They do it all the time. If they get a ticket every time they run a light or speed, they’ll start to make a connection.

And before you bust out the straw man (ok, I’m probably too late), no that doesn’t mean no cops should ever police drunk driving. Go pull people over leaving from a bar, that sounds fine. But you will affect behavior with automated enforcement.

Champs
Champs
6 months ago

It is simultaneously true that I woke up on the wrong side of the bed this morning and that BikePortland will be running this kind of story to the very end.

I’m glad we’ve come to the step of acknowledging that culture needs to change. The next one is admitting we live in a country that doesn’t change collectively out of the goodness of its heart.

People need incentives. The Oregon Bottle Bill is an example: if this 52 year old law feels like it has overstayed its welcome by a decade or two, that is because it successfully changed attitudes about recycling not by pleading for Mother Earth but five cents at a time. Safe driving has never come with perceived incentives, and if anything, people make fun of it. If you want progress, you have to flip the reward-to-ridicule ratio.

Pkjb
Pkjb
6 months ago
Reply to  Champs

Why has the bottle bill overstayed is welcome? I think it’s great. Get a green bag and drop it off at a bottle return. It’s a seamless process. Blows my mind that my neighbors just chuck their returnables in the bin.

Fred
Fred
6 months ago
Reply to  Pkjb

I agree. The green-bag program is great and needs to continue.

Middle o the Road Guy
Middle o the Road Guy
6 months ago
Reply to  Pkjb

People probably don’t want to deal with the scene at the bottle drops.

Pkjb
Pkjb
6 months ago

Sure. I don’t want to either. But the green bags allow you to bypass that mess. You just walk up, put your bag in, and walk away. There are three grocery stores within a mile of me that have bag dropoff windows.

Watts
Watts
6 months ago
Reply to  Pkjb

Every time I’ve deposited a green bag, the bin has been overflowingly full, and I had to work hard to push the existing bags back far enough to make room for mine, dealing with a sticky door that is always trying to close on me.

The idea is good, but the execution is poor. I’ve stopped using it, instead giving my returnables to a neighbor.

SolarEclipse
SolarEclipse
6 months ago
Reply to  Pkjb

Because the nearest Bottle Return location to me is a frightening place with what goes on there.
I’m one of your neighbors that just puts them in the blue bin every week.
I have better things to do with my life than risk it returning cans and bottles.
At least when they still collected in the grocery stores it was so much easier and pleasant.

Art Lewellan
Art Lewellan
6 months ago
Reply to  Champs

Question: What is the safest EV tech on the road? Answer: Plug-in hybrid PHEV. The Prius PHEV is rated an ‘effective’ 120mpg when average drives are kept below 30-miles a day. This is an economic incentive to drive less. With a light touch on a PHEV accelerator pedal, that too increases mpg. Drive faster and further and the Prius mpg plummets to 40-45mpg. There are many reasons why PHEV tech is a more ideal investment than all-battery BEVs like the Tesla “road lizard” sedan.

Near my place is a stoplight that has 2-lanes of traffic straight through or tire-squealing right turns at dangerously high speeds with no regard to marked crosswalks. An experiment of a 4-way flashing red here would signal motorists to stop rather than blast through hoping to beat the signal. The next stoplight east is a 3-way that lines of motorists blast through with a green light or accelerate hard to 5+mph over the posted speed limit from a red light. This experimental flashing red signal is basic infrastructure that could be repeated wherever it may help calm traffic. Nevermind what idiot motorists behind the wheel have to say.

Happy Guy PDX
Happy Guy PDX
6 months ago

Well one thing to do differently would be to once again to embrace police traffic enforcement as one element in keeping us safe. The removal of such was certainly part of the record setting deaths we are currently experiencing in Portland. Unfortunately many Portland area transportation nonprofits and advocates put their anti-police ideology ahead of common sense and pragmatism.

Middle o the Road Guy
Middle o the Road Guy
6 months ago
Reply to  Happy Guy PDX

Idealism>action. It’s the non-profit model.

Margo J.
Margo J.
6 months ago

Yep unfortunately taxpayer funded nonprofits are the best and biggest grift in Portland right now. They have a lot of control in Portland due to the generous funding by taxpayers (without accountability, performance metrics or the requirement that they refrain from lobbying). It’s time to stop outsourcing government functions.

ROH
ROH
6 months ago

As long as cars are the primary option to get around, there will continue to be car deaths. Driving and parking need to be more expensive, reflecting their true costs. But that won’t happen until there are real options. We have really dug in our heals on the “car as the only option for most people.” Most people includes drunk drivers, sleepy drivers, distracted drivers, incompetent drivers and sociopathic drivers. Our public transit (which is considered good by USA standards) is pretty crappy for a decent sized metro area and it takes a lot to put up with the inconveniences. But budgetwise we can’t seem to commit to actually improving our transit and making the busses frequent, reliable and safe. We still have so many bus stops on streets without sidewalks. We can’t even seem to put seats and shelters at stops which sucks in a city where it rains frequently and where our summers now are longer and hotter. Yes, you can improve road design and traffic enforcement but ultimately we need to create places where driving is not the only option, or the default option

Todd/Boulanger
6 months ago
Reply to  ROH

Per “car deaths”, I assume your concern is not about cars being destroyed given your great points in the comment. Instead, I assume you meant ‘vehicular homicide’ etc. (I wish there was a better term.)

“Vehicular homicide is a crime that involves the death of a person other than the driver as a result of either criminally negligent or murderous operation of a motor vehicle.” – Wikipedia

ROH
ROH
6 months ago
Reply to  Todd/Boulanger

How about car violence or car mayhem? 🙂 I mean all the damage that cars do to pedestrians, bicyclists, people in other cars, animals. I heard a great podcast that featured Ben Goldfarb who wrote a book called Crossings: How Road Ecology is Shaping the Future of Our Planet. It describes the staggering amount of road kill but more importantly he describes how roads are separating populations into smaller groups and forcing them to mate in shallower gene pools just because they can’t cross roads.

SolarEclipse
SolarEclipse
6 months ago
Reply to  ROH

Every morning I get on at a bus stop that has ZERO cover. No bus shelter, no trees, no nearby building. I’m fortunate as I can afford waterproof gear and backpack but I bet many of my neighbors can’t. If I was to get soaking wet just to wait for a bus I would seriously consider other options, like driving.
When TriMet can’t even keep the most basic promises to its riding public then they have issues internal that can’t seem to follow through. TriMet promised with their “Better Red” they were going to improve the bus waiting areas at Parkrose TC. Well they did take out 9 of the old bus shelters and replaced with 4 new ones. Not sure if management at TriMet graduated from Portland schools, but 4 sure isn’t more than 9. So how is that better? Then to top off the slap in the face to bus riders, the shelters on the west side are about 100′ away from where the buses pick someone up. How is that “better”? Yeah Better Red for Max, but for buses, it’s worse.
I ask myself all the time why do I continue to take the bus. Once upon a time I thought I was doing the proper environmentally friendly option to get to work downtown. My co-workers, who almost all drive now, are tired of listening to me complain and tell me “JUST DRIVE ALREADY!”.
Yeah, it’s awesome.

Watts
Watts
6 months ago
Reply to  ROH

that won’t happen until there are real options. 

I agree.

When you really think in detail about what it would take to create an alternative that most people would consider viable, it’s hard to imagine it could be done with our current model of transit.

You’d need buses everywhere, which would be mostly empty, and that would take a huge number of vehicles and drivers and lots of fuel. It would be hugely expensive and polluting.

9watts
9watts
6 months ago
Reply to  Watts

You’d need buses everywhere, which would be mostly empty…”
Substituting buses for the kinds of point-to-point movement we are used to and that (foot, bike, car) all provide has never been a realistic proposition. Which doesn’t mean we’re stuck with the car, just that public transit isn’t the first or even second or third place we should look.

ROH
ROH
6 months ago
Reply to  9watts

I don’t necessarily agree that we couldn’t make public transit attractive enough, or car driving unattractive enough. For example, lots of people take the MAX to Timbers and Trailblazers games because driving is inconvenient. Parking is expensive and involves a farther walk than the walk from the MAX station. The new FX bus on Division isn’t perfect, but it was an improvement just by making the bus stops look like real transit stops, improving the speed by all door loading. In some cities buses have the ability to change the lights so that they are prioritized and can move faster. If we simultaneously make bus and train service better and make driving and parking more costly, there could be some shift from cars to public transit. It’s good to remember that suburban, sprawled, car oriented development wasn’t always the default in this country and isn’t the default all over the world.

Watts
Watts
6 months ago
Reply to  9watts

Substituting buses for the kinds of point-to-point movement we are used to and that (foot, bike, car) all provide has never been a realistic proposition.

At last, a point of full agreement.

What would you propose as your top three non-automotive alternatives?

9watts
9watts
6 months ago
Reply to  Watts

Bicycle
Feet
Roller Blades

All essentially free, human powered, low barriers to entry, and with no climate impact.

Watts
Watts
6 months ago
Reply to  9watts

All excellent choices that are currently available to anyone who wants them (and is physically able).

I have noticed, though, that a lot of people are willing to spend money to avoid using these modes, so they’re obviously not practical for everyone.

9watts
9watts
6 months ago
Reply to  Watts

I have noticed, though, that a lot of people are willing to spend money to avoid using these modes, so they’re obviously not practical for everyone.”

You always talk like this. I couldn’t disagree more. Inferring from people’s spending habits in a world full of constraints, perverse incentives, subsidies left over from a time when we believed ourselves to live in an Empty World (cf Herman Daly), inequality, poor public policy priorities always hemmed in. y Capitalist Imperatives, etc. that this is what those folks would prefer is so fraught and inadequate.

Watts
Watts
6 months ago
Reply to  9watts

I couldn’t disagree more. 

Ok, tell me: Why do people spend more to drive when they could walk for free? Is there a politically and economically plausible way to change that?

If your answer depends on “leadership”, how do we create the conditions in which that leadership can arise? In a system where it will take 7 council members to do anything, public support will need to be somewhat widespread. How do we build it?

9watts
9watts
6 months ago
Reply to  Watts

Why do people spend more to drive when they could walk for free? Is there a politically and economically plausible way to change that?”

(1) habituation. When the car is/has become your default mode, and it has music, heat, is always dry and comfy, a place where you have stashed snacks or a mask or whatever close at hand, and the city provides you free storage at both ends, the motivation to choose another mode is reduced.

(2) sunk costs. Because of the relative expense of driving and the widespread belief that having a car is necessary, we, most of us made choices long ago to put our funds toward this, but the purchase, registration, insurance, etc. are all in the last, or are now locked in. Having done this, the once time to use it over some other mode is huge because, well, let’s amortize those costs over more trips, right? This is perverse but also very real.

(3) arms race… as a pedestrian I might get creamed; as a driver I am in charge, no one is going to intimidate me at a cross walk, etc.

How to change this? Well why not look to places that have successfully done this, or people who have articulated ways out of this. Policies, spending priorities, infrastructure, enforcement, innovation, etc. It all boils down to what it is we (collectively) want our society to be like, whether we allow ourselves to dream and then realize a different way of conducting our affairs.

You are here the perpetual wet blanket, clear eyed realist, who reifes the status quo. But to me there is no joy, no fun, no promise in that. I’d rather sit at a lunch counter or lie down in front of a government building, or write letters, or run for office or jettison my car, than forever sit on the sidelines, discouraging folks from making change happen at all scales, from the minuscule to the large.

Watts
Watts
6 months ago
Reply to  9watts

Great. Do you see things actually changing, and if so, what will motivate that change, and in what timeframe?

9watts
9watts
6 months ago
Reply to  Watts

public support will need to be somewhat widespread. How do we build it?”

What if it already exists just beneath the surface but we have prevented our fellow citizens from recognizing their collective enthusiasm, our collective potential, through the negative, divisive bias in our media, politics, culture? What if our capitalist system is set up to thwart, discourage, render invisible exactly the kinds of solidarity, activism, collective enthusiasm we could use right now, and may even be lying in wait?

Watts
Watts
6 months ago
Reply to  9watts

What if it already exists just beneath the surface

Do you have any reason to think that such a desire for societal transformation really exists on any sort of broad level?

Mark Paterson
Mark Paterson
6 months ago
Reply to  ROH

When I read this…

Driving and parking need to be more expensive

I read how one person feels that burdened people should be burdened with more. You write like you have money to throw around, while the majority of people in the city you are talking about ‘dont’ have this parking money you think is proper for people to pay. You have no idea how the people around you live, a profound disconnect from everyone else.

ROH
ROH
6 months ago
Reply to  Mark Paterson

and public transit will always be more affordable than personal car ownership. Let’s invest in making it better. Making parking more expensive is only a problem if there aren’t reasonable options. But in most of the US car ownership is almost mandatory to fully participate in life. That does not have to be a given.

9watts
9watts
6 months ago
Reply to  ROH

and public transit will always be more affordable than personal car ownership”

there is a lot to unpack here. More affordable for whom? How is this calculated? Are you assuming people can afford to jettison their car altogether and the bus pass will be cheaper than all the myriad costs associated with owning and using a personal auto? Because if they still (feel the need to) hold onto their car for whatever kinds of trips the bus won’t or can’t realistically accommodate then you have the familiar problem that most of the costs of owning a car are already committed, are in the past, are sunk. The marginal cost of driving is pretty low.

Watts
Watts
6 months ago
Reply to  ROH

Let’s invest in making it better. 

What would it take to improve transit to the point where even half of Portlanders would prefer using it to driving? If those improvements would be expensive, where would the money come from?

Brandon
6 months ago
Reply to  Watts

For me that answer is simple, as soon as transit is faster and more economical than driving it will become the primary mode of transportation for more than half of Portlanders. As long as we keep investing billions of dollars in car infrastructure, instead of people moving infrastructure, that will never happen. There are cities all over the world where transit is faster and cheaper than cars. Stop spending billions to add “auxiliary” lanes and new freeway interchanges and start putting that money into better transit. Our light rail is a poor excuse for rail transit, 15min headways coupled with a street level downtown combine to make trips take way longer than required, thus making them slower than driving for most trips. Hoping and wishing for behavior to change without a change to the underlying incentives is asinine. The incentives are cost and time, we have to change that calculation in order to change behavior for most people. I take light rail to blazers and timbers games, but not to work, because it takes twice as long, parking is free, and my car is a sunk cost. If that math changed for my commute so would my behavior.

Watts
Watts
6 months ago
Reply to  Brandon

As soon as transit is faster and more economical than driving it will become the primary mode of transportation for more than half of Portlanders.

I fully concur. But while that statement is easy to make, it’s much harder to imagine what it would actually take for transit to become faster and more economical on a practical level. That’s why the most commonly voiced proposals involve deliberately making car travel slower and more expensive, something unlikely to survive politically if there is not an obvious benefit accompanying the change.

Bob
Bob
6 months ago

If Portland was serious about “vision zero” which is hysterically unattainable it would implement the following:

  1. Free Trimet during bar hours.
  2. 24-hour max lines.
  3. More traffic enforcement
  4. More red-light cameras
  5. Consistent speeds on streets. 15 in school zones, 20 on neighborhood streets 35 on all major arteries.
  6. Left hand turn signals.
  7. Update all intersections to have light poles, painted cross walks (preferably glow in the dark paint so it’s visible during all weather) & better signage.
  8. Put walking & biking on the same bimodal path separate from the street (IE Milwaukie Linwood Ave). Cut down the small street trees & bury the electrical poles while at it. Replant the trees with something to battle the lack of tree canopy.
  9. All crosswalks should have flashing lights when a pedestrian is crossing.
  10. Extend all corners out to the street so pedestrians can be seen with actual concrete, not poles & paint that don’t get maintained.
  11. Pave the roads & paint them with glow in the dark paint so they are visible.
  12. Anyone who has to get a DL has to take a DUII course to pass.

There will still be death. People will speed, will drink, will walk into traffic looking at their phone or ride their bikes at night in black. It’s just human nature to be dumb. You can’t save everyone, but currently PDX & PBOT doesn’t seem to want to do much of anything to save someone.

9watts
9watts
6 months ago
Reply to  Bob

It’s just human nature to be dumb.”

Not helpful. Sweden’s pathbreaking invention—and pursuit of—Vision Zero yielded real results. Easy to look up.

Mark Paterson
Mark Paterson
6 months ago
Reply to  Bob

All the money spent on designing safety in crosswalks in Portland. Yet. 92% of crosswalks North of NE Hancock are the most dangerous crosswalks in Portland Metro. They are barely lit. The signs at the crossings are always dirty, lessening reflectivity. There is construction happening at the NE Going St crossing, but I don’t know if that is crossing related as there is also a problem with a sinkhole there the city has been battling for years. Then there is the fact that the city dont have money for such projects unless we are okay with more debt while inflation. Which I am starkly against added spending right now!

Happy Guy PDX
Happy Guy PDX
6 months ago

“…return of the Portland Police Bureau Traffic Division, 71 people have been killed on Portland streets so far this year.”

Time to be honest with your writing Jonathan. The “return” of the PPB Traffic Divsion has only been to a shadow of its former self. Numbers of traffic officers are only of small percentage of what they were before it was eliminated.

Matt Villers
Matt Villers
6 months ago
Reply to  Happy Guy PDX

How many cops does it take? The article you’re responding to cites multiple instances of drunk drivers speeding right by very visible police investigation scenes.

You appear certain that there’s a direct correlation between spending on traffic enforcement officers and risky driving behavior, but I’ve never seen anyone making that claim offer any data showing that more police = fewer or less severe crashes. At least there’s data to back up automated enforcement.

Meanwhile nearly $300m is going to PPB this year already. Is your suggestion that if it was $500m we’d see a big drop in crashes? Because if I could pull $200m out of a hat to reduce traffic violence, my thought is that could buy a whole lot of infrastructure that’d improve safety for decades to come.

Trike Guy
Trike Guy
6 months ago
Reply to  Matt Villers

Even if you could pull $200m out of a hat it wouldn’t do PPB any good – last I checked they had fully funded but vacant positions still (they had dozens still *after* the $15m budget shortfall a couple of years ago).

The simple fact of the matter is that the vast majority of reckless driving incidents go unpunished and have almost forever and people know it. No one is afraid of being caught when they break traffic laws. A smattering of cops (14 for the city of Portland right now) is never going to provide ubiquitous enforcement that is necessary to change behavior.

However, you do need a decent number of live officers to slowly whittle down the offenses that make automated enforcement less effective – missing license plates being the primary one. That requires more than 14 police and requires police that are interested in actually doing their bloody job – which many are apparently not interested in.

I have a screen shot of the front page of KOIN news from my iPad from boxing day morning – 4 headlines for 3 traffic deaths and 1 stabbing. That completely encapsulates why I want to leave this country, because Americans are completely incapable of changing the cultural indifference to needless death that pervades this country.

curly
curly
6 months ago

While east Portland continues to have ped/bike/vehicle fatalities, PBOT continues to fund projects in the central city. This has been decades in the making and one only has to look at the amount of funding eaten up by CCIM, or The Green Loop and realize PBOT has continually dropped the ball on funding projects where they are most needed.

You’ll notice that all of these fatalities are on stroads. After decades of the same story PBOT still feeds breadcrumbs to the areas of the city that need it the most.
PBOT will never change under it’s current leadership (or, lack thereof) and we’ll see change at the same snails pace that’s been the norm for decades. If you live close to a high crash corridor, don’t hold your breath that the city will do something to correct the problems they’ve known about for decades on these corridors. You’ll die.

dw
dw
6 months ago
Reply to  curly

I really get where you’re coming from but it’s not just one big funding bottle of ranch dressing that the city spurts over different parts of the pizza at will. Ok that’s a bad analogy.

There’s a lot more nuance and complexity in how projects get funded – local taxes vs. state vs federal grants as an example. Many of the central city projects have been in the works for years or decades, so steering the ship on that would be a massive waste of resources. We need good bike and ped infrastructure in East Portland, for sure. I don’t disagree with you on that. But we also need to keep making improvements to places where people already bike to get around. Pausing bike projects in yuppie neighborhoods doesn’t really punish the yuppies; but it does punish the people that rely on that bike infrastructure to get to work in yuppie neighborhoods.

City leaders have to make tough decisions and weigh a variety of factors; one of which is public opinion and “demand”. We all roll our eyes when people trot out the “but no bikes on the stroad now why bike lanes??” argument, but in the real world political game it’s important. PBOT and TriMet made a huge investment in safety with the Outer Division project, and what were they met with for their efforts? Local news media platforming outraged boomers? Conspiracy-theory loving business owners bitching non-stop about the medians? I’m sure they’ve got plenty of angry emails from all stripes. Folks who are happy with it or don’t really care probably won’t tell the city; they’ll just go about their lives.

You gotta make some noise if you really want that change to happen. Email city council to let them know how big of a priority safe street designs are to you. Get together with your neighbors and demand the city fix the dangerous stroads that divide East Portland neighborhoods.

curly
curly
6 months ago
Reply to  dw

DW, with all due respect, east Portland residents have had to advocate for years to get funding for transportation projects. People have been dying on our arterials for years because of the lack of sidewalks and crossings (and bad drivers).

The Division project relied on 9 different funding sources from multiple agencies to complete. In 1996 the city of Portland did The Outer Southeast Community Plan which called for improvements for Division within 5 years. It never happened. In 2009 we did the East Portland Action Plan https://www.portland.gov/omf/brfs/grants/epap/documents/epap-action-plan-march-10-2011/download to expedite the process of the major shortcomings east Portland has because of the amazing amount of residential infill we received. East Portland, in the EPAP plan, had 28% of the population of Portland. We also received over 50% of the entire city’s population increase from 2000-2010. We were receiving no PBOT funding for active transportation at all.

After sitting on the Bike Master Plan steering committee those of us on the committee representing east Portland requested the city conduct a special transportation plan for east Portland. The East Portland In Motion plan (EPIM) https://www.portland.gov/transportation/planning/east-portland-motion . A five year implementation strategy for east Portland active transportation improvements. Ten years after city council approved the plan we only had about 20% of the projects completed. https://www.portland.gov/transportation/planning/documents/epim-projects-implementation-status-tables-spring-2021/download

We have received a significant amount of funding over the last 5 years, but only about 17% per capita of PBOT funding.

Do the math and consider the central city already has superior “Low Stress” bike, transit and pedestrian infrastructure in place.

David Hampsten
David Hampsten
6 months ago
Reply to  curly

East Portland needs a universal parking permit program, similar to the city program for neighborhoods surrounding the central city, but for EP, the proceeds minus administrative costs would all go to EP and be used for traffic calming, transit subsidies, and so on, by an EP-only committee (maybe one rep from each of the 13 neighborhoods?).

I have a feeling, based on how ward systems work in other cities, that all city gas tax revenues will be divvied out by district by 2025.

Mark Paterson
Mark Paterson
6 months ago
Reply to  David Hampsten

I have more people and businesses behind me, against your thought, then you have in support. I know this as I have been a major proponent in helping neighborhood leaders understand that “parking fees and permits” will just lead to more money mismanagement by the city, and add to the ever growing life expenses the blue-city keeps pushing on laboring people. Yeah, NO! I’ll be right behind you with millions of dollars and thousands of people and hundreds of businesses, knocking this over. I could easily make a commercial of 80 year old ladies talking about lifting sledge hammers to knock a meter because they need to eat.

John S.
John S.
6 months ago
Reply to  Mark Paterson

Why can’t the US have even ONE city where people are considered more important than cars? I moved halfway across the country to be in Portland because I figured it had a large concentration of like minded people. Holland is looking better and better….

Watts
Watts
6 months ago
Reply to  John S.

Forget Holland — there’s cars everywhere. Check out Mackinac Island, Michigan.

1kW
1kW
6 months ago

Its sad that you have to cover these stories Jonathan, but we all appreciate your continued work. As grim as the task is, without comprehensive, unbiased coverage, we would be far worse off. Hoping for a better New Year for all.

R
R
6 months ago

The fatal stabbing at the Providence Park Max Station on Christmas Eve is probably also worth noting although it’s not the result of a collision.

Trike Guy
Trike Guy
6 months ago
Reply to  R

As of 12/6/2023 we’d had 70 homicides in Portland, so murders are still outpacing traffic deaths by a small margin.

2023 Homicdes in PDX

Middle o the Road Guy
Middle o the Road Guy
6 months ago
Reply to  Trike Guy

They did say they wanted more Equity.

Fred
Fred
6 months ago

Here’s the thing:

Anybody in Portland – licensed or not – can get into a car – registered or not – and drive anywhere at any speed, breaking any and all laws on the way, and not suffer any consequences whatsoever. That’s the truth and everyone knows it.

Until every driver knows that misbehavior has real consequences, the carnage on the streets will continue.

AND we need comprehensive street design that increases the consequences for poor decisions AND makes them less likely.

A complicated problem deserves complicated solutions. There’s no one, simple solution.

surly ogre
surly ogre
6 months ago
Reply to  Fred

AND we need to remember that driving is a privilege, not a right. AND it needs to be harder to get a driver’s license. AND gas needs to be more expensive. AND car parking needs to be more expensive. indeed there are no simple solutions.

Mark Paterson
Mark Paterson
6 months ago
Reply to  surly ogre

AND it needs to be harder to get a driver’s license.

People have been saying this for years. Yet. Super easy for people that are not even legally in country to be behind the wheel on publicly funded streets. The only way you are going to stop drinking and driving, people being behind the wheel illegally, and any other behaviors behind the wheel that can lead to the injury or death of another individual will mean having to make cars driver-less inside cities. 5 days ago the world was shown that self driving cars are not viable. Making things more expensive is not viable and would likely only lead to revolt.

live with what there is, or live where there are less probabilities. The need to control that around you that is not controllable is an actual psychological condition this society also needs to work on.

John S.
John S.
6 months ago
Reply to  Mark Paterson

“Making things more expensive is not viable and would likely only lead to revolt.”
It is not so much a question of making things more expensive, but that of who is paying for them. Seems to me that the people using the parking spaces should be paying for them, rather than people like me (and the other 30-40% of people that don’t drive) paying for them.
Capitalism’s “invisible hand” can’t work unless the costs are reflected in the prices. That includes “hidden costs” such as air pollution, etc.
Cars take up a lot of space – for roads, and for parking. Land is expensive in Portland.

Watts
Watts
6 months ago
Reply to  John S.

People using the parking spaces should be paying for them, rather than people like me (and the other 30-40% of people that don’t drive) paying for them.

People who don’t drive aren’t, by and large, paying for parking. The vast majority of Portland’s road upkeep is paid for by drivers. This may not be true forever, but it is true today.

I do totally agree that we’d be better off if externalized costs were internalized wherever possible, including pollution and carbon emissions that are, for the most part, currently unpriced.

J_R
J_R
6 months ago
Reply to  surly ogre

And the requirement for auto insurance needs to be enforced. (About 10.7 percent of Oregon drivers don’t have insurance.) And the minimum coverage needs to be increased. (Minimum coverage is only $25,000 per person! How quickly will you hit that limit in the hospital ER?)

Watts
Watts
6 months ago
Reply to  J_R

only $25,000

I thought the minimum was double that, but you’re right. Even $50K is far too low, but $25K is just a joke.

J_R
J_R
6 months ago
Reply to  Watts

Per person $25k; per occurrence $50k. Property damage $20k.

Yep. A joke.

BethH
6 months ago

Oregon has one of the highest incidences of alcohol-related deaths in the country, and that statistic is fueled heavily by drunk driving. So while we consider traffic engineering and enforcement, we also have to take a hard look at excessive alcohol abuse as a public health problem.
We can’t have different agencies competing for limited dollars to no one’s benefit.
let’s make driving more expensive and less convenient and use that money to improve and promote public transit, walking and bicycling, and neighborhoods and cities designed to favor those modes.
Portland was once visionary and far seeing in its transportation demand management. Can we ever hope to return to that ideal?

Mark Paterson
Mark Paterson
6 months ago
Reply to  BethH

You will make life more expensive for families and cause more unneeded police interactions that will lead to people and police getting hurt for no reason. What is with people calling upon authoritarianism to fix simple things recently? You are talking about punishing “everyone” because some people are irresponsible. NO! You take from the irresponsible in their crimes and not try to make everything expensive for the responsible who live responsibly.

Brandon
6 months ago
Reply to  Mark Paterson

It’s not about punishing anyone. Free street parking and copious fast moving roads are incentives to drive more. If our goal is to get people to where they need to be as safely and efficiently as possible we need to remove those incentives. Pricing the real cost of parking is not authoritarianism, and neither is using those funds to improve alternatives to driving. Transit is more cost effective and safe than driving, we need to create an incentive structure that acknowledges that and takes steps to improve transit while removing the embedded incentives to drive. I’m all for choice in transportation, I just think we have created a system that severely limits choice, in favor of propping up the least efficient mode of transportation, at great cost to all of us. I perceive that as a negative for livability in our city.

Watts
Watts
6 months ago
Reply to  Brandon

Transit is more cost effective and safe than driving

Safer, yes, but not more cost effective, either in time or money. Even the cost I pay at the farebox, which is far below the real cost, is more than it costs me to drive almost anywhere in Portland (possibly outside of downtown, but I haven’t driven there for well over a decade, so not entirely sure).

The “real price of parking” is, I would contend, effectively zero in a typical residential neighborhood.

Transit should be more efficient; but in Portland it’s less.

9watts
9watts
6 months ago
Reply to  Watts

Even the cost I pay at the farebox, which is far below the real cost, is more than it costs me to drive almost anywhere in Portland”

People make this calculation every day but it really isn’t remotely accurate. You are comparing the marginal cost of a ~pint of gasoline to the Trimet fare. Neither is a good representation of the true or full cost of those two modes, and while our economic selves do regularly think of these marginal/visible costs when we choose a mode (well probably more like IF we bother to compare them at all) it doesn’t serve anyone to obscure costs that would be more comparable.
On a per mile basis driving is closer to $0.26/mile (just googled that) whereas the bus is ??? Michael Anderson once wrote an article here comparing the per mile costs of various forms of public transportation X it would be fun to dig that up.

Watts
Watts
6 months ago
Reply to  9watts

You are comparing the marginal cost of a ~pint of gasoline to the Trimet fare. 

Yes. That pint of gas, which I paid for a while back, plus a tiny bit of depreciation/wear-n-tear that I may or may not pay for years in the future, is my cost. Meanwhile, TriMet is cash on the barrelhead.

The “full cost” (however you want to inflate that) is irrelevant to me when deciding how I’m going to make my next trip. As is what driving costs other people (average costs mean nothing to me — only my cost matters).

My per-trip driving cost is so low it’s not even worth thinking about. And whatever it is is completely dwarfed by the pleasure of traveling in warmth and comfort at this time of the year, without having to wait for a bus that may or may not come when promised, and probably doesn’t really go where I want to anyway, and who knows what pleasures await once on board.

9watts
9watts
6 months ago
Reply to  Watts

#sunkcost

Watts
Watts
6 months ago
Reply to  9watts

It’s not so much a #sunkcost as a system with a high fixed cost and (usually) low variable cost vs. one with a consistent variable cost (moderate in dollars, high in time and comfort).

Once you’ve decided to invest in the fixed cost portion of the system, it only makes sense to prefer the low variable cost over the higher one, especially when it has added benefits of convenience and comfort, and plays to our biases about safety.

9watts
9watts
6 months ago
Reply to  Watts

From the perspective of a consumer you are correct. But if we step back and ask ourselves questions we don’t expect person-as-consumer to ask herself then we may find that we could and perhaps should take steps to change these relations, this lopsidedness that seems almost always to favor the car, reward the automobilist, thwart those who would choose an option with greater social benefits if also perhaps some private, consumer dis-benefits.

Watts
Watts
6 months ago
Reply to  9watts

Sorry… I got completely lost in your second sentence, even after rereading it a number of times, so I may not have understood your point.

But the first sentence I got. As long as I need a car to go hiking, visit friends outside the city, or travel, owning one is well worthwhile, even if it sits idle much of the time.

It’s a simple, concrete decision with clear costs and benefits.

9watts
9watts
6 months ago
Reply to  Watts

I’m not surprised I lost you. While writing it I realized that your approach here has always been blinkered by the individual, consumer perspective, and absolutely does not admit the possibility that we could think, act, make decisions commensurate with the collective good.

As a consumer (private, individual) I might patronize a gas station that sells cheap gas, but that doesn’t negate the fact that (as a citizen, public) I would prefer gas to be vastly more expensive.

We in the US increasingly view public policy through the lens of consumer preferences (I feel that you of all the bikeportland commenters here do this too). I think this is a huge mistake and occludes most of the interesting possibilities. Principles, the public good, tradeoffs, the long view, are all dimensions of how we might approach the subjects we discuss here that are made less likely if/when we take a private, consumer lens.

Watts
Watts
6 months ago
Reply to  9watts

A basic observation we might both agree on: People are motivated to action by “consumer preferences”, less so by self-sacrifice for the common good.

I wish it were different, but I try to engage with the world as it is.

JR
JR
6 months ago

Can we get random sobriety checks in this city? The amount of drunk driving is insane. My friend’s neighbor crashed his car into a parked car on the block and the police wouldn’t even come. This was like 4 years ago, and the police response has only gotten exponentially worse. So it’s no wonder that at this point drunk drivers literally roll onto an active traffic investigation scene.

Watts
Watts
6 months ago
Reply to  JR

Can we get random sobriety checks in this city?

Probably not; the Oregon courts have ruled these unconstitutional.

Mark Paterson
Mark Paterson
6 months ago
Reply to  JR

That’s not how this country works. Educate yourself and those around you instead of calling upon authoritarianism please! Thank you.

SD
SD
6 months ago

Real transportation reform that could provide safe, affordable, efficient transportation for the Portland region will require a leap forward championed by a coalition of state and local leaders rather than incremental prodding and piecemeal projects; a clear coordinated message where the political heat is absorbed across multiple agencies. They should go big to get people excited and bring out the strong grass roots support for a livable vibrant city. Nobody should die on Portland streets, but more importantly every Portlander should feel alive on Portland streets.

The current transportation ecosystem in many ways is like a garden where PBOT has been trying to create conditions for beneficial plants to grow that provide beauty and sustenance. However, they are too timid to remove the toxic invasive weeds that will never let the desirable plants thrive. All of the water, compost and flexi-posts in the universe are not going to shift the equilibrium to create a Portland where someone can walk a couple miles and feel energized by being in a city rather than threatened by noise, pollution and selfishness of drivers. There needs to be a city-wide vision that is clearly communicated to the public and bollards.

PBOT can’t make a transformative change on their own. They need a full throated coordinated campaign from all public agencies as if they are starting from square one. They need to get leaders of the business community that don’t suck to endorse the plan. They need to put ODOT’s 100 million dollar PR budget toward something useful and life affirming. All the pieces are here, Portland just needs leaders that want Portland to lead the US into a rational future. Portland doesn’t need second-career discards that want Portland to be an incubator for mediocre politicians.

9watts
9watts
6 months ago
Reply to  SD

My vote for comment of the Month/Year.

Mark Paterson
Mark Paterson
6 months ago

Some of you go about your ideas of trying to fix drunk driving and illegal driving all wrong. The first time you get a DUII, you get a $5000 fine, and courses you will pay for in telling you how to not be stupid. The second time you get caught DUII, you go to jail for 5 years. NO ACCEPTIONS FOR THE WEALTHY, LAWYERS THAT TRY GET DISBARRED. 3rd offense is 20 years hard labor. That’s not tough, if you have loved someone that was taken by a drunk driver.

In Oregon. If you get caught driving on suspended or no license 3 times you serve 10 years time with eligibility. Reduce it to two tries and remove parole eligibility.

I have not advanced any authoritarianism ideas, I have merely made peoples bad decisions more costly for themselves and not society. And with educating the people in the community about the lose of freedoms from bad judgement will likely get people to think more before they act. We need to be honest with ourselves though and realize we will never end the carnage brought about by the unthinking people.

Be kind to people. Educate people. Help those in need!

Mark Paterson
Mark Paterson
6 months ago

“Scaled back to get more funding.”

Don’t you love being scammed by the people running the city? Remember their names.

Harry Lime
Harry Lime
6 months ago

According to the BikePortland data, 40% of fatalities are pedestrians, with no illegal circumstances on the part of the driver. Want to reduce that? Start enforcing jaywalking laws. It’s illegal in Oregon for anyone to cross a street outside of a crosswalk or corner.

It would also be helpful for clarity if pedestrian impairment was included in the data.

9watts
9watts
6 months ago
Reply to  Harry Lime

“…fatalities are pedestrians, with no illegal circumstances on the part of the driver.”

I am curious where you got those statistics? The across-the-board exoneration of drivers sounds utterly fanciful to me. I have never heard of any such finding. The Swiss who actually studied this carefully came to basically the opposite conclusion. I’m sure there are other stories out there and would like to know of them.

Harry Lime
Harry Lime
6 months ago
Reply to  9watts

They’ve been compiled by BikePortland. I can’t vouch for accuracy. There are almost no pedestrian fatalities that include an entry in the “crime / citation” column for them.

https://bikeportland.org/fatality-tracker

Harry Lime
Harry Lime
6 months ago
Reply to  9watts

I’m using BikePortland’s own data. Almost none of the pedestrian fatalities include a notation in the “crime/citation” column. Some do, though, so it’s evidently not a forgotten aspect. I can only interpret that as meaning the driver was not speeding, was not impaired, was not distracted by cell phone. The scenario of, say, a pedestrian illegally jaywalking at night, would result in that type of data entry.

https://bikeportland.org/fatality-tracker

Watts
Watts
6 months ago
Reply to  Harry Lime

Lack of a citation for, say, speeding doesn’t mean a driver wasn’t speeding. It could mean that there was insufficient evidence to demonstrate that the driver was speeding, so no ticket could be issued.

In other words, lack of a citation is more an indication of lack of evidence than lack of underlying violation. In most cases we simply don’t know exactly what happened.

Harry Lime
Harry Lime
6 months ago
Reply to  Watts

Your explanation is not accurate. Try again.

In a fatal accident, they use the OBDII data which logs precisely how fast the car was going. Except in the super-rare case that the car was built before 1995. And obviously, tests are administered for drugs & alcohol. And also cell phone records are checked for both data and phone to see if they were using it.

Are you bothered by the lack of data on pedestrian impairment, jaywalking, or time of day? Those seem to be extremely important variables.

qqq
qqq
6 months ago
Reply to  Harry Lime

Are you bothered by the lack of data on pedestrian impairment, jaywalking, or time of day? Those seem to be extremely important variables.

Why?

9watts
9watts
6 months ago
Reply to  Harry Lime

Almost none of the pedestrian fatalities include a notation in the ‘crime/citation’ column.”
If my memory isn’t faulty, PPB and other agencies making these determinations are unbelievably reluctant to (almost pathologically incapable of) assign(ing) fault to motorists when it clearly was their fault. So I would place zero faith in data generated by these clowns. I mean just look through the almost twenty years of coverage here on bikeportland of crashes. When have the authorities looked at these situations in an unbiased fashion? Adam Joy is just the most recent example,

Harry Lime
Harry Lime
6 months ago
Reply to  9watts

BikePortland is the only one who can answer how they get the data.

It’s not logical to think that in 2023 there have been 26 pedestrian fatalities and while 7 of them have criminal indications, the other 19 are “accidentally blank”.

It’s also vital to know variable like pedestrian intoxication and jaywalking. Otherwise, the data is incomplete.

9watts
9watts
6 months ago
Reply to  Harry Lime

You are coming through loud and clear, Harry. You, like wspob before you, want us to come to grips with pedestrian incautiousness. I just happen to disagree with you about the significance of this problem, as the explanatory variable we should be focusing on. To me pedestrians of all sorts should be protected, allowed to live: by our infrastructure, our laws, and our norms. Vision Zero I think pretty much agrees.
Let us not forget that most dead pedestrians, however flawed or incautious, would still be alive today but for having encountered a motor vehicle.

Harry Lime
Harry Lime
6 months ago
Reply to  9watts

Then you’re being dishonest, and have an agenda which is clearly anti-car, more than pro-safety.

A jaywalking pedestrian wearing dark clothes at night is not the fault of the driver. If you care about Vision Zero, then you would also support pedestrians wearing reflective sashes – the same way we have mandated many other devices in the name of public safety – helmets, seatbelts, covid masks….

If 40% of deaths could have been prevented with improved visibility – you don’t care about that?

How can you claim that 40% of fatalities (pedestrians) is insignificant?

qqq
qqq
6 months ago
Reply to  Harry Lime

On the one hand, you’re saying that a large percentage of pedestrians killed were doing (or likely to have been doing) something illegal–such as jaywalking–which caused or at least was a major contributor to their being killed.

On the other hand, you’re saying 40% of deaths could have been prevented with improved visibility, presumably through a requirement to wear reflective sashes.

In other words, you seem to be saying that a law to require wearing reflective sashes will save many of the people who died because they didn’t follow existing laws, because those people who ignored laws meant to protect their safety will follow a new law meant to protect their safety.

That doesn’t make sense.

9watts
9watts
6 months ago
Reply to  Harry Lime

A jaywalking pedestrian wearing dark clothes at night is not the fault of the driver.”

Good afternoon Mr Broad Brush.

There is a glib, patronizing, blame-the-victim tone to much of what you have posted here. I find it interesting (you may or may not) that in other countries these matters are framed differently than you are, and perhaps even differently than they are here by less glib folks.
We might start by asking yourselves who has a right to be about at night. Do pedestrians? Do blind people? Do boulders? Is their right to be about contingent on their wearing approved clothing? Your foil here is jaywalking, which as I have already alluded to is an invention of the US motorist lobby from the 1920s who sought to dig themselves out of the disastrous PR hole their machines’ carnage had gotten them into. Up until that point people on foot were understood to have the right to be in the street, and automobilists were at best guests.
All of this has history, context, nuance, reflects power unevenly distributed.
But back to how other countries handle this. My recollection from Germany is that at night in urban settings the legal framework around pedestrian presence is that motorists should expect them anywhere, unexpectedly. They might even be drunk. No across-the-board indictment of their presence outside of crosswalks with which you keep showing up here. Strict Liability is also I think related to this.
You may say what does all of this have to do with the here and now. This is not Germany; or the 1920s. I bring this up to suggest that your parameters themselves are contingent, emergent, and in theory mutable.

9watts
9watts
6 months ago
Reply to  Harry Lime

Here you go:
Here’s an article from 2011 in a Swiss paper about the incidence of cars running over people in crosswalks.
http://www.bernerzeitung.ch/region/seeland-jura/Die-Verantwortung-liegt-immer-beim-Autofahrer/story/17334952
«In 86 Prozent der Fälle ist der Autofahrer alleine schuld, in 3 Prozent ist es der Fussgänger, und in den restlichen 11 Prozent haben beide Schuld.» Menna lässt auch das Argument nicht gelten, dass das Hauptproblem derjenige Fussgänger sei, der plötzlich die Fahrbahn betrete, sodass der Autofahrer gar keine Chance zum Abbremsen habe. «Nur bei 7 Prozent der Unfälle auf Zebrastreifen wurde festgestellt, dass der Fussgänger die Strasse unvorsichtig gequert hatte.»

“In 86% of cases the driver is solely at fault. In 3% of cases it is the pedestrian, and in the remaining 11% both share fault. [The spokesman from citizen office for crash-avoidance] disagreed with the argument that the main problem was with pedestrians who suddenly step into the street, so that the driver of a car has no chance to brake in time. “In only 7 percent of crashes in crosswalks was it determined that the pedestrian had carelessly crossed the street.”
and another quote (from a driving instructor):

“«Bei Tempo 30 könnte man zwei von drei Unfällen verhindern.»”

“With a speed limit of 30 [km/h] two-thirds of these accidents could have been avoided.”

Harry Lime
Harry Lime
6 months ago
Reply to  9watts

“In crosswalks” That’s a key phrase. Obviously, a person hit in a crosswalk is the fault of a driver. Would you similarly agree than a person hit while jaywalking in the dark is the pedestrian’s fault?

9watts
9watts
6 months ago
Reply to  Harry Lime

No. Culpability isn’t so straightforward, whether in or outside of a crosswalk. If it were as black and white as you seem to think we would be having a different conversation. Besides if you are curious the history of the concept of Jaywalking is very interesting, how it came to be, who pushed it, and what their goals were. Check out Peter Norton’s work on that sometime.

Harry Lime
Harry Lime
6 months ago
Reply to  9watts

Exactly – it’s not straightforward. A pedestrian jaywalking a busy street in dark clothing at night, however, is quite guilty of their own injury or death. Which is why most of the pedestrian fatalities don’t have any indication of crime. And no coincidence, 70% of pedestrian fatalities are homeless people, who are not known for being sober and careful about walking.

Harry Lime
Harry Lime
6 months ago

It’s interesting that your own article shows that pedestrians are at fault 38% of the time for their own fatalities, but your data does not indicate when the pedestrian was at fault, only when drivers have violated a law.

Lisa Caballero (Assistant Editor)
Editor
Reply to  Harry Lime

The point of the Oregon Walks work is that the police reports don’t contain the type of information needed to determine problems with the area which may have led to the crash. Things like absence of lighting, or no nearby crosswalks. Pedestrians are not going to walk a quarter of a mile to reach the closest signalized intersection, but the police are silent on that.

Police reports focus on when drivers violate a law because they are pulling together the information a DA needs to make a case, not the info PBOT needs to make the location safer.

The point of the BikeLoud PDX report is that driving is dangerous, and should be treated with the attention and regulation that any dangerous activity deserves. Jeevan wants to reduce the risk of crashes happening. Risk reduction is a good thing.

Harry Lime
Harry Lime
6 months ago

38% of pedestrians dead because they did illegal actions seems significant to include in BikePortland’s data. I think each of those pedestrian deaths on the excel chart should have an indicator of “pedestrian intoxicated” or “pedestrian ignored stop light”, etc. Otherwise it’s an inadequate picture.

And, when someone knows they are presenting an inadequate picture and don’t fix it – their objectivity and motives come into question.

Sounds like your motive is “prove that driving is dangerous, and obscure the fact that close to half of pedestrian deaths were caused by their own actions.”

Watts
Watts
6 months ago

Risk reduction is a good thing.

Wearing reflective clothes at night is a form of risk reduction, and is one way people can exercise agency and increase their own safety unilaterally. I am often surprised that people who claim that safety is the most important thing often don’t take basic steps to improve their own.

Risk reduction is based on a completely different set of principles than is assigning responsibility for mishaps.

qqq
qqq
6 months ago
Reply to  Harry Lime

 Would you similarly agree than a person hit while jaywalking in the dark is the pedestrian’s fault?

Not necessarily. Here’s a recent case of a woman killed crossing outside a legal crosswalk in Hillsboro. The location she crossed had no safe crossing in a 1.5-mile stretch. And only one side of that stretch has a sidewalk. She may have had a choice between “jaywalking” and walking alongside highway traffic with no shoulder.

Further, as I recall the law, it would have been illegal for her to walk in the same direction as traffic on the side without a crosswalk. But it was not illegal for her to cross where she did, as long as she gave vehicles the right-of-way. She may have intended to do that, but been caught by surprise by the speed of an approaching car (perhaps even because it was speeding).

As 9watts said, culpability isn’t so straightforward.

https://bikeportland.org/2020/01/14/this-mornings-death-on-tv-highway-underscores-need-for-reform-investment-309625

Harry Lime
Harry Lime
6 months ago
Reply to  qqq

Yes. that’s a dangerous highway and ODOT should be putting in many safe crossings. I’m absolutely not against adding lights everywhere, lighted crossings and pedestrian overpasses.

But quite likely if she’d been wearing a simple 5-cent reflective sash, she would have been visible from over 300 feet away and a driver that was going the legal speed limit could have slowed and stopped well in advance. Sad.

But most sad is that I’m getting the impression from, people here who likely support helmet laws and seatbelt laws but don’t want to do the same very simple thing with pedestrians to SAVE LIVES. Further – to save lives super cheaply and instantly, compared to spending billions on infrastructure changes that takes years. Wow.

Weird how I support intelligent infrastructure improvements, but I hear so much resistance to essentially extending helmet laws to pedestrians. Only in a vastly cheaper and easier way. Wearing a reflective sash after dark that can be folded back up and conveniently kept in your wallet, available for free everywhere.

It sure sounds like you think that improving pedestrian safety and reminding pedestrians of their own responsibility for their safety threatens your firm anti-car religion.

And anyone who truly cares about “Vision Zero” and who truly wants to reduce deaths would embrace something as simple and painless as a reflective sash law, which would have immediate, measurable success. Human nature sure is interesting, ain’t it. Reminds me of people who were anti-mask mandates, even though the data showed in every state a massive decline in infection rate before and after mandates. Some people really don’t like data or objectivity.

9watts
9watts
6 months ago
Reply to  Harry Lime

but I hear so much resistance to essentially extending helmet laws to pedestrians.”

How about helmets for showering people, or stair climbing/descending people, or old people? Maybe helmets for everyone all the time?!

Your equivalencies are telling. You focus on how simple and easy these changes **that go beyond what the law requires** are in your mind for those we sometimes refer to as vulnerable road users. What your perspective misses however is the reluctance to demand that people in cars obey laws that are already on the books. Not driving too fast for conditions, yielding to pedestrians, not proceeding if you can’t see everything/anything that isn’t retro-reflective, etc. Your focus here seems always to be on the vulnerable doing still more to accommodate the inattention, the predisposition to speed, the inherent dangers of the automobilists; you skip over the source of the problem, the menace that makes all of this necessary.Wspob before you represented exactly this perspective. If not for his unique diction I would be tempted to speculate that you were wspob reincarnated.

Carry on.

Harry Lime
Harry Lime
6 months ago
Reply to  9watts

Does Vision Zero apply to showers? Do people in showers get hit by cars because it’s dark?

Oh, so a jaywalker in the dark won’t be hurt when I’m driving the speed limit of 30 on Division.

The pedestrian is supposed to yield to the cars.

9watts
9watts
6 months ago
Reply to  Harry Lime

I can’t figure out if you are here to learn something, listen to perspectives that may differ from the notions you came here with? Mostly your posts read as gotcha-fusillades, which makes actual conversation difficult.

Harry Lime
Harry Lime
6 months ago
Reply to  9watts

I see you aren’t going to answer my 3 questions, which were a conversational response to your questions. Perhaps your questions were actually gotcha-fusillades and I was a dope to think you wanted a reply. I answered your questions, but you failed to answer mine – so it must actually be you who’s making conversation difficult. And it seems you’re not conversing with me to learn anything, only to make me conform to your illogical view of pedestrian fatalities.

I offered a cheap and practically instant solution to reducing pedestrian fatalities. Reflective sashes. You haven’t explained how that dramatic and radically new concept in public safety is bad, especially in light of helmet laws, seatbelt laws, bike reflector & light laws and covid mask mandates.

9watts
9watts
6 months ago
Reply to  Harry Lime

“when I’m driving the speed limit of 30 on Division“

carhead affects all of our judgments.
If it is dark, it may not be wise or even legal to drive the speed LIMIT. That is why it is called a LIMIT, not a required MINIMUM. There is a little observed basic speed law:
The Basic Speed Law states that you must never drive faster than is safe for present conditions, regardless of the posted speed limit.

If it is dark, rainy, foggy, people/animals/boulders might be about, it is hardly good practice or safe to insist on a posted speed as reason for you to endanger others or yourself.

qqq
qqq
6 months ago
Reply to  Harry Lime

Does Vision Zero apply to showers? Do people in showers get hit by cars because it’s dark?

I’m sure 9watts mentioned helmets in showers because falls in showers are a common injury, and helmets would certainly reduce those.

So it seems logical that he’d ask someone (you) who apparently supports mandatory reflective-vest wearing for pedestrians if they’d support shower helmets.

Oh, so a jaywalker in the dark won’t be hurt when I’m driving the speed limit of 30 on Division.

I assume you mean “won’t be hurt if I hit them…” Nobody is saying they won’t be hurt.


The pedestrian is supposed to yield to the cars.

Yes, in certain situations. Not sure why you wrote that.

SD
SD
6 months ago
Reply to  Harry Lime

Please don’t take this as an attempt to dissuade you from your campaign to criminalize walking and add an extra layer of absolution for careless or incompetent drivers… but you would get so much more safety bang for your regulatory buck if you were out here pining for car helmets. Take a look, the benefits of car helmets add to air bags, are easy to keep in a car and can be very fashionable as well.

Harry Lime
Harry Lime
6 months ago
Reply to  SD

So bicycling is criminalized because of helmet laws, reflector and light laws. And breathing is criminalized when masks are required.

SD
SD
6 months ago
Reply to  Harry Lime

I believe that you are fully capable of figuring this one out on your own.

Harry Lime
Harry Lime
6 months ago
Reply to  SD

Pedestrian reflectors are required by law in Estonia, Lithuania, Finland, Norway, Latvia. In the other Scandinavian countries, they’re simply worn voluntarily as part of the culture, no fines needed.

9watts
9watts
6 months ago
Reply to  Harry Lime

Here’s the deal, Mr. Harry Lime:

you can parade gotcha statistics cherry picked from all over the world. But the fact remains that while we can learn many things both from around the world and from each other here in the bikeportland comments, your central contention—as it was wspob’s before you—that the wearing of retro-reflective material and or helmets will protect pedestrians just isn’t so. As others have tirelessly tried to point out to you here in the comments, people are killed by inattentive or aggressive or clueless motorists every day under circumstances where (more) retroreflective anything would not be relevant, make a difference.
No one here is saying that taking protective measures such as you describe is a bad idea, Where I think most of us part ways with you is in the smug tone with which you decree that this is the most important thing to know/do/take responsibility for. And that it will have measurable consequences.

What you are not hearing is that all of this is nuanced, fraught, context specific, and that messaging is important too. The Baltic countries may well have safer roads than ours, and requiring pedestrians to accessorize themselves may be part of a broader set of programs they have pursued to make it so. But cherry picking the one that focuses on pedestrians, and omitting the ones (I am going to assume) that focus on driver behavior, speeding, culpability in a crash, enforcement, etc. is disingenuous. I could point out that injury rates for cyclists in The Netherlands are much lower than they are here, and yet almost no one over there wears helmets. Would you find that helpful? Persuasive?

Harry Lime
Harry Lime
6 months ago
Reply to  9watts

So you’re claiming that increasing visibility of pedestrians from 50m (164 ft.) to 350m (1,148 ft.) simply would not be helpful. Fascinating. How amazing to watch someone reject increased visibility.

When traveling at 30 mph, the combined reaction distance and braking distance at 90 feet (on dry pavement). In the dark, that means barely stopping less than 60 feet from the pedestrian. Unless they’re wearing a reflector and can be seen 10x farther.

You probably support lowering speed limits. Which is intended to decrease potential braking distance. And yet – reflectors do essentially the same thing, they make it possible for motorists to see pedestrians 10x farther and brake. Just like slower speeds, reflectors decrease braking distance.

comment image

visibility-of-a-reflector
9watts
9watts
6 months ago
Reply to  Harry Lime

How amazing to watch someone reject increased visibility.”

You seem to really get off on hearing yourself shout.
And you are also not an especially careful listener/reader.
You might have noticed that I said in the comment immediately above to which you are responding that “No one here is saying that taking protective measures such as you describe is a bad idea…” I am not *rejecting increased visibility*, what I am rejecting is your increasingly shrill assertions that retro-reflective material worn by pedestrians is equal to a force field; WILL protect them.
Not sure if you were around then, but if you were you might recall that Ellen Dittebrand was killed while biking out in the gorge IN DAYLIGHT, wearing retroreflective garb.
Christeen Osborn biking with her husband on Hwy 101, was also wearing retroreflective material; not killed but very seriously injured by Wanda Cortese who ‘failed to maintain her lane.’
Kerry Kunsman, biking on the Coast wearing all manner of retroreflective material was killed by Frank Bohannon who was piloting his F350 around the curve much too fast.
The dad pulling his child in a bike trailer on SE 60th on Mt. Tabor a few years ago was plowed into by an inattentive motorist. And, you guessed it, the trailer and dad were festooned with retroreflective material.

I could go on.

Watts
Watts
6 months ago
Reply to  9watts

I am rejecting is your assertions that retro-reflective material worn by pedestrians WILL protect them.

While it is true reflective clothing is not a magical forcefield that will protect against all bad things, it does seem likely that increased visibility would reduce the likelihood of getting hit by a car at night.

Like any safety measure, it’s about reducing the odds rather than all-or-nothing thing, so citing examples where reflective clothing did not protect is not in itself informative.

9watts
9watts
6 months ago
Reply to  Watts

Like any safety measure, it’s about reducing the odds”

Sure. Maybe.
The funny thing though is that moral hazard, so called, is real. And with the present topic we don’t just have the potential wearers of the retro-reflective garb, but also the potential see-ers of it. The widespread adoption of retro-reflective clothing arguably makes deer and the un-reflectorized, not to mention the passengers-in-the-car-that-smashed-into-the-boulder-that-wasn’t-wearing-reflective-attire-and-died less safe, and it could make drivers generally less perspicacious at night. Hans Monderman may have been the most prescient on this subject.

Harry Lime
Harry Lime
6 months ago
Reply to  9watts

According to BikePortland’s data, there were 72 total fatalities in 2023. 33 cars, 10 motorcycles, 28 pedestrians, and only 1 bicyclist.

1.4%. Sounds like we’re already a safe city for bikes. But with 28x the pedestrian deaths, you don’t want to help them, and are fixated on what statistics say is not a problem in Portland. Classic.

qqq
qqq
6 months ago
Reply to  Harry Lime

One obvious thing about those countries you list is that they’re all far further north than Oregon–some so much further north that they extend into the Arctic Circle. Reflector requirements make much less sense here than in countries with very restricted daylight hours in winter.

Another obvious one is that several of them–as you mention–have taken the same approach as Oregon, leaving reflector usage up to the individual, without requiring them. And those countries are also far further north than Oregon.

And as 9watts points out, individual laws also shouldn’t be taken out of context. Those countries have infrastructure and vehicle/driver requlations far different than here. As one example, Finland bases speeding fines on income. A Finnish businessman was fined $129K+ for going 50 mph in a 30 mph zone, with a 10-day license suspension.

https://abcnews.go.com/ABCNews/finnish-businessman-handed-121000-speeding-ticket/story?id=99861907#:~:text=Multi%2Dmillionaire%20Anders%20Wikl%C3%B6f%20is%20one%20of%20Finland's%20Richest%20men.&text=Catch%20up%20on%20the%20developing,fine%20(%24129%2C544)%20for%20speeding.

Harry Lime
Harry Lime
6 months ago
Reply to  qqq

Oh, because us having only 10 hours of darkness instead of 14 means people don’t get hit at night. Even though Portland stats show that over half of people get hit in the dark.

Fascinating to watch someone fight against a proven solution. You seem to only want to change infrastructure and punish drivers, not stop deaths.

The countries themselves credit the reflectors. The ones that newly adopted them have stats, universally showing a 30-50% reduction in pedestrian deaths. Maybe you should listen to them, instead of your imagination.

Yes, I agree – fines should be proportional to income. I’m well aware of that, and Finland isn’t the only country to do it. Poland also bases its fines as a multiple of minimum wage, so that fines remain proportional and always increasing instead of stalling out and becoming too cheap.

Harry Lime
Harry Lime
6 months ago
Reply to  qqq

If Portland’s infrastructure is to blame – why were there 20 deaths in 2009, but 63 in 2023? The roads haven’t changed, behavior did. So changing infrastructure to fix a temporary increase makes no sense.

Keeps sounding like you’re using the trojan horse of traffic deaths as a way to practice social engineering and minimize car use. Kind of disgusting, really, to watch you fight against a proven and practically free solution like pedestrian reflectors.

9watts
9watts
6 months ago
Reply to  Harry Lime

If Portland’s infrastructure is to blame – why were there 20 deaths in 2009, but 63 in 2023?”

Did/does anyone here blame the infrastructure? Or perhaps you are an arsonist in a straw man factory? Surely we can all agree here that changes in statistics tabulating motorists killing various categories of people are plausibly to due to any up number of variables, both recognized and perhaps not yet recognized. Drinking patterns changed during COVID, enforcement in this town sure took a dive, mental health service stats for Oregon are near the bottom for all fifty states- maybe there have been some compounding failures there? Homelessness is widely understood to have gotten much worse during this time period. None of those variables have anything to do with infrastructure.
Your shrill Manichaen binaries are not really winning you many converts.

Lisa Caballero (Assistant Editor)
Editor
Reply to  9watts

One change during covid was that there were many fewer cars on the road, that is well-documented. Nevertheless, crashes rose. It seems counterintuitive, but many people came to the understanding that US roads relied on congestion as a speed-limit control, traffic-calmer. Hard to drive too fast in a traffic jam.

(Anecdotally, within the first few months of the covid shutdown, my neighborhood had three very visible one-car, middle of the night crashes — you know the type, straight into the 10-ft tall, cement, retaining wall; through the guard rail and down the embankment; through the guard rail and, lucky you, car came to stop on the sidewalk instead of plunging down the steep gulch.

The conclusion I’ve read is that US roads are engineered for speeds higher than the posted limit. Without congestion to regulate speed, some dumb drivers sent common sense on a holiday and drove like idiots.

9watts
9watts
6 months ago

These sorts of forensics I find fascinating. Thanks, Lisa.

Lisa Caballero (Assistant Editor)
Editor
Reply to  9watts

Happy New Year, 9watts. The comment count on this thread has gotten higher than I usually let them go. But hey, it was a holiday weekend. But also, I think it is useful to remember why we know what we know, and how we arrived at our opinions — and sometimes it takes a contrarian, a troll, or someone who just disagrees, to prompt that review. I was glad to go back over my posts about the Oregon Walks and BikeLoud research reports, I hadn’t looked at them for a couple of years.

Thank you for your comments this weekend!

9watts
9watts
6 months ago

sometimes it takes a contrarian, a troll, or someone who just disagrees, to prompt that review.”
I agree 100%
which is why in the old days I felt wspob’s perspective was so valuable.

qqq
qqq
6 months ago
Reply to  Harry Lime

If Portland’s infrastructure is to blame 

Who’s blaming infrastructure? Not me.

So changing infrastructure to fix a temporary increase makes no sense.

Why do you say increased road deaths are “a temporary increase”? Nobody can know whether that’s true, especially when they haven’t started downward, but are still increasing.

Keeps sounding like you’re using the trojan horse of traffic deaths as a way to practice social engineering and minimize car use.

That’s divorced from anything I’ve said or even implied. It’s also bizarre to be accused of “social engineering” from someone advocating mandatory reflector wearing for people who want to walk at night.

 Kind of disgusting, really, to watch you fight against a proven and practically free solution like pedestrian reflectors.

I haven’t fought against anyone wearing them at all. I’ve only given reasons why I don’t think a requirement to wear them would be nearly as effective as you keep claiming. My other comments were to correct your several wrong statements about crossing laws.

SD
SD
6 months ago
Reply to  Harry Lime

If you were really interested in reducing vehicle related deaths, you would look to all of the solutions that European countries have implemented that they believe have been important to increase safety.

Obsession with one minor strategy of road safety that disproportionately places blame and inconveniences a cross section of people you don’t empathize with just makes it obvious that you are not serious.

Harry Lime
Harry Lime
6 months ago
Reply to  SD

I think the European solutions with traffic are fantastic and I support them. I’d love protected bike lanes on every major street – and fully protected with metal bollards, not flappy plastic. I think many streets should be blocked off to all traffic. I also think the Portland Bike Route map be more strictly “enforced” to take bikes OFF of certain roads when there are alternative routes. That’s a fair trade-off for blocking cars from streets.

I also support doing the cheapest things first, and build on them, especially since infrastructure takes years – decades really – to do. While waiting for those new roads, dozens of people will be dying without a 50-cent reflector.

David Hampsten
David Hampsten
6 months ago
Reply to  Harry Lime

Things are tough all over, even in Ireland traffic deaths are up, including pedestrian deaths. 184 traffic deaths in the republic plus another 70 in the north in 2023 – mind you, the traffic death rate is still lower than in Portland – but it seems to be getting worse, and local ideas for fixes aren’t really all that different than in the USA.
https://www.rte.ie/news/ireland/2024/0101/1424316-road-deaths/

qqq
qqq
6 months ago
Reply to  Harry Lime

But quite likely if she’d been wearing a simple 5-cent reflective sash, she would have been visible from over 300 feet away and a driver that was going the legal speed limit could have slowed and stopped well in advance. Sad.

It’s certainly possible. On the other hand, it’s certainly possible she still would have been hit. Countless pedestrians are hit in daytime. Most pedestrian deaths in Portland have occurred in crosswalks, even in daytime. Cars hit each other every day in Portland in daylight, and at night despite having bright lights and reflectors. Cars hit parked cars, light poles and even buildings regularly.

Plus, on many roads, drivers “going the legal speed limit” are rare. That’s especially true in non-ideal conditions (night, rain, etc.) when even driving the posted limit may not be legal

It sure sounds like you think that improving pedestrian safety and reminding pedestrians of their own responsibility for their safety threatens your firm anti-car religion.

There’s nothing in any comment I’ve made that would make any part of that statement remotely true.

qqq
qqq
6 months ago
Reply to  Harry Lime

 It’s illegal in Oregon for anyone to cross a street outside of a crosswalk or corner.

No it’s not.

But (assuming you drive in Oregon) you’re revealing one big traffic safety problem–many drivers don’t know traffic laws very well. And this one you don’t know is an incredibly basic law, not some esoteric technicality.

Harry Lime
Harry Lime
6 months ago
Reply to  qqq

ORS 814.040 and ORS 801.220 in conjunction with PCC 16.70.210.

Since an implied crosswalk is at every intersection and the average block in Portland is around 300 ft. long, then simply put – it’s illegal to cross anyplace but a corner or a painted crosswalk in mid-street because anyplace along the block will be less than 150 ft. from either corner. Furthermore – the law requires that pedestrians yield to vehicles unless crossing in a painted crosswalk or at a corner.  

Legally – a person bolting across the middle of 82nd who gets killed by a car caused their own death. Nearly every block along 82nd is roughly 300 feet long, meaning 82nd will have a corner or crosswalk within 150 feet in one direction or the other from mid-block which the pedestrian is legally required to use. 

The pedestrian also committed two additional violations by not yielding to oncoming vehicles, and also by simply stepping off the curb to begin with. 

The driver is exonerated, the pedestrian committed 3 total violations.  Perhaps even 4 if the pedestrian was intoxicated in public. Or, in BikePortland’s data sheet verbiage “citation/crime”. Which they would be noting with pedestrian fatalities if they were less manipulative and zealous and instead more objective and factual.

qqq
qqq
6 months ago
Reply to  Harry Lime

I was responding to what you wrote, not what the law may be in certain situations. There are hundreds or thousands of locations in Portland where pedestrians can be more than 150′ from a marked or unmarked crosswalk.

David Hampsten
David Hampsten
6 months ago
Reply to  Harry Lime

When I moved from Oregon to NC in 2015, I assumed that Oregon had much more liberal pedestrian crossing laws than NC, but I soon discovered they were more or less exactly the same, that car drivers were required to yield to pedestrians at any corner, marked or not. I have since learned that most other US states have the same laws, likely adopted from past federal guidelines. What gets tricky is mid-block crossings, and what exactly (legally) is considered mid-block.

On BP, we get commenters who sincerely believe that the law follows what they think it ought to be, until confronted by others who actually read and cite the ordinances and statutes, and declare otherwise. We all know there are such things as “unjust laws”, but until they are changed, we are stuck with them.

In much of Europe, one has an option of crossing at marked crosswalks, some of which even have pedestrian signals, but most people cross with the flow of traffic, often mid-block. Pedestrians sometimes do get hit, but since car (and bike) traffic is moving at 30 kph or less in nearly every city (under 20 mph), the chances of a serious injury or death to any pedestrian is pretty minimal. However, there are some places in Europe that can be as bad as the USA for pedestrians, in rural and suburban settings, and folks take reasonable precautions, such as reflective material in their clothing/shoes, body lights, and so on. Local drivers are more cautious too.

But the whole system tends to break down when tourists are added to the mix – tourists are used to the laws of wherever they come from. Legally, tourists must follow the local laws, but many tourists (most?) never even bother to look up local laws, are more likely to drive drunk, more likely to be drunk in public, and so on. Not a good mix.

And who is a “tourist”? Well, it’s pretty much all of us when we aren’t at home, or in our home city. To a certain extent, we are all “homeless”, at least temporarily, any time we leave whatever we consider “home”, not necessarily used to the new place we are at. When I travel, I try to be hyper-aware of my surroundings, but I too have had close calls, looking left when I should have looked right, distracted car drivers barely missing me, moving in less-than-ideal conditions (at night, in fog, in snow, too bright sunshine, etc.) And people do get hit.

Watts
Watts
6 months ago
Reply to  qqq

The driver’s manual doesn’t cover the exception I think you’re thinking of, so it’s not something that most drivers are taught or that the DMV thinks is particularly important.

I’ve pointed out details of crosswalk law that were surprising to people who design crosswalks at PBOT, so incomplete knowledge of the fine points of the law is pretty widespread, even among professionals.

Luckily, you don’t need to know everything to drive safely, and I don’t think incomplete legal knowledge is much of a safety issue at all. “Yield to pedestrians” is not the law, but it’s good practice even when not required.

Harry Lime
Harry Lime
6 months ago
Reply to  Watts

I posted 3 citations. Please post yours. Otherwise – I win, and the conclusion, due to the proof, is that it’s illegal to cross in mid-street, illegal for pedestrians to step off the curb and illegal for them not to yield to cars. That’s how logic and evidence work.

qqq
qqq
6 months ago
Reply to  Harry Lime

But it’s not automatically illegal to step off the curb or cross in mid-street. Other conditions have to apply for it to be illegal.

Harry Lime
Harry Lime
6 months ago
Reply to  qqq

Yes, that condition being whether there’s a corner or crosswalk within 150-feet, either in the direction the person is walking, or behind them. If there is, then it’s illegal.

qqq
qqq
6 months ago
Reply to  Harry Lime

 40% of fatalities are pedestrians, with no illegal circumstances on the part of the driver. Want to reduce that? Start enforcing jaywalking laws.

A 2021 Oregon Walks study of three years of Portland traffic deaths found that 73% of pedestrians killed were hit while crossing legally at a crosswalk. So enforcing “jaywalking” laws may possibly reduce pedestrian deaths, but it may not be the most productive place to start.

https://www.wweek.com/news/2021/03/17/seven-facts-about-portland-pedestrian-deaths-that-might-surprise-you-and-one-solution/

Lisa Caballero (Assistant Editor)
Editor
Reply to  qqq

qqq,

I wrote an in-depth post about the Oregon Walks report that focused on information gathering at crash sites and the difference between what information the police collect, and what is needed to understand why the crash occurred. I quote the report, “Police are generally focused on law enforcement, not engineering. Police reports generally provide little evaluation of infrastructure-related crash factors.”

I was pretty proud of the piece, it was one of the first ones I wrote:

https://bikeportland.org/2021/03/18/the-information-politics-at-the-heart-of-portlands-vision-zero-struggle-328878

qqq
qqq
6 months ago

That’s a great post! Somehow I missed it when it came out. It makes so many good points. I always appreciate the articles here about crashes, because they include so much of the type of information that report recommends they include.

It seems especially apt for this year, with so many pedestrian deaths. Even if official reports (which news reports basically copy) only added information about conditions (lighting, existence of sidewalks, distance to safe crossings…) it could change the perception the police reports give that the deaths were caused purely by unsafe pedestrian behavior.

Harry Lime
Harry Lime
6 months ago
Reply to  qqq

According to BikePortland – 38% of pedestrian fatalities in 2021 were indeed caused by illegal pedestrian behavior.

Watts
Watts
6 months ago
Reply to  qqq

 added information about conditions

PBOT should conduct their own investigations of these matters in all cases of fatal crashes or serious injury. This is an oft-suggested idea, and one which I thought was going to be piloted not so long ago, but I’ve heard nothing since.

Harry Lime
Harry Lime
6 months ago
Reply to  Watts
J_R
J_R
6 months ago

It’s been several years since I’ve seen what appears to be a traffic stop by a Portland cop.

I’ve seen plenty of PPB cars with lights flashing at crash scenes and plenty where cops are dealing with the folks living on the street, but none in all of 2023 where it appeared a cop was involved in enforcing traffic laws or even cautioning a motorist for his/her behavior.

Supposedly the Traffic Division is back, but I’ve not seen any evidence. Maybe they are spending much of their time on investigations of traffic deaths.

JP
JP
6 months ago
Reply to  J_R

According to the PPB press release, the Traffic Division’s shift is between 5PM and 3AM. Apparently people can commit as many traffic violations as they wish as long as it’s before 5:00.

Hunnybee
Hunnybee
6 months ago

Our society glorifies driving fast. Our society glorifies drinking. Our society glorifies lack of respect for others. Also, alcohol is now offered up for drinking in so many places others than bars and restaurants, for example, barber shops
and grocery stores. Why does someone need to drink alcohol as they grocery shop or get their hair cut? In part, because many people rely on alcohol to get through the day and it’s only getting worse. We’re becoming a city, state and nation of drunkards. This equates to more traffic deaths. We have to not only change infrastructure, we must change our society and cut the drinking culture.

Hunnybee
Hunnybee
6 months ago
Reply to  Hunnybee

And take it how you will, but why does the “Bike Happy Hour” have to occur where alcohol is served? It encourages people to drink alcohol and then bike around town. Hopefully everyone keeps it to one alcoholic beverage at most and waits long enough afterwards to not bike buzzed or drunk. But why not have it at a coffee shop instead, a place that doesn’t serve alcohol? It would send a better message to everybody.