Today Portlander Mark Graves (who happens to be a photographer and reporter for The Oregonian) just happened to be waiting at a train crossing at SE Clinton and 12th.
You won’t believe what happened next. Or maybe you will. Heck, maybe you’ve done it?
As you can see in the video he posted to Twitter, several people — tired of waiting for the train to move along – picked up their bikes and then climbed up onto and then over the train!
This seems bonkers to me. I’ve been held behind a few trains in this area over the years and I have to admit I’ve let my mind consider doing this; but I’d be too scared. Scared of the potential injury consequences and scared of getting caught and/or shamed if someone saw me do it (can you imagine the field day on local media and Twitter if “the BikePortland guy” got caught doing this?!).
When I first saw Mark’s tweet, I figured a lot of people would use the video to confirm their bias against “those stupid bicyclists.” The reality is, behaviors like this are mode-agnostic. People do just as crazy things in their cars. Our friend Jessica Engelman said, “I’ve seen people in cars drive up onto the sidewalk, make a U-turn, then go the wrong way up a one-way street when stopped at that intersection by a long freight train in an attempt to drive around. So yes, some people in cars attempt to do the same thing.”
Long waits for trains is a big issue in the central eastside and inner southeast. The railroad companies still use manual switches, which means a human has to come outo and adjust the tracks by hand. We’ve heard TriMet is trying to get new, automatic switches paid for in their Division Transit Project so their new, “faster” buses, don’t get caught waiting.
Have you ever done this? Any ideas on a better solution than portaging bikes cyclocross-style or doing dangerous things in our cars to get through?
— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and email@example.com
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