An emergency speed limit reduction for outer Southeast Stark Street was unanimously approved by Portland City Council this morning (see the ordinance here).
The move comes as no surprise, given the priority for traffic safety shown by our current Mayor Ted Wheeler and city commissioners and the commitment to Vision Zero by our Bureau of Transportation. As we reported last week, this action on Stark comes after a spate of deadly collisions and its continued ranking atop PBOT’s “high crash corridor” charts for biking, walking and driving. In addition to lowering the speed limit, PBOT has set aside $10 million for infrastructure upgrades.
During this morning’s hearing, two staff members of the nonprofit community development organization, The Rosewood Initiative, were invited to testify. One of them was Yoana Molina. Molina is the director of operations for the group and has been an active volunteer in the neighoborhood for over 15 years. During her testimony she spoke without notes and her words came straight from the heart.[Read more…]
Mi Ae Lipe is changing the way we think about driving. (Photo: Courtesy Mi Ae Lipe)
Mi Ae Lipe is a safe driving advocate who speaks important truths to a crucial audience. —
One of the many things I do that annoys my two (teen and pre-teen) daughters is that I drive exceedingly slowly and cautiously. I have this thing where I tell them — not to be braggadocious, but to make a point — that, “Just imagine: If everyone drove like I did, there would be no crashes and no one would ever get hurt or killed on the road.” They of course roll their eyes and say, “Oh boy, here goes dad again.”
But it’s true: If every person behind the wheel was as scared-straight as I’ve become after being a daily bike rider for 30 years and having a job for 13 of them where I consume a daily stream of information about horrific crashes and have met hundreds of people directly impacted by them — our streets would be pretty chill.
In our push for safer streets, we usually talk about infrastructure, enforcement, and educating people about drunk driving, rules of the road, and so on. What gets left out is a more holistic look at how we drive.
That’s why I was so happy to come across the work of Mi Ae Lipe, an advocate who lives near Seattle. Mi Ae is a driving expert who writes a column for a BMW owner’s club magazine and consults with agencies and nonprofits about safety. In 2017 she was a co-recipient of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) Award for Public Service. Mi Ae wants to re-educate American drivers. [Read more…]
Vision Zero Task Force member Karis Stoudamire-Phillips speaks at a meeting in City Hall yesterday. (Photos: J. Maus/BikePortland)
We hear from many of you that it feels like streets in Portland are getting more lawless by the day. One reason is a severe lack of police presence due to a staffing shortage that’s been years in the making. The flip side of that is a concern among traffic safety advocates and the Police Bureau that too much presence in certain parts of the city might lead to unfair or over-policing. [Read more…]
(All graphics from PBOT’s 2017 Vision Zero Annual Report.)
We haven’t turned back the rising tide of deaths and injuries on our streets; but we’re getting better at analyzing it and we’ve laid the groundwork for future progress.
That’s the vibe from the Portland Bureau of Transportation as noted in their first annual Vision Zero Progress Report published yesterday. Stating that 2017 was, “A year of tragedy and foundation building,” the agency detailed their policy and project efforts and offered a sad recap of all the traffic deaths last year.
With money in their coffers for the first time in several decades (thanks in large part to the local gas tax and revenue from the state transportation package passed last year), the Portland Bureau of Transportation will be busy in 2018. They recently released a list of 17 projects they plan to construct this year. Nine of them are east of 82nd. [Read more…]
Four days before Christmas, on a Wednesday morning just after dawn, Elizabeth Meyers was crossing Sandy Boulevard in Portland, near 78th Avenue, just about a block from her neighborhood library. She was struck and killed, becoming Portland’s 50th traffic fatality of 2017. [Read more…]
The move comes as Portland grapples with its deadliest year for people walking and biking in over two decades and the highest overall death toll since 2003. That grave reality is reflected in the ordinance language that will go before Council this morning: “An emergency exists because people are dying in traffic crashes; therefore, this Ordinance shall be in full force and effect from and after its passage by the Council.” [Read more…]
Another person was killed in a collision involving an automobile user just after midnight this morning. It was the 20th 24th fatality on Portland roads so far this year and the 10th in just the last three weeks.
Portland Police say the latest tragedy occurred on Southeast Powell Blvd east of 50th. In a statement they wrote that,
“Preliminary information learned from the investigation suggests the pedestrian crossed southbound over Southeast Powell Boulevard east of Southeast 50th Avenue and was struck by a vehicle. The pedestrian reportedly made an unexpected movement in front of an oncoming vehicle while crossing… The pedestrian was not in a cross-walk at the time of the collision. The driver of the vehicle remained at the scene, contacted 9-1-1 to report the crash and is cooperating with the investigation. At this time it does not appear the driver of the vehicle was impaired while driving.”
While the PPB includes a boilerplate paragraph about Vision Zero in all their traffic crash statements these days, the statement fails to live up to the spirit of that goal.
A city committed to zero traffic deaths by 2025 should not publish blame-oriented statements about a traffic crash so soon after it happens. Especially when the victim is a vulnerable road user. That type of tone and framing is speculative, unnecessary, and makes the culture change we need much harder to accomplish.
Beyond this death on Powell, it’s clear that Portland isn’t doing enough — fast enough — to achieve Vision Zero. [Read more…]