vision zero

Editorial: Portland held hostage by motor vehicle menace

by on July 14th, 2017 at 11:36 am

One of 10 deaths in the past three weeks.

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…]

City set to adopt list of 105 ‘Vision Zero’ projects

by on July 12th, 2017 at 11:39 am

Some of the upgrades PBOT is in the process of making throughout the city.

As many advocates and insiders reading this already know, before a project can get funded it must be on a list. The more powerful the list, the more important it is that your project gets on it. These lists are were the money goes first and inclusion of a project on them is often the only justification needed to get it built.

Tomorrow at City Council the Portland Bureau of Transportation will ask Mayor Ted Wheeler and the four other commissioners to approve a list of 105 “Vision Zero projects” PBOT says are critical to, “systematically address the safety needs” on our most dangerous streets (see the full ordinance and list here). The total estimated cost of all the projects could be close to $750 million. About one-quarter of the projects on the list are already funded. PBOT has also requested that 17 of the 105 projects (estimated to cost upwards of $74 million) get added to Portland’s Transportation System Plan — which would give them the highest priority possible.

This important move to prioritize infrastructure projects that back up PBOT’s Vision Zero effort began two years ago when City Council adopted a resolution that read in part, “No loss of life is acceptable on our city streets.”
[Read more…]

Black man who was thrown off bike and arrested without cause sues City of Portland for $475,000

by on May 19th, 2017 at 1:31 pm

Screenshot of story in The Oregonian.

The Oregonian reports that a northeast Portland man who was tackled off his bike, roughed-up and arrested in 2015 has filed a $475,000 lawsuit against the City of Portland.

An attorney for 23-year-old Anthony James Allen Jr. told The Oregonian her client was arrested without cause simply because he was black. Allen was cycling home from work when the police first made contact with him and began questioning him about an unrelated incident. Here’s more from Allen’s attorney as reported in The Oregonian:

“You need reasonable suspicion,” Albies said. “It can’t just be because ‘I feel like it.’ It can’t just be because ‘You’re black and I want you to do what I want you to do.’ … If that was me on my bike … there’s no way they would have done that. I’m a white woman.”

The lawsuit filed Wednesday (PDF) says that Allen was profiled due to his race. Police were in Allen’s neighborhood because of a shooting that had occurred. Here’s what happened when Allen rolled up on his bike (from the lawsuit):[Read more…]

Metro’s new Vision Zero video is brilliant

by on April 20th, 2017 at 10:47 am

Still from new Metro video on Vision Zero. (Watch full video below)

Metro released a new video this morning that reveals why a different approach to traffic safety is so important.

Our regionally-elected planning organization is updating their Regional Transportation Safety Action Plan as part of their work on the 2018 Regional Transportation Plan. This morning a committee of elected leaders and policymakers gave Metro staff the go-ahead to move forward in setting a Vision Zero policy that reads: “By 2035 eliminate transportation related fatalities and serious injuries for all users of the region’s transportation system, with a 16% reduction by 2020 (as compared to the 2015 five year rolling average), and a 50% reduction by 2025.”

(The wonks among you will note that the 2014 RTP called for a fatal and serious crash reduction of 50 percent by 2030. The new timeline will put Metro’s policy in sync with the State of Oregon’s target adopted by the Oregon Transportation Commission last year via ODOT’s Transportation Safety Action Plan.)

Policy is one thing; but without smart communications and marketing it doesn’t matter nearly as much. And that’s where Metro’s new video comes in. It starts as a standard, boring, government agency PSA. I almost tuned it out, but I’m glad I watched it all the way through. Metro asks people in the video (watch it below the jump) three simple questions.
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City of Portland ratchets up their war on speeding

by on March 14th, 2017 at 2:58 pm

Activists with BikeLoudPDX and the Asian Pacific American Network of Oregon rejoice at the sight of new — and lower — speed limit signs on SE Division.
(Photo: BikeLoudPDX)

The City of Portland has unleashed a barrage of attacks against a key rival in their fight against speeding.

With Vision Zero firmly planted as a top priority at the highest levels of city government, the Bureau of Transportation has turned their attention to two of our most dangerous streets: SE Division and SE 122nd.

Here are updates on several speed-related items we continue to track…
[Read more…]

How Vision Zero became Portland’s top transportation priority

by on March 1st, 2017 at 2:32 pm

Vision Zero Task Force meeting.jpg

With plan in hand, the Vision Zero Task Force is getting down to the business of implementation. And they’re not messing around. This photo is from their meeting in City Hall earlier this month.
(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

Just three short years ago Portland’s commissioner-in-charge of transportation hadn’t even heard of Vision Zero. Now the traffic safety concept is the target of more attention from the Bureau of Transportation than any other issue. More than paving streets, more than responding to historic snowstorms, and more than patching potholes.
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Portland Congressman Earl Blumenauer introduces Vision Zero bill

by on March 1st, 2017 at 11:47 am

Chris King Gourmet Century-19

When it comes to road safety, Blumenauer (shown here riding in rural Washington County in 2013), has more skin in the game than most of his Capitol Hill colleagues.
(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

U.S. Congressman Earl Blumenauer introduced a bill today to help cities across the country to move forward with Vision Zero policies, plans and projects.

“The real ‘American carnage’ is what’s happening on our roadways,” Blumenauer shared with us today via email. “Something has to change. We have to do better and finally treat this public health crisis. Cities around the country are embracing Vision Zero. The federal government should too.”

The “Vision Zero Act of 2017” was co-introduced with Representative Vern Buchanan, a Republican from Florida.

The bill is split into two sections: One to fund the creation of Vision Zero plans, and the other that would fund the implementation of those plans. $5 million would be set aside each year for the next five years (starting in 2018) for the planning grants and $25 million a year for the implementation grants, which could be split by up to five different entities (any political subdivision of a state is eligible, including; towns, cities, counties, and so on).

This bill is similar to one Blumenauer introduced in 2015. This version however, offers a more detailed list of potential plan elements and reads like a list of Vision Zero best practices. Among the suggestions in the bill are, “an examination of how development and implementation of safety-focused automotive technologies, vehicle-to-vehicle communication, and vehicle-to-infrastructure communication can help eliminate transportation-related fatalities and serious injuries,” and “a focus on reducing speeds to the extent practicable within State law and separating modes of transportation.” The bill also specifically calls out the need for plans to, “equitably address the safety needs of low-income and minority communities and ensure that such communities are not disproportionately targeted by law enforcement.”
[Read more…]

After year of tragedies, City returns to outer Division with an apology and a plan

by on February 24th, 2017 at 12:06 pm

Outer Division Safety Meeting-12.jpg

PBOT’s yard signs were very popular last night.
(Photos: J. Maus/BikePortland)

Portland City Commissioner Dan Saltzman apologized to residents of the Jade District in person last night for a spate of fatal traffic crashes on outer Division Street.

Speaking as the new commissioner-in-charge of the transportation bureau, Saltzman stood in front of a mostly Chinese-speaking crowd and said, “We’re sorry and we’re bound and determined to do something about that.”

18 months ago in the exact same room as the meeting Saltzman attended last night — the Jade/APANO Multicultural Space on the corner of 82nd and Division — the City of Portland launched their Vision Zero effort. The Bureau of Transportation didn’t plan on coming back, but since that celebratory launch five people have died and three others have suffered life-altering injuries on outer Division. When two Chinese immigrants died trying to cross the street in separate collisions within just hours of each other back in December, PBOT swung into action and has been listening and formulating plans ever since.

Last night in a meeting hosted by the Asian Pacific American Network of Oregon, PBOT kicked off a community process slated to end with a plan adopted by City Council this fall.
[Read more…]

PBOT will use little-known “emergency” law to rein in speeding drivers

by on February 16th, 2017 at 2:26 pm

PBOT Vision Zero Task Force meeting-2.jpg

PBOT Director Leah Treat at a meeting of the Vision Zero Task Force in City Hall this morning.
(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

When a city says traffic safety is their top priority, it should be willing to do whatever it takes to make people drive more slowly.

In Portland that means taking a very close look at the Oregon Revised Statutes.

Portland Bureau of Transportation Director Leah Treat announced today that her bureau will seek permission to enact section nine of ORS 810.180 which gives the city the power to set an “emergency speed” without going through the often onerous process of asking for permission from the State of Oregon. (Note: Another section of this same law gives cities the power to reduce speeds on certain residential streets, thanks to a lobbying effort by PBOT in 2011.)

Treat said they’ve decided to take this very rare step in order to keep people safer on outer Southeast Division Street. Back in December two people were killed while trying to walk crossing Division Street in two separate crashes just hours apart. The tragedies sparked outrage from local residents, activists and even top PBOT staff. One day after the deaths, PBOT Active Transportation Group Manager Margi Bradway called neighborhood leaders to talk about the city’s response. Those conversations led to the passage of $300,000 in emergency funding to do outreach and education in adjacent neighborhoods (which are populated by many people of Chinese and other descents who don’t read or speak English).

To continue their focus on taming Division Street, Treat said PBOT will bring an ordinance to Portland City Council on March 2nd asking them to support the move. The existing state law gives PBOT the ability to make this move, but we’ve never heard of it actually being done. [Read more…]

Lawmakers, ODOT Director hear emotional testimony at Vision Zero bill hearing

by on February 15th, 2017 at 1:01 pm

ODOT Director Matt Garrett (lower right) was in the house for today’s hearing.
(Photo: Oregon Walks)

A bill that would establish an official State of Oregon Vision Zero Task Force got its first public hearing today. And it was heart-wrenching.

The eight members of the House Committee On Transportation Policy who presided over the hearing for House Bill 2667 probably didn’t expect the 8:00 am start time to attract testimony from nearly two-dozen people. And they probably didn’t expect to hear from people like Marina Hajek, the mother of a 10-year old boy who was hit and killed by a reckless, speeding driver while walking his bike across a street in Eugene 10 years ago.
[Read more…]