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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on January 16, 2007 3:45 PM. The previous post in this blog was Breaking news from Storm Center 9000. The next post in this blog is Storm Center 9000 never sleeps. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Fixing Hawthorne

A while back I complained that the City of Portland was taking its sweet time getting around to its much-ballyhooed plan to make the Hawthorne Boulevard shopping district safer for pedestrians. As of the busy holiday shopping season, the most-trafficked part of the street hadn't been touched.

That's changed now. A visit to the area last week revealed the ripping to be in full swing. It appears that the city was holding off digging up the curbs and sidewalks along the most traveled parts of the project until the holiday season was over. Makes sense.

Comments (11)

There's more than one Hawthorne "shopping district" but our part of Hawthorne will derive very little improvement. Despite the fact that our SE 23rd & Hawtorne area has restaurants "Jam" "Imbibe" "Hot Lips Pizza;" "Grand Central" bakery, "Uncle Paul's" Produce Stand; a pet veternarian, and dry-cleaner...we've been refused a marked crosswalk, let alone anything even more substantive, to slow down speeding traffic so we can cross the street with some semblance of safety.

We're told a marked crosswalk would provide "a false sense of security." Guess it's better to know we have no security.

Sorry, that is in the Buckman neighborhood. All you get is methadone clinics.

We're told a marked crosswalk would provide "a false sense of security." Guess it's better to know we have no security.

Having worked at 21st & Hawthorne for three years I fully agree with the city's concern. Most of the people wandering aimlessly around the area would see a crosswalk as just an extension of the sidewalk and neglect their responsibilty to be even marginally aware that there may be vehicles (including bikes) actually using the road provided for vehicular traffic. I never saw anyone frustrated, even for a moment, by the lack of crosswalks. Stand at the corner of 19th across from Starbucks at almost any time of day and watch 'em.

Just stop, look both ways, and cross the street. The paint won't save your life if either you or a driver is a jerk. There may be higher damages for the plaintiff's family though.

Better to be in Portland than a place like Denver, which doesn't allow ANY painted crosswalks without a signal. Same rationale but no exceptions. Apparently some folks in San Diego did some "empirical research" showing that an unmarked crosswalk was actually safer than marked crosswalks absent a signal.

http://www.denvergov.org/admin/template3/forms/tesmanual.htm

Yeah, but painting crosswalks employs city workers. And, if the research is valid, why is Portland "better" than Denver?

Oh, wait. Is it because the feel-good factor outweighs the facts?

I'll bet that's the first time that's happened.

I'm not saying better one way or the other, just suggesting that its better given the wishes of the previous reader. I'm just highlighting research that supports Portland's position and showing a city that has put it into more rigorous use.

Most of the people wandering aimlessly around the area...

Now there's a picture of my neighborhood...People Wandering Aimlessly. Well, not aimlessly at all, actually. See the hollow look in our eyes. The outstretched arms. In search of...human flesh. Brains, must find brains to eat.

And there you go again, rr (may I call you "r?")

There IS a crosswalk at every intersection by state law. YOU JUST DON'T SEE IT. That's why we need them "marked" because some people just don't get it, that MARKED OR NOT, there's a crosswalk already THERE. Get it?

I have had this conversation with like 3 billion DRIVERS over the almost 20 years crossing Hawthorne who are deeply offended that I DARE walk out into THEIR street who honk and speed up when I'm IN the crosswalk. YES, there's a crosswalk. THERE. It's just UNMARKED. But it's there, really. Just invisible. Like my rabbit, Harvey.

and neglect their responsibilty to be even marginally aware that there may be vehicles (including bikes) actually using the road provided for vehicular traffic.

The road isn't JUST for "vehicular traffic." We pedestrians need to CROSS it, which is why we are accorded CROSSWALKS to, uh, WALK ACROSS the friggin' road.

"rr" your auto-centric "prejudice" and lack of knowledge about the True Meaning of Crosswalks is clearly visible. Which is what crosswalks should be. Visible. Marked.

I am NOT going to drag out my multiple studies done by the Feds on how crosswalks in fact DO slow drivers down and DO NOT put peds at risk...but keep it up and I WILL! No, it is not "a false sense of security" that keeps PDOT from providing us marked crosswalks...it is that they SLOW DOWN TRAFFIC, and PDOT engineers are all about making auto traffic move FASTER.

I see lots of people crossing streets downtown on the invisible diagonal crosswalks that exist only if you walk fast while looking over your shoulder at the oncoming traffic.

Perhaps your error is only stepping off at street corners. From now on, try walking from intra-block bus stops to the nearest trash can across the street: drivers will miraculously slow down (or even stop) to avoid hitting you (and watching their insurance rates go up). If you then remove the lid on the trash can and start fishing around for a half a sandwhich or a Starbucks that wasn't sucked dry, the drivers will forget about the jaywalking and just be glad they don't have to shop in the "pre-owned" breakfast aisle.

ALSO: the 3.5" of snow has been compressed into 1.5" of bobsled ice by (formerly) endangered students at PPS. Ironically, this snow to ice conversion process seems to have been concentrated on the steepest hills in the neighborhood (at least the ones that don't end with a cliff).

My exit strategy: walk/drive on the crunchy snow next to the curb, which apparently held little or no appeal for the flexible flyer afficionados, except as trail to the summit. Wish me luck!

Frank,

Now you're just being obtuse and argumentative. I salute you.

I KNOW that invisible crosswalks exist, I just don't want to SEE THEM. They're visual BLIGHT (I wonder if Steve, the critic, agrees). PLUS, they remind me that morally superior beings exist outside my little prejudiced world - curse them! I feel as if I'm a second-class citizen and am beginning to have self-esteem ISSUES because of this travesty.

I note, however, that you are relying on some method or device for discerning others' intentions and motivations from afar: "...like 3 billion DRIVERS over the almost 20 years crossing Hawthorne who are deeply offended...".

There may be lucrative commercial applications for such an ability. Please visit my website for more information. With every visit you get a free big gulp from the 7-11 dwarves near the corner of 20th & Hawthorne.

PS, I'll be watching for you - I drive TWO black Hummers (at once) with the license plates "left" and "right".

note, however, that you are relying on some method or device for discerning others' intentions and motivations from afar...There may be lucrative commercial applications for such an ability.

A well-honed skill, sir. Developed through years of serving the people as a city bureaucrat. We develop a sensitvity to ascertaining public opinion.

Some people might miss the subtle nuances of drivers rolling down their windows and offering their observations that I "get the f*** out of the street, you god**** f****** moron", but I've found great success in sharing with them the reality of Oregon Revised Statutes that they, indeed, must stop for me in my invisible crosswalk.

"This is a crosswalk!" I tell them, as they throw mean-spirited glances --and the occasional empty beer bottle-- as I cross the street, safe in my bubble of self-righteousness.

There's NOTHING as satisfying as stopping traffic at 23rd and Hawthorne for my walk across the street. I never, ever, run. Pedestrians walk... they never run.

No guts, no glory.

No guts, no glory.

Man, that's what life's all about - livin' on the edge! Rock on!


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Road Work

Miles run year to date: 315
At this date last year: 168
Total run in 2013: 257
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In 2004: 204
In 2003: 269


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