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Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Let's bust some little people

Only in Portland. They're going to stage a sting to bust some people for traffic violations next Wednesday afternoon. So what do they do? Announce it, along with the exact locations, in advance! Shows you how out of it they figure most of us are. They're probably right.

Even more amusing are the locations chosen for this particular operation: "marked crosswalks at SE 82nd Ave & SE Foster and SE 80th Ave & SE Foster." Gotta police those people over on the Idaho side. Maybe the fines will help pay for Mike Powell and the Schnitzers' new Burnside streetcar. If it's such a service to the community, will there be a similar sting on the Strohecker's side any time soon? Don't hold your breath.

Of course, if this law enforcement action were being taken only on the west side, I'd be complaining about that, too. The point, I guess, is that it should be done even-handedly throughout town.

Interestingly, it's not clear exactly who's going to be ticketed. It's billed as a "crosswalk enforcement action." Is that to bust drivers who don't stop for pedestrians in crosswalks, or pedestrians who jaywalk? I assume it's the former.

Comments (18)

When I asked for more attention to the Eastside this isn't exactly what I meant.

I think it'd be funny if some of our local activists staged a "Community Awareness" event that coincided with the operation. You know, big banners that say: STOP FOR PEDS OR THIS COP OVER HERE WILL GIVE YOU A TICKET.

Jack: They've done these on the westside before. They always announce them ahead of time and post big banners before the enforcement saying "traffic enforcement operation ahead" or some such.

Um, I can find one reference here for one downtown. I know there have been more, too. They do these every month or two at a different place in the city.

And p.s., for those who didn't know, you are required by law to stop for pedestrians at EVERY INTERSECTION, unless there's a light controlling pedestrian behavior (i.e. a "walk/don't walk" sign). Whether you have a stop sign or not, and even if there's no crosswalk, if a pedestrian wants to cross, they have right-of-way.

I use this all the time and constantly get honked by people who don't know better and think I'm jaywalking. The police stings always take place at marked crosswalks, though.

Those two intersections they're enforcing this week are confusing, though, because don't they both have lights?


do you stop and look both ways before crossing the street?

just askin'

I do, and I'm not about cutting anyone off who doesn't have time to stop (I don't want to die!), but I will take a step or two off the curb, not into traffic, but enough to let them know that I intend to make them stop. Usually that's enough, but a fair amount of times, people do honk at me as I cross.

Rumor has it that Dufay just bolts into the street, bellowing and daring anyone to hit him.

You'd think he was a bicyclist.

yeah, sting the people that can't afford it. you wouldn't get away with it if it were an intersection in the Pearl District, would you? pick on the little people because they can't bite back. cowards.

To add to NOIP's comment.

I live on NW 21st and Johnson and my informal data point is at least 50% of cars go right on through the cross walk while I'm standing there clearly intending to cross the street.

I don't know that evenhandedness is really great policy in this area - the fact is that the eastside leads for fatal crashes, and that includes pedestrian v. car. Wouldn't it be just a little wasteful of resources to avoid east-sider (of which I am one) hurt feelings by spreading enforcement to areas where it's not as badly needed?

The city has done a few at unmarked crosswalks as well. The one in front of the Horse Brass Pub on Belmont got the most press. I believe the 80th Ave. crosswalk is not signalized. I too do not understand the 82nd Ave. "action", unless they'll be looking for motorists who do not stop for pedestrians while making left turns.

Much of the morning and evening traffic on that stretch of Foster would have used a Mt Hood freeway.

The people who will get the tickets will reside mostly in Clackamas county, and are just passing through to their jobs. It would not really be perceived as targeted at little people but on behalf of little walking people.

It is a little like the City of Coburg and their patrolling of I-5. It won't cause a fuss with the local voters.

Where is Sam on this? If there was a tram over those intersections there would be no need for this sting....pedestrian safety would be assured....

Come on Sam...get with the program....

Why not do a sting on all of the a**hole bicycle riders who don't stop for red lights, pedestrians, who ride on the sidewalk, etc.

I'm downtown a lot and can count on one hand the times a car has almost hit me....but a bike?!? DOZENS OF TIMES! I even had a messenger run a red light, WHILE I WAS IN THE MIDDLE OF THE CROSSWALK...almost hit me (within a foot or so)...and the dude had the balls to call ME an a**hole. The cops need to focus on the problem rather than trying to find a solution to a problem that doesn't exist.

I have to agree with Andrew. I am downtown every day, and I have had a couple issues with cars when I am in the crosswalks. But bike messengers are the worst! Nearly every day I am almost run down by one on the sidewalk. Then there are the people who always ride on the sidewalk. I think bikes need to be OFF the sidewalks, period. Should be a fineable offense. Bike riders have been bitching forever for bike lanes and being able to ride with traffic. Fine. But everyone needs to do it.

Andrew: they do stings on that, too. Well, not for riding on the sidewalk (at least I've never heard of that), but for running lights and stop signs.

Jon: Riding on the sidewalk IS a fineable offense, but only downtown (there's a specific bounded rectangle in which you are not allowed to ride on the sidewalk... look it up in the Portland City Code if you're interested).

Frankly, I don't even understand the point of running a red light downtown... you're just going to get stuck at the next light anyway. But I think bike messengers are the equivalent of cab drivers: they're arrogant, high-risk drivers because they get paid more the faster they can get somewhere.

Riding on the sidewalk IS a fineable offense, but only downtown

Thats fine. But how come its not enforced?
Like I said, I am downtown every day. I see people riding on the sidewalks all the time.

I don't even understand the point of running a red light downtown... you're just going to get stuck at the next light anyway.

Doesnt matter, the bike riders ignore them anyway.

OK here is some solid data. Last night I walked from 21st and Johnson to 24 Hour Fitness on 13th. Going down Johnson you cross 20th, 19th, 18th and 17th as unmarked corners, but as noted cars are still supposed to stop for you. I kept track. 1 car stopped for me, 10 drove right on through like I wasn't there.

I stood just off the curb facing across the St. clearly intending to cross.

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