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Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Crosswalk sting on Williams Ave. tickets cyclists, too

North Williams Avenue in Portland is a heavily traveled one-way street, and vehicles go pretty darn fast. Plus, it's a bit of a bicycle highway as well. We go jogging over by Emanuel Hospital from time to time, and you've really got to be extra careful crossing Williams at Dawson Park. If the cars don't get you, the bikes will.

So it was easy pickin's for the PoPo yesterday as they sent a pedestrian out to cross the street every few minutes to see who among the drivers and riders obeyed the state law that gives pedestrians the right of way over motor vehicles and bikes. Lots of tickets were given out, including to folks on bicycles.

The thought of a cyclist on Williams actually stopping and putting a foot down because a pedestrian is trying to cross is hysterically funny. Over there they may not even stop for a red light, much less a granny on the curb.

Most drivers also break the crosswalk rules, of course, and everybody deserved the tickets they got yesterday. But it's nice to see reports of an even hand in this particular enforcement effort.

Are there more important things the police should be doing? Maybe. But compared to drinking coffee at Starbucks or cadging slurpees at 7-Eleven, we'd say they did good. Better than their boss, at least.

Comments (10)

Long term, we should consider returning both Williams and Vancouver to two-way traffic - after all, they are just remnants of the old Oregon 99 EW connections to the original I-5 bridge, we already have I-5 and MLK in close proximity as north-south regional arterials, and they only go as far as Killingsworth anyway at this point. That would go a long ways to slowing traffic, and most residents along the way would appreciate it.

As I recall they were changed when Emanuel was going to get the OHSU campus instead of the Hill. That combined with the freeway was why Emanuel was able to steal so many peoples property. Senator Packwood lobbied hard for the hills and won.
Here is another idea: turn Mississippi between Fremont and Going in a pedestrian mall, make Vancouver two way and Williams bike only....
just kidding neighborhood...really

Emanuel may may still get the OHSU campus as its only a 5.9 shake away.

The Germans take cycling very seriously as another method for getting around. They also take very seriously requiring cyclists to follow and obey traffic and safety laws like everyone else, and their bike cops will write citations with consequences to a cyclist in a heartbeat. The way we do it here, which usually amounts to nothing, is a joke and only results in promoting an attitude of arrogance and privilege. I'd like to know what consequences or accountibility these PPB citations really have after written.

I live right off of Williams and when trying to cross Vancouver in the morning to get to the busstop near Emmanuel is a crap shoot. There's a chance a car might stop, but you literally have to run in front of the bicyclist just to cross the street on busy mornings, occasionally between trying to dodge cars and bikes for a few minutes I'll miss my bus. Not once has a bicyclist ever stopped, it'd be a suprise if they did, even for an elderly woman trying to get to the hospital.

The whole corridor is a bad accident waiting to happen. Traffic isn't bad outside of rush hour, but all it takes is closing of one lane to back things up. But it's just a bad combination especially where NE Cook crosses Williams and Vancouver towards the 405 onramp/offramp. The fact that there's not traffic control at that intersection is a joke.

I am on the Vancouver/Williams corridor everyday on my bus ride to work. Williams Avenue is way too congested now. Why they ever thought that it would be a good bike boulevard is beyond me. It gets really congested when I-5 is at a standstill and people are looking for alternate routes. From the vantage point of a bus rider the bicyclists do not play well with drivers and pedestrians. You can see a lot from a bus window, especially the buses on the 44 route because they are the older buses and the passengers sit up above the level of the traffic. More often than not you will see bus riders shaking their heads and saying did you see what that fool on the bike just did.

Great job ladies and gentlemen of blue. If you want to do more good work like this come over to nw Glisan btwn 19 th and 21 st. Those cars rip off the light and cross the ped tiger stripes at 40 at the park crossing , which will be in school in a short time.

Interesting bit of information regarding the new $242 million Emanuel Children's wing - 165 rooms with new parking for 422 vehicles. And zero Transportation System Development Charge. Recall the downtown restaurant that was going to be charged something like $28,000 in SDC fees for moving across the street? I guess the rules are different for Legacy.

PBOT's report on the Williams St enforcement action:

Follow-up Enforcement Action N Williams/NE Morris

Portland Transportation conducted extensive outreach and education prior to the crosswalk enforcement action. Citations issued: 22 (20 out of 22 violators received the option to attend a $35, 2-hour SHARE THE ROAD SAFETY CLASS instead of the ticket). Warnings issued: 0. Mode breakout: motor vehicles stopped – 13; bicycles stopped – 8; pedestrians stopped - 1.


The enforcement of the citations against bicyclists should be interesting. It must have required exquisite timing on the part of the sting participants to place themselves in the bike lane without being either too early (no conflict, so no need to stop) or too late (no legal requirement to stop if it can't be done safely). It's just too easy for bikes and peds to avoid each other.

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