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Monday, August 27, 2012

Trouble waiting to happen

We blogged last week about the new outdoor restaurant seating that's displaced parking on already-parking-starved Division Street in Portland. A reader wrote us on Friday to point out that a car had plowed into two parked cars on that street that morning. "The cars were parked on the same side of the street, in the same area as the seat-deck, 20 blocks away," the reader pointed out. The accident was reportedly at 47th.

Comments (21)

I can already say what will be the official response to any safety concerns...

"We told you cars are dangerous. The sooner there are none the better".

Allowing dining tables to be placed in the public right of way inches from the traffic lane is the height of stupidity. Get ready for the CoP to be named in the inevitable lawsuit when a dozen unsuspecting diners get side-swiped during dinner.

It's all "hip" and "green" until someone gets hurt. Welcome to Portland.

My guess is that the deck is illegal as heck and won't pass PBOT for approval. I think the deck owners skipped the review and "permit process". Jack, please forward your article and photos to PBOT, formerly called PDOT. A beer says it's gone by the end of the month?
Old Curmudgeon

I'm still trying to figure out how a business can claim exclusivity to a public parking space. Isn't that the opposite of Portland's "big business is bad" mantra? Shouldn't PEOPLE own the parking space and be allowed to use it, without having to pay a snobby business?

This gives the old saying, "go play in the street" a whole new meaning.
Why would anyone want to dine in the middle of the street while breathing fumes from cars and trucks?
It is one of the main reasons I avoid "trendy third" in the summer.

Is that the "Sitting Duck" restarant?

Likely response from the city in the event of a future accident: "Change is hard."

That will be the excuse they need to close the road to cars.

I want all four lanes on Division restored. People are taking to driving their cars through side streets in residential neighborhoods instead, bypassing the Division slog created by the so-called smart people at Portland city hall. Densify and then take road capacity away. What a bunch of nutcases running Portland city hall. It's like making people live at the Newark, Newjersey, airport. What a zoo that place is.

Just a matter of time before some dope leashes his dog to the ballustrade -- splat.

A friend from Ohio suggested picnics by the Jersey barriers on I-5.

Skittles Cafe @ Wafu. Wafu? Yeah, that's right, WTF. And that's what Wafu's insurance carrier's going to say right before it cancels that liability policy.

As discussed in an earlier post on this subject this is PBOT's Streets seat program. Link to permit process on that earlier post.Business has to have 1 million dollar liability insurance. I don't think city would be liable in the case of an accident just like if a car slammed into a parked car the city isn't liable in that case either.

And yet these guys get elected and re-elected.

On the bright side, it could be worse for people in that neck of the woods; they could have been obliterated by the Mt. Hood Freeway. Planning money and years wasted on that boondoggle make the CRC tailchasing look like a walk in the park.

I saw one of these over in The Pearl the other day. I forget exactly where, around 13th and Glisan I think.

Damn. At least put a Jersey barrier on the upstream side, FCOL. They wouldn't let a construction job do that. They'd say it wasn't safe. Oye.

As the owner of Wafu and the other restaurants where PBOT is piloting its Street Seat program (we will have a total of there installations: at Gruner on SW 12th and Alder, at Oven and Shaker on NW 12th and Everett, and at Wafu) I wanted to at least fill you in on the history of these Street Seats. PBOT contacted me a month ago asking if we were interested in piloting the project with the bureau - a program they intend to roll out city wide next year.

I verified the possibility of extending our normal liability insurance onto these patios via our carrier (Travellers) - and they confirmed that there was no problem and). These exact structures exist throughout the US and our local representative was surprised to find that there was no rate change at all to include the street seats. Apparently, according to their analysis based on the safety record of these programs in other cities (New York, San Francisco, Oakland, Denver), people are statistically no more at risk sitting in "Street Seats" than sitting on the sidewalk. As a measure of extra precaution, and contrary to the practice in other cities, PBOT will not allow "Up Stream" Street Seats - which is to say they will not allow them in the first parking space at the beginning of a block - to avoid the possibility of cars running into them as they make a turn onto the street. Only "mid-stream" or "down-stream" placements are allowed, unlike bike areas.

We agreed with the city that the seats will be removed by October 21st - in that I think this is the end date of any reasonable chance of good weather. Thus far the seats have had an overwhelmingly positive response and Wafu's and Oven and Shaker's seats have been the first seats to fill along with the other sidewalk seats each service.

Once the Street Seats are removed PBOT will go about getting feedback from the different Neighborhood Associations and Business Associations to see if there are ways to improve the program for next year. I don't know what that feedback mechanism will be for people to express their concerns but I'm certain someone at the agency can provide more information.

Hopefully this is helpful information.

Kurt Huffman


Kurt Huffman,
Thank you for your information.
I am not surprised that it was PBOT who contacted you to initiate this program.
Good luck with your business, I most likely would sit inside as I would not want to be that near to the fumes, etc. But to each their own.

I don't get how this is legal, and even if it was, who the hell wants to sit amongst cars? It's cool downtown by Berbati's where the WHOLE STREET is shut down, but I can hardly tolerate sitting alongside a busy street on the sidewalk, let alone in the street itself. Someone's going to get killed, but honestly, if you're willing to actually take a seat in the street, you'll get what you got comin'.

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