Cops ‘educate’ drivers at school crossing

It’s amazing to watch oblivious drivers who enter a Crosswalk Education and Enforcement Action zone. Take a look …

Even though PBOT’s Sharon White shows her intention clear to use the crosswalk, the driver of this car “beats her out” by stepping on the gas, instead of stopping.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton

Even though the school year was well underway when the Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) and Portland Police Bureau (PPB) set up a Crosswalk Education and Enforcement Action at a marked crosswalk on September 23 – drivers buzzed pedestrians as if it were in the middle of summer.

This Crosswalk Action took place on NE Glisan Street just west of 130th Place. It’s the crosswalk closest to Menlo Park Elementary School.

“What we’re trying to do is educate the public, as well as provide additional enforcement at the site, in front of the school,” said POBOT Public Information Officer Dylan Rivera – as pedestrian decoy Sharon White once again took her life in her hands crossing the street there.

Out in the crosswalk, Sharon White stops to avoid being struck by this Ford Escape. Note the pack of PPB Traffic Division motorcycle officers in clear view.

A PPB Traffic Division officer heads out to stop and counsel a driver who fails to stop.

“For us, this is as much about getting the public to pay attention to school zones as it is getting motorists to pay attention to the crosswalk,” Rivera told East Portland News. “A lot of this is reminders; but part of it is giving out citations.”

The most important “reminder” from the officers is that every intersection, marked or unmarked, is a crosswalk*, Rivera pointed out.

“This is a really important step toward reaching our goal of Vision Zero, eliminating traffic fatalities and serious injuries,” Rivera continued. “If we can get people to obey the law and be really mindful and pay attention and intersections and crosswalks, then we can reduce and eventually eliminate traffic fatalities. That is the city’s goal with Vision Zero.”

Car after car “buzzes” Sharon White, as she makes her way across NE Glisan Street, in the Hazelwood neighborhood.

As usual, some drivers complained about being caught in the law enforcement “sting”, after a PPB Traffic Division officer observed them breaking the law. But all of these signs, red cones, and flags, warned approaching drivers from all directions.

“We try to remind folks to stay alert so everyone will be safe,” Rivera said. “Be it driving, whether they’re walking riding a bike, being alert is a good way to prevent fatalities.”

The mission consisted of 5 PPB Traffic Division Officers/Sergeants doing enforcement watching over PBOT’s Sharon White as she “gave intent” and walked in the crosswalk.

The “Pedestrian Crosswalk Classroom” is full of “students” – many drivers who were pulled over for nearly running down pedestrians.

The results of the mission:

14 Citations for Fail to Stop and Remain Stopped for a Pedestrian,

4 Warnings – Two for Operating a Motor Vehicle While Using a Mobile Communications Device, and two for Fail to Drive Within a Lane.

With dark and overcast days coming, and with the sun setting earlier, be on the lookout for children and pedestrians. For more information on the Portland Safe Routes to School program visit their website: CLICK HERE.

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* Under Oregon law, every intersection is a legal crosswalk, whether it is marked as such or not. Vehicle drivers must stop and stay stopped for pedestrians when the person is walking in the motor lane or the adjacent lane (motor lane plus 6 feet on either side, when the driver is making a turn at a traffic signal). A bike lane and a parking lane are considered an extension of the adjacent travel lane. ORS 811.028.

© 2015 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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