“Crosswalk enforcement” intended to reduce Foster Road pedestrian deaths

Learn why the police and PDOT keep doing these special enforcement missions; and why we disagree with those who say they’re “sting” operations …

Bright orange flags, cones, and warning signs should make it clear to motorists that they’re entering a “crosswalk enforcement action” action.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
When the Portland Bureau of Transportation (PDOT) and Portland Police Bureau (PPB) run a “crosswalk enforcement action”, as they did around noon on May 23, we stop by to see if the purpose is truly raise awareness of pedestrian safety and traffic laws.

Our conclusion: These missions could hardly be called “stings”. Here’s why: on either end of the patrolled area – on this day, it was at a well-marked mid-block crossing on SE Foster Road between SE 68th and SE 69th Avenues – red flags and A-frame signs clearly point out the mission is underway.

As Sharon White of PBOT’s StreetSmart program walks in the marked crosswalk, a Traffic Division officer takes off to “educate” a motorist who came close to running her down.

Traffic Division Officers say they hear a wide variety of excuses for whizzing past pedestrians in a crosswalk – but that doesn’t stop them from writing a warning – or a citation.

Yet, Sharon White, of PDOT’s StreetSmart program, had to duck away occasionally to avoid being hit by the vehicles whizzing past her while she was crossing SE Foster Road – in a marked crosswalk!

“Drivers who fail to stop for pedestrians in the crosswalk, and even pedestrians who jaywalk, may be issued a warning or citation by the Portland Police Bureau,” pointed out PDOT spokesman, Dan Anderson.

“Crosswalk enforcement actions are an effective way to communicate pedestrian right of way laws to both drivers and pedestrians,” Anderson added.

During this particular 90-minute mission, PPB Traffic Division officers stopped a total of 22 errant motorists for a variety of violations, including citations on the following charges:

  • 8 – Fail to yield to pedestrian in crosswalk
  • 2 – Fail to maintain safe distance from Emergency Vehicle
  • 2 – Fail to display license plate
  • 1 – Cell phone usage
  • 1 – Improper right turn
  • 1 – Fail to carry insurance


They also issued nine warnings:

  • 7 – Fail to yield to pedestrian in crosswalk
  • 2 – Endangering child passengers (not properly restrained)


Seeing a truck zoom past a fellow Traffic Division officer who is already out speaking with a motorist, causes his comrade takes off to ticket the truck driver for “Fail to maintain safe distance from Emergency Vehicle”. And, that’s a very expensive citation.

To learn more about the “StreetSmart – Go Safe” effort, see their website: CLICK HERE.

Meantime, we suggest you treat every corner as a pedestrian crosswalk – if, for no other reason, than that in Oregon law – it is!

© 2012 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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