October 24, 2006
Shoot, Ready, Aim
I'm a big fan of curb extensions, for their benefits to pedestrians, cyclists and (sometimes) parking. So I'm delighted that several are being added to NW 21st Avenue as part of the bikeways and pedestrian safety programs.
But I was aghast last Friday to see that some genius had decided to construct the extensions at Flanders St. on both sides of 21st Ave at the same time. There was NO WAY for a pedestrian to go north or south on the avenue unless they wanted to ignore the barriers and tromp through the mud.
I stepped (carefully) out into the street. But what is an elderly or disabled person supposed to do? Backtrack and go east or west a full block?
What is PDOT thinking?
October 24, 2006 7:21 AM
Aaron B. Hockley Says:
How timely. I almost ran over a couple of pedestrians at that exact intersection last night...
October 24, 2006 9:39 AM
That's my corner, Chris! It definitely was a
bitch trying to cross there pre-extensions.
October 24, 2006 10:03 AM
Chris Smith Says:
Looks like the poured the concrete on the west side yesterday. It's usable now, but they haven't removed the barriers. They're pouring the east side as I write this.
October 24, 2006 10:44 AM
Yeah, we ran into that when we went to see a movie at Cinema 21 last week; my wife uses a wheelchair scooter and had to detour around that tangle over to 22nd and then back. Don't know how a blind person would figure that out. Not very bright planning there.
By contrast, when we were walking up and down Hawthorne this weekend, we noticed that at least the construction, annoying though necessary as it is, alternated blocks so you could cross Hawthorne and not have to detour a block away behind the shops to keep going up and down the street. Someone was thinking ahead on that one.
October 24, 2006 11:27 AM
Terry Parker Says:
Double standards do exist. Placing pedestrians waiting to cross a street closer to moving traffic and creating conditions whereby large trucks must now drive over the sidewalks to make a turn is anything but a safety enhancement. The untold primary purpose for curb extensions is to create more traffic congestion requiring motorists to use more fuel. Curb extensions are nothing more than environmentalism in reverse. It is hypocritical to support curb extensions and then decry the impact of motor vehicles have on air quality and the environment. Obviously, if PDOT can continue to spend transportation on these malformed sidewalk monstrosities, Portland’s air is just fine, congestion is not a problem and PDOT has more money than they know what to do with. Therefore, absolutely no rationale exists to promote enhancing any kind of clean air standards and subsidize alternative modes of transport such as transit and bicycling PDOT has their priorities mixed up having been bamboozled into thinking curb extensions are something more than just street obstructions. For that reason alone, there is absolutely no reason to increase the gas tax or other taxes on stakeholder motorists when the money will be just wasted on unnecessary expenses looking for a problem like curb extensions.
October 24, 2006 12:33 PM
Clay Fouts Says:
It is hypocritical to support curb extensions and then decry the impact of motor vehicles have on air quality and the environment.
Modern engineering really is genius... For example, where do they hide the noxious, pollution-emitting tailpipes for those curb extensions? I've only ever seen them outfitted on cars and other machines that employ internal combustion engines. Or maybe that's what these are?
October 24, 2006 12:35 PM
October 24, 2006 2:32 PM
Curb extensions rock. Doodely doo.
As for that exact intersection, walked thru there last night at about 12:00am going to the ATM. I just walked in the middle of the road. Fortunately there wasn't a car to be seen at that time of night.
:) Ahh the solitude and peacefulness of the late hours.
October 24, 2006 2:49 PM
i love those curb extensions they are putting up along hawthorne. it means i will be able to cross the street quicker (without feeling like i need to run) to get out of the way of any cars. traffic should flow more smoothly as a result.
October 24, 2006 6:15 PM
The same thing happened along SE 39th Ave. in Woodstock earlier this year. If one wanted/needed to walk down the street, in some places you actually had to step into the street during a break in the traffic, since people's garden retaining walls stretch to the sidewalk similar to the building in the above intersection.
October 25, 2006 7:47 AM
Terry Parker Says:
A “Modern engineering really is genius... For example, where do they hide the noxious, pollution-emitting tailpipes for those curb extensions?”
B Freeways don’t have tailpipes either, hence there should be no objection to freeway expansion programs and building more of them.
October 25, 2006 9:49 AM
Terry Parker said:
"Placing pedestrians waiting to cross a street closer to moving traffic and creating conditions whereby large trucks must now drive over the sidewalks to make a turn is anything but a safety enhancement."
Sorry, Terry. I live on that block, and can tell
you from experience that this intersection was not
safe for pedestrians pre-extensions.
And remember, cars and cities do not mix particularly well; this is reality, not a politcal
October 26, 2006 4:57 PM
Nathan Koren Says:
Terry, you're honestly not making the slightest bit of sense. Curb extensions neither add nor subtract cars from the road. They do discourage speeding somewhat, which means that they create slightly more braking and acceleration than might otherwise occur. The degree to which this creates any new pollution is utterly minuscule, and if you're truly worried about this, then you seriously need to seek professional help. I once met a very sincere fellow on the street who tried to convince me that the extra weight of vanity license plate frames decreased the efficiency of cars and were thus a threat to the environment. Might that have been you?
(Of course what curb extensions actually *do* do is reduce the odds of car-pedestrian collisions, which have caused quite enough death and disfigurement in this neighborhood lately. I live a block north of this project, and fully support it, idiotic construction timing issues notwithstanding.)