Updated: Watching Paint Dry

Update: 4/3/07

This is now rescheduled for 10:30am on Thursday, 4/5.

Original Post: 3/23/07

Actually, thermoplastic.

Sam Adams has scheduled a press opportunity for the striping of new crosswalks on NW 21st and 23rd (weather permitting).

Actually, this is pretty cool. It’s part of the overall set of safety improvements for main streets being piloted in NW, following neighborhood activism driven by a pedestrian fatality.


To: Community Partners
From: City of Portland Office of Transportation
Re: Media Event for Crosswalk installations on NW 23rd and 21st Avenues
Date: Saturday, March 24, 2007
Time: 9:00 a.m.
Place: outside Pastini Pastaria, 1506 NW 23rd (at Quimby)

If weather permits, our Transportation Maintenance crews will be marking new crosswalks up and down NW 23rd and 21st Avenues on Saturday. You and your organizations have been key community partners in developing this corridor crosswalk treatment project. Thank you for your commitment to help us improve pedestrian safety in Northwest Portland and other parts of the city where the new marked crosswalk criteria will be applied.

Given the current weather forecast, it doesn’t look hopeful that our crews will have the conditions necessary on Saturday to make a successful application of the hot plastic we use to mark these crosswalks. Our crew leader will make the decision by noon tomorrow, Friday. We are going ahead with a tentative media plan just in case the weather surprises us and enables us to work.

Our media plan is simple — to provide media the opportunity to video our crews at work and interview community partners, and to provide community partners the opportunity to gather in celebration of this pedestrian safety improvement project. Our objectives are to demonstrate and raise awareness of the City’s and the community’s commitment to pedestrian safety.

We invite you to join us on Saturday at 9:00 a.m. outside Pastini Pastaria to talk with the media. We will not hold a formal press conference with a predetermined list of speakers. We simply invite you to come on out on a Saturday morning, watch our crews at work, visit with each other, and talk to the media if you would like to. Feel free to forward this invitation to others you think might be interested.

I will send a notice tomorrow afternoon if this event is on or off. If off, I will continue to keep you informed of the work schedule and media events.

Committed Attendees:
Kim Carlson, NWDA
Frank Bird, NWDA
Peggy Anderson, NHBA
Sabrina Kao, Traffic Engineer, Portland Office of Transportation
Beth Erlendson, Public Information Manager, Portland Office of Transportation
Cheryl Kuck, Public Information Officer, Portland Office of Transportation

Tentative Attendees:
Commissioner Sam Adams

Thank you again for your continued commitment to pedestrian safety and neighborhood livability in our community. Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions.



3 responses to “Updated: Watching Paint Dry”

  1. Crosswalks at places where there isn’t a traffic light are dangerous and problematic for both cars and pedestrians. Some drivers stop suddenly when they see someone approach a crosswalk, causing unexpected suddens stops for cars behind them and read-end collisions. And crosswalks give pedestrians a false sense of security if they assume that cars will stop for them, when many drivers may not see the pedestrian until it’s too late. Crosswalks are well-intended, but a poor solution.

    Often it works best if people cross the street where and when the road is clear and it’s safe to cross without the unnecessary problems caused by painting crosswalk lines all over the place. Pedestrians need to always take responsibility for themselves and look both ways before crossing a street. And of course, cars have to yield to pedestrians in the street, whether there is a painted crosswalk or not. It’s an unfortunately “American” solution in our increasing tendency to replace common sense with ever more unnecessary safety devices.

  2. That seems like surrender: confining pedestrians to a few ghetto-ized crossings. I much prefer retraining drivers, as I hope the new policy of frequent crosswalks on neighborhood main streets will do.

  3. crosswalks give pedestrians a false sense of security if they assume that cars will stop for them

    The old line of baloney has been shown to be false, as shown by at least two Federal reports (and if I weren’t in Florida, I’d cite them).

    Marked crosswalks are shown to slow drivers down even in the absence of pedestrians.

    the new policy of frequent crosswalks on neighborhood main streets

    I truly hope this is a new policy, Chris. But maybe you could define “neighborhood main street.” That seems to include some of Hawthorne, but doesn’t seem to include the blocks between SE 20th and SE 27th where PDOT has refused to consider putting in marked crosswalks for us (don’t want to give us any sense of false security, y’know? Rather it’s RUN FOR YOUR LIVES!)

    I truly hope we intend to really slow drivers down as part of the SE Hawthorne pedestrian remodel.

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