Archive for December, 2010

Barbur/Hamilton Aftermath: “Buzzed” Driver Crackdown

Posted in News on December 30th, 2010 by Andrew – Comments Off on Barbur/Hamilton Aftermath: “Buzzed” Driver Crackdown

Who knew that when I aimlessly wandered over to the Portland Tribune during my post-lunch Internap today I’d actually find something interesting? Well, they actually have a pretty informative article about the steps being taken by law enforcement to crack down on the kind of alcohol-fueled driving that ended the life of 26-year-old Angela Burke.

According to transportation officials, state data for the past few years show that drunken driving fatalities are dropping, but fatalities due to drugged driving, and a combination of drunken and drugged driving, are on the rise.

Statewide, deaths caused by drivers under the influence of alcohol have declined from 155 in 2007 to 116 in 2009. Deaths caused by drivers found to be on drugs rose from 30 in 2006 to 42 in 2007 to 62 in 2008. Drug-related traffic deaths fell to 37 in 2009.

Oregon drivers who caused fatalities with a combination of alcohol and drugs in their systems rose from 26 in 2007 to 51 in 2008, but dropped to 28 in 2009.

So here’s the thing: those statistics are horrifying, but what does hanging a banner over streets have to do with discouraging or enforcing driving under the influence? What options exist for identifying drivers under the influence of prescription painkillers and so on? What steps could be taken to effectively discourage driving under the influence?

Everyone have a very safe and happy New Year! Don’t drink and drive.

SW Barbur/Hamilton: Illegal U-Turns

Posted in News on December 30th, 2010 by Andrew – 3 Comments

Working around the corner from Barbur and Hamilton in SW Portland, I routinely see egregious traffic violations while waiting for a bus or hopping on my bike. Today I caught a quick video of one of the most common actions, making an illegal U-turn across the double line while waiting for the southbound left turn light at Hamilton.

The frequency with which I see this really leads me to wonder why I never see police in the area unless there’s a crash.

Wonk Night at the Library, January 4

Posted in News on December 29th, 2010 by Steve – 1 Comment

AROW Wonk Night
January 4, 2011
Publications Room (near the call desk, close to the newspaper shelves)
at the Central Library, 801 S.W. 10th Avenue

We’ll be cracking open old urban plans, traffic manuals, maps and other exciting City of Portland documents from the past stored in the central library’s basement, and available via the call desk in Publications.  It’s a fun opportunity to see why much of the built environment is the way it is today, and what it could have been.  Heard about the Bus Rapid Transit proposal that would devote 2 exclusive lanes to BRT up and down MLK, as proposed in the mid 70’s?  Of course you haven’t, it’s buried in an old plan for Union Ave that only exists in the analog archives!

You can look up what you want ahead of time via the online library catalog: – Try searches for street names, corridors, urban renewal districts and so forth.

You’re encouraged to bring a digital camera or scanner for ‘fair use’ copying and digitization of compelling documents!  If you’re at work, come by when you get out – we should be there through 6:30.  If you get lost or can’t find us, shoot a text to 503-877-2699.

Beer & tea to follow at location TBA.  See you then!

Vigil in memory of Angela Burke to be held Monday night

Posted in News on December 20th, 2010 by Andrew – Comments Off on Vigil in memory of Angela Burke to be held Monday night

Dec 20 – Community will gather to remember Angela Burke, victim of last Wednesday’s fatal crash on SW Barbur, and loved ones lost on the roadway

Date/Time: Monday, 20 December 2010 5:30-6:30pm
Location: Gravel turnout 1,000 ft. south of SW Barbur and Hamilton, Portland OR.

What to Bring: Participants are encouraged to bring a candle, lights, and personal signs commemorating Angela, a loved one lost or call for safer streets.

Note for Safety: The vigil is being held near the site where Angela Burke was recently killed.  We suggest you bring lights and reflectivity and be mindful of your own safety and those around you, as this vigil will occur during rush hour.  The road will not be closed to auto traffic.

Parking: Parking has been made available at the Tabernacle Adventist Church, just off the corner of SW Barbur and Hamilton (26 SW Condor Way) MAP We advise you not to park in nearby apartment lots, as you may get towed.
(Note to media: we advise you park your van at the Church and walk down to the vigil site)

Walking there: The best crossing in the area is the signalized crosswalk at Barbur & Hamilton (north of Tabernacle’s parking area).  Cross to the west side of Barbur and walk south about 1000ft.  Please note that, due to a curve in the road, the vigil site is obscured from the crosswalk.
Biking There: For those biking from the east, you are invited to join Rob Anderson, who is leading a ride of quiet reflection to the vigil site on Monday evening. If you’d like to  be a part of this, please meet him up on the steps of the PSU campus library (725 SW Harrison, in the South Park Blocks).   Ride at 5 PM.  For questions, email Rob (

Taking Transit: Here is information for the bus stop on the corner of SW Barbur and Hamilton.  Bus stop information From the bus stop, please follow “Walking There” directions

Contact: If you have any questions, please contact  Steph Routh (, 503.223.1597) or Margaux Mennesson (,  503.226.0676 x28)

Why Not Decommission I-5 through Central Portland?

Posted in Thoughts on December 15th, 2010 by Spencer – 3 Comments
What you can do without a highway running through

Riverfront for People - Eastbank Initiative believes we can do better than a highway through Portland's core.

BikePortland recently brought attention to ODOT’s proposals to widen I-5 in the Rose Quarter.

Here’s another idea: How about decommissioning I-5 as a freeway, and converting it to something more appropriate to a city? An arterial, basically. That way there would be no need for ramps, and the road wouldn’t be such an impassable gouge through the urban fabric.

The speed would be a little slower, but that might not be such a bad thing. This blog post discusses some of the implications of a slower speed limit along this route.

Then, like others have said, rename I-205 to I-5. They did something similar in Cambridge, MA when residents objected to a plan to put I-95 through their neighborhood. The solution was to simply rename a nearby circumferential highway to I-95. The freeway was made to go around.

Ask Gordon Price what a benefit it is to not have a freeway plowing through a city, and he’ll speak with pride of the first stop light you’ll encounter on I-5, at the terminus of that interstate, at the city limits of Vancouver BC. And he’ll describe how that city has somehow managed to scratch by, even without a freeway through its core.

Add up the acres of potentially valuable real estate consumed by urban freeways, and the surrounding areas that are poisoned (literally and figuratively) by the presence of freeways. All for what? The ability to go blasting through a city at speeds more appropriate to interurban travel through the countryside? And that’s only when there’s no congestion, otherwise you’re traveling arterial speed anyway. And that congestion never quite seems to go away, no matter how many lanes are added.

Maybe freeways don’t belong in cities. After all, being as they are designed for getting in and out of cities as quickly as possible, and with as little contact as possible with the urban core, urban freeways are essentially monuments to people who don’t like cities. Maybe that’s part of why freeways are so ill-suited for cities. And while freeways and interstates are great for moving quickly between far-flung destinations, cities are concentrated collections of destinations. Maybe the very density that defines cities thwarts the design goals of freeways.

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