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Dozens of drivers get crosswalk citations on S.E. Powell Blvd.

by: David F. Ashton Sharon White of PDOT’s Community and School Traffic Safety Partnership uses the crosswalk on S.E. Powell Boulevard at S.E. 31st Avenue, under the watchful eye of PPB Traffic Division officers.

The Portland Police Bureau (PPB) and Portland Bureau of Transportation (PDOT) took another 'crosswalk enforcement action' on June 30th to 'raise awareness of pedestrian safety and traffic law', as PDOT's Public Information Officer Dan Anderson put it.

'Crosswalk enforcement actions are an effective way to communicate pedestrian right of way laws to both drivers and pedestrians,' stated Anderson. 'Approximately once a month, Portland's Transportation and Police Bureaus do enforcement actions in response to community requests and to educate the general public on the rules at new crossings.'

The BEE's last story on such an action was published in our February, 2010, issue.

During the new action, Sharon White, from PDOT's Community and School Traffic Safety Partnership, looked for a break in traffic, and crossed S.E. Powell Boulevard at the crosswalk, while PPB Traffic Division motorcycle officers watched for violators and issued tickets and warnings.

Some of the 32 vehicle drivers who were written citations - as well as the eight who were let off with a warning - grumbled about the 90-minute-long enforcement action at the crosswalk on S.E. Powell Boulevard at S.E. 31st Avenue, but pedestrians and a local worker applauded the effort.

'I cross Powell at this crosswalk often to visit businesses in the area,' said resident and pedestrian Richard Gill, after he crossed the street and stood observing the action.

'Over time, I've seen some extremely close calls of pedestrians - including myself - who are using this crosswalk. The law says when someone carefully steps out into the street, cars are supposed to stop for them. But this rarely happens here on Powell, because everybody's in a hurry.'

Gill added he hoped drivers would take what he characterized as a 'real safety concern' to heart, instead of being angered by the action. 'It's a shame that many seniors who choose not to take their cars, cross here, and nearly get run over when crossing the street.'

Between customers, Ryan, of A and S Automotive, also watched the enforcement. 'During school, a lot of kids from Cleveland High cross to visit the mobile taco shop here,' he said. 'It's a dangerous crossing; on a daily basis we hear tires skidding to avoid, or stop for, pedestrians. It's really good to see they're out here trying to make drivers more aware.'

During the day's actions, no pedestrians or bicyclists were cited, Anderson told THE BEE afterward.