I have received a number of phone calls regarding the (March 6) article in the Lake Oswego Review about the Pedestrian Safety Enforcement the Traffic Unit conducted at Fifth Street and A Avenue.
The confusion (see below) has to do with the sentence, 'Police used orange cones to mark the spot where drivers needed to stop for the decoy, about 200 feet from the crosswalk. If the drivers failed to stop ahead of the 200 foot mark, they were cited.'
Herein lies the confusion. You do not need to stop 200 feet in front of the pedestrian. There is no foot/space requirement to stop prior to the pedestrian or the crosswalk. You just need to stop before entering the crosswalk and in lieu of a crosswalk you need to stop in front of the pedestrian.
The 200-foot distance mentioned in the article has to do with the spotters and overcoming any issue of entrapment. We set up two cones in both directions approximately 200 from the crosswalk. The decoy was instructed not to attempt to cross the street if cars were within that 200 foot zone.
We did not want to endanger the spotter or have citizens feel that they were 'entrapped' because the spotter 'just jumped into the crosswalk.' The 200-foot distance was derived with safety in mind. We determined that if a vehicle was traveling at 40 miles per hour; this area is a posted 30 MPH zone, the 200 feet would allow ample time for the drivers to see and react to the pedestrian so that the drivers would have plenty of space to come to a complete and safe stop prior to hitting the pedestrian or entering the crosswalk. Therefore the decoy only entered the crosswalk when vehicles were approaching and beyond the 200 foot safety zone. Those drivers who did not stop for the pedestrian were either distracted or unaware of the pedestrian, unaware of the law regarding pedestrians or consciously not stopping for the pedestrian as one driver told me.
Again our focus for this event was not entrapping anyone or writing citations for the sake of citations. We have had two citizens struck at this intersection in the last two months. Both citizens were transported to the hospital. We have had a number of complaints from citizens upset about vehicles not stopping for pedestrians.
Our goal is safety for all our citizens in Lake Oswego. The next pedestrian safety event is tentatively scheduled for Wednesday, April 16 between the hours of 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. at the same crosswalk, Fifth Street at A Avenue. Hopefully we will issue fewer citations!
Douglas Treat is a lieutenant with the Lake Oswego Police Department. The Review ran a story outlining LOPD's recent pedestrian safety program on March 6.