The Portland Police Bureau is all set to do a targeted enforcement mission at Ladd Circle today. The action comes after they received complaints from area residents about people rolling through the stop signs.
As regular readers of this site know, this issue has plagued road users in this southeast Portland neighborhood for many years. We first reported about police activities at these stop signs in April 2007. Since then, the lack of compliance and resulting frustration from neighbors who say they’re afraid to walk around the circle and from people who feel the enforcement is unfair and a poor use of police resources, has continued.
On Monday, we received a phone call from PPB Traffic Division Lieutenant Chris Davis. He said he plans to send several officers out for the mission. “We’ve been getting complaints again of people running stop signs out at Ladd Circle,” said Lt. Davis. “We’re having the same issues with bikes and cars running the stop signs.” Lt. Davis said now that school is back in session, the bureau’s biggest concern is the safety of people walking in the area.
We’ve heard from various police sources that the mission might occur this morning and this afternoon.
Since this is such a major bicycling thoroughfare, some people might feel like the police are specifically targeting bicycle riders. But that’s not the case, says Lt. Davis. “They [his officers] have clear direction from me that we don’t just target bicycle riders, that we target anybody who is committing a traffic law violation, in particular one that is dangerous. That’s what we want to focus on.”
Keep in mind, the Traffic Division does enforcement actions like this all the time. They are often the result of citizen complaints and they are usually directed at motor vehicle speeding and/or other motor vehicle-related compliance issues. The PPB knows this is a sensitive topic for bicycle advocates, so they have given BikePortland, the BTA, and PBOT a heads up about today’s action.
If you plan on riding through Ladd Circle today, make sure you ride with extra courtesy and be sure to be on your best behavior. Or, if you simply always ride and drive with respect and care for the law and for other road users, you should have nothing to worry about. And remember, the law says bicycle riders must “cease forward motion,” so you are not required to put a foot down as long as you momentarily stop and then proceed when it’s safe.
— For more on the ongoing saga of the infamous stop signs at Ladd Circle, browse our past coverage.
UPDATE, 8:40 am: A phone call from a reader confirms the police are at the location this morning. 4-5 motorcycle cops and they are very busy. Our caller said there were about 5-6 people on bicycles stopped when he went through.