Armed with video camera, man takes neighborhood traffic safety into his own hands

Armed with video camera, man takes neighborhood traffic safety into his own hands

Southeast Portland resident Tony Tapay takes the safety and livability of his neighborhood streets seriously. His citizen activism usual takes the form of calls and emails to the Bureau of Transportation requesting speeding enforcement. But there’s one issue he’s gotten so frustrated about due to a lack of action and response from both the violators (an ice cream truck company) and the City, that he recently took the matter into his own hands.

The issue is a common one in Portland: Where PBOT has created neighborhood greenways, they often install median islands that prohibit people in cars from making turns onto certain streets. Whenever these diverter treatments are installed, they come with big “Do Not Enter: Except for Bicycles” signs. However, these diverters often leave enough room for some motor vehicles to still get through — and of course some people think the law doesn’t apply to them.

That’s what really bugs Tony Tapay. Here’s how he describes what happened:

“So there’s this ice cream truck that enters Gladstone at 42nd. The intersection is a classic greenway motor vehicle diverter with two big “Do Not Enter” signs. But he doesn’t care. He does this every week. I’ve called the company several times and left them messages asking them to have this guy respect the neighborhood. Never got a response.

Just 15 minutes ago I heard his chimes and knew he was coming and knew what he was going to do. When I started shooting video, a car came down the street and stopped at the intersection and when the driver of the car realized that the truck driver wanted to enter against the signs, the car driver wouldn’t move and gestured to him to go to another intersection. They were in a standoff until the ice cream truck guy parked and made (or pretended to make) a call on his phone. Then the car left. At this point I had walked down to the intersection and the ice cream driver thought he was clear to go. Then I stepped in his way.”

Tony emailed this video to use about 4 weeks ago and we’re happy to report hat after he posted them on the truck driver’s company website, he got a call back. “He seemed genuinely concerned and promised it wouldn’t happen again.”

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