Our roads are so full of dangerous and irresponsible vehicle operators that finding them is usually as easy as shooting fish in a barrel.
Case in point: In response to a spate of collisions caused by reckless and illegal driving, the Portland Police Bureau decided to conduct a traffic safety mission on Friday night. For two hours between 7:00 and 9:00 pm they patrolled the Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and Grand Avenue couplet between the Ross Island Bridge and Broadway.
In those two hours they wrote 31 traffic citations and 34 warnings. They also arrested two people — one for driving under the influence and another person for outstanding warrants.
This enforcement action is part of the PPB’s ongoing efforts to support the city’s commitment to Vision Zero — a long-range plan to eliminate deaths and serious injuries on our streets. According to the police they’ll continue these enforcement missions “as staffing allows.”
The City of Portland also partners with the PPB on crosswalk enforcement actions about once per month. That program has resulted in thousands of traffic stops, citations, and warnings since it began in 2005.
Demands for more enforcement are common among many who feel it will lead to safer streets. But experts and advocates who work in Vision Zero and related fields warn that it’s not that simple — especially in light of a system that discriminates against black people and other people of color. This issue was the subject of a recent episode of the Why Isn’t Anyone Talking About This podcast where guests discussed how some communities don’t equate more police with more safety, and in fact often feel like the threat of being killed by a police officer outweighs the threat of unsafe streets.
— Jonathan Maus, (503) 706-8804 – firstname.lastname@example.org
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