Warning: Beaverton Police writing expensive tickets to pedestrians
From Portland Afoot
I am a resident of Central Beaverton living the low-car lifestyle - yes, it is possible. In the mornings I walk about a mile from home to the Beaverton Transit Center to catch the MAX out to Intel where I work as an engineer and in the evening I walk back home from the BTC mainly on Lombard.
So I was very surprised this evening to get a ticket from a Beaverton police officer for crossing Canyon in a manner that seems very safe to me.
Here was the situation: I was walking southbound on Lombard approaching Canyon coming from the BTC. The light was red. I pushed the crossing button to get a walk signal. After a minute or two, I noticed that the WES train was approaching from the south on Lombard. At about the point where it crosses Farmington, the RR signal lights start going on and the crossing gates go down shutting off East & West traffic on Canyon. At this point I feel quite safe to cross Canyon - the gates block all East-West traffic on Canyon so actually for a pedestrian it feels even safer than other times - and the train runs parallel a good distance away in the center of Lombard and it still has a ways to come meaning there is plenty of time to complete a crossing safely. So I cross as I (and many others I've observed) generally do when I encounter that situation... of course the red hand signal is on. About the time I got to the other side a police car's lights start flashing and an officer shouts at me to stop. And I got a rather expensive ticket for what I consider a very safe crossing. The police officer also seemed to want to give me a lecture in which he mentioned that I was blocking cars turning right from Lombard onto Canyon and that I could possibly be hit by one of them. His logic seemed quite flawed as there is no right turn arrow at this intersection so cars would still need to check for pedestrians in the crosswalk prior to turning anyway - in fact it would have been the exact same situation if the walk signal were flashing and as far as I know drivers aren't supposed to check for the red hand or white walking man to determine that they can turn without checking.
At any rate, while the crossing was indeed quite safe, the legal technicalities are certainly there - the red hand was on.
So let this be a warning to Beverton pedestrians: the officer also mentioned that the department is cracking down on such violations (apparently they need to raise revenue and pedestrians are the next source of revenue) and that ticket was for $110. Apparently Beaverton feels the need to make things even less friendly for pedestrians.
(Edit: I've written to the city transportation engineering department to ask if the signal can be changed so that the walk signal would be on in these situations. We'll see what they say)
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