‘Heads up!’ TriMet releases video, asks pedestrians and bicyclists to stay alert
Several close calls with TriMet buses and MAX trains have transportation officials asking people to stay alert and stay safe.
Portland’s city streets are expected to see a lot more pedestrian traffic as the warm spring weather gives way to summer.
Transportation agency staff members and advocates met at the Pioneer Square MAX Station Monday morning to deliver a safety message on distractions, accompanied by a video giving a firsthand look at the dangers of cyclists and pedestrians not staying alert on the sidewalks and roadways.
“Our bus operators do everything they can to anticipate pedestrians’ behavior and cyclists’ behaviors but we need their help as well,” said Harry Saporta, TriMet’s executive director of safety and security. “Whether you’re texting or listening to music or emailing or scrolling through social media, using your tablet or cellphone, we just want you to take a moment to stop and pay attention before crossing streets and tracks.”
“If you’re not paying attention, whether you’re walking, biking or driving, taking transit, you’re putting yourself and other people in danger,” said Portland Bureau of Transportation Director Leah Treat.
The warning fits as part of the city’s “Vision Zero” plan to end deadly traffic crashes by 2025.
TriMet’s board of directors will vote on a proposal on Wednesday asking the agency to spend up to $4.5 million for up to four years to improve pedestrian crossings at MAX stations.
Oregon’s Department of Transportation says over the past five years 64 pedestrian crashes statewide were caused by distracted drivers or pedestrians.
The agency says a distracted driver crash happens every two-and-a-half-hours in Oregon.
A spokesman for Portland’s Bureau of Transportation says distracted driving “is a factor in 51% of fatalities, making it the second most frequent factor behind impaired driving at 56%.”