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News Advisory: Commissioner Novick to go 'undercover' as pedestrian 12/9 for crosswalk enforcement action at SE Division Street and 156th Avenue

(December 4, 2013) – The Portland Bureau of Transportation and Portland Police Bureau advise the traveling public that a crosswalk enforcement action is scheduled for Monday, Dec. 9, from 4 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. to raise awareness of pedestrian safety and Oregon traffic laws.

City Commissioner Steve Novick will serve as a pedestrian decoy during the action, planned to take place at the marked crossing of SE Division Street at 156th Avenue. Novick oversees the Bureau of Transportation.

“Safety is the top priority for our transportation system, and there’s a lot the public can do to help prevent crashes,” Novick said. “As we enter wintertime, it is darker earlier in the evening, so it’s more important than ever for drivers to keep an eye out for pedestrians.”

He added, “When walking and biking, please be mindful that vehicles require a good amount of distance to stop, which is why it is imperative to carefully and correctly cross lanes of traffic.”

Novick thanked the Portland Police Bureau for its participation and cooperation in organizing the event with the Transportation Bureau. Capt. Kelli Sheffer of the Traffic Division said it’s important for everyone to exercise caution in dark conditions.

“We hear all the time from drivers that they didn’t see the pedestrian,” Sheffer said. “As a pedestrian, making yourself more visible, ensuring drivers see you and have stopped for you before crossing each lane of traffic would aid in your safety.”

Each crosswalk enforcement action involves a pedestrian decoy positioned at a marked or unmarked crosswalk while police monitor how motorists, bicyclists and pedestrians adhere to traffic safety laws. Drivers who fail to stop for pedestrians in the crosswalk and pedestrians who jaywalk may be issued a warning or citation.

The intersection of SE Division Street and 156th Avenue has a marked crosswalk and pedestrian median island where people can safely wait for traffic to stop. It also is the location of two fatal crashes in the last two years.

The Dec. 9 action is intended to raise awareness of several timely issues for people who walk, bike or drive, across the city or in East Portland:

  • Five-lane streets such as SE Division pose a “double threat” that drivers and pedestrians need to understand. When a driver stops a vehicle to allow a pedestrian to cross one lane of traffic, drivers in the adjacent lane are required by law to also stop for the pedestrian. Pedestrians need to make sure that cars stop in each lane of traffic before they enter the lane.
  • This time of year, shorter days mean less light during morning and evening commutes and the need for people to be aware of each other in the dark. This crosswalk enforcement action is timed for the beginning of the evening commute. 
  • Especially during late fall and winter, the City and TriMet encourage everyone to “Be Seen, Be Safe” when they are traveling along or across Portland roadways. For more information, see

The event at SE Division Street and 156th Avenue is the tenth in a series of Crosswalk Enforcement Actions the City of Portland plans to conduct this year.

Learn more about pedestrian rights and responsibilities at: