The new traffic patterns on SW 5th and 6th Avenues downtown are working remarkably well, in my opinion. TriMet drivers for both MAX and buses are doing an amazing job of weaving in and out of transit lanes safely. Car and bike traffic is having a little more difficulty, from my observations with a ground-level view from my office on SW 5th. Both cars and bikes ignore the lane markings, and persist in making right turns across the MAX lanes ... you could die, people, please don't do that! Cars still stop to let off or pick up passengers in the one through lane, backing up traffic and causing hazards for pedestrians. If you can't figure it out, use 4th or 7th instead of 5th and 6th Avenues.
From Transportation Director Sue Keil:
The Portland Bureau of Transportation wants to make you aware of safety laws on the new transit mall in the downtown core, and to urge your compliance with those laws to keep you and everyone safe. Please be mindful that these laws apply to the entire transit mall downtown:
Stopping or Parking Prohibited - $245 fine, effective Nov. 30, 2009
Stopping or parking in the auxiliary vehicular lane through the transit mall is prohibited due to safety concerns. The auxiliary lane is the car and truck lane through the transit mall. On 5th and 6th Avenues, it's the left lane. On Morrison and Yamhill, it's the right lane.
No stopping or parking means you cannot be stopped or parked at the curb for any reason - no loading or unloading of passengers, materials, or equipment. When you are stopped or parked in the transit mall, this can create congestion, and other vehicles that overtake you are forced into the transit lane, thereby creating a dangerous situation and potentially deadly conflict with a bus or MAX train. Furthermore, when you are stopped at the red light in the travel lane, it is still illegal to drop off and pick up passengers and load and unload supplies. All of these actions create potentially deadly conflicts with transit vehicles.
The City worked with Multnomah County Circuit Court to establish a violation and bail schedule specific to this type of travel lane. The fine for stopping or parking in an auxiliary vehicular lane throughout the transit mall is $245. The City and the Court believe this fine amount is sufficient to cause some deterrence from ignoring the law. In addition, this amount is consistent with the fines for moving violations in the transit mall.
"Jaywalking" Prohibited - a citation issued by Police can carry a fine between $142-$500
"Jaywalking" is prohibited in Portland. No pedestrian may cross a street other than within a marked or unmarked crosswalk if within 150 feet of a crosswalk. For the transit mall, that means you must cross at an intersection because there are no legal mid-block crossings on the mall. When crossing the street to get to and from the Portland Building and City Hall, you must cross at the intersections and obey the signals. Police can issue citations that carry a fine amount in the range $142-$500.
- Obey all signals
- Cross only at crosswalks
- Bike and drive only in the auxiliary travel lane (left lane on 5th & 6th)
- Never cross the bumpy white line
- Never turn right over MAX tracks unless signs indicate otherwise