Motorists, beware: Police plan series of crosswalk stings.Byline: City Beat / Eugene by Diane Dietz The Register-Guard
PSST, DRIVERS. Read this column to avoid a $135 traffic ticket and the humiliation of becoming an example of inconsiderate in·con·sid·er·ate
1. Thoughtless of others; displaying a lack of consideration.
2. Not well considered or carefully thought out; ill-advised. driving.
About a month from now, Eugene police will begin a series of stings to dramatize dram·a·tize
v. dram·a·tized, dram·a·tiz·ing, dram·a·tiz·es
1. To adapt (a literary work) for dramatic presentation, as in a theater or on television or radio.
2. the hazard of failing to yield the right of way to pedestrians in crosswalks.
The city's six-officer traffic enforcement unit is responding to city councilor coun·cil·or also coun·cil·lor
A member of a council, as one convened to advise a governor. See Usage Note at council.
coun complaints about pedestrian near-misses. Officer Bobby McDermed secured a $4,000 grant from the state to cover officer overtime. "This is a side effect of our hurry-up society," Councilor David Kelly This article or section needs copy editing for grammar, style, cohesion, tone and/or spelling.
You can assist by [ editing it] now. said. "We get in the car and we're so focused - we've got to get to our goal just as soon as we can - that other factors like that poor pedestrian trying to cross the street don't enter into our minds."
Crosswalk stings generally involve a traffic cone, a decoy DECOY. A pond used for the breeding and maintenance of water-fowl. 11 Mod. 74, 130; S. C. 3 Salk. 9; Holt, 14 11 East, 571. officer on foot and a motorized unit A unit equipped with complete motor transportation that enables all of its personnel, weapons, and equipment to be moved at the same time without assistance from other sources. to nab and ticket violators. Police choose an intersection, pace off a reasonable stopping distance from the intersection - where they place the cone - and then position a plainclothes plain·clothes or plain-clothes
Wearing civilian clothes while on duty to avoid being identified as police or security: a plainclothes detective. officer to step into the intersection the second an oncoming car passes the cone.
If the driver doesn't stop for the decoy pedestrian - who has the right-of-way at any corner crossing - bam, the driver gets the fat ticket.
Police hope drivers will share their pain with news media, so the whole community learns that failing to yield the right-of-way to a pedestrian is a violation.
It can also be a critical issue. Over a three-year period ending in December 2000 - the most current figures available - 130 pedestrians were struck by cars or trucks in Eugene, and six of them died, city traffic engineer Tom Larsen said.
Two city intersections vied for the title of "most dangerous" with four pedestrian accidents apiece: 11th Avenue and Willamette Street, and Highway 99 at Royal Avenue.
Larsen said he'll advise the police about where the stings would do the most good.
Every intersection is a pedestrian crosswalk whether or not the city has spray-painted crosswalk lines, police said. Either way, drivers must stop.
The stings are expected to continue through the summer.
Save the trains
When a delegation of Eugene public officials hit Capitol Hill last week for a five-day lobbying trip, they had a resolution tucked under their arms that said essentially - "Save the trains."
Passed unanimously by the Eugene City Council in late February, the resolution proclaimed that the nation needs trains, the city needs trains and long-distance rail service is important to local economic vitality.
It asked the Oregon congressional delegation to help preserve some kind of national intercity passenger railroad.
Councilor Scott Meisner, who wrote the resolution, said he was careful to separate the fate of the trains with the fate of Amtrak Amtrak, the National Railroad Passenger Corp., authorized to operate virtually all intercity passenger railroad routes in the United States. Amtrak was created by Congress in 1970 in response to more than two decades of continuous operating deficits by privately run . That's a wise strategy because the limping 31-year-old passenger railroad corporation is under heavy fire from opponents in the House and Senate.
The 18 long-distance lines that shuttle passengers across the country are unprofitable and thought to be the most vulnerable to closure.
The Coast Starlight that passes north and south through Eugene each day is on the hit list.
Jason Heuser, who tracks state and federal legislation for the city, said he suspects Congress could reduce the cross-country passenger lines - including the Empire Builder This train inspired the popular Empire Builder board game and computer version.
Empire Builder was also a nickname for James J. Hill
The Empire Builder is a passenger train route operated by Amtrak in the Midwestern and Northwestern United States. , the California Zephyr The California Zephyr is a 2,438-mile (3,924-km) passenger train route operated by Amtrak in the Midwestern and Western United States. It runs from Chicago, Illinois in the east to Emeryville, California in the west, passing through the states of Illinois, Iowa, Nebraska, or the Southwest Chief The Southwest Chief (formerly the Southwest Limited) is a passenger train operated by Amtrak along a 2256-mile (3631-km) route through the Midwestern and Southwestern United States. - down to one or two.
Heuser also said he didn't know if the Coast Starlight - which runs between Los Angeles Los Angeles (lôs ăn`jələs, lŏs, ăn`jəlēz'), city (1990 pop. 3,485,398), seat of Los Angeles co., S Calif.; inc. 1850. and Seattle - would survive. "I didn't necessarily hear a firm commitment," he said.
The fate of the national system is expected to unfold in the next several months. The Senate Commerce Committee is scheduled to hold hearings on Amtrak next Thursday.
The House Railroads Subcommittee will take the train system up in a third and final hearing April 11.
Meisner said he was reassured after meeting with the delegation in Washington, D.C.
"Amtrak is being debated, but almost no one is saying we don't need passenger rail," he said.
Reporter Diane Dietz can be reached at 338-2376 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org