Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on February 16th, 2007 at 8:46 am
A new law proposal in front the Oregon State Legislature would reduce the speed limit for vehicles on "narrow" streets to 15 mph.
The proposed concept would define narrow roadways as any road that is:
- Located in a residence district;
- Intended for through vehicular traffic;
- Not of sufficient width to allow one lane of traffic in each direction.
Portland is full of narrow streets like these and this proposal could have a huge impact on making bicycle travel safer. Of course, like existing speed limits, they're only as good as the enforcement behind them.
The chart below illustrates the life and death consequences of speed:
Stay tuned for updates on this proposal and for opportunities to weigh in with your support.
UPDATE: PDOT is proposing an amendment to this concept that would clarify the definition of "narrow roadway". They feel the current definition is much too broad, would cover "hundreds of miles" of streets, would cause confusion, and would cost millions to add signage. Here's the added clarification they want to add (in bold, taken from their official testimony in Salem yesterday):
"Narrow roadway' means a roadway that is: ....(3) Not of sufficient width to allow one lane of traffic in each direction. Less than 18 feet in width and a contiguous portion of roadway beginning and ending at a crossroad or roadway terminus defined as a dead-end"
The PDOT rep also testified that,
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"We feel that this definition meets the intent of the original language and offers a more explicit definition that provides a clear standard for motorists and will allow police to enforce the law without ambiguity with regard to whether a street “is not of sufficient width to allow one lane of traffic in each direction”. In addition, the proposed language provides that a roadway must be less than 18-feet wide for one block or longer in a residential area for the statutory 15 mph provision to apply."