Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on June 1st, 2011 at 12:35 pm
cities to lower speed limits
on residential streets.
(Photo © J. Maus)
House Bill 3150 took a very big step toward becoming reality today. The bill, which would give cities the authority to lower the speed limit on residential streets by five miles per hour (from 25 to 20 mph in most cases), passed a vote on the Senate floor by 26-3.
HB 3150 passed the House by a wide margin back in March and has been working its way through the Senate committee process ever since.
The bill is a top legislative priority of the City of Portland and PBOT Director Tom Miller testified in support of it back in February. HB 3150 initially sought to define the term "neighborhood greenways" but that language has been removed from the bill. Also not in the bill is a proposal by two Republican state senators who wanted raise Oregon's freeway speed limit to 75 mph.
"We've just gained a tool that makes them [neighborhood greenways] great for all users of the road and especially for neighbors who are fighting for lower speeds on their streets."
— Rob Sadowsky, BTA
Below is the language of the bill as passed by the Senate (full text here):
A road authority may establish by ordinance a designated speed for a highway under the jurisdiction of the road authority that is five miles per hour lower than the statutory speed. The following apply to the authority granted under this subsection:
(a) The highway is located in a residence district.
(b) The statutory speed may be overridden by a designated speed only if:
(A) The road authority determines that the highway has an average volume of fewer than 2,000 motor vehicles per day, more than 85 percent of which are traveling less than 30 miles per hour; and
(B) There is a traffic control device on the highway that indicates the presence of pedestrians or bicyclists.
(c) The road authority shall post a sign giving notice of the designated speed at each end of the portion of highway where the designated speed is imposed and at such other places on the highway as may be necessary to inform the public. The designated speed shall be effective when signs giving notice of the designated speed are posted.
Rob Sadowsky, the executive director of the Bicycle Transportation Alliance (BTA) says the bill will lead to even better — and safer — neighborhood greenways:
"We've just gained a tool that makes them [neighborhood greenways] great for all users of the road and especially for neighbors who are fighting for lower speeds on their streets. We have neighborhood groups who desperately want to lower their speed limits on blocks to 20 mph."
Since some (minor) changes were made in the Senate, the bill now heads back to the House for a concurrence vote, where it's expected to pass and then head to the Governor's desk for signing.