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Control of speed limits high atop PBOT's legislative hopes

Wednesday, July 28th, 2010
Scene of fatal at Willamette and Haven-9
PBOT wants the legal authority
to reduce speed limits on
neighborhood streets.
(Photo © J. Maus)

With funding-related legislation a non-starter in Salem this coming session, the City of Porltand Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) instead sees an opportunity to work toward major, statewide policy changes that would support its transportation goals.

High atop their list of priorities for the 2011 legislative agenda is a much-anticipated strategy to wrest authority of setting speed limits away from the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) and give it to local jurisdictions. Currently, ODOT sets speed limits, even on streets owned and managed by cities and/or counties.
(more...)

How should ODOT spend safety funds? Tell them!

Friday, January 8th, 2010
Bike traffic in Portland-9.jpg
ODOT wants input on transportation safety.
(Photo © J. Maus)

The Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) has announced two meetings where they will solicit public input on their Transportation Safety Action Plan.

Last updated in 2004, that safety plan is an important part of the Oregon Transportation Plan and it guides ODOT's safety budget. Anyone with ideas and feedback about how ODOT can improve their safety programs is encouraged to attend. The City of Portland's top traffic safety staffer, Mark Lear says these meetings are the best place to tell ODOT what you feel is important. Lear adds that PBOT "wants a strategy based on improving safety for all modes" and that he's most concerned about speed and alcohol related crashes. (more...)

Speed limits and ODOT: A primer

Wednesday, November 11th, 2009
Some Portlanders will resort to
anything to slow people down.
(Photos © J. Maus)

Excessive speed. It's a killer and it's on the loose on streets throughout Portland.

It's a problem and there are many ways to combat it. One of those is to reduce speed limits. But, as you'll find out below, that's far easier said than done.

Currently the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) holds the power to set speed limits in our state. Even on local roads, where they don't have jurisdiction in terms of maintenance or engineering, all speed change requests must go through ODOT. This process is a thorn in the side of our local Bureau of Transportation.
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In letter to ODOT, Adams urges a new approach to speed limits

Tuesday, May 26th, 2009
Sensible speed limits are key
in creating a people-friendly city.
(Photos © J. Maus)

In America, there are many unseen barriers to creating a more human-friendly transportation system. Many of them reside in national engineering manuals that were created -- and continue to be "updated" -- by auto-centric engineers. Other barriers are entrenched in policies and processes at those familiar bastions of the status quo; state-level Departments of Transportation.

Among the many powerful transportation planning tools that the Oregon DOT holds jurisdiction over is setting speed limits on city streets. It should go without saying how vital speed limits are in creating a bike and pedestrian-friendly city. High-speed, arterial streets -- especially through residential areas, where even a 35 mph speed limit feels unsafe -- are often the location of very serious collisions. (more...)

Kids remind speedy traffic that 'Students are Crossing'

Tuesday, December 18th, 2007
Students are Crossing - Buckman Elementary-2.jpg
The BTA's Stephanie Noll at E. Burnside and 16th.
(Photo © Jonathan Maus)

Students at Buckman Elementary School in Southeast Portland have taken traffic safety into their own hands.

Carrying signs that read "Students are Crossing", the third and fourth-graders have held several awareness actions to draw attention to the unmarked intersection of East Burnside and 16th Avenue; a high-speed intersection that is just four blocks from their school. (more...)

Australia hits speeders where it counts

Tuesday, June 26th, 2007
The dreaded small pinky wave.
From the RTA campaign

Via the BBC

The Australian Road and Transit Authority (RTA) has launched a new anti-speeding campaign targeted at young drivers.

The campaign is based on the slogan, "Speeding. No one thinks big of you." According to the BBC, (more...)

Legislation update: It's crunch time in Salem

Thursday, May 31st, 2007
capitolbuilding.jpg
Oregon state capitol in Salem.
(File photo)

Before a bill becomes law, it must first pass through both House and Senate committees. If a bill doesn't move out of committee (and onto a floor vote) it is dead.

Today was the final day for bills to pass out of committee so I figured it'd be a good time to look at where things stand. I've separated them into three categories: Passed, Still have a chance, and Officially dead.

Passed

Speed Limit on Residential Streets (H.B. 2297) (more...)

Proposed law would reduce speeds on narrow roads

Friday, February 16th, 2007
[Without a new law, this is what some people must resort to.]

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Speed kills

Friday, October 7th, 2005

I hate to be so blunt, but ever since I attended one of those Bike Safety Workshops, I can't stop thinking about two things.

  • The difference of a mere 10mph in a car (which is barely perceptible), can mean a vast difference in the fatality rate if that car strikes a biker or walker.
  • Cops seem to "allow" at least a 10 mph cushion on the posted speed limit before giving a ticket.

There was something upsetting to me about those two thoughts hitting my head at the same time.

To illustrate how important it is to drive slowly (especially on neighborhood streets), I've posted a slide from the City of Portland's traffic division. It lists the effects of speed on stopping distance shows fatality and injury rate for each speed. How can the police can justify allowing motorists to go 10-15 miles over the posted speed limit when the numbers in the chart below make it painfully obvious that people die as a result?
(more...)

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