PBOT-backed legislation would change speed limit authority

Wednesday, January 19th, 2011
A ride with the family-9
Portland hopes new law will lead to
20 mph limit on streets like these.
(Photo © J. Maus)

As we reported back in October, the City of Portland is working the legislature to gain more control over speed limits. Mayor Sam Adams is aware of the impact high speed motor vehicles have on our neighborhoods and has pushed for a new approach to speed limits for years.

PBOT, which Mayor Adams oversees, wants their own engineers to have the authority to decide what speed limits are appropriate for residential streets where they are currently building a network of interconnected “family friendly” bikeways. (Note: Currently, ODOT is in charge of setting speed limits — even on roads they themselves do not own and maintain.)

Now that the legislative session has begun, I thought it would be wise to track how the City of Portland is approaching this issue. (more…)

A speed limit sign success story

Monday, October 25th, 2010
New signs on SE 14th Street in Sellwood.
(Photos by Lisa S.)

We’ve been talking a lot about speed lately. With the City looking to take on the issue in Salem this coming legislative session, and the BTA mentioning the positive impacts of lower speeds at every opportunity, it’s becoming clear that 2011 will have a lot of speed-related news.

On that note, a reader sent me an email last week about how she got the City of Portland to install 15 mph speed limit signs on her street. It’s a great example of a citizen taking action and the City listening and responding.

Lisa S. lives on SE 14th Street in the Sellwood neighborhood. She says the three-block stretch of 14th between Duke and SE Bybee (near Llewellyn Elementary School, map here) got a lot of cut-through traffic. (more…)

It’s official: 20 mph speed limit on City of Portland’s legislative agenda

Monday, October 18th, 2010
Sharrows on N. Concord-2
Streets like N. Concord Avenue would
have 20 mph maximum speed limit.
(Photos © J. Maus)

The City of Portland has released their draft 2011 Legislative Agenda. As we hinted might happen back in July, that agenda includes an initiative to reduce neighborhood speed limits to a maximum of 20 mph on certain streets.

Mayor Adams has made it clear for a long time that he wants the Bureau of Transportation to have more authority to set local speed limits (currently all speed limits are set by ODOT, but can changed by request). However, instead of looking to make a wholesale transfer of authority, it looks as though PBOT will try to create a blanket law that would set a 20 mph maximum speed limit on all streets designated as “neighborhood greenways” (which is how I suspected they’d go about it; read end of this post published last month). (more…)

In London, ’20’s plenty’ fast enough

Wednesday, September 1st, 2010
Sounds reasonable to me.

Streetfilms has a new video on 20’s Plenty for us, a campaign in the U.K. working to make 20 mph the standard speed limit in residential areas. The campaign is catching on quickly, with more and more U.K. cities adopting the policy all the time. Given that PBOT might be considering a legislative fix to wrest greater control of speed limits from ODOT, and the fact that Mayor Sam Adams has already shown an interest in reducing speed limits and has made safety his number one transportation priority, this could be an idea that catches on here in Portland. (more…)

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.

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.

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…)

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