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Speed bumps coming to NW Germantown Road

Posted by on July 22nd, 2010 at 9:30 am

Speed bumps coming soon
on this stretch of Germantown Rd.
(Google Maps)

If you are one of the many people who enjoy riding down NW Germantown Road from Skyline Blvd., get ready to handle a few speed bumps toward the bottom of the route.

The City of Portland Bureau of Transportation plans to install five “speed tables” on Germantown between NW Bridge and Lilac Avenues this Saturday (7/24). The $16,000 project is being paid for by residents of the area who are concerned that people are driving too fast as they approach the Highway 30/St. Johns Bridge interchange.

According to PBOT speed bump project manager Will Stevens, the five bumps will be 22-feet long with a 10-foot, flat, “table-like” section in the middle and will be spaced about 600-700 feet apart. This stretch of Germantown is considered residential and has a 25 mile per hour posted speed limit (the rest of the street is 30 mph). However, PBOT data shows that the 85th percentile speed in the project area is 34-37 mph. (The 85th percentile speed is the point at or below which 85 percent of the vehicles are traveling.)

Portland resident Casey McDonald, who rides down Germantown frequently, saw signs about the project during a recent trail run in Forest Park. He says he hopes people on bikes slow down to avoid any mishaps. “The bumps should be a good thing to keep auto traffic speeds down, but I know I’ve ridden down Germantown at pretty high speeds and a speed bump could create a problem.”

In case you’re wondering, PBOT has a policy of not installing speed bumps in curves.

Please note that NW Germantown Road will be closed this Saturday from 7:00 am to 5:00 pm so crews can install the bumps.

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NOTE: We love your comments and work hard to ensure they are productive, considerate, and welcoming of all perspectives. Disagreements are encouraged, but only if done with tact and respect. If you see a mean or inappropriate comment, please contact us and we'll take a look at it right away. Also, if you comment frequently, please consider holding your thoughts so that others can step forward. Thank you — Jonathan

  • shawn July 22, 2010 at 9:34 am

    nuts! there goes that fun descent

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  • Oliver July 22, 2010 at 9:47 am

    “A 25 mile per hour posted speed limit, however…speed in the project area is 34-37 mph.”

    Just like my street then.

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  • wsbob July 22, 2010 at 9:49 am

    “… According to PBOT speed bump project manager Will Stevens, the five bumps will be 22-feet long with a 10-foot, flat, “table-like” section in the middle …” maus/bikeportland.

    Does this mean the center section of the speed bump will be flat rather than arched, relative to the ends of the speed bump closest to the sides of the road? Not sure I’ve seen a speed bump built like this before.

    The intent of the design sounds similar to bisected speed bumps. Just one side of motor vehicles wheels go over the bumps, sending the message to slow down, but causing less of a jarring response to the vehicle than a full speed bump does.

    Bikes will probably be able to easily roll right over the flat section with not much reduction in speed required.

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  • SkidMark July 22, 2010 at 9:51 am

    I hate speedbumps AKA sleeping Policemen. Another great country road bites the dust. They disrupt a nice ride or drive even at the speed limit.

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  • Spiffy July 22, 2010 at 10:11 am

    it’s nice to see a neighborhood trying to slow down cars…

    where I live (SE Holgate Blvd) a lot of residents are upset because recent changes to the road are causing them to drive the speed limit more often…

    the main problem with speed bumps is that they usually have the effect of slowing people down that aren’t speeding… so even if people are going 25pmh on a 25mph road they will still hit the brakes and slow down… I think it’s just instinct like hitting your brakes when you see a cop because you assume you’re speeding as usual…

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  • spare_wheel July 22, 2010 at 10:34 am

    “are causing them to drive the speed limit more often…”


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  • jason July 22, 2010 at 10:35 am

    mmmmmm jumps

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  • Anonymous July 22, 2010 at 10:45 am

    Why not issue speeding tickets and make some money. Bumps will not solve the problem and require an outlay.

    If that stretch got a reputation for being patrolled frequently people would not drive so irresponsibly in that area.

    Last year my car got broken into at one of the trail heads in that area. (There was nothing in the car to steal). I reported the crime to the cops. The officer I talked with told me I should not have parked there because it was not patrolled frequently and there has been lots of theft in the area…

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  • Shetha July 22, 2010 at 11:02 am

    Spiffy – if 25mph is the speed limit, and they slow down, is that a violation of a limit? Generally a limit is the upper bound allowed. You are certainly allowed to travel at speeds less than that.

    Thanks for posting the notice, Jonathan. Would’ve been a not-so-pleasant surprise if I’d have been uninformed.

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  • Anonymous July 22, 2010 at 11:02 am

    If you go the speed limit there will be no problems with the bumps. If you know how to handle your bike they will also not be a problem at high speed. Just like the esplanade.

    Be courteous to others when you ride, it doesn’t hurt.

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  • jeff July 22, 2010 at 11:06 am

    I’d prefer strict enforcement of the speed limit, here and on just about every other street…

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  • poser July 22, 2010 at 11:14 am

    85%? if I’m reading this right, there’s ~15% compliance with the posted speed limit on this residential street? is that correct?


    friends and co-workers who know I’m a cyclist ask me (too frequently) why so many cyclists run stop-signs; I always reply, “I don’t know… why do so many motorists speed?”

    mixed emotions on the speed bumps. I’ve always loved that descent; curious if the speed bumps start early enough to take the fun out of it.

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  • A.K. July 22, 2010 at 11:17 am

    These seem like long bumps.. 22 feet long! Shouldn’t be an issue for bicycles. This is a far cry from normal speed bumps, or even the ones they installed at Riverview Cemetery.

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  • red hippie July 22, 2010 at 11:30 am

    I live on Willamette Blvd where i have had two cars totaled as they were parked in front of my door. The neighborhood has been asking for speed bumps for years to curtail the speed, drag racing, etc. Road is a major bike blouevard. Median house price $200K. Not allowed speed bumbs.

    Median house price of German Town? $500K. Allowed speed bumps.

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  • Todd Boulanger July 22, 2010 at 11:37 am

    To clarify from the report…Will these be installed on a slope? Or the flat sections? The typical national practice is to avoid installing speed humps/ tables on inclines.

    At the same time…since these devices will affect the safety of bicyclists…how about improving the safety and mobility for pedestrians and cyclists along the length of this road or parallel route…(say Springville) by striping the road to be a single shared lane with a walking/ biking shoulder (no centerline)? (A common rural roadway treatment in Europe and some places in the US.)

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  • Psyfalcon July 22, 2010 at 1:38 pm

    5. Each car responds differently to speed bumps. My truck will usually bounce anything in the bed if I hit a 25mph speed bump at 25. So I need to slow down to about 20. My old 94 Subaru could take bumps at… well, whatever you wanted. It had a much softer suspension.

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  • Jim Labbe July 22, 2010 at 2:43 pm

    I ride NW Cornell all the time and it has speed bumps at the lower end. The bumps are never a problem for me and they help slow down cars who drive way too fast on Cornell.

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  • Argentius July 22, 2010 at 3:46 pm

    Ugh. I hate these on descents.

    These things are coming up EVERYwhere.

    I’d rather enforce the existing limits, than make the situation dangerous for 2-wheelers, epsecially braking in the wet.

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  • Scott Batson July 22, 2010 at 4:13 pm

    Willamette Blvd is a Major Emergency Response route, that’s why it doesn’t qualify for speed bumps. The speed bumps on Germantown are the same design that are built on Cornell. The 85th percentile speed is just like the national test scoring – 15% of the drivers are going faster than the reported number. All of Germantown is a slope, so yes, they will. They will also be placed in the less steep sections.
    A common misperception is Portland makes a lot of money from speeding tickets. It actually works out to about $12 after paying the officer, the County courts and the State. Photo radar only just breaks even (as it was designed to do).

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  • gregg woodlawn July 22, 2010 at 5:52 pm

    In addition to what Scott is saying…

    I read that of 100 drivers, you are looking at the 85th percentile of speed. (84 going slower than 34-37 mph, and 15 going faster than 34-37mph.) That could mean that 100% of the drivers are speeding.

    People don’t like speed bumps. That is because they are effective. I wish my neighbors could cough up 16 grand for my street.

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  • Peter Smith July 22, 2010 at 5:55 pm

    I’m not crazy about the idea of installing these anti-cycling devices (like stop signs and traffic lights) to deal with what is a motor vehicle problem — and in this case, to try to reel in outlaw driver behavior. Is there a better way?

    Also, I’d call these speed humps, not speed bumps.

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  • Paul Johnson July 23, 2010 at 12:50 am

    Why are we flushing money down the toilet for these things? They’re a hazard to cyclists, and when I drive, I deliberately try to hit those as fast as possible in an effort to shake the homes of those who requested the blasted things.

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  • Paul Johnson July 23, 2010 at 12:53 am

    #20 Gregg: They’re not effective, they encourage me to go faster. They’re annoying, and I know with our soil type, the speed bumps *will* transfer shock to the homes nearby. Given that they’re probably the ones who requested them, I do my best to hit those things as hard as I possibly can. TriMet drivers tend to do the same thing, and actually got the ones on Southwest Parkway removed by doing so.

    I encourage everyone to hit these bumps as hard as possible when behind the wheel until they’re removed: It works.

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  • Red Five July 23, 2010 at 7:27 am

    Wow, and this is why people think cyclists are dicks. Go job people.

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  • Bob_M July 23, 2010 at 10:46 am

    Speed bumps BFD
    The result will be no different than the ones on Skyline Dr. Cars will slow down and cyclists will be unaffected.
    (unless you have gear strapped to your bike with a bungee cord, in which case you will crash, break your collar bone and sue the city)

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  • Crash N. Burns July 23, 2010 at 6:47 pm

    Well said Bob_M.


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  • Duncan July 27, 2010 at 4:17 pm

    My street had speed bumps installed and the first day some rice burner left fiberglass fairing pieces behind. In the couple years since then my street has gone from being a freeway to being a normal residential street.

    People live there- and they are tired of worrying about their kids, burying their cats. Its a 1/4 mile. Slow down and suck it up in a car.

    On a bike? no speed bump has ever slowed me down except those ones in the cemetery. almost jarred a filling loose on that one.

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  • Paul Johnson July 27, 2010 at 10:30 pm

    There are better ways to calm traffic that don’t involve interfering with cyclists pulling trailers, delivery drivers, delaying fire equipment and endangering ambulance patients. Consider the choker (forcing a street to a single lane for a few feet) or speed cushions (bumps with strategically placed gaps wide enough for delivery trucks and emergency vehicles to pass unaffected), rather than the dangerous and uninspired speed bump.

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  • Duncan July 27, 2010 at 11:38 pm

    oh paul whatever… people in ambulances are strapped down.

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  • Paul Johnson July 28, 2010 at 6:27 am

    Oh, that’s right, patients are 100% immune from further injury from unnecessary jostling when they’re strapped down. And it’s important to move the victim’s severed spine as soon and as much as possible.

    Yeah, but are the paramedics? No. How about equipment they’re using? Not always.

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  • Duncan July 28, 2010 at 3:45 pm

    Ambulances have seat belts for EMTS (generally The ambulances are staffed by EMT Bs and Is) and yes all equipment is secured. and also ambulances aren’t supposed to drive recklessly and I doubt they will be going that fast there.

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  • Paul Johnson July 28, 2010 at 6:09 pm

    Given safer and more effective traffic calming options, why defend the most dangerous, expensive and stupid of all available options? Or was this your idea and you simply lack that kind of foresight and wouldn’t give up about it until the city caved to shut you up?

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  • Joe Durkee July 29, 2010 at 12:50 pm

    Hey everyone: Rode up/down Germantown yesterday and the speed bumps are in. They are at the bottom section of the hill and are not too abrupt. Be safe out there!

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  • Paul Johnson July 30, 2010 at 10:32 pm

    That’s quite unfortunate, Joe. Anybody know about the process required to get these removed or fixed into cushions or chokes?

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  • Zaphod July 27, 2012 at 9:38 am

    Holy crap… a lot of complaining over something intended to make the streets safer. I’m thinking they will do exactly that. Anyone who enjoys a ripping descent on a road bike really had better know how to handle their bike over these things. They’re not in the apex of a corner. I’d have expected a chorus of approval for something to keep drivers from speeding.

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    • Paul Johnson July 27, 2012 at 4:16 pm

      Changing the quality of the road surface has a negative effect on safety for cyclists.

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