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Salem Watch: PBOT speed limit bill set for Senate hearing

Posted by on February 23rd, 2011 at 1:36 pm

Senate Bill 334, a bill pushed as priority legislation by the City of Portland that would give local jurisdications more control over setting speed limits, has been scheduled for a hearing. The bill will be heard by the Senate Committee on Business, Transportation, and Economic Development on February 28th at 3:00 pm in Hearing Room B of the State Capitol (900 Court Street NE, Salem).

For more on SB 344, see our previous coverage here. Also take note of the new companion bill in the House, HB 3150. Both bills seek to give more authority to local jurisdictions to lower speed limits on small, residential streets. Currently, ODOT controls speed limits on all roads in the state. HB 3150 also seeks to define “neighborhood greenways.”

See all of our 2011 legislative session coverage here.

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  • John Mulvey February 23, 2011 at 2:17 pm

    I’m confused and a little frustrated by this bill. When the Mayor came to Foster Road last fall to hear the community’s concerns about traffic safety, he asked us to get behind this bill.

    Since then, many of us in the area have contacted our legislators to express our support and ask for theirs.

    Now it appears that the bill, as amended, only includes residential streets and would therefore do nothing for Foster Road.

    What at one time was a good step toward protecting pedestrians and bikers has now morphed into a bill that doesn’t do much, if anything.

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  • James C. Walker March 12, 2011 at 9:34 am

    Local authorities often set posted speed limits well below the level that maximizes safety. IF SAFETY is the real goal, then most posted limits should be set at the 85th percentile speed of free flowing traffic under good conditions. Setting a posted limit about 10 mph below this level often means it is below the 30th percentile speed, so that 70+% of all drivers are arbitrarily defined as violators. This accomplishes two things. First, it increases speed variance which makes the road less safe. Second, it facilitates speed traps to ticket very safe drivers going along with the normal speeds of traffic in the safest possible way. Neither result is appropriate, IF safety is the goal.
    Regards, James C. Walker, Board Member – National Motorists Association Foundation, Ann Arbor, MI

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