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Salem Watch: Residential speed limit bill passes House 45-14

Posted by on March 9th, 2011 at 12:39 pm

HB 3150, a bill that would give every city in Oregon the authority to reduce speed limits on “neighborhood greenways” to 20 mph, just passed the Oregon House by a vote of 45-14.

The bill came out of committee last week with a few no votes from lawmakers who said they were concerned about the wording of the bill. Rep. Shawn Lindsay (R-Hillsboro) said he wanted “neighborhood greenway” changed to “neighborhood byway” (to avoid “greenwashing” a public safety bill). Lindsay said he voted no after House committee chairs decided to move forward with a vote without the “byway” amendment.

Interestingly, Rep. Lindsay voted in favor of the bill on the House floor today. Sources say he expects that his amendments might be attached to the Senate version.

Cannon’s legislative aide confirmed for us today that the “byways” amendment will be sent to the Senate and where they would debate the issue for themselves. Cannon told us la st week he doesn’t care what cities call the streets because it has no substantive impact on the bill (“it’s a trivial issue as far as I’m concerned” where his exact words).

All 14 “no” votes today came from Republicans (see list below); some of whom were probably confused by a previous version of the bill that would have given the speed setting authority only to cities with populations exceeding 100,000. That provision was stripped from the bill weeks ago, but was erroneously included in an Oregonian story just last Friday (Update 3/9: they have corrected the story). In its current form, HB 3150-A (PDF here) applies to all road authorities in Oregon.

Here is the text of the bill that passed the House today:

(10)(a)A road authority may establish by ordinance a designated speed for a neighborhood greenway under the jurisdiction of the road authority that is five miles per hour lower than the statutory speed.

(b) The road authority shall post a sign giving notice of the designated speed at each end of the portion of the neighborhood greenway where the designated speed is imposed and at such other places on the neighborhood greenway as may be necessary to inform the public. The designated speed shall be effective when signs giving notice of the designated speed are posted.

(c) As used in this subsection, “neighborhood greenway” means a highway in a residence district that:

(A) As determined by the road authority having jurisdiction over 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) Has a traffic control device that indicates the presence of pedestrians or bicyclists.

Before a city could implement the lower speeds, they’d have to identify the specific sections of street and then bring the proposal to a city council for adoption.

The bill will now head to the Senate where Democrats hold a two-seat majority (not that party politics should matter when it comes to a bill like this).

Read more about HB 3150 in the archives and follow all our 2011 legislative session coverage here.

The House representatives below voted no on House Bill 3150 which “Authorizes road authority to lower statutory speed limit for neighborhood greenway by five miles per hour.”

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  • matt picio March 9, 2011 at 12:41 pm

    This is all kinds of awesome!

    I’m sure the Hon. Wayne Krieger (R – Gold Beach) might not agree.

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  • wsbob March 9, 2011 at 12:49 pm

    “…Interestingly, Rep. Lindsay voted in favor of the bill on the House floor today, but only after reportedly gaining assurances from bill sponsor Ben Cannon (D-Portland) that the “byways” term would be added to the bill before it reaches the Senate.

    Cannon’s legislative aide confirmed for us today that the “byways” amendment will be sent to the Senate and it’s likely to be adopted. …maus/bikeportland

    Lindsay got the assurance, so the bill got his vote. See? It can work when these people co-operate.

    The phrase, ‘neighborhood greenways’, doesn’t seem like a bad one when applied to the specific type of infrastructure for which the word was coined, (which was the Portland thing with the curb extensions, bioswales and so on.), but for the broader application this bill seemed to be written for, it wasn’t so good.

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  • NW Biker March 9, 2011 at 1:37 pm

    Republicans: the party of No. Sad.

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    • Art Fuldodger March 9, 2011 at 6:34 pm

      you’re being way too kind. How about “the party of death”?

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  • Oliver March 9, 2011 at 1:51 pm

    Kind of off topic, but what can be done if 85% of the traffic is going over 30, but max speed is 25?

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  • Andrew March 9, 2011 at 1:55 pm

    Why do all those Republicans love big government so much?! Why do they want the state to tell me what speed my neighborhood street has posted? Next are the Republicans going to make sure the state approves all local traffic signal changes? This is becoming more like Red China every day, I swear it.

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  • OuterToob March 9, 2011 at 2:11 pm

    I’m curious to see if this will get the same (laughable) results as the law that banned talking on the phone while driving. Great intent, but no impact if the law isn’t actively enforced.

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    • Dave Thomson March 10, 2011 at 11:32 am

      Personally I think it has made a large impact. I see far fewer people talking on their phones (or texting) then I did before the law passed. It certainly didn’t stop 100% of people from doing something stupid, but I would bet it reduced the overall risks quite a bit. Of course I have no data to back that up; I just tend to look around a lot when stopped at red lights.

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  • Spiffy March 9, 2011 at 2:12 pm

    I was hoping for “20 mph” but I guess “five miles per hour lower” will work for now… they can change it later in a future year if they want to…

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  • K'Tesh March 9, 2011 at 2:27 pm

    Great news! All except for the “GOP” BS.

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  • Jessica Roberts March 9, 2011 at 3:23 pm

    Don’t forget to thank your legislator (assuming you live in Portland and Matt Wand isn’t your rep…and if your rep is a baddie, send him/her a stern note!).

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  • Psyfalcon March 9, 2011 at 6:07 pm

    Small error: Kim Thatcher (R-Seizer) should be Keizer.

    Oddly, only one no vote was from what we normally think of as red- Eastern Oregon. Another small twist to the strange Oregon politics.

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  • are March 9, 2011 at 10:37 pm

    the oregonian story to which you link does not mention the 100k population threshold. on the other hand, it does say updated wednesday march 9, so maybe rose corrected the error after you posted this.

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  • James C. Walker March 12, 2011 at 9:29 am

    It is just short of impossible to actually drive at 20 mph or below, unless the roadway environment is degraded to the extent you cannot go faster. The principal results of this law would be to make the roadways LESS safe by increasing speed variance, and to facilitate speed traps for safe drivers.
    Regards, James C. Walker, Board Member – National Motorists Association Foundation, Ann Arbor, MI

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    • are March 12, 2011 at 5:58 pm

      really? how do you manage on parking lots?

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