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

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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