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PBOT preps plans to roll out new 20 mph speed limit signs

Posted by on July 26th, 2012 at 1:08 pm

Portland is about to embark on a new era in traffic safety. The Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) is prepping plans to install 250-300 new 20 mph speed limit signs throughout the city’s expansive network of bike-friendly streets known as neighborhood greenways. The plans come after the City and advocacy groups worked to pass a new law in the 2011 legislative session that, for the first time, gave PBOT the authority to change existing speed limits without going through the Oregon Department of Transportation.

The law gives PBOT the authority to lower the speed limit on certain residential streets by 5 mph. There are specific criteria that must be met before a street can get the 20 mph signs such as; the number and speed of motor vehicles and the types of engineering improvements that are installed. The law also said each roadway must be specified in ordinance and passed by City Council before going into effect.

According to PBOT spokesperson Dan Anderson, City Council will vote on that ordinance (which will include a map with the streets that will get the new signs) in early August. If the ordinance passes, crews would begin installing the signs immediately and Anderson says the signs could be up in late August or early September.

20 mph is considered a key measure of success for making streets safer and more appealing for humans. According to PBOT, when a collision occurs between someone driving a car and someone walking or biking, there is very little to no chance of fatal or serious injuries. Just five miles per hour faster, at 25, there is a 5% chance someone will die and a 65% chance of injury. The chart below was produced by PBOT to show how speeds effect stopping distance and injury risk.

Back in 2010 I highlighted the “20s Plenty” campaign from the City of London.

The cost of the new signs — including the pole they’ll be attached to — is about $150 each, bringing the total cost of this first wave of installation to about $30,000 to $45,000 (depending on how many poles are needed).

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Andrew K
Guest
Andrew K

Very cool.

Pete
Guest
Pete

Damn, does this mean I have to ride this slow? 🙂

Peter Buck
Guest
Peter Buck

I think the speed limit does apply to all vehicles. I was in Belgium a few months ago and was told by a cyclist that not all cyclists there like the slow speed limit since it limits sport riding, but I guess if we’re at a speed limit where both drivers and cyclists complain at least it’s a level playing field.

9watts
Guest
9watts

Yes! Best news in a long time.
Twenty is actually plenty. Why are we always (I’m including myself) in such a rush?

Eric
Guest
Eric

Agreed. Even this morning, I had to take my car and the car in front of me had to slow down to turn right and I said “COME ON!” Then thought, “what’s wrong with me?”

q`Tzal
Guest
q`Tzal

Caffeine and high fructose corn syrup.
The metabolic equivalent of rolled up newspaper in a fire.

spare_wheel
Guest
spare_wheel

Because it *IS* a rush. Faster cycling is fun, healthy, and safe.
That being said, I think greenways are a bad choice for anyone cycling in excess of 15 mph.

Ben
Guest
Ben

This is GREAT news!
But who is going to enforce it? I have not seen any speed enforcement in neighborhood streets or school zones or what ever in a long time.

Over and Doubt
Guest
Over and Doubt

Agreed; what does this really mean other than cars doing 15 over instead of 10 over?

Spiffy
Guest

the PPD will enforce it against cyclists when drivers complain that we’re speeding down Clinton…

nooneofconsequence
Guest
nooneofconsequence

Oh nooooze! Clinton is where I make up all the time I piss away in the mornings!

Mabsf
Guest
Mabsf

How about all of us by talking to driving friends, go 20 mph ourselves, sitting on our porches and getting somes games going on our neighborhood streets… Nothing slowes a speeder than a bunch of people playing in the street..

Motoman
Guest
Motoman

Don’t worry, the cops will be all over this with radar traps and radar guns. Easy money for the city targeting the driving public. I ride these streets weekly but it seems Portland is always looking for any excuse to be more bike-centric at the expense of those who pay to keep the city going. 30K for signs? Waste of money and resources.

Jake
Guest
Jake

“Studies show that when a collision occurs between someone driving a car and someone walking or biking, there is 0% chance of fatal or serious injuries.”

I think the study must mean in cases where the driver was going 20mph, none of the cases were fatal, i.e. in past observation. Certainly it’s more than possible to be killed or seriously injured by a car going 20mph. This project is still really cool though.

Richard Allan
Guest
Richard Allan

Lawyer: “Your Honor, my client could not possibly have injured the plaintiff, as he was only driving 19 miles an hour when he ran over her.”

lisa smillie
Guest
lisa smillie

Yeah, what Ben said. People don’t pay much attention to signs and I am not hopeful there will be much enforcement. My street has 15 MPH speed limit signs because it is only 18 feet wide, technically an alley. But the street is attractive to drivers who use it as a cut through.

Ever since the signs were installed I have pleaded for targeted enforcement to PBOT ( they pass along requests to police), neighborhood assigned officers and the Traffic Division of the police department. No enforcement resulted. It is not uncommon to see cars traveling 30 MPH or more. It’s discouraging.

9watts
Guest
9watts

Are speed bumps (not tables, bumps) allowed on 15mph alleys? Perhaps a few guerrilla speed bumps would take car of the problems you’ve observed?

ScottB
Guest
ScottB

Check out the Garfield-MLK alley south of Killingsworth.

Spiffy
Guest

time to start issuing citizen initiated citations…

Jeff
Guest
Jeff

huh, guess I”m going to have to slow down while I’m riding now. 🙂

SilkySlim
Guest
SilkySlim

I’d love to part of the landmark case that tests the efficacy of speed radars on bikes! I gotta figure, if they work to measure baseball velocity, they can probably easily track me.

are
Guest

if you are doing more than twenty on a neighborhood greenway, yes, you probably should slow down.

SilkySlim
Guest
SilkySlim

How not break 20mph while going down Harrison in SE?

spare_wheel
Guest
spare_wheel

By taking Hawthorne or Division.

Alex Reed
Guest
Alex Reed

Or using your brakes (gasp!)

Kristen
Guest
Kristen

Coast. Or practice maintaining a set speed.

TonyT
Guest
tonyt

I second Ben’s question. Who is going to enforce it? Certainly not the PPB.

I’ve been told point blank by the person who took calls at the 823-SAFE number that if the drivers are not going “more than 11-14 mph OVER the speed limit”, the officer won’t cite them.

In a 25 mph zone this means that someone has to be doing 50% over the speed limit before they are even at risk of getting a ticket. In a 20 mph zone, that % is even worse. And then of course there actually has to be a cop there to catch them.

PPB enforcement in neighborhoods is non-existent. It really is pathetic. I used to live in a school zone and tried to get them to come out. 4-5 calls from me . . . nothing from them. Too busy handing out tickets on the 99 viaduct where there are virtually NO vulnerable road users.

Their focus is entirely backward, paying attention to higher speed areas where there are mainly cars. In my 12 years in Portland I have NEVER seen a cop randomly staking out a neighborhood area for speed enforcement.

Ron
Guest
Ron

This is exciting news, but I agree with Ben. There will be no enforcement.

q`Tzal
Guest
q`Tzal

Next time get a name of the person who says this.
I’m sure it would make an entertaining exposé on the local news.

Alli
Guest
Alli

I’ve also called this number innumerable times to ask for enforcement on my street. Two years–no PPB at all. There is only one person who works there–I can’t recall her name but that’s the only one who would/could say that I think.

Kittens
Guest
Kittens

That is because the Portland Police are useless in regard to minor crime. Never have I been “helped” by one of portland’s finest, only harassed and belittled. Maybe if they got out of their cars for a few days they wouldn’t think they were so damn cool.

was carless
Guest
was carless

Well, the city is also in a major wave of gang wars and violence that have lasted the past several years, so yeah, they are busy going after those guys who stab bicyclists on NE Alberta St., for instance.

wsbob
Guest
wsbob

“I’ve also called this number innumerable times to ask for enforcement on my street. Two years–no PPB at all. …” Alli

You got to get together with your neighbors…a united front for a bigger voice.

CaptainKarma
Guest
CaptainKarma

Totally concur, but will double-down resistance against being forced off ANY other street of my choice since “there’s one of them there bike routes just 5 blocks over yonder”.

CaptainKarma
Guest
CaptainKarma

Also: if this is going to happen on Holgate as in the graphic, there will be a pack of coyotes howling, spurred on by local TV “reporters bin lawn chairs.

Richard Allan
Guest
Richard Allan

Holgate isn’t a designated “neighborhood greenway,” so if that is the extent of the 20 mph limit (as Jonathan indicates), the coyotes will have to find something else to howl at. And rest assured, they always do.

Paulie
Guest
Paulie

It’s actually a 5 mph reduction, not a 20 mph limit. So Holgate would drop from 35 to 30. I’m sure there will be howling anyway…

dwainedibbly
Guest
dwainedibbly

This will make it easier to justify taking the lane. That’ll slow them down.

Chris I
Guest
Chris I

Everyone should already be doing that one the greenways. No sense in placing yourself in the door zone when you are riding over sharrows every 50ft.

Kevin
Guest
Kevin

My gripe is the people who DON’T take the lane and insist on riding in the gutter. It encourages unsafe passing by motorists. Then when said motorist speeds by them, said cyclist then rides by them in the gutter at the red light requiring a second pass by the motorist who is now PISSED that they have to pass them again. which does nothing for safety.

was carless
Guest
was carless

This is one of my biggest gripes with crappy Portland cyclists. Stop biking in the meat grinder zone!!! And don’t pass cars with a right-turn blinker on and halfway through the crosswalk while runing the traffic signal during the red light cycle! Its really ****ing dumb!

spare_wheel
Guest
spare_wheel

sharrow markings do not entitle cyclists to take the lane. cyclists are still supposed to ride as far right as is practically possible. another dumb car-centric statute that i urge cyclists to violate as much as possible.

Alex Reed
Guest
Alex Reed

I don’t count it as “practicable” to ride in the door zone, nor to weave in and out of parked cars when there’s only a few spaces empty. That’s why I take the lane almost all the time on quiet residential streets! It’s quite pleasant.

was carless
Guest
was carless

I take the lane on SE Milwaukie even, and have had no issues on it or NE/SE 28th.

are
Guest

thumbs up, though in each case, sharrows would be of some help in educating the motoring public

spare_wheel
Guest
spare_wheel

riding in the door zone or weaving in and out of parked cars is unsafe on any road. i think that its silly (and telling) that pdx designates “greenways” and yet still gives motorists right of way priority. allowing cyclists to legally take the entire lane would do wonders to prevent scofflaw motorists (sarcasm) from bombing up and down clinton, harrison, and salmon during prime commuting hours.

resopmok
Guest
resopmok

There’s also no sense in being rude and forcing a car to stay behind you when there is room to move to the right and allow them to pass. What’s really missing on our roads isn’t just intelligence, it’s common courtesy. So many rude people out there.

Chris I
Guest
Chris I

Exactly. I will move over if there are gaps between the parked cars; enough that the car behind can pass without making me slow down. I will not ride in the door zone, though. Riding there also exposes you to motorists that roll way past the stop signs on perpendicular streets.

Remember, greenways are for local access and bikes only. They are not made so cars can bypass clogged arterials.

Alex Reed
Guest
Alex Reed

I have to say, I almost never see people on bikes do this. I much more often see people in cars getting frustrated that they are delayed by 20 seconds because I am not riding in the door zone (or in the bike lane, notwithstanding that I’m turning left in 100 feet, or what have you).

Not saying that people on bikes are blameless – the percentage of people on bikes who blow stop signs is truly embarassing, and red light running, though rare, is even more annoying and stupid.

spare_wheel
Guest
spare_wheel

i see cyclists slow down, look both ways, and safely proceed through a stop fairly often. i doubt i see more than a cyclist or two a month truly “blow” a stop sign. perhaps you are using the car-centric definition of the term. you know…the one where rolling through a stop in a multi-ton hunk of metal is a “full stop” while a cyclist rolling through a stop is “blowing a stop”.

Alex Reed
Guest
Alex Reed

I agree that many people on bikes habitually roll stops signs safely and courteously (and I think that’s fine, although personally I obey the law to the letter).

However, other people on bikes habitually blow stop signs, dangerously and discourteously – especially to pedestrians. For example, I’d say 30-40% of people on bikes approaching Ladd’s Circle don’t so much as slow down, and most of those people don’t look to their right for pedestrians, only to their left for cars. That is rude and dangerous – most of all to the pedestrians. Tons of people on bikes ignore common rules of the road at 21st & clinton and 26th & clinton – most do at least slow down, but then go through the intersection, despite the cars going the opposite direction that have been patiently waiting their turn. That is rude and dangerous – in this case mostly for the rude bike-riders.

I’m sure there are more examples of problem behavior at intersections around the city. It’s bike-rider behavior like I’ve just cited that hardens political opposition to further action to improve the safety and comfort of bicycle facilities.

There are probably about as many rude law-breakers in cars (speeding, no turn signals, aggressive driving, driving without a valid license, talking on the phone, messing on the phone, eating/make-up applying/shaving in the car), but cars already get widespread kowtowing from political leaders, so there isn’t much of a political reason for pro-car people to agitate for people to drive safely and courteously. There is a political reason for pro-bike people to encourage good behavior by people on bikes.

Alex Reed
Guest
Alex Reed

Oh, I forgot rolling/blowing stop signs – people driving cars definitely do this too (albeit they blow stop signs at a lower rate than people biking, in my opinion – though it is much more dangerous for other people when they do!)

El Biciclero
Guest
El Biciclero

If I’m going the speed limit, I’m not moving over. However, I’ve had drivers in the last week pass me–when I’m taking the lane for other reasons–while I am going 22-23 in a 25. I’m surprised how comfortable drivers seem while driving in the oncoming lane for such an extended period. But drivers have also done this while I am taking the lane and actually speeding: I’ve been doing 29 in a 25 and drivers have moved into the oncoming lane to pass.

encephalopath
Guest
encephalopath

Known as Must-Get-In-Frontism

El Biciclero
Guest
El Biciclero

What’s even more hilarious is that I’ve had drivers pass me, then realize they are speeding and slow down to 22-23 in a 25. I then have to touch my brakes to keep from rear-ending them.

My other favorite is when I am “taking the stop line”, either to proceed straight ahead or turn left, and have drivers pull up fully in the oncoming lane and stop, rather than wait behind.

spare_wheel
Guest
spare_wheel

on greenways there are far too many “reasons” to take the lane and force a car to stay behind you during peak commuting hours.

also, when cycling at or close to the speed limit it is often unsafe to allow motorists to pass. under these circumstance i always take the lane and assert my right to *safety*. a terrific example of this is my 25+ mph morning descent down hawthorne. imo, anyone even momentarily hugging the side of the road at 20+ mph has a death wish.

encephalopath
Guest
encephalopath

Also of interest is the “less than the normal speed of traffic” requirement for the far right rule to apply to bicycles in ORS 814.430.

A 20 mph speed limit puts the normal speed of traffic within the reach of many more riders meaning you can ride wherever you want regardless of whether motorists intend to exceed the posted speed limit.

Craig Harlow
Guest
Craig Harlow

I’ve mentioned it before, but if anyone’s interested in forming an organized volunteer effort around citizen-initiated enforcement (wrt crosswalks and residential speeds), utilizing video and pro-bono legal assistance, I would love to contribute energy to that. I think even a small, token effort would make news, and serve to raise awareness.

I bike with my four-year-old to and from daycare each day, and the route includes a posted 10 MPH limit on NE Wiberg Lane, but I’m frequently frightened by cars and even delivery vans using this as a cut-through at easily 20-30 MPH. Often there’s little room for error with cars parked along one side of the already narrow, steep, twisting road.

was carless
Guest
was carless

Thats actually not a speed limit sign, its an “advisory speed” sign. Yellow rectangles vs white rectangles.

Pg. 19 of the Driver’s manual: http://www.odot.state.or.us/forms/dmv/37.pdf

AK
Guest
AK

Where is it stated that the proposed “20 Speed Limit” signage would be yellow/advisory? If PBOT legally lowers the speed in these greenways the sign will need to be a regulatory white sign and read “SPEED 20” in black letters. I don’t think PBOT uses the word “LIMIT,” either.

q`Tzal
Guest
q`Tzal

To draw meager driver attention to the new signs hopefully they’ll include the “NEW” plaque.
These are generally yellow signs with black lettering but I suspect that because it is on a bicycle related facility we could convincingly argue to use the fluorescent yellow-green (neon lime?) instead of the blend-in-to-the-background yellow.

Also there needs to be some general public warning that this IS happening and some targeted signage and enforcement in areas it actually occurs.

q`Tzal
Guest
q`Tzal

Maybe lobby for a new law that says that speed related ticket fines in all new “speed reduction” areas are treated with the same “extra hazard” multiplier as construction zones.
Any of these areas that are reduced in speed under the law discussed in the article will have essentially been identified as areas with increased speed hazard due to a larger mix of pedestrians and cyclists. This makes it just as “bad” to be speeding here as a construction zone.

For increased driver awareness increase fines in a draconian manner.

are
Guest

good suggestion. should have been in the original bill, though possibly it would have been harder to push through.

q`Tzal
Guest
q`Tzal

One step at a time shall irresponsible drivers be brought to table to answer for their misdeeds against society.
Muhahaha!

wsbob
Guest
wsbob

q`Tzal…I’d love to see a double-fine for low speed limit areas be discussed further. It makes complete sense, given that streets where these speed limits will be posted, are places where there tends to be more people out on foot, biking, or just generally needing a measure of peace and quiet.

And about the rumor that 11-14 mph over speed limits is allowed by police before citations are issued; if that’s happening, it should stop, now. 5 mph over is all the slack people should need to stay within the speed limit. That’s it…no more. Anyone 6 mph over should have a ticket coming their way. It’s particularly important to hold people to this maximum 5 over in low speed limit areas, otherwise, people would have carte blanche, to drive 31-34 mph through people’s neighborhood’s.

q`Tzal
Guest
q`Tzal

Why should we give anyone ANY random amount of “slack” over a posted speed limit?
Part of ones duties as a licenced driver is driving safely for any existing conditions.
The posted speed limit anywhere in the USA applies to full sunlight, unbstructed sight lines and no surface degradation from weather, construction or anything else.
If we give drivers a free pass at ANY amount over an Official Posted Speed Limit we are in effect saying to all drivers that the posted SPEED LIMIT DOES NOT MATTER.
If it is open to interpretation by police the average citizen will interpret speed limits to their own advantage.
And this is what we see every day.

If a law is not enforced as written it will not be obeyed as written.

9watts
Guest
9watts

“If we give drivers a free pass at ANY amount over an Official Posted Speed Limit we are in effect saying to all drivers that the posted SPEED LIMIT DOES NOT MATTER.”

Not only that, but how curious that we treat a speed LIMIT as a MINIMUM by permitting people driving to exceed it?! Why call it a speed LIMIT at all if that is how it is? Why distinguish between the yellow and the white versions, if both are merely suggestions?

Chris I
Guest
Chris I

You need to have slack, because speedometers and radar guns can be mis-calibrated. If someone is 2mph over the speed limit, you are well within the margin of error; if they are 10mph over, they are definitely speeding.

are
Guest

manufacturers could easily miscalibrate speedometers high, so motorists would tend to go slower.

El Biciclero
Guest
El Biciclero

Why not? They apparently already do this with fuel gauges.

Orv
Guest
Orv

Nearly all manufacturers do. The current federal standards for speedometers only require that they never read less than the actual speed. Most newer cars I’ve driven read high by 5-10% with stock tires installed, when checked against GPS.

q`Tzal
Guest
q`Tzal

Arguing for less safety on the basis of lazy or apathetic calibration standards is akin to allowing houses to burn down after 9 to 5 hours because it would inconvenience the fire fighters on a day shift.
Current technology is plenty advanced enough to accurately measure speed to within 0.01% with minimal cost but it would be extra cost, not zero.
If we have decided that we are going to put ZERO effort in to measuring our vehicle speeds then there is no reason to have absolute numerical values for speed limits.
Realistically we should do away with set numerical speed limit numbers if we have no intention of being accurate. We could just leave it up to police to decide who is going too fast based on their subjective judgement with no definitive standard.

Or,
we could try to actually enforce the actual speed limits we have.

was carless
Guest
was carless

Actually, no. If you use a different sized tire than the vehicle recommended, your speedometer could easily be off by 5-10%.

If your tires are over or under inflated, or its a hot or cold day, your speedometer could be off by 1 or 2%.

q`Tzal
Guest
q`Tzal

There are many reliable and accurate ways to measure the velocity of an automobile that don’t rely on a static tire diameter:
coarse GPS,
ultrasonic doppler shift,
photo detection.
I prefer sensor fusion to avoid single sensor assumption errors. It helps to avoid the sort of error where we assume that it is impossible to accurately determine speed when all we are looking at is axle speed instead of actual speed of the surface passing underneath.

J-R
Guest
J-R

Since PPB seems reluctant to enforce in school zones, which already have a posted speed of 20 when children are present, I doubt the value. If children being present is not a sufficient inducement for abiding by the law and enforcement, a bike route with Speed 20 signs certainly won’t be.

daisy
Guest
daisy

Jonathan, do you know if these will be going up on streets in all of the greenways?

Lenny Anderson
Guest
Lenny Anderson

Ever since I was on the CAC for the Tillamook Bikeway in the 90’s I have wished for signs that say “Tillamook Bikeway!” If motorists knew it was a special street, they might avoid it or behave appropriately. As it is the most effective “sign” is the number of bicyclists, which has thankfully grown over the years. But still, first nothing, then the “bike dots”…a bad joke, then the Sharrows…which really belong on streets like NE 28th, and now a welcome 20mph…which is still too fast, but still nothing that says “Bikeway!” And why not give some preference to Bikeways or Green streets or whatever when it comes to re-paving and leaf removal and such. These things seem so obvious, but still beyond Portland’s reach.

art fuldodger
Guest
art fuldodger

I’m with you, Lenny, on some sort of neighborhood greenway signing designation – the sharrows work to a point, but something that communicated that it was a non-motorized priority street would be a nice touch. Check out the signs on SE Market east of the I-205 path – there’s just a couple, showing a bike rider/wheelchair person/dog & walker with the legend “SLOW”. It’s an odd place for these signs as Market is nothing approaching a neighborhood greenway -type street, but the sign is kind of cool.

A.K.
Guest
A.K.

Even just painting “NEIGHBORHOOD GREENWAY” in white below each sharrow would be nice.

brian
Guest
brian

Limiting the rate of speed is pointless. What is needed is consistent widespread enforcement of all traffic law with a backing of significant penalty.

This will change nothing.

Hugh Johnson
Guest
Hugh Johnson

will any of this happen east of 82nd?

shirtsoff
Guest
shirtsoff

I’m excited for this groundwork to improve residential sidestreets.

mechanic Mark
Guest
mechanic Mark

Jonathan-

You’re mis-interpreting the statistics in the graphic you posted. It shows the combined reaction and braking distances for different speeds. At 20mph, the driver has seen the person in the crosswalk and can react and stop before hitting them. That’s why there’s 0% fatality and 0% injury – no impact. At 25mph, the combined reaction and braking distance is too great to avoid impact, though the driver has managed to slow to 20mph, resulting in 5% fatality and 65% injury.

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor)
Guest

Mark,

Thanks for helping me understand that. I agree that I bungled my interpretation of it…. But I hope people understand the basic idea. Cheers.

mechanic Mark
Guest
mechanic Mark

Don’t get me wrong; I’m totally in favor of lower speed limits on the greenways. Slower speeds give drivers more time to react and possibly avoid a collision, or at least lessen the devastating results of a crash.

Peter
Guest
Peter

I live on Lincoln. I rarely see a driver doing less than 5 over (30mph) during rush hour. I have also never seen PPB pull someone over for speeding on Lincoln. Lincoln will continue to be used as a quick cut-through to 39th from Hawthorne. I’ll bet any amount of $$$ that PPB will never come by to enforce the speed limit.

Thanks PPB!

Todd Boulanger
Guest
Todd Boulanger

This is good news but not great news. (I had actually hoped for 19 KPH/ 15 mph per the European model and a corresponding allowance to drop targeted school zones down to 15 mph, as some states allow.) Baby steps perhaps for now.

Yes, and enforcement is a very important tool…PPB …and social enforcement too. Will the mayor have a citywide speech to kick this off? Perhaps PBOT will allow neighborhoods to vote and adopt “Zero tolerance zones” for over speeding – thus allowing PPB to ticket such behaviour and use state safety funds to pay for it.

Todd Boulanger
Guest
Todd Boulanger

Perhaps the 25 mph signs to be changed can be kept in place but updated with a “0” sticker placed over the “5”? To reduce the budget impact.

9watts
Guest
9watts

best comment all day!
Todd B for Portland’s Chancellor of the Exchequer!

peejay
Guest
peejay

You mean like the jokers who overlay an “8” over the “2” on 25mph signs?

Doug Klotz
Guest
Doug Klotz

PBOT did a partial stick-on overlay when I pointed out that the new street signs at SE M.L.King Blvd. and Stark St. said “SE Stark Ave.”. So the overlay would work where there are already 25 MPH signs. They may be increasing sign density though. To some commenters: a black on white sign is regulatory (it’s the law), while a black on yellow sign is merely a suggestion. Don’t know where the lime green ones fall.

Shetha
Guest
Shetha

I wonder if they will change Hawthorne from 25 to 20… I really wish they would. They do enforce there… the camera van thingy. That said, folks fly up my street all the time, and although it’s not an official “greenway”, I hope it changes to 20. A motorcycle flew up our road going at least 40 mph the other day, and got stuck at the red light at the end of the road. I took off after him (it’s a 2 min cycle) and before I got there, he turned around and started to speed down it again. I placed myself squarely in the middle of the road and gave him a slow down signal while making deliberate eye contact as he passed. My kids play here, and sometimes balls stray into the street. We don’t need those shenanigans from idiots, and we won’t stand for them!

A.K.
Guest
A.K.

“my kids play here, and sometimes balls stray into the street.”

This reminds me of when I was growing up on my street in Westmoreland, where drivers would use it as a cut-through to get to Bybee street.

I remember my mom and the neighbor lady across the street getting so upset about speeders. Lots of kids in the neighborhood back then, and the cops wouldn’t do anything, or install speed bumps. They would sometimes kick a soccer ball into the street if they saw a speeder coming.

Another time they rented a radar gun and wrote down license plate numbers of speeders. Don’t know if this can be done anymore.

Todd Boulanger
Guest
Todd Boulanger

Actually the technology of vehicle speed measurement has dropped to the point were anyone can afford it if they are interested in it.

Bushnell and others sell such equipment for ~$200 at many large sporting goods stores. The rise in NASCAR fans has helped push this along with parents who are training baseball pitchers, etc. I have found this type of equipment very helpful in my technical field work.

http://www.bushnell.com/products/other-products/speed-gun/101901/

Our City use to lend out similar devices for neighborhood traffic committees to log speeds on targeted streets when they asked for traffic calming or other enforcement. It was part of our former program of education – to let our advocates have control of data and to let them judge how bad the problem really was.

Todd Boulanger
Guest
Todd Boulanger

…Good news…it seems the price of the Bushnell units has dropped below $100.

A.K.
Guest
A.K.

“Our City use to lend out similar devices for neighborhood traffic committees to log speeds on targeted streets when they asked for traffic calming or other enforcement. It was part of our former program of education – to let our advocates have control of data and to let them judge how bad the problem really was.”

Sort of a memory jog here, I believe that was what they were doing. I do remember them getting instructions from someone on how to use it, and that they logged the information. Nothing was done, so it must have been deemed not a huge issue.

Thanks for the info!

jered
Guest
jered

I’m sure the PPB would be happy to enforce speedlimits once they are funded and staffed to take care of the basics. Maybe the cycling community would like to band together to implement some new taxes to fund the services we want…

spare_wheel
Guest
spare_wheel

i enthusiastically support increased taxation. its well past time to convert the people’s republic of portland from an ironic slogan into reality.

ConcordiaCyclist
Guest
ConcordiaCyclist

Absolutely – how about a 5% tax at fast food restaurants?

Zaphod
Guest

While skepticism is perhaps warranted, this is really good news. I agree with Todd B that 15 mph is really the ideal. Properly used infrastructure where only short distances are required for motorists to get to arterials, the difference in time is really measured in *seconds* not minutes. At any given point, drivers generally should not need to go more than single digit number of blocks to get out of the slower zones and progress to their destination.

But what the 20 does is allows culture shift such that motorists can feel comfortable rolling behind cyclists. When I drive, I often feel pressure from drivers behind me to speed up or pass and I have to actively decide to hang back and wait for a very open gap to pass a cyclist. I do this because I deeply understand the cyclist’s view. We’ve all experienced the driver who clearly hasn’t ridden (or appears to simply not care) and decides to pass when it is unsafe, threading the needle. While there are plenty of inconsiderate drivers, most simply want to efficiently and safely get to where they are going. The 20 gives them permission to drive as they/we should. It arms the considerate driver against the inconsiderate one to roll at 20 and feel justified to do so.

It would be better if drivers did this anyway and many do. The 20’s are a very good thing.

Andrew K
Guest
Andrew K

This is a very excellent point. As someone who owns a car and does indeed drive on occasion I consider myself to be very patient and safe around bicyclists. However this often gets me into trouble with other drivers which is a real shame.

Just the other day I had a driver honking at me because I was hanging back several feet behind a cyclists going through Ladd Circle. I won’t deny the cyclists was going pretty slow, but the distance to the next stop light (right next to New Seasons) was not far and it was better just being safe as opposed to rushing around her on a residential street only to sit at a red light.

Well the car honking made the exact opposite choice, blew past both of us with his engine revving, and (as I’m sure you can guess) just ended up sitting at the red light with the rest of us when we caught up.

El Biciclero
Guest
El Biciclero

When I drive, I frequently get drivers honking at me while waiting for pedestrians to clear from my destination lane (+6 ft.) when making turns. Many drivers just can’t see beyond their own front bumper (or even their steering wheel) let alone sympathize with anyone going slower than they are. Unsafe passing to race to stop lights is the quintessential example of driver impatience.

Orv
Guest
Orv

Coasting slowly up to a stoplight you know will be red is just good sense. Every time you have to step on the brake, you’re wasting the fuel it took you to get up to speed.

wsbob
Guest
wsbob

Zaphod…for sure, a very good explanation of the potential a 5 mph reduction from 25 mph to 20 mph has to improve the functionality and livability of streets. Slower motor vehicle speeds allow streets to be safer, more usable by a wider range of travel modes, and quieter by way of less wind and tire noise.

Of course, the lower speed limit won’t completely counter the type of yahoo Andrew K describes just down below, that he dealt with admirably in Ladd’s Addition, but it’s a great move in the right direction towards improved safety and livability.

peoples republic
Guest
peoples republic

The graphic shows the stopping distances basd on a 2.5 second reaction time. I wonder why that time was chosen, it seems really slow.

If you can’t apply the breaks for 2.5 seconds after seeing the need you should not be driving or cycling.

Alex Reed
Guest
Alex Reed

Yayyy PBOT! After this is complete, the next step should be to extend the 20 mph zones to all quiet residential streets (like NYC is already starting to do) and to lower the speed limit on neighborhood greenways to 15 mph.

oliver
Guest
oliver

Better to extend it to unquiet residential streets. I live on a rat-run people use to avoid signalized intersections on Columbia while accessing i-5. Because of this traffic my street doesn’t qualify as a low-traffic street.

Alex Reed
Guest
Alex Reed

I agree. It’s really unfortunate how many streets people live on have been taken over by a constant, noisy parade of motorized vehicles. I would be in favor of lower speed limits just about everywhere except for interstates. Most streets in Portland have a lot of people living on them. The ones that don’t usually have plenty of commercial destinations that people would like to walk to if it were pleasant and convenient (e.g. Powell, Sandy). Lower speed limits would make walking more pleasant and make it easier for traffic engineers to add sorely-needed pedestrian crossings. Lower the limits!

JL
Guest
JL

If the PPB won’t listen to you the court will. Issue a citation against drivers yourself or set up stings with neighbors.
When this was first put into place a guy actually ticketed a police officer for parking in a no parking space while running into a local business to get lunch.

http://www.stc-law.com/whats-new/do-it-yourself-guide-to-ticketing-bad-drivers-2010-11/

http://www.stc-law.com/pdf/ActionPamphlet.pdf

Chris Tuttle
Guest
Chris Tuttle

I agree enforcement is a concern but I’m still way happier if the sign says 20 instead of 25. Also, if a car v. bike case goes to court, violation of the posted limit/guideline goes a long way toward proving the motorist was negligent – would likely be treated as “per se” negligent, meaning no further proof of negligence is required.

9watts
Guest
9watts

“Also, if a car v. bike case goes to court, violation of the posted limit/guideline goes a long way toward proving the motorist was negligent ”

Unfortunately not by a long shot.
Candace Palmer, who ran over Reese Wilson after/while checking on her dog in the back seat, was going between 1 & 13 mph over the posted speed limit. She was found to have been careless, but the Grand Jury still acquitted her.

“PPB determined that she was going an estimated 41-53 mph in a 40 mph zone.”

Chris Tuttle
Guest
Chris Tuttle

This case isn’t relevant to my point. Wilson v. Candace was a criminal proceeding. I was referring to negligence, which is a standard used to determine fault in a civil lawsuit (e.g., a personal injury case). Generally speaking, being careless is not a crime that warrants a grand jury indictment and possible jail time. But being careless can cause you to lose the civil personal injury case. And in civil lawsuits, the violation of a statute is big-time evidence that the defendant was being negligent. And it sounds like the grand jury has perfectly set up Reese Wilson to win such a personal injury suit – they considered the evidence and decided that Candace Palmer was careless.

jim
Guest
jim

I don’t mind police getting creative parking their cars when they are getting lunch. often times they have to drop everything and respond to an emergency.
Have you ever wondered why firemen take their firetrucks to the grocery store? They are on call and may have to leave at any second.
If you call for police to respond to an emergency, sooner is always better than later.

Brian Willson
Guest

I am advocating that speed bumps be created to accompany the new posted lower speed limits on bikeways. The rounded speed bumps could be a bit higher than the ones we have here in Portland to seriously cause drivers to ease up on the pedal, but they would not interfere with bicycle flow. There could also be gaps in the length of the bumps, enabling cyclists to move thru them without even going over the bumps. The serious speed bumps in Mexico, for example, are real abrupt bumps that require cars to nearly stop to traverse them, but they are absolutely no good for cyclists.

Bettie
Guest
Bettie

NO speed limits! I like riding FAST!

Chris I
Guest
Chris I

I don’t think you have to worry about a cyclist getting a ticket for speeding. Unless you are a world-class sprinter, you will have trouble breaking 30mph on these greenways. And honestly, if you are going faster than 30mph, you should get a ticket.

Bettie
Guest
Bettie

depends which greenways we’re talking about…:)

spare_wheel
Guest
spare_wheel

Alex Reed said above:
“It’s bike-rider behavior like I’ve just cited that hardens political opposition to further action to improve the safety and comfort of bicycle facilities.”

I strongly disagree. There is strong political opposition to biking because the entrenched majority does not benefit from change…especially change that inconveniences. I don’t think that being “nicer” or “politer” to motorists will have a significant effect on opposition to cycling or cycling facilities.

Alex Reed
Guest
Alex Reed

I agree the the underlying cause of political opposition is what you said. Nonetheless, there is a significant constituency (maybe 20%, perhaps up to 60% in the case of really cheap, low-impact-on-driving changes such as neighborhood greenways) that doesn’t bike much but could be persuaded to support/not oppose bike improvements. Obeying the rules of the road makes people in that constituency more likely to see bike riders as “people like them” and therefore deserving of positive government action. Disobeying the rules of the road, and inconveniencing and scaring drivers, makes the constituency I’ve outlined more likely to see bike riders as “those weird/annoying bike riders” and therefore not deserving of positive government action. I know this is all based on stereotypes I’ve pulled out of my brain, but this is what I think. This is why I obey every law to the letter when I bike and am polite to drivers and pedestrians alike.

are
Guest

anecdotally, my observation would be that the incidence of “scofflaw” bicycling is much lower than one might imagine from the attention it gets, and almost always involves harmless behaviors that might elicit a “tsk tsk” but really only from the church lady, whereas the incidence of motorists engaging in similar behaviors is rather high — again, largely harmless, but often only because the unexpected emergency does not arise, but still it is there, it is more prevalent than cyclist misbehaviors, and yet it does not get talked about nearly as much. bottom line, the disadvantaged or scorned subgroup is being held to a higher standard of conduct. same as it ever was.

wsbob
Guest
wsbob

“…Obeying the rules of the road makes people in that constituency more likely to see bike riders as “people like them” …” Alex Reed

It’s much more fundamental than the conclusion you’ve drawn. People on bikes observing the rules of the road afford people behind the wheel of motor vehicles a much better opportunity to see them and allow for them on the road as legitimate traffic.

People on bikes working with people behind the wheel, rather than against them…to keep traffic flowing safely and smoothly, stands to be the single most effective and economical means of getting the most efficient and versatile use from our streets and roads.

are
Guest

cooperating with other road users and religiously obeying an arbitrary set of written rules are two sets which do have an area of intersection, but each of which also includes many elements not included in the other.

john venn

wsbob
Guest
wsbob

“…religiously obeying an arbitrary set of written rules…” john venn/are

Concerning bike and motor vehicle compatibility on the road, this isn’t the basic subject of contention amongst road users today.

are
Guest

and yet we are constantly hearing about it, and it was the subject of the comments to which i was responding.

wsbob
Guest
wsbob

We’re not ‘constantly’ hearing about “…religiously obeying an arbitrary set of written rules…”.

The ol’ ‘religiously obeying’ rhetoric is something various people seem to drag up from time to time, perhaps in an attempt to distract attention away from the importance of people on bikes in traffic observing basic rules of the road.

are
Guest

shift key test, test

I will tell you what, Robert. Rather than talk past one another in abstractions, why don’t you name off two or three non-arbitrary “basic rules of the road” which, if bicyclists more consistently observed them (not “religiously,” just “more consistently”), would result in motorists having “a much better opportunity to see them.”

I am not saying you can’t. I just want to know exactly what I am responding to, so we don’t waste eight or ten posts sorting all that out.

Thanks for your time and careful attention.

wsbob
Guest
wsbob

“…why don’t you name off two or three non-arbitrary “basic rules of the road” which, if bicyclists more consistently observed them (not “religiously,” just “more consistently”), would result in motorists having “a much better opportunity to see them.” are

I’ll give you just one: ‘Visibility’.

All road users should make efforts to be visible to each other on the road and traffic conditions they’re riding in. People driving motor vehicles have their visibility covered, due to the relatively larger size of most of their vehicles, and due to the large, bright lights they’re equipped with.

In comparison, a person on a bike is much smaller than cars and trucks, and though legally required to run a front light (very small compared to motor vehicle lights, and accordingly less visible.)…and rear reflector at night, due to this…people riding bikes on the road tend to be comparatively far less visible than are motor vehicles. At times, they can’t be seen at all.

El Biciclero
Guest
El Biciclero

“visibility”

Not a rule, unless by “visibility” you mean,

(c) At the times described in the following, a bicycle or its rider must be equipped with lighting equipment that meets the described requirements:
(A) The lighting equipment must be used during limited visibility conditions.
(B) The lighting equipment must show a white light visible from a distance of at least 500 feet to the front of the bicycle.
(C) The lighting equipment must have a red reflector or lighting device or material of such size or characteristic and so mounted as to be visible from all distances up to 600 feet to the rear when directly in front of lawful lower beams of headlights on a motor vehicle.

–ORS 815.280

I don’t think anyone would argue with you on that one.

wsbob
Guest
wsbob

http://bikeportland.org/2012/07/26/pbot-set-to-roll-out-new-20-mph-signs-74891#comment-3112384 El Biciclero

In responding to the request ‘are’ made for some rules of the road, I wasn’t speaking per se to the visibility specifications for bikes listed in ORS 815.280, though I wouldn’t exclude them either, as part of basic rules of the road.

I was speaking to general levels of visibility presented by people on bikes and motor vehicles on the road, (including, but beyond the specs of ORS 815.280); how each compared to the other, and how people on bikes, being inherently less visible road users, can and have helped to overcome that inherent deficiency.

are
Guest

and we ran out of nesting levels, so my surreply is posted below, with some failures in .html coding, my bad.

I asked for two or three and you gave one, and it was a tautology. If people followed the “rule of visibility” they would be more visible.

You then claimed that ‘[p]eople driving motor vehicles have their visibility covered, due to the relatively larger size of most of their vehicles, and due to the large, bright lights they’re equipped with.”

And I pointed out that many motorists, however vigilant they might otherwise be, do not bother to use their running lights in low light conditions or when their wipers are on. Maybe it is just me, but I find those guys hard to see, even when I am vigilantly scanning.

When you said “rules” plural, I sort of assumed you had more than one in mind, and I thought maybe you had something a bit more specific.

wsbob
Guest
wsbob

“…And I pointed out that many motorists, however vigilant they might otherwise be, do not bother to use their running lights in low light conditions or when their wipers are on. Maybe it is just me, but I find those guys hard to see, even when I am vigilantly scanning.

When you said “rules” plural, I sort of assumed you had more than one in mind, and I thought maybe you had something a bit more specific.” are

In low light conditions/rain, etc, yes, there are people behind the wheel that are slow to turn on their lights, which, in those conditions makes them much harder to see than motor vehicles with their lights on.

For motor vehicles…running lights…the little yellow parking lights….aren’t enough; the headlights need to be on; but some people may be trying to do the ‘cool’ thing by just running parking lights. That’s the only reason I can think of that they wouldn’t turn on the the headlights too. Or maybe they unintentionally don’t move the light switch all the way to headlights. I notice though, that these people are the exception, and most motor vehicles tend to have their lights on when it’s daylight-dark or rainy-dark. And of course, some motor vehicle operators run their headlights all the time, though that also seems to be the exception.

Re; rules of the road: I just listed one to keep it simple, and tried to offer one I thought might be the most important.

spare_wheel
Guest
spare_wheel

“This is why I obey every law to the letter when I bike”
So you signal 100 feet before making a turn or lane change every time?

“inconveniencing”
The motorist majority is inconvenienced? Pobrecitos.

“scaring drivers”
Just the other day I stared sternly at a motorist. They turned white as a sheet and motored away at high speed. I think I need to shave so that I look a little less menacing. Just doing my part to increase mode share.

spare_wheel
Guest
spare_wheel

More on convenience:

Some motorists feel that any bike on the road is inconvenient. A few motorists even loudly voice their displeasure at my occupying space on the road. In contrast, I honestly can’t remember the last time a pedestrian or cyclist chastised me for being in their way. As long as I am asserting my legal right of way I simply do not care whether a motorist “feels” inconvenienced.

El Biciclero
Guest
El Biciclero

As I like to note, there are plenty of things (left-turning drivers, pedestrians in crosswalks, tons of other cars causing back-ups, stalled vehicles, crashed vehicles, construction, bridge lifts, etc.) that inconvenience drivers, why single out cyclists? Why is a cyclist going slowly in front of a car for 15 seconds so much more terrible than stopping for 15 seconds waiting for somebody in front of you to make a left turn.

El Biciclero
Guest
El Biciclero

…question mark.

BURR
Guest
BURR

They put 25 MPH signs out on Hawthorne Blvd. a few years ago and lower SE Division has always been posted 25 MPH, but hardly any motorists pay any attention and the police rarely do enforcement on either of these streets.

spare_wheel
Guest
spare_wheel

They do have a van on Hawthorne 2-3 times a year but a large bright LED speeding sign gives motorists plenty of warning. The speeding and disregard for peds on lower Hawthorne disgusts me. In particular, the section between 30th and 20th needs speed bumps and/or a road diet.

spare_wheel
Guest
spare_wheel

wsbob said:

“The ol’ ‘religiously obeying’ rhetoric is something various people seem to drag up from time to time, perhaps in an attempt to distract attention away from the importance of people on bikes in traffic observing basic rules of the road.”

and you fail to see the ELEPHANT in the room. how can one expect cyclists to obey minor traffic statutes that have little impact of public safety when motorists routinely violate traffic laws that have a small but measurable impact on the 40,000 or so traffic deaths each year. when enforcing laws most would agree that we should devote resources and attention to the violations that cause the most harm. imo, the attention and resources devoted to cycling violations is harming the safety of all road users. and the motoring majority, who seek to draw attention to the “annoying” road minority, should consider the public good instead of their environmentally and societally (traffic injuries and public health) destructive CONVENIENCE.

wsbob
Guest
wsbob

“…when enforcing laws most would agree that we should devote resources and attention to the violations that cause the most harm. …” spare_wheel

Keeping in mind that the budgets of public agencies like police departments already are exceeded, and people that pay them…citizens…don’t really have the money to pay more…just how would you propose to accomplish this?

Joe
Guest
Joe

no drafting allowed pull thru- sorry we needed a change in energy here 🙂

are
Guest

wsbob
I’ll give you just one: ‘Visibility’.

I ask for two or three and you give me one, and it is a tautology. If people followed the “rule of visibility” they would be more visible.

People driving motor vehicles have their visibility covered, due to the relatively larger size of most of their vehicles, and due to the large, bright lights they’re equipped with.

And as we already know, most motorists are vigilant. So why don’t you, as a sort of thought experiment, train your vigilance on observing how many motorists do not bother to use their running lights in low light conditions or when their wipers are on? (Incidentally, this level of detail was more what I had in mind when I asked you to identify some “rules of the road,” not the sound of one hand clapping.

are
Guest

I will acknowledge not being an expert in html coding. That second paragraph, starting with “People driving motor vehicles” is supposed to show as a pull quote from an earlier message posted by Robert.