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PBOT will begin installing new 20 mph signs next month

Buffered Bike Lane with a bike symbol and arrow pointing forward

The wait is almost over.
(Photo: Michael Andersen/Portland Afoot)

The Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) is gearing up to install 300 new speed limit signs throughout the city. The new signs are the result of a law PBOT passed in 2011 that gives the city legal authority to lower speed limits by 5 mph on residential streets that have been specifically designed as bikeways (a.k.a. neighborhood greenways). Since these neighborhood greenway streets are already at 25 mph, the new law allows PBOT to set the new limit at 20.

The big unveiling of these new signs was in August of last year; but PBOT has yet to install any new signs. We asked PBOT spokesman Dan Anderson for an update on the project last week. Anderson says they plan to begin installing the signs early next month and installation should be complete by April or May. The 300 signs will cover about 70 miles of streets at a cost of $30,00 to $45,000.

The map of locations where the signs will go (which we shared last summer) closely mirrors where PBOT has focused neighborhood greenway projects in the past (PDF). No word yet as to whether or not PBOT plans to accompany the new signs with targeted enforcement actions; but that might be a good idea. As we all know, laws are only as powerful as the enforcement and compliance that accompanies them.

Another speed-related issue we’re following is the Bicycle Transportation Alliance’s push to extend the 20 mph speed limit policy beyond Portland. As we reported earlier this month, the BTA has put lower speeds atop their 2013 legislative agenda. Specifically, they will lobby state lawmakers to allow all cities and towns in Oregon to lower residential speed limits to 20 mph. Stay tuned for that debate.