Urban Tribe - Ride with your kids in front.

Bill in Salem would let safety cameras nab speeders on high-crash streets

Posted by on March 5th, 2015 at 8:29 am

high crash corridors

The City of Portland’s 10 high-crash corridors: Barbur, Beaverton-Hillsdale Highway, Burnside, Sandy, Marine, 82nd, 122nd, Powell, Foster and Division.
(Image: City of Portland)

Portland’s 10 high-crash corridors would be dotted with radar cameras that automatically detect excessive speeding, under a proposed law due for its first public hearing on Monday.

House Bill 2621 would apply only to the City of Portland, and only on streets with crash rates more than 25 percent higher than other streets with the same speed limit.

“Our 10 high-crash corridors are just 3 percent of Portland’s roadway system by lane-mile, and they account for 51 percent of our pedestrian fatalities,” Portland Bureau of Transportation Safety Specialist Gabe Graff said Wednesday. “You look to other cities that have safer transportation systems than ours — New York, Seattle, Stockholm — they use these systems to great benefit.”

Graff said that if the system were in place, Portland would post signs to warn drivers that an area is photo-enforced. Citations would be reviewed by police and then issued to the addresses of people observed driving more than a few miles over the speed limit.

“Our goal here is not revenue, it’s behavior change,” Graff said. “We want people to know where the system is, because we want people to drive the speed limit.”

SE Foster Road-6

SE Foster Road.
(Photos: J.Maus/BikePortland)

State law currently allows the use of radar cameras that capture the speeds of passers-by, and also automated red-light enforcement cameras. But with radar cameras, it requires a police officer to be on site during its operation, and forbids it from being active in one location for more than four hours.

The need to move the cameras around limits their effectiveness; the need for police to be present limits the number that the city can afford to have active.

Someone convicted of speeding 1 to 10 mph over the limit faces a fine of up to $110. For 11 to 20 mph, it’s $160; for 21-30 mph, $260; and for 30 mph or more, $435. Of that total, the state gets the first $60 (fines are regularly reduced or dismissed during the legal process) and any money left is split 50/50 between the state and the enforcing jurisdiction. Graff said that if legislators approve HB 2621, Portland City Council will have a chance to decide how to allocate the city’s share of any net revenue.

Advertise with BikePortland.

Graff said cities that have successfully introduced safety cameras make it clear to constituents that there are big public benefits of reducing traffic speeds.

“The difference between driving 35 mph and 45 mph in a mixed-use intense roadway has dramatic impacts on the likelihood of somebody surviving if you hit them,” he said.

Safety cameras are one of five specific “initiatives” on the City of Portland’s official legislative agenda for 2015.

Ride Along with Ali Reis-38

SW Beaverton-Hillsdale Highway.

JoAnn Herrigel, civic involvement coordinator for the advocacy group Elders in Action, said that her organization’s commission voted Wednesday afternoon to endorse the bill, too.

“Anything that will keep cars from running into pedestrians, whether they’re in a wheelchair or on their feet, is something that we’re really interested in seeing happen,” Herrigel said. “The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration finds that photo radar systems reduce crashes in the range of 20 to 25 percent.”

Gerik Kransky, advocacy director for the Bicycle Transportation Alliance, and Noel Mickelberry, executive director of Oregon Walks, both said Wednesday that they too will be signing a letter of support for HB 2621. (If you know of another organization that might want to back such a letter, email Sharon.White@portlandoregon.gov.)

Kransky said that during the 2013 legislative cycle, he had heard a group of state engineers discuss safety cameras.

“They all pointed out that the biggest liability they can see in the program is that when drivers become accustomed to the location of these photo radar illustrations, they will speed anywhere the camera is not,” Kransky said.

Which was, Kransky realized, actually just a way of saying that the cameras are extremely effective.

“They were pointing out that wherever you do have these cameras, you won’t see speeding,” he said.

NOTE: We love your comments and work hard to ensure they are productive, considerate, and welcoming of all perspectives. Disagreements are encouraged, but only if done with tact and respect. If you see a mean or inappropriate comment, please contact us and we'll take a look at it right away. Thank you.

90 Comments
  • bjorn March 5, 2015 at 8:35 am

    Seems like a better way to reduce speeding would be to design the roads to discourage it. Killingsworth at 82nd heading west is a perfect example, it drops from 45mph to 35mph but nothing about the street design changes at all, so it still feels like a faster road. Narrowing the travel lanes would help more than speed cameras IMHO.

    Recommended Thumb up 16

    • 9watts March 5, 2015 at 9:00 am

      You say better, but where is the money and the will going to come from?

      New York is all over this. They only place the cameras in school zones, and mail you a ticket when you are caught driving at least 10mph over the posted limit, but still nabbed half a million people who couldn’t stay below that. At one particular location the camera averaged 164 tickets per day for the first five months it was in operation: 25,000 citations!
      http://www.silive.com/news/index.ssf/2014/09/city_begins_installing_speed_c.html
      http://www.silive.com/news/index.ssf/2015/01/speed_camera_ticket_revenue_2014.html#incart_related_stories
      http://www.silive.com/northshore/index.ssf/2014/12/graniteville_speed_camera_nett.html

      Recommended Thumb up 20

      • paikiala March 5, 2015 at 9:40 am

        I’ve also heard that Chicago had programmed a windfall of $30M from red light cameras but the were so effective they only got $4M. Apparently the learning curve, with all that advance notice, is pretty steep.

        Recommended Thumb up 11

        • Pete March 5, 2015 at 11:10 am

          Red light cameras are being deactivated on a regular basis here in the bay area because they cost more to operate than they take in. Both AAA and motorists.org and a whole lot of lawyers make money getting people off on technicalities, and the general (driving) public feel that cameras are “unfair”. Here’s an example:

          http://sanfrancisco.cbslocal.com/2015/02/09/number-of-red-light-camera-tickets-issued-at-millbrae-intersection-jumps-from-40-per-month-to-600/#comments

          (Ironically, one of the commenters who got a ticket is my next-door neighbor; there’s a reason I don’t use my full name on the web…).

          Recommended Thumb up 2

          • Chris I March 5, 2015 at 11:44 am

            Of course they think it’s unfair. Ask anyone that ever gets caught committing a crime that same question…

            Recommended Thumb up 13

            • Whyat March 5, 2015 at 11:48 am

              Unfortunately there have been many documented cases where these cameras ticket people that didn’t actually break the law. There is often minimal ability to fight the charges after the fact.

              Recommended Thumb up 4

              • paikiala March 5, 2015 at 4:05 pm

                citations, please – Portland’s cameras, not Beaverton’s.

                Recommended Thumb up 2

          • soren March 5, 2015 at 11:59 am

            “and the general (driving) public feel that cameras are “unfair”

            I note that your only support for this claim is a few angry comments on a web site.

            Recommended Thumb up 1

            • Pete March 5, 2015 at 2:16 pm

              Anecdotal, yes, but there are enough people fighting the tickets and winning that the so-called “revenue stream” that these commenters argue is the reason for the cameras isn’t really there. Dig around the ‘net and you’ll see plenty of evidence of these cameras being decommissioned.

              Recommended Thumb up 2

            • Pete March 9, 2015 at 9:25 pm

              This just in: California lawmakers propose bill to outlaw new installations of those ‘pesky’ red light cameras…
              http://www.laweekly.com/news/new-red-light-cameras-would-be-banned-under-proposed-law-5422622

              Recommended Thumb up 0

        • wsbob March 5, 2015 at 11:46 am

          “I’ve also heard that Chicago had programmed a windfall of $30M from red light cameras but the were so effective they only got $4M. …” paikiala

          Over how long a period of time?

          Red light cameras and photo speed cameras are a great way to manage traffic. Stop at the red lights and you won’t get a citation. Keep your speed below five or six miles of posted speed limit, and you won’t get a citation. Simple.

          Pete, can you give us a short summary of the story and comments at the link you provided, as to why the cameras are thought to be unfair? If there’s some technical problem with the cameras resulting in tickets issued for which there was no infraction committed, that would be a reasonable objection. People complaining because didn’t drive responsibly and got cited for it, isn’t a reasonable objection.

          Recommended Thumb up 5

          • Pete March 5, 2015 at 10:53 pm

            The story is basically about one intersection (near a BART station and SFO airport so lots of both foot and car traffic) where they updated the camera systems (better clarity and light sensitivity) and suddenly the number of tickets per month increased. Specifically, the video is reviewed (by retired cops) for people rolling “California stops” on a right turn, and one person interviewed thinks the fine of $500 is outrageous for rolling the stop (with no pedestrians in sight she claims) at 12 MPH. One guy has a web site tracking red light cameras and claims that what they actually did was reduce the yellow light timing for the city to be able to ticket more red-light runners – a common argument and a little background on that: AAA has been lobbying for years for the timings to be based on “85th percentile” speeds (higher) rather than actual speed limits; I’ll let you look that one up. My argument was that the news clip showed footage of several people turning right on red without stopping (before the stop line), so the point about people caught mid-intersection on the yellow was irrelevant. Also, the number of tickets increased to only 600/month on an intersection where thousands of drivers pass daily, so in my opinion that actually shows a high number of people complying with the law. It had been about 40/month (IIRC) so people are arguing that it’s a radical jump so there must be some kind of foul play and the city/police should be investigated.

            The comments are fairly well split between people saying it’s unfair and others saying the fine should be high to discourage deadly behavior, but we’ve seen several news stories lately about the decommissioned cameras and people are generally in favor of that and generally calling tickets from red-light cameras a “regressive tax” (which I see a lot but have no idea what it means).

            Recommended Thumb up 2

            • wsbob March 5, 2015 at 11:56 pm

              Pete, thanks for the summary. Citations for no stop right turns on red justified, I think depends on the situation, case by case. I tend to think that people expecting that rolling a stop sign or light at 12mph should be allowed, whether or not the road user sees a pedestrian or some other road user present, is expecting too much.

              I definitely think cities should not be using the devices for revenue generation. Doing so would be the ol’ speed trap graft gambit. A bad way for cities to make money. Safer streets is the only justifiable reason for using them.

              Recommended Thumb up 1

              • Pete March 6, 2015 at 10:49 am

                Totally agree. There may be cities using this (or originally planning this) as a revenue stream, but I also think people use that as rationalization that the cameras shouldn’t be there, or more particularly, that they shouldn’t have gotten a ticket. In the example I cited, the individuals took that rationalization (in my opinion) to the extent that they are calling for public oversight and investigation, that it’s the police and the city who are doing wrong by implementing the camera and over-charging for the crime. By the same token, they do point out that the company managing the service uses this as their revenue stream, so somebody in the supply chain is indeed approaching it with the goal of profit and not necessarily safety.

                Recommended Thumb up 0

              • Pete March 6, 2015 at 11:11 am

                Also as I’ve mentioned before, I have a theory that we’ve bred one or more generations of drivers who are used to “yielding” rather than stopping when they take right turns (particularly in California). Nowhere else in my travels do I see the infrastructure to enable this more than I see right here in California/bay area. We have so many roads that buffer right turn lanes /pipelines onto typically higher-speed expressways, and smack in the middle of them is typically a pedestrian crossing.

                A few weeks ago I took the lane in front of a minivan driver to avoid being right-hooked while coming up to a red light. She braked hard (she was accelerating to pass me without room) and honked the horn, but what neither she nor I saw were two little boys riding their bikes across the crosswalk with their dad. I make it a point to stop before (and not in or on) crosswalks whether I’m driving or riding, and in this instance I almost didn’t because I really thought she was going to rear-end me, but intuition (or something else) kicked in. (BTW we were heading eastbound on W Fremont and she was turning right onto Hollenbeck into the ‘pipeline’ here: https://goo.gl/maps/CJEy5, and there was one car stopped at the red in the rightmost lane, which the first little boy was in front of).

                From what I see around here, drivers just don’t seem to discern the difference between a ‘hard’ right turn and a right-turning ‘pipeline’ (for lack of knowing the proper words to describe them). I suppose there’s a reason it’s called a “California” stop, but I think the infrastructure is built on the assumption people are driving slower and more cautiously approaching the crosswalks).

                Recommended Thumb up 0

              • wsbob March 6, 2015 at 12:04 pm

                I’ve never heard that word ‘pipeline’ to describe road infrastructure, though I guess you’re using it to refer to a broad sweeping turn from a secondary or feeder road onto a thoroughfare. I doubt the rolling stop, or California stop, is unique to California. People in the Portland and Beaverton make rolling stops whether driving or biking, and in some situations, that may not be a particularly big safety problem, as long as the speed is down to say, a walking speed, and good visibility, etc.

                Big problems happen when people begin to carelessly make those kinds of stops out of habit, particularly at intersections having a high potential for collisions. Those are the kinds of places where increased traffic management could help increase safety. Cameras can help do that job.

                I kind of vaguely have some sense of the profit angle associated with red light cameras used out here in Beaverton. The Oregonian did some stories on this a few years back. Installation and and maintenance of the cameras is provided by an outside company, apparently something similar to what you describe. The story provided some figures as to what the company was making off the deal. There is some profit involved for the company, because it’s a business. I don’t think the city is using the gear for profit generation. It uses citation money to pay the bill for the gear. I think the city found that the cameras allowed it to get more enforcement for the money.

                A short distance away from the coffee shop I regularly visit, is an intersection with red light cameras, and 90 degree angle to the street being monitored. At night, sitting in the shop, it’s interesting to notice the flash occasionally going off. Shortly after installment, Beaverton had a bit of a to-do over the cameras. Had to pay some money back. The hitch seems to have been worked out. I rarely hear people complain about the cameras anymore.

                Recommended Thumb up 1

              • Eric March 8, 2015 at 3:49 pm

                A slip lane generally has its own yield sign when that is the design here.

                Recommended Thumb up 1

              • Pete March 8, 2015 at 4:04 pm

                Thanks Eric for the proper terminology! Ironically there is construction right now at a ‘slip lane’ in Sunnyvale where I ride, so I got in touch with my contacts in planning there to find out what they were doing. Apparently there have been a high number of incidents there and they view it as a danger to pedestrians so they are doing away with it. I used the opportunity to tell them about the experience I had on Fremont and they said they’d check the records and take a closer look at it.

                Recommended Thumb up 0

    • paikiala March 5, 2015 at 9:38 am

      Oregon State Highway 123, a.k.a., US 30 Bypass? It’s a Principle Arterial in the Federal Functional Classification System, part of the National Highway System, and a priority truck route. The roadway the State of Oregon determines the lane widths on?

      It currently has 12 ft travel lanes with an 11-foot center turn lane and state minimum 5 ft bike lanes. It’s currently serving over 36,000 vehicles per day, with eastbound peaks of 2100 cars per hour and westbound peaks of 1700 cars per hour.

      If the travel lanes were reduced to 11 ft so that trucks and buses could still get through without mirror strikes, it could provide a 2 ft buffer to each bike lane. Better would be a raised bike lane along the corridor, but I suspect the bike lanes double as required shoulder space for the auto lanes.

      Recommended Thumb up 8

  • Terry D-M March 5, 2015 at 8:58 am

    Design changes are better…but for now, this will be a good thing. East Burnside PLEASE…if we have to wait until after the Foster Remodel to get a road diet, can we at least start ticketing speeders. Going down the mountain I am sure at least half of the drivers would get ticked for a while approaching the light non 60th…then there is the speedway to Laurelhurst.

    Recommended Thumb up 15

  • Dave March 5, 2015 at 9:06 am

    Excellent; I’m all for anything that makes motor vehicle operators feel like they’re being watched. We must remember–the US constitution does not have the word “automobile” in it anywhere, not even once!

    Recommended Thumb up 22

    • paikiala March 5, 2015 at 9:44 am

      Nor ‘bike’, or ‘horse’, or ‘airplane’, but maybe ‘property’ and ‘freedom’.

      Seen any bike stings you like?

      The point is that the most dangerous behaviors, the ones with the most risk of a fatal or serious injury outcome, are the behaviors that should be targeted for mitigations, like road design, education and enforcement. This is Safe Systems/Vision Zero in action.

      Recommended Thumb up 16

  • chasingbackon March 5, 2015 at 9:55 am

    As a cyclist, parent, parter, home owner, auto driver and citizen that lives near SE Foster, I’m very, very much in favor of this bill.

    The next step would be serious fines AND enforcement for distracted driving, the single most dangerous event on the road currently for VRUs in my opinion.

    Recommended Thumb up 24

    • SilkySlim March 5, 2015 at 10:46 am

      Seconded from SE Holgate!! Except the parent part – can I substitute in pet owner?

      Recommended Thumb up 6

  • canuck March 5, 2015 at 9:58 am

    Photo speed traps were tried in the province of Ontario. Great revenue generator but not successful in reducing speeding. The a major issue was that infractions were not reported to insurance companies due to to the inability to identify the driver at the time of the infraction. Basically it was a fee to speed.

    The program was stopped with a change in the provincial government, and replaced with an enforcement effort that put more police on the roads and a broken windows approach, going after illegal lane changes, tail gating and the like.

    The in your face enforcement produced the desired effect and speeds reduced.

    You get the hint when pulled over and receiving the ticket at the time of the infraction, knowing your insurance rates will be impacted. You don’t get the same effect when receiving the ticket in the mail a week after the infraction.

    Recommended Thumb up 4

    • Vinny March 5, 2015 at 10:27 am

      Photo radar might not have been effective in Ontario but a study in Winnipeg with photo radar at intersections showed it reduced crashes 13 to 24%: http://www.cmfclearinghouse.org/study_detail.cfm?stid=300

      I think photo radar is still effective as far as “immediate notice” goes due to the obvious flash. You know right then that you got caught, even if you don’t get the ticket in the mail for a few weeks.

      Recommended Thumb up 4

      • dan March 5, 2015 at 10:31 am

        That flash is also remarkably calming for all the other drivers who see it 🙂

        Recommended Thumb up 7

        • Editz March 5, 2015 at 12:13 pm

          Imagine if fake cameras were installed and flashed at random intervals!

          Recommended Thumb up 4

          • meh March 6, 2015 at 6:59 am

            Yes imagine people reacting to the flashes, slamming on brakes. Creates more of a hazard than it solves.

            Recommended Thumb up 0

            • paikiala March 6, 2015 at 10:07 am

              Vivid imagination. Any evidence?

              Recommended Thumb up 2

      • canuck March 5, 2015 at 12:48 pm

        Photo radar and stop light cameras are two different things. This story is about speed cameras

        Recommended Thumb up 0

        • Vinny March 5, 2015 at 4:46 pm

          The research I linked to covers photo enforcement for both speed and red light running. Each has a different crash modification factor and is independent of the other method.

          Recommended Thumb up 0

    • Gary March 5, 2015 at 10:30 am

      Inability to id the driver? Driving in Germany I unfortunately got about 7 camera citations (not because I wanted to be a danger, but problems with recognizing where spend limits started and ended). The ticket came with a perfectly clear picture of me driving the car printed right on it.

      Now I didn’t have a German license, so it didn’t go beyond the fine for me, personally. But for German drivers they simply compare that photo to the DL photo for the owner(s) of the car and attribute the infraction to a specific driver (versus against the car owner, in my case). Of course if the driver isn’t the owner or otherwise matched against the car, that wouldn’t happen. But I would guess in the vast majority of cases they’d have an easy match.

      I don’t disagree that the more hands-on approach wouldn’t be more effective for road safety. But it also comes with some other little quirks, beyond the cost, we may not desire (see the DOJ’s Ferguson report for examples).

      Recommended Thumb up 4

    • soren March 5, 2015 at 11:15 am

      Speed cameras work as this map shows:

      http://www.photoenforced.com/europe.html#.VPirLDVtxpg

      Also note the density in nations that care the most about vulnerable road users.

      Recommended Thumb up 2

  • Kyle March 5, 2015 at 9:58 am

    I must advise caution those who are eager to “punish the speeding drivers.” Speeding is merely a symptom of underlying issues with the entire system, and while adding these draconian cameras everywhere might reduce speeding on these specific streets, it will do nothing to solve those deeper problems. A better way to fix the speeding issue along with dozens of other driving issues:

    1. Significantly raise the bar for initial written and driving tests and require existing drivers to pass, at minimum, a strict written test each time their licence is up for renewal. The written test should include substantial amounts of laws regarding bicyclists and pedestrians.

    2. Begin a statewide program similar to some of the tickets given in Portland that, on a first time basis, result in the option to take an extensive safety course in lieu of paying a fine. Education is far more powerful than a monetary penalty and we need far more of it.

    3. Substantially redesign the high-crash corridors for safety. Lowering speed limits without redesigning roads for a new 85th percentile speed simply labels more people as “speeders” who are simply driving at a speed which the road and conditions support. Oregon’s freeways are a great example of why this doesn’t work – we end up with dangerous speed differentials as some people drive at a speed that feels right while the rest drive at or below the posted speed limit.

    Recommended Thumb up 8

    • Dan March 5, 2015 at 10:30 am

      4. A national mandate to cut back on the wiggle room allowed for speeding. 10-20% cushion is too much.

      Recommended Thumb up 6

    • Pete March 5, 2015 at 11:19 am

      I think your ideas are excellent, but I don’t see any of them as mutually exclusive with this (draconian) approach.

      I do agree with Dan – there seems to be a common perception that “cops won’t ticket me unless I’m doing 10 or more MPH over the limit.” My theory is that this is held over from the early days of X-band radar, when police had to consistently prove that their guns were calibrated, there was an inherent tolerance in the accuracy of the signal, and a combined tolerance in the (mechanical) speed measurement that the driver was guided by on the car’s dashboard.

      The pulsed laser radar that OSP uses is lightning fast and extremely accurate, for instance, as are modern drive-by-wire computer systems in cars, so it’s hard to argue that “my speedometer is off…”.

      …but people will still argue that “it wasn’t me driving the car.”

      Recommended Thumb up 3

      • Editz March 5, 2015 at 12:19 pm

        Now that cars have on-board WiFi, it’s only going to be a matter of time until wireless zones will automatically regulate the speed of vehicles. Services like OnStar can already turn vehicles off when reported stolen (can they lock the doors if you don’t make your monthly payment?) so it’s not that much of a leap.

        Recommended Thumb up 1

        • Pete March 5, 2015 at 2:27 pm

          I mentioned in a comment elsewhere that I had a rental Mercedes while on business in Georgia, and it gave me an audible warning when I exceeded the speed limit (which was handy on one hilly road I was on that went back and forth between 35 and 45). Part of the cause of speeding, to a degree, is that modern cars are so powerful and quiet, it’s hard on some roads to stay at, say 15 or 20 MPH. Not impossible, just requires the attention that driving (in my opinion) deserves.

          The are plenty of technical solutions to many of the problems we discuss here (such as chipped driver’s licenses and transponders that I’ve talked about elsewhere). The problem with technology is that it’s generally driven by monetization these days, so the primary reason you have WiFi in your car right now isn’t for safety, it’s to serve you content. Also, check out any whitepaper coming out of Cisco or Intel these days about “smart cities” or V2V and V2I, and so often the focus is on eliminating “traffic” – that’s what sells. Granted, I look forward to the day that you’re talking about!

          Recommended Thumb up 1

        • wsbob March 5, 2015 at 3:36 pm

          “Now that cars have on-board WiFi, it’s only going to be a matter of time until wireless zones will automatically regulate the speed of vehicles. …” Editz

          Limiting the top speed motor vehicles can travel in certain situations could be an excellent idea. On freeways too, this could be a very effective tool to efficiently manage and optimize the flow of traffic. Goes kind of counter the the ‘freedom of the road’ ethic, but there doesn’t seem to be a lot of better options.

          Recommended Thumb up 0

          • Kenji March 5, 2015 at 5:44 pm

            Take the person out of the equation. I just can’t wait till there are self driving cars. We should encourage mass transit and cycling- but as long as there are single occupancy vehicles- I’d rather a computer operate it rather than a person.

            Recommended Thumb up 1

            • Pete March 5, 2015 at 11:05 pm

              I don’t know that “self-driving” is any guarantee they won’t continue to be “single occupancy”, and my concern is that the goal of optimizing overall traffic flow (one of the selling points I see frequently in “smart cities” literature) will overtake the volume classifications that different types of streets have been designed for (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hierarchy_of_roads). But true, the computers should be able to focus on their tasks *just a tad* better than humans these days…

              Recommended Thumb up 0

    • soren March 5, 2015 at 12:01 pm

      Sorry, Kyle, but you lost me at “draconian”.

      Recommended Thumb up 5

    • paikiala March 5, 2015 at 12:04 pm

      Kyle, speed reduction on major roads is on a case by case basis, and as far as I know, not proposed on the high crash corridors as part of speed camera placement (if approved). It is the current speed limit that people driving are ignoring, because they know the consequences are minimal in most cases.

      Recommended Thumb up 2

    • J_R March 5, 2015 at 1:02 pm

      Redesigning major corridors to reduce speeds will most certainly cause motorists to find quicker routes through residential areas and on greenway corridors. All you have to do is visit one of the Portland neighborhood where sewer repair is currently underway to see how motorists cope with the delays and detours that cost them a few seconds on their commutes.

      I’d rather punish the scofflaw motorists. There is virtually no enforcement and virtually no consequences for unsafe and dangerous driving.

      Recommended Thumb up 3

  • Scott H March 5, 2015 at 10:12 am

    Yes, a thousand times yes! This is so badly needed. We can dream up and implement traffic calming road designs until the cows come home but at the end of the day, some jarhead is going to come speeding down the road for no good reason, and the state / city should mail them a invoice for it.

    Recommended Thumb up 8

  • Stretchy March 5, 2015 at 10:51 am

    My concerns:

    Are these about safety or revenue?
    Who will oversee the program?
    What steps will be taken to ensure it is properly administered?

    The following is a list of news stories about cameras being used more for revenue than safety. Being mis-calibrated to generate more tickets. Contractors hired by the city using illegal methods to collect fines. Actively suppressing evidence of innocence. Exempting the rule makers from the rules.

    If these cameras go in, are you prepared to do the work to ensure they are not abused or mis-used?

    http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/ct-red-light-camera-ticket-spikes-met-20140717-story.html#page=1
    http://www.foxnews.com/us/2014/02/05/company-illegally-using-robocalls-to-collect-debt-on-defunct-red-light-cameras/
    http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/maryland/sun-investigates/bs-md-ci-speed-camera-audit-20140122-story.html#page=1
    http://www.thenewspaper.com/news/41/4167.asp
    http://denver.cbslocal.com/2013/07/11/state-legislators-not-receiving-photo-radar-tickets/

    Recommended Thumb up 0

    • paikiala March 5, 2015 at 4:32 pm

      Hardly convincing. Oregon law is clearly written. If the person’s face is not visible, or there is a gender mismatch between the driver and registered owner, the citation is not forwared to the police from the vendor that processes the pictures. Police verify all photos forwarded before citations are issued.
      Several of the stories were about other issues and many jurisdictions issue fixed fine traffic tickets, with a lower threshold of evidense (owner gets a ticket no matter who is driving), not moving violation tickets as is done in Oregon.

      Recommended Thumb up 3

  • brian March 5, 2015 at 10:51 am

    Its great that we have such a robust system of rules to protect citizens from the dangers of automated enforcement

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • J_R March 5, 2015 at 11:01 am

    If you support this WRITE TO YOUR LEGISLATORS!!!!

    Find his/her email address at:

    https://www.oregonlegislature.gov/FindYourLegislator/leg-districts.html

    Recommended Thumb up 9

    • John Liu
      John Liu March 5, 2015 at 12:37 pm

      I just did. I hope many of us do.

      I live on a posted 30 mph street and every day I see cars going 50 mph. There is no excuse for that.

      Look, I get driving. I drive, I even have a fast car, but people have to obey speed limits and the city should be allowed to use the most efficient and effective ways to enforce those limits.

      The first day after I moved to Portland, many years ago, I got popped with a photo radar ticket crossing the Burnside Bridge at 50 mph. A $400 ticket if I recall. That sure opened my eyes and changed my behavior. Yes, photo radar works.

      Recommended Thumb up 8

    • Kristi Finney-Dunn March 6, 2015 at 12:10 am

      This is going before the House on Monday at 3pm for anyone who really wants wants to support it. It’s an interesting experience to testify, not too scary.

      Recommended Thumb up 1

  • CarsAreFunToo March 5, 2015 at 11:24 am

    ‘“They all pointed out that the biggest liability they can see in the program is that when drivers become accustomed to the location of these photo radar illustrations, they will speed anywhere the camera is not,” Kransky said.

    Which was, Kransky realized, actually just a way of saying that the cameras are extremely effective.’

    WTF, mate? So, you reduce speeding in one place but gain it in others (the more residential surrounding streets) and call that a win? That don’t make a lick of sense. That’s just shifting the use conflict.

    And let’s hear a little more insightful analysis of the causes of these accidents. If cars are just plowing into bikes in the bike lanes and people on the sidewalk because they can’t handle the speed by all means put in GATSOs. If it’s poor lines of sight or just bad design by all means do a redesign.

    But the idea that bikes should be on every street no matter how high traffic it is (I’m thinking of major car thoroughfares here, where they want these cameras) is bogus. Why not direct bike traffic away from these areas and allow cars to travel at the speeds the roads are capable of handling? That seems like a commonsense way to limit use conflicts. And one which many people do naturally without much thought, just like people walk on the sidewalks instead of in the middle of the street. ‘There are a lot of cars on Sandy and they go kinda fast ’cause it’s a major road and riding next to fast moving cars sucks ass. Oh sweet, one street over goes the same way and it’s nice and quite. I’ll ride there.’ More effective for cars, more effective and safer for bikes.

    Oh snap, we already do that! But for some reason that’s not good enough. Now y’all just have to have one of Broadway’s lanes where it’s busiest because Tillamook doesn’t have any trendy, cute shops. It’s never enough. Tillamook is a great street to commute on. Barely any cars, nice houses, and more interesting and shaded than Going which I use now that I live further north.

    The me-me-me attitude of so much of the bike community here is utterly maddening and makes me not want to be associated with it in anyway. ‘We don’t like cars so let’s ruin car travel for everyone else.’

    Bikes are fun and useful, but guess what, cars are fun too and way, WAY more useful which is why they’re the dominant form of transportation. Cars aren’t going away folks. A more inclusive advocacy approach would do you a lot of good.

    Recommended Thumb up 4

    • 9watts March 5, 2015 at 3:26 pm

      “Cars aren’t going away folks.”

      You and the Oregonian Editors. This kind of thing only gets verbalized when the writing’s on the wall.

      Recommended Thumb up 7

    • Chris I March 5, 2015 at 3:38 pm

      You may not have noticed, but people driving cars are really good at plowing into all sorts of things: ditches, houses, Dunkin Donuts, Starbucks, trees, telephone poles, people, people on bikes, animals… over 30,000 people in the U.S. are killed every year, and only about 40% of that is attributed to drunk driving. So, yes, unimpaired people “fail to stop” every day and cream things with their cars. Do you think that speeding, whether sanctioned by the government with generous speed limits (35mph zones in neighborhoods, for example) or unsanctioned (pretty much everyone drives 5-10mph over the limit at all times) does not contribute to this? What would you do to bring down the fatality rates?

      Recommended Thumb up 9

    • Dan March 5, 2015 at 4:58 pm

      The me-me-me attitude of so much of the car community is utterly maddening and makes me not want to be associated with it in any way.

      Cars have lots of roads where they are given priority. Why do they feel the need to speed through on small streets where they are not wanted?

      Recommended Thumb up 7

      • Pete March 5, 2015 at 10:58 pm

        Just wait until the technology and algorithms (powered by Waze and the ‘IoT’) in auto-piloted cars take them onto those “small streets” to optimize overall traffic flow…

        Recommended Thumb up 1

    • Scott H March 5, 2015 at 5:16 pm

      It’s easy to see how one-sided and selfish your frame of mind is, because I drive every other day and bike every other day, and one form of transportation isn’t better than the other. Each form of transportation is useful in different ways, and I look forward to seeing the number of traffic fatalities reduced with cameras. If you want to race, sign up for a track day.

      Recommended Thumb up 6

  • Harald March 5, 2015 at 1:39 pm

    Gary
    Of course if the driver isn’t the owner or otherwise matched against the car, that wouldn’t happen. But I would guess in the vast majority of cases they’d have an easy match.

    Actually what happens in that case is that the owner of the car can either say who was driving at the time or will be required to keep a driving log in the future.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • rain waters March 5, 2015 at 2:03 pm

    Our goal here is not revenue, it’s behavior change,” Graff said. “We want people to know where the system is, because we want people to drive the speed limit.”

    Good idea. First incident, certified letter warning vehicle owner of second incident consequence

    Second incident, confiscation of offending vehicle and 10 day impound.

    Otherwise I’d say its just another defacto tax revenue scheme which seems to be attractive in Multnomah county.

    Recommended Thumb up 1

  • Peter W March 5, 2015 at 3:01 pm

    Scoping this to just Portland is smart — there was a similar statewide bill that died (or, was very much reduced in scope). It’ll be interesting to see if legislators outside Portland try to oppose this.

    Really though, this is a great idea that ODOT and all local jurisdictions should have the ability to implement. That it takes an act of the Oregon legislature to allow transportation engineers to use a specific tool which is used effectively elsewhere is kind of odd when you think about it.

    Recommended Thumb up 4

  • Randall S. March 5, 2015 at 4:00 pm

    I don’t know why this isn’t already a thing. We have more than sufficient technology to enable automated enforcement of traffic law violations. A machine issuing a ticket for an easy-to-prove violation isn’t harming anyone , would boost revenue (in the short term), cut down on violations in the long run, and improve safety for all road users. The only real objection to it is that people don’t want to stop breaking the law.

    Recommended Thumb up 3

    • paikiala March 6, 2015 at 10:10 am

      The first iteration stalled because the police wanted personnel in the van. They’re comfortable now with the tech and don’t perceive personnel losses due to it.

      Recommended Thumb up 0

      • 9watts March 9, 2015 at 7:35 am

        “The first iteration stalled because the police wanted personnel in the van. They’re comfortable now with the tech and don’t perceive personnel losses due to it.”

        Seems like the cops want it both ways. When we ask for enforcement, we always hear There’s not enough cops; when someone proposes this, we hear/heard We’ll be out of a job!

        Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Scott H March 5, 2015 at 5:08 pm

    It’s easy to see how one-sided and selfish your frame of mind is: because I drive every other day and bike every other day, and one form of transportation isn’t better than the other. Each form of transportation is useful in different ways, and I look forward to seeing the number of traffic fatalities reduced with cameras. If you want to race, sign up for a track day.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Huey Lewis March 5, 2015 at 5:58 pm

    I drive part of my day for work. I’m on the clock so I drive cautiously. I’m a daily cyclist aside from work time. So again, when driving for work I drive cautiously. I’m constantly floored by the insane stuff I see throughout the day. I fully support more cameras (and my politics make this very difficult to deal with) busting people who drive like idiots.

    People drive way too fast, way too often. And they run red lights. Constantly.

    Recommended Thumb up 6

  • Joe Adamski March 5, 2015 at 8:17 pm

    So would heavy enforcement help develop a culture of more legal drivers? N Portland Road as it approaches Roosevelt High is a 25mph stretch that is wide with big sightlines. Prior to recent enforcement, 35 to 40 mph was more likely. Now, after frequent photo radar days, everyone does 25mph. Like it or not, it seems to work just fine. I have had a couple photo radar tickets when it was first used in Portland. It took two for me. But 15 years later, I remember.

    Recommended Thumb up 1

  • Pat Franz March 5, 2015 at 8:53 pm

    What exactly is the issue of reporting to the insurance companies? Speeding is a public event, and both the owner of the vehicle and the insurer of the vehicle should be interested in knowing that their vehicle is being operated dangerously. I am well aware that many of the speeders are also the owners, and they know good and well that they are speeding, and I am well aware that sizeable percentages of vehicles are not insured… BUT making it clear to vehicle owners that it is known that their vehicles are breaking the law can only be a good thing. So much of bad driving is based on anonymity. Breaking that cycle, and adding teeth, would do a lot to encourage people to think about what they are doing.

    As for positive ID on drivers, I don’t see where that is necessary to sanction. On the first detection, send a letter, letting the owner know this is going on and isn’t condoned. On the second, require the owner to present proof of insurance or be fined. On the third, a visit to the registered address and a fine for chronic allowance of dangerous behavior. On the fourth, another fine and temporary revocation of registration. On the fifth, a summons.

    Take the “I’ll never get caught, no one knows me” out of it, and behavior will change.

    Oh, and if the fines aren’t paid? If your vehicle is detected, police in the area will be notified to pull you over and the vehicle towed. You may not get nabbed right away, but you will eventually.

    Yes, it’s come to this. We need to creatively sanction bad behavior, otherwise society rots.

    Recommended Thumb up 2

  • Scott Kocher March 5, 2015 at 11:05 pm

    It’s fascinating that (not unlike others) the bill requires advance warning to speeders. In this case, a sign “announcing ‘Traffic Laws Photo Enforced’” and a sign that provides “drivers with information about the driver’s current rate of speed” placed “between 100 and 400 yards before the location of the photo radar unit.” So, we’re going to be catching people who are (1) speeding on a high-crash corridor, and (2) oblivious. That’s good. It’s a step in the right direction, and deserves strong support. If it generates revenue, even better. The whole point of enforcement, though, is to influence behavior. That will happen when drivers expect safety laws to enforced at any time and any place, without advance warning.

    Recommended Thumb up 3

  • kittens March 6, 2015 at 3:15 am

    Two thoughts:
    I think lawmakers need to dedicate the funding and cap the fine. The only way a fine would sting is if it were somehow based on income. Otherwise I can imagine plenty of rich people not caring anyway while the majority (poor people) loose sleep over a “stiff” fine. Since we all know income based penalties are not going to happen, can we at least make sure not to victimize people out of their rent?

    Secondly our state/county/city seem in a poor position to handle the responsibility of administering such program fairly without abuse. Oregon at all levels seems to be in perpetual budget crisis mode.

    While I think speed cams are great, we must be vigilant of what we are giving up when we allow machines to police us.

    Recommended Thumb up 1

    • q`Tzal March 6, 2015 at 9:12 am

      Index the fine based on income, don’t cap it.

      Recommended Thumb up 2

    • paikiala March 6, 2015 at 10:13 am

      Our (and others) county/city are already administering both mobile photo radar and fixed photo red-light running.

      Recommended Thumb up 1

  • SW March 6, 2015 at 8:50 am

    I’m all for ANY safety improvements. But I ride se/ne 122nd two or three times a week and do not personally see the high-crash corridor problem.

    Division …YES

    Recommended Thumb up 0

    • Chris I March 6, 2015 at 9:15 am

      122nd gets really bad in SE. Crashes increase, and the bike lane drops to a small as 2ft wide in some areas.

      Recommended Thumb up 0

      • paikiala March 6, 2015 at 10:14 am

        Bike lanes are not 2 ft wide. Shoulders are.

        Recommended Thumb up 2

        • 9watts March 9, 2015 at 7:39 am

          Calling them shoulders is probably technically correct, but Chris I’s point is valid regardless of the technically correct terminology, or do you dispute that bikelanes shrivel to 2 ft in all sorts of locations?

          Recommended Thumb up 2

        • El Biciclero March 9, 2015 at 10:12 am

          So perhaps bike lanes disappear and are replaced by meager 2′ shoulders, or there is no bike lane and the shoulder varies between 5′ and 2′.

          Part of the problem is that many drivers expect cyclists to ride outside the white line, regardless of how wide the stripe—or the strip of asphalt on the other side of it—is. They consider all fog lines to delineate a “bike lane”.

          Recommended Thumb up 2

  • q`Tzal March 6, 2015 at 9:25 am

    On traffic camera ticketing revenue, its allure and ultimate unsustainability:
    () the outside contractor that runs the system would have the municipal costs for all inaccurate or court overturn tickets removed from their set monthly fee. This will encourage companies to make accurate systems.
    () a 10% weekly bonus will be included for every complete calendar week that no automated tickets are overturned.
    () a 25% weekly bonus will be included for every complete calendar week that no automated tickets cases are even brought up on the court dockets. Freeing up court time to deal with actual matters of justice would do wonders for our democracy.
    () 10% of the remainder would go to the municipality.
    () EVERYTHING else goes to a fund to a re-education fund for soon to be out of work auto body repair people, tow truck drivers, insurance adjusters and the overstaffed EMS field that can only be economically sustainable in the environment of “we are just sucky drivers”.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

    • paikiala March 6, 2015 at 10:16 am

      You’re overthinking it. BP should get a copy of the current contract to see how the contractor is currently remunerated.

      Recommended Thumb up 0

      • q`Tzal March 6, 2015 at 2:36 pm

        Is this a public record you can point us at?
        Besides, sometimes “over thinking” is needed to effectively harness Profit Motive to achieve a greater good from which there is no direct profit.

        Recommended Thumb up 1

  • hat March 6, 2015 at 4:37 pm

    In general, yes. The corridors in question are certainly backed up by crash/injury data. I am somewhat confused why the city has left MLK out.

    Also, any behaviorist worth their weight knows that intermittent stimulus over a long period serves to change behavior much more effectively than a predictable same time, same place scenario. Why not put these (and 50 other non-functional ones that merely flash) at randomly changing places throughout the city?

    This would be vastly more effective in altering people’s behaviors.

    Recommended Thumb up 1

  • SW March 6, 2015 at 4:55 pm

    Chris I
    122nd gets really bad in SE. Crashes increase, and the bike lane drops to a small as 2ft wide in some areas.
    Recommended 0

    where ?

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • SW March 8, 2015 at 9:58 am

    >>Someone convicted of speeding 1 to 10 mph over the limit faces a fine of up to $110

    1 MPH over limit is up to $110 fine ?? ……. Ridiculous.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

    • wsbob March 8, 2015 at 10:51 am

      Suggestion: if you’re quoting somebody, consider putting their name or a link to their comment at the end of the quote.

      I’d guess the issuance of citations through the use of speed limit cameras,uses at least some latitude. In other words, for a 25 mph posted zone, the indefinite latitude may for example, be 5 mph, making the citation point 31 mph, or 1 mph over the latitude. Seems fair to me, because it’s not that difficult to keep the speed within two to three miles of 25 mph. Keeping the speed exactly at 25 mph, no more than that, would be tough.

      Recommended Thumb up 0

  • SW March 9, 2015 at 7:36 am

    wsbob
    Suggestion: if you’re quoting somebody, consider putting their name or a link to their comment at the end of the quote.
    I’d guess the issuance of citations through the use of speed limit cameras,uses at least some latitude. In other words, for a 25 mph posted zone, the indefinite latitude may for example, be 5 mph, making the citation point 31 mph, or 1 mph over the latitude. Seems fair to me, because it’s not that difficult to keep the speed within two to three miles of 25 mph. Keeping the speed exactly at 25 mph, no more than that, would be tough.
    Recommended 0

    the quote is from this article, from Michael (if you read it). If I quote from outside the thread that is in discussion, of course a link is posted. duh.

    “Someone convicted of speeding 1 to 10 mph over the limit faces a fine of up to $110. For 11 to 20 mph, it’s $160; for 21-30 mph, $260; and for 30 mph or more, $435. Of that total, the state gets the first $60 (fines are regularly reduced or dismissed during the legal process) and any money left is split 50/50 between the state and the enforcing jurisdiction. Graff said that if legislators approve HB 2621, Portland City Council will have a chance to decide how to allocate the city’s share of any net revenue.”

    no mention of latitudes, only absolute ranges.

    Recommended Thumb up 1

  • redhippie March 9, 2015 at 12:07 pm

    In Europe there is a consistent insurrection against the speed cameras. Hopefully the same would occur in PDX to put an end of another regressive tax. http://english.controleradar.org/destroyed-speed-camera.php

    soren
    Speed cameras work as this map shows:
    http://www.photoenforced.com/europe.html#.VPirLDVtxpg
    Also note the density in nations that care the most about vulnerable road users.
    Recommended 2

    Recommended Thumb up 0

    • davemess March 9, 2015 at 1:21 pm

      Can you explain how speed cameras are a “regressive tax”? If you’re poor you have to speed? Or are you just saying that poor people drive more there for they are more likely to get hit with the fines?

      Recommended Thumb up 0

  • redhippie March 9, 2015 at 4:59 pm

    Lets say the fine is $100.

    $100 to a rich person is nothing. They can also hire an attorney to make it go away.

    $100 to a poor person might be the difference between ramen for a month and a bag of real grocerys. In sweden tickets are based on income for this reason, thus the recent “20 over” speeding ticket for $54,000 for a multi millionare.

    Now lets extrapolate a little. The poor person doesn’t have the $100 and missed the payment and now owes $200. They still can’t pay it so now it turns into a bench warrant for their arrest. This happens all the time. Over whelmingly this affects lower income folks and communities of color. In fact, it was recently referenced in the DOJ Ferguson report as one of the issues that resulted in disproportional harasment of the communities of color.

    These automated speed cameras have been seen as nothing but a “sin tax” source of revenue for local govornments. Ths is part of the gradual bluring of the lines for police between public safety and revenue generation/collection. There have been a number of occurences where it was shown that the timing of lights were tweaked to ensure vioolations and increase revenue generation.

    This is not about safety. This is about generation of revenue without raising taxes.

    davemess
    Can you explain how speed cameras are a “regressive tax”? If you’re poor you have to speed? Or are you just saying that poor people drive more there for they are more likely to get hit with the fines?
    Recommended 0

    Recommended Thumb up 1

  • redhippie March 9, 2015 at 5:04 pm

    SW
    >>Someone convicted of speeding 1 to 10 mph over the limit faces a fine of up to $110
    1 MPH over limit is up to $110 fine ?? ……. Ridiculous.
    Recommended 0

    I received a speeding ticket for 1 mile per hour over the speed limit even though I was being passed by numerous other vehicles. I suspect it is because I drive a nice car. When I opted for a trial along and requested the officer submit testimony as to why he selected my vehicle opposed to other vehicles, they dropped the case. Unfortunately, too many people just pay the fine. If everyone who got a ticket simply took it to court, the system would be overwhelmed. I think every civic minded person should fight an infraction (no matter how minor) as a way to keep the police focused on true hazards to the community and not revenue generation.

    Recommended Thumb up 1

  • redhippie March 9, 2015 at 5:07 pm

    Finally, how come there is not one camera on Skyline Blvd. As a person who rides this often I have been almost killed numerous times by people blasting around in the BMW or on a motorcycle. There are almost no carmeras in SW portland, the more affluent parts of the city.

    Recommended Thumb up 0