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Photo radar bill passes out of committee, moves toward floor votes – UPDATED

Posted by on June 30th, 2015 at 10:07 am

high crash corridors

Map of Portland’s 10 High Crash Corridors.

It’s looking likelier that Oregon’s legislature will give Portland the right to gradually install 20 well-marked but unmanned anti-speeding cameras on its 10 deadliest streets.

House Bill 2621 was approved by the Joint Ways and Means committee in a nearly party-line vote Monday afternoon, sending the bill to the House and Senate floors.

Fourteen Democrats plus Salem Republican Jackie Winters voted for the bill to move ahead with a “do pass” recommendation. Nine Republicans voted against it.

Portland leaders including Mayor Charlie Hales and Transportation Commissioner Steve Novick have urged traffic safety activists to help them push for the bill. At the recent BikeLoudPDX safe streets rally, Hales told the crowd to “Put pressure on the legislature” to pass HB 2621, and said it would, “Let us use technology to make our streets safer.”

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If passed by both houses and signed by Governor Kate Brown, it’ll be a significant legislative victory for the City of Portland, which says unmanned cameras are proven ways to reduce dangerous speeds, and therefore needless deaths.

The city is currently allowed to use manned photo radar cameras for traffic enforcement, but the need for an officer to be present drives up the expense of operating them, reducing their hours of effectiveness.

The city has estimated that the 20-camera program would reduce excessive speeding in their locations by 61 percent, preventing about 1,800 injuries and saving about 16 lives over the next six years. At that rate, the associated economic benefits from prevented collisions would be in the neighborhood of $70 million.

Fines for people photographed driving 11 to 20 mph over the speed limit typically start at $160.

Concerns about the bill have included its privacy implications and questions of whether a surge of automated speeding citations would be difficult for the state’s court systems to process.

You can read more about HB 2621 and Oregon’s 2015 legislative session in our archives.

UPDATE: HB 2621 passed the House today by a vote of 31-24. It is now in the Senate.

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. Also, if you comment frequently, please consider holding your thoughts so that others can step forward. Thank you — Jonathan

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redhippie
Guest
redhippie

What about the studies that show that photo radar actually increase the rates of accidents? http://photoradarscam.com/lesssafe.php

Perhaps this is more about a new tax source aimed at the lower and middle classes than a sincere attempt to lower injury rates. Just look at the maps focus on residential and commercial areas and not major trucking or transportation routes.

Chris I
Guest
Chris I

This program is about safety, and that website is a complete joke.

Safe and Healthy Cigarette Smoking
Guest

I totally trust a URL with an inflammatory domain name to present all data available in an impartial manner. Totally.

Scott H
Guest
Scott H

So many things wrong with the income source / class warfare argument I don’t even know where to start.

It’s painfully simple: go the speed limit if you don’t want a citation.

Eric
Guest
Eric

Actually, 10.9 over.

Pete
Guest
Pete

Glad you noticed this. I still think this whole “10 over” concept harkens way back to the days when X-band speed radar had to be calibrated frequently and suffered from temperature drift and electromagnetic interference, leading to courts allowing a tolerance for tickets issued with radar readings. (OK, I’m dating myself – having had a big old unit mounted on a gooseneck in my Nova… ;).

Mike
Guest
Mike

It isn’t just about the technology. It’s also a culture issue. Most people do not obey the speed limit, and limits are established knowing that people will not follow them.

Both a cause and effect of this culture is that speed limits are often set below the speed that was determined to be “reasonable and prudent to driving conditions”.

Oregon allows the speed limit to be rounded down by 5 to 9 mph, depending on the roadway. If citations are limited to people traveling 10 mph over the speed limit, the officer can be sure they were driving at a speed that was not reasonable as definde under the original speed study.

I’m OK with lowering speed limits, but in order to realize any real safety benefit, the reduced posted speeds must be accompanied by changes to the roadway to make the lower speeds feel reasonable to drivers. Otherwise, we will just create a bigger divergence between the posted speeds and the actual travel speeds on our roadways.

9watts
Guest
9watts

“Most people do not obey the speed limit, and limits are established knowing that people will not follow them.”

That is some interesting logic there, Mike! I’d be inclined to stop you right there and ask us to back up a few steps.
While this kind of retroactive exoneration (wishful nonsense?) may find an appreciative audience among the very automobilists we’re trying to get through to in our halting efforts to establish a bit of Vision Zero culture around here, I’m
(a) not sure you are correct and would love to see some evidence for your claim, and
(b) even assuming you were correct, I think this might be as good a time as any to make a clean break with this kind of Cars Über Alles nonsense.

gutterbunnybikes
Guest

I’m pretty sure speed limits are set at what the traffic engineers (however they determine it) decide 85% of the people will naturally drive on that road for. Can’t cite a reference, but I know I’ve seen it mentioned many times.

Eric
Guest
Eric

Whatever the speed limit, “reasonable and prudent to driving conditions” needs to account for sharing the road with people walking and biking. The road design also needs to emphasize this rather than focusing strictly on the safety of drivers. Try a trip down Taylor’s Ferry around dusk.

9watts
Guest
9watts

I’m curious, redhippie, what you make of the recent rollout of these in NY?

9watts
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.htmlRecommended 20

Phosphorous
Guest
Phosphorous

Quite easy… the results are “mixed.” So why bother? And the “mixed” results are the same as they have been everywhere else they have been installed with an honest assessment of the results. This is purely for making MONEY. Traffic engineering is for improving safety. Cameras CASH IN on engineering problems rather than FIX them.
http://m.nydailynews.com/new-york/exclusive-news-probe-finds-mixed-results-vision-zero-article-1.2235148

9watts
Guest
9watts

Your post is entirely at odds with the article you linked to. Did you read the article?
Here’s a quote that for me captures the thrust of the article:
“Lerner supports Vision Zero, but said more needs to be done before the city’s culture of aggressive driving is eradicated.”

rick
Guest
rick

Why oppose Safe Routes to School?

Nick Falbo
Guest
Nick Falbo

Not to legitimize the questionable content on that link but in the future of Vision Zero we are going to need to separate crashes from fatalities.

There are many important tools in our safety toolbox that have been shown to *decrease fatalities* while *increasing crashes.* More crashes are ok. I’d rather live in a world full of fender benders rather than a world full of deaths.

Pete
Guest
Pete

That argument was originally based on red light cameras and then expanded to photo radar with little justification. The argument that people will start rear-ending each other due to slamming on brakes to prevent tickets is ludicrous. Photo radar works perfectly fine in Europe to slow down average speeds in the aggregate, and it does so mostly by advertising its presence. The data over there – both in crash reduction and cost savings – proves otherwise.

The very same people that started that argument – AAA and motorists.org – have successfully lobbied speed limit increases all over the country. They have also worked directly with lawyers to defend red-light runners and speeders all over this country, and have successfully decommissioned red-light cameras in many big cities. They’ve mustered up a great deal of public “outrage” at these “revenue schemes” and been a thorn in the side for many city councils.

Count me unconvinced.

Tom Hardy
Guest
Tom Hardy

The numbers don’t add up for the radar speed problems the site suggests. Only with the stop light cams. Yes the city PB do shorten the yellow time and sometimes they start taking the pix when the light turns yellow. Yes drivers do try to run the light with a half block of yellow, and the car next to them stops and gets rear ended.

Mike
Guest
Mike

The City of Portland’s red light cameras do not issue citations on yellow. The closest thing to doing this is an incident where an attorney crossed the detector loops at 15 mph+ while the light was red, then entered the intersection at the instant the light turned green about a tenth of a second later. He sucessfully argued that he had not run the light. I personally think he should have been cited for careless driving based on his own testimony since he could not have stopped if the light had not turned green.

The yellow times were not reduced at any of Portland’s 10 photo-enforced intersections.

These are common complaints I hear, but they do not have any factual basis in Portland. There may be some legitimate complaints, but those are not among them.

Craig Harlow
Guest
Craig Harlow

Interesting page and set of links. The legit USA news links don’t mention any statistical data at all about cameras, and are only barely related to the topic of correlating cameras and safety. The rest of the links are either from outside the USA, or else they are blatant right-wing propaganda pages. Smooth move, though, mixing legit news articles as red-herrings, mixed among irrelevant and fake news.

Anandakos
Guest
Anandakos

I particularly liked the article about The panicked reaction that some drivers have to the sight of a speed camera”. So now you autoistas are saying that people who are breaking the law and therefore “panic” because they’ve been observed are a reason for not having enforcement? Is there ANY enforcement you’d support?

9watts
Guest
9watts

The ‘well marked’ bit is interesting to me.
Why do we bend over backwards to give lots of warnings, indications that *here* as opposed to *over there* you need to comply with the speed limits…?

younggods
Guest
younggods

I agree, but go one step further… make the radar cameras portable and move them around at random.

hat
Guest
hat

This is exactly how you change behavior: intermittent for an extended period. If the few cameras from this bill are at unpredictable intersections, then people will behave as if they are at EVERY intersection.

9watts
Guest
9watts

I just read the city of Portland document justifying their use. Two quotes from that excellent document:

Doesn’t Portland already have speed cameras?

Currently, state law allows photo radar systems to be operated in mobile vans for no more than four hours in one location with a uniformed police officer present. This results in inconsistent enforcement and a swift “decay effect” – travelers quickly return to speeding once the van leaves.

and

Will this bill authorize “speed traps”?

HB 2621 has robust signage requirements, giving travelers ample information and opportunity to obey the law and avoid a ticket. Before passing a fixed speed camera, drivers will see a sign informing them “Traffic Laws Photo Enforced” and a speed reader board displaying their current rate of speed.

I like the equation or ‘if you exceed the speed limit by at least 11mph you may get a ticket’ as entrapment. Does anyone actually make this case with a straight face? How does the argument go?
I should be able to speed here to my heart’s content, even though the speed limit is posted, because…?

John Lascurettes
Guest

There’s also the precedent that red light enforcement is done with cameras throughout the state and in Portland (e.g. NE Sandy and 39th). If that’s not an invasion of privacy, neither are speed cameras.

9watts
Guest
9watts

“Concerns about the bill have included […] questions of whether a surge of automated speeding citations would be difficult for the state’s court systems to process.”

A good laugh, that one.

I’d like to ask the person expressing that opinion what they suggest instead? Do they feel similarly about cops whose job it is to nab burglars and rapists and murderers?
Unless this ‘concern’ is accompanied by language that acknowledges that if speeding (11-20mph over the posted limit) weren’t rampant we would have no problem whatsoever, I’m forced to think this ‘concern’ is just smoke and mirrors.

Kiel Johnson (Go By Bike)
Guest
kiel johnson

That is a great point!

kittens
Guest
kittens

Agreed: it is a specious argument to insist that a legitimate concern of enforcement action would lead to court problems, but as one who has had the displeasure of dealing with tickets in Oregon, the courts do seem like a complete mess.

gutterbunnybikes
Guest

Well if it does bog down the courts, just take away the courts ability to lower the fines for any reason. Never understood why people get a discount for hardship or pleading guilty by sending the check in the mail.

Taking away the court’s ability to lesson the fines and there would be hardly anyone then fighting the tickets in hopes of getting a discount.

Eric
Guest
Eric

Such a small step for such a tiny bandage on such a gaping wound.

9watts
Guest
9watts

= Car head

Scott H
Guest
Scott H

A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.

meh
Guest
meh

I liken it to coming home and finding your dog has crapped on the carpet. If you scold them and rub their nose in it they haven’t got a clue as to what you are disciplining them about, since the act and the punishment are completely unrelated in their minds.

Much the same way with getting a ticket in the mail two weeks after the event. Can you really tie the punishment to the action? Will it change the behavior?

9watts
Guest
9watts

What do you suggest?
spikes that—once the speed limit is exceeded + 11mph—pop up in the roadway and shred the tires of the miscreant?

meh
Guest
meh

I would prefer actual policing.

Getting pulled over at the time of the offense registers, getting a citation in the mail doesn’t.

Having police presence calms the traffice, a camera doesn’t.

The province of Ontario tried photo radar. Didn’t work for a number of reasons. A change in government ended photo radar, but put more police on the roads with a zero tolerance policy. No seatbelt, pulled over. Didn’t signal lane change, pulled over. Safety on the highways improved.

A camera doesn’t enforce the law, it just takes pictures.

9watts
Guest
9watts

Scott H
It’s painfully simple: go the speed limit if you don’t want a citation.Recommended 15

John Liu
Guest
John Liu

This is a common sentiment – just flood the streets with traffic officers – but I am not sure it is actually feasible. A police office may be able to write dozens of speed citations a day, but for each one that is contested he has to spend half a day sitting in court waiting for the hearing, so that one day of ticket writing may pull him off the streets for many days cumulatively.

meh
Guest
meh

The presence of police on the streets calms speeds. One offender pulled over with lights flashing and the speed on that street drops to below the posted limit. Police presence in and of itself calms traffic.

9watts
Guest
9watts

“Police presence in and of itself calms traffic.”

But meh this is hardly a realistic prescription. I can hardly think of a more expensive approach to traffic calming.

Chris I
Guest
Chris I

And it works for about 50ft. Once everyone passes the cop, they speed up again. The only way to stop speeding is to have 100% enforcement. This bill gets us closer to that.

meh
Guest
meh

And those traffic cameras work for the same 50ft, and all you have done is condition people to drive safely in 10 places.

Put actual police out varying location and actually stop people and you’ll condition people to drive safely in more than those ten locations.

Stops at the time of infraction with education on the offense are going to work better than a ticket in the mail

9watts
Guest
9watts

I have a suggestion for you, meh: let’s do both; continue to deploy cops as you suggest, and also have these speed cameras.

Dan
Guest
Dan

I was driving eastward on Hwy 26 the other day, at 55-60mph. I saw, to my left, a sheriff driving on Bronson just to the north of Hwy 26, doing the same speed as me. Bronson is 45mph. How on earth can I expect speed enforcement from people regularly speed as a matter of course? The officer is, by his actions, basically telling everyone around him to drive like he does.

wsbob
Guest
wsbob

“…The officer is, by his actions, basically telling everyone around him to drive like he does.” Dan

Everyone that’s a police officer on a call…maybe, all circumstances considered.

Dan
Guest
Dan

Do you generally see police cars travelling at or below the speed limit? I don’t.

Pete
Guest
Pete

I’ve also spoken with my city’s police chief before, and put in a polite request to remind his officers to use their turn signals on patrol, as they are role models…

rick
Guest
rick

Would kids want 85 mph speed limits by their basketball hoop?

wsbob
Guest
wsbob

“…Much the same way with getting a ticket in the mail two weeks after the event. Can you really tie the punishment to the action? …” meh

Well…photo radar vans I’ve seen in action, produce a kind of ominous, brief flash when someone exceeding the speed limit, trips the camera. Not bright enough to blind the road user, but definitely bright enough for the person speeding to know trouble may be shortly arriving in the mail.

Something I don’t like about this bill, is that it seems to me the threshold mph speed for citation issuance, is too high. Make it 7 or 8 mph over, max…11mph over is giving bad road users too much slack. It means for example, that on a street posted for 20mph, people can figure out it’s fine to drive 30.

On streets posted for that speed, such as neighborhood streets, that 10mph faster speed is a major deterioration of neighborhood livability. Ideally I think, people should be incentivized to keep their speed within 2-3 mph of the posted speed. So my own suggestion of 7 or 8 over is perhaps too liberal. Maybe it really should be only 6 over. I think most people that drive should be expected to be reasonably capable of maintaining their vehicle’s speed so that it doesn’t go more than 5mph over the speed limit.

Dan
Guest
Dan

How about 10%? That’s 22mph in a 20, 33mph in a 30, etc. That should be maintainable by anyone paying attention.

You bring up a good point about livability – most drivers think that speeding, if you don’t hit anything, is a victimless crime.

doug B
Guest
doug B

I’ve always thought that 10% would be fair. It would allow for adjustments in calibration for both the speed detector and the speedometer in the vehicle. Plus it would keep speeds lower where it is more important. Somebody driving 30 in a school zone when I walk my kids to school feels a lot different than somebody going 22.

wsbob
Guest
wsbob

“How about 10%? That’s 22mph in a 20, 33mph in a 30, etc. That should be maintainable by anyone paying attention. …” Dan

Sorry, but I think expecting people when driving, to consistently not exceed the posted speed limit by more than 2mph is expecting too much; 3mph and 4mph too.

I’m basing that thought on my own informal experience with routinely keeping my vehicle’s speed from exceeding more than 5mph beyond the posted speed limit while driving.

Not too difficult to keep from exceeding 5 over, but I think increments smaller would generally be too tough, considering all the things drivers have to keep track of in order to drive safely; and I’m talking about what I think can realistically expected of ‘good’ drivers, rather than from people that have lots of problems driving.

So many people seem to love personal electronic devices. Though I bet many wouldn’t like a personal device with an app that plugged into their car’s electronic component system and monitored their car’s speed relative to the posted speed limit for the area in which they were driving; and automatically sent reports of the car exceeding the speed limit, to the local traffic patrol department, for a citation to be issued.

Pete
Guest
Pete

This is a good debate. Having an absolute of 10 MPH tolerance is indeed a big difference in a 20 MPH school zone, but we also have to stop putting much higher limits on some streets leading up to 15-20 MPH school zones (Bowers in Santa Clara, I’m looking at you).

Speedometers in modern cars don’t have the margins of error that older cars do – most are drive-by-wire and some actually auto-calibrate based on tire variations (like Garmin Edge can do with your bike). I can attest, though, that even trying to keep your speed low and steady is difficult when there’s so much mass and power and isolation from the outside. When I drive the aforementioned road during school hours I’m absolutely amazed at how pissed off people get with me and how fast and aggressively they’ll drive – many even to get their kids to that very school!

Another factor may be light timings; looking at a stale green light and wondering if you’re going to get through without having to wait forever for the next light cycle to come around. (Where I live now the light cycles tend to be very long, and I honestly believe that influences people to drive faster, even subconsciously).

wsbob
Guest
wsbob

“… we also have to stop putting much higher limits on some streets leading up to 15-20 MPH school zones …” Pete

I see indications of that need exemplified out here in Beaverton around the area in which I grew up. Used to be three or four miles outside of Beaverton, actually…county roads. Gradually has become ‘suburbanized’ with correspondingly greater demands of traffic on the road.

So where there formally was great expanses of cultivated fields and ranches with few residences on them, there now are suburban neighborhoods located close together, very little if any fields. But…some of the key connecting roads passing through and by the neighborhoods, are still county, and contrary to good sense, I think…posted for 40mph.

For general all around safety and livability of the surrounding neighborhoods, the posted speed on these roads probably should be 20. That lower speed would not overly negatively impact neighborhood residents’ travel between close-in home, shopping, school, and work. Greater distance road users would be impacted more, though that could be a good thing.

Due to various circumstances gradually evolving over decades, people have gotten conditioned to the idea of driving fast, even while if they’re given reason to think the idea over, they may recognize some of the really bad things occurring from traffic traveling overly fast, even absent actual collisions.

In the maybe the not too distant future, there may be better, easier, and less expensive ways than photo radar, to moderate the speed of motor vehicles relative to any given area, but for now, widening the use of this technology to reacquaint people with the need for and the value of lower vehicle speeds, is a good move.

meh
Guest
meh

2mph could be the margin of error for a speedometer.

Heck you get a 2mph difference between people of different heights driving the same vehicle, considering that the majority of cars require you to line up a hash mark on the dash with a needle.

9watts
Guest
9watts

But wait a minute? Did anyone decree that you had to push it all the way to the needle?
This is all so much special pleading. If the LIMIT is posted at 35, and for whatever reason you, who are tall or short or whatever, are determined to go exactly the LIMIT, but you are unsure of your speedometer’s accuracy (never bothered to check it on I-5 by Wilsonville?) you’re going to object when you get a ticket for going 38.5mph? Seems to me you should get a ticket. That way you’d learn that your speedometer is more than 10% off (never heard of one being off by that much myself, but whatever) and from that time forward you’d know not to push it to the needle.

Granpa
Guest
Granpa

When you get flashed by that strobe, you know exactly why. DAMHIK

Anandakos
Guest
Anandakos

If a person gets enough tickets it will change behavior.

rick
Guest
rick

What about Lombard?

Anne Hawley
Guest
Anne Hawley

It’s looking likelier that Oregon’s legislature will give Portland the right to gradually install 20 well-marked but unmanned anti-speeding cameras on its 10 deadliest streets.

Love the wording in your opening, Jonathan. It so clearly conveys the don’t-really-wanna hesitancy that always wafts off any policy that would trim car dominance by even a hairsbreadth.

Anne Hawley
Guest
Anne Hawley

Um…sorry! Michael, not Jonathan. I should be able to tell your styles apart by now!

John Liu
Guest
John Liu

I think the city should also use mobile radar speed display boards on other streets. While HR2621 might not permit unmanned photo radar speed enforcement on Clinton, etc, there is no reason why the city cannot use radar to inform drivers of their speed and remind them of the speed limits.

babygorilla
Guest
babygorilla

I’ve observed that the ones in use in Linton on Highway 30 are highly effective in bringing people into compliance or near compliance with the speed limit in that section during the times I’ve been through there.

I think targeted use of the flashing signs in the city would also be effective, but there is probably a saturation point at which they would no longer be effective if they become common place. A way to counter that would be to install a ton of them, have the warning signs that “photo radar may be used” at all locations, but then rotate which sites actually issue tickets so that its not predictable.

9watts
Guest
9watts

What is the thinking behind the deployment of mobile speed reader boards? Do we assume people can’t bother to check their speedometers?

When it comes to getting the attention of people in cars, we subscribe to a curious redundancy around here. There are even signs that alert you to upcoming stop signs at some rural intersections. One (of many) risk(s) of assuming low levels of attention on the part of drivers is that we then overload everyone with redundant information.

Dan
Guest
Dan

Our HOA owns one, and it seems to be pretty effective for the most part. I think it’s a kind of driver-shaming, actually, since it displays their speed for everyone else to see.

babygorilla
Guest
babygorilla

Well, I’ve seen it actually work to impact operator behavior. If I had to guess, I think that they are not widely used and an operator’s eye is more attracted by the flashing lights more than any painted sign and cues that there might be some sort of enforcement connected with the use of the sign.

Maybe if they were used more, they would eventually be ignored. Hence, the suggestion for randomly rotating the use of the actual ticketing mechanism so that operators could not anticipate ticket zones.

Dan
Guest
Dan

Also correct. Our speed display has to be rotated around the neighborhood as its effectiveness wears off.

Tom Hardy
Guest
Tom Hardy

I always enjoy traveling as fast as possible past the radar vans 🙂 on my bike. So far they have not found my license plate on the bike to know where to send the pix. I also double back and come back on the passenger side and wake the officer up from his nap.

Glenn
Guest
Glenn

I do, but the radar trailers with the readout still get my attention. Perhaps it’s the public display of one’s behavior.

Opus the Poet
Guest

I like them too, I ride as hard as I can to get up to TX minimum statutory speed limit of 30 MPH with the numbers lit up where every one can see them…

Portland Veterinary Cardiology
Guest
Willis

Agreed. Having ones speed lit and flashing can be an effective way to change the behavior of some drivers. It is a very public acknowledgement that they are breaking the law. The city does not have to ask the state’s permission to do this either.

For that matter, do citizens with access to kickstarter have to ask a city’s permission to purchase one and place it in the back of a pick-up that alternatively parks on conspicuous straightaways on Clinton, Lincoln, Tillamook, Johnson, Ankeny, Salmon, 9th Ave, Johnson, Raleigh, etc?

snowden
Guest
snowden

This group, and US populace in general, is entirely too eager to set aside legitimate privacy concerns in the name of safety. I agree that speeding is a concern and that steps should be taken to curtail. However, we all should have serious concerns about unmanned radar and the surrounding technology. There are numerous cases where license plate readers have and are being used by police departments far beyond the intended use.

Slippery slope, no doubt. Would you all agree to using aerial drones to monitor all our speeds, all the time, everywhere? Seem far fetched? Don’t kid yourself.

TJ
Guest
TJ

In many states I can write down any plate number and gather all the personal info in the world with either a weak excuse or no excuse at all. Further, what’s to prevent a manned radar gun from collecting the same private tracking information — nothing beyond the same law that could be written, signed, and implemented to prevent an unmanned radar from doing so.

If we all drove around in tiny convertibles, fully exposed to the community in the same capacity of the grocery store checkout line, 99% of us would be better behaved on the road.

9watts
Guest
9watts

“speeding is a concern and that steps should be taken to curtail.”

What do you suggest instead?
Although I’m not aware of the nefarious purposes to which this technology has been put, I could imagine what you say is true. Can you direct our attention to examples of this?

snowden
Guest
snowden

9watts
“speeding is a concern and that steps should be taken to curtail.”What do you suggest instead? Although I’m not aware of the nefa…

Well, here’s just one article on this topic. There are plenty more. I don’t profess to have the answers, what I’m suggesting is people are too quick to give up their rights and liberties in the name of safety. The abuse of our constitutional rights by the NSA in the name of protection against terrorists is the most obvious and blatant example. The US creeps closer toward a fascist state, and we are asleep at the wheel (pardon the pun).

http://www.wired.com/2014/05/license-plate-tracking/

9watts
Guest
9watts

Thanks, snowden.

But the article you linked says:
“The latter use vehicles equipped with license plate recognition systems to trawl through streets and parking lots to grab images of plates and cars.”

I realize that photo radar may offer the potential to capture license plate images, but it is also my understanding that unless someone is speeding no photo is taken. Do you know otherwise?

I could see this argument you’re making turned around: Since we in this country have trouble staying out of the snooping business, the safest bet when you are in your car is to not speed, because if you do, and the image of your car’s plate is captured, we can’t be sure that it won’t be archived and used for other purposes.

Aaron Shaver
Guest
Aaron Shaver

I’m curious, do you expect privacy too when you nude sunbathe on your front porch? A license plate is not only publicly visible, it’s *designed* to be.

snowden
Guest
snowden

Aaron Shaver
I’m curious, do you expect privacy too when you nude sunbathe on your front porch? A license plate is not only publicly visible,

I think you’re confusing privacy and anonymity. I don’t expect privacy in public, but neither do I expect to be tracked going about my normal activities.

doug B
Guest
doug B

If your normal activities involve speeding and endangering other people then I don’t have a problem with your license plate number/picture being in the system.

Pete
Guest
Pete

I can do far worse with your IP address or Facebook account. Want to protect yourself in public? Either stay out of it, or behave while in it.

snowden
Guest
snowden

Pete
I can do far worse with your IP address or Facebook account. Want to protect yourself in public? Either stay out of it, or behave…

Of course you can do these things with my social media accounts, because we’ve handed these privacies over to corporations, who in turn have handed them over to our government. Two wrongs don’t make a right.

How far would you take your rationale? Ever driven the slightest bit inebriated? How about ridden your bike? Technologies will exist in the near future, and probably already do, that would allow big brother to scan you as you drive/ride by and detect alcohol, weed, or whatever is your pleasure.

This is not the future in which I want to live. The invasions you take for granted, and support, would have shocked the framers of our constitution.

Pete
Guest
Pete

Also, some of the framers of our constitution were slave owners and reneged on wages promised to the militia men who gave their lives defending others, so I don’t necessarily hold them in the highest regard either.

snowden
Guest
snowden

Pete
Also, some of the framers of our constitution were slave owners and reneged on wages promised to the militia men who gave their l…

That is some interesting logic Pete. It’s obvious that some people are willing to forego fundamental rights that we in this country are very fortunate to have. And that concerns me greatly. Alas, this isn’t the forum to hash this out fully, so I’ll leave it at that.

Pete
Guest
Pete

Ironically, there’s a portion of the safety that we enjoy in this country too, that comes from a balance of security with that privacy you defend.

As far as anonymity, we’ve established that you eschew loyalty cards (Safeway, etc.) and obviously pay cash for most of your goods and services, because credit and debit cards are the most useful tracking tools available to merchants and marketeers today. And you certainly don’t shop online.

But just as I’m willing to sacrifice some of my commercial anonymity for convenience, I’m also willing to sacrifice some of my public privacy (is there such a thing?) for security and safety. I guess I’m not clear on which of my rights have been taken away from me in that process, though. I still get to vote, not get shot or beaten by police (you guessed it, I’m white ;), as well as pay taxes to cover a whole lot of expenses I’d prefer not to pay for. I also enjoy the privilege of riding my bike on narrow shoulders next to speeding drivers exercising their daily rights to get to work alone and quickly.

Chris I
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Chris I

I’m going to guess that your odds of dying in traffic are significantly higher than your odds of dying at the hands of your own government. How many dead people should we allow each year to maintain the level of public privacy you seek?

snowden
Guest
snowden

Chris I
I’m going to guess that your odds of dying in traffic are significantly higher than your odds of dying at the hands of your own g…

There is a question here about whether this proposed action violates our constitutional right to privacy, and I think that question remains open, but if we could agree that it does, then I would accept however many injuries or deaths as occur within that framework. I think that is the fundamental difference in my opinion and others laid out here. Many, I’d even say most, in this forum seem to be willing to give up some of those rights in the name of safety. I would argue this is very similar to the justifications used by our own government, and specifically the NSA, to guard against terrorism. I am of the same opinion with regard to that issue.

It is a fact that these types of programs and others like it have been, and will continue to be abused by those in power to control the populace. This may sound conspiratorial, but it is fact. That is a dangerous dynamic. True freedom comes with sacrifice.

Pete
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Pete

The Constitution didn’t contain “rights of privacy.” They came in the 4th Amendment under the Bill of Rights and still allowed for search and seizure with “probable cause” (yeah, that helps clear things up). It didn’t address license plates, drones, or modern telecommunications, and it had nothing to do with safety on public carriage-ways.

Pete
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Pete

Also, I assume you don’t use a cell phone…

Justin Gast
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Justin Gast

rick
What about Lombard?Recommended 3

I was thinking the same thing. It would be great to have such technology at the intersection of N Lombard and N Denver.

oliver
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oliver

Agree Justin, and further up or down Denver. I don’t expect a lot of safety (or slow speeds) on big arterials/highways like Lombard (OR30), 82nd (213), Powell (26), MLK (99E) or Barbur (99W). I don’t expect to be able to cross anywhere but signalized intersections.*

Denver is a neighborhood street** (25mph) for it’s entire length, I expect to be able to cross, on foot, at any intersection.

*individual expectations may vary.
**official classification is likely different.

Tom Hardy
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Tom Hardy

I grew up in that neighborhood and did manage to survive. There definitely should be some Enforcement in that area

Scott Kocher
Guest

The Republican opposition is weird. Republicans talk about personal responsibility for breaking the law, and keeping families safe. When you’ve signed a driver’s license you should expect that you’ll get a ticket any time you break a traffic safety law, with or without advance warning.

John
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John

Geographically speaking, Republican voters don’t typically reside in close-in city neighborhoods. However, they do drive their vehicles on the arterial streets that pass through those neighborhoods. If given the choice, I’m sure they’d prefer roads optimized for expediting through traffic (wide lanes, higher speed limits, etc…).

John
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John

and free (city subsidized) parking, naturally.

Dan
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Dan

More roads! Wider roads! Faster roads! Free parking! Cheaper gas!

Less taxes……

Opus the Poet
Guest

One of these things is not like the others, one of these things doesn’t belong…

Pete
Guest
Pete

I can do far worse with your IP address or Facebook account. Want to protect yourself in public? Either stay out of it, or behave while in it.

soren
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soren

I wonder how much overlap there would be in the venn diagram of those who complain about cyclists “blowing stop signs” and opponents of automated speeding enforcement…

Pete
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Pete

Just a history lesson, the Internet was created with US government research funds, not by private corporations. Analog telephone lines were also highly regulated, and government operators were listening to the conversations on them in the interest of ‘national security’ long before Snowden was born. Nobody forced anybody to use these resources – you do so at your own risk, though there are ways to get around eavesdropping. There are even those who argue that profiling is a preferred practice, as it allows governments to selectively eavesdrop rather than do so in a blanket manner.

Technological privacy debates have strong arguments for and against, but I care not to debate analogies here. It remains my opinion that license plates on cars can and should be tools for safety enforcement for all road users, given the large amount of damages they’ve helped cause – which is the very reason they’ve become so highly regulated to begin with. And to answer your question, I’d have absolutely no problem with being required to pass a sobriety test each and every time I start my car or mount a bike. I wouldn’t even mind my smartphone being disabled while in motion.

snowden
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snowden

Pete, you’re logic simply doesn’t compute and I’m glad that we have others protecting our rights.

TJ
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TJ

What right are you referring to? Basic or not?

You do not have the right to drive a car in public. You have permission to drive a car in public and this permission comes with requirements and stipulations.

Pete
Guest
Pete

If you’re worried about tracking, you should check out what our government’s “DRIVE” bill has set aside for “smart cities” and “intelligent transportation” platforms (like V2V and V2I). Many modern cars already have 3G or 4G modems in them used by auto manufacturers to sell you entertainment and location packages as well as perform remote monitoring and diagnostics. With cellular triangulation, who needs LoJack anymore?

Forget about photo radar… lamp posts will know how fast you’re going. 🙂

Caesar
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Caesar

Let’s stop interpreting a speed limit as a “minimum” speed. There’s nothing wrong with driving 5 mph below the posted limit. But when drivers feel like they must drive right at that limit then yes, obviously, it’s a bit difficult to not momentarily exceed it once in a while.

Dwaine Dibbly
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Dwaine Dibbly

Tickets need to start at 5mph over. Or the speed limits need to be intentionally set lower.

Joe Adamski
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Joe Adamski

As someone who works/walks/rides NE Columbia Blvd, I am surprised it is not on the list. With 4 fatalities in recent months, plus a litany of crashes, it only suggests that those chosen are much worse.
I am curious to see the result. When photo radar made its appearance, it forced an attitude change in myself. When I do drive, I am much more aware of posted speed signs. Not a wealthy person, those possible fines are a form of behavior modification.

B. Carfree
Guest
B. Carfree

I’m going to put on my Polly Anna hat and assume this is just step one. Step two, in a couple years, will allow the automated devices to move around. Step three will lower the threshold for a citation. Finally, step four will remove the required warnings.

I wonder how many people have to die before we get it right just to satisfy the cars-first crowd.

Adam H.
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Adam H.

This is great! Hopefully, the revenues will be exclusively earmarked for safety projects (including cycle infra).

newberry
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newberry

it’s time to take a different route. All the cameras, crossing lights, green paint, signs is just pollution. Take the technology and install speed limiters using GPS, camera recognition, ground sensors. With the coming of self driving cars speed difference will become a real headache with associated road rage. Limiters could initially be installed in public vehicles, then public utility vehicles (buses, gas, cable trucks) and finally in all vehicles. The area could be governed by metro, density or numbers.

Dave
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Dave

I’d link driver behavior to the protection of property. If speeds average over posted limits, if peds/cyclists can’t feel safe walking, if enough fatalities occur to make the news–then legalize auto theft and vandalism until the stats improve. Drivers don’t deserve their property protected to any greater degree than they show concern for the lives of other road users.

Dan
Guest
Dan

I’ve considered on-the-spot property damage, like throwing pennies at cars who don’t stop for me in the crosswalk….

Pete
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Pete

Carry a Zounds with you while walking… make `em jump. 😉

Alex
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Alex

I don’t see how these are going to work anymore then any place else they have been implemented. They were a total failure/flop in Phoenix – all the money spent to put them up and implement them and years late they were all taken down. Maybe the placement in Portland will be better but I doubt people will react any different, you will see lots of brake lights and maybe even some traffic issues around people slamming on their brakes for the cameras only to speed up again once passing.

The other HUGE issue are the citations themselves, since you are not signing anything and they are not being served by an officer and simply mailed to you in Phoenix people would just not pay them and wait for the statute of limitations to run out (4 months) and they would be dissolved. They started getting civil servants to attempt to serve so then you have shady civil servants peering in your windows of your home address and trying to catch you at home which leads to people just “hiding” for 4 months.

I agree something needs to be done on high crash corridors but is speed always the biggest factor? It seems we are behind the times and not learning from other states who have tried this already with mixed or poor results. If it works here and it actually helps as intended (to reduce lives lost) then awesome – if nothing really changes but we get a bunch of revenue from it then what? Not to mention the companies that make a percentage of the money of each ticket (in Arizona it was an Australian company – Redflex, of which the Phoenix based CEO was convicted of bribery and soliciting “consultants” when the speed camera debate and installation/use was happening. Yeah, he is going to prison).

Dan
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Dan

I wonder how many pedestrians are killed at 20mph vs 30mph? I’d wager the number is much lower.

And, I’d suggest that speed ALWAYS always plays a factor in pedestrian deaths — collisions at 0mph don’t kill people.

Opus the Poet
Guest

The stats are 5% of cyclists and pedestrians hit by motor vehicles doing 20 MPH will die from their injuries, while raise that speed to 30 MPH inside the US and 50% will die. Interestingly enough mass plays a huge role, because less than 0.1% of pedestrians hit at 20 MPH by bicycles will die from injuries, while big rigs don’t get below 5% until 10 MPH. And the graphs all converge between 40 and 50 MPH (except bicycles, they flatten out about 10% below cars and big rigs all the way up to 70 MPH where the data went to heck).

wsbob
Guest
wsbob

“I don’t see how these are going to work anymore then any place else they have been implemented. …” Alex

I don’t have ‘before’ and ‘after’ numbers for performance results of photo radar use on a particular road out here in Beaverton I’m thinking of, but my impression, having driven the road often over years both before and after the equipment was put in use on the road, is that the equipment has done very well to induce road users into moderating their speed to within limits on this road.

This is a curvy road which is posted 40, but on which it’s quite easy to drive 65. Very interesting to note how the sight of a photo radar van, and the occasional flash when someone doesn’t heed it or the advance warning signs, prompts everyone else to promptly reduce their speed.