BuddyRider from The eBike Store

PBOT will use little-known “emergency” law to rein in speeding drivers

Posted by on February 16th, 2017 at 2:26 pm

PBOT Vision Zero Task Force meeting-2.jpg

PBOT Director Leah Treat at a meeting of the Vision Zero Task Force in City Hall this morning.
(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

When a city says traffic safety is their top priority, it should be willing to do whatever it takes to make people drive more slowly.

In Portland that means taking a very close look at the Oregon Revised Statutes.

Portland Bureau of Transportation Director Leah Treat announced today that her bureau will seek permission to enact section nine of ORS 810.180 which gives the city the power to set an “emergency speed” without going through the often onerous process of asking for permission from the State of Oregon. (Note: Another section of this same law gives cities the power to reduce speeds on certain residential streets, thanks to a lobbying effort by PBOT in 2011.)

Treat said they’ve decided to take this very rare step in order to keep people safer on outer Southeast Division Street. Back in December two people were killed while trying to walk crossing Division Street in two separate crashes just hours apart. The tragedies sparked outrage from local residents, activists and even top PBOT staff. One day after the deaths, PBOT Active Transportation Group Manager Margi Bradway called neighborhood leaders to talk about the city’s response. Those conversations led to the passage of $300,000 in emergency funding to do outreach and education in adjacent neighborhoods (which are populated by many people of Chinese and other descents who don’t read or speak English).

To continue their focus on taming Division Street, Treat said PBOT will bring an ordinance to Portland City Council on March 2nd asking them to support the move. The existing state law gives PBOT the ability to make this move, but we’ve never heard of it actually being done.

Here’s the text of the law PBOT will use to reduce the speed limit on outer Southeast Division from 35 to 30 mph:

(9) A road authority may establish an emergency speed on any highway under the jurisdiction of the road authority that is different from the existing speed on the highway. The authority granted under this subsection is subject to all of the following:

(a) A speed established under this subsection is effective when appropriate signs giving notice thereof are posted upon the highway or portion of highway where the emergency speed is imposed. All signs posted under this subsection must comply with ORS 810.200 (Uniform standards for traffic control devices).

(b) The expense of posting any sign under this subsection shall be borne by the road authority having jurisdiction over the highway or portion of highway where the emergency speed is imposed.

(c) A speed established under this subsection may be effective for not more than 120 days.

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Speed Kills

How speed relates to injury consequences

  • 30 mph: 45% fatal/50% injury
  • 35 mph: 65% fatal/33% injury
  • 40 mph: 85% fatal/15% injury

Source: PBOT

If Council votes yes (which is very likely, given recent interest and votes on Vision Zero and road safety issues), the lower speed limits would go into effect the following day.

Note that as per the ORS, the emergency can only last up to 120 days. By that time PBOT hopes their official request with the Oregon Speed Zone Review Panel (the ODOT body that controls speed limits on every road in the state) will have already been granted and the speed can remain at 30 mph permanently.

The only wrinkle will be whether or not someone on City Council — or opposition voices that might spring up — can argue against the change by saying an “emergency” doesn’t exist. If that happens, PBOT should have an easy case to make. Myit Oo and Rongzhao Zhang, the two elderly men killed in December, were the fourth and fifth people to die while using outer Division last year alone. In addition to those five fatalities, there were three serious injury crashes on the street in 2016, including one that led to life-threatening injuries and another that led to traumatic injuries. Seven of those collisions happened on a two-mile stretch of Division between 124th and 156th.

PBOT’s plan will be welcome news to transportation reform activists. Volunteers from BikeLoudPDX have advocated for use of this law for over a year now. As early as June 2015 it was cited on their email list and it came up again in December as the group planned a demonstration event that temporarily took over two lanes on Division with protestors and hay bales.

Going beyond just new signs and speed limits, PBOT also has a major capital investment planned for outer Division (east of 82nd) that will break ground this year. The project includes speed cameras, new sidewalks, upgraded crossings, buffered bike lanes, more street lighting, removal of a slip lane, and more.

This is just one more front in PBOT’s war against our speeding epidemic. The agency knows that fewer people will die and become injured if people drive more slowly. In addition to this emergency ordinance, the agency is supporting bills in the legislature this session that will give them even greater control of speed limits (HB 2682) and that would permit them to issue a speeding ticket to someone caught on red light cameras (SB 482/HB 2409).

Stay tuned for a follow-up when the ordinance language is drafted.

— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and jonathan@bikeportland.org

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200 Comments
  • Jen February 16, 2017 at 2:32 pm

    “35 to 390 mph” doesn’t seem like it’s slowing things down. Was that meant to be 39 mph? What is the curvy speed limit there?

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  • Teddy February 16, 2017 at 2:33 pm

    I look forward to seeing how this progresses since you have drivers who like to speed and law enforcement who can ticket them.

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    • David Hampsten February 16, 2017 at 3:24 pm

      That’s kinda the rub, isn’t it? Portland already does a poor job of enforcement (to be sure, so do most other cities in the US). If many drivers are already going 15 mph over the limit, now they’ll be doing 20 mph over. Aside from a few high-profile sting operations, most drivers will continue to get away with it. Until PBOT actually does road dieting, such as narrowing lane widths and eliminating the road straightness, it will continue to have lots of crashes and deaths on outer Division, not to mention similar streets like Stark, Glisan, 148th, 122nd, etc.

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  • Hello, Kitty
    Hello, Kitty February 16, 2017 at 2:48 pm

    The real problem is that crossing roads with two lanes of traffic in each direction is inherently dangerous to cross. Lower speed limits (if they’re obeyed) will help, but the fundamental danger will continue to exist. To make Division safe(r), it really needs to be reduced to a single lane in each direction.

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    • GlowBoy February 16, 2017 at 2:52 pm

      Not only do multiple lanes make it more difficult to cross by increasing the crossing distance, but they encourage people to drive faster. Which makes it even more difficult to cross.

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      • Hello, Kitty
        Hello, Kitty February 16, 2017 at 2:53 pm

        You also get the driver in one lane stops for a pedestrian, driver in other lane doesn’t see pedestrian, doesn’t stop.

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        • David Hampsten February 16, 2017 at 3:32 pm

          How about a mid-lane pedestrian island, as on SE Stark at 86th? I’ve seen them used very successfully in Britain on numerous multi-lane streets, especially when the choke point is less than 11-feet wide.

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          • Hello, Kitty
            Hello, Kitty February 16, 2017 at 3:40 pm

            That one looks great; you’d need two more for for Division, as the traffic goes both ways.

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      • wsbob February 16, 2017 at 3:51 pm

        “…multiple lanes ……. encourage people to drive faster. …” glowboy

        I disagree that multiple lanes ‘encourage’ people to drive faster, despite some people apparently wishing to believe so. This is a point I’ve brought forward in past discussions to stories on bikeportland. Possibly ‘enable’? Yes. Encourage? No.

        I defy anyone to prove or even show that a wider street ‘encourages’ people, or at least the general number of people using streets with multiple lanes…to drive excessively faster than the posted speed limits for those streets. Better signage and non-personnel speed limit enforcement are ways to get a handle on excessive speeding that should be tried.

        This point aside, PBOT’s idea to invoke 810.180’s emergency speed limit clause is a good idea, and I wonder what’s taken people with that bureau so long to figure it out. A possible quibble I might have with their plan, has to be the amount of speed limit reduction they’re planning at present. Just a 5mph reduction from 35 to 30, is not a lot. I’d encourage PBOT to consider 25mph, supported by very visible signs and speed camera vans.

        Request for clarification, because I can’t remember whether Division is an ODOT jurisdiction, or a PBOT jurisdiction. Someone has to pay for the change in signs that would have to be put up…it would be just like some bureaucratic snafu, to stall for weeks, deciding who should pay for them and where to get the money.

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        • Hello, Kitty
          Hello, Kitty February 16, 2017 at 3:55 pm

          Don’t you think that a wider, multilane street feels easier and more appropriate to drive fast on?

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          • wsbob February 16, 2017 at 4:56 pm

            Answer: Easier to drive on, but not necessarily more appropriate to drive excessively fast on.

            Ask yourself what are the range of reasons that roads are widened from two lanes roads to three lane, four lane, four lanes with center turn lanes, right turn lanes, and bike lanes. Make a simple list of the reasons, written down or a mental note. I feel the reasons for the additional lanes are to handle a greater volume of road usage; with vehicles, with bikes, on foot, and even skateboards, safely and comfortably.

            It’s easier to drive a road safely, when driving involves less stop and go movement. Multiple lanes on public roads aren’t there to provide a gran prix speedway for the 10 percent of people that drive, that want to chronically exceed the speed limit. Who owns these roads and streets, and has the right to decide how they’ll be used? We do…that is the people that are willing to, and do use the roads responsibly, safely, and within a reasonable margin of the posted speed limit (which I consider 5mph, above or below.).

            The people using the roads safely and responsibly, within the speed limit, are the vast majority fo road users. I’m not big on studies and their conclusions, but in response to a recent comment I posted, another reader cited, with a link, a study conducted in conjunction with a couple road diets applied in Portland. Those studies confirmed that it was quite a small percentage of the people driving, that were traveling at excessive speeds.

            That other small percent of road user people that are abusing their right to use the road…it’s time to bring the hammer down on them. They’re ruining road safety and functionality for everyone…causing injuries, lives lost, and many thousands of dollars wasted.

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            • wsbob February 16, 2017 at 5:13 pm

              Edit: “Answer: Easier to drive on, but not more appropriate to drive excessively fast on. …”

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              • paikiala February 17, 2017 at 1:29 pm

                enable, not encourage?

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              • wsbob February 17, 2017 at 6:23 pm

                You’ll have to expand…sorry, I don’t understand what you’re asking.

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              • paikiala February 19, 2017 at 9:41 am

                multi lane roads enable speeding. Speeding is still the choice of the vehicle operator. Encourage implies intent on the part of the road authority that cannot be proven. multi lane roads move more traffic because they have more space. Higher speed is a consequence, but not an explicit intent of the road authority. Hence, multi lane roads enable speeding, but it cannot be proven they encourage speeding.

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              • 9watts February 19, 2017 at 9:52 am

                “multi lane roads enable speeding. Speeding is still the choice of the vehicle operator. Encourage implies intent on the part of the road authority that cannot be proven.”
                How so? I would distinguish between the (conscious) intent of the engineers, and the (perhaps unconscious or emergent) effect that such roads have on people piloting cars equipped with vastly more horsepower and torque and acceleration potential than can be realized on most any public road. I don’t think it nearly as cut and dried as you suggest.

                “multi lane roads move more traffic because they have more space. Higher speed is a consequence, but not an explicit intent of the road authority. Hence, multi lane roads enable speeding, but it cannot be proven they encourage speeding.”

                Here too your are conflating intent and effect. I don’t doubt that the (conscious) intent of the police isn’t to stick it to the vulnerable road users, yet it is pretty hard to explain the fact that the VRU is invoked almost never, even when thoughtful observers are very nearly unanimous in their estimation that a given crash lined up with the criteria underlying the VRU almost perfectly. There are emergent effects just about anywhere we’d care to look that you can’t just dismiss because we can’t prove intent. The lack of provable intent does not invalidate the effect, the relationship between in this case road design and driver behavior.

                The issue isn’t so much blame as understanding and the potential to correct emergent problems like this through better design (and humility), neither of which ODOT seems to have much interest in.

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              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty February 19, 2017 at 10:37 am

                Don’t overlook the signals road design send to users. A road that has highway-like features will elicit highway-like behavior.

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              • 9watts February 19, 2017 at 10:39 am

                don’t tell paikiala. his head will explode.

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              • wsbob February 19, 2017 at 2:37 pm

                “multi lane roads enable speeding. Speeding is still the choice of the vehicle operator. Encourage implies intent on the part of the road authority that cannot be proven. multi lane roads move more traffic because they have more space. Higher speed is a consequence, but not an explicit intent of the road authority. Hence, multi lane roads enable speeding, but it cannot be proven they encourage speeding.” paikiala

                Multiple lane roads do not encourage speeding, though as I’ve written in earlier comments, I think multiple lane roads may enable the small percentage of people driving that choose to excessively exceed speed limit…to do exactly that.

                If you’re implying that road authorities, in any way, are ‘encouraging’ road users to exceed the speed limit on roads, I’d have to say, I think it’s very unlikely that road users are doing this: not intentionally, or unintentionally. My understanding, is that it’s the job of road authorities, be that city, state, county, and road dept personnel, to design, construct and maintain roads and streets for the safe and efficient travel of everyone that has need or occasion to use that travel infrastructure.

                That means the posted speed limits the road authorities and road personnel assign to various roads throughout their jurisdiction, are so assigned because it’s those speeds, and not unofficial higher mph speeds that a small percent of individual road users decide to drive at…that can be relied upon for safe, efficient travel by everyone.

                The people driving excessively fast, that small percentage of all road users, are the road users that are gumming up the potential for smooth flow of traffic on the roads. It’s they that are often responsible for the stop and go traffic. Everyone else using the road, basically has to put up with what they do, because the roads are open to everyone’s use. That toleration costs society a lot of money and inconvenience. And injuries and death to people, too.

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            • 9watts February 16, 2017 at 5:55 pm

              “Ask yourself what are the range of reasons that roads are widened from two lanes roads to three lane, four lane, four lanes with center turn lanes, right turn lanes, and bike lanes.”

              Cars first. Pork. A mindset that views driving as a necessary, good, productive thing, and anything that accommodates it’s (anticipated) growth is also good.

              “I feel the reasons for the additional lanes are to handle a greater volume of road usage”

              If we’re talking historically, here, I think it would be good to remember the role played by induced demand.

              “It’s easier to drive a road safely, when driving involves less stop and go movement.”

              I dispute this. You assert this but can you offer any evidence?

              “Multiple lanes on public roads aren’t there to provide a gran prix speedway for the 10 percent of people that drive, that want to chronically exceed the speed limit.”

              You are being willfully ignorant. We’ve had these conversations before here. If you were to drive the speed limit on any of the arterials around Portland, I guarantee you that 90% of others in cars will pass you.

              “Who owns these roads and streets, and has the right to decide how they’ll be used? We do…that is the people that are willing to, and do use the roads responsibly, safely, and within a reasonable margin of the posted speed limit (which I consider 5mph, above or below.).”

              If that were true why is it so hard to get ODOT to do the right thing, lower speed limits, get a clue? ODOT is the least responsive agency I’ve had any dealings with.

              “The people using the roads safely and responsibly, within the speed limit, are the vast majority fo road users.”

              Utter fiction. Show me any arterial where the free flowing speeds are measured to be consistently below the speed LIMIT?

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              • rachel b February 16, 2017 at 6:24 pm

                Hear, hear, 9watts.

                “The people using the roads safely and responsibly, within the speed limit, are the vast majority fo road users.”

                I think that used to be true, wsbob–it certainly was most of my life here. But not the past 10 years or so. I’m pleasantly surprised anymore when I see anyone driving anything close to the speed limit on my street. I know it’s getting worse (more speeders) because in the last year, we started hearing the traffic much more. And when people drive the speed limit (or closer to it), there’s a lot less noise from tires and engines (and screeching to a stop, and honking).

                Not thrilled about increasing traffic on SE 26th (my street) but it really wouldn’t bother me so much if it wasn’t so fast and, consequently, loud. We have a whole new breed of drivers now. And they are extremely self-focused and impatient.

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              • wsbob February 17, 2017 at 1:05 am

                “…“The people using the roads safely and responsibly, within the speed limit, are the vast majority fo road users.”

                I think that used to be true, wsbob– ….” rachel b

                rachel…it’s still true. Maybe not on your street. If so, it’s worth giving thought to why that may be. Ask yourself how many lanes in each direction does your street, 26th, have? If you ascribe to the idea that multiple lane streets or roads are the big contributor to excessively high mph speeds traveled, perhaps your street has a lane or two it can eliminate to try bring the mph speeds down. Actually…now I’m starting to recall the story on that street, I think. It has three lanes, two in one direction, one in another, and very narrow bike lanes…if I remember correctly.

                In someone’s comment sometime during the last two weeks or so, they remarked about excessive speeding on a neighborhood greenway. Neighborhood streets in other words…simple two lane streets. I’d say it’s likely a fair guess that the small percentage of road use abusers that are doing the excessive speeding, are cut-through road users from outside the neighborhood. Multiple lanes on roads aren’t causing or encouraging people to drive at excessive speeds.

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              • Spiffy February 17, 2017 at 8:27 am

                wsbob, have you ever driven the speed limit or under? it doesn’t seem like you have…

                26th is 1 auto lane and 1 bike lane in each direction, with no parking on one side…

                https://goo.gl/maps/Ca6avcHm1Yw

                it’s not usually a street that people would go fast on… however, there are several businesses with huge parking lots so driving is the preferred mode… the bike lane is simply a buffer encouraging (yes, I used that word) drivers to go faster because they have more room for error… add another lane and it’s wide open safe speeding in the eyes of a driver…

                a 2-lane neighborhood greenway? I can’t think of one… they’re mostly unstriped narrow residential streets… often the sharrows are pointing at each other in the middle of the road… people speed on them for the same reason they speed on 26th, when driving in the middle there’s enough of a space buffer on either side that faster still feels safe inside a car…

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              • paikiala February 17, 2017 at 1:51 pm

                9,
                If you’re going to toss out engineering terms without understanding them, most people won’t catch you, but the wonks in the city will dismiss inaccurate statements.

                ‘free flow’ just means when there are no back ups. while the 85th percentile during free flow conditions might be a mile or two higher than the full 24-hour count, it in no way measures compliance rate.

                So, if the 2017 85th percentile on SE Division near 157th was 42 mph eastbound, all you know is 85th percentile. In that case the percent exceeding posted was measured that day to be 66%, so if streets like outer SE Division are all you’re going to count, then you might be right. But since you gave no qualifiers for your claims, I’m going to remain in disbelief. The streets like Division are only about 5% of Portland’s lane miles, and compliance along even Division likely changes along it’s length. If we’re looking at all roads in Portland, it is quite likely that a majority of drivers, if not a super majority, drive at or below the speed limit.
                Burnside near 128th in 2014 had a similar 85th, but only 49% of the drivers were exceeding the posted speed limit (helps the single lane argument, though).
                Clinton east of 17th only had 10% exceeding the speed limit in 2014.
                There are so many smaller roads in Portland than outer Division, they likely tilt the count in favor of more people not speeding than speeding.

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              • 9watts February 17, 2017 at 4:58 pm

                “But since you gave no qualifiers for your claims, I’m going to remain in disbelief. The streets like Division are only about 5% of Portland’s lane miles”

                I said *arterials*.

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              • 9watts February 17, 2017 at 4:59 pm

                Perhaps you are going to tell me I don’t know what an arterial is as well?

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              • wsbob February 17, 2017 at 6:34 pm

                “…If we’re looking at all roads in Portland, it is quite likely that a majority of drivers, if not a super majority, drive at or below the speed limit.
                Burnside near 128th in 2014 had a similar 85th, but only 49% of the drivers were exceeding the posted speed limit …” paikiala

                By how many mph were they exceeding the posted speed limit? That’s an important consideration, because of the people exceeding the speed limit, some did so at higher mph speeds than others. The higher the mph in excess, the smaller the percentage of people driving at those mph.

                This is one of the discoveries that came out of the pre and post studies for the road diet in Portland, that someone cited in a comment responding to one of mine a couple weeks ago. My apologies for not digging up that comment to copy the link to that study, and post it here.

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              • wsbob February 18, 2017 at 12:53 am

                “…This is one of the discoveries that came out of the pre and post studies for the road diet in Portland, that someone cited in a comment responding to one of mine a couple weeks ago. ….” wsbob

                Link to the study I referred to: https://www.portlandoregon.gov/transportation/article/490143

                Look at the data on pg 2, for percentages of people exceeding the posted speed limit of 35mph; and right below those figures, the data for people exceeding the posted 35mph at 45mph or higher: the figure for the latter, the higher excessive speed, is 1.8 percent, pre-road diet.

                I personally would have liked the study to have determined, or disclosed if the facilitators had collected the data, what percent of road user exceeded the posted speed limit by more than 5mph over the posted 35mph…so, in other words, percent of people that drove at speeds between 35mph and 40mph.

                I feel that people driving need be allowed some latitude in terms of maintaining the speed limit with their vehicles…and that 5mph over, is not excessive. In the case of the results of this lane reconfiguration study, it’s stands to reason that the post reconfiguration reduction of 11 percent, down from 52 percent westbound, were not all people that had been driving over 36mph.

                The idea some people apparently are partial to, that multiple lanes generally “encourage” people to drive excessively fast, is something I don’t believe is true…and I think this study likely supports my feeling that most people driving do not exceed the speed by more than 5mph…whether the road does or doesn’t have multiple lanes.

                It’s that very small 1.8 percent of road users referred to as “top end speeders” in the study, that likely are the people that are doing the truly dangerous excessive speeding.

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              • paikiala February 19, 2017 at 9:55 am

                9,
                Arterial is a Federal label, not something the City uses, and has two levels, minor and principle. Portland’s classification system has a distinct mismatch when looking at minor arterials compared to neighborhood collectors v. district collectors. Portland also classifies streets for multiple modes. I’m not aware the Feds do that. NE 33rd is an arterial, while NE 42nd is a collector, and they look the same to me.

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              • 9watts February 19, 2017 at 10:01 am

                p,
                you are insufferable! I’m not pretending to know or even be terribly interested in these fine etymological distinctions, unless they help us understand something important. In this case your replies here strike me as picayune. I think most everyone knows that the streets I listed upthread: Sandy, Foster, Barbur, Powell share some characteristics: they have four lanes, and as I’ve learned here are often classified as arterials (perhaps only colloquially, but so what? they share characteristics to it is only natural that we’d need a term to classify them).

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              • 9watts February 20, 2017 at 8:29 am

                you, w s b o b, have done this before. You carve out categories of your own devising ‘top end speeders,’ ‘people who drive excessively fast,’ ‘do not exceed the speed limit by more than 5mph’ to make your point that people are law abiding.

                The fact remains that if we use the posted limit (LIMIT!) as the only decision rule I stand by my earlier statement that on arterials (paikiala is going to tell you six ways this is not precise) in the Portland area, the majority of drivers (I have no idea if it is 51% or 89%) will under standard circumstances tend to drive above the speed limit. You love to challenge this statement here by parsing and redefining what *you* consider speeding but this is smoke and mirrors.

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              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty February 20, 2017 at 10:27 am

                Can narrow lanes “encourage” people to drive more slowly?

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              • 9watts February 20, 2017 at 10:29 am

                Is that a rhetorical question?

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              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty February 20, 2017 at 10:32 am

                It’s a question for wsbob.

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              • 9watts February 20, 2017 at 10:53 am

                Here’s another way to look at this.

                The premise of the car, its basic truth, promise, allure is speed, and not just speed in an absolute sense, but the freedom to go faster than others. The design of roads (for the auto, as opposed to other vehicles or modes that came before) has from the beginning been oriented around accommodating (ever) greater speeds. If you’ve driven on a German Autobahn you will see the logical conclusion of this thinking. In the last few decades road design has experienced revisions, a change in thinking. Traffic calming as an undertaking is premised on the need to counter the basic truth of the auto (and derivative road design seeking to accommodate those speeds) because of the relationship between speed (absolute and relative) and safety (of those within and without the auto).
                So what we have here is something subtler and more interesting than we’ve so far acknowledged here in this conversation: traffic calming undermines the auto’s basic truth and promise, is seen from within this pervasive mindset not as natural but as an infringement. If we need traffic calming to rein in speeding, the inverse = lane widening, curve radius enlarging and banking, etc. is going to correspond to, accommodate, encourage speeding. N’est–ce pas?

                Of course if you view speeding as the natural order of things, a basic entitlement of those behind the wheel, then you might disagree with pieces of this argument.

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              • wsbob February 21, 2017 at 10:02 am

                Just saw your question:

                “Can narrow lanes “encourage” people to drive more slowly?” h kitty

                What do you think? I’m not sure why you’re asking that question.

                Something I think, about the way some people like to drive, is that they like a challenge. Width of the road or the lane, isn’t going to make much difference in how fast they decide to drive their vehicle. Even basic, ordinary sedans today are sort of high performance cars designed to be able move very fast and precisely around curves, if the person driving chooses to have their vehicle do so. It can be an exciting challenge to drive fast…and some people do it where they shouldn’t be.

                Posted speed limits on some streets, are too high. Good thinking for someone at city hall to realize this, and to be preparing to take decisive moves to bring motor vehicle speeds down on those streets. At least begin making stronger efforts to bring the speeds down, with not just signs, but together with speed reader boards, the photo radar camera vans.

                On the roads they’re driving, the message needs to clearly be gotten across to people driving excessively fast, that they’re not just driving dangerously, they’re also diminishing the livability of the neighborhoods they’re driving through, and generally disrespecting everyone.

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              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty February 21, 2017 at 2:17 pm

                I ask the question because if narrow lanes encourage you to drive slower, it stands to reason that wider ones encourage you to drive faster.

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            • Spiffy February 17, 2017 at 8:07 am

              “The people using the roads safely and responsibly, within the speed limit, are the vast majority fo road users.”

              what fictional world are you living in where most drivers are not speeding?

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              • wsbob February 17, 2017 at 9:19 am

                Why do you feel you have the right, on this weblog, to respond to my comment in an insulting, rather than a substantive manner?

                The world I live in, and the traffic conditions that often plague it, are very real. In the Beaverton area, there are many examples of street and thoroughfare traffic that I think are likely very comparable to those in Portland.

                I don’t regard traffic problems casually…I take them very seriously in observing traffic and the range of how it works. So when I say that most people are driving within 5mph of the speed limit, it’s based on direct observation of traffic on the streets and thoroughfares of this large city.

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              • X February 17, 2017 at 10:25 am

                Five mph over the limit is not considered speeding by most drivers, the police, or, apparently, any other legal authority. It is normal behavior in the exact sense of the word. A person in a motor vehicle driving at +five mph (or less) over the speed limit will experience other drivers moving too close and passing aggressively. That’s true on streets, roads, highways, and freeways in Portland, in Beaverton, and elsewhere in tbe region. You do seem to be in denial of that.

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              • rachel b February 17, 2017 at 1:11 pm

                wsbob–your experience of driving around ‘mostly lawful drivers’ in Portland-of-now flummoxes me, for sure. I’ve lived here all my life but for a few years and yikes, it’s changed for the worse, drastically. There’s nothing motivating me to say that except…my actual experience. Which would seem to be corroborated by many, including relative newcomers. Maybe you’re a glass half full kind of person? I find it hard to see much water left at all in the glass of the current Portland traffic situation…

                Just to add to what Spiffy said re: SE 26th: I live on the section between Powell and Clinton which is all residential, but for the businesses at those intersections, and Cleveland H.S. And the fact that the lanes are narrow and the road fairly constricted at this end does nothing to deter speeding. The bike lane here (and the cyclists on it) do slow drivers down–I can watch it happening outside my window.

                It’s clear to me that the reason people put the pedal to the metal in this stretch (including heavy freight truck and TriMet bus drivers) is 1) it’s a long flat stretch with NO impediments at all; it’s fun and easy to speed all the way from Clinton to Powell or vice versa. It’s actually hard to go 25mph, given the design of SE 26th–so flat! so open! so free!, and 2) there is no traffic enforcement (and the speed limit signs at the north end are obscured in winter, completely covered in spring and summer), 3) everybody’s doin’ it, and speeding is contagious. You tend to follow the speed of the driver in front of you.

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              • rachel b February 17, 2017 at 1:23 pm

                ….agh!… I meant to say the presence of cyclists (on SE 26th between Powell and Clinton) does seem to prompt more careful driving and slow traffic a bit. The motor vehicle traffic lanes themselves, while narrow, don’t seem to make any difference to speeding freight trucks who spill over into the bike lane and oncoming traffic lane. It’s a bit daunting to be waiting to cross the street with one of those barreling past.

                (I think the post of mine I’m referring to is awaiting moderation, so it’ll likely appear after this correction)

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              • wsbob February 17, 2017 at 5:46 pm

                “…A person in a motor vehicle driving at +five mph (or less) over the speed limit will experience other drivers moving too close and passing aggressively. That’s true on streets, roads, highways, and freeways in Portland, in Beaverton, and elsewhere in tbe region. You do seem to be in denial of that.” x

                I do not deny, at all, that there is a percentage of road users that exceed the speed limit beyond 5mph. What I’m observing and saying here, is that the people driving that exceed that margin, are a small percentage of people that drive. I believe I’ve consistently said this on all my comments posted on this subject.

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              • wsbob February 17, 2017 at 6:18 pm

                “…wsbob–your experience of driving around ‘mostly lawful drivers’ in Portland-of-now flummoxes me, for sure. …” rachael b

                rachael…streets can and do differ from each other in their usage, and who uses them. Accordingly, the degree of road use abuse of streets can vary from street to street. I somewhat remember the story and discussion here on bikeportland about SE 26th. Seems like it and 22nd were major points of contention between city and state, because the city wanted a signaled crosswalk on one of them, but the state wouldn’t budge unless the bike lanes were removed. Long story short: it seems that special problems plague one or both of those streets…and the city and state should be making major efforts to get mph speeds on those streets, under control, instead of hem-hawing and passing the buck.

                I’m trying to think which street out here in Beaverton, might be most like the character and usage of 26th in Portland…relatively narrow with a huge volume of traffic using it. Garden Home Rd between Olsen Rd and 92nd might be one…but I’m not sure it gets quite the amount of or type of traffic that the two Portland streets mentioned, do get.

                Lots of other major streets here in the Beav though…pick one; Cedar Hills Blvd, Canyon Rd Beav-Hillsdale, Farmington, Hall, Watson, Walker, Cornell, 185th. All of those streets have a lot of daily traffic, and traffic on them is fast, but I think, mostly close to the speed limit. Partly because the streets are heavily regulated with intersections and traffic lights. People driving don’t gain much, if any, time by exceeding the speed limit, because they wind up getting caught by a light signal cycle ahead. The lights are more or less timed so if people just keep their speed limit close to the speed limit, they’ll hit more green lights.

                And this is with multiple lane roads. Murray Blvd is another…heavily signal regulated, with the effect being that not much is gained by driving at excessive speeds. The majority of people driving, just cruise along at close to the speed limit, so they can try hit the green light without having to stop at a red.

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              • rachel b February 19, 2017 at 1:02 pm

                Hi wsbob–don’t know where this comment is going to nest…. re: your helpful observation that “streets differ” (where traffic is concerned) made me smile. I do get off my street every now and then. Have for decades now, in fact. I have even driven in (gasp!) Beaverton. 🙂 🙂 I think I have a pretty comprehensive view of the traffic situation in greater Portland, from, you know, driving places, and the history to contextualize it. Our experience of it is simply flabbergastingly different. 🙂

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              • wsbob February 20, 2017 at 10:14 am

                “…re: your helpful observation that “streets differ” (where traffic is concerned) made me smile. I do get off my street every now and then. Have for decades now, in fact. I have even driven in (gasp!) Beaverton. …” rachel b

                I’m not saying, or meaning to imply that you’re not personally aware of the nature of traffic off of your street. It may be though, that your street may have some unique problems due to how people driving in your area, have come to use your street.

                I will say without hesitation, that I think in many road and street situations throughout the Beav and Portland area that I’m familiar with firsthand, traffic conditions arising from motor vehicle use have risen to the point of being very adverse to use of those streets by means other than motor vehicle, and to general livability of surrounding neighborhoods the roads and streets pass through.

                As I’ve said earlier, definitely there are people driving above the posted speed limit, but of those that do, I think most are not driving more than 5mph over…the sheer volume of traffic at that speed over the limit, creates the overall harsh traffic conditions arising on many streets and roads today. Those driving at speeds more than 5mph over, I think are (in part using the Division St pre-post lane reconfiguration aka ‘road diet’ study as a guide.), are increasingly small percentages of the overall numbers of people driving.

                Also, as said before, I don’t think it’s true that the addition of multiple lanes to two lane roads, ‘encourages’ people to drive excessively fast…specifically….more than 5 mph over the limit.

                A big reason I think traffic has risen to this point is that it’s been allowed to travel at excessively high mph speeds, starting with posted speed limits that in some situations are too high for the safety and livability objectives that residents and the city seek to sustain, or regain for neighborhoods. Part of the reason I think this is happening, may be due to a kind of passivity or resignation on the part of transportation depts to what they may believe are mph speeds that must be determined by people driving, rather than regulatory and enforcement means. Read the material, including the faq’s on the ‘speed zone review panel site’ for some further idea of what I’m saying:

                https://www.oregon.gov/ODOT/HWY/TRAFFIC-ROADWAY/pages/speed_zone_program.aspx

                I’d read parts of it before, but last night, I went over the speed zone review panel site. In particular in the faq’s, there seems to be some questionable conclusions about people driving, and some contradiction about what can and should be done to manage speeds at which people are using motor vehicles to travel

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              • Dan A February 21, 2017 at 7:17 am

                Here’s a sampling from the doc you’re referring to. I find it really hard to read this nonsense.

                WON’T LOWERING THE POSTED SPEED REDUCE SPEEDS?
                NO. Studies show that there is little change in the driving speeds after a lower speed sign is posted. Drivers are much more influenced by the roadway conditions and their perceptions of the need to slow down. In fact, the lowering of a speed limit, below what is perceived by drivers as a reasonable speed, may result in greater differences in speeds (more variance) with some going faster and some going slower. This means there are more conflicts between vehicles than before the signed speed was lowered.
                One study reduced posted speeds by 5, 10 and 15 mph at numerous sites. When speeds were reduced, less than one-half of a percent of the drivers complied with the posted speeds. The average change in speed for all drivers was less than 2 mph and crashes increased by 5 percent.

                WILL LOWERING THE POSTED SPEED REDUCE CRASH FREQUENCY?
                NO. Although lowering the speed is often seen as a cure-all in preventing crashes, this is not the case. Especially if it causes more variance in the speeds drivers are traveling, it can result in higher severity and higher frequency of crashes, especially at driveways and intersections. Crashes are more frequently the result of driver inattention and driver error rather than speed, although higher speeds can contribute to the severity of crashes.

                https://www.oregon.gov/ODOT/HWY/TRAFFIC-ROADWAY/docs/word/speed_zoning_faq_1-24-07.doc

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              • wsbob February 21, 2017 at 9:35 am

                Dan A February 21, 2017 at 7:17 am”

                The faq document excerpt you posted, doesn’t name or provide links to the studies it refers to that it says, supports the speed zone review panel’s view of lowering speed limits as a means to reducing the mph speeds people drive at.

                The panel not having provided that info, makes it very difficult to know and consider the nature of the traffic situations in which the study was conducted, that came up with the results fhe faq claim. And how different the effectiveness of reductions in posted speed limits may be, over a range of different traffic situations. ex: high traffic thoroughfares, neighborhood streets, etc.

                Later in the faq’s, the review panel notes that just lowering the speed limit, isn’t enough to actually reduce mph speeds people are driving at, and that for effective results, this effort must be accompanied by enforcement…which back in the day, would have only been an officer(s), sitting in patrol waiting to catch people speeding.

                Modern day of course, we have speed zone cameras, better signage. Lane reconfiguration (aka ‘road diet’) can provide some effective results too, but comparatively, that option involves far more planning, time and money, than simply within days, rolling out some speed reader boards, parking some speed limit photo vans.

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              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty February 21, 2017 at 11:39 am

                Hard to read because you think the data is wrong, or because you don’t like what it says?

                There should be some good before/after data from Portland that we can look at to determine if lowering speed limits actually does alter driver behavior here.

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              • Dan A February 21, 2017 at 3:39 pm

                wsbob beat me to it, but I agree that referring to a study that they don’t bother to cite seems dubious at best.

                “WON’T LOWERING THE POSTED SPEED REDUCE SPEEDS? NO.”

                Wow, start off with a lie….. On single-lane roads, you can’t speed when trapped behind a law-abiding driver. People in my neighborhood only drive 20mph when driving behind me.

                “One study reduced posted speeds by 5, 10 and 15 mph at numerous sites. When speeds were reduced, less than one-half of a percent of the drivers complied with the posted speeds. The average change in speed for all drivers was less than 2 mph and crashes increased by 5 percent.”

                Where are the details of this study? What percentage of drivers were complying to begin with? How long were the changes in place? What were the roads like? What makes them think a 5% difference in random occurrences is statistically relevant enough to argue against speed reduction?

                “If speeds are not reasonable [fast enough], they can become a source of frustration for drivers when the speeds are enforced, a source of frustration for the local community when the speeds are not adhered to, and a source of frustration for police agencies when they are accused of enforcing the speeds just to produce revenue.”

                And so forth. The whole document reads like propaganda from the National Motorists Association.

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              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty February 21, 2017 at 6:23 pm

                >>> “WON’T LOWERING THE POSTED SPEED REDUCE SPEEDS? NO. <<<

                Would you agree this is a question better answered with data than with "common sense"?

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              • paikiala February 17, 2017 at 1:52 pm

                Spiffy,
                Show us the data! Otherwise your fiction is as much fiction as his.

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              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty February 17, 2017 at 2:00 pm

                You want the data?!? You can’t handle the data!!! (well, you probably can)

                https://pdx.maps.arcgis.com/apps/webappviewer/index.html?id=7ce8d1f5053141f1bc0f5bd7905351e6

                Of course, sifting through it and drawing (supportable) conclusions is another thing entirely.

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              • rachel b February 17, 2017 at 3:19 pm

                That was an interesting link, HK. Huh. At the risk of attracting the scorn of paikiala, I wanna ask if I’m reading right that the traffic count on SE 26th is not so much lower from SE Division as I would’ve thought? I mean, SE 26th–essentially a truncated route–shouldn’t be used in the same way as a major arterial, should it?

                And I realize this is anecdotal, but when they put the little traffic count cable across the street (where we had an easy view), we noticed that vehicles slowed down as they approached it. It would seem instinctive–it’s a new object in the road, people are more cautious.

                It happened so often, and the end result was so much more pleasant than the usual whooshing by traffic, we considered putting a fake cable across the street permanently. It also made us wonder if PBOT’s getting accurate data.

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              • David Hampsten February 17, 2017 at 8:50 pm

                It’s the total count that counts, so to speak (ADT). Inner Division is just a fairly busy street with one lane in each direction, not very different from 26th, as you say. But outer Division between 82nd and 176th, especially east of I-205/97th, is a different species of roadway altogether, with far higher volumes and vary few competing streets; the next nearest 4-lane running parallel to it are over a mile away, on Stark to the north and Foster to the south. Outer Powell has more cars per lane mile, but only half as many lanes.

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              • paikiala February 19, 2017 at 10:16 am

                Rachel,
                Staying with the Federal classification label you used, both 26th south of Division and Division near 26th are Urban Collector streets. They are both Neighborhood Collectors in Portland’s traffic classification.
                So, per the city plan, both roads are expected to serve the same purpose in regards to auto traffic.
                Regarding your observations of the count. Did you consider that you were watching and saw more than you usually do? We are hardwired to remember the negative, not the positive. We remember the fast cars more vividly than the ones not going fast, unless we are paying attention (one reason to use a machine to count).
                But if we assume what you saw is fact, that people slow down when those small tubes are across the road, how does that invalidate some data, but not all of it? In other words, your observation should apply to most all count situations, so all data would suffer this bias. And if that is so, then no one location is much more biased than another. It then follows that, even if not perfect (is such a thing even possible?), the data collection is likely good enough to use to make decisions with. Claims that data collection on 26th are wrong, but data collection on Division are good (or most other locations), just can’t be rationally defended.

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              • paikiala February 19, 2017 at 10:19 am

                HK,
                good link to gross data.
                I encourage anyone to use the link, click the speed tab, and scroll down the %speeding column. Looking at the numbers, there are an awful lot below 50%, meaning the majority, and in some cases vast majority counted, were not speeding.
                Not that it matters. It’s not the many law abiding we have to worry about, is it?

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              • rachel b February 19, 2017 at 1:06 pm

                Clarification: I wasn’t questioning the counts, paikiala, but the speeds, which were also posted on the link HK provided. I was assuming the cables played a role in recording traffic speed too…? Hence, my observation.

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              • rachel b February 19, 2017 at 1:08 pm

                Just saw your last comment to HK. It’s that speed data to which you refer that I’m questioning, because of the observable slowing down of vehicles as they approach those cables. If the cables are used only for counting, let me know.

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            • Spiffy February 17, 2017 at 8:09 am

              “It’s easier to drive a road safely, when driving involves less stop and go movement.”

              people aren’t generally injured in bumper to bumper traffic that’s moving at 10 mph…

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        • 9watts February 16, 2017 at 4:04 pm

          “I defy anyone to prove or even show that a wider street ‘encourages’ people, or at least the general number of people using streets with multiple lanes…to drive excessively faster than the posted speed limits for those streets.”

          Go ahead. Defy all you want. I think this is a widely understood effect, an invitation. Why do you think Barbur, Division, Sandy, Foster are the dangerous streets? Can you imagine it has anything to do with speeding-encouraged-by-four-lanes?

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          • Chris I February 17, 2017 at 8:10 am

            The only exception to the rule is Marine Drive, but I think it is obvious why Marine Drive is deadly.

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        • dwk February 16, 2017 at 4:54 pm

          “I defy anyone to prove or even show that a wider street ‘encourages’ people, or at least the general number of people using streets with multiple lanes…to drive excessively faster than the posted speed limits for those streets.’

          Sorry, but this is one of the most ridiculous statements I have ever read.
          Do you Drive? Do you ride a bike?
          This is beyond obvious.

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          • wsbob February 16, 2017 at 6:47 pm

            “…Do you Drive? Do you ride a bike?…” dwk

            Both…drive and walk. I used to street skate too.. As I wrote earlier, apparently, some people wish to believe that multiple lane streets ‘encourage’ people to exceed the posted speed limit, but I don’t believe it’s true that multiple lane streets do that.

            If you’re saying simply that some people choose to drive excessively fast, beyond the posted speed limit, on streets and roads, and in particular…roads with multiple lanes, that’s obviously true…but that streets with spacious width encourage people to drive excessively fast, is not true where there are clearly posted speed limits and other enforcement measures in place, directing them to do otherwise.

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            • 9watts February 20, 2017 at 10:03 am

              “streets with spacious width encourage people to drive excessively fast, is not true where there are clearly posted speed limits and other enforcement measures in place, directing them to do otherwise.”

              poppycock.
              check this out – http://nacto.org/publication/urban-street-design-guide/design-controls/design-speed/
              & more specifically:
              http://nacto.org/publication/urban-street-design-guide/design-controls/design-speed/speed-reduction-mechanisms/

              “Cities can achieve a reduction in traffic speeds using a variety of traffic calming techniques. While certain speed controls alter the configuration of a roadway, others change how people psychologically perceive and respond to a street.

              You can run this concept of how street design and driver behavior are coupled forwards or backwards. The idea behind traffic calming that design cues will encourage people to drive slower/behave more safely, and its inverse, that the opposite design cues—the absence of what we recognize as traffic calming measures, e.g., Barbur Blvd—will encourage drivers to put their foot down (which w all surely recognize as the basic entitlement anyone behind the wheel experiences at some deep level).

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    • soren February 23, 2017 at 12:20 pm

      I found it disappointing and darkly comical that inner Hawthorne, a roadway notorious for ubiquitous and dangerous speeding, had very little data on PBOT’s GIS site. PBOT’s data collection seems to avoid many of the locations with perennial speeding problems in favor of measurements of low-traffic residential streets. And getting back to Hawthorne, one of the closest measures to my house was at 44th and Hawthorne (Fallon Smart was killed a few blocks south). The 50th percentile speed at this location was 27 mph — 2 mph above the speed limit. This is completely unacceptable and, IMO, typical of the behavior of Portland drivers on 4 lane roads.

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      • soren February 23, 2017 at 12:21 pm

        east not south.

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  • GlowBoy February 16, 2017 at 2:53 pm

    This is great news. Glad to see Portland standing up to the bullies at ODOT wherever they have a chance to do so.

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    • Lester Burnham February 17, 2017 at 6:56 am

      with all the cronyism and corruption at the city council level I can only imagine how bad it is in a organization like ODOT.

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  • RMHampel February 16, 2017 at 2:53 pm

    One word: “Enforcement”

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  • Ghost of Bill Clinton's Past February 16, 2017 at 3:29 pm

    Teachers would flatter me and say I should be a lawyer when I got older. It was deeply backhanded as compliments go of course, meaning, as they did, that I was needlessly argumentative.

    One thing I would not be good at, however, is reading and interpreting statutes and laws. Which seems to be a lot of what lawyering involves.

    I’m the guy that talks you in circles, and makes you doubt your own sensory input. Though, you get too many people like me together in a room, and things grind to a halt, wars start.. etc.

    No, we need these studious heros to wade into the walls of mind numbing texts our electors use to bamboozle us, and use their tricks against them!

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    • alankessler February 16, 2017 at 3:38 pm

      Are you telling me that there are people who don’t read statutes for fun?

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  • TonyT
    TonyT February 16, 2017 at 3:32 pm

    And with the near ZERO level of enforcement in this town, this will mean squat. What a sick and tragic joke. PBOT will make resolutions and plans to have committees meet to discuss options that they can consider for future consideration. But they won’t tell the cops to get out on random streets and pull people for any number of infractions that one can see constantly when driving in this city. Not at least without a press release about it and a tweet from the mayor, which tells you how rare enforcements actually are. Ridiculous.

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    • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) February 16, 2017 at 3:58 pm

      I don’t share your pessimism here TonyT.

      “ZERO level of enforcement”?… Did you see the part where PBOT is putting in a red light camera on Division? That’s enforcement. And did you see how they’re supporting a law that would allow them to ticket speeders caught on those red light cameras? That sounds like enforcement. And just FYI Commish Saltzman and PBOT and PPB are currently discussing how to do enforcement better in light of racial profiling concerns and VZ priorities. I agree the amount of flagrant and dangerous disregard for traffic laws is super frustrating… But I don’t think it’s very productive to be so hard on PBOT about it. At least not right now. Also… if you won’t be satisfied until the police do massive sweeps that pick up a lot more law-breakers — I’m afraid you won’t be happy for a long time. I want that too! But man, the realities of the PPB staffing and lack of funding right now is a serious thing. They are moving Traffic Division officers away from traffic enforcement and into precincts to deal with public safety/n’hood stuff. Anyways…. I love your enthusiasm.. I’m just trying to add some context.

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      • Adam H.
        Adam H. February 16, 2017 at 4:19 pm

        Under no circumstances do I want “police doing massive sweeps”. We don’t live in a police state, at least not yet… If anything, PPB needs less funding, not more.

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        • Hello, Kitty
          Hello, Kitty February 16, 2017 at 4:21 pm

          Defunding the police is a very extreme position, shared by very few.

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          • 9watts February 16, 2017 at 4:24 pm

            “shared by very few”

            I think that might be less fixed than your comment implies. If we lived in a society with better transparency about how our police operate, what the relationship between crime and policing is, not to mention trends in crime, in combination with a campaign that counters the reflexive more-money-for-services mentality that dominates these discussions I wouldn’t rule out a constitency.

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          • Todd Hudson February 16, 2017 at 4:24 pm

            He likes to stir the pot here. Pay no mind.

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          • Adam H.
            Adam H. February 16, 2017 at 4:28 pm

            Do you think it is wise to give a militarized police force more money given our current political situation?

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            • Hello, Kitty
              Hello, Kitty February 16, 2017 at 4:29 pm

              I think it would be wise to demilitarize the police, if that’s an accurate description of what we’ve got. That’s well within the power the city has.

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              • Adam H.
                Adam H. February 16, 2017 at 6:10 pm

                Do you think demilitarizing the police is even an option given our current political situation?

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              • Adam H.
                Adam H. February 16, 2017 at 8:44 pm

                That is to say, do you think the police will give up their toys willingly because we asked nicely? Or do you think we should demand the funding for their “riot control agents and impact weaponry” be cut off at the source?

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              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty February 17, 2017 at 10:13 am

                It probably depends on exactly what you mean by “militarization”. I would not expect the police to give up their riot gear (nor would I want them to). However, if they have any real military weaponry, then yes, giving it up is a possibility, especially in this political climate.

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              • Adam H.
                Adam H. February 17, 2017 at 10:39 am

                When the police are showing up in armor and using “riot-control agents” such as LRAD’s, chemical weapons, and rubber projectiles (all of which despite the innocuous “less-lethal” classification are still very much capable of causing permanent damage or death) they have crossed the line between public safety and entered into the realm of being the antagonizers. These actions have nothing to do with safety and have everything to do with controlling the public by force. It is a slippery slope we are faced with given our current political situation, and we must fight these oversteps at every opportunity before things get worse.THIS is what I fear when I call for the demilitarization of law enforcement. YOU may have a different definition, but that does not change the facts that our police bureau are authorizing use of force against peaceful protesters.

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              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty February 17, 2017 at 11:50 am

                I have certainly witnessed cases where the police made things worse (and have experienced a completely unjustified and very personalized “capsicum attack” at the hands of the Portland police), but I have also seen plenty of cases where a strong police presence was absolutely justified by a violent crowd.

                My main problem with policing crowds is that the response to some bad actors tends to be generalized to the crowd itself (echoing my individual vs. group culpability arguments elsewhere). However, as a practical matter, I don’t see a better way.

                Are you arguing that the police should not be equipped to respond to riots?

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              • Adam H.
                Adam H. February 17, 2017 at 12:18 pm

                I’m saying that in most cases the police tend to overreact to peaceful protests, and the mere presence of riot police will escalate the situation. I can not and will not question the methods of protesters – even if they are smashing windows, however in most cases, people are protesting misuse of authority so I can’t possibly imagine how a use of authority could help diffuse the situation. Remember that those in power get to decide what constitutes a “riot”, not the people.

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              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty February 17, 2017 at 12:32 pm

                I’d go as far as “some cases”, and I totally agree that police posture can lead to escalation. But so can protester posture.

                You may not question the methods of protesters, but I do. I strongly believe in peaceful protest, but not the destruction of property, especially that of parties not associated with the protest (like the guy I saw at one of the Trump protests throwing newspaper boxes into the street far from police and other protesters).

                So, in the case of riot, should the police simply withdraw and let events run their course? If the mayor directs the police to remove protesters from City Hall, should they politely decline?

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              • Adam H.
                Adam H. February 17, 2017 at 12:53 pm

                What I consider to be a “riot” and what those in power do are vastly different. A few people throwing newspaper stands into the street is not a riot. Some symbolic smashed windows is not a riot. Remember, that on the J20 protests, police were in full riot gear before the march even started. In no way can that be construed as a response to a situation. Police are quick to label things as “riots” or “terrorism” in order to justify their actions. The point of the “property destruction” is to make those in power and those who would do us harm afraid – afraid of the people. This is a fundamental cornerstone to American democracy. I’m betting the British weren’t too happy at the “property destruction” when the colonists dumped their tea in Boston Harbor. I don’t know what the police response to an actual riot should be, but I sure as hell know it’s not the heavy-handed approach they are currently so fond of.

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              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty February 17, 2017 at 1:10 pm

                I don’t know the line between peaceful protest and riot, but I am sure it is somewhat in the eye of the beholder. I did not mean to suggest that damaging random property constitutes riot, only that it does not constitute acceptable behavior and is not compatible with peaceful protest.

                You can put “property destruction” in scare quotes, but it is a real thing, and it is not a cornerstone of American democracy. It’s (usually) a stupid tactic, or, more often the result of too much adrenaline and a few rogue actors (exactly the problem the police response has at times).

                At least we agree that designing an appropriate response to a volatile and rapidly-changing situation, where you don’t know the intent of other parties, where the stakes are high, and there is a potential for violence is a challenge. Perhaps it’s understandable that it doesn’t always go smoothly.

                Have you ever considered doing a police ride-along, where you spend an evening with an officer on patrol and see what it looks like from their point-of-view?

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              • lop February 17, 2017 at 12:27 pm

                It was also one of Ted Wheeler’s campaign promises. Not sure I’d want to hold my breath waiting for him to follow through on it.

                http://www.tedwheeler.com/ted-wheeler-pledges-improve-police-services-portland/

                >Wheeler outlined 10 priorities that would guide his reform efforts:

                >3. Actively demilitarize the police force and encourage a culture of community engagement and problem solving;

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          • Ghost of Bill Clinton's Past February 16, 2017 at 4:55 pm

            I hear it coming from a lot of peoples mouths. I hear different things post becoming the victim of even a minor crime though.

            Maybe I discredit it, because it seems like such a.. temporary.. opinion.

            You often hear from young attractive people, that you just have to believe in yourself and anything is possible. After the ravages of time, lost beauty and gained experience, you hear more “Hard work is the key to success”.

            I try not to listen to temporary, situationally conditional, opinions.

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            • Dan A February 17, 2017 at 12:04 am

              Ugh, what a waste of time.

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            • Adam H.
              Adam H. February 17, 2017 at 8:13 am

              Ah, the classic “let’s see how you feel about police when you need them” trope. As if victims of crimes have never been mistreated by law enforcement…

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              • Hornet's Nest February 17, 2017 at 3:52 pm

                You know, tropes. Perennial cultural references that ring true to many people, and form cultural touchstones of shared experience and perspective?

                Yeah that old trope.

                I personally was happy to bare first hand witness to the arrest, at gunpoint, of the PSU parking garage abductor, and liberation of his terrified 20 year old hostage.

                I’ve had run ins with them, bullshit tickets, needless intimidation. Cops are not perfect. But they are an integral part of society.

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          • Alex Reedin February 17, 2017 at 9:48 am

            I think characterizing Adam’s suggestion of *less* funding as “defunding” is not fair. I think a proposal for less police funding would receive significant support in Portland, though I’m sure it’s still solidly a minority position.

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            • Adam H.
              Adam H. February 17, 2017 at 10:09 am

              Yep, exactly. Funding the police is generally a popular position, but we must question the use of their funding and if they actually need the amount of funds they are getting. When law enforcement is gassing peaceful protesters, firing rubber bullets at passers-by, and abusing their power by forcibly removing people from city hall who are there to testify about police funding, it’s time to reconsider their funding model. Do all these actions make us feel safer? I for one would rather live in a world where “public safety” means funding for bicycle infrastructure and health services rather than giving law enforcement riot gear and armored vehicles. And no, I don’t believe giving more money and staffing to “traffic safety” is path worth pursuing. Hardline enforcement is never the solution – especially when those doing the enforcement cannot be trusted.

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              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty February 17, 2017 at 11:37 am

                Did the police do these things of their own volition, or were they directed to do so by our political leaders?

                If they did this on their own, they are a rogue force. If directed to do so, direct your ire elsewhere (to the extent that their means were legal).

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              • Adam H.
                Adam H. February 17, 2017 at 12:23 pm

                Likely a combination of both. I can absolutely guarantee that the officer who shot and killed Quanice Hayes last week was not explicitly “directed by our political leaders” to do so.

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              • Adam H.
                Adam H. February 17, 2017 at 12:24 pm

                Also, “just following orders” is never a valid defence.

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              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty February 17, 2017 at 12:38 pm

                RE Quanice Hayes – Of course it wasn’t. But given what I know about the circumstances, it’s hard to assume this was an unjustified shooting.

                RE Following orders – The police should never follow an illegal order. Is it your position that the mayor had no right to eject the protesters, and that his order to do so was therefore illegal?

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              • Adam H.
                Adam H. February 17, 2017 at 12:44 pm

                “The police should never follow an illegal order” but they obviously sometimes do anyway and need to be held accountable for their actions.

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              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty February 17, 2017 at 12:50 pm

                I 100% agree with that. Was the ejection of protesters from City Hall, which you cited as an example of police misconduct, an illegal order?

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              • Adam H.
                Adam H. February 17, 2017 at 12:59 pm

                The order – not that I am aware of. However, the actions taken by police to enact the order were brutal. People were trampled and shoved. Riot police were sent out to guard City Hall. What I saw was not a proper response to a peaceful demonstration and not how a benevolent government should be treating its citizens who are only interested in participating in the democratic process. I am not the only one who thinks this: the ALCU agrees with me.

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              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty February 17, 2017 at 1:19 pm

                I wasn’t there but saw video footage. I saw nothing that even remotely approached “brutal”.

                The ACLU letter asks mostly for clarity and transparency, along with a greater emphasis on deescalation, both of which I fully agree with. I saw nothing declaring the police tactics or the removal order illegal, which suggests that blame lies primarily with those who ordered the action.

                Which brings me back to the point that you should be directing your ire at those who ordered the removal (Hales?), not at those who fulfilled their legal obligations to follow a lawful order.

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              • Adam H.
                Adam H. February 17, 2017 at 1:21 pm

                Both parties are responsible — as I said before: following orders is never an excuse for brutality.

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              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty February 17, 2017 at 1:24 pm

                Of all the video footage of this incident, have you seen any showing this “brutal” behavior?

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              • Adam H.
                Adam H. February 17, 2017 at 3:40 pm

                This shove is the worst of it, but feel free to watch the entire video.

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              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty February 17, 2017 at 4:32 pm

                I’ve seen that video; that shove was rough, but not even remotely “brutal”. Under the circumstances, I’m not even sure most people would find it unreasonable.

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      • Tom Hardy February 16, 2017 at 4:23 pm

        Jonathan, I may be reading something into your last statement. Are the red light cameras doubling as speeder camera’s? Great Idea for when it is red or green. Just post the speed on the picture.

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      • TonyT
        TonyT February 16, 2017 at 4:26 pm

        Come on Jonathan. Did you really just quote me as writing “ZERO enforcement” when I clearly wrote, “near ZERO.” That’s lame.

        As someone who has requested enforcement in my neighborhood until I was blue in the face, I stand by that characterization. Enforcement is rarely done and when it is, it has a heavy self-promotion aspect to it. And don’t get me started on PBOT’s terribly dishonest representation of what an unmarked crosswalk is and their refusal to admit that they simply won’t do them.

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      • Todd Hudson February 16, 2017 at 4:44 pm

        “Did you see the part where….”

        A single red light camera and a “discussion” doesn’t do much to stop city-wide speeding.

        Up here in Roseway, we are partly girded by Sandy and 82nd. People regularly drive 55. Even Fremont is plagued by motorheads. Crossing at “unmarked crosswalks” is unwise. It would be nice to have PPB cruisers camped out and writing lots of tickets. We Rosewaiians would bring them coffee, maybe even cotton candy.

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      • rachel b February 16, 2017 at 6:49 pm

        “But man, the realities of the PPB staffing and lack of funding right now is a serious thing. They are moving Traffic Division officers away from traffic enforcement and into precincts to deal with public safety/n’hood stuff.”

        This is true, Jonathan. But it’s beyond frustrating (as I know you know) to have to live, daily, with the fruits of YEARS of defunding and redirection of officers–years of negligence in traffic enforcement that led directly to the dangerous widespread habitual scofflaw drivers situation we’re in now. While I feel for the individual officers, I also find it difficult to applaud the (late) efforts now. The genie’s way out of the bottle at this point, and we have an entire population of drivers with a fierce level of entitlement to their speeding and bad behaviors. It will be very difficult to claw that back. I doubt our force is willing to dedicate the time, presence and funds to accomplish it.

        I also wonder–where the hell is all the money going? We’re generating record amounts of $$$ from new properties, yet our SE property taxes (due to a major, nonetheless in-the-existing-footprint remodel) DOUBLED this year, and I’ve heard similar tales from friends after kind of minor remodels. There are so many bonds (PPS, the City) in the pipeline, for decades to come, and an increasing renting population (not to mention the lucky homeowners whose taxes have been kept low) that sees no downside to voting for them . I’m full of dread for these future votes. And I know I’m not alone (I’m looking at you, unfairly taxed outer SE Portlanders, i.e., Parkrose).

        I can’t get a single sign cleared of graffiti (the one on SE 26th where bikes merge w/ traffic before Clinton, i.e.), or speed signs cleared of foliage and made visible. I can’t expect a cop to come out for bike or even car theft, or if I’m being harassed or stalked/tailed. When I contacted City Hall (Amanda Fritz) about an issue, the response was a testy “Well, what would YOU do?” which seems to be a City staple answer anymore. Answer a question with a question, throw it back on you…as though we’re swimming in time, don’t pay taxes and don’t have jobs of our own. “YOU solve homelessness! If you can’t, well, then, just be quiet!!”

        I don’t want to use the parks or trails for all the reasons that have been discussed here ad nauseam. Got rid of the car–in part–because traffic has become so Wild West-y. I’m as liberal as they come but…. what are we getting for the increasing $$$ we’re all spending and where the hell is the money going?

        I’m guessing that’s the subtext of what you’re hearing, anyway.

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  • Kyle Banerjee February 16, 2017 at 3:54 pm

    If people are already ignoring the existing speed limit, I wouldn’t expect that situation to improve without enforcement. I like the idea of a way to drop the speed limit on a temporary basis without much so much overhead — this sounds like a good way to test the impact of the changes.

    I’m not as wild about invoking some kind of emergency. At least to me, that word implies an acute situation where this situation has been there a long time. This kind of logic can be used by anyone to circumvent legitimate process as well as red tape. National politics is a poster child for why this course of action should not be considered lightly.

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    • wsbob February 16, 2017 at 5:07 pm

      “…I’m not as wild about invoking some kind of emergency. At least to me, that word implies an acute situation where this situation has been there a long time. …” banerjee

      When a particular road use shows indication of causing injury death due to something like excessive mph travel, and the regulatory agency…in this case ODO…having authority over remedying the posted speed limit that’s contributing to excess mph travel…requires and exorbitant amount of time…up to a year…to change the posted speed limit, that’s what I’d call an emergency situation.

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      • Kyle Banerjee February 16, 2017 at 8:13 pm

        I still think it’s a stretch to call it an emergency, unless there is evidence that cars have speeded up in recent times.

        However, it is an indisputable fact that too many people have died here. When too many people die on a section of road, it becomes designated as a “safety corridor” which doubles the fines among other things. I would think that would be appropriate here at the very least.

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        • wsbob February 17, 2017 at 12:40 am

          I think the emergency arises from a long standing and prevailing mindset that not only must roads be wide to handle increased travel needs, but that for efficient trip times, the mph speed on roads must also be maintained at high levels that in so many cases, it turns out, is harmful to people of neighborhoods the road exist within, and to road users themselves, of all modes of travel, and to the basic livability and functionality of both the neighborhood and the road.

          Transportation dept personnel unwittingly contribute to this harm occurring, by having for so long, supported posted speed limits for roads that are far in excess of what is compatible for livability of neighborhoods and the safety and functionality of roads. Many of the general public have unwittingly gone along with high posted speed limits for too long, but there’s a cost for that, and bill is becoming increasingly higher.

          This story says the section of Division in question is posted for 35. That’s too fast, and it’s unnecessarily fast when considering that on many roads during peak use, traffic mph speed often drops to 10 or 15mph…and yet everyone manages to get home, usually safe and sound with no collisions.

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        • Spiffy February 17, 2017 at 8:55 am

          I’m not sure if they’ve sped up as the only speed survey I can find is from last month…

          but that one shows that almost nobody is obeying the speed limit… all percentiles are over the speed limit…

          all drivers speeding and multiple deaths per year sounds like something that needs to be fixed right away… an emergency situation…

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          • Kyle Banerjee February 18, 2017 at 5:42 am

            Multiple deaths in a year is evidence that something needs to be done. I still think there is a useful distinction between a dangerous situation that needs attention and an emergency. This is hardly the only place in the state where there were multiple deaths. For example, there are sections of 99W where there are deaths pretty much every year. It’s not like this happens on Division every year.

            To me, an emergency is a situation that trumps all other priorities and must be dealt with until it is resolved — if something else can receive priority, how is it an emergency?

            Overescalation works fine so long as there really isn’t anything else that’s more important, but this type of tactic could have very undesirable side effects if it causes resources to be drawn from actual emergencies.

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            • wsbob February 18, 2017 at 10:18 pm

              “…Overescalation works fine so long as there really isn’t anything else that’s more important, but this type of tactic could have very undesirable side effects if it causes resources to be drawn from actual emergencies.” banerjee

              Are you saying that you think the city dropping the posted speed limit from 35mph to 30mph for a section of outer Division St, is “over-escalation”?

              It’s not going to take much in the way of resources, to switch out the speed limit signs on the section of Division in question.

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              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty February 20, 2017 at 10:29 am

                He’s saying declaring a state of emergency is over-escalation. I’ll be he’d support the dropping of the speed limit, but is asking that it be done as ordinary business.

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              • Kyle Banerjee February 21, 2017 at 11:29 am

                Correct. In the case at hand, I agree with the result they’re going for but not the mechanism.

                Using superlative terminology for situations that don’t really demand it desensitize people to those that truly demand it as well as draw resources and attention from where they are needed most.

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  • Adam H.
    Adam H. February 16, 2017 at 4:14 pm

    This is great news. However my concern is that the ORS specifically says “highway”, yet Division Street is not a highway. Should we expect pushback from ODOT on this technicality?

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  • alankessler February 16, 2017 at 4:18 pm
    • alankessler February 16, 2017 at 4:19 pm

      oops, this was supposed to be a reply to Adam, re: “Highway”

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    • Adam H.
      Adam H. February 16, 2017 at 4:21 pm

      Good to know, however I do find it funny that the law literally considers every public roadway to be a “highway”. Says a lot about the car-first mentality that plagues our state.

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      • Hello, Kitty
        Hello, Kitty February 16, 2017 at 4:22 pm

        The term “highway” long predates cars.

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        • Stephen Keller February 16, 2017 at 5:24 pm

          I suspect it is highway as opposed to tollway or privately owned roadway.

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        • David Hampsten February 16, 2017 at 6:07 pm

          The term goes back to 859 AD according to the Oxford English Dictionary, but the earliest record with the present spelling is from 1813. It’s partly a physical term – a high road, usually level and dry – and partly legal, any public roadway or street.

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          • Sigma February 16, 2017 at 8:22 pm

            Damn those 9th century Oregonians and their car first mentality!

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  • Kittens February 16, 2017 at 5:20 pm

    You know, honestly, PBoT can spend as much money as it wants on outer division doing education, outreach and “facilitating discussion”, but the only thing that is going to make people consistently drive slower here and elsewhere is better enforcement.

    No one is afraid of breaking the law because the odds of getting caught are astoundingly low.

    I am a big advocate of road diets but there are many roadways, including outer division which are critical to moving large volumes of traffic. We can address that too but congesting our way out of this is bound (and is) backfiring as people blame active transportation for increased stress in traffic.

    Dumb yes, but it is perception not reality which often drives policy.

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    • wsbob February 16, 2017 at 6:36 pm

      If what you’re suggesting, is that efforts through the use of road diets, to congest traffic to accomplish the objective of reducing excessive mph traveled, in other words ‘speeding’…is backfiring and having “…people blame active transportation for increased stress in traffic. …”, that to some extent may be true.

      That it may be, is part of the reason I’d prefer better signage and speed limit enforcement measures that don’t require such intensive officer presence, such as speed limit cameras and signage, be tried before going to the use of road diets.

      I think also in terms of achieving objectives of bringing mph travel speeds down to levels more complementary to safe use and functionality, it’s worthwhile to look at reasons besides threat of citation, people are motivated to drive responsibly and safely…because what I see as I ride and drive around the streets in my city, Beaverton, though I’ve got time in Portland as well…is that most of the people driving, are doing so responsibly and safely. It’s a small percentage of people driving, that are blowing the safe, comfortable functionality of streets and roads, out of the water.

      Most people driving just want to get where they’re going, safely, without hurting anyone and without being overly stressed out. They stay reasonably within the speed limit, they maintain composure when another road user messes up in a way that effects them, they’re courteous or try to be despite being tired. They conduct themselves like adults. These are things to emphasize and support in the efforts to have streets become safer to use.

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    • soren February 16, 2017 at 6:46 pm

      “No one is afraid of breaking the law because the odds of getting caught are astoundingly low.”

      so i assume you support the vision zero approach (e.g. automated enforcement) and also support defunding our violent and bigoted police bureau* (that currently vacuums up half a billion dollars of tax payer money — the bulk of the city budget)

      *currently under court supervision for a long-term pattern of killing, maiming, and beating vulnerable portlanders.

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      • Eric Leifsdad February 16, 2017 at 10:59 pm

        How about a citizen citation speed trap run by the community? No traffic stops, citation in the mail.

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        • Hello, Kitty
          Hello, Kitty February 17, 2017 at 10:46 am

          I like this idea, but I still have never heard of anyone making it all the way through the citizen-citation process. Has anyone done it?

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      • random February 16, 2017 at 11:45 pm

        “so i assume you support the vision zero approach (e.g. automated enforcement)”

        Of course, even “automated enforcement” (i.e. cameras) will catch young minority males disproportionally, given who lives in that area.

        It will be fun to watch the city of Portland tie itself up in knots with “equity” concerns, once that is demonstrated.

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        • Adam H.
          Adam H. February 17, 2017 at 8:16 am

          Cameras don’t kill unarmed black men.

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          • random February 17, 2017 at 8:55 am

            “Cameras don’t kill unarmed black men.”

            And it had been six years since the Portland Police had killed a black man, until the most recent case, Adam.

            If the PPB are deliberately trying to kill black people, they aren’t doing very well.

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            • Adam H.
              Adam H. February 17, 2017 at 9:34 am

              False. Quanice Hayes was shot and killed by Portland Police just last week.

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            • Adam H.
              Adam H. February 17, 2017 at 9:37 am

              Apologies, you appear to already be aware of this. I should read better.

              Still, your argument does not invalidate the concern that more police means more mistreatment and shootings of minorities, and the fact that cameras don’t have this capability.

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              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty February 17, 2017 at 11:33 am

                Cameras do still produce inequitable outcomes, ticketing members of minority groups at higher rates, as we’ve discussed before, though you could probably reverse the logic and conclude that they also increase safety more for those groups than for the population at large.

                Does one inequity cancel the other?

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              • Adam H.
                Adam H. February 17, 2017 at 12:32 pm

                I am primarily concerned with killings by police in this context, which a camera is incapable of. The problems with equity regarding ticketing, etc. are a direct symptom of our inequitable justice system and not caused by the camera itself. Obviously, we need to address the latter problem as well.

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              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty February 17, 2017 at 12:43 pm

                The inequity is also related to where people live in relation to the types of streets that most require automated enforcement, and the consequent “exposure” to cameras. It also means that those same residents will see the greatest benefit from increased safety.

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              • Adam H.
                Adam H. February 17, 2017 at 1:00 pm

                This is a fair point.

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              • Hornet's Nest February 17, 2017 at 11:36 am

                I can’t help but feel that armed robbery with a replica handgun, compounded with pulling that gun on responding officers, who caught up with him kicking the door in of a random house in the , were the main factors in this case.

                However, we would be remiss to not examine the possibility that this was at least tangentially related to routine traffic enforcement in some way.

                Though perhaps it would be our commitment to ignoring objectivity in the name of social jusice that we are neglecting.

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              • Adam H.
                Adam H. February 17, 2017 at 12:28 pm

                We only have full testimony from police, so we cannot trust 100% what their reports say. That being said, if our police force was unarmed, Quanice Hayes would still be alive today.

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              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty February 17, 2017 at 12:39 pm

                Just to clarify… are you saying the police should be unarmed?

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              • Adam H.
                Adam H. February 17, 2017 at 12:42 pm

                Yes.

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              • random February 17, 2017 at 1:01 pm

                “Yes.”

                Amazing. Adam, you are from Chicago.

                In 2016, 4,367 people were shot in Chicago. 25 of those people were shot by the Chicago Police Department.

                Yeah, it’s the cops who are the problem.

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              • Adam H.
                Adam H. February 17, 2017 at 3:25 pm

                This is a false choice. I argue for better gun control and that includes the police.

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              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty February 18, 2017 at 10:41 am

                It’s also a false choice in the sense that neither is a realistic option. Tighter gun laws may not be constitutional, and disarming the police in an environment where criminals are well armed is unlikely to succeed (or be wise).

                Also, I think there is something going on in Chicago beyond the presence of guns. We have plenty of other well armed communities in the US where murder rates are much lower than they are in Chicago.

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              • paikiala February 17, 2017 at 2:12 pm

                how do you rationalize the white guy who got shot for the same reason in Portland?

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              • Adam H.
                Adam H. February 17, 2017 at 3:22 pm

                He survived. The black kid did not.

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    • Spiffy February 17, 2017 at 9:06 am

      “I am a big advocate of road diets but there are many roadways, including outer division which are critical to moving large volumes of traffic.”

      the question here is why we’re enabling large volumes of motor vehicle traffic…

      yes, the road can be used to move lots of people, but they don’t need to be in cars…

      take away a lane in each direction and people will either choose to suffer longer commute times or they’ll choose an alternate method…

      drivers want freedom from choice, they want to continue doing what they’re doing… change is hard, even when it’s available…

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      • random February 17, 2017 at 9:23 am

        “take away a lane in each direction and people will either choose to suffer longer commute times or they’ll choose an alternate method…”

        Yeah, because if you don’t have the money to live at 20th and Belmont, you should suffer multi-hour commutes, in order to satisfy the policy priorities of people who don’t live anywhere close to your neighborhood.

        After all, cycling in from 168th and Division to your job at OHSU is perfectly feasible for a middle-aged woman with a family.

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        • Adam H.
          Adam H. February 17, 2017 at 10:23 am

          This is the exact problem that the Powell-Division BRT project aimed to solve. However it will ultimately fail at this goal since it has been gutted by the powers that be to the point of being not much better than the existing bus service.

          What we need is not just real, quality rapid transport and bicycle infrastructure; but affordable housing close to job centers that eliminates the need for these long commutes in the first place.

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          • John Liu
            John Liu February 18, 2017 at 5:52 am

            What would you consider “affordable” and “close”? Like within X miles of downtown we need housing that costs $Y per bedroom. I’m trying to understand the actual numbers required.

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            • Hello, Kitty
              Hello, Kitty February 18, 2017 at 10:30 am

              In my neighborhood, all the (relatively) affordable housing is being redeveloped into (potentially) denser, but waaaay more expensive housing.

              What we need are limitations on development to preserve existing affordable housing before it’s all gone. We’re building a lot of housing, but we’re not getting anything affordable.

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              • Adam H.
                Adam H. February 18, 2017 at 10:55 am

                If we preserve all the existing affordable housing without building any new housing, we end up like San Francisco. Constraining supply will only drive up prices.

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              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty February 18, 2017 at 11:07 am

                I’m not saying build no new housing, only stop demolishing existing affordable housing.

                Regardless, I hope these oft-promised reductions in rents that will restore affordability arrive before everyone who needs them are forced out. I also hope that everyone living in those expensive studios never decide to start a family because they’ll have nowhere to go.

                For someone who rejects neoliberal economics in other contexts, you seem to embrace it in the housing market, even in the face of clear evidence it’s not providing us what we need.

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              • Adam H.
                Adam H. February 18, 2017 at 12:31 pm

                The law of supply and demand is not a neoliberal idea, it is fundamental to the science of economics. I do not believe the free market can solve housing problems, I simply believe that we need more housing. And if you notice, I also reject restrictive zoning policies that do not benefit the people in any way, am in favor of renter rights and protections, and support community-based housing solutions — including houseless camps. So to say that I “embrace neoliberal housing policies” is simply not true.

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              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty February 18, 2017 at 12:56 pm

                If neighborhoods want to change their zoning, I think they should be able to, via some democratic process. I just don’t think changes should be imposed on them.

                You have consistently supported relaxing zoning rules, which is exactly a neoliberal policy — put the housing supply more squarely into the hands of developers. I support a more deliberate approach, which I think should include options for slowing growth to a more manageable level (echoes of 9watts here) because I don’t think that just “more housing” will fix the problem. Nor will tenant’s rights laws (though they may help address some specific abusive practices).

                No one is buying $300K houses and replacing them with affordable housing. They build $900K+ houses in its place. “The market” wins, everyone else loses. I think it’s unlikely that a developer would ever build housing that rents for $500/mo, some of which is still available, even in the inner neighborhoods. Even in Ladd’s Addition.

                Have any cities solved an affordability crisis without increasing their area by deregulating the building market?

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              • Adam H.
                Adam H. February 18, 2017 at 3:05 pm

                I do not advocate for “relaxing zoning laws”, I want them to be more inclusive. And I agree that the one-to-one teardowns are bad for inclusive housing which is why I believe if a house is going to come down, it should be replaced with something that results in a net increase in density. I don’t love that we have to rely on large for-profit developers to build more housing, but that is unfortunately the reality we live in. I would much rather a solution that involves affordable housing that is built and owned by the community, however I am unsure how that looks in practice. I am warming to the idea that growth for growth’s sake is not productive, however in the interim, I believe it is vitally important that we allow more inclusive housing types, since it’s not as if we can or should stop people from moving here.

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              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty February 18, 2017 at 5:15 pm

                What is the practical difference between “relaxing zoning laws” and “making zoning more inclusive”?

                We had a 2-for-1 project in HAND recently, where a single house that had been providing housing for 5 adults was torn down, and two houses were built in its place. That is an increase in density. The rent in the old house was c. $500 each, whereas the new houses are selling for $900K+ each.

                Was that a win?

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              • 9watts February 18, 2017 at 5:48 pm

                ” a single house that had been providing housing for 5 adults was torn down, and two houses were built in its place. That is an increase in density.”

                I’ve long wondered how density is measured around here?
                (a) square footage of conditioned space/lot?
                If so you’re probably correct, but I think what we think we mean when we say density increases is (b) people/lot. If it is the latter, then your example is not clearly a win for density since it is easily conceivable that the five prior residents will be replaced by 1+3 or 2+ 2 or 2+3 residents in the new houses. To increase human density we’d need at least 3+3, and that result strikes me as having a 6 people on the original land area, it was acquired at immense social, environmental, & economic cost. Hardly a win.

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              • John Liu
                John Liu February 18, 2017 at 8:23 pm

                I asked you for numbers. Sorry, but this is a financial question and if you won’t use numbers when talking about financial questions, you are wasting your time.

                Spend some time on your favorite real estate site, search for new construction townhouses (realtor word for duplex) in the close in east side. You’ll find they are selling for $650,000 to $800,000 per unit (usually 2,000-2,400 square foot and supposedly high-end). As long as the developer can find people affluent enough to pay that price, he won’t bother building anything that sells for less.

                That’s why you are seeing older houses bought for $400,000 to $600,000, demolished, and replaced with new houses and townhouses that are even more expensive than the original house. Kind of a backwards step for affordability, wouldn’t you say?. Another small fixer-upper that a non-affluent family could have bought as their first house, bulldozed for luxury infill.

                The only way to get affordable housing in the close in east side is to stack many floors of housing on the same piece of land, in other words, apartment and condominium buildings that are 4 to 6 stories. Because those units are less desirable than houses and townhouses (no yard, no garage, maybe no parking, fewer windows, etc) people won’t pay as much for them. And because cost per unit is lower than for houses and townhouses (on each square foot of land, you are stacking 4-5 units), the developer can still make a profit at the lower price, so he’ll bother building them.

                Fortunately, there are hundreds of such apartment building projects underway in the close in east side. You probably ride by many every day. There are far more in the permitting stage. Over the next few years, some 16,000 apartment units will come on the market – assuming the economy doesn’t weaken enough to cause projects to be cancelled. And those units will be far more affordable than the $650,000 to $800,000 townhouses we started out taking about.

                Whether they will be affordable enough for your criteria, I don’t know, because you didn’t answer my question.

                That will work for now, anyway. If the demand to live in the close in east side ever becomes as high as the demand to live in the Pearl, then even stacking units up high won’t result in affordable prices. In places like the Pearl, there simply is no way to have affordable housing except through public subsidy (waste of money that isn’t available anyway) or through mandate (like inclusionary zoning, which may produce some affordable housing starting in 2020 or later, but may also produce almost no affordable housing because at that point we may be in the next recession.)

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              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty February 19, 2017 at 3:20 am

                Even with “stacking” all we’re seeing is expensive studio apartments because, as you say, that’s where the profit is. At some point, people who are currently content with a studio are going to start having families, at which point the pressure on single-family housing is going to grow immensely. Given what those people are willing and able to pay for rent, I suspect there will be a growing demand for top-end houses, which make the housing affordability crisis even worse.

                Even if you believe that affordability could be solved through increased supply alone, it is not clear to me where all these new families will end up. Americans, for the most part, want to raise their families in houses (you know, with yards). It strikes me that all the housing we’re building today might just be setting us up for a different housing crisis in the future.

                What is affordable? I feel crazy for saying so, but perhaps, for a family, $350K? (That’s actually not affordable for many families). That number seems resonant because a house just sold for that near the one I wrote about above, bought by a developer, able to offer cash and waive the inspection.

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      • MaxD February 17, 2017 at 9:47 am

        I agree with you, Spiffy, with one caveat: The City needs to do a much better job at providing functioning alternatives. That means more trains, more buses, more frequent buses, longer operating hours, more signalized crossings for people walking, complete bike network _expand and fill in the gaps)

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  • rick February 16, 2017 at 8:17 pm

    Please help with SW Terwilliger Blvd as most of it is 25 mph ! Very bad on SW Vista and Patton !

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  • Tom February 16, 2017 at 9:38 pm

    As the city rolls out safety cameras, I’m wondering if there is a DIY opportunity to increase the impact by installing official or official-looking safety camera signage at appropriate locations that don’t actually have any cameras (yet). Many people driving seeing the signage would like not take the chance of it being a real camera location, especially during the period when the city is continuously adding them and the locations were not all well known yet. This would allow a much larger area to be covered in a shorter period of time. There should be some critical coverage level that would start to convince people driving that they should just drive under the speed limit all the time, vs constantly alternating between speeding and not-speeding and trying to keep track of all the camera locations. At the current pace of installations it seems like it will take many years to reach this coverage level, but signs are relatively cheap. I would be willing to pitch in for at least a few of them.

    In addition to the fixed safety camera location, it would be great to explore the impact of mobile safety camera enforcement using modified speed trailers/carts, which could be moved around to new locations. These carts could be place at locations with safety camera signage that did not have fixed cameras. With only one mobile camera cart and many cheep signs, we could achieve the effectiveness of a large array of fixed cameras without the high cost.

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    • David Hampsten February 17, 2017 at 3:16 am

      You are assuming that those people who regularly break the law by speeding only use their eyes. In much of Europe, regular speeders use apps on their cell phones and GPS units to locate existing red light and speed cameras, which are also incidentally published in road atlases. Speeders simply avoid such streets and use others instead, often local cut-throughs. By making outer Division more safe, will we be making the 4M dramatically more dangerous as a consequence? Decoy systems are pretty common in much of Europe and the UK. The apps are pretty sophisticated and can easily distinguish between the real thing and the false ones.

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      • Fattire February 17, 2017 at 8:02 am

        “Regular speeders” might use an app but for most people the cameras help change behavior. Cameras are one tool of enforcement. Europe is a diverse place but in the countries I’ve visited people don’t drive nearly as fast and poorly as they do here.

        Also, in North Carolina people tend to drive very slowly. Why? One reason is there are cops everywhere looking to give you a ticket.

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        • Hello, Kitty
          Hello, Kitty February 17, 2017 at 11:21 am

          >>> in the countries I’ve visited people don’t drive nearly as fast and poorly as they do here <<<

          What countries have you visited? This does not sound like the Europe I know.

          130 km/hr is a common highway speed limit, which is 80MPH. Where in the US are speed limits that fast? And I'm ignoring Poland, where the limit is even higher, and Germany, some roads have no limit at all.

          And even then, there are speed cameras around because drivers don't obey even these limits.

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          • Hello, Kitty
            Hello, Kitty February 17, 2017 at 11:21 am

            Oh, and “poorly”… ever visited southern Europe?

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        • David Hampsten February 17, 2017 at 9:16 pm

          Fattire, Drivers here in NC drive much faster than they do in Oregon, partly because the cops do too. The lack of enforcement is just as big of an issue here as it is in Oregon or anywhere else for that matter. Our crash rate is among the highest in the USA, with about 20% of the fatalities being pedestrians.

          HK, most of Western Europe actually has much lower fatal crash rates than the USA. The Netherlands, UK, and Scandinavia are way low, of course, but France, Germany, Italy, and Belgium are lower too. Eastern Europe’s are generally higher, more or less on par with the US. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_traffic-related_death_rate

          I do agree that freeway (autobahn/autostrada) speeds are far higher than in the USA, though Germany is now adding limits to some autobahns after too many deaths, but urban speeds even in Italy are much lower. When I’m there, I do find Italian’s propensity to park on sidewalks extremely annoying, though!

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          • Hello, Kitty
            Hello, Kitty February 18, 2017 at 10:47 am

            German roads (for example) are much better designed than ours, and are better able to accommodate faster speeds. Also, the level of driver training and skill, at least in northern Europe, is far greater than here.

            The Germans I’ve driven with plan a 30 minute rest break into a 4 hour drive, for example. Who does that here?

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    • Spiffy February 17, 2017 at 9:13 am

      I can’t find it right now but…

      I read about a town that puts up red light camera housings and signs all over the place, although they have less actual cameras… then they rotate the actual cameras every now and then so drivers aren’t sure if there’s a camera at any given intersection or not…

      it’s likely more cost effective to simply un-mount and re-mount the cameras rather than pay for more cameras and maintenance…

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      • Kyle Banerjee February 18, 2017 at 5:47 am

        This may help slow people down, but having cameras all over the place also makes it feel like you live in a police state, and it’s also not good to have people staring at or thinking about cameras as this is a distraction from the road. Speed is important, but there are other components of safety.

        Having said that, I think cameras are also a useful tool for crashes, crimes, and other things.

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  • Scott Kocher February 16, 2017 at 10:14 pm

    Thank you to everyone at PBOT and in the community who has worked on this.

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  • Ted Buehler February 17, 2017 at 3:20 pm

    Thanks PBOT!

    If you all have comments on this, I highly encourage you to contact Commissioner Saltzman’s office and say “Yes, Nice work!” or “Whatever” or anything else.

    https://www.portlandoregon.gov/saltzman/
    dan@portlandoregon.gov
    (503) 823-4151

    If you want to see more decisive moves like this, you want to make sure they get recognized and appreciated for moves they are making now.

    Ted Buehler

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    • John Liu
      John Liu February 18, 2017 at 8:29 pm

      I think 90% of the commenters here complain about every new bike infrastructure or safety measure PBOT takes.

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      • 9watts February 18, 2017 at 8:33 pm

        Well if it has all kinds of problems….

        And we know what the real thing is like….

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  • Hornet's Nest February 17, 2017 at 4:54 pm

    Adam H.
    He survived. The black kid did not.
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    You didn’t actually have to rationalize it..

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  • random February 17, 2017 at 4:58 pm

    Adam H.
    This is a false choice. I argue for better gun control and that includes the police.
    Recommended 0

    “This is a false choice. I argue for better gun control and that includes the police.”

    Chicago has the toughest gun control laws in the country.

    Doesn’t help.

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    • Adam H.
      Adam H. February 17, 2017 at 8:16 pm

      Clearly the toughest gun control laws in a country with one of the loosest gun laws isn’t good enough.

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  • John Liu
    John Liu February 19, 2017 at 2:11 pm

    Hello, Kitty
    Even with “stacking” all we’re seeing is expensive studio apartments because, as you say, that’s where the profit is. At some point, people who are currently content with a studio are going to start having families, at which point the pressure on single-family housing is going to grow immensely. Given what those people are willing and able to pay for rent, I suspect there will be a growing demand for top-end houses, which make the housing affordability crisis even worse.
    Even if you believe that affordability could be solved through increased supply alone, it is not clear to me where all these new families will end up. Americans, for the most part, want to raise their families in houses (you know, with yards). It strikes me that all the housing we’re building today might just be setting us up for a different housing crisis in the future.
    What is affordable? I feel crazy for saying so, but perhaps, for a family, $350K? (That’s actually not affordable for many families). That number seems resonant because a house just sold for that near the one I wrote about above, bought by a developer, able to offer cash and waive the inspection.
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    At current 30 year rate of a bit under 4%, a $400,000 mortgage requires a payment of less than $2,000 per month. Less the income tax deduction that’s less than $1,500 after tax per month, or less than the rent on many two bedroom apartments. If you use the increasingly old fashioned rule of thumb that your mortgage payment should be no more than 35% of gross income, that implies about $50,000 annual income which is about the median household income in Portland. The rub is, of course, coming up with the down payment and credit history to qualify. For most people, that will require several years of diligent saving, or help from family, or ?

    This translates to a house in the $450,000-500,000 range, and smaller, mildly fixer-upper houses can still be bought for that in much of close in East Portland. Even in my neighborhood, where new McMansions are selling for $1.2 million, there are smaller, fixer-upper houses selling for $400,000 to $500,000. Often selling to developers ready to file demolition permits and build the next McMansion, but not always.

    Is that ” affordable”? Not according to the conventional definition which refers to a family making 60% of median income. But probably yes to many families who no-one would consider rich or even affluent. Maybe we should call this sort of price level “approximately attainable”.

    There’s room to think outside the box as well. Live in not-so-close-in Portland, have a roommate, use basement or attic as an unpermitted rental, rent backyard to a tiny house dweller. A friend of mine is buying his house out by NE 87th from his (super cool) landlady for $270,000 and we figured that with a couple of the above maneuvers, he’ll be able to just about live there for free.

    Sorry for using all these numbers, Adam. You simply can’t analyze financial issues if you’re not going to crunch numbers. Otherwise you’re just hand-waving.

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    • Hello, Kitty
      Hello, Kitty February 19, 2017 at 3:21 pm

      OK, one tiny quibble with your numbers… the mortgage tax deduction only applies after you’ve satisfied the standard deduction; that is, the first $11K isn’t really as tax free as it sounds because you’d get that anyway if you didn’t itemize. At a marginal rate of 30%, that reduces your comparative benefit by about $3500.

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    • soren February 19, 2017 at 5:06 pm

      “you simply can’t analyze financial issues if you’re not going to crunch numbers.”

      so i guess points, lending fees, property taxes, maintenance, PMI (for most people), insurance, discretionary spending to furnish a home, and the fact that the average loan-owner moves in 7-9 years (well before they transition from paying down interest to accumulating equity occurs) are fake numbers. for many, purchasing a home is one of the dumbest financial decisions they will every make.

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      • Lester Burnham February 20, 2017 at 8:39 am

        Yeah I know us home owners are real chumps, but it sure feels good to be paying a mortgage than in many cases is about half what some folks are paying for a crappy rental. Not to mention my house is now worth nearly double what I paid for it.

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      • Hello, Kitty
        Hello, Kitty February 20, 2017 at 9:52 am

        And for many it is the smartest. Your mileage may vary.

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  • John Liu
    John Liu February 19, 2017 at 6:37 pm

    Good point, thanks.

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