New speed limit signs installed by Multnomah County late last month should encourage lower speeds on a major cycling route on Sauvie Island.
NW Gillihan Road is the southern half of the main loop around the rural, farm-dotted island about 10 miles north of downtown Portland. The scenic and usually low-traffic roads on Sauvie Island are a big draw for bicycle riders who seek a quick escape from the city. The only downside is that, like with many rural roads, there isn’t much room on the shoulder. When car users pass bike riders at high speeds, it can be very stressful.
Island residents formally requested the lower speed limits. Multnomah County responded to the concerns by requesting a speed limit reduction from 55 mph to 45 mph on the six-mile stretch of road. The Oregon Department of Transportation studied the road and granted their request in fall 2021. These will be new signs, since the road previously had a statutory speed (default speeds set in Oregon law for specific types of roads) and was not required to have speed limit signs.
This move comes four years after Multnomah County banned booze on the island during the summer due in large part to traffic safety concerns.
The lower speeds on Gillihan should help improve road safety on the island and might even help tamp down ongoing tensions between some drivers and bike riders.
If you ride out there regularly, let us know if you notice any difference.