Portland’s 20 mph speed limit bill passes Senate, nears final passage

Posted on May 23rd, 2017 at 10:22 am.

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East Portland resident Sarah Iannarone during a December 2016 protest at the corner of SE 82nd and Division.
(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

A new state law that would allow the City of Portland to reduce speed limits on over 3,000 miles of residential streets — that’s over 60 percent of all the streets in Portland — to 20 mph cleared a major hurdle yesterday.

With a vote of 4-1 in the Senate Committee On Business and Transportation, House Bill 2682 now only has to pass a vote of the full Senate before it can be signed into law. The bill passed the Oregon House 55-1 back in April.

The bill, sponsored by State Respresentative Rob Nosse, would only apply to the City of Portland. It was amended after cities and counties across the state said they didn’t want the added resonsibility of making speed limit decisions themselves and would rather have ODOT’s continued oversight.
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The latest on Oregon’s bike tax proposal from Street Trust policy director Gerik Kransky

Posted on May 12th, 2017 at 11:33 am.

(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

What’s an advocacy group to do when they strongly oppose a policy idea, but are cognizant of the broader political context that surrounds it? It’s a complicated question that often has no easy answer.
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Distracted driving, Vision Zero, speed limits and more: Checking in on the Oregon legislative session

Posted on May 5th, 2017 at 2:29 pm.

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Lawmakers are poised overhaul Oregon’s cell phone/distracted driving law.
(Photo by J. Maus/BikePortland)

Oregon lawmakers want to make it easier to hunt animals with your car (seriously), but they want to make it harder to use your phone while doing so.

We’re just over half-way through the 2017 legislative session and it’s time to see how the bills we’ve been tracking are holding up.

As you might recall, back in February we flagged nine House bills and nine Senate bills. (We’re also watching the Joint Transportation Preservation and Modernization Committee. They’re set to unveil the big transportation funding package very soon. It could even happen at their meeting this Monday.)

Some are dead, some are on life support, and some are flourishing and are likely to become law. Here’s the full rundown:

House Bills Still Alive

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The Street Trust: Why we’re pushing for safe routes to school for every kid in Oregon

Posted on April 6th, 2017 at 2:10 pm.

Bike to School Day in NoPo-6

The upcoming legislative proposal is likely to include dedicated funding for safe routes to school.
(Photos by J. Maus/BikePortland)

This is the third and final post in a series about the 2017 legislative session published in partnership with The Street Trust. Read the other installments here and here.

— by LeeAnne Fergason, The Street Trust campaign director

The change I’d like to see in the world starts with a great compassion for kids and intersects with transportation choices, aimed at freedom and independence.

Ten years ago, I began working at the Street Trust (formerly the Bicycle Transportation Alliance), as a Safe Routes to School coordinator. I joined a dream team of organizers and partners, including: Stephanie Noll (The Street Trust’s Interim Executive Director), Carl Larson (we miss you!), Scott Lieuallen (local bike hero), Steph Routh (then Executive Director of Oregon Walks, now Communications and Marketing Manager at the Community Cycling Center), Susan Peithman (then with ALTA Planning + Design, now Oregon Department of Transportation Active Transportation Policy Lead), and many others who are still working to make our streets safe for kids. All of us were pretty young back then and learned much of our transportation nerdiness and enthusiasm by being a part of a Safe Routes to School program.
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TriMet lobbies for more freeways in a misguided ‘fix’ for Portland congestion

Posted on February 22nd, 2017 at 9:25 am.

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Don’t believe the hype.
(Photos: J. Maus/BikePortland)

This is a guest post from former news editor Michael Andersen.

The top executive of Portland’s mass transit agency said this week that the Portland region has four top transportation priorities, and three of them are to expand capacity of urban freeways.

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Here are the Oregon House bills we’re following this session (Part 2 of 2)

Posted on February 21st, 2017 at 1:36 pm.

Legislator bike ride at the Oregon Bike Summit-1

(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

The 2017 Oregon Legislative Session is well underway and we’re following as many bills as humanly possible (in a one-person newsroom).

Out of the thousands of bills swirling around the halls and meeting rooms of the state capitol building in Salem, there are few of particular importance to transportation reform advocates. Last week we shared the Senate bills we’re following and below are the House bills we’ve got an eye on…

House Bill 2355

Summary: “Directs Oregon Criminal Justice Commission to develop method for recording data concerning officer-initiated pedestrian and traffic stops” (Official overview)
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The legislative session, The Street Trust, and you (a three-part series)

Posted on February 1st, 2017 at 2:25 pm.

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The Street Trust is part of a large coalition of nonprofits working to make sure the upcoming transportation package gets passed with adequate funding for biking, walking and transit. Safe Routes to School funding will be a major focus.
(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

(Note: This article is written by Gerik Kransky, policy director for The Street Trust (formerly the Bicycle Transportation Alliance). It’s the first in a three-part series about their work on a major funding package that will be debated during the 2017 Oregon legislative session.)
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This simple bill will make it easier for cities across Oregon to lower speed limits

Posted on January 12th, 2017 at 3:21 pm.

New 20 MPH Sign

Cities know best.
(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

Interstates and urban highways are one thing; but why should the State of Oregon be able to tell cities and counties how to set speed limits on local streets?

It’s a question that has irked City of Portland transportation officials for many years and one that has grown in importance as Vision Zero has emerged as a top priority. Speeding is the top factor that determines whether someone lives or dies in a traffic collision, so it’s no surprise that cities want to do everything they can to keep it under control. But under current law the Oregon Department of Transportation wields nearly complete oversight of speed limits. With just one narrowly-defined exception (more on that below), ODOT gets first and final say about how fast people can legally drive on every street in Oregon.

That might be changing thanks to a bill making its way through the legislative process in Salem.

Currently, the one exception to ODOT’s oversight of speed limits is on residential streets that have been engineered specifically to prioritize vulnerable roadway users. Cities and counties won the right to lower the speed limit on residential streets (a.k.a. “neighborhood greenways” in Portland) to 20 mph in the 2011 legislative session.
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Mayor Wheeler gives transportation bureau oversight to Saltzman

Posted on January 3rd, 2017 at 11:30 am.

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Commissioner Saltzman at a press conference for Portland Bike Share in September 2015.
(Photos: J. Maus/BikePortland)

City Commissioner Dan Saltzman has been given a new assignment by Mayor Ted Wheeler: the Portland Bureau of Transportation. Wheeler announced the bureau assignments via executive order this morning.

Saltzman has had his council seat since 1999 — the longest of any other member — and this is his first time having control of PBOT. The bureau was previously led by Steve Novick, who lost his re-election bid to Chloe Eudaly in November. In Portland’s form of government, each commissioner (and the Mayor) are given oversight of city bureaus. They then advocate for policies and funding plans that are advantageous to their bureaus.

Also as commissioner of PBOT Saltzman will represent the City of Portland on Metro’s Joint Policy Advisory Committee on Transportation, a body made up of elected officials that sets transportation policy and priorities for the entire region.

With PBOT in his portfolio, Saltzman can now guide one of the city’s largest bureaus and one that has a vast impact on people’s everyday lives. It’s unclear where exactly Saltzman stands on major transportation policies since he hasn’t played a pivotal role on the topic for many years.

A quick look at the BikePortland archives however does give us some clues.[Read more…]

In election aftermath, Blumenauer resolute on transportation agenda

Posted on November 16th, 2016 at 12:56 pm.

Rep Earl Blumenauer at opening plenary-3

Blumenauer in 2012.
(Photos: J. Maus/BikePortland)

As the Republican party takes over our federal government, U.S. Congressman Earl Blumenauer feels like all hope for his transportation and livability agenda is not lost. Reached via phone from his D.C. office yesterday Portland’s popular representative referred to the election results as “personally appalling” and “grim news for the presidency.”

But despite major losses for Democrats, Blumenauer, who won over 73 percent of the vote in Oregon’s 3rd congressional district on Tuesday, is optimistic about the future of “livable communities” — a set of issues and policies he’s built a legacy on during 20 years in office.

In an interview yesterday I asked Blumenauer for his thoughts on the election, whether he’ll work with the Trump administration on a new transportation funding bill, and more. The questions and answers below have been edited for clarity.
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