2011 legislative session

Oregon Senate passes speed limit reduction bill

Avatar by on June 1st, 2011 at 12:35 pm

vigilante neighborhood speed enforcement

New law would make it easier for
cities to lower speed limits
on residential streets.
(Photo © J. Maus)

House Bill 3150 took a very big step toward becoming reality today. The bill, which would give cities the authority to lower the speed limit on residential streets by five miles per hour (from 25 to 20 mph in most cases), passed a vote on the Senate floor by 26-3.

HB 3150 passed the House by a wide margin back in March and has been working its way through the Senate committee process ever since.
[Read more…]

Salem Watch: ‘Distracted pedestrians’ and crosswalk safety bill under fire – Updated

Avatar by on May 31st, 2011 at 12:57 pm

“I gotta’ tell you, not only do we have impatient drivers, we have distracted pedestrians…. Up in Portland, there’s people up that just step right out saying, ‘I gotta’ right to step out in front of your truck.'”
— Rep. Michael Schaufler

Senate Bill 424, which would clarify and strengthen Oregon’s crosswalk law, is under fire in Salem as lawmakers in the House Judiciary Committee threaten to strip the safety provisions from it entirely.

Willamette Pedestrian Coalition executive director Steph Routh says some members of the committee have made it clear that instead of passing the bill with the new crosswalk safety language, they’d like to cut those provisions and leave only a firefighter fundraising provision that was added to the bill after it was introduced (that provision has to do with the annual “Fill the boot” fundraiser where firefighters stand on the side of the road and ask for donations).[Read more…]

Oregon state Senators want to raise highway speed limit

Avatar by on May 13th, 2011 at 1:52 pm

“Oregon is the odd one out when it comes to the nation’s speed limits. By modernizing our speed limit we can increase the flow of traffic, lower commute times and fast track commerce through the state.”
— Sen. Bruce Starr (R-Hillsboro)

Saying that Oregon’s speed limit is “behind the times,” state Senators Bruce Starr (R-Hillsboro) and Jason Atkinson (R-Central Point) are working to raise speeds limits on highways and interstates to 75 miles per hour. The senators say they’ll look to amend House Bill 3150, the “neighborhood greenway bill” which was introduced to lower speed limits on certain residential streets by five miles per hour (down to 20 mph).

HB 3150 passed the House back in March by a vote of 45-14.

In a statement released today, Sen. Atkinson said, [Read more…]

Salem Watch: Bike signal bill passes House committee

Avatar by on May 2nd, 2011 at 12:06 pm

SB 130 would make these official.
(Photo © J. Maus)

Senate Bill 130 (text), which would add bicycle-only signals to Oregon’s list of traffic control devices, passed out of the House Committee on Transportation and Economic Development on Friday.

SB 130 passed the full Senate back in February and it’s now poised for a House vote and eventual passage into law.

Paul Mather, a highway division administrator for the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT), testified on behalf of the bill on Friday. In response to a question from Committee Chair Rep. Cliff Bentz about what benefits the bill might have for automobile drivers, Mathers said,[Read more…]

Oregon House committee amends CRC bill

Avatar by on April 19th, 2011 at 3:16 pm

House Joint Memorial 22, a bill in the Oregon legislature that some feared would have sent a strong message to the federal government in support of the controversial Columbia River Crossing project, made it out of committee yesterday; but the version that was voted on is much different than the original.

As we reported last month, the original version of HJM 22 urged the federal government to fund the controversial project. The bill was far from objective and, in addition to urging federal investment, it characterized the project as a “comprehensive solution” that was needed to “expand capacity” of I-5 between Oregon and Washington. [Read more…]

Salem Watch: School transportation bill could impact biking/walking

Avatar by on April 6th, 2011 at 2:57 pm

A bill introduced in Salem this morning, HB 3622 (PDF), is being watched by biking and walking advocates for its possible impact on school transportation funding.

Authored by Rep. Betty Komp of Woodburn, the bill seeks to revise the method of calculating transportation block grants from the State School Fund distributions by allowing “district school [boards] to determine distances for which school [districts] will provide transportation. […] Allows Superintendent of Public Instruction to impose sanctions on school district for failure to maintain safe school buses and school activity vehicles.” [Read more…]

Salem Watch: CRC, bike trailer safety bill in committee

Avatar by on March 30th, 2011 at 8:35 am

Legislator bike ride at the Oregon Bike Summit-1

The Oregon State Capitol.
(Photo © J. Maus)

A few quick notes about bills of interest working their way through the legislature…

HJM 22, the bill urging the federal government to fund the Columbia River Crossing highway expansion project that has kicked up quite a hornet’s nest of opposition from both sides of the aisle, will continue its public hearing and possible vote today. The bill will be heard at the 1:00 pm meeting of the House Transportation and Economic Development Committee.
[Read more…]

Salem Watch: ‘Crosswalk Safety Bill’ up for hearing, possible vote

Avatar by on March 28th, 2011 at 10:11 am

Crosswalks in action-3

SB 424, the ‘Crosswalk Safety Bill’ that’s intended to improve the safety of people attempting to cross the street, will get a public hearing and possible vote in the Senate Judiciary Committee tomorrow (3/29) at 8:30 AM.

We shared some background on this bill last month. In short, it “Clarifies that pedestrian is crossing roadway when any part or extension of pedestrian’s body moves onto roadway with intent to proceed.”

Below are some bullet points being shared by local walking advocates:[Read more…]

Salem Watch: CRC could get vote in House committee Monday

Avatar by on March 24th, 2011 at 4:17 pm

“The BTA is concerned about the cost of the CRC… Though this bill does not have a fiscal statement the bridge itself puts the State of Oregon on the hook for at least $400 million dollars.”
— Gerik Kransky, BTA

Oregon lawmakers will weigh in on the controversial Columbia River Crossing project this Monday when House Joint Memorial 22 (text) gets a public hearing and possible vote in the House Transportation and Economic Development Committee.

HJM 22 is a pro-CRC statement that, “urges the federal government” to fund the project. If passed, it would send a strong message that Oregon is behind the project and a copy of the statement would go to President Obama, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Speaker of the House John Boehner, every member of the Oregon Congressional Delegation and to US DOT Secretary Ray LaHood.

Here’s an excerpt from the text of HJM 22:[Read more…]

Salem Watch: Car-sharing bill passes House (and other updates)

Avatar by on March 21st, 2011 at 1:40 pm

“Car sharing families drive demonstrably less than car-owning families, less driving means less congestion and less pollution.”
— Sen. Jackie Dingfelder

House Bill 3149, which would make it easier for Oregonians to share their cars with others, passed the House today by a vote of 47-10. The bill would allow a car owner to rent out their car to friends or neighbors through a car-sharing service without fear of increased insurance rates or loss of policy.

The bill’s chief sponsors are Representative Ben Cannon (D-Portland) and Senator Jackie Dingfelder (D-Portland). In a prepared statement following today’s vote, Rep. Cannon said,

“Vehicles sit idle 92% of the time. Peer-to-peer car sharing is a free-market concept that allows car owners to recoup costs of car ownership, while those without cars are able to rent a vehicle in their own neighborhood.”

[Read more…]