speed

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

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

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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. [Read more…]

Despite safety rhetoric, ODOT looks into raising highway truck speeds

by on December 5th, 2016 at 3:55 pm

"Higher Speed Limit: No More Need to Speed" says an ODOT sign following speed limit increase in March 2016.(Photo: ODOT)

“Higher Speed Limit: No More Need to Speed” says an ODOT sign following speed limit increase in March 2016.
(Photo: ODOT)

The faster a vehicle travels, the more likely it is to hurt its operator or other road users. Advocates know this, first responders know this, traffic engineers know this, safety experts knows this. It’s a simple concept that fuels a lot of policy and advocacy — yet some politicians are still enthralled with the idea that the benefits of going faster outweigh the human costs.

After we got our first clue about two weeks ago, we’ve now confirmed that the Oregon Department of Transportation has commenced an engineering report on raising truck speeds on interstate highways. The move comes after an unnamed lawmaker said they plan to introduce legislation in the 2017 session to raise the speed limit on I-5 and two other major highways.

Let’s back up a bit…
[Read more…]

Portland about to win another major battle in its quest to lower speed limits

by on August 24th, 2016 at 2:12 pm

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The City of Portland thinks proximity to vulnerable road users should be used to determine speed limits — not the dangerous behaviors of those with the most protection.
(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

It’s simple: When we drive too fast, it’s much easier to kill someone. But even with that clear and present danger, the vast majority of us still speed. Our roads will never be safe until we get a handle on this and now the City of Portland has taken a big step in the right direction.
[Read more…]

Yes! Fixed photo radar cameras coming to four of Portland’s ‘high crash corridors’

by on May 5th, 2016 at 12:39 pm

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This section of Beaverton-Hillsdale Highway is one of four locations that will be monitored by fixed photo radar cameras beginning this summer.
(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

Portland’s fight against the epidemic of speeding on our streets is about to get real. Beginning August 1st of this year the city’s first unmanned fixed photo radar cameras will go into operation.

The new cameras will be installed by Xerox Corporation at four locations as per an ordinance adopted by Portland City Council yesterday (PDF). The ordinance calls for two cameras (facing each direction) that will be in operation 24 hours a day seven days a week at each location: Beaverton-Hillsdale Highway between 30th and 39th, SE 122nd between Foster and Powell, Marine Drive, and outer SE Division. The Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) is focused on these locations because they are all on a list of “high crash corridors” that have a history of fatal crashes that’s at least 25 percent higher than normal.
[Read more…]

Portland ‘Transformation’ bureau unveils a new trick: ’20 is Plenty’ signs

Michael Andersen (Contributor) by on March 24th, 2016 at 3:49 pm

The anonymous street-safety activists at PDX Transformation are following the lead of successful campaigns in New York City and the United Kingdom to spread the idea of driving at nonlethal speeds.

The group took responsibility last weekend for hanging a set of signs that look like legal speed-limit signs but aren’t.

KATU-TV’s Reed Andrews reported Wednesday that the signs were “donated by someone who works for a sign-making company.”

[Read more…]

‘Aggro’ driving on neighborhood greenways annoys Portlanders in cars too

Michael Andersen (Contributor) by on June 23rd, 2015 at 4:54 pm

clinton speed

Here’s another take on the much-discussed and increasingly well-documented problem of people who are in a big hurry to drive on some of Portland’s neighborhood greenways (sometimes known as bike boulevards).

My commute has me driving for four blocks on the Clinton bike boulevard west of 21st. For the second time this month I’ve had an aggressive drive pass me to speed down the street. This morning there was a line of bicyclists in front of me basically taking up the lane through to the next signal, as well as oncoming traffic. It would not have been safe or prudent to overtake the bicyclists as I would have to either cut one of them off or stay in the oncoming lane until the next signal. Instead I just drove at the speed of the bikes which was around 18mph. The car that passed me nearly took out a cyclist trying to get back in our lane to avoid a head on collision. It’s completely ridiculous to me that PPB has nearly zero traffic enforcement, especially on our neighborhood greenways where safe respectful driving is even more important. I’ve tried calling in requesting enforcement but have not seen any cops. Any ideas on how to make our streets better, and what the fuck is going on this summer that is making all the drivers extra aggressive?

[Read more…]

Speeding is common on most neighborhood greenways in Portland, study finds

Michael Andersen (Contributor) by on June 17th, 2015 at 9:36 am

greenway auto speeds

A city map of 85th-percentile auto speeds on neighborhood greenways, which typically have a speed limit of 20 mph and are intended to be safe for people of all ages to bike, run, walk and play.

Speeding is routine on more than half of Portland’s celebrated neighborhood greenway system, according to a yet-to-be-released city study.[Read more…]

City engaged in battle against speeding epidemic

by on June 12th, 2015 at 11:59 am

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PBOT has asked the state for a trial of new speed limit zones they say would reduce collisions.
(Photo © J. Maus/BikePortland)

Of all the ingredients that make up a dangerous roadway environment, most pundits and policymakers agree that speeding is one of the biggest threats. At a meeting of transportation advocates hosted by Portland Mayor Charlie Hales and Bureau of Transportation Commissioner Steve Novick earlier this month, the scourge of speed was a constant thread through the discussion.[Read more…]

New signs help raise visibility of ‘neighborhood greenways’

Michael Andersen (Contributor) by on April 14th, 2015 at 2:34 pm

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Look, ma, those side streets with bike arrows, speed bumps and crossing signals have a name now.
(Photo: Portland Bureau of Transportation)

Five years after it invented the term “neighborhood greenway” and three years after getting permission to set neighborhood greenway speed limits at 20 mph, Portland is putting the phrase directly on its streets.

The city is installing almost 100 of the above signs this week on the N Michigan, N/NE Blandena/Going/Alberta, SE Salmon/Taylor, and SE Bush/100th/101st neighborhood greenways.

Cost: less than $5,000, or about $50 per sign, installation included.

[Read more…]

State’s anti-speeding photo radar bill flips ‘scofflaw’ narrative

Michael Andersen (Contributor) by on March 11th, 2015 at 8:31 am

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Just another day on SW Barbur Boulevard, one of 10 streets that could be fitted with radar cameras under a proposed state law.
(Photos: J.Maus/BikePortland)

When it comes to the rules of the road, there are a few facts of life — or, as sociologists might call them, social norms.

When people are in cars, they tend to drive over the speed limit if they feel it’s safe to do so and they can get away with it.

When people are on bikes, they tend to roll through stop signs if they feel it’s safe to do so and they can get away with it.

When people are on foot, they tend to cross the street whenever they feel it’s safe to do so and they can get away with it.

[Read more…]