speed limits

The outdated and dangerous 85th percentile rule is dead in Oregon

Avatar by on April 15th, 2020 at 2:29 pm

On May 1st, traffic engineers in the state of Oregon will no longer rely on an outdated and dangerous method for setting speed limits. Thanks to new rules adopted by the Oregon Transportation Commission last month, the process for for designating speeds has changed dramatically and now goes way beyond the traditional 85 percentile method.

The 85th percentile rule has dominated U.S. traffic engineering since it was championed in the 1960s. It says limits should set at the speed which 85% of drivers are currently driving at or under. What could possibly go wrong? Since it’s a universal phenomenon that people drive faster than what’s safe, this methodology is very biased toward higher speeds and it’s a big factor in America’s rising traffic death toll. [Read more…]

Oregon lawmakers vote to give cities authority to set speed limits

Avatar by on February 14th, 2020 at 1:16 pm

Rep. Rob Nosse speaking at a Joint Transportation Committee hearing on February 4th.

A key part of the City of Portland’s 2020 legislative agenda and traffic safety efforts got a boost in Salem yesterday when the Joint Committee on Transportation voted 10-2 in favor of House Bill 4103 which authorizes the Oregon Department of Transportation to delegate authority to set speed limits to cities and counties.

HB 4103 is a continuation of work that began last session by House Representative Rob Nosse, a Democrat who represents southeast Portland. Urged by the Portland Bureau of Transportation in their ongoing quest to lower speed limits and make roads safer, Nosse proposed a bill last year (HB 2702) that would have given Portland the ability to set speeds on certain streets in its jurisdiction. That bill didn’t make it out of committee, so Nosse continued discussions with ODOT and lawmakers and brought back a revised version this session.
[Read more…]

Let’s be like Leslie Carlson and make driving the speed limit a hot new trend

Avatar by on January 21st, 2020 at 2:17 pm

“What started as an exercise in modifying my own behavior has become an interesting social experiment in watching other drivers react.”
— Leslie Carlson

[Read more…]

NW Portland is now a Slow Zone. Here’s how your neighborhood can be one too

Avatar by on January 6th, 2020 at 7:54 am

This new sign on NW Glisan helps complete the NW Slow Zone.
(Photo: Scott Kocher)

By Portland resident Scott Kocher, a lawyer and safety advocate who has worked tirelessly to encourage the City of Portland to lower speeds in many Northwest neighborhoods.

Have you noticed new 20 mph signs in northwest Portland?[Read more…]

A lower speed limit on St. Johns Bridge? Maybe

Avatar by on December 18th, 2019 at 4:37 pm

A very sad sharrow in a stressful riding environment. The least ODOT can do is lower the speed limit. (And just FYI, that sidewalk is very narrow and is not technically wide enough for bicycle users and walkers to share.)

I have good news to share regarding a little advocacy effort in St. Johns.

Remember how the Oregon Department of Transportation lowered the speed limit on the St. Johns Bridge to 25 mph during a recent construction project? They told me the rationale was to protect vulnerable work crews who were walking on the bridge sidewalk.

It struck me that everyone who uses the St. Johns Bridge outside of a car is just as vulnerable as a construction worker, so why not keep make that speed limit reduction permanent?

As I shared in October, I made a request to ODOT through their public input portal to do just that. ODOT told me the request would have to come from the City of Portland. So I made a similar request to the Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) via the 823-SAFE hotline.

Guess what? [Read more…]

Proposed rule changes would let ODOT set safer speeds

Avatar by on December 13th, 2019 at 3:07 pm

(Slides from an ODOT presentation explain proposed changes.)[Read more…]

“Slow down!” Neighbors fight back against speeders with signs and cheers

Avatar by on September 26th, 2019 at 4:27 pm

City staff, advocates and nearby residents made themselves seen and heard on SE Stark this morning.
(Photos: J. Maus/BikePortland)

[Read more…]

City lowers speed limits in latest effort to control the insanity on Marine Drive

Avatar by on May 31st, 2019 at 10:43 am

PBOT crews installed the new signs this morning.
(Photo: City of Portland)

Marine Drive has been a problem child for the Portland Bureau of Transportation for years and the city hopes recent disciplinary actions help set it straight.

The road’s design encourages dangerous driving and the city has tried all types of tricks to slow people down and prevent them from running into each other, or from running off the road and into the Columbia River — something that happens more often than you think.

In one week last month, two drivers failed to control their vehicles and ended up in the river. One of them didn’t make it out alive.

The latest move is a speed limit reduction from 45 to 40 mph on an 8.5 mile segment between NE 33rd and 185th (Portland city limits). Last year PBOT lowered the speed limit west of this segment (from 40 to 35) and installed speed cameras at two locations (33rd and 138th).
[Read more…]

At hearing on speed limit bills, lawmaker bristles at mention of ‘traffic violence’

Avatar by on March 19th, 2019 at 11:32 am

The Street Trust Advocacy Director Richa Poudyal (L) and Oregon House Rep. Caddy McKeown.

Earlier this month a pair of bills that would give cities across Oregon more authority to set speed limits on local streets got their first hearing in front of lawmakers at the state capitol in Salem.

There was no vote taken on either Senate Bill 558 or House Bill 2702 at the Joint Transportation Commitee on March 6th; but the conversation between advocates, lobbyists, agency staff, and lawmakers was notable. Especially an exchange about “traffic violence”. [Read more…]

City lowers speed limits on Marine Drive west of 33rd, the ‘gnarliest gap of them all’

Avatar by on September 26th, 2018 at 11:34 am

View of Marine Drive eastbound approaching Columbia Edgewater Country Club.

(PBOT graphic)

When we shared the news of improvements coming to the NE Marine Drive last month, many of you were disappointed that nothing was being done on the section between I-5 and 33rd Avenue.

A commenter named Kristin shared that, “Though there’s a ‘bike lane’ through that section, it’s crazily overgrown and very narrow in spots, making the fast truck traffic even scarier.”
[Read more…]