Whether it’s the Coronavirus Effect, a general sense of lawlessness, lack of concern about consequences, or all of the above — the Portland Police Bureau Traffic Division has been very busy with dangerous drivers recently.
You’ve likely seen the headlines about a spike in speeding. This is happening for the aforementioned reasons and because the pandemic has opened up more space on the roads. Any armchair traffic engineer will tell you that when people have more space to operate a vehicle they will use it to go faster (like 107 mph in a 45 mph zone) and take more chances.
Now we have hard data from the PPB about how this phenomenon is playing out locally.
Kate Walker lives in the Montavilla neighborhood and wants to make its main commercial street safer. Her focus: Reduce the speed limit on SE Stark from 30 to 20 miles per hour.
Simmering tensions about dangerous drivers who cut-through north Portland’s Arbor Lodge neighborhood have reached a new level.
According to a post and photo on Nextdoor, someone defaced around 40 of those orange, “20 is Plenty – Vision Zero Portland” signs on Saturday night.
Here’s the original post:
Changing America’s dysfunctional traffic culture begins on the street in front of where you live.
It will take a lot more than signs and paint to win the battle against traffic violence — but both of those things are part of the fight. The Portland Bureau of Transportation has a new way you can aid their “Vision Zero” efforts: They now offer free ’20 is Plenty’ yard signs. Their goal is to help educate us about speed and give everyone a bit of a fair warning before the new 20 mph citywide residential speed limit goes into effect on April 1st (no foolin’).
Here are the times and places you can pick up a free sign:
When Portland Bureau of Transportation management and staff heard about the new safety study focused on speed released by the National Transportation Safety Board on Thursday, their reaction must have been. “It’s about time!”
The report is making waves in transportation reform circles for its strong tone against the scourge of speeding and what should be done about it. The NTSB looked at crashes from 2004 through 2014 and found that speed was listed as a factor in nearly one-third of all fatal crashes. That led the NTSB’s Acting Chairman Robert L. Sumwalt to say, “You can’t tackle our rising epidemic of roadway deaths without tackling speeding.”
Here’s more from the NTSB press release:
The Oregon House Judiciary Committee passed a bill by a vote of 9-1 yesterday that will give cities the authority to issue speeding tickets to people who are caught on red light cameras. But it only applies to people driving 11 mph or more over the speed limit.
Lawmakers and law enforcement officials included that minimum threshold in the bill because they didn’t want the measure to seem unreasonable to drivers.
The aim of House Bill 2409 is to address an enforcement gap that exists in Oregon: Red light cameras have speed sensors but the speed data isn’t part of the citation process; and photo radar vans that watch for speeding aren’t allowed to cite for red light infractions. This bill combines those two technologies into one system.
The City of Portland has unleashed a barrage of attacks against a key rival in their fight against speeding.
With Vision Zero firmly planted as a top priority at the highest levels of city government, the Bureau of Transportation has turned their attention to two of our most dangerous streets: SE Division and SE 122nd.
Here are updates on several speed-related items we continue to track…
PPB officers camped out on Highway 26 up near the Oregon Zoo to catch speeders. Read their press release below for how that turned out…
53 CITATIONS ISSUED DURING A #VISIONZERO TRAFFIC SAFETY MISSION
News Release from Portland Police Bureau
Posted on FlashAlert: October 12th, 2016 3:04 PM
Downloadable file: Vision_Zero.jpg
On Tuesday October 11, 2016, the Portland Police Bureau’s Traffic Division conducted a Vision Zero traffic safety mission on the Sunset Highway at the Oregon Zoo overpass. For approximately two hours, officers conducted high-visibility enforcement and education stops.
In total, 53 traffic citations were issued along with three written warnings. The average citation speed was 70 MPH in the 50 MPH zone. This location was selected for the mission due to the number of crashes that occur on the Sunset Highway.
This mission was conducted in an effort to address the high number of traffic crashes this year resulting in serious physical injuries or death. So far this year, 32 people have died in traffic-related crashes.
The Traffic Division and Precinct operations will be conducting future enforcement missions as staffing allows.
The Portland Police Bureau is committed to working with our partners in government and the community to create safer streets and work towards reducing, and eventually eliminating, traffic fatalities as part of Vision Zero.