Portland Completes Massive 20 MPH Speed Limit Overhaul

All of Portland's 3,000 miles of residential streets now have a maximum speed of 20 miles per hour. Similar changes could be coming to more Oregon cities in the future.

2 minute read

April 10, 2019, 9:00 AM PDT

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell

Speed Limit

Not just for school zones anymore. | Al Muya / Flickr

"Crews installed the final 20 mile per hour speed zone sign on a neighborhood street in Southeast Portland on Tuesday, wrapping up a campaign to slow down cars and change the city’s driving culture dating back several years," reports Andre Theen.

"Last April, Portland formally lowered the speed limit by 5 miles per hour on all of its estimated 3,000 miles of residential streets," adds Theen to explain in more detail. "Crews removed 25 mile per hour signs citywide on those roads and installed more than 2,100 new signs across town in the past year."

The city of Portland is currently the only city in the state of Oregon with the legal power to lower its speed limit, thanks to state legislation approved in 2019. A bill currently under consideration at the state capital, Senate Bill 558, would give all Oregon cities that power, according to Theen.

As the rest of the state looks to Portland for lessons about the outcomes of the slower residential speeds, one large remaining question is the effectiveness of enforcement. The Portland Police Bureau is understaffed and speed enforcement is performed by triage. "Cops are focusing on high-crash corridors, those major streets like 122nd Avenue that see the greatest number of serious injuries or fatalities. Enforcing speed limits on neighborhood streets is 'a challenge,'" according to a bureau source cited by Theen.

Tuesday, April 9, 2019 in The Oregonian

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