Our neighborhood streets should be safe for people — period. These are the streets where we live, where our kids play, and where more people are biking and walking every day. We know that speed is a top concern for people who live on Portland’s neighborhood streets and for parents who are considering letting their kids walk and bike to school. There has been a great amount of community support to lower the speed limit on neighborhood greenways to 20 MPH, and the BTA is proud to announce that today the city of Portland makes the new speed limit official.
Image: Portland Bureau of Transportation
The logic behind lowering the speed limit from 25 to 20 MPH is all about physics. At 20 miles per hour, a person has a 95% chance of surviving a crash. As speed increases above 20, the chance of survival decreases. Lower speed limits have been effective at reducing the crash and fatality rate in cities across Europe. In London, all residential zones have 20 MPH speed limits.
In East Portland, people are walking in the street because there are no sidewalks. Lowering the speed limit to 20 MPH will make a big difference to people and families who use those streets to get to work and to school. The situation is similar in many suburban and rural communities in Oregon, and the BTA would like to see the push for lower speed limits on neighborhood streets in more of these communities.
The BTA is proud to have worked with the City of Portland, state legislators, and transportation partners to pass legislation in 2011 to allow cities to lower the speed limit on neighborhood streets from 25 to 20 MPH and significantly improve safety for everyone who is walking, biking, and driving on those streets.