Some speed limits in Portland lowered to 20 mph

Some speed limits in Portland lowered to 20 mph
One of the new 20 mph signs in unveiled in Portland. (Photo courtesy Portland Bureau of Transportation)

PORTLAND, Ore. – Speed limits on 70 miles of neighborhood streets in Portland were lowered to 20 miles per hour on Friday.

The streets are all “neighborhood greenways,” which are residential streets that prioritize pedestrians, bicyclists and families. Previously the greenway streets had 25 mph speed limits.

“With more Portlanders than ever bicycling, walking and using transit, addressing neighborhood speed limits is more important than ever,” Mayor Sam Adams said. “A pedestrian stuck at 20 miles per hour has a 95 percent chance of survival. A pedestrian struck at 30 miles per hour has a 60 percent chance. A small difference in speed can be the difference between life and death.”

The city was allowed to change the speed limits under a law passed in the 2011 legislative session.

"I am pleased to celebrate the implementation of House Bill 3150 from the 2011 Legislative Session," said Senator Ginny Burdick, democrat of Portland. "House Bill 3150 will encourage Oregonians to ride their bikes on residential streets and will reduce bike traffic on arterial streets. As a bicyclist myself, I look forward to utilizing these new greenways."

The Portland Bureau of Transportation says that six percent of the city’s commuters ride bikes to and from work. That’s around 17,000 people.