‘Emergency’ speed limit set for Division Street

Heed that newly-reduced speed limit, or those newly-installed ‘Speed Safety Cameras’ will send you a citation …

In outer East Portland, along all of SE Division Street – through the Lents, Powellhurst-Gilbert, and Centennial neighborhoods – workers change out speed limit signs.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton

In a unanimous vote on March 2, the Portland City Council approved an ordinance to establish “emergency speed limits” for portions of S.E. Division Street – from 82nd Avenue of Roses all the way to 174th Avenue, at the city limits.

And, the day after the speed reduction from 35 to 30 mph was approved, Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) workers were already out in force, changing the speed limit signs, and installing red plastic flags above them.

A PBOT worker takes down a 35 mph speed limit sign on SE Division Street.

According to PBOT officials, this change — allowed under Oregon law – permits a road authority to establish an “emergency speed”; and this change is the first step in the Bureau’s Outer SE Division Near-Term Safety Strategy.

The strategy was developed as part of a previous ordinance passed by City Council on December 21st, 2016, in reaction to the deaths of two pedestrians killed in outer East Portland Division Street traffic crashes within hours of each other, on December 7.

To our coverage of those crashes,
“Dual Division St. wrecks slay two pedestrians”, CLICK HERE.

In the Midway Business District, on SE Division Street, up goes another brand new 30 mph speed sign.

“The correlation between speed and serious injury or death is clear,” remarked Transportation Commissioner Dan Saltzman. “We must ensure that all streets in our city are safe for people walking, biking, rolling, or driving. I am grateful to my colleagues on City Council for understanding and supporting this urgent decision.”

PBOT Director Leah Treat added, “The need for this action is clear. A pedestrian struck by a person driving 40 mph is twice as likely to die as a person struck by someone driving at 30 mph. It’s time to put aside the desire to get somewhere quickly, because doing so can mean the difference between life and death.”

Look for robotic speeding ticket systems, called “speed safety cameras”, that are popping up on outer East Portland thoroughfares. Or, simply obey the new, lower speed limit.

Not only has the speed limit been dropped – and enforcement by traffic officers begins immediately – but also last week, new “speed safety cameras” were installed on SE Division Street at 151st Avenue in the Rosewood area.

Another robotic speeding ticket system was installed in the Powellhurst-Gilbert neighborhood on SE 122nd Avenue, just north of Steele Street.

PDOT officials say these cameras will issue warnings for the first 30 days, but that courtesy period ends on April 4. Thereafter, expect to get a hefty speeding citation in the mail – complete with a photo of your smiling face to prove you were the driver who was speeding.

© 2017 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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