Speed just dropped on SE 122nd Avenue

They’re just sending ‘warnings’ now – but soon, wayward motorists zipping along this heavily-used outer East Portland thoroughfare will be paying up if they’re caught over the new limit by ‘robot speed cameras’ …

From NE Sandy Boulevard in Parkrose, through Hazelwood, and into Powellhurst-Gilbert, all the way to SE Foster Road – the speed limit has just been lowered to 30 mph.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton

In April, 2017, the Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) installed automatic, robotic “speed safety” cameras along SE 122nd Avenue, with the unit focused southbound being located near Steele Street and another one near Reedway Street, catching speeders heading northbound on this major outer East Portland street.

For quite some time, the speed limit on SE 122nd Avenue has been set at 35 mph. Radar speed-measuring units, with instant digital readouts, placed about a block or so before the “speed safety” cameras, let drivers know how fast they were traveling.

Fixed “speed safety” cameras, like this one, are keeping an eye on drivers; the photos they snap can cost speeders as much as $440.

Speed lowered to 30 mph
On April 20 PBOT announced that they had lowered speed limit on 5.5 miles of SE 122nd Avenue “to improve safety on a high crash corridor” – as Bureau spokesperson Dylan Rivera put it to reporters.

“These ‘speed safety’ cameras began issuing warning tickets on April 21, and the system will resume issuing [real] citations on May 5 to enforce the new speed limit of 30 mph,” Rivera revealed. “Orange flags will highlight the new 30 mph speed limit signs for about 30 days.”

Penalties from a ticket issued by a “speed safety” camera are the same as a speeding violation initiated by any other means, Rivera declared. “Speeding citations in Oregon include a presumptive fine that ranges from $120 to $440, depending on the speed over the limit.”

It’s not a “gotcha” – about a block before a fixed “speed safety” camera documents your speed, you’ll pass warning signs advising of the posted speed limit, along with an electronic sign showing your vehicle’s actual speed.

PBOT now can set speed limits
In the past, overall, PBOT didn’t not have the authority to change speed limits on city streets. Instead, PBOT sent speed limit slashing requests to the Oregon Department of Transportation, which is charged with governing speed limits statewide.

“ODOT adopted the new method in 2020, in collaboration with PBOT and other jurisdictions,” Rivera explained. “The new speed limit on SE 122nd Avenue is among the first speed limits in Portland set with a new statewide method that considers street design, pedestrian and bike activity, and other factors related to safety.”

Why is this being done here? “122nd Avenue is especially dangerous for pedestrians during nighttime hours. Pedestrian crashes on 122nd Avenue are 50% higher than the citywide average; slower speeds are especially needed at night, because they help people driving see other travelers and give drivers more time to react,” contended Rivera.

“The city’s Vision Zero program focuses safety improvements [along these high crash streets] … such as the 122nd Avenue corridor, where there are higher concentrations of communities of color, and people living on low-incomes,” Rivera observed. “Black Portlanders and other people of color suffer disproportionately from traffic deaths and serious injuries.”

These “automatic officers” are always looking for speeders.

So – pay attention! Although the Portland Police Bureau has been forced by its available budget to disband its Traffic Division, these “robot cops” are always on patrol, writing tickets, 24/7, trying to get Portlanders to slow down.

Now, if only they could come up with a
“Smart Phone Users Safety Camera”
system to catch and ticket inattentive drivers

If you’re interested in PBOT’s “Vision Zero” program, CLICK HERE to see their website.

© 2021 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News™



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