|Radar installation on Rural St, near South High|
|Maybe we're not dumb?|
At a Senate Committee on Business and Transportation public hearing Wednesday, the committee first heard supporting testimony for SB-459, which would raise the speed limit to help Oregonians who travel Interstate 5 stay consistent with speed laws on I-5 in Washington and California....Without going to far into this, a couple of things are interesting. As committed to hydraulic autoism as are ODOT folks, even ODOT says, "speed kills," saying "that states that have increased speed limits have typically experienced a 3 percent increase in fatalities."
Sen. Floyd Prozanski, D-Eugene, told the committee that it didn't seem prudent to keep Oregon's speed limit at 65 mph when the "states to the north and south of us have speeds in excess of that limit." Some segments of the interstates in Idaho allow speeds of up to 80 mph.
Here we are dealing with a crude calculus of death: In death rates, what is an acceptable cost to using the road? And even though ODOT is saying we should want to lessen the rate, we are still plainly saying that there is an acceptable death rate. (Bear in mind we're also undertaking a large effort to install cable barriers on the interstate - why would we do this and increase the speed limit at the same time, eh?)
Also interesting is that Prozanski is usually a great ally for bicycling, not normally in thrall to autoism. So this is an interesting bill perhaps also for ironic reasons.
In any event, the banality of the idea of increasing the speed limit in the interstate is a reminder of how much we struggle with our local streets.
At top you see a radar installation on Rural Street SE, very near South Salem High School. This is at the base of a small hill, the road is actually pretty wide, and of course, teen-age drivers. This is another situation where there's a mismatch between the road design and experiential cues on the one hand and the posted speed limit and school zone on the other.
If we were serious about reducing speeds, we wouldn't rely simply on signage and the good intentions of drivers young and old. Instead, we would engineer the road to make it difficult to speed.
|This huge road says: Please, go ahead and speed!|
It's all too easy to speed here.
But because of our idolatry for car flow, we insist on measures, like temporary radar installations, that we know will fail to create an enduring change.
the intersection of D Street and 23rd. This is on one of our signed bikeways - theoretically, anyway, one of the main routes to the Kroc Center.
Sandwiched between Center Street and Market Street, D Street could easily stand to have auto through-traffic calmed or even diverted some. From a "street heirarchy" standpoint, it doesn't need to serve so much east-west through through-traffic. It could instead serve more local access.
And with that would be an increased emphasis on conditions for people on foot and on bike.
At Council during the CIP hearing, City staff talked about the possibility of applying for a Transportation and Growth Management grant to fund a more detailed plan for family-friendly bikeways, for the "bike boulevards" championed by the Salem Bike Boulevard Advocates.
This intersection at D and 23rd would be a candidate for some redesign.
One important element of bikeway design is speed. You may recall that the City of Salem was not in favor of a new 20mph urban speed limit. Portland embraced it, and is installing signage and limits on their bikeways.
—> New signs help raise visibility of Portland's 'neighborhood greenways' http://t.co/QQWLjfTmEe pic.twitter.com/40eAihCsp7
— Jonathan Maus (@BikePortland) April 14, 2015
|They knew better|