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Speed limit on Portland residential streets to be reduced to 20 mph next month

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Image courtesy PBOT

City of Portland officials have approved lowering the speed limit on residential streets from 25 mph to 20 mph.

The proposal is part of the city's Vision Zero campaign to eliminate all traffic deaths by 2025.

According to AAA, a pedestrian hit by a driver at 25 mph is nearly twice as likely to die as a pedestrian struck by someone driving 20 mph.

"People do not think of the children that are playing on the street or are outside," said Bridgette Cuddie, who lives in East Portland and supports the reduction in neighborhood speed limits.

Next month, the Portland Bureau of Transportation will begin taking out the 800 or so current 25 mph signs, and storing them for possible future use. They'll install about 2,000 20 mph signs. Not every residential street will have a sign, but the speed limit will remain 20 mph.

The majority of traffic deaths in the city happen on high-crash corridors, such as Marine Drive and Columbia Boulevard.

City Council's decision Wednesday does not change the speed limits there.

"The traffic's going really fast, there's a lot of big trucks," said Hilary Sueoka, who says she fears crossing the busy road while walking her dog.

After five people died on outer Division in 2016, City Council dropped the speed limit from 35 mph to 30 mph. That change, along with installing speed cameras, made the road safer.

In 2018 a speed camera will be installed along Marine Drive to cut down on the risk of a fatal crash.

"It can be very deadly," said driver Dan Powell. "I would say 60," he adds on the average speed of drivers in the 45 mph stretch of road.