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Commissioner Steve Novick

Official Website for Commissioner Steve Novick

Phone: 503-823-4682

fax: 503-823-4019

1221 SW 4th Ave. Suite 210, Portland, OR 97204

Saving Lives with Safer Streets

Did you know that people walking on Beaverton Hillsdale Highway are twice as likely to be injured or killed as on the average Portland street? These serious injuries and fatalities are largely the result of people driving cars at excessive speeds. Speed truly does kill; the chart below shows the chance of survival if hit by a car at various speeds. These all too frequent crashes are not “accidents,” nor are they inevitable. Based on data from other cities, we know what tools work to reduce these fatalities on our streets.

Fixed speed safety cameras are an important step. In 2015, the Oregon State Legislature granted the City of Portland the authority to use fixed speed safety cameras on high crash corridors. In Portland, the 10 designated High Crash Corridors make up just 3 percent of the City’s street network, but account for more than 50 percent of pedestrian fatalities.

The purpose of safety cameras is to change behavior so that people do not exceed the speed limit, thereby eliminating a serious safety risk for the other people using the street, including other car users, pedestrians and cyclists. As a result, the location of all of our cameras will be widely publicized. Moreover, as drivers approach a safety camera, they will be given notice of their speed via a speed reader board and an opportunity to slow down. If a person approaches the speed reader board and fails to reduce their speed, the camera will record their driving. Shortly thereafter, a Portland Police officer will review the video of the speeding driver and determine whether a citation is appropriate.

Since gaining approval from State Legislators, the Portland Bureau of Transportation has worked with neighborhoods throughout the city to determine which streets would be ideal candidates for safety cameras. Based on our conversations with community members and neighborhood leaders, Beaverton-Hillsdale Highway between SW 30-39th was selected as the first location for fixed speed safety cameras. The cameras will be activated in August, along with new clear speed signage, including “Traffic Laws are Photo Enforced” signs, as well as new speed reader boards that display rates of speed to road users.

 For the first 30 days, the fixed speed safety cameras will not issue citations, and instead will issue warnings to remind community members to slow down. These notifications will be supplemented with repaving and safety improvements on Beaverton-Hillsdale Highway, including a rectangular rapid flashing beacon on SW 35th, ADA-compliant pedestrian curb ramps, and expanded space for people biking and walking. We believe safety cameras combined with infrastructure improvements will move us toward our goal of Vision Zero and make Beaverton-Hillsdale Highway a much safer place to walk, bike, and drive.