Portland City Council approved an ordinance on January 17, 2018, reducing the speed limit on all residential streets to 20 miles per hour. The new speed limit took effect on April 1, 2018.
Residential streets make up around 70 percent of Portland’s street network and a large proportion of the city’s total public space. Reducing residential speeds is part of a broader citywide effort to support safe driving speeds on many types of streets.
20 mph speed limit supports safety
Most residential streets in Portland are narrow, have few marked crosswalks, and no bike lanes; given the tight space and lack of protection for people walking, using mobility devices, and biking, it is important that people drive slowly on residential streets.
The new 20 mph speed limit is part of Portland’s Vision Zero work to eliminate traffic deaths and serious injuries. Slower driving speeds help prevent crashes and, when crashes occur, reduce the harm that results. A pedestrian hit by a driver at 25 mph is nearly twice as likely to die compared to someone hit at 20 mph (Tefft, 2013, Impact Speed and a Pedestrian’s Risk of Severe Injury or Death).
In addition to updating speed limit signs, PBOT distributed more than 7,000 "20 is plenty" yard signs to raise awareness of the 20 mph residential speed limit.