PORTLAND, Ore. (PORTLAND TRIBUNE) — The Portland Bureau of Transportation touted the effectiveness of recently installed Speed Safety Cameras the day before those on Northeast Marine Drive were scheduled to begin issuing warning.
The cameras, authorized by the Oregon Legislature and already installed in a number of locations around town, support speeding tickets being issued against drivers without the presence of a Portland police officer.
According to the Monday announcement by PBOT, before such cameras were installed on Southeast 122nd Avenue and Division Street last year, an average of 715 vehicles a day traveled 45 miles per hour (mph) or faster on 122nd. After the cameras were installed, the average dropped to 61 vehicles, a 91 percent decrease from the traffic count.
On Division, before the cameras were installed, an average of 1,762 vehicles a day traveled 10 mph and more over the posted speed limit. After the cameras were installed, an average of 514 vehicles drove 40 mph and faster, a 71 percent decrease from the earlier count.
The cameras on Marine Drive will begin issuing warnings on Tuesday, Feb. 20 to drivers who exceed the posted speed limit. The 30-day warning period will end on March 21. Citations will start to be issued the following day.
According to PBOT, the goal of the Speed Safety Camera program is to reduce speeding and save lives. Marine Drive is one of 30 streets that comprise Portland’s High Crash Network. The roads in this network make up just 8 percent of Portland streets, but account for 57 percent of fatal crashes citywide.
The cameras are being installed as part of the city’s Vision Zero plan, which is intended to eliminate fatal and serious injury crashes in Portland by 2025.
“Vision Zero is our goal for transportation safety, which means no one should be killed in a traffic crash on our streets,” said City Commissioner Dan Saltzman, who oversees PBOT. “I’m proud to see PBOT deliver on our promise to the legislature that we would deploy this technology on high crash corridors, where we have the most traffic fatalities.”
PBOT Director Leah Treat said the bureau has learned that the cameras that have been reducing speeding in other cities are working in Portland too.
“We now have evidence from three corridors in Portland that our safety cameras reduce dangerous speeding,” Treat said. “Safety cameras are one of the best tools we have for slowing down traffic and saving lives. We will continue to work with the Vision Zero Task Force to expand this to additional high crash corridors where we can reduce speeding.”
Eastbound on Marine Drive, the cameras have been installed near Northeast 33rd Avenue, where a traffic study found 995 vehicles a day driving at least 10 mph over the speed limit of 40 mph.
Another set of cameras face westbound traffic near Northeast 138th Avenue, where a traffic study found 485 vehicles a day driving at least 10 mph over the speed limit of 45 mph.
PBOT says the fatality rate on Marine Drive is substantially higher than the citywide rate. One out of 350 crashes result in a fatality citywide. On Marine Drive, more than 10 out of 350 crashes result in a fatality.
The percentage of lane-departure crashes along Marine Drive is more than three times higher than citywide over the last 10 years — 17 percent versus 5.5 percent citywide.
In the Feb. 19 announcement, PBOT thanked Portland General Electric for allowing the city to mount cameras on the utility’s poles near Northeast 138th Avenue. It also thanked the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Multnomah County Drainage District for allowing the cameras to be installed on the levee.