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20 is Plenty Campaign

Old 12-27-18, 03:52 PM
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tn_roadie
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20 is Plenty Campaign

Anyone here from Portland or Seattle that can explain the campaign for 20 MPH limits on residential streets? I believe both cities dropped the limit to 20 this year. Did it make a difference? Do cyclists feel safer (even if they aren't)? What was the default speed limit before the change?

Some of us in Nashville TN are considering a similar campaign.
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Old 12-27-18, 04:24 PM
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Albuquerque has 'bicycle streets' on which the speed limit is 18.
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Old 12-27-18, 04:47 PM
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Originally Posted by tn_roadie View Post
Anyone here from Portland or Seattle that can explain the campaign for 20 MPH limits on residential streets? I believe both cities dropped the limit to 20 this year. Did it make a difference? Do cyclists feel safer (even if they aren't)? What was the default speed limit before the change?

Some of us in Nashville TN are considering a similar campaign.
I like it, but IMO it is more to make things safer for pedestrians on neighborhood streets. Seattle is also doing other things to reduce traffic accidents such as lowering speed limits on arterials, adding bike lanes, and using other traffic-calming measures.
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Old 12-27-18, 11:21 PM
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Cars themselves have a lot to answer for.

20mph in a 1962 Austin Cooper on a residential street is involving, and raising the speed to 30mph is very noticeable.

20mph in any 2017 family car is mind-numbingly dull, takes up twice the road, 30-40mph comes with little notice and it's no wonder pedestrians, cyclists and other drivers are nothing but an inconvenience to proceedings.

Bring back the 500kg bubble car, strip out all the airbags and padding, and we'll soon see different attitudes.
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Old 12-27-18, 11:44 PM
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There is a development near our beach house that has 20 mph limits and on one street there's a sign that flashes your speed in red if you're exceeding 20. There's still enough kid in me that if I'm riding through there at night I can't resist riding fast enough to trip the sign.
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Old 12-28-18, 04:05 AM
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If you've ever seen the shape of some Portland roads...20 would be fine.
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Old 12-28-18, 05:53 AM
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Our neighborhood is 25mph...but beware, 25 is viewed by many as an obnoxious suggestion.
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Old 12-28-18, 07:45 AM
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A lot of small towns in NC have 20 mph limits in their center zones. Most residential areas have 25 mph limits. The only thing you can count on is that most drivers exceed the limit by at least 10 mph and at least 1/4 of them exceed it by 20 mph.

There are only 2 situations where drivers go 20 mph: 1) they pass through 20 mph quickly as they brake aggressively shortly before a traffic signal/sign/speed hump. 2) they pass through 20 mph quickly as they accelerate aggressively after leaving a traffic signal/sign/speed hump.
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Old 12-28-18, 07:54 AM
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There are street in downtown Toronto that have 30 kph (~20 mph), but these streets are narrow, one way, and have cars parked on one side. Where I live, this likely would never happen, though I wish it would. In the suburbs, 40 kph is about the slowest limit through residential streets, and often times it's 50. The streets are much wider. Though 50 means that cars are routinely zipping through at 60 or more.
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Old 12-28-18, 07:58 AM
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Originally Posted by jon c. View Post
There is a development near our beach house that has 20 mph limits and on one street there's a sign that flashes your speed in red if you're exceeding 20. There's still enough kid in me that if I'm riding through there at night I can't resist riding fast enough to trip the sign.
I do the same. There's a quarter mile straightaway near my home where the radar is set at midway to flash over 50 kph. I managed to hit it only one time in all the times I've ridden by there, and I always try.
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Old 12-28-18, 09:22 AM
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In my city the speed limit is 25 mph unless otherwise posted. This pretty much covers most of the neighborhoods. However, unless there are stop signs, lights, speed bumps, and/or cops, drivers still exceed the limits.
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Old 12-28-18, 09:41 AM
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Nothing like that here in Parts Unknown, but a local bike & 'complete the streets' group spokesman opined that 8mph was plenty in segregated bike lanes and on paths.
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Old 12-28-18, 10:59 AM
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Originally Posted by Hoopdriver View Post
... The only thing you can count on is that most drivers exceed the limit...
Yes. Truth.
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Old 12-28-18, 11:17 AM
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Originally Posted by tcs View Post
Nothing like that here in Parts Unknown, but a local bike & 'complete the streets' group spokesman opined that 8mph was plenty in segregated bike lanes and on paths.

Even for slow, that's slow.
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Old 12-28-18, 11:41 AM
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Originally Posted by livedarklions View Post
Even for slow, that's slow.
Some parks are 10mph where I live. MUPs are 15mph limits. 8mph would certainly be safer because fewew would go there to ride.
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Old 12-28-18, 11:58 AM
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Portland has some of the oddest signs. Distributed by the city, but put up by the homeowners. Nothing actually says "speed limit" on the signs.



This happened after I went mostly car-free, and I find it tough to get much above 20 MPH on the bikes.

Keep in mind, this only applies to the smallest of the city streets. Any of the larger through streets have higher speed limits.

I don't pay a lot of attention to my actual speed when driving. Drive the conditions. But, 20 MPH or so is probably about right for isolated city streets. 25 MPH?

Of course, nobody actually drives the speed limit, so post 20 MPH, and people will drive 25 or 30 MPH.
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Old 12-28-18, 12:06 PM
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Given the above comments I think it is important to point out that lowering speed limits does not work unless you also re-engineer the streets to make fast driving less appealing. In Seattle that includes narrowing the lanes, going from four lanes to two (from two in each direction to one), speed bumps, traffic circles at intersections, and so on. If you don’t do these things, Drivers will continue to speed along just as they always did.
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Old 12-28-18, 12:21 PM
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Originally Posted by Aubergine View Post
Given the above comments I think it is important to point out that lowering speed limits does not work unless you also re-engineer the streets to make fast driving less appealing. In Seattle that includes narrowing the lanes, going from four lanes to two (from two in each direction to one), speed bumps, traffic circles at intersections, and so on. If you don’t do these things, Drivers will continue to speed along just as they always did.
The slowest streets are the residential streets. No center line. Curving roads. Cars periodically parked on both sides of the street. Limited visibility. No sidewalks??? Perhaps add in a few cyclists. Stop signs? Yield Signs?

I.E. Everything that would make them dangerous for all road users.

Thinking about Portland, the difference between a 30 MPH street and a 20 MPH street is pretty minimal, and really depends on whether it is a straight through road.
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Old 12-29-18, 01:28 PM
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Originally Posted by MikeyMK View Post
Cars themselves have a lot to answer for.

20mph in a 1962 Austin Cooper on a residential street is involving, and raising the speed to 30mph is very noticeable.

20mph in any 2017 family car is mind-numbingly dull, takes up twice the road, 30-40mph comes with little notice and it's no wonder pedestrians, cyclists and other drivers are nothing but an inconvenience to proceedings.

Bring back the 500kg bubble car, strip out all the airbags and padding, and we'll soon see different attitudes.
Funny you should mention that... my wife has a lead foot... I cannot make her drive the speed limit... no matter how much I whine. I just realized a new trick though... I open the windows and sun roof, and the rush of incoming air and noises cause her to slow down. It's subtle, but it works.
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Old 12-29-18, 01:33 PM
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If a road needs to be less than 25MPH, it should be a dead end and not used as any sort of throughput, plain and simple. 20MPH in my car is about idling revs in 2nd, I really have no interest in running through town at 4000RPM in 1st.

And if your kids can't keep from running in front of cars, keep them in the back yard. If I'm driving like my kids live there, I am driving 30 anyhow.
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Old 12-29-18, 01:50 PM
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Originally Posted by Stormsedge View Post
Our neighborhood is 25mph...but beware, 25 is viewed by many as an obnoxious suggestion.
Haha sounds like my street on Sundays. There is a church down the road and it looks like a SUV racing event.
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Old 12-29-18, 02:02 PM
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Again, what I observed in Portland was that the basic speed limit on unmarked residential streets is now 20 MPH.

However, much of West Portland is designed like a curvy maze. East Portland is straighter and more grid-like, but no guarantee streets will actually go through.

In general, one can hit a mid-range feeder street that will be marked with 30 or 35 MPH or so, within 5 blocks or so. And, a few more blocks, and perhaps a street marked even higher. And, of course freeways, which I think are 55 MPH in the Portland Metro area (but, NOBODY pays attention to that).

Nobody is driving the 35 miles or so from Hillsboro to Troutdale at 20 MPH unless there are several major accidents on the freeways.
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Old 12-30-18, 07:24 PM
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Originally Posted by BikingTech View Post
Haha sounds like my street on Sundays. There is a church down the road and it looks like a SUV racing event.
Welcome Race Fans to Sallllllvaaaaation Draaaagwaaay!

Racing for Satan's Pinks!
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Old 12-30-18, 07:26 PM
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Originally Posted by Rollfast View Post
Welcome Race Fans to Sallllllvaaaaation Draaaagwaaay!

Racing for Satan's Pinks!
There really needs to be a like button. +1 and I give you two of my internets!
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Old 12-31-18, 12:43 PM
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I live in a Washington suburb of Portland, and drive more like 20KPH on small residential streets. PDX and Seattle have real streets in residential areas--we have minimal to no sidewalks, no lighting, inconsistent shoulders. I drive like a rolling speed bump when I'm in the car. The general behavior in my town, especially of white men in large SUVs and trucks, is to interpret 25 MPH as 45.
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