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Author Topic: Variable Speed Limits come to Portland  (Read 19025 times)

sp_redelectric

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Variable Speed Limits come to Portland
« on: May 11, 2012, 12:56:30 AM »

It looks like variable speed limits have finally come to the Portland area - the signs are beginning to be installed (but covered) on I-405 southbound and on I-5 southbound from the I-405 junction south to the viaduct construction zone.

I don't have my own pics but the signs appear to look similar to this:  http://www.thenewspaper.com/news/23/2386.asp

This will be ODOT's second variable speed zone section; the first (which I haven't personally seen) is on U.S. 26 between Banks and Manning (the section with the Oregon 47 overlap).  http://www.oregon.gov/OSP/NEWSRL/news/05_24_2011_hwy26_hwy47_speed.shtml
« Last Edit: December 04, 2014, 01:52:18 PM by Bickendan »
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OCGuy81

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Re: Variable Speed Limits come to Portland
« Reply #1 on: May 11, 2012, 09:47:54 AM »

I'd love to see more of these variable speed signs, similar to the ones placed along I-5 in Seattle.  I saw these last summer and thought they looked great.

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sp_redelectric

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Re: Variable Speed Limits come to Portland
« Reply #2 on: May 11, 2012, 04:58:07 PM »

I'm a little surprised ODOT didn't do it on I-84 from I-5 to I-205.

I do think the WSDOT signs are a bit overboard - ODOT's being a little more frugal with their installation.  There'll be signs both in the median and on the right side!
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portlandexpos04

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Re: Variable Speed Limits come to Portland
« Reply #3 on: May 17, 2012, 03:43:32 PM »

Very cool.  But what's the "viaduct construction zone"?  Sorry, I haven't been back to Portland for over 5 years.
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sp_redelectric

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Re: Variable Speed Limits come to Portland
« Reply #4 on: May 18, 2012, 12:01:53 AM »

Very cool.  But what's the "viaduct construction zone"?  Sorry, I haven't been back to Portland for over 5 years.

A bridge located just north of the Terwilliger Curves is being replaced:

http://www.oregon.gov/ODOT/HWY/REGION1/iowaviaduct/

This resulted in a massive reconstruction of the hillside so that the freeway can be shifted to the west (and in the process removing a massive retaining wall built in the 1910s when the Oregon Electric Railway ran along what is now I-5 between Portland and Multnomah Village - Multnomah Boulevard is also built along the old OE right-of-way, and a plaque on the Barbur Boulevard/99W overpass over Multnomah also states it is the Oregon Electric Railway over-crossing.)

Started summer of 2010...will continue through 2013.
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sp_redelectric

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Re: Variable Speed Limits come to Portland
« Reply #5 on: May 18, 2012, 01:07:16 AM »

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portlandexpos04

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Re: Variable Speed Limits come to Portland
« Reply #6 on: May 18, 2012, 08:13:28 PM »

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sp_redelectric

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Re: Variable Speed Limits come to Portland
« Reply #7 on: August 15, 2012, 07:37:41 PM »

ODOT has begun the installation of signs warning of the variable speed zone, as there is now one located on Harbor Drive just before the merge with I-405 (and I-5) southbound.

Here's an ODOT map, with images of the signs and locations (although it does not show the location of the sign on Harbor Drive):



However, the variable speed limit signs are not yet turned on.
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New to Seattle

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Re: Variable Speed Limits come to Portland
« Reply #8 on: August 22, 2012, 12:47:46 AM »

ODOT has begun the installation of signs warning of the variable speed zone, as there is now one located on Harbor Drive just before the merge with I-405 (and I-5) southbound.

Have you happened to notice if they're the same Telegra brand as the Seattle variable limit signs? IMO those are the most attractive and readable VMSes I've seen, and I'm guessing they probably carry a top-of-the-line price tag. From what I can tell they seem to be effective at slowing Seattle traffic to a constant crawl rather than stop-and-go.
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sp_redelectric

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Re: Variable Speed Limits come to Portland
« Reply #9 on: August 23, 2012, 11:27:29 PM »

I finally got out to check out Oregon's first variable speed zone, at the intersection of U.S. 26 and Oregon 47 at Staley's Junction/Manning (this is in Washington County, northwest of Banks).

No, the signs are not the same as WSDOTs.  Oregon uses a black on white sign for the speed, mounted within what is otherwise a standard Oregon speed sign.  Having driven through the zone yesterday both during the day (around 6:00 PM) and again at night (around 10:30 PM) I have to say that the signs are HORRIBLE.  They cannot be read at a decent distance, and the white background is just annoying.  WSDOT's signs are so much more clear and legible.

(I didn't have a problem with overall traffic speed, but the only time I'm in Seattle is on a weekend...where it seems all of the traffic is backed up between JBLM and downtown Tacoma.)

I noticed another peculiarity with the U.S. 26 VMS zone - westbound, there is just a "Variable Speed Zone Ahead" sign.  Eastbound there is a yellow "Speed Zone Ahead" warning sign (yes, in a diamond, and yes it said "Speed Zone Ahead", not the new style picture sign!) followed by a "Variable Speed Zone Ahead" sign. And another, the variable speed zone is not even a mile long; in fact there's only one variable speed sign in each direction, approaching Highway 47.  Once you're past 47, you are back to the standard speed signs.  I can't honestly see how that will accomplish anything - I thought the variable speed zone would have at least covered a couple miles to the east towards the east junction of 47 towards Banks.
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707

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Re: Variable Speed Limits come to Portland
« Reply #10 on: September 16, 2012, 10:47:12 PM »

So Portland got them too eh? I remember when they arrived in Seattle a few years ago.
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tradephoric

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Re: Variable Speed Limits come to Portland
« Reply #11 on: May 27, 2014, 05:58:48 PM »

Any follow up studies to determine if the accident rate has dropped since these variable speed signs have been installed?  I'm curious how effective they have been.  Anyone familiar with the area have any feedback?

Thanks!
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jakeroot

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Re: Variable Speed Limits come to Portland
« Reply #12 on: May 30, 2014, 08:49:20 PM »



Max 50 mph? Was that the speed limit through the Portland metro area prior to the variable speeds?

EDIT: Why is the variable speed limit sign covered up?
« Last Edit: May 30, 2014, 08:58:09 PM by jake »
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roadfro

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Re: Variable Speed Limits come to Portland
« Reply #13 on: May 30, 2014, 10:29:05 PM »

^ 50 or 55 was the freeway speed limit in metro Portland when I was there in summer 2008. Oregon's speed limits are much lower than other states (Portland's freeways would have 65mph speed limits if they were in Nevada).
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jakeroot

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Re: Variable Speed Limits come to Portland
« Reply #14 on: May 31, 2014, 01:28:12 AM »

^ 50 or 55 was the freeway speed limit in metro Portland when I was there in summer 2008. Oregon's speed limits are much lower than other states (Portland's freeways would have 65mph speed limits if they were in Nevada).

That's true. That prick Kitzahber vetoed higher speed limits back in 2001. Glad I don't live in Oregon...my head would have exploded.

Doesn't Michigan have 70 mph urban speed limits? That's awesome.
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kkt

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Re: Variable Speed Limits come to Portland
« Reply #15 on: June 11, 2014, 12:50:31 PM »

^ 50 or 55 was the freeway speed limit in metro Portland when I was there in summer 2008. Oregon's speed limits are much lower than other states (Portland's freeways would have 65mph speed limits if they were in Nevada).

Portland's freeways were built with short sightlines and sharp curves for a freeway.  Nevada's, generally, weren't.  50 is appropriate for I-5 in Portland.  (The rest of Oregon does have lower speed limits than seems really necessary, though.)
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jakeroot

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Re: Variable Speed Limits come to Portland
« Reply #16 on: June 11, 2014, 04:29:51 PM »

^ 50 or 55 was the freeway speed limit in metro Portland when I was there in summer 2008. Oregon's speed limits are much lower than other states (Portland's freeways would have 65mph speed limits if they were in Nevada).

Portland's freeways were built with short sightlines and sharp curves for a freeway.  Nevada's, generally, weren't.  50 is appropriate for I-5 in Portland.  (The rest of Oregon does have lower speed limits than seems really necessary, though.)

Even so, the speed limit is a limit, not the suggested speed. They should have the upper limit at 60. I'm sure people blow past 50 all the time (though I can't speak for sure, I have only driven in Oregon once). Lots of people will go exactly the speed limit, so if they raised the speed limit to more or less what the fast drivers were doing, it would should be safer.
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agentsteel53

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Re: Variable Speed Limits come to Portland
« Reply #17 on: June 11, 2014, 07:29:27 PM »

Even so, the speed limit is a limit, not the suggested speed. They should have the upper limit at 60. I'm sure people blow past 50 all the time (though I can't speak for sure, I have only driven in Oregon once). Lots of people will go exactly the speed limit, so if they raised the speed limit to more or less what the fast drivers were doing, it would should be safer.

the speed limit is a suggested speed in all jurisdictions.  it all depends on what kind of a mood a particular cop is in. 

Oregon does have some impressively bovine drivers.  they do not see the problem with driving 55mph three-abreast for miles on end. 
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kkt

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Re: Variable Speed Limits come to Portland
« Reply #18 on: June 12, 2014, 01:48:35 AM »

^ 50 or 55 was the freeway speed limit in metro Portland when I was there in summer 2008. Oregon's speed limits are much lower than other states (Portland's freeways would have 65mph speed limits if they were in Nevada).

Portland's freeways were built with short sightlines and sharp curves for a freeway.  Nevada's, generally, weren't.  50 is appropriate for I-5 in Portland.  (The rest of Oregon does have lower speed limits than seems really necessary, though.)

Even so, the speed limit is a limit, not the suggested speed. They should have the upper limit at 60. I'm sure people blow past 50 all the time (though I can't speak for sure, I have only driven in Oregon once). Lots of people will go exactly the speed limit, so if they raised the speed limit to more or less what the fast drivers were doing, it would should be safer.

I-5 in Portland is a pretty slow freeway, both because of geometric design and because of traffic congestion.  Someone who continued to go 60 would probably rearend the person in front of them.  If you haven't been there, it's less like I-5 in Seattle and more like the Alaskan Way Viaduct or the Spokane Street Viaduct.
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jakeroot

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Re: Variable Speed Limits come to Portland
« Reply #19 on: June 12, 2014, 01:52:50 AM »

^ 50 or 55 was the freeway speed limit in metro Portland when I was there in summer 2008. Oregon's speed limits are much lower than other states (Portland's freeways would have 65mph speed limits if they were in Nevada).

Portland's freeways were built with short sightlines and sharp curves for a freeway.  Nevada's, generally, weren't.  50 is appropriate for I-5 in Portland.  (The rest of Oregon does have lower speed limits than seems really necessary, though.)

Even so, the speed limit is a limit, not the suggested speed. They should have the upper limit at 60. I'm sure people blow past 50 all the time (though I can't speak for sure, I have only driven in Oregon once). Lots of people will go exactly the speed limit, so if they raised the speed limit to more or less what the fast drivers were doing, it would should be safer.

I-5 in Portland is a pretty slow freeway, both because of geometric design and because of traffic congestion.  Someone who continued to go 60 would probably rearend the person in front of them.  If you haven't been there, it's less like I-5 in Seattle and more like the Alaskan Way Viaduct or the Spokane Street Viaduct.

I have driven through Portland once, but it was before my tenure as a road geek so I paid little attention. But the Viaduct comparison helps a lot, though not in the speed department. I think we both know that the Alaskan Way Viaduct, a 40 or 45 mph structure, regularly carries traffic at nearly 60. I guess Portland and Seattle differ at that point.

(By the way, Tapatalk informs me immediately if someone quotes me, hence my quick reply  :D)
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Jardine

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Re: Variable Speed Limits come to Portland
« Reply #20 on: June 12, 2014, 11:23:21 AM »

YOIKS !!

Hope we don't see multiple speed limit signs in the midwest any time soon.  Information overload!  What with fiddling with the GPS, applying makeup, chatting and texting on the cellphone, eating that breakfast burrito, and screaming at the kids in the backseat, who has time to look at more signage ????????
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Re: Variable Speed Limits come to Portland
« Reply #21 on: May 28, 2015, 06:12:16 AM »

YOIKS !!

Hope we don't see multiple speed limit signs in the midwest any time soon.

I am aware of a situation where this actually is the case, though, in Oklahoma.  It's brief, though Entering the Coweta toll plaza southbound, cash lanes are signed to slow down, whereas the PIKEPASS lane continues unabated.  http://www.openstreetmap.org/way/205585571 is where it's mapped in OpenStreetMap.
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Baloo Uriza

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Re: Variable Speed Limits come to Portland
« Reply #22 on: May 28, 2015, 06:29:18 AM »

^ 50 or 55 was the freeway speed limit in metro Portland when I was there in summer 2008. Oregon's speed limits are much lower than other states (Portland's freeways would have 65mph speed limits if they were in Nevada).

That's true. That prick Kitzahber vetoed higher speed limits back in 2001. Glad I don't live in Oregon...my head would have exploded.

I'm not surprised.  Oregon's roads and bridges are so old and in such disrepair I'd doubt they could handle the higher speeds without disintegrating regularly like they do in Washington (though Washington usually has sight lines by contrast to most Oregon highways that aren't in the desert).
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iBallasticwolf2

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Re: Variable Speed Limits come to Portland
« Reply #23 on: June 04, 2015, 01:24:50 PM »

YOIKS !!

Hope we don't see multiple speed limit signs in the midwest any time soon.  Information overload!  What with fiddling with the GPS, applying makeup, chatting and texting on the cellphone, eating that breakfast burrito, and screaming at the kids in the backseat, who has time to look at more signage ????????

Well the problem there is idiot drivers applying makeup, chatting and texting on the cellphone, and people fiddling with the GPS. That is idiot driving. You are saying that it is OK for people to do all of that. You just described a "Scumbag" driver.
Personelly I wish people would have to retake a drivers' test every 10 years because most people in driving school just sleep but still pass anyway.
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Brandon

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Re: Variable Speed Limits come to Portland
« Reply #24 on: June 04, 2015, 02:47:55 PM »

^ 50 or 55 was the freeway speed limit in metro Portland when I was there in summer 2008. Oregon's speed limits are much lower than other states (Portland's freeways would have 65mph speed limits if they were in Nevada).

That's true. That prick Kitzahber vetoed higher speed limits back in 2001. Glad I don't live in Oregon...my head would have exploded.

Doesn't Michigan have 70 mph urban speed limits? That's awesome.

Yes.  Only the very inner core of freeways in Detroit (and M-39) has 55 mph limits.  Otherwise, they're all 70 mph.  Why other states can't learn from MDOT on this blows my mind.

Examples:
https://goo.gl/maps/EO0x4
https://goo.gl/maps/DsF3U

Even Illinois maintains 70 mph on I-280 around the Quad Cities and I-55/74 around Bloomington.
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