BEND, Ore. - (Update: Adding video, other streets that may see slower speed limits)
Following community input and engineering analysis, the city of Bend announced Friday that speed limits will be lowered this month on four roads in the southeast part of town.
The news release stated that the changes are coming this month on the following road sections:
· Powers Road between Parrell Road and Brookswood Boulevard - from 35 mph to 30 mph
· SE 15th Street from Lostine Circle to Ferguson Road - from 40 mph to 35 mph
· SE 15th from Ferguson Road to Knott Road - from 50 mph to 45 mph
· Country Club Drive between Knott Road and Murphy Road - from 40 mph to 35 mph
The new speed limit signs will have orange warning flags on top for a few weeks to call attention to the changes, officials said.
"These speed changes were initiated by a combination of citizen requests and city staff in response to changing traffic and development along these corridors," the announcement said.
David Abbas, the city’s director of streets and operations, said Friday as the city expands, it can outgrow current speed limits, and these areas haven’t seen a change in quite awhile.
“Is the speed limit that it is currently still appropriate? Speed limits are not considered with future development (in mind),” Abbas said. “It considers a number of factors on that corridor or on that street today.”
In Oregon, speeds for roads within the city that are not highways or local residential streets – such as these road sections -- are set by the Department of Transportation.
The new speed limits are established based on a traffic study that looks at existing driving speeds, road characteristics, adjacent land use, access locations and more.
“We went out and did a study to see what people were doing,” said ODOT spokesperson Peter Murphy. “About a third of the travelers there were speeding.”
It can take up to a year to complete the speed study. Most of these requests were started this past summer.
Abbas said about half a dozen-speed changes are put up for consideration a year, and he also talked about what areas are currently being considered for future reductions.
“Shevlin Park Road, portions of Reed Market Road, 14th Street, Second Street, Neff Road. So we do have some other areas that are being looked at,” he said.
The city asked drivers to pay attention to the new speed changes and be aware of conditions.
Oregon’s basic rule speed law requires driving at the speed that is safe for conditions – this may be a speed slower than the posted speed. With winter here, it is especially important to pay attention to speed.
"Drive safely!" the announcement concluded.