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Will radar cams help slow high-speed corridors?

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Lawmakers in the Oregon House began hearing a bill Monday to allow certain high-speed corridors have photo-radar devices.

By Kohr Harlan and KOIN 6 News Staff
PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN 6) — The intersection of Barbur Boulevard and SW Miles has earned the dubious distinction of being in a high-crash corridor. In 2013, three separate fatal accidents happened at the intersection, and city officials said high speed is largely to blame.

Lawmakers in the Oregon House began hearing a bill Monday to allow certain high-speed corridors have photo-radar devices to automatically catch – and fine – speeders.

Like cameras that take pictures of red light runners and send citations in the mail, the movable speed cameras would generate automatic speeding tickets for drivers traveling in excess of the posted speed limit.

Dylan Rivera with the Portland Bureau of Transportation said the corridors eligible for speed cameras have crash rates 25% higher than other streets with the same speed limit.

Those corridors are: Barbur, Beaverton-Hillsdale highway, Burnside, Sandy Boulevard, Division, Powell, 82nd, Foster, NE 122nd and NE Marine Drive.

Cameras are a way to get drivers to slow down.

“This is about saving lives on very specific corridors,” Rivera said.

Pedestrians like Jason Bucknum who live along Beaverton-Hillsdale Highway don’t mind the idea.

“I know a lot of people go fast on it and don’t really pay attention to speed limits especially as it gets later in the day,” Bucknum told KOIN 6 News. “I see a lot of people flying through here.”

Bike riders who often are sharing the same road with speeding drivers say the dangers to bike riders goes up as the speed of car traffic goes up.

“Let’s not even talk about having bike infrastructure — bike specific lanes — if everybody was going 15 to 20 miles an hour or a nice safe speed we wouldn’t really need all that stuff,” said Jonathan Maus of Bike Portland. “As people start driving faster that’s when people start saying we need a separate place to ride.”

Traffic cameras on these 10 corridors need specific authorization from the state legislature, and it just had its first reading.

Signs will warn drivers of photo enforcement and a read out of your speed and the posted speed limit would happen before drivers go through the camera.

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