Oregon MPO Priorities in 2019: Connect Oregon, Safe Routes to School & Speed Limits

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

The Oregon Municipal Planning Organization Consortium (OMPOC) is getting closer to establishing legislative priorities for 2019. OMPOC is a forum for Oregon’s 8 MPOs to coordinate on transportation issues of mutual interest. The list of possible concepts for Oregon MPOs to address in 2019, has been narrowed down to the following three topics:

Connect Oregon – OMPOC supports additional ongoing Connect Oregon programmatic funding.

Safe Routes to School – Currently a 40% cash match for funds is required. Cash match can be reduced to 20% when the project is within a city of 5,000 people or fewer, or is near a Title 1 school, or is within a “Priority Safety Corridor.” OMPOC supports legislation to reduce the cash match requirement to 20%, and 10% when the project is within a city of 5,000 people or fewer, or is near a Title 1 school, or is within a “Priority Safety Corridor.”

Speed Limits – Speed is a major factor in the safety of our roadways for all users. Currently, Oregon speed limits are set based on the guidance that speed limits in speed zones within cities should be within 10 mph of the 85th percentile observed speed. The 85th percentile guidance first came into use more than 70 years ago, when roadway design was primarily concerned with improving mobility. Today, safety and other community impacts are of primary importance. The Oregon MPO Consortium (OMPOC) recognizes a need to review this guidance, and calls for a statewide coordinated work program to establish new guidance for a uniform process for the State and local jurisdictions to set speed limits on roadways under their jurisdiction.

OMPOC will meet in January to approve this legislative agenda and discuss next steps for filing. In the meantime, Oregon MPOs are meeting to decide if they can support pushing this agenda forward in 2019.  

Both the Salem-Keizer and Central Lane MPOs have given the nod to OMPOC’s three concepts, and the Portland MPO, Metro, is considering support for these topics. The Salem-Keizer area MPO met this week to review the narrowed list and agreed they would support addressing all three topics. Earlier this month, the Central Lane MPO also gave their approval and discussed the importance of addressing how speed impacts bicyclists and pedestrians. Back in August, we submitted comments supporting these three concepts, as well as a broader list of issues including transit student youth pass and investments in community bicycle and pedestrian improvements. We’ll continue following OMPOC’s next steps as we move closer to the 2019 Legislative Session.

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