(April 5, 2022) The Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT), in partnership with the Portland Police Bureau, is expanding the city’s automated traffic enforcement program as part of the City of Portland’s Vision Zero program to end traffic deaths. The bureaus will install intersection safety cameras at some of Portland’s most dangerous intersections to reduce dangerous driving behaviors. Intersection safety cameras are a new type of traffic enforcement camera in Portland that will issue citations for both speeding and red light running.
The city’s first intersection safety camera was installed yesterday at SE Stark Street and 122nd Avenue and will be tested until April 11, when it will begin issuing warnings. On May 11, after a 30-day warning period, the camera will begin issuing citations in the mail to drivers for speeding and red light running. A typical citation is $170 for speeding and $270 for running a red light (failure to obey a traffic control device). New signage on SE Stark Street warns drivers that traffic laws are enforced by cameras.
"Speed safety cameras have proven to be a cost-effective way to reduce dangerous driving on our streets," Portland Transportation Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty said. "I have been pushing for these cameras to be installed as soon as possible, and I will continue to advocate for more of this technology, which can reduce red-light running as well as speeding. I also want to thank the Oregon legislature for recently passing our bill that will allow us to deploy more of these cameras without requiring police to review the tickets, instead allowing them to stay focused on emergency response. Thanks to Rep. Reardon, Rep. Smith Warner and Sen. Dembrow, we will save lives for generations to come."
"Camera technology is a critical tool for us as we work to eliminate the traffic violence on our streets," PBOT Director Chris Warner said. "Thanks to support from the City Council and the legislature, we will be able to install more of these cameras, focusing on the deadliest high crash corridors and intersections in Portland."
Why are PBOT and PPB installing more cameras?
SE Stark and 122nd Avenue consistently ranks as one of the most dangerous intersections in Portland. From 2015 to 2019, 123 deaths or injuries occurred at this intersection. The speed limit on SE Stark Street is 30 miles per hour at this intersection. Excessive speed and red light running contributed to 24 crashes that killed three people and injured 37 others from 2015 to 2019.
For years, community members and organizations have requested interventions to make travel safer on SE Stark Street, a high crash corridor that links Portlanders with jobs, education, and commerce. In a 2018 scientific survey of 400 Portlanders conducted by DHM Research, 75% of respondents expressed support for safety cameras to enforce speed limits on streets with high crash rates. Portland’s speed safety cameras have demonstrated a significant reduction in speeding. A 2020 speed study showed a 94% decrease in top end speeding (11 mph or more over the speed limit) from 2016 to 2020 on all four corridors where PBOT has speed safety cameras installed. Speeding is a top contributing factor to deadly crashes across the Portland region. Traveling at excessive speeds increases the likelihood that a crash will occur and increases the severity of crashes when they do happen. The faster people drive, the longer it takes them to react to and to bring their vehicle to a stop once they have hit the brakes.
Upgrades and additional traffic safety cameras coming to Portland
The next planned camera is at SE Stark Street and 148th Avenue and is expected to be installed later this spring. Fixed speed cameras for NE Columbia Boulevard and NE Sandy Boulevard are currently in the design phase, with construction expected this spring.
The City of Portland currently operates 10 red light running cameras throughout Portland. Several of Portland’s existing red light running cameras will be upgraded to intersection safety cameras between 2022-2023 and will begin issuing citations for speeding, in addition to red light running.
For more than 20 years, Portland Police have used cameras placed in police vans, staffed by officers, to provide speed enforcement, moving them from place to place. PBOT led the effort to change state law in 2015 to allow Portland to also use cameras permanently mounted on posts to provide speed enforcement, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
Safer Outer Stark:
Approximately $10 million of additional safety improvements are funded for Stark Street between SE 108th and SE 162nd avenues. Design for these improvements is expected to begin this year, with construction beginning in late 2023 or 2024. For more information, visit the project website: https://www.portland.gov/transportation/planning/safer-outer-stark
PBOT leads the citywide effort to achieve Vision Zero, the goal of eliminating traffic fatalities on city streets. With the understanding that all traffic fatalities are preventable, Vision Zero calls for the use of proven safety methods such as photo radar for speed enforcement to reduce speeding -- one of the leading causes of deaths and serious injuries on our streets.
Learn more about Vision Zero, the City’s effort to end traffic deaths and serious injuries, at visionzeroportland.com
The Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) is the steward of the city’s transportation system and a community partner in shaping a livable city. We plan, build, manage, and maintain an effective and safe transportation system that provides access and mobility. Learn more at portland.gov/transportation