Portland representative Ben Cannon scored a win today in Salem when the House overwhelmingly passed his bill, HB 3150, that will allow cities to lower the speed limits by five miles per hour on their neighborhood streets.
Right now if Portland wants to lower the speed limit on any of its streets, (say, like, new bike route NE Going) the city has to petition the state transportation department to make the change. It's a cumbersome process that can take time and money. Cannon, who can sometimes be spotted biking around town with his adorable three-year-old, wanted cities to have a say over how fast people can drive on their own streets.
This wouldn't affect major arterial streets, just ones that already have average speeds of under 30 MPH and 2,000 or less daily car trips. Yay safety! I don't really see any legitimate argument against this (even the strongly-divided house passed it 45-14) except that people who don't follow the speed limit now probably won't change their ways to follow it when it's lower.
In other news, check out this awesome infographic about US bike commuting rates a University of Oregon student made. Here's a detail: