HOUSE COMMITTEE ON TRANSPORTATION

 

 

March 07, 2005   Hearing Room C

1:00 P.M. Tapes  20 - 22

 

MEMBERS PRESENT:            Rep. George Gilman, Chair

Rep. Terry Beyer, Vice-Chair

Rep. Chuck Burley, Vice-Chair

Rep. Deborah Boone

Rep. Scott Bruun

Rep. Dave Hunt

Rep. Kim Thatcher

 

STAFF PRESENT:                  John Houser, Committee Administrator

Mike Reiley, Committee Assistant

 

MEASURES/ISSUES HEARD:

Introduction of Committee Bill – Work Session

HB 2365 & HB 2481 – Public Hearing

 

These minutes are in compliance with Senate and House Rules.  Only text enclosed in quotation marks reports a speaker’s exact words.  For complete contents, please refer to the tapes.

 

TAPE/#

Speaker

Comments

TAPE 20, A

003

Chair Gilman

Calls the meeting to order at 1:04 p.m. Discusses the issue of school speed zones and addresses the current and proposed legislation. Opens a work session on introduction of committee bills.

INTRODUCTION OF COMMITTEE BILL – WORK SESSION

035

John Houser

Committee Administrator. Introduces LC 2354 (EXHIBIT A).

050

Rep. Bruun

MOTION:  Moves LC 2354 BE INTRODUCED as a committee bill.

 

 

VOTE:  5-0-2

EXCUSED:  2 - Burley, Boone

 

Chair Gilman

Hearing no objection, declares the motion CARRIED.

060

Chair Gilman

Closes the work session. Opens a public hearing on HB 2365 and HB 2481.

HB 2365 & HB 2481 – PUBLIC HEARING

064

Rep. Vicki Berger

House District 20. Explains the intent of HB 2365 and notes the problems that have arisen from school zone speed limits. Discusses the inconsistency of implementation of the speed limits. Notes that the most common question she receives from constituents is why the speed limit is not 20 miles per hour when amber lights are flashing and explains that many jurisdictions have not invested in them.

118

Charles Crose

Monmouth. Testifies in support of HB 2481 and changing the current school speed zone law. Describes the speed zones by Central High School as an example and in Keizer where speed zones are inconsistently enforced.

178

Chair Gilman

Asks if anyone has received a ticket for speeding in school zones after midnight.

182

Crose

Answers that he does not know.

184

Chair Gilman

Notes that some forthcoming legislation may require refunds for citations issued for speeding in school zones, but he is not aware of any citations that have been issued.

190

Wayne Hiebenthal

Dallas. Testifies in support of HB 2365. Describes the ambiguity of the language, “when children are present.”

235

Dan Reid

Salem. Testifies in support of HB 2365. Discusses the problems with the current law. Urges the repeal of the existing law.

292

Rep. Hunt

Asks if specific time provisions for school speed zones are acceptable.

300

Reid

Notes that on some weekdays school is not in session.

305

Rep. Hunt

Asks if drivers are aware which days children are in school.

307

Reid

Answers that drivers may not know which days are school days and explains that “when children are present” should be sufficient.

320

Rick Roberts

Wilsonville. Testifies in support of HB 2481. Describes a school zone in Wilsonville that has a large sign and flashing lights at the beginning of the zone and a small sign at the end and the resulting confusion.

TAPE 21, A

005

Chair Gilman

Explains previous legislation and the reasons it passed, noting that the safety of children was the primary concern.

012

Roberts

Addresses the fines issued for speeding in school zones.

017

Chair Gilman

Asks if Mr. Roberts knows anyone who has received a ticket in a school zone at night.

020

Roberts

Answers no. Emphasizes the importance of obeying the law and educating children to understand the laws.

055

Dick Haglund

Salem. Testifies in support of HB 2481. Thanks Rep. Berger for her efforts to address the school speed zone issue.

066

Rep. Hunt

Asks if a consistent, statewide set time would be appropriate.

070

Haglund

Answers that flashing lights would be ideal, but he would support a time frame such as 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.

085

Paul Norris

Keizer. Submits and summarizes prepared testimony in support of HB 2365 (EXHIBIT B). Discusses the potential problem of buses being delayed by school zones and passengers consequently missing transfers to other buses.

130

Rep. Thatcher

Reads from the Federal Highway Administration Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices, the five basic requirements for traffic control effectiveness: 1. Fulfill a need  2. Command attention  3. Convey a clear, simple meaning  4. Command respect from the road users  5. Give adequate time for proper response. Notes that many are lacking in current traffic control devices.

143

Chair Gilman

Speaks in favor of flashing lights. Notes that there may be federal funds available to help provide them to jurisdictions.

155

Pete Christensen

Dallas. Submits and summarizes prepared testimony in support of HB 2365 and HB 2481 (EXHIBIT C).

206

Rep. Burley

Asks if Mr. Christensen is referring to crosswalks near schools.

210

Christensen

Responds yes and includes those that a school district has marked as an area “where children are present.”

217

Rep. Beyer

Asks about signs encountered by Mr. Christensen that indicate “when children are present” but nothing else.

222

Christensen

Explains that the signs indicate 20 miles per hour when children are present and notes the resulting confusion.

229

Chair Gilman

Notes the “Slow Down in School Zones” brochures submitted by Troy Costales, Transportation Safety Division, Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) (EXHIBIT D).

235

Donna Barchenger

Salem. Submits and summarizes a letter in support of HB 2481 (EXHIBIT E). Describes her experiences driving in school zones.

305

Rep. Burley

Asks about the crosswalk on Center Street that is not adjacent to a school and asks who determined that the crosswalk should be equipped with flashing lights.

301

Barchenger

Answers that she does not know and points out that there are no “end of school zone” signs.

328

John Turmon

Former school teacher, Salem. Testifies in support of HB 2365. Expresses concern that funding has not been used to create standard traffic control devices for school zone speed limits.

380

Jon Oshel

County Road Program Manager, Association of Oregon Counties (AOC). Submits and summarizes prepared testimony regarding HB 2365 and HB 2481 (EXHIBIT F). Explains that AOC is neutral on the legislation and expresses concern about a “one size fits all” solution due to the number of different roads and situations throughout the state.

TAPE 20, B

054

Rep. Thatcher

Asks about traffic control devices to give drivers advanced notice about approaching speed changes.

058

Oshel

Explains that it a good idea and expresses importance of warning drivers of changes in the speed limit.

065

Rep. Thatcher

Notes that she is a sign contractor and points out that most of the traffic control signs were made by the jurisdictions, not private contractors.

070

Rep. Beyer

Asks if it would be appropriate to give the cities or counties the ability to set signage.

073

Oshel

Explains that the road authorities (i.e. city or county) make the final determination in setting school zone speed limits and work closely with school districts to set the times the speed limit is in effect.

085

Mark Lear

Traffic Investigations Manager, Office of Transportation, City of Portland. Submits and summarizes prepared testimony and information regarding HB 2365 and HB 2481 (EXHIBIT G).

184

Rep. Thatcher

Explains that consistency is important to reduce drivers’ confusion.

190

Lear

Explains the challenges associated with setting consistent speed limits.

214

Rep. Thatcher

Asks for clarification of the number of children injured in school zones.

220

Lear

Explains that children are most often injured between 3-8 p.m.

228

Rep. Thatcher

Clarifies that it is not necessarily in school zones.

230

Lear

Answers yes. Describes the work being done to encourage paths and safe walking routes to schools.

244

Rep. Thatcher

Notes that the speed limits are still confusing and expresses concern about children and the “sickos and perverts” that spend time in parks and near schools.

250

Lear

Notes that traffic safety is the first concern identified by parents and kids followed by crime.

258

Rep. Bruun

Asks if a reduction in traffic incidents in school zones can be shown since the law changed.

265

Lear

Answers that there is a six-month delay in receiving data from the Division of Motor Vehicles.

270

Rep. Bruun

Asks for anecdotal evidence about traffic incidents in school zones.

280

Lear

Explains that the public has generally been supportive and the system appears to be working.

305

Rep. Burley

Expresses concern about the proposed 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. time frame. Asks how to get local jurisdictions involved in setting the crosswalks and speed in school zones.

330

Lear

States that there is a strong traffic safety community in Oregon around safe routes to schools and notes that there is work being done to address the different issues from around the state.

358

Rep. Burley

Asks if Mr. Lear is referring to his own proposal or that in HB 2365.

360

Lear

Answers that he is referring to his proposal.

370

Roger Trygstad

Retired ODOT Traffic Engineer. Notes that the current school speed zone law is the most confusing he has seen in 32 years with ODOT. Expresses concern that a disrespect for the signs is resulting from the confusion among drivers. Proposes a return to the sign “when children are present.”

TAPE 21, B

005

Scott Bricker

Policy Director, Bicycle Transportation Alliance. Submits and summarizes prepared testimony regarding HB 2365 (EXHIBIT H).

040

Vinita Howard

Salem. Submits and summarizes prepared testimony in support of HB 2365 and HB 2481 (EXHIBIT I).

140

Jack Straton

Portland. Submits and summarizes prepared testimony in support of HB 2365 and HB 2481 (EXHIBIT J). Notes that it is not good policy to have a law that triggers resentment when it is followed.

179

Rep. Beyer

Asks what about the school speed zone law angers people.

184

Straton

Answers that there is resentment about “having to obey a law when there is no need for it.”

191

Chair Gilman

Asks about changing other traffic laws such as not having to stop at stop signs from 1-3 a.m.

195

Straton

Explains that there is no need to change what people are used to.

206

Shelly Moore

Crossing guard, Highland Elementary, Salem. Explains the abuse she receives from drivers upset at being stopped. Points out that if drivers do not stop for her, they will not stop for children. Argues that the “when children are present” language is too broad.

247

Rep. Hunt

Asks about the potential solutions that have been raised.

253

Moore

Explains the danger in having to slow down from 55 to 20 miles per hour in a school zone. Argues that school zones should be 20 miles per hour at all times.

295

Karen Randall

Salem. Explains the dangers for children in school zones and at crosswalks. Describes incidents in which she and her daughter and crossing guards were nearly struck in school zones by speeding drivers.

388

Rep. Thatcher

Asks if Ms. Randall would like to see the law left as it is.

393

Randall

Answers that she would like to see the current laws enforced to protect pedestrians.

405

Rep. Thatcher

Concurs with Ms. Randall regarding dangers to flaggers from speeding drivers.

TAPE 22, A

010

Troy Costales

Transportation Safety Division, ODOT. Submits and summarizes prepared testimony regarding HB 2365 (EXHIBIT K) and HB 2481 (EXHIBIT L).

055

Kent Smith

Salem. Testifies in support of HB 2365 and HB 2481.

The following material is submitted for the record without public testimony:

 

Christy Monson

League of Oregon Cities. Submits prepared testimony regarding HB 2365 and HB 2481 (EXHIBIT M).

090

Chair Gilman

Closes the public hearing on HB 2365 and HB 2481. Adjourns the meeting at 3:00 p.m.

 

 

EXHIBIT SUMMARY

 

  1. Introductions, LC 2354, staff, 8 pp
  2. HB 2365, prepared testimony and information, Paul Norris, 2 pp
  3. HB 2365 & HB 2481, prepared testimony, Pete Christensen, 1 p
  4. HB 2365 & HB 2481, “Slow Down in School Zones” pamphlet, Troy Costales, 4 pp
  5. HB 2365, prepared testimony, Donna Barchenger, 1 p
  6. HB 2365 & HB 2481, prepared testimony, Jon Oshel, 2 pp
  7. HB 2365 & HB 2481, prepared testimony, Mark Lear, 6 pp
  8. HB 2365 & HB 2481, prepared testimony, Scott Bricker, 1 p
  9. HB 2365 & HB 2481, prepared testimony, Vinita Howard, 4 pp
  10. HB 2365 & HB 2481, prepared testimony, Jack Straton, 1 pp
  11. HB 2365, prepared testimony, Troy Costales, 1 p
  12. HB 2481, prepared testimony, Troy Costales, 1 p
  13. HB 2365 & HB 2481, prepared testimony, Christy Monson, 1 p