Lower speed limits now in effect in Seattle

KING 5's Michelle Li reports.

SEATTLE -- After much discussion, lowered speed limits are now in effect across Seattle. 

In September, Seattle's Transportation Director and two City Council members announced a plan to reduce speed limits by 5 miles an hour.

The proposal cut speed limits on residential streets from 25 to 20 mph, and in the city center from 35 to 30 mph.  City Council member Tim Burgess said this is part of the city's Vision Zero initiative aimed at ending traffic deaths and serious injuries by 2030.

"We're doing this because speed matters," said SDOT Director Scott Kubly, laying out the case for the speed reduction.

His department claims 42 percent of all fatality collisions in downtown every year are attributed to speed, and lower limits can also conversely lower injuries.

The changes are expected to impact 2,400 miles of downtown and residential roadways.

Ramone Clark works at a restaurant on one of the city's worst intersections, Boren Avenue and Pike Street. 

"People get frustrated and stop paying attention," he said.

Many drivers use the Boren and Pike crossing to get to Interstate 5.  SDOT said it's had one of the top 5 highest rates of collision of any intersection in the city. 

Still, Clark said he's not sure speed will make any difference. 

"You can't really speed here," he said. "It's so congested.”

The new speeds went into effect November 7. SDOT has placed nearly 100 "gateway" signs at city entrances to inform drivers of the changes. Since many residential streets did not have signs to begin with, there will be no additional changes to those roads.

 

 

 

Copyright 2016 KING


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