SEATTLE — The Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) lowered the speed limits on portions of state routes within the city this week, slowing down traffic on several major city thoroughfares.
SDOT and the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) approved lowering speed limits by five miles an hour on portions of State Route 523, State Route 522, State Route 513 and State Route 99. Limits have also been reduced by five miles an hour on sections of Marginal Way, Sandpoint Way, Northeast 45th Street, Montlake Boulevard, Lake City Way Northeast and 145th Street.
SDOT has a list of the exact new speed limits on its website here.
Over 150 new speed limit signs were installed on Sunday, March 14, in five locations with plans to add more signs to sections of Aurora Avenue in mid-April. Seattle recently lowered the speed limits on 415 miles of city streets earlier in March. The effort is a part of the city's Vision Zero initiative to end traffic injuries and deaths by 2030.
“We know that we must continue to make our sidewalks and streets safe for everyone. The loss of lives - often our most vulnerable travelers - due to crashes and collisions on our streets is unacceptable,” said Mayor Jenny Durkan. “Seattle has been a national leader in lowering speed limits throughout our city, and we are proud to work with WSDOT to roll out speed reductions on state routes in Seattle so all travelers are safe getting to where they need to go.”
Lowering speed limits is a nationally recognized tool for reducing crashes, according to SDOT. The city is also installing speed limit signs every quarter mile, and making some signs larger to make them more visible.
SDOT said it will only take drivers 10 to 30 seconds longer to drive a mile at the newly posted speed limits compared to the old speed limits, and traveling at lower speeds can actually help reduce traffic congestion.
SDOT and WSDOT will monitor the effectiveness of the changes to make future decisions on speed limit reductions on state routes and in other locations.