The City Council approved new default speed limits across Seattle Monday, likely clearing the final major hurdle for the changes.
“It’s been something that’s very near and dear to my heart,” said Councilmember Sally Bagshaw, who wrote about the issue on her blog over the weekend. Councilmembers Tim Burgess and Mike O’Brien lead the effort on the Council in conjunction with SDOT’s Vision Zero leaders.
Safe streets advocates — especially Seattle Neighborhood Greenways — have been pushing for this change since a 2013 state law (passed with heavy support from Washington Bikes) allowed municipalities to lower speed limits to 20 mph on non-arterial (mostly residential) streets without conducting expensive and time-consuming traffic studies.
Seattle’s 30 mph default limit for busier arterial streets makes the city an outlier among other King County communities, so lowering that to 25 really just puts the city in line with the rest of the region. Streets with posted speed limits (nearly all busy streets outside the city center) will not be affected by this change. Continue reading