City leaders considers lowering speed limits in Seattle

KING 5's Chris Daniels reports.

SEATTLE – Seattle wants drivers to hit the brakes.

Last week, Seattle's Transportation Director and two City Council members announced a plan to reduce speed limits by 5 miles an hour. City leaders will meet Tuesday afternoon to talk about the issue.

The proposal would 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 would impact 2,400 miles of downtown and residential roadways.

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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.”

If legislation is approved by a council committee Tuesday, proponents hope to implement it by November.

Copyright 2016 KING


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