AUSTIN (KXAN) — Austin City Council unanimously approved reduced speed limits in neighborhoods and certain urban core streets in Austin on Thursday.
As a move toward the city’s Vision Zero goal of no traffic deaths, neighborhood streets less than 36 feet wide with primarily front-facing residential land uses will now have 25 mph speed limits. Some wider than 36 feet will also have speed limits reduced, the city says.
Most streets in the downtown area will be posted at 30 mph speed limits, and urban core arterials, bounded by U.S. Highway 183, State Highway 71 and MoPac will be posted at 35 mph speed limits with a few exceptions.
The city says Vision Zero data showed speeding as a primary contributing factor in 25% of traffic crashes resulting in death. Based on a year-long comprehensive engineering study of speed limits on Austin roadways, the City Traffic Engineer made the call that speed limits needed to be reduced to make streets safer.
The first speed limits changes will be rolled out over the next few months, and the city says they’ll make sure tell the public well in advance of the changes.
“Speeding is one of the top behaviors that leads to serious injuries and death on our roadway,” said Robert Spillar, Austin Transportation Department director.
“We believe changes like the proposed new speed limits will better reflect our safety goals and encourage drivers to be more cautious when driving in potentially high-pedestrian environments. These changes will help Austin provide more livable places for nearby residents, businesses, and commuters,” he said.