Let’s Lower the Speed Limit to 20 miles per hour on Bicycle Boulevards

On October 19th, Mayor and Council will consider a proposal to lower speed limits on select bicycle boulevards from 25 mph to 20 mph. While 5 mph may not seem like much, it can be the difference between a person surviving or being killed if struck by a driver, especially for the elderly. What’s more, planned improvements along bicycle boulevards, like traffic calming, complement the conditions for actually slowing drivers down. Living Streets Alliance supports this initiative as an important step in addressing the issues that were brought up during the creation of the Pedestrian Safety Action Plan in August of this year.

We encourage you to write a note of support to Mayor and Council to demonstrate widespread support for safe corridors that prioritize safe and comfortable spaces for people. Find out who your Ward representative is here.

 

Mayor Jonathan Rothschild by email: mayor1@tucsonaz.gov or phone: (520) 791-4201

Ward 1 Council Member Regina Romero by email: ward1@tucsonaz.gov or phone: (520) 791-4040

Ward 2 Council Member Paul Cunningham by email: ward2@tucsonaz.gov or phone: (520) 791-4687

Ward 3 Council Member Karin Uhlich by email: ward3@tucsonaz.gov or phone: (520) 791-4711

Ward 4 Council Member Shirley Scott by email: ward4@tucsonaz.gov or phone: (520) 791-3199

Ward 5 Council Member Richard Fimbres by email: ward5@tucsonaz.gov or phone: (520) 791-4231

Ward 6 Vice Mayor Steve Kozachik by email: ward6@tucsonaz.gov or phone: (520) 791-4601

 

Here are some FAQ’s about this proposal:

Why lower speed limits only on bike boulevards?

Bicycle Boulevards are unique residential streets designed to prioritize the safe movement of people on bicycles and on foot while reducing the speed and volume of motor vehicle traffic. Bike Boulevards discourage cut-through traffic and create safer, slower, and more pleasant alternatives for biking and walking. Lowering speed limits will only be considered on corridors where design improvements have already been implemented, including traffic calming features (traffic circles, speed humps, etc.) and enhanced crossings at busy intersections (such as push-button crossings.). This is not an effort to create enforcement traps, but to make these corridors safer, calmer, and more comfortable for everyone.

 

Is this only an improvement to benefit bicycle riders?

No, this isn’t just a safety improvement for bikes. Pedestrians, motorists, residents and even businesses all stand to benefit from lowered speed limits.

ProPublica, a public interest investigative journalism organization, found that lowering speed limits even just 5 mph means that a person struck by a driver traveling at 20 mph has a 93 percent chance of surviving. For a 70-year-old, the chances of surviving decline from 87 percent at 20mph to 77 percent at 25 mph .

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In Seattle, where speed limits will be lowered to 25MPH on all arterial roads, and 20MPH on all residential streets, many businesses and Chambers of Commerce actually pushed for the measure, arguing that lower speed limits are better for businesses and attract more customers.

 

What other cities are exploring lowering speed limits to 20MPH?

In the United Kingdom a volunteer-lead campaign called “20 is Plenty” and is piloting lowered speed limits in communities across the country. Check out their informational video on the initiative here:

In the United States, Albuquerque, NM and Birmingham, AL are considering lowering speed limits to 20mph on residential streets while Seattle, Portland, and Berkeley, CA have already done it!

 

This is a great first step, but how do we get safe and livable 20 mph speed limits on ALL residential streets and not just Bicycle Boulevards?

There would have to be a change to the Arizona state law, so be sure to VOTE!

 

 

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