Lower Speeds Approved for Austin Roads

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Lower Speeds Approved for Austin Roads

The City of Austin's 'Vision Zero Initiative' aims to put an end to all traffic deaths by the year 2025.  In a city such as Austin, where traffic and mobility challenges exist at virtually every turn, reducing the number of deaths is a task that has been faced with numerous hurdles.  On Thursday, the Austin City Council took a new step toward reaching that goal with its decision to approve lower speed limits on certain stretches of some heavilty congested roadways.

New maximum speeds have been set for portions of the following roads:

  • 35 miles per hour on Cameron Road from 485 feet north of U.S. 290 to U.S. 183.
  • 40 miles per hour on Airport Boulevard from north IH 35 to Glissman Road.
  • 50 miles per hour on Stassney Lane (East) from Teri Road to 1,200 feet south of Burleson Road and 35 miles per hour from 1,200 feet south of Burleson Road to Burleson Road.
  • 35 miles per hour on Grove Boulevard from Riverside Drive (East) to Montopolis Drive.
  • 35 miles per hour on Montopolis Drive from Riverside Drive (East) to Burleson Road.
  • 40 miles per hour on Lamar Boulevard (South) from Barton Skyway to Ben White Boulevard (West).
  • 35 miles per hour on Pleasant Valley Road (North) from 100 feet south of the center line of Canterbury Street to Webberville Road 
  • 35 miles per hour on Pleasant Valley (South) from 100 feet south of the center line of Canterbury Street to 500 feet north of the center line of Oltorf Street (East).
  • 35 miles per hour on a section of Riverside Drive (East) from 250 feet east of Crossing Place to 250 feet east of Vargas Drive 
  • 40 miles per hour from 250 feet east of Vargas Drive to S.H. 71.

Lower speed limits have been discussed for quite some time.  Safety advocates have pointed to studies showing the likelihood of crashes increases with every five miles per hour of speed.  

"The likelihood of a crash, and what happens when that impact occurs, is what we're seeing as far as risk factors related to speed," said Lewis Leff with the Austin Transportation Department earlier this summer.

The city has also considered following the lead of other major American cities, such as Seattle and Boston, which have redesigned many of their major thoroughfares to help reduce the number of fatal or injury crashes.

As for neighborhood streets, there has been a push in Austin for a statewide maximum speed limit of 25 miles per hour.

"When you get beyond 30 miles per hour posted speed limit, you see a big increase [in fatalities]," Leff said.

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