20 mph on all ‘residential streets’? City Councilmembers to consider next week

When Mayor Murray announced the “Vision Zero” plan more than a year and a half ago, the plan (p. 14) promised to start reducing speed limits on “residential streets” to 20 mph. By last summer, the change was made on a few streets in north West Seattle. Now, it’s going citywide. One week from today, the City Council’s Transportation and Sustainability Committee will consider the proposal that was announced this afternoon:

Mayor Ed Murray and Councilmembers Tim Burgess and Mike O’Brien today unveiled a proposal to enhance safety on Seattle’s streets by changing the speed limit on all residential streets from 25 to 20 MPH and streets in the center city from 30 to 25 MPH. The proposal is part of Seattle’s Vision Zero plan to end traffic deaths and serious injuries on city streets by 2030.

“Having helped pass the Neighborhood Safe Streets Bill during my time in the legislature, I’m proud that Seattle will be the first city in the state of Washington to implement lower speeds on all residential streets,” said Mayor Ed Murray. “When combined with other elements of our ongoing Vision Zero work, such as redesigned roadways and data driven enforcement, lower speed limits will help make Seattle’s roads safer for all.”

Speed contributes to 25 percent of collisions citywide and 42 percent of downtown traffic fatalities every year. It is the critical factor in survivability for a crash. Pedestrians struck by vehicles traveling at 25 MPH are half as likely to die as those struck at 30 MPH.

“Studies show that lowering speed limits is one of the best ways to improve safety in our neighborhoods,” said Councilmember Tim Burgess. “Reducing speeds will not only reduce accidents and fatalities but it also brings peace of mind for those who use our sidewalks, including children and our elderly neighbors. The reduction we are proposing will not restrict mobility.”

In residential areas, going down to 20 MPH brings the entire neighborhood to existing school zone speed limits, making safer routes of travel for all. Vehicle safety in Seattle has improved significantly, but not for people walking and biking. Pedestrian and bicycle collisions make up seven percent of total crashes, but nearly half of fatalities. The new speed limit will apply to 2,400 miles of non-arterial streets and help enhance safe routes to schools, transit, parks and other destinations.

“The proposal presents the opportunity that exists to balance the need for safe passage with thoughtful engineering,” said Councilmember Mike O’Brien. “Reducing speed limits has a direct impact on safety and helps the City implement better design standards that will allow drivers, bikers, pedestrians and parents alike to breathe a little easier as we head back to school by bus, bike or single passenger vehicle.”

Downtown there has been a 20 percent increase in speed-related fatal collisions over the last four years. Signal timing has already been adjusted to the new 25 MPH speed limit and drivers are moving more efficiently through the center city. A 25 MPH speed limit fits the typical operating speed of vehicles in the downtown core today.

This change would mainly impact the off-peak hours when there are more high-end speeders and more severe collisions.

“Speed is the critical factor in crashes, and lowering speeds is essential if we want to end traffic deaths and serious injuries on our streets,” said Seattle Department of Transportation Director Scott Kubly. “You can save a life for only an extra minute more per trip.”

This speed limit is consistent with the Washington State speed limit for city streets and Seattle is the only city in King County with an arterial speed limit over 25 MPH. Also, 25 MPH is the speed limit in the overwhelming majority of city centers nationwide including cities like New York, Portland, Phoenix, Denver and Houston.

The City Council’s Sustainability and Transportation Committee will discuss and vote on the proposal at its September 20 meeting. The legislation will then go before the full council for a vote later this month. If passed into law, the City expects to begin rolling out speed limit changes in November.

If you’re not sure whether a street near you is “residential” – check this map. If it’s not an arterial or freeway, it’s residential.

99 Replies to "20 mph on all 'residential streets'? City Councilmembers to consider next week"

  • Craig September 13, 2016 (2:57 pm)

    NERF THE WORLD!  What a joke.  Who is paying these guys to waste time on nonsense.  Do something worthwhile.  I don’t know, Vancouver BC has done something about their housing being bought by foreign investors and it’s proved to be successful…these guys are CLOWNS!  

  • Anon September 13, 2016 (3:01 pm)

    I can’t wait to vote him out.  This is just getting ridiculous.  WS is a hilly area too.  Suppose this wouldn’t apply to bikes either.

  • Qbert September 13, 2016 (3:02 pm)

    Enforcement as well, please! 

  • B September 13, 2016 (3:15 pm)

    The change will do f-all nothing if they don’t plan on adding additional enforcement. 

    For example: people speed on admiral all day long. We have speed limit signs and a radar speed sign, with another to come. They don’t help. 

    Another example: 59th to Alki. Take your normal speeders, and throw in all the beach trash – the motorcyclists and cars racing, all right next to the park. 

    What stopped the bad behavior on 59th was speed “pillows” (I think they’re called pillows, maybe cushions; they’re not real speed bumps). You could call it “passive enforcement” since it’s still possible (but tricky) to speed. 

    • sam-c September 13, 2016 (3:30 pm)

      LOL, seriously; without reinforcement, there is no point and this is a waste of money. SPD/ the City should spend the money on more ‘units.’ I was tailgated and eventually passed (by 2 drivers/ cars) at a quick clip this morning. I was going 25mph, slowing to 20 mph to go over speed bumps.  This was on 21st, in between the greenbelt and radio towers on Pigeon Point.  And then ended up catching up to the 2nd driver/ car that had passed me.  Oh well.

  • Melissa September 13, 2016 (3:16 pm)

    Am I reading the map correctly?  Is Holden in Highland Park considered residential?

    • Sissyopinion September 13, 2016 (3:36 pm)

      It looks like Holden is marked as an arterial.

      • WSB September 13, 2016 (3:43 pm)

        Except for a few blocks west of 16th, east of Delridge (mostly residential except for the 7-11).

  • Les September 13, 2016 (3:21 pm)

    How many people have died from drug overdoses in Seattle this year  mayor Murray?


    • AMD September 13, 2016 (6:11 pm)

      I am not sure what point you were getting at with this comment, but in the last year SPD has been equipped with naloxone and saved a number of people from dying due to overdose.  The program has been very well received and is expanding.  They take overdoses seriously and are working very hard to get that number to zero as well.

  • CMP September 13, 2016 (3:25 pm)

    Here’s one more way that this city is becoming unlivable.  I noticed that Rainier Avenue has a section of 25 mph and it’s ridiculously slow, while Sandpoint Way NE is still 40 mph (at least it was a month or two ago).  The inconsistencies with speed limit decisions is mind boggling to me.  How about getting to the real root of the problem which is crappy drivers?  I’d like to see some reform at the DOL instead of lower speed limits.  I know I’m in the minority here but this is absurdly slow.  Slower is not always safer.  And please don’t assume I speed or drive recklessly because I don’t.   Drive with the intention of not hurting yourself or others or property and you’re off to a decent start.  I want to know what causes the other 75% of accidents?  Instead we go for the low hanging fruit.  

  • JR September 13, 2016 (3:27 pm)

    Anyone w/ “vision” would posit that by 2030 the greatest increase in safety will be autonomous vehicles or some as-yet-unforseen technological development.

    I suspect that “safety” is the rationale for some other agenda.

    My vision is electing leaders with common sense, those who are in tune with the real needs and real problems of our citizenry.  25 mph speed limits are NOT the problem!!

  • Space Dust September 13, 2016 (3:36 pm)

    You know that one thing that cost the Mayor his job..,Bet Greg Nichols remembers?

    You Mayor Murray, just found out yours.  Good Bye!, at the end of your term.

  • Double Dub Resident September 13, 2016 (3:39 pm)

    Hey Murray,  

      We have a serious homeless issue that needs to be dealt with besides the asinine idea of  trying to dilute the problem by disbursing the homeless through “legal camping”  in the public parks that us tax payers pay for.  

    Stop looking at the shiny distracting thing over there and focus!!!

     Please people vote this guy out! I thought Mayor McShwinn was bad,  but this guy is awful!!  Same with our city council  

    • WSB September 13, 2016 (3:43 pm)

      As I said on another thread earlier today, the “camping in parks” that MIGHT be enabled by ONE of the currently proposed bills is in the one the council forwarded – not voted for or against, so far – not the one the mayor is supporting. You can blame/thank him for a long list of things but let’s stay clear on that one.

    • Pops September 13, 2016 (4:48 pm)

      Well said.

  • Chuck September 13, 2016 (3:40 pm)

    What. A. Joke.  People already fly down Graham headed west off California, easily hitting 35 or 40 within a block. I’ve written and called the police to complain. We had spotty traffic enforcement perhaps twice, but that was in connection with other issues dealing with a problem house in the neighborhood. Why is this mayor so hell-bent on writing laws that have no teeth? Without the cops he is having such a problem hiring, what’s the point? It’s like the leash laws at Lincoln Park (and others) that just get scoffed at. His tax on bullets (enforceable at the register!!) was his most truly “brilliant” plan to-date. 

    I want to believe this city is ready to vote this grandstanding mayor out, but there are just too many people who think he’s actually doing something of value.

    • Sunuva September 14, 2016 (8:13 am)

      If he continues as he has I think a lot of people are going to join with you to vote him out.

  • Seattlite September 13, 2016 (3:40 pm)

     Did you all vote for these people?  Messing with speed limits is a lot easier than critical thinking to resolve all the numerous problems Seattle/KingCounty.  Me thinks Seattle’s politicians want you all on your feet or bikes, not in your cars.

  • JC September 13, 2016 (3:57 pm)

    Vision Zero plan to end traffic deaths and serious injuries on city streets by
    2030”?  Is this Ed’s plan?   This would be 
    ridiculous, just like our Mayor.  

  • Mark schletty September 13, 2016 (4:15 pm)

    This is simply another part of this city’s war on cars. The city continually uses “safety” as its excuse for interfereing with the flow of traffic. They change what’s “safe” as it suits their purpose; note the removal on Admiral of the very same turning lanes they imposed on 35th to “improve safety”.  These proposed speed limits are being pushed by the bicycle-and-pedestrian-over -cars movement that is dictating all of Seattle’s transportation policies. Kubly, Murray and the city council members who support these policies, to the detriment of anyone unable to use a bike or walk for all their needs, need to be voted out of office or fired.

    • Jon Wright September 13, 2016 (6:17 pm)

      Not bad! Less than an hour and a half to trot out the “war on cars” trope.

  • Cherable September 13, 2016 (4:45 pm)

    Is there a study on accidents happening at 25 mph or 35 mph?  Statistics for accidents per mph?  Or is this more grandstanding by an incompetant municipal governance?


    • AMD September 13, 2016 (6:15 pm)

      There is a lot of data showing the slower cars are going when they hit you, the more likely you are to survive.

      To me this direction with the legislation says they’ve given up hope that drivers will stop hitting pedestrians and just want to help make sure the pedestrians live through it when it happens.

    • chemist September 13, 2016 (6:18 pm)

      Vision Zero Boston cites a paper by Tefft, but the speeds are significantly higher than SDOT cites.



      Results show that the average risk of severe injury for a pedestrian struck by a vehicle reaches 10% at an impact speed of 16 mph, 25% at 23 mph, 50% at 31 mph, 75% at 39 mph, and 90% at 46 mph. The 
      average risk of death  for a pedestrian reaches 10% at an impact speed of 23 mph, 25% at 32 mph, 50% at 42 mph, 75% at 50 mph, and 90% at 58 mph.

    • Sunuva September 14, 2016 (8:19 am)

      I also want to know how many pedestrian-involved accidents even happen at a high rate of speed. I don’t recall ever seeing that mentioned, but my guess is that a large majority of pedestrian-involved accidents happen at low rates of speed. Without enforcement we know that some people are still going to travel at higher speeds, so I can’t see how lowering the speed limits would make any meaningful difference on the amount of pedestrian vs car accidents that happen at a high rate of speed.

      They always talk about what happens when one of these types of accidents happen, but how often do they actually happen? Will these laws have any meaningful effect on the latter?

  • Pops September 13, 2016 (4:47 pm)

    I agree with the above. This is laughable. Par for the course though.

  • Neighbor September 13, 2016 (4:52 pm)

    Wow, lots of hostility with this proposal. I like this and thank the council for moving this forward. As a parent, walking school bus driver, pedestrian and cyclist (and yes also an infrequent driver of a car) I welcome the reduction and severity of injuries and fatalities by collisions with cars.   You can’t expect with the increase in population to continue to have the same driving conditions you had 10 years ago. With more people crowded into a denser environment and to accommodate that it means we have to be more careful, i.e. safer by being slower. I think many haven’t considered what it would mean to seriously injure or kill someone.  Yes, we could use more enforcement, but barring that does that mean we don’t change the laws and expectations?  It is dangerous out there on the streets and we need to accommodate more people in all modes – not just cars.  Please there’s no “war” except possibly on pedestrians and cyclist by cars.  Try riding up Admiral Way and see how people come dangerous close to you and/or scream or give you the finger.  It is hostile out there for someone trying to tread lightly on the environment.  

  • Chris September 13, 2016 (5:06 pm)

    You have to be kidding!   We had heard that government was trying to get cars off road and more bicycles and bus riding.   People won’t go the speed limits now and with lane changes going on…..Boy we agree with those comments above.   This is ridiculous.
    We see driver rage now because we are going the speed limit. 
    When is his term done?    There is a meeting re Admiral – wasn’t that today?   We should all show up and let out voices be heard!!!!!!!!!!

    Wow….what next?   What else is he going to do to ruin our city?

  • onion September 13, 2016 (5:29 pm)

    I completely understand the concept of driving conservatively on neighborhood streets, particularly where the traffic lanes are constricted by cars parked on either side. And in school zones, I go slower than 20 mph when children are out and about — I use the same approach even in non-school zones when I see little kids present.

    At the same time, throttling all streets down to 20 mph seems absurd, just as the 30 mph limit on the eastern climb of Admiral Way is absurd. In effect, the city would be saying that every neighborhood street is a school zone. 

    Sorry, but I think this proposal will reduce safety by eliminating any difference between school zones and non-school zones, zones where cars are parked and pedestrians are present, and zones where no cars are parked and no pedestrians are present. Apply the strictest rules to school zones, and solve problems on  neighborhood streets with solutions tailored to each problem block or area. Don’t use a blanket rule. I hope Lisa Herbold casts a more pragmatic and responsive vote than Mike O’Brien, who seems to support every extreme “reform” measure, no matter how cockeyed.

  • Jack spara September 13, 2016 (5:29 pm)

    When will seattle stop voting progressive blindly. This is ridiculous. Where’s the Black Pearl…. 

  • KT September 13, 2016 (5:38 pm)

    I read this article on the Mayor and two City Council members grandstanding on speed limits right after I read this ….. http://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/crime/watchdog-dangerous-for-spd-to-advise-victims-to-approach-thieves/

    So we can devote our energies to speed limits but cannot address cops driving by crime victims because, as usual, they had a “top-priority” call to respond to; cops not available, as usual, to respond to assist crime victims; etc…  

    We allow vagrants, drug addicts, drunks, mentally ill people, and a few economically devastated people to pitch a tent wherever there is a vacant piece of dirt and then foul all around it with garbage, human waste, etc… and engage in all sorts of anti-social and illegal behavior, but can’t address it in a serious way (perhaps, I guess, with the additional taxes Mayor Eddie is now mumbling about).  

    But never fear, we’ll lower the speed limits and all will be well again in Seattle.  

  • Marcus m September 13, 2016 (5:54 pm)

    Loving all the reactionary comments.  Keep it up everyone, always nice to have a laugh

  • Mark September 13, 2016 (5:55 pm)

    As an expert Traffic Engineer the City has lost its technical direction.  Foisting artificial speed limits reduces traffic safety and driver respect.   

    SDoT in the past, years ago, was led by Technical Professionals that made decisions based on Technical criteria, not Fantasy.  These past professionals provided a safe transportation system.

    Kubly is not qualified, he is not PE, and needs to be fired.

    • dsa September 13, 2016 (8:53 pm)

      This needs to be repeated and repeated and repeated until it’s heard. Kubly is not qualified.

    • Fed UP September 14, 2016 (11:51 am)

      Kubly was run out of DC and Chicago .   The same old crazy ideas, with a sense of self entitlement.

      And yes, he isn’t a Traffic Engineer and doesn’t belong to ANY of the professional organizations.

      Carepet bagger !

    • dunnkld September 15, 2016 (10:17 am)

      Mark, you claim many times on many threads and in many meetings your credentials as a capital T capital E traffic engineer. What is your most recent experience designing a city street? Please name the location of the street that was directly the result of your signed design drawings and the date it was built. Your preferred method of setting speed limits is out of date. It has been shown to favor miniscule improvements in car speeds over human life. Go back and re-read the FHWA manual and then justify the ethics of your position. 

  • EvilTwin September 13, 2016 (5:56 pm)

    It’s going to be impossible to merge on any arterial in Seattle that is that slow and has a road diet during busy times. It will be bumper to bumper with people that are reluctant to let you in. Hello side streets to get to a signal that has a massive que backed up for blocks. Or maybe just take 34th or 36th for 3 or 4 miles? I hope people on side streets don’t get hurt by frustrated people rushing down them. This place really is getting ridiculous. Ya know 15 is safer than 25. Wait 5 is safer than 15. Why is his mayor not taking safety serious??????? 25 is a half hearted attempt at real safety. I say someone who actually cares about safety would take it to 5mph. Anyone else is spineless.

  • aRF September 13, 2016 (6:24 pm)

    I love driving the speed limit.

  • Mike September 13, 2016 (6:25 pm)

    The mayor and council have zero vision and ignore listening to citizens.  That’s the real problem.

  • Diane September 13, 2016 (6:26 pm)

    I knew the  comment section would explode on this one

  • JayDee September 13, 2016 (6:39 pm)

    There are a handful of neighborhood streets that have higher speeds than posted speeds: Glenn Way NW and SE bound from Alaska to Genessee.  Genessee downhill EB past the new school. Charlestown west of California, 49th north of Charlestown.  But 20? No one will obey that.

    Downtown at 5th and Union (Which is highlighted as a bad intersection) I was hit by a BMW going 10-15 mph. Crushed L1 vetebrae, took a year to heal and I will be functionally limited for the rest of my life.  Worse yet, the former double left turn lane doesn’t exist, but don’t tell the middle lane turners it doesn’t.  All at less than 20 MPH. 

    Try enforcing the laws that exist (Double left turners at mythical left turn lanes at 5th and Union). Even the report says most injuries and fatalities happen downtown…Well focus on those areas and areas in West Seattle where we have actual problems.

    • Sissyopinion September 13, 2016 (7:44 pm)

      The streets you mention are in neighborhoods but they are not residential streets.  

    • AMD September 13, 2016 (8:07 pm)

      Ugh.  5th & Union.  I e-mailed SPD asking for extra enforcement at that intersection after being nearly hit (my hands actually hit the hood of the car as I jumped back and it sped past) for the umpteenth time and they did send someone out for a day who did issue a LOT of tickets.  As bad as the middle lane turners are, the THIRD lane turners are the worst.

      I agree that any new rule is useless without enforcement, but I don’t think this is a bad rule in and of itself.  Arterials have higher limits; I don’t know when the last time I really went over 20 on the streets in my neighborhood anyway due to the number of kids around and close proximity of cars parked on the street.  

      It’s actually a little scary to read that so many people WANT to drive faster on my street.  It makes me wonder if they’re confusing their arterials with the residential streets this will affect.

  • Blbl September 13, 2016 (6:54 pm)

    Absurd.    Sure 20 mph kills fewer people than 30 mph.   Zero mph kills even fewer.    Let’s outlaw cars altogether.   Zero is the admitted goal, after all. 

  • M September 13, 2016 (6:58 pm)

    I couldn’t have told you what the current speed limit was if you asked me.  I will continue to drive at a safe reasonable space without regard to some posted sign by the city. I am an aware driver that pays attention to common sense like most of Seattle drivers.  What I fear now is the people driving around west Seattle that will follow these new lower speed limits to the “T” and think they are being safe courteous. However they drive around completely unaware of their surroundings, never look in their rear view mirror and slow everyone down. Those are the people causing Seattle traffic problems and accidents. 

  • flynlo September 13, 2016 (7:09 pm)

    If we lower the speed limit to 0, there will be no deaths, there – problem solved!!

    What are increases in health problems caused by the increase in automobile pollution caused by the lowered speed limit.  Every car will spend more time with the engine running.

  • dcn September 13, 2016 (8:17 pm)

    I’m curious about this statement: “Downtown there has been a 20 percent increase in speed-related fatal collisions over the last four years.” Why is this? Is it because there is more density–more pedestrians and more cars? Are these fatalities mostly during off-peak hours when people can drive faster than the speed limit? Has speeding in downtown become more common in the past 4 years? Is it because driver frustration has increased due to the congestion that causes one to sit through several light cycles before getting though an intersection, so they drive recklessly through red lights? The last one is the one I see most, but I don’t spend much time downtown.

    As for the 20 mph residential limit, I watched my speed today as I drove through residential streets near my house where there’s lots of parked cars and traffic circles because I had no idea what speed I naturally go. I averaged just under 25 mph. When I tried keeping it to 20 mph or less, it took a real effort. To keep it to 20, I had to watch the speedometer so closely that watching the road became almost secondary. It is very hard to not creep over the 20 mph limit. I’m not convinced going 20 would make me a safer driver if I’m preoccupied with my speedometer instead on my surroundings.

    This will be a real cash cow for the city if they actually enforce this. The entire city becomes one big speed trap.

  • qc September 13, 2016 (8:28 pm)

    This feels like vindication for those of us that have been pressing the city to make our streets safer for all users. I’d love to see more enforcement as many mentioned above. But even barring that, there’s one additional huge advantage here: SDOT will pursue physical changes to a street if 15% or more of drivers are exceeding the speed limit by 5mph or more. So if many drivers fail to adjust to the new limits (which, sadly, is quite likely), it’ll be easier to make the argument for more traffic calming devices on our neighborhood streets. For those interested, you can borrow a radar gun from SDOT to collect preliminary data yourself. The city will follow up with a formal study to confirm the results if at least 15% of traffic meets the 5mph or greater threshold. See here: http://www.seattle.gov/transportation/ntcp_calming.htm

    Thanks to the city and SDOT, as well as the rest of citizens who have continued to push them to do the right thing.

    • Paul Reynolds October 1, 2016 (9:41 am)

      Here in Charlottesville, Virgina, I have implemented a video speed tracker.  It requires a $100 video camera pointed across the street, a computer and your commitment to running my software.   I can track a two lane road with bidirectional traffic.  I’ve tracked over one million cars on my residential street in Charlottesville since the beginning of the year, producing every speed stat you can imagine.   My software is posted at Github.  It’s currently in use in the US, GB, Canada and China.   Just look for “VST” or “video speed tracker.”   This Monday (Oct 3, 2016) I will be advocating to our city council to deploy automated speed cameras as used in DC and Rockville, Maryland among many other communities across the U.S.  I suggest those of you seeking to lower speeds in Seattle look into the 24/7 self-funded capability speed cameras can provide.  They would supplement your new speed limits well.

      Paul Reynolds (Prof Emeritus, Computer Science, Univ of Virginia, and expert in tracking things)

  • Craig September 13, 2016 (8:34 pm)

    I’m having a very different reaction to this article than the majority here.  

    I’m picturing my commute home-  driving thirty or so on arterials then slowing down to twenty as I drive into the residential area for a few blocks.  Sound pretty reasonable and safe.  Maybe we could add stop signs while were at it?

    Not sure why so many of you are offended at the notion of slowing down in residential areas.     


    • Mike September 13, 2016 (10:17 pm)

      probably offended that the city leadership wants to waste more tax payer dollars on bogus plans.  Speed limits are already a joke, people don’t pay attention and already speed.  Lowering the speed limit won’t slow them down and we’ll still have drivers going 5 under that cross the lines and even drive head on into oncoming traffic or blow through red lights.  Speed limits are not the issue, poor traffic management and inattentive drivers/pedestrians/cyclists is the issue.  I watched a mom in a Toyota Minivan nearly take my door off going well over 40mph on a residential road as I was about to exit my car after parking to drop my daughter off at school.  Then I  saw that same lady blocking oncoming traffic right in front of the school, yelling at the SPD officer that was telling her she can’t block traffic like that…which then she swore at him and closed her window.  Psycho people won’t care about these speed limits.  Enforce the laws we have, start there.

      • sam-c September 14, 2016 (6:32 am)

        Regardless of how fast the driver was going, you’re not supposed to open your car door ‘unless it is safe to do so’


        I had to wait for what seemed like forever to open my door at school pick up yesterday, waiting for 2 cars that were going by so slowly and safely.

        maybe you lucked out that she was going so fast, then you didn’t have to wait so long to open your door (j/k  ;)  all drivers should drive safely )

        • Mike September 14, 2016 (7:16 am)

          Thanks, I pretty much got that using basic logic.  She came up over a small hill behind me where I could not see her prior to me opening it, I was opening my door safely when Mom Han Solo came in with the Millennium Falcon Toyota at light speed.

  • dgo September 13, 2016 (9:19 pm)

    Although I agree that people drive too fast on our roads much of the time this big announcement seems like a decoy. The truth is that without enforcement these statements and potential regulations are complete fantasy. Seattle is very short on officers as it is so I don’t think the enforcement will ever happen. We are in the midst of a real problem with homelessness, escalating living expenses, and transportation but I don’t see many pragmatic solutions to these issues. Instead we are given a big announcement about speed limits instead of some realistic solutions and actions to these bigger issues.  The current state of the city government and administration has played a big role in my family moving away from Seattle next month.  I love this city, the West Seattle community and my neighbors here which makes the move tough but it will be nice to get away from the dysfunctional leaders here.

    • Mike September 13, 2016 (10:20 pm)

      I’m not far behind.  Put the beer in the cooler, we’ll need to have one together soon enough.

    • Sunuva September 14, 2016 (8:32 am)

      Well said on all points. It’s sad to have to think about leaving a community you love. My family might not be too far behind you leaving Seattle as we’ve found it impossibly expensive to try to find somewhere to buy or rent when we leave our current place. 

  • D-Mom September 13, 2016 (11:14 pm)

    Yes, let’s just make traffic worse since it’s not a top priority for anyone living in this city. How about we make things safer by adding stop signs to the mass of uncontrolled intersections?  That’s the real danger to drivers and pedestrians. I can’t even allow my 9-year old son to ride his bike by himself due to drivers flying through these without looking. Reducing the speed limit does nothing for that hazard.  But of course, this costs money. How important is safety when a price tag is involved?

  • Alki Resident September 13, 2016 (11:42 pm)

    Texters, drunk drivers and immature drivers I feel are the reason for so many collisions. Ive been using side streets for months now due to the change in lanes. You cant get anywhere in West Seattle without stopping at every light or a pedestrian. I was raised here and cant wait to get out of this area. Once these condos are all built, it’ll be even more crowded. Bringing speed limit down to 20 is assinine. I dont miss using 35th or Delridge one bit and my stress level is much better since using side streets.

  • Gatewood gurl September 14, 2016 (4:34 am)

    Eddie, Eddie, Eddie …….this city is becoming a huge joke. We need to stand up and yell  ” we’re not going to take it anymore”

  • Donnie September 14, 2016 (7:06 am)

    I want these public servants of the tax payers to work on issues we really need taken care or…

    more police, less homeless, better roads, strong fire department…

    Not minor issues such as this…CANT wait to Vote AGAINST this mayor who is giving us such poor service…

  • Greystreet September 14, 2016 (7:27 am)

    Sweet, the WHOLE city will become one big school zone–it is curious to me that there is so much angst at the thought of this but there was so much support for the rechannelization projects in WS that have turned traffic over here into a nightmare.  Nonetheless it’s becoming harder and harder to live here with all of these assanine ordinances and “safety” projects–I agree with previous posts how about take your energy and put it into helping the rapidly increasing homeless problem in the city Mayor Murray? What a quack 

  • Steve September 14, 2016 (7:32 am)

    Will the village collect its idiots.  I believe there are far more pressing issues like hiring more police officers!  

  • Born On Alki 59 September 14, 2016 (8:22 am)

    Well at least going 25 on Airport Way I stand a better chance of not running over the scary looking guy urinating in the middle of the road.

     Mayor Murray, the cheese has completely slid off your cracker.

    • datamuse September 14, 2016 (2:49 pm)

      What are you talking about? Most of Airport Way is designated a principal arterial. It won’t be affected.

  • Cynical girl September 14, 2016 (9:34 am)

    Please just put in a “cell phone use only” lane. I see way more of this than speeding.

  • Kadoo September 14, 2016 (9:49 am)

    Kubly has got to go. He wants to spend more money on signage now? This won’t solve the problem of distracted drivers. Between this and the proposed leniency for encampments I think most of our elected officials have lost their common sense. It’s awful seeing Seattle turn into a dangerous slum. 

  • zark00 September 14, 2016 (10:36 am)

    Excellent- this is great news.

    As any reasonably intelligent person with Google knows there is basically zero negative impact to travel time and traffic flow from a reduction of urban speed limits from 25 to 20 mph.  This has been studied ad nauseam. If you don’t know this is a fact, which it is, then you’re simply ignorant of the facts and should educate yourself.  Google is your friend – try it out.

    The most difficult part of lowering speed limits is educating the public, who overwhelmingly exaggerate the negative impact to their own convenience, and dismiss the proven safety benefits out of hand – and they do it with a complete lack of factual evidence.  As is evidenced here.

    If you are a self absorbed person, you are making a decision that more people should die rather than you having to deal with what amounts to effectively no change whatsoever to your daily life.  These are facts, this isn’t a debate about what happens when you lower the speed limit, this is a debate about your convenience over other human beings safety.

    You should start fighting for the right to text and drive next – that’s the same thing you’re saying here.

    What you want outweighs all else.  You are entitled to get whatever you want even to the detriment of everyone else. Nice sentiment.

  • Seaweed September 14, 2016 (11:02 am)

    Many of these comments answer in part, the commen query of “why are drivers in Seattle so bad?” Certainly, lowering the speed limit on all residential side streets will help reduce these nonsense accidents and will help in improving the safety of all neighbors out and about.  I will say that I do not agree at all with the recent lax approach the City is taking with vehicles parking so close to corners and on opposite sides of the streets, facing the oncoming traffic.  This alone is a major factor in requiring lower speed limits on these streets. Many drivers just don’t believe that their driving habits will be the cause of  tragic outcome.  You absolutely need to drive as if a child will be darting out into your path at any time. If you believe that it can not happen to you, then you are simply unconscious. These banal and common things often pose the greater danger.

  • Lagartija Nick September 14, 2016 (11:15 am)

    A lot of you don’t seem to understand that residential streets are not the same as arterials. 

  • Fiwa Jcbbb September 14, 2016 (1:47 pm)

    Anyone who’s driven through an active school zone knows that 20 mph is very very slow. Bicycles are easily capable. Usain Bolt runs at 28, certainly many of us are capable of cracking 20. Good drivers already drive slower when it’s prudent, putting this into law seems intended directly at motor vehicles with a chance to levy yet another regressive tax with speeding tickets. If protecting pedestrian lives were truly the goal, it would be better to educate them in the proper use of their right-of-way: Don’t just leap out into the street while staring at your phone expecting drivers to stop because you have it…especially at night while wearing black, for the love of god. I too cannot wait to vote against this Mayor, and we need common sense, not a “conservative”. I’m also disappointing that we now vote City Councilmembers in Districts, and I can’t vote against Mike O’Brien, the man who brought West Seattle to the brink of “Surface/Transit” and now wants this revenue enhancement dressed in Nanny State clothing plan.

    • Fiwa Jcbbb September 14, 2016 (1:49 pm)

      DissapointED. Stupid auto-correct. 

    • Sunuva September 15, 2016 (8:04 am)

      I predict an SDOT-funded television commercial in the near future that promotes bicycles because they are faster than cars. Ride Pronto and get there faster than a car!

  • anonyme September 14, 2016 (2:32 pm)

    A war on cars would be just fine with me.  This is one of the few things I agree on with this Mayor.  Unfortunately, like so many other laws on the books, speed reductions will be meaningless without enforcement.  The current speeds are not enforced – what would be different?

  • Mark September 14, 2016 (4:17 pm)

    SDoT used to be run by professional engineers that used technical criteria.  They have lost technical direction.  Principal arterial streets at 35 and sometimes higher is consistent with driver expectaion.  Other arterial at 30 and downtown is appropriate.  Residential streets at 25, with parking and uncontrolled intersection (that foists caution a good thing) is appropriate.  School zones at 20 when kids are present.   

    This what it is supposed to be and was before the political bs.  In fact Seattle streets were amongst the safest in the Country.  

    It is sad that SDoT has become a bloated agency with that has lost its technical direction.  

    Kubly needs to be shown the door.

    I am PE and PTOE and am extremely frustrated with SDoT failure to adhere to nationally recognized standards

    • dunnkld September 15, 2016 (11:35 am)

      Didn’t the Washington State Legislature pass these speed limits?  And the Federal Highway Administration lists the method of setting the default speed limits that SDOT is proposing  as the method that prioritizes human life over the ability of people in cars to drive faster. Air quality is also improved by lowering speed limits, helping our lungs and the amount of poison impacting marine life .  I cannot think what your argument would be against that. If frustrated you should take it out on the State Legislature. Speed restriction air quality report

  • Millie September 14, 2016 (5:29 pm)

    There is no question SDOT is no longer  headed by professional engineers with the concurrent knowledge and skill. This has been fairly obvious for years.  I, as a taxpaying and car-driving citizen, am more than unhappy with how monies are directed to everything  except  road/infrastructure  maintenance, new sidewalks in residential areas and school zones,  traffic improvements,  promised and earmarked by Move Seattle and Bridging the Gap levies.   Yet there is no improvement!  It’s time these items were addressed by the Mayor, City Council and SDOT (without Scott Kubly).  Enough obfuscation!!!!

    We need elected officials and their appointees to remember they answer to the citizens/voters.  Remember the dollars you spend are not yours -these  are  taxpayer’s dollars – be more diligent!

    On the light side – if there are no longer cars and we can not drive, they can not collect license fees, RTA fees, gas taxes…………what would happen to the Dept of Transportation???

  • Wsres September 14, 2016 (6:01 pm)

    I’d like people that are cutting through on my residential street to slow down, but this is not the answer… I really don’t like this mayor. I hope when his term is up, we have more reasonable candidates…

  • Double Dub Resident September 14, 2016 (6:06 pm)


      Your argument is a straw man argument.  The majority of complaints has to do with the fact that there are far more pressing issues that the city council needs to deal with 

    • dunnkld September 15, 2016 (11:41 am)

      And those complaints are off topic. Typical of many issue discussions these days. You can’t discuss the real issues because of all the deflecting.

  • Longtime W Sea resident September 14, 2016 (7:07 pm)

    Drivers cut through on side streets because of the insane shrinking of the arterials caused by the insane, ineffective and frustrating road diets.  It is time to put the mayor and everyone at sdot on a (taxpayer-funded) paycheck diet.

    • Seattlite September 14, 2016 (8:26 pm)

      Longtime W Sea Resident:  I agree with your comment.  However, I would stop the Mayor’s, City Council’s check by firing them all for lack of leadership and dim decision-making.

  • Mark September 14, 2016 (8:01 pm)

    The City did 5 neighborhood 20 mph speed limit demonstration projects, one near Hiawatha Community Center.  Where is the before and after data?  What is the point of a demo project without before and after data?  

    I have requested the data and am still waiting.

  • pupsarebest September 14, 2016 (11:16 pm)

    So many drivers in our region texting-while-driving, refusing to use turn signals, apparently incapable of learning how to yield, or the how right-of-way works—speeding is the least of what causes our ridiculous traffic woes.

    Reduced speeds on top of the insipid “road diets” to which they’ve subjected us….I hopd Eddie is voted out, and somebody reasonable runs to replace him.

    • pupsarebest September 14, 2016 (11:19 pm)

      Also longing for the days we could correct our spelling/grammatical/punctuation errors after we posted here. 😄

  • hawksandms September 15, 2016 (8:33 am)

    If the City Council would actually focus their energy and dollars on cleaning up trash and graffiti that seems to be along and on our traveled roadways, I would be amazed!   It is a basic necessary function and task of city government, yet they do not seem to care about such mundane tasks. Instead they focus endlessly on social programs.  However keeping a city clean is a loud positive statement about a city to residents and visitors and homeless too.

    Frustrated 57 year Seattle resident…

  • dcn September 15, 2016 (1:34 pm)

    I read the summary of the air quality report posted by @Dunnkld that compared emissions for drivers in 20 mph vs 30 mph zones . In fact, the summary says that NOx and CO2 emissions were worse for cars in 20 mph zones if they run on petrol (gas). The benefit for the 20 mph zone was for diesel vehicles, of which the UK has a much higher percentage than we do. Interesting report, though.

    I doubt making residential streets 20 mph would make air quality much worse, however. The bigger impact on air quality probably comes from cars idling at red lights through multiple light cycles, which happens much more frequently now on road-dieted streets.  And, emissions are also probably increased due to cars idling on side streets that have to wait much longer for a green light at arterials like 35th, since they lengthened the time between green lights substantially after the road diet in order to keep traffic flowing on 35th. 

  • dhg September 15, 2016 (3:09 pm)

    I think the way cars are geared make it difficult to maintain a speed at or below 20.  I know this because of the school zone’s enforced 20mph.  My foot can’t really find a spot on the pedal that has a steady speed sub 20.

  • zark00 September 15, 2016 (5:09 pm)

    @ Double Dub Resident – You’re incorrect.  Your comment was actually the straw man.  Attempting to argue that traffic safety isn’t needed because – homelessness – is almost literally the definition of a straw man.  The topic is – traffic safety, and whether you think 20MPH is a good or bad idea.  You replied with “We have a serious homeless issue that needs to be dealt with…” 

    A straw man is a common form of argument and is an informal fallacy based on giving the impression of refuting an opponent’s argument, while actually refuting an argument that was not advanced by that opponent.

    We’re talking about speed limits, you said the problem is actually homelessness.  See, nobody can say ‘no, we don’t have a homeless problem, because we do’ – so you’ve forced a “win” an argument about speed limits, by introducing an argument about homelessness that can’t be refuted.  That’s a straw man by definition.

    If anyone needs lessons on how to drive 20MPH ping me – happy to help.  Hopefully you’re being facetious.  If not, please stay off the roads until you receive some additional training.


    Like, really, you can’t make your car go whatever speed you choose it go?  Terrifying.

    I will pay for your driving class – I’m not kidding, if you can’t drive a car at 20MPH I will pay the $85 for you to learn how to do just that.

  • Mark September 15, 2016 (5:27 pm)

    City staff indicated to me that 20 mph demonstration projected had minimal affect on traffic speed and safety.  The data says lowering the speed limit on itself is not effective, thus based on the data the City should not make the change .

    What is the point of doing a demostration project  if you do not use the results?  The results show this is not effective, and as PE and expert Traffic Engineer needs to be not conducted.  And in fact is likely to reduce safety due to many motorist losing respect for the traffic control and potential to cause driver frustration 

  • CMP September 15, 2016 (9:22 pm)

    I guess if the stated goal is to end traffic deaths and serious injuries by 2030 then lowering the speed limit to 20 mph may achieve that. But it’s still slow and inconvenient. How fast (or slow) would you drive if there were no signs telling you what to do? 

  • 22blades September 16, 2016 (5:12 am)

    You will notice no appreciable difference in your arrival time by going 5 or 10 mph slower. You will make a big difference in the amount of reaction time for that sudden pedestrian, lane change, line cutter, or arterial entry. Here’s another way to look at it… Do you have kids? Do you think they’re thinking about how late you are for work as they walk to school listening to their iPhones? Would you drive that fast in YOUR neighborhood? The real reason why you’re speeding is that you can’t plan for your rear outta bed in time. Like one of those “inspirational” posters say; “Your lack of planning is not my emergency”.

    S L O W    D O W N.

  • Mark September 16, 2016 (7:54 am)

    Cmp most drivers are prudent people and will drive at appropriate speed based on conditions.  This is why setting limits consistent with speed of prudent drivers results in the fewest accidents

  • Nancy R September 16, 2016 (8:04 am)

    I wish they would bring the red light cameras back.   So many people are running red lights.  So dangerous,  and so easy to enforce with technology rather than expensive human patrols. 

  • eth ned September 16, 2016 (3:15 pm)

    We support the War of Zero Vision

  • Longtime W Sea resident September 16, 2016 (6:28 pm)

    @Nancy R. — More red light cams? Are you kidding? More money for Goldman Sachs-funded American Traffic Systems of Phoenix, Arizona?  Please, Seattle, wake up and see where your (red light traffic ticket and school zone speed trap) money is going.  By the way, you must know these private, for-profit traffic cam ticket companies would love nothing more than to install 20 MPH speed cams all over W. Sea and beyond.



  • Tim Thomas September 23, 2016 (6:30 am)

    I support the lower speed limits. I just don’t think going 5 MPH slower will hurt the drivers much and it will make us all safer.  A large amount of the time you cannot go the speed limit because of congestion and still we able to get there. I am a driver. 

  • Wallace Grommet October 1, 2016 (10:58 am)

    The very people who need to slow down are the ones fighting this new proposal. Hot heads, anger management dropouts, kneejerk naysayers, and other opponents of prudence liberally sprinkle our streetscape.  The Deplorables!

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