Austin Transportation Department – Speed Limit Changes

June 16th, 2020

PSA from the Austin Transportation Department

Reduced speed limits in Austin neighborhoods and for certain urban core streets were unanimously approved on June 11th by the Austin City Council to improve safety for all travelers. Data collected by Austin Transportation Department’s Vision Zero program shows that speeding is the primary contributing factor in one-quarter of traffic crashes resulting in death. Based on a year-long comprehensive engineering study of speed limits on City roadways, the City Traffic Engineer determined that roadway speeds should be reduced to achieve safe and prudent speeds on a wide range of roadways in Austin.
These speed management changes are designed to improve safety and enhance the livability of Austin streets for all road users, including people riding bikes and walking, and those who are mobility impaired. In addition, the changes create a more uniform approach to speed limits and enforcement. Currently, speed limits vary from neighborhood to neighborhood.

Initial speed limit changes will be phased in over the next few months with ample time for public awareness efforts to take place. The first change travelers will notice is the installation of new speed limit signage and digital messaging displays informing people of the changes. Some speed limit changes may be accompanied by other roadway treatments like restriping to narrower lane widths or assignment of portions of the street for alternative uses such as biking or parking uses to create a space more conducive to lower speeds. An updated interactive map showing a preliminary view of the speed limit changes is now available for the public at this link.

The proposed speed limit strategy is outlined in three parts:
• Neighborhood Streets – Streets that are approximately 36 feet or less in width and have primarily front-facing residential land uses will be posted at 25MPH. Some neighborhood streets wider than 36 feet will also have reduced posted speed limits.

• Urban Core Arterials – Most major arterial streets within the city urban core bounded by US 183, SH 71, and Loop 1, will be posted at 35MPH or less, with a few exceptions.

• Downtown Streets – Most streets within the area bounded by N. Lamar Blvd., Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd, I-35, and Lady Bird Lake will be posted at 25MPH. Guadalupe St., Lavaca St., MLK Jr. Blvd., 15th St., Cesar Chavez St., and Lamar Blvd. will be posted at 30MPH.

Each year, more than 10,000 people lose their lives to speed-related crashes in the United States. In Austin, speeding is the primary contributing factor in one-quarter of traffic crashes resulting in death. To save lives and create streets that support safe and convenient travel by everyone—whether they are in cars, on bicycles, walking, or using assisted mobility devices—effective speed management is critical.

To learn more about the recommended modifications, view the full presentation that was made to City Council on June 11th at this link.

This map shows the planned future speed limits for the NWACA area.

Here is the legend for the map.

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