City Announces Vision Zero Speed Limit Reduction

The City of Seattle is proposing new speed limit reductions to enhance street safety, as part of Seattle’s Vision Zero plan to end traffic deaths and serious injuries by 2030. Proposed changes include reducing the speed limit on all residential streets from 25 to 20 mph and on streets in the center city from 30 to 25 mph.

Councilmembers Tim Burgess and Mike O’Brien, SDOT Director Scott Kubly, and Dr. Beth Ebel with the Harborview Injury Prevention & Research Center made the announcement this week in downtown Seattle.

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Councilmembers Burgess and O’Brien, SDOT Director Kubly and Dr. Ebel.

Why is this change necessary?

While Seattle is one of the safest cities in the country, each year about 20 people are killed in traffic collisions and another 150 are seriously injured. One life lost or altered is one life too many.

Will reducing the speed make a difference?

Yes. Speed contributes to 25% of traffic fatalities in the city and 42% of downtown traffic fatalities every year. Speed is a critical factor in whether you survive a car crash:

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This small speed limit reduction doubles the odds of survival. That’s why every other city in King County and major cities like New York, Los Angeles, Washington, DC, Portland and Houston have already made this choice.

When does this change take effect?

The next steps include:

  • September 20 – Vote by Seattle City Council’s Sustainability and Transportation Committee
  • September 26 – Full Seattle City Council vote
  • 10 day period for Mayor Murray to sign legislation into law
  • 30 day period for the law to take effect

November is the anticipated timeframe for adding or altering city signs, launching an education campaign and enforcement.

Learn more about Vision Zero at www.seattle.gov/visionzero.