What is happening?
Beginning November 7th, new speed limits will be going into effect for city streets. This is part of Seattle’s Vision Zero initiative to end traffic deaths and serious injuries on city streets by 2030.
Speed limits for the streets in central Seattle (indicated in blue in the map below) will be reduced to 25 mph. The non-arterial (a.k.a. residential street) speed limit will be reduced from 25 mph to 20 mph.
Why is this happening?
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. Their lives are cut short or changed forever, impacting their families, friends, and broader communities. One life lost or altered is one life too many.
Speed is the critical factor in the frequency and severity of crashes. Even just a few miles an hour over the limit matters. Someone who is walking and is struck by a vehicle going at 20 mph has a 90% chance of surviving the crash. The chances of survival are reduced to 50% when hit by a vehicle going travelling at 30 mph.
By lowering the speed limits, we will be:
- Creating consistent speed limits.
- Enhancing safety for everyone, especially people walking and biking.
- Reducing the severity of all collisions.
What is SDOT doing to let people know about the new speed limits?
To let Seattle residents and people traveling into the city know about the new speed limits, we will be:
- Adding new or altering existing signs.
- Launching a comprehensive public education campaign.
- Enforcing the new speeds through the high visibility patrols (the Seattle Police Department will issue warnings for a period of two weeks to one month).
Drivers traveling from outside the city will see either of these two signs indicating our city’s lowered speed limits:
Drivers will see 25 mph signs when using arterial streets to travel central Seattle:
Where can I learn more about Vision Zero?