Find Posts By Topic

Our Apologies: Here’s the Real Deal on Speed Limits and Traffic Control Signs – By Mafara Hobson

This week, I TOTALLY miscommunicated with Seattle Times Traffic Lab reporter Jessica Lee about residential and non-residential speed limits and speed control signs in the City of Seattle. To be clear, if you believe a speed limit sign is posted in error on any street within the city, please call the Seattle Department of Transportation at 206.684.ROAD, or report it on our Find It Fix It App.

Now, should you ever find yourself asking yourself, “What the heck is the speed limit?” Don’t fret! Simply observe the road in which you are driving. You will find the answer there!

If the street has no painted lines or markings, then it is a residential or non-arterial road, which means the speed limit is 20 MPH.

And, if the street has yellow or white painted surface lines or strips, it’s an arterial street, and the speed limit is 25 MPH, unless otherwise posted.

Last year, we reduced speed limits from 25 to 20 MPH on non-arterials and from 30 to 25 MPH on arterials in the Center City. This change is part of Seattle’s Vision Zero effort to end traffic deaths and serious injuries on city streets by 2030. Speed is the critical factor in the frequency and severity of crashes, which is why we’re focused on slowing things down to save lives.

For the record, I apologize for any confusing statements in the Traffic Lab report. If you have any more questions about speed control signs or speed limits, feel free to email me at