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NEW Speed Limit Map

Know thy limit.

We get a pretty steady stream of phone calls and emails from people asking, “hey, what’s the speed limit on my street?” Totally legit question. Good news! We have a new speed limit map – you can zoom in, click on any street, and get an answer on the spot. #selfservice


A screen grab of the new speed limit map – click on a street and it will tell you the type of street (arterial or non-arterial/residential) and what the speed limit is.


Speed is the critical factor in the frequency and severity of crashes.

Speed matters. A difference of just a few miles an hour can mean the difference between life and death.

Back in 2016, we lowered citywide speed limits. This was a significant action in support of our Vision Zero efforts to end traffic deaths and serious injuries. Speed is the critical factor in the frequency and severity of crashes. The graphics above show the difference in survivability at 20, 30, and 40 MPH, and also how your field of vision changes (graphic below) at different speeds. It’s not rocket science – just basic physics: the faster you go, the longer it takes to react and stop, and the more intense the impact will be if you hit something or someone.

A driver’s field of vision increases as speed decreases. At lower speeds, a person driving can see more of their surroundings and have more time to see and react.


What are the speed limits in Seattle?

Residential streets

All 2,400 miles of Seattle’s residential (non-arterial) streets are 20 MPH, which is the same speed limit as our school speed zones.

Arterial streets

First of all, what is an arterial street? Arterials are the busier, higher-trafficked roads, often thought of as the backbone (or maybe the arteries) of a traffic system.

Hot tip: arterial streets have yellow lines running down the middle of them.

PS, if you’re into this, you can read all about the history of street hierarchy.?


MORE CHANGES: urban village speed limits.

Now we’re evaluating and setting new speed limits for arterial streets within urban villages. Yes, we’re pulling out all our transportation and city planning nerd speak. Urban villages – or what most people would think of as neighborhood business districts – are the places where we see the most activity. We see a lot of people walking, biking, driving, and taking transit. They’re also the places with the most crashes involving pedestrians – 80% of pedestrian collisions are in urban villages.

As part of this work, you’ll start to see 25 MPH speed limit signs posted coming into and within urban villages. Upcoming urban villages that will be signed in late 2018 are the University District, Green Lake, Roosevelt, and North Beacon Hill urban villages.


Questions about speed limits in Seattle?

Connect with James Le on our Vision Zero team at or 206.684-3174.