Austin City Council approves a major step toward achieving the community’s Vision Zero goal.
Austin, TX — Reduced speed limits in Austin neighborhoods and for certain urban core streets were unanimously approved today 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.
“Lowering speed limits saves lives and this is a big step for our city” said Austin City Council Member Ann Kitchen.
"I applaud City staff's efforts here" said Austin City Council Member Leslie Pool. "This will allow us to makes strides toward our Vision Zero goal."
The approved speed limit strategy is outlined in three parts:
- Neighborhood Streets – streets which are approximately 36 feet or less in width and have primarily front-facing residential land uses will be posted at 25 mph. Some neighborhood streets wider than 36 feet will also have reduced posted speed limits.
- Urban Core Arterials – most arterial streets within the city urban core bounded by US 183, SH 71, and Loop 1, will be posted at 35 mph 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 25 mph. Guadalupe St., Lavaca St., MLK Jr. Blvd., 15th St., Cesar Chavez St., and Lamar Blvd. will be posted at 30 mph.
The first speed limit changes will be phased in over the next few months with ample time for public awareness efforts to take place. The first changes travelers will see 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.
“Speeding is one of the top behaviors that leads to serious injuries and death on our roadways” said Austin Transportation Department Director Robert Spillar. “We believe changes like the proposed new speed limits will better reflect our safety goals and encourage drivers to be more cautious when driving in potentially high-pedestrian environments. These changes will help Austin provide more livable places for nearby residents, businesses, and commuters.”
For additional details about the recommended speed limit modifications for urban core, residential and downtown streets, please review the staff presentation to the City's mobility committee.
For information about other upcoming Speed Management/Vision Zero projects, visit AustinTexas.gov/department/Speed-Management.