In an effort to reduce roadway fatalities and injuries, the city of Long Beach will begin phasing in lowered speed limits for more than 100 residential areas and major streets.
Of the affected areas, 50 street segments will have speed limits set at 20 mph or lower, officials announced last week. The other streets, including heavily-trafficked arteries such as 7th Street and Long Beach Boulevard, will get a reduction of 5 mph.
Other areas that will receive new speed limits include: Cherry Avenue and Orange Avenue in North Long Beach; Carson Street, Stearns Avenue and Atherton Street in East Long Beach; and others in Central and Downtown Long Beach.
“Not only will these changes encourage more walking and bicycling, reduce noise, and enrich our neighborhoods and business districts — but these speed limit reductions can help save lives,” said Mayor Rex Richardson in a statement announcing the project.
The effort is part of the city’s Safe Streets Long Beach Action Plan, which aims to eliminate serious traffic injuries by 2026. The city determined which streets required changes based on which corridors had the most pedestrian, bicyclist and motorist injuries. In 2019, the city logged 30 traffic deaths and 34 homicides, according to its action plan.
Traditionally, cities set speed limits using an equation dubbed the 85th percentile rule.
Traffic engineers measured vehicle speeds on a street area, pinpointed the fastest speed at which a majority of motorists were driving and then rounded it to the nearest 5-mile-per-hour interval. The results proved faulty as some motorists didn’t always comply with the set speed limit.
Under Assembly Bill 43, cities will still use the same equation to determine speed limits but are granted more leeway and can set limits of 15 and 20 mph.
The bill went into effect in 2022 and at the end of that year, the Long Beach City Council approved staff recommendations to lower speed limits at designated areas.
Long Beach is among the first cities to implement such regulations, joining the city of Los Angeles.
“This work is just the beginning; we will continue to use new sections of the law designed to promote pedestrian and bicyclist safety as they go into effect,” said Eric Lopez, director of Public Works for Long Beach, in a statement.
To learn more about the upcoming changes, visit: longbeach.gov/speedlimits.
Source: LA Times