• Seattle plans lower speed limits

    By: Graham Johnson

    Updated:
    SEATTLE -

    City leaders Tuesday proposed lowering speed limits in Seattle, saying the move will reduce crashes and save lives.

    They plan to lower speeds on center city arterials to 25 miles per hour from 30 mph, and speeds on residential streets to 20 from 25.

    "Yes, it may mean we drive a little bit slower to get around the city but a lot of people will be and feel a lot safer," said City Council member Mike O'Brien.

    Seattle's Vision Zero campaign aims to eliminate traffic deaths and serious injuries by 2030.

    Harborview Medical Center Dr. Beth Ebel treats kids for trauma and said: "speed is energy and energy is injury."

    "Even that 5 mile-per-hour reduction that makes very little difference to the commuter, it is a lifesaving move for the pedestrian or the bicyclist," Ebel said at a news conference.

    Seattle Department of Transportation Director Scott Kubly said he expects the move will add a minute or two to most trips.

    Kubly said the city already retimed downtown lights from 30 to 25 miles per hour a few months ago. 

    "What we saw is that traffic started moving more effectively, more reliably and faster but at a safe speed," Kubly said.

    The City Council considers the proposal beginning next week.

    Once it is signed by Mayor Ed Murray, it will take effect in 30 days.

    The city plans to install 500 new speed limit signs.

    At first, police will issue warnings before writing citations.

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