Speed limits have been adjusted on 71 Los Angeles streets in response to updated traffic surveys conducted by the city Department of Transportation as part of an effort to dramatically reduce traffic fatalities, Mayor Eric Garcetti announced Wednesday.
The speed limit was increased on 26 streets and decreased on 45 streets, and the new speeds will be coupled with increased Los Angeles Police Department enforcement efforts across the city, according to the mayor’s office, which is spearheading the city’s Vision Zero initiative to decrease traffic fatalities.
“Nothing is more important than the safety of Angelenos — and every decision we make about our streets should be with their well-being first in our minds,” Garcetti said. “These new, enforceable speed limits will help make our streets safer and easier to travel for everyone who uses them.”
The state requires a “speed survey” every 5 to 10 years in order for a city to set and enforce speed limits on local streets, but many of L.A.’s surveys expired during the recession. LADOT prioritized the updates as a component of the Vision Zero plan, Garcetti’s office said.
As a result of the new surveys, “enforceable” speed limits are now in place on 98.4 percent of the High Injury Network, which are the streets that Vision Zero has identified as having higher numbers of severe and fatal collisions, according to Garcetti’s office.
“Vision Zero’s holistic approach to keeping Angelenos safe is helping to create safer and more walkable communities for our neighbors,” Councilman Mike Bonin said. “Whether you commute by foot, bike, use mass transit or a car, no one should fear a preventable traffic collision.”
LAPD has reserved $1.5 million in overtime funds to help enforce the new speed limits on the High Injury Network as part of the 2017-18 budget, according to the mayor’s office, while 68 percent of all city streets now have enforceable speed limits. All streets in the city are expected to have updated speed surveys by the end of the year.
“Making roads safer and reducing traffic fatalities is an important priority for the city,” Councilman Mitchell Englander said. “With the speed surveys now complete, we can more easily enforce speed limits, prevent reckless driving, and save lives.”
The announcement of the adjusted speed limits comes on the heels of an LADOT report that pedestrian deaths in Los Angeles have surged more than 80 percent in the first two years since the Vision Zero initiative was started by Garcetti with the goal of ending traffic fatality deaths by 2025. In 2015, 74 people on foot were killed by drivers in Los Angeless, but that figure rose to 135 in 2017, the highest number in more than 15 years.
Overall, the number of bicyclists, pedestrians, motorcyclists and drivers killed in collisions on city streets fell last year by 6 percent to 245, but was 42 deaths above Vision Zero’s target of a 20 percent reduction by the end of 2017.
–City News Service