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It's possible drivers will need to slow down when traveling through neighborhoods later this year. Councilwoman Angie Henderson and Councilman Russ Pulley, who both represent parts of Green Hills, are among seven members attached to legislation requesting Public Works look into lowering the speed limit from 30 mph to 25 mph on all neighborhood streets.
The ordinance will be introduced at Tuesday night's Metro Council meeting. If passed on third reading, Public Works will have 90 days to present its recommendations to Metro Council.
Keep reading for a few things to know about the effort, and stick around to answer our reader poll.
1. Here's what's in the bill.
If passed, the bill itself will not lower the speed limit. The ordinance instead directs Public Works to fully analyze the reduction of speed limits on neighborhood streets. From there, the recommendations will be considered in future ordinances.
The bill also cites studies by the National Transportation Safety Board, independent research firm Transport Research Laboratory and Vision Zero Network, the latter a national campaign helping cities implement safer street practices:
- The NTSB found that speed limit reductions on residential streets below 30 mph "produces statistically significant speed decreases."
- Transport Research Laboratory concluded for every 1 mph the speed limit drops there is 6 percent lesser chance of vehicle accidents on urban main roads and residential roads with low average speeds.
- Vision Zero Network reports the number of people walking that will survive being struck by a car driven at 30 mph is 5 out of 10. The report also states 9 out of 10 will survive when the car is traveling at 20 mph.
2. This isn't the first time Metro has explored lowering the speed limit in neighborhoods.
In 2017, nearby neighborhood Hillsboro-West End participated in a walking district pilot that lowered speed limits from 30 to 20 mph on residential and collector streets. Following approval by Metro’s Traffic and Parking Commission, Public Works installed signage designating the neighborhood as a walking district, replaced speed limits signs and painted the new speed limits on the pavement.
Councilwoman Burkley Allen says Public Works determined the program did lower average speeds in the district and was favored by residents.
3. Here's what they said
“I strongly believe in doing what we can to calm traffic most, especially on neighborhood streets where families are walking,” Councilman Russ Pulley told Rover during preliminary discussions. “We want to encourage walking and riding bikes and many other activities that families enjoy. We don't have (the) kind of sidewalk infrastructure to go along with this, which is somewhat frustrating.”