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Record No: CB 118815    Version: Council Bill No: CB 118815
Type: Ordinance (Ord) Status: Passed
Current Controlling Legislative Body City Clerk
Final Action: 10/7/2016
Ordinance No: Ord 125169
Title: AN ORDINANCE relating to arterial and non-arterial speed limits; amending Sections 11.52.060 and 11.52.080 of the Seattle Municipal Code.
Sponsors: Mike O'Brien, Tim Burgess
Attachments: 1. Summary and Fiscal Note
Supporting documents: 1. Summary Att A - Speed Limit Adjustment Justification, 2. Presentation, 3. Signed Ordinance 125169, 4. Affidavit of Publication

CITY OF SEATTLE

ORDINANCE __________________

COUNCIL BILL __________________

title

AN ORDINANCE relating to arterial and non-arterial speed limits; amending Sections 11.52.060 and 11.52.080 of the Seattle Municipal Code.

body

WHEREAS, The City of Seattle has an aspirational Vision Zero goal of ending traffic deaths and serious injuries by 2030, and a safe city for all travelers; and

WHEREAS, every year, approximately 10,000 crashes occur on Seattle's streets, resulting in an average of 150 serious injuries and 20 deaths; and

WHEREAS, vehicle speed plays a critical role in the frequency and severity of crashes, and speed contributes to approximately 25 percent of fatalities annually; and

 WHEREAS, the Seattle Department of Transportation recommends lowering the default arterial speed limit to 25 miles per hour and the default non-arterial speed limit to 20 miles per hour for the purpose of improving public health and safety; and

WHEREAS, Washington State law (via RCW 46.61.400) designates 25 miles per hour as the standard speed limit for cities; and

WHEREAS, lowering the speed limit on both arterial and non-arterial streets will improve the safety of all travelers, particularly people walking and biking; and

WHEREAS, Seattle is a growing city and residents choose to be located in compact, walkable neighborhoods; and

WHEREAS, Seattle is the only city in King County with a default arterial speed limit higher than 25 miles per hour; NOW, THEREFORE,

BE IT ORDAINED BY THE CITY OF SEATTLE AS FOLLOWS:

Section 1. The City Council (“Council”) makes the following findings of fact and declarations:

1. The Seattle Department of Transportation (“SDOT”) conducted an engineering and traffic investigation that recommended lower default speed limits on arterials and non-arterials.

2. Lowering the default arterial speed limits will primarily affect the Central Business District, South Lake Union, Lower Queen Anne, the International District and portions of Capitol Hill and First Hill west of 23rd Avenue.

3. Lowering the default non-arterial speed limits will primarily affect the City’s residential neighborhoods.

4. Seattle’s transportation infrastructure serves an increasing amount of vulnerable users such as pedestrians and bicyclists.

5. Less than 10 percent of collisions on Seattle streets involve pedestrians, bicyclists or motorcycles, yet these modes make up more than 50 percent of fatalities.

6. The injury rate for pedestrians involved in collisions is approximately 77 percent and the injury rate for bicycles involved in collisions is approximately 83 percent.

7. SDOT has tracked increasing pedestrian and bicycle counts at most locations counted through the National Bicycle and Pedestrian Documentation Project.

8. A vehicle travelling 20 percent faster along an arterial (e.g. from 25 to 30 mph) increases its kinetic energy by 44 percent, and the increased speed more than doubles the risk of injury to vulnerable persons in the roadway.

9. Data indicates that “slow zones” with a 20 mph speed limit on non-arterial residential streets results in significant safety enhancements, including a 46 percent reduction in collisions in London and a 31 percent reduction in driver or passenger injuries as a result of collisions in New York City.

Section 2. Section 11.52.060 of the Seattle Municipal Code, enacted by Ordinance 108200, is amended as follows:

11.52.060 Twenty ((five)) m.p.h. speed limits ((.))

Subject to Section 11.52.020, and ((E))except in those instances where a different maximum lawful speed is provided by this ((subtitle)) Subtitle I or otherwise, no person shall operate any vehicle at speed in excess of ((twenty-five (25))) twenty (20) miles per hour on any non-arterial street. (((RCW 46.61.415(3))))

Section 3.  Section 11.52.080 of the Seattle Municipal Code, enacted by Ordinance 108200, is amended as follows:

11.52.080 ((Thirty)) Twenty-five m.p.h. speed limits ((.))

Subject to Section 11.52.020, and except in those instances where a different maximum lawful speed is provided by this ((subtitle)) Subtitle I or otherwise, no person shall operate any vehicle at a speed in excess of ((thirty (30))) twenty five (25) miles per hour on arterial streets.

Section 4.  SDOT will report on the status of implementing this legislation to the Sustainability and Transportation Committee by March 31, 2017.  Council anticipates that the report will describe how arterial streets outside of the Center City will be evaluated for implementation of reduced arterial speed limits.

 

Section 5. This ordinance shall take effect and be in force 30 days after its approval by the Mayor, but if not approved and returned by the Mayor within ten days after presentation, it shall take effect as provided by Seattle Municipal Code Section 1.04.020.

Passed by the City Council the ________ day of _________________________, 2016, and signed by me in open session in authentication of its passage this _____ day of _________________________, 2016.

____________________________________

President ____________ of the City Council

Approved by me this ________ day of _________________________, 2016.

____________________________________

Edward B. Murray, Mayor

Filed by me this ________ day of _________________________, 2016.

____________________________________

Monica Martinez Simmons, City Clerk

(Seal)