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Mayor Durkan, SDOT Director Sam Zimbabwe Celebrate National Recognition of Seattle Vision Zero Progress, New Traffic Speed Recommendations

Mayor Durkan Announced Citywide Speed Limit Would be Lowered to 25 MPH in December of 2019  

Early Data Points to 22% Reduction of Crashes and 54% Drop in High-end Speeding  

Seattle (July 22, 2020) – Mayor Jenny A. Durkan and SDOT Director Sam Zimbabwe welcomed a National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO) announcement today that Seattle’s work to lower speed limits should be a national Vision Zero best practice. The framework released today includes new recommendations which highlights Seattle’s safety achievements to reduce speed limits as a national best practice to prevent crashes and save lives.  

“Seattle’s work to create a safer City for those walking, biking or rolling is being recognized nationally as a best practice that saves lives. Cities across the country can look to Seattle as an example of making critical speed changes to save lives,” said Mayor Durkan. “Even in a global pandemic, we must continue to make progress on our Vision Zero goals.” 

Last December, Mayor Durkan announced major changes citywide to help Seattle achieve Vision Zero goals including reducing speed limits to 25 miles per hour, double the number of safety-enhanced traffic signals for pedestrian safety, adding safety cameras to five new school zones and double the number of red light cameras.   

So far this year, Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) has lowered speed limits on 90 miles of streets, creating a total of over 200 miles of major roads with a 25 MPH speed limit. Nearly half of Seattle’s major streets now have a 25 MPH speed limit. Graphs and maps SDOT’s progress to reduce speed limits on major roads are available on the SDOT blog.  

“Addressing dangerous speeding is the only way for everyone to get around safely” said SDOT Director Sam Zimbabwe. “As we design a transportation network that serves everyone, we have to prioritize saving lives as we manage our streets.”   

Seattle is one of the first cities in the country to study how reducing speed limits and increasing speed limit sign frequency improves safety. Seattle examined traffic data before and after installing new 25 MPH speed limit signs and found a 22% reduction in crashes, a 10% drop in the median speed, and a 54% reduction in the most dangerous speeders travelling over 40 MPH.