AUSTIN, Texas — The Austin City Council approved lower speed limits Thursday after 116 crash deaths made 2021 the city's deadliest year on local roads.
The measures decrease speed limits by a maximum of 15 mph and impact almost 50 sections of road outside the urban core, including Slaughter Lane and Payton Gin Road.
According to a map from the council, most speed limits would see a decrease of 5 mph. For example, Southwest Parkway would go from a 55 mph speed limit to a 50 mph speed limit.
Here's what the ordinances approved regarding speed limits do:
- Establish a maximum speed limit of 45 mph for Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard from U.S. 183 to Austin City Limits and establish a maximum speed limit of 30 mph on two sections of the boulevard during certain times for students attending Austin Discovery School
- Establish a prima facie speed limit of 30 mph for Escarpment Boulevard from Padua Drive to Bernia Drive.
- Establish a speed limit of 25 mph for Matthews Lane from Menchaca Road to Cooper Lane.
"Speeding kills, speeding hApurts," said Eric Bollich, Austin Transportation Department managing engineer. "And just by reducing your speed by 5 to 10 miles an hour in many cases can be the difference between a major crash that somebody does not survive and one which somebody does survive."
In addition to the high number of crashes last year, a number of driveways on the affected streets and bike and pedestrian activity contributed to the discussion on lowering speed limits.
Growth also served as a factor, since many speed limits were established prior to the now-increased population and developments across the area.
In 2020, several Central Austin roads saw lowered speed limits. New speed limit signs on the proposed non-urban core roads will likely take months to install if city council approves the measures.
Two other ordinances regarding speed limits were pulled from the agenda for further consideration. Click here for more information.
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