20 is plenty: speed reduction coming to Salt Lake City streets

May 11, 2022, 11:17 AM | Updated: 11:29 am
20 is plenty...
Speed limit sign in Orem on June 24, 2003. Photo credit: Stuart Johnson.

SALT LAKE CITY — The Salt Lake City Council voted to reduce speed limits on most city streets to 20 miles an hour in an effort to save lives. The Council passed  a measure called “20 is Plenty.”

The  City Council debated Tuesday night for about an hour and passed unanimously. The measure also had the support of Police Chief Mike Brown.

The cost of the project will be about a hundred thousand dollars.

Saving lives

City traffic engineer Dan Bergenthal said reduced speeds would help save the lives of pedestrians and bicyclists

“Only about 4% of the crashes in our city involve bicyclists and pedestrians. Only 4%. But they make up more than 46% of all the fatalities that we have here,” said Bergenthal.

Bergenthal cited a 2011 AAA study that showed reduced speeds lower the risk of deaths in pedestrian-related auto accidents.

“For example, a pedestrian involved in a crash with a vehicle traveling at 32 mph has a risk of death of 25%, and at 58 mph the risk increases to 90%,” Bergenthal said.

Bergenthal added that other studies show reducing speeds often reduces the number of chronic speeders.

Reducing speed limits for safety, not tickets

Council members, including the second district’s Alejandro Puy, said in no way is the measure about ramping up enforcement or handing out more tickets.

“I just want to make that clear, that that’s not why I’m supporting this,” said Puy.

The goal, council members said, is saving lives.

Transportation Division Director Jon Larson said the reduced speeds will be part of some newly designed neighborhoods.

“Some streets are getting complete redesigns like 9th South or 3rd West, and as part of that we’ll lower the speed limit,” said Larson.

Roads like 1300 South, Redwood Road, 3rd West, 7th East, and State Street will not be included because they are state roads or are out of the way of residential areas.

Related: Keep these things in your car in case of emergency

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20 is plenty: speed reduction coming to Salt Lake City streets