Los Angeles took a step toward greater traffic safety with the city’s announcement of new speed limits on 71 Los Angeles streets, the result of recently updated speed surveys conducted by the Los Angeles Department of Transportation. The new speed limits will be coupled with increased LAPD enforcement efforts across the city as part of the Vision Zero initiative to decrease traffic deaths.
During the recession, speed surveys for many local streets expired, which prevented LAPD officers from enforcing posted limits. That’s because the State of California requires that cities perform speed surveys every five to 10 years as a condition of setting and enforcing speed limits on all local streets. These surveys measure the actual speeds driven by the majority of users when the street is uncrowded, along with road collision history, roadside conditions, residential and business density and pedestrian and bicyclist safety to best determine an appropriate speed for the street.
I believe that vigorous enforcement of posted speed limits works.
Now that the speed surveys are complete, the LAPD can enforce speed limits on 825 miles of city streets, including many in the San Fernando Valley. Enforceable speed limits are now in place across 98 percent of the High Injury Network, L.A. streets where a higher number of severe and fatal traffic collisions occur. The City Council allocated an additional $1.5 million in LAPD overtime funds to enforce the new limits.
In all, nearly 70 percent of our city streets now have enforceable speed limits, with the rest of the speed surveys scheduled to be updated by the end of 2018. For the majority of the streets, the speed limits did not change; however, 26 streets will have their speed limits increased and 45 streets will have them decreased. Whether a street’s speed limit goes up, down or stays the same is entirely a function of state law and something over which the City of Los Angeles has no discretion.
Like most of you, I would prefer local governments to have more control over what the maximum speed should be on our neighborhood streets. This is something I have fought for since my days as a State Assemblymember in Sacramento because decreases in speed generally lead to fewer fatal collisions. But as much as I believe drivers should be forced to slow down, I also believe that vigorous enforcement of posted speed limits works.
In addition, there are other measures we employ to lower the speed of vehicles traveling on our streets. The city has reinstated the Speed Hump program and deployed other traffic calming measures that have been effective in some communities, including narrowing streets by constructing medians or planters. In the coming years, I will push to ensure that Vision Zero funds continue to be used to bring our communities even more thoughtful solutions that effectively reduce traffic collisions.
If you have questions or comments about this issue, please contact me: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Los Angeles City Councilmember Paul Krekorian, chair of the Budget and Finance Committee and the Ad Hoc Committee on Job Creation, represents Council District 2, which includes North Hollywood, Studio City, Valley Village and other communities in the East Valley.