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Posted on: October 6, 2021

Speed Limit Reductions

What is happening to the speed limit in Longview? 

The City of Longview is reducing speed limits to enhance street safety. 

Speed limits will be reduced to 25 MPH on all streets to are adjacent to a school or City Park.

This is part of Longview's plan to end traffic deaths and serious injuries on city streets.

 Why is this necessary?

Over the last 10 years Longview has seen 9 pedestrians killed in traffic collisions. Another 34 were seriously injured. Their lives were cut short or changed forever, impacting their families, friends, and broader communities. One life lost or altered is one too many.

And while safety has generally improved over time, we still see our most vulnerable travelers (those walking and biking) impacted disproportionately.

People who are hit while walking or bicycling make up only 7% of crashes, but 47% of fatalities, 9 out of 10 bicycle/pedestrian collisions resulting in injury. Reducing the speed limit will help save lives and make Longview streets safer for everyone.

Will reducing the speed by a few miles per hour really make a difference?

Yes. Speed contributes to 90% of pedestrian/ bicycle traffic fatalities citywide, and 80% of crashes every year.

Speed is a critical factor in whether you survive a car crash: People who are walking are twice as likely to live after being hit by a car at 25 MPH than at 30 MPH. This small speed limit reduction doubles the odds of survival. That’s why the City of Longview, and major cities like New York, Los Angeles, Washington, DC, Portland, Seattle, Denver, and Houston have already made this choice and have a speed limit of 25 MPH or lower.

Reducing the speed limit works for several reasons: 

  • It gives people who drive, walk, and bike more time to see each other and react. 
  • Reducing the speed limit decreases cars’ stopping distance. 
  • If there is a crash, the severity of the collision is reduced when speeds are lower

Reducing the speed limit from 30 to 25 MPH decreases stopping distance by 45 feet, or 23%.

In many cases, the change will help people avoid crashes altogether. If a crash does occur, the reduced speed will reduce its severity, so people have less serious injuries.

Won’t lowering the speed limit make traffic worse?

Not much. The average car trip in Longview is 3.5 miles. Reducing that car’s speed from 30 to 25 MPH will add 1 minute and 15 seconds to the trip – just over a minute to save a life.

Travel time is primarily determined by factors like traffic signals, congestion, and turning vehicles. A reduced speed limit will effectively impact drivers who travel at excessive, unsafe speeds and save lives while getting Longview where it needs to go.

Why is the City targeting drivers?

The effort targets dangerous behaviors and choices – like speeding – not specific people.

Reaching Longview’s goal of zero traffic fatalities and serious injuries requires people who drive, walk, and bike to all be part of the solution. Reducing the speed limit gives everyone more time to see each other and avoid a crash.

Drivers benefit, too, from having better ability to stop in time to avoid a crash. No one should go through life knowing that they caused a traffic-related death or injury.

Sometimes, an accident is just an accident. Why are we focusing on speed?

Most car crashes can be prevented by avoiding dangerous choices like speeding – they are not truly “accidents.” Our effort recognizes that humans make mistakes, but they should not be deadly or lead to a life-altering injury.

By reducing the speed limit, we can create a safer place for Longview residents to live, work, and play at the speed of life.

What is the status of this change? When does it take effect?

City Council approved this safety proposal at a workshop on August 26, 2021. 

At a regular session, Council approved this specific speed limit reduction on September 9, 2021.

The law will go into effect on October 14, 2021.

Mid-October is the anticipated roll-out timeframe for adding or altering 100 new speed limit signs, a public education campaign, and enforcement.

Which streets will be affected?

  • 38th Avenue, Ocean Beach Highway to Pacific Way
  • Glenwood Drive
  • 30th Avenue
  • Beech Street
  • Pacific Way, Ocean Beach Highway to 30th Avenue
  • Nichols Blvd
  • Olympia Way, 17th Avenue to Ocean Beach Highway
  • 15th Avenue, Washington Way to Ocean Beach Highway
  • 7th Avenue, Tennant Way to Washington Street

What are the next steps?

After evaluation of the aforementioned speed reductions, a future City Council may consider further speed limit reductions to move us closer to the goal of zero fatalities on Longview City streets.

Click here to view full Speed Limit Reduction FAQ

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