On March 3, the LA Department of Transportation announced that it will be chaging speed limits on 71 streets in the city of Los Angeles, including speed limit reductions on parts of La Brea and 7th Street in our area.
The speed limit changes are the result of new traffic studies done in conjuction with the city’s “Vision Zero” effort to reduce traffic deaths. According to state law, speed limits can be legally enforced if they are based on traffic surveys updated every 5-10 years. But many of the city’s old surveys expired during the recent recession, according to the Mayor’s office, so the city is now in the process of updating them. As a result, the DOT says 68% of the streets citywide now have newly enforceable speed limits, with more coming soon.
To decide which streets will see speed limit increases or decreases, Los Angeles, in compliance with state law, uses the “85% rule” to determine safe speeds. According to a recent report on the WeLikeLA website:
“Essentially, the speed limit must be set to whatever speed at which 85% of motorists are driving. So if 85% of drivers are going faster than a city might like, the city still has to set the speed limit at that number.
“The reasoning is that 85% of people drive reasonably and 15% do not,” David Roseman, a city traffic engineer for Long Beach, told the L.A. Times in 2005. “So we should be designing our speeds to accommodate reasonable drivers.””
Reporting on the speed limit changes, LADOT’s webiste said the new speed limits will be “coupled with increased LAPD enforcement efforts across the City,” and that “all City streets are expected to have updated speed limits by the end of the year.”
The full map of affected streets is available at at http://basic.cityofla.acsitefactory.com/sites/g/files/wph266/f/SpeedLimitchangesrev4.pdf