L.A. City Council Committee Approves LADOT Speed Reduction Plan
Los Angeles, CA (February 15, 2022)
LOS ANGELES – Today the L.A. City Council Transportation Committee approved a life saving proposal by the Los Angeles Department of Transportation (LADOT) to repeal and reduce speed limit increases on dozens of local streets. The proposal will reduce speeds by 5mph on over 177 miles of city streets that had previously been increased, as required by the state to ensure enforceability. The proposal comes as a result of the passage of AB 43, authored by Asm. Laura Friedman and took effect earlier this year, which grants cities more local control of speed setting. The speed reductions will help the city address its street safety goals.
“Nothing is more important than the safety of our residents, and every single decision we make prioritizes their well-being,” said Mayor Eric Garcetti. “We’ve fought for the ability to lower our speed limits for years, and this proposal will help make our streets safer for everyone who uses them.”
"I am thrilled to be able to restore saner speed limits to 177 miles of city streets,” said Councilmember Mike Bonin, Chair of the City Council Transportation Committee. “Thanks to the new law by Assemblymember Laura Friedman, our neighborhoods will no longer be subject to speed creep inflicted by the most dangerous drivers. I applaud LADOT's hard work and relentless advocacy for safer streets."
"I am so grateful to Assemblymember Friedman for working with us to convince the California Legislature to return discretion over local speed limits to Los Angeles and other California cities," said Los Angeles Councilmember Paul Koretz of the Fifth District. "Finally, with the partnership of the Department of Transportation, swift work is being done to analyze and assess nearly 200 miles of local roads that were previously ratcheted up under the States counter-intuitive 85th percentile law in recent years to now begin the process of implementing sensible speed limit reductions in order to prioritize public safety."
“We know speed kills, and traffic deaths have increased despite our investments and engineering work,” said LADOT General Manager Seleta Reynolds. “This proposal will roll back speed limits on streets in Los Angeles to common sense levels that will save lives.”
LADOT’s proposed speed limit reductions will now go to the full City Council for approval. If adopted, road users can expect the installation of new, reduced speed limits to begin one month after approval.
California State Assembly Bill (AB) 43 was written and introduced by Asm. Laura Friedman. Prior to AB 43’s passage, California's 85th percentile rule forced LADOT to raise speed limits on nearly 200 miles of city streets over the last several years. Under new laws the City can choose to retain a street’s existing speed limit following traffic speed studies, as long as that speed limit was established by a prior survey and no lanes have been added to the street.
“The City of Los Angeles was forced to increase speed limits across the city because of an arcane law that allows speeders to set the speed limit,” said Assemblymember Laura Friedman (D-Glendale), Chair of the Assembly Transportation Committee. “The COVID-19 pandemic has only increased recklessly fast driving, resulting in a 21% increase in traffic fatalities in the city in 2021. Los Angeles was instrumental in helping me modernize the law with the passage of AB 43, and I appreciate the city’s quick action to restore safe speed limits across the region.”
The speed of a vehicle is closely tied with the severity of a collision. A pedestrian has a 90% chance of surviving when hit by a vehicle going 20 mph and only a 10% chance of survival if a vehicle is going 40mph. Lower speeds on streets give drivers and others more time to react to prevent a collision and reduce the severity of collisions that do occur.
The full list of streets where speed reductions are proposed is available in this LADOT report. Under the new speed setting law, future reductions will be possible on streets with high rates of fatal or severe injury collisions as well as in areas with a high density of retail and commercial activity.