Lower Speed Limits are in the Works
Friday, September 20, 2019 9:10 AM

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Saint Paul engineers are studying where it might make sense to reduce speed limits on city-owned streets – and by how much.

Public Works director Kathy Lantry told more than 50 people attending the monthly Como Community Council meeting on Sept. 17 that a state law that took effect on Aug. 1 gives cities, for the first time, the authority to reduce speed limits below 30 mph on their own streets.

Calls and emails about drivers going to fast is the top complaint that Public Works and Saint Paul Police receive, Lantry said. She cautioned, however, that residents tend to overestimate how fast vehicles are traveling in front of their home, so they might not see as big a change as they expect.

Nonetheless, research shows that “slower is safer,” she said. Of pedestrians hit by a vehicle travelling 20 mph, 13 percent will die or suffer a severe injury. That rate goes up to 40 percent if the driver is travelling 30 mph, and 73 percent if the driver is travelling 40 mph.

Learn more: The city will hold an information session on speed limits on Thursday Oct. 3 from 5:30-6:30 p.m. at Rondo Community Library, 461 N. Dale.

There are exceptions
The law does not apply to state or county roads, Lantry emphasized. That means thoroughfares such as Snelling, Dale, Lexington Parkway, Front, Energy Park Drive, Como Ave. west of Hamline, and Larpenteur Ave. do not automatically qualify. (However, there can be an exception if they have bicycle lanes, Lantry said.)

All residential streets in Saint Paul automatically would be eligible. So would collector and arterial streets such as Pascal, Hamline, Chatsworth, Victoria, Grotto, Hoyt, Arlington, Midway Parkway, Van Slyke, Maryland west of Dale, Jessamine, and Nagasaki. Parkways such as Wheelock already are eligible.

Saint Paul and Minneapolis are cooperating to seek consistency in their implementation and education, Lantry said. “There’s extensive engineering and technical analysis going on.” The goal is to finish the research by the first part of 2020, she said, and begin making changes beginning in spring 2020.

In her presentation to the community council, Lantry also discussed Public Works staffing, trash collection, pavement conditions, snow plowing, and traffic calming as part of street reconstruction, among other topics. You can download slides from her presentation from the right column.

District 10 Como Community Council | 1224 Lexington Pkwy N, Saint Paul, MN 55103 | 651.644.3889 | district10 [at] district10comopark.org

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