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Joe Buscaino

L.A. City Council Transportation Committee Approves Unprecedented Speed Limit Reductions

5:00 PM PST on February 15, 2022

This portion of Sherman Way will soon see a speed limit reduction from 40mph to 35mph – via Google Street View

This afternoon, the L.A. City Council Transportation Committee voted to approve 177 miles of speed limit reductions on city streets. See last week's SBLA coverage for broader background on the state law that enabled changes, and the list of street segments that will see lower speed limits. The committee, comprised of Councilmembers Mike Bonin, Paul Koretz, and Joe Buscaino, approved the item [council file 21-1223] unanimously.

Committee Chair Bonin termed the "long overdue and unprecedented" speed limit reductions a "small and partial undoing of one of the stupidest state regulations that I have ever encountered." Bonin and Transportation Department (LADOT) General Manager Seleta Reynolds praised Assemblymember Laura Friedman, the author of state legislation (A.B. 43) that reformed longstanding, absurd, dangerous 85th percentile state speed limit law.

Reynolds stressed that though "this is a great day," speed limit reform advocacy is not done, because "the 85th percentile rule needs to go away entirely." Reynolds recounted that getting A.B. 43  approved included compromises. "Trying to turn the negative advocacy neutral from organizations like the AAA [American Automobile Association] required us to make some compromises in the way that the legislation would move forward... We accept that this is imperfect and there are things that we would wish different."

Bonin and Koretz both praised LADOT work on state speed law reform, and LADOT's efforts to enact warranted speed limit rollbacks quickly. The first tranche of speed limit reductions follows an A.B. 43 rule that allows municipalities to undo recent increases that are not connected with physical changes to the street. Additional reductions are forthcoming under other A.B. 43 provisions for safety corridors and business activity districts.

Koretz questioned why LADOT couldn't reduce speeds in more places in his district, and pressed for the reductions to take effect as soon as possible.

The speed limit reductions ordinance still needs to be approved by the full City Council and the Mayor, then thirty days later LADOT crews will begin installing new speed limit signage.

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