Today, Austin City Council unanimously voted to pass the comprehensive speed management package that will change speed limits across the city and facilitate physical changes to streets to allow for safer traffic speeds. Austin Transportation Department staff have been working on this for the last year, while Austin City Council actually initiated this work way back in December 2016, following a campaign led by Farm&City and Vision Zero ATX, including focusing on this policy issue at the annual vigil, the world day of remembrance for the victims of traffic violence.
This summer, Farm&City is devoting a large portion of its time to get more cities, counties, and MPOs in Texas to adopt Vision Zero goals and strategies to end traffic death and serious injuries. The passing of this agenda item in Austin today is perhaps the most significant step they City of Austin has taken since adoption of its Vision Zero goal, and we hope other cities and counties, as well as TXDOT, quickly follow suite with their own comprehensive speed management strategies.
Setting slower speed limits throughout the city will not only make streets safer and more comfortable for all users, but it will contribute to fewer traffic crashes, resulting in fewer fatalities and serious injuries. Vision Zero cannot be successful without the support of local officials and communities. Austin’s support is crucial in this endeavor.
The agenda item included approving “an ordinance amending City Code Chapter 12-4 (Speed Limits) to add definitions of neighborhood street, downtown street, and urban core arterial street, and to establish a maximum speed limit of 25 miles per hour on neighborhood streets, a maximum speed limit of 25 miles per hour on downtown streets, and a maximum speed limit of 30, 35, or 40 miles per hour on urban core arterial streets.”
Establishing slower and safer speed limits is only the tip of the iceberg, but it is a great win for Austin and Farm&City. Hopefully Austin’s approval will spread throughout the state of Texas and Farm&City can lead the charge in getting the rest of the 954 cities on board to adopt similar agenda items.
You can support our work to empower all Texans to meaningfully engage in the Vision Zero movement by donating to our summer fundraising campaign, which is partially funding our team of summer interns, who are working hard to support the growth of the Vision Zero movement statewide.