Austin City Council approves speed reductions on many streets

The Austin City Council unanimously approved reduced speed limits in Austin neighborhoods and for certain urban core streets in an effort to improve safety for travelers.

The city says that according to data collected through the Vision Zero program, speeding is the primary contributing factor to one-quarter of fatal traffic crashes. The City Traffic Engineer has determined that based on a year-long study of speed limits on city roadways, speeds should be reduced to safe and prudent levels on a wide range of Austin roadways.

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The changes are designed to improve safety and enhance the livability of Austin streets for all road users, including people riding bikes and walking, and those who are mobility impaired. In addition, the changes will create a more uniform approach to speed limits and enforcement as currently, speed limits vary from neighborhood to neighborhood.

The initial changes will be phased in over the next few months to allow for public awareness efforts. Travelers will see new speed limit signs and digital messaging informing them of the changes. Some changes may also include other roadway changes like restriping to narrower lane widths or assigning portions of the street for other uses such as biking or parking.

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The proposed strategy is outlined in three parts: 

  • Neighborhood Streets: Streets approximately 36 feet or less in width and have primarily front-facing residential land uses will be posted at 25 mph. Some neighborhood streets wider than 36 feet will also have reduced posted speed limits.
  • Urban Core Arterials: Most major arterial streets within the city urban core bounded by US 183, SH 71, and Loop 1, will be posted at 35 mph or less, with a few exceptions.
  • Downtown Streets: Most streets within the area bounded by N. Lamar Blvd., Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd, I-35, and Lady Bird Lake will be posted at 25 mph. Guadalupe St., Lavaca St., MLK Jr. Blvd., 15th St., Cesar Chavez St., and Lamar Blvd. will be posted at 30 mph.

An updated interactive map showing a preliminary view of the speed limit changes is now available for the public. View the full presentation to learn more about the recommended speed limit modifications for urban core, residential, and downtown streets.