LFP Council Corner – Budget and Speed Limits

Thursday, September 1, 2022

From LFP Deputy Mayor Tom French

It is hard to believe that our seemingly very short summer is coming to a close. As is tradition, the Council took the last couple of weeks of August off before diving back into our very full fall schedule of meetings.

The Council has held three Council Committee of the Whole meetings over the past few months, with the primary topic being safety on our roadways and state routes. 

This is a prime focus for all of us as there is an urgency to find ways to make our community safer for walkers, bicyclists, and other multi-modal transportation users.

As policy makers, we are aligned in the path forward to making our community safer for everyone. We will be taking action on adopting a Lake Forest Park-appropriate methodology for setting local speed limits that is mandated under state statutes. The method under consideration is NACTO’s (National Association of City Traffic Officials) very comprehensive and wholistic “City Limits” document.

City Limits prescribes three categories for setting speed limits:
  1. Default Speed limits: Set default speed limits on many streets at once.
  2. Slow Zones: Designate slow zones in sensitive areas, such as schools, parks, and churches.
  3. Corridor Speed Limits: Set corridor speed limits on high priority major streets using a Safe Speed Study.
Reduce speed limits on neighborhood streets
The Council is also considering moving forward with a reduction on many neighborhood streets at once. This method has shown to dramatically reduce speeding and increase safety simply through this action alone and without increases in enforcement. Seattle; Cambridge, Massachusetts; and several other cities have shown great success in reducing the number of serious accidents by a whole-scale reduction in neighborhood speed limits.

Lower speed limits on state routes in LFP
It is also our intent to lower the speed limits on our two state routes using safe speed studies as prescribed by City Limits. Preliminary conversations with the Washington State Department of Transportation and Sound Transit have been positive and support our approach. This process is more involved and will take a year or more to complete, but in the end our community will be much safer for the effort.

Budget season
A quick reminder that our 2023-2024 biennial budget season is underway. Check our website for a detailed calendar of Budget and Finance Committee meetings, where the public is always welcome. With the excellent guidance of the Administration and city staff, our community has weathered the pandemic well, despite very uncertain times and challenging economic stresses. However, this budget will be a lean one, with very little room for additional programs or policies and the community will have to make some tough choices and compromises.


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