Speed limit discussions continue in Lake Forest Park

Tuesday, November 1, 2022

From Tom French, Deputy Mayor
City of Lake Forest Park

Since mid-spring, the City Council has been considering reductions to speed limits on our local roads and state highways which will prioritize pedestrian and multi-modal safety.

The Council has been discussing a multi-phased approach to setting lower speed limits which has begun with the adoption of a speed limit setting methodology as required by state statute.

On October 13, 2020 the City Council unanimously approved Ordinance 1252 adopting the National Association of City Transportation Officials’ (“NACTO) 2020 City Limits, Setting Safe Speed Limits on Urban Streets (“City Limits”), a document intended to provide cities with guidance on how to strategically set speed limits on urban streets, using a Safe Systems approach, to reduce traffic fatalities and injuries.

As recommended in the City Limits document, the City will consider three or more phases to increasing safety on our roads.
  1. Setting default speed limits on many streets at once (such as 25 mph on major streets and 20 mph on all minor neighborhood streets),
  2. Designating slow zones in sensitive areas, and
  3. Setting corridor speed limits on high priority major streets, using a safe speed study, which uses conflict density and activity level to set context-appropriate speed limits
Ordinance 1252 anticipates moving forward with a Safe Speed Study in accordance with methodology in City Limits to determine the speed limits that will best minimize the risk of persons being killed or seriously injured in Lake Forest Park.

This work that the Council is conducting is very timely and necessary. The reduced traffic during the pandemic has emboldened some drivers to ignore basic courtesy and safety and this has led to a significant increase in unlawful behavior on our roads and state highways. Traffic volume is down, yet infractions are up as well as crashes on a per-trip basis.

It is the Council’s intent to create a speed-setting program that slows drivers down and one that reflects the character of our community.

We will also be considering traffic calming measures that can be implemented throughout our city. A variety of measures are being discussed, including, but not limited to:

Signalized crosswalks; intersections painted with murals; chicanes and pinch points; traffic circles; speed pillows; curb-separated shoulders and walking paths.

It is the intent of the City Council to begin acting on these steps in the coming months. We invite residents to send us your feedback and thoughts about speed limits and traffic calming as we move forward with making our community safer for all users of our roadways, paths and sidewalks.


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