New speed limits will improve safety on L.A. streets

LOS ANGELES — Mayor Eric Garcetti today announced new speed limits on 71 Los Angeles streets, the result of recently-updated speed surveys by the Los Angeles Department of Transportation (LADOT). The new speed limits will be coupled with increased LAPD enforcement efforts across the City as part of the Vision Zero initiative to decrease traffic fatalities.  

“Nothing is more important than the safety of Angelenos — and every decision we make about our streets should be with their well-being first in our minds,” said Mayor Eric Garcetti. “These new, enforceable speed limits will help make our streets safer and easier to travel for everyone who uses them.”  

An updated map of the areas with new speed limits can be found here.

In order to set and enforce speed limits on local streets, the State of California requires a “speed survey” — measuring the average speed of the majority of drivers when the street is uncrowded, road collision history, roadside conditions, residential and business density, and pedestrian and bicyclist safety to best determine an appropriate speed for the street — every 5-10 years. Because many of L.A.’s surveys expired during the recession, LADOT prioritized the updates as a component of its Vision Zero plan.  

As a result of these updated speed surveys, the City gained the ability to enforce the speed limit on 825 miles of streets. Enforceable speed limits are now in place on 98.4% of the High Injury Network (HIN), the streets with a higher incidence of severe and fatal collisions. LAPD has reserved $1.5 million in overtime funds to help enforce the new speed limits on the HIN as part of the 2017-18 budget.

In total, 68% of all City Streets now have enforceable speed limits. All streets in the City of Los Angeles are expected to have updated speed surveys by the end of the year.

“Vision Zero’s holistic approach to keeping Angelenos safe is helping to create safer and more walkable communities for our neighbors,” said Councilmember Mike Bonin. “Whether you commute by foot, bike, use mass transit or a car, no one should fear a preventable traffic collision.”

For the majority of the streets with updated surveys, the speed limits did not change; however, 26 streets (94.32 miles) will have their speed limits increased and 45 streets (52.63 miles) will have their speed limits decreased.

LADOT began to update speed surveys at an accelerated rate due to increased funding initiated by Councilmembers Englander and Bonin that began in 2016.  

“Making roads safer and reducing traffic fatalities is an important priority for the city,” Councilmember Mitchell Englander said. “With the speed surveys now complete, we can more easily enforce speed limits, prevent reckless driving, and save lives.”

Vision Zero, the 10th Executive Directive signed by Mayor Garcetti on August 24, 2015, is an initiative to make L.A.’s roads safer for all Angelenos, with a goal of eliminating traffic fatalities completely by 2025. The program has delivered over 1,100 safety improvements across the City and is planning over 400 more this year (more details attached). In 2017, there were 16 fewer traffic fatalities, down 6.2% compared to 2016.

“We know that engineering the street differently is the most powerful, sustainable way to ensure it's safe, which continues to be our focus,” said Seleta Reynolds, General Manager of LADOT. “In the meantime, we’ve ensured that our partners at LAPD have the tools they need to enforce unsafe speeding which will save lives.”