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Alexandria City Manager wants authority to reduce speed limit in business and residential districts

(Updated at 2 p.m. on Thursday, March 3) Alexandria City Manager Jim Parajon wants to be able to reduce speed limits from 25 miles per hour to 15 mph in business and residential districts.

The proposal is part of the city’s efforts to pilot slow zones in residence districts, and goes before City Council on Tuesday, March 8. The City Manager already has the authority to reduce the speed limit, just not to 15 mph.

While there would not be any “immediate or direct impact on existing speed limits in the City,” the proposal gives Parajon the ability to decrease the speed limit and “establish differential speeds for daytime and nighttime driving on such streets, provided that any such increase or decrease in speed limit, or differential speed limit, shall be based upon an engineering and traffic investigation by the director of transportation and environmental services.”

The move comes three months after the City reduced the speed limit on Seminary Road from 35 mph to 25 mph. Last fall, there were a number of crashes involving pedestrians, including a man killed in the West End and a 13-year old struck while walking home in Del Ray.

According to the city:

This legislation enables the City to begin piloting “slow zones” in Alexandria, which typically include a combination of lower speed limits and traffic calming treatments such as speed cushions, curb extensions, and signage. Alexandria has committed to making streets safer through its Vision Zero program, which identifies speeding as one of the most pressing community concerns related to safety. Staff will not immediately consider individual requests outside of slow zone areas for speed limit reductions on neighborhood streets to less than 25mph. Should there be an eventual desire to reduce speed limits outside of slow zones, staff will develop a process for identifying which streets would qualify.

Alexandria’s Vision Zero Plan has the goal of eliminating all traffic-related deaths and injuries by 2028.

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