PORT ANGELES — Drivers will be asked to slow down on South Lincoln Street next month if the City Council approves a measure to lower the speed limit from 30 mph to 25 mph.
The City Council conducted a first reading Tuesday on a proposal to reduce the speed limit to 25 mph on the heavily traveled corridor between Front Street and Lauridsen Boulevard and a short section of U.S. Highway 101 between Lauridsen Boulevard and Oak Street.
The seven-member council will consider changing the speed limit after a second reading of the ordinance amendment Feb. 2.
“I think it’s vital that we provide safety for our citizens,” Council Member LaTrisha Suggs said in a virtual meeting Tuesday.
Thomas Hunter, Port Angeles public works and utilities director, said the recommendation to lower the speed limit to 25 mph was made by the state Department of Transportation. South Lincoln Street overlaps U.S. Highway 101.
“We do have crash-history data that supports this change to this corridor, as well as best management practices have really indicated that going even five miles per hour (faster or slower) is a big deal,” Hunter told the council Tuesday.
“For example, at speeds of 30 miles per hour, on average, five out of 10 pedestrians will survive a collision. That’s only 50 percent.
“At 20 to 25 miles per hour, you start nearing nine out of 10 pedestrian survivals,” he added. “So just that small difference is pretty key.”
The proposal to reduce the speed limit on Lincoln Street was made in conjunction with the planned reconfiguration of the multi-modal corridor, Hunter said.
The $1.6 million Lincoln Street safety project, which includes bike lanes and extended sidewalks, is scheduled to begin this year.
A similar project was completed on Lauridsen Boulevard in 2019.
City officials also are planning to build a dedicated trail and other safety improvements along South Race Street. The $4.7 million Race Street project will begin in 2021, according to the city’s Transportation Improvement Plan.
“We have an ethos as a city that’s trying to create livable neighborhoods, to have complete streets, and that’s been something that we’re moving toward on Lincoln Street,” Council Member Lindsey Schromen-Wawrin said Tuesday.
“When I drive on Lauridsen Boulevard, I don’t feel like I’m going slow because the design speed and the posted speed are very well calibrated. I think that’s where we’re going to be on Lincoln Street.”
There were two fatal vehicle vs. pedestrian collisions on South Lincoln Street between Third and Fourth streets between 2012 and 2016, city officials have said.
In addition to improved safety, Schromen-Wawrin said lower speed limits can help local businesses.
“There’s a relationship between how fast people travel through an area and how frequently they’re going to stop,” Schromen-Wawrin said.
“I think there’s also an economic development aspect to this, too, and whether we want people to just be cruising through Port Angeles on their way out, or coming to Port Angeles as a destination.”
Reporter Rob Ollikainen can be reached at [email protected] peninsuladailynews.com.