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City Councilman Whitburn Seeks Lower Speed Limits to Reduce Traffic Deaths

A pedestrian crosswalk. Photo via Pixabay

San Diego City Councilmember Stephen Whitburn has asked traffic planners to compile a list of streets with a history of collisions that could benefit from speed reductions.

Whitburn cited Assembly Bill 43, which was signed into law in 2021, that allows cities to prioritize safety in setting speed limits, especially where people are more likely to walk and bike.

Speed limits as low as 15 and 20 mph can be set under the legislation.

“Preventing death and severe injuries requires a commitment to rethink priorities and redesign safety in the transportation system,” said Whitburn, who represents District 3.

Whitburn, whose densely populated district stretches from Old Town to Normal Heights and south to the downtown area, made the request just before Thanksgiving week.

“Slowing cars down saves lives,” he said. “The faster a vehicle travels, the chances of survival in a car crash decrease tremendously, especially for vulnerable road users such as pedestrians, bicyclists, seniors, and children.”

According to the National Highway Traffic Administration, a person struck by a vehicle going 20 mph has a 5% chance of dying. That goes up to 40% for vehicles going 30 mph and 80% for vehicles going 40 mph.

Whitburn also requested that planners begin an outreach effort to hear directly from community members.

“Community members often know their streets better than anyone because they experience those streets daily,” said Whitburn.

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