Task force studies 20 MPH speed limit

DOWNEY - The city's Green Task Force committee held preliminary discussions Monday on the feasibility of proposing lower speed limits on residential streets to 20 miles per hour.The task force is studying the issue at the request of resident Steve Perez, who is lobbying Downey to adopt the "20 is Plenty" program that is popular in several European territories. Perez said lower speed limits would increase safety in residential neighborhoods. "You're probably too young to remember this, but growing up we would play on the streets," Perez told the Patriot. "You can't do that anymore." City officials concede the safety benefits, but warned that reducing speed limits isn't as simple as just installing new signs. First, the city would need to conduct traffic and engineering surveys at about 300 locations throughout Downey, said deputy public works director Ed Norris. That would cost about $40,000 and take four months. Then the city would need four weeks - and another $4,000 - to analyze the data. If the surveyed streets qualify for lower speed limits and the Public Works Committee and City Council sign off on the program - a big if considering the costs involved - City Hall would still need to purchase new street signs, about 600 signs at $150 each, or $90,000. Downey could also follow the lead of a few New York City suburbs, which maintained 25 MPH speed limits but launched marketing campaigns advocating that "20 is plenty" on residential streets. The Green Task Force is expected to revisit the issue at a later date.

********** Published: March 29, 2012 - Volume 10 - Issue 50