CITY HALL — Residents might want to refrain from driving with a heavy foot around town.
The City Council on Tuesday adopted an ordinance establishing new speed limits at 14 locations in Santa Monica, a dozen of which will be reduced. The ordinance will become final upon a second reading at a future council meeting.
The new speed limits came out of a recent City Hall survey that looked at traffic patterns at 103 different locations. The state requires that municipalities conduct such surveys every 5 to 10 years to make sure that speed limits are appropriate for the design of the roadway and other conditions that are not readily apparent to the driver, such as high pedestrian and bicycle activities, Sam Morrissey, the principal traffic engineer for City Hall, said.
“The speed survey showed us that the speed is near the existing limit, however in a lot of locations like Ocean Park Boulevard, Wilshire Boulevard, Main Street and Ocean Avenue, we actually recommend reducing the speed because there’s a lot of conditions that are not readily apparent,” Morrissey said, referring to the high volume of foot traffic on those corridors.
The reductions will affect portions of Olympic Boulevard, Ocean Park Boulevard, Wilshire Boulevard, Fourth Street, Fifth Street, Main Street and Ocean Avenue [see sidebar]. Speeds will be increased from 25 to 30 mph on Colorado Avenue between Ocean Avenue and Lincoln Boulevard and on Second Street between Wilshire and Colorado.
All speeds will change by 5 miles per hour.
“We brought both up to 30 miles an hour because all other Downtown streets are at 30,” Morrissey said.
While the survey did not involve a public input component, much of the decision to lower the speed limits came from concerns heard from residents through various meetings for the Land Use and Circulation Element, which is the 20-year update to the city’s general plan, he added.
“Especially on Ocean Park Boulevard and Ocean Avenue, we’ve heard for a number of years complaints of high speed and the need for low speed because of pedestrian and bicycle activity,” he said.
The new speed limits have drawn a mixed reaction.
“A girl at work here just got rear-ended,” Marie Rooney, an assistant manager at Accents Jewelry Design on Main Street, said. “It’s an excellent idea for them to lower the speed limit.”
But some have said that changing the speed limit might not be necessary and could just cause more congestion.
“I don’t think the speed limit needs to be changed, I think people need to abide by the one that is there,” Kristy Dinsmoor, manager at ZJ Boardinghouse, said. “I don’t know that it’s so much a matter of changing it as it is enforcing it.”
Catherine Cain contributed to this report