SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (May 25, 2021) — Sweet Streets, a people-first transportation advocacy organization, is calling on Salt Lake City to enact and enforce a 20 mph default limit on city-owned streets where people ride bicycles, live, work, play, shop or attend school or worship, with timely emphasis on routes connecting with schools and neighborhood byways. They will be launching their campaign on Wednesday, May 26, 2021. Cycling West has signed on as a coalition member.
Research from the countries and U.S. cities that have already adopted a 20 mph citywide speed limit shows this is a powerful way to save lives and promote walking, biking and transit.
“We’ve been looking at the data and looking at what the impact would be for Salt Lake City, and there’s clear evidence that lower speed limits on neighborhood streets would improve the health, safety and inclusiveness of our city streets,” says Myron Willson, Co-Founder and Board Member of Sweet Streets.
Automobile speed directly impacts bicycle and pedestrian safety. If hit by a car at 20 mph, 9 out of 10 pedestrians will survive a crash, at 30 mph only 5 out of 10 will survive, and at 40 mph, only 1 out of 10 will survive. The same logic applies to bicyclists who are protected only by the clothes they are wearing.
The implementation involves a simple change to Salt Lake City code. The current code reads, “On all streets and at all places, the prima facie speed limit shall be twenty-five (25) miles per hour, except as otherwise provided in subsection A of this section, or in such other streets or places as otherwise posted or marked as directed by the city transportation engineer.” — Salt Lake City Ordinance 12.36.020.B — Speed Limits.
The campaign requests that the code be changed to a 20 mph default, rather than 25. Other cities such as Seattle, Washington have implemented this, along with decreased speeds on arterials. Seattle also reduced the default speed limit on arterials to 25 mph, while a few higher volume streets were reduced to 30 or 35 mph.
Currently, Salt Lake City has a number of streets with a speed limit of 20 mph, notably, 300 South and a portion of South Temple, along with a few other downtown streets.
“We’re making our first steps in forming a coalition of community organizations and members of the public who want safer streets today,” said Taylor Anderson, another Sweet Streets Co-Founder. “We’re calling on the City Council to update the city’s ordinance around speeds to prioritize safety. If you live in Salt Lake City and you care about safe streets for all modes of transportation, we ask for your help in this effort.”
People can find out more information about Sweet Streets Salt Lake City on their website, or on social media. The group has launched a petition for others to show support and will begin passing out lawn signs to supporters at an event on Wednesday, May 26, at 5:30 p.m.
Currently, coalition members include Sweet Streets, Cycling West, Building Salt Lake, the Bicycle Collective, Moms Clean Air Force, Disability Law Center, and SL City Real Estate.
What: Sweet Streets will be handing out lawn signs and handbills in support of our call for a default 20 mph speed limit on neighborhood streets.
When: Wednesday, May 26, 2021 – 5:30 PM
Where: 600 East between 2700 South and Warnock Avenue in Salt Lake City, Utah