LOCAL NEWS

Community Group Wants Speed Limit Lowered In SLC Residential Areas 

May 26, 2021, 6:20 PM | Updated: 10:51 pm

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah — A growing number of people in Salt Lake City think cars drive too fast in their residential neighborhoods. A community group called Sweet Streets wants the city to lower the speed limit and they plan to petition City Council to make that move. 

Sweet Streets is a volunteer organization that thinks ‘20 is Plenty,’ and ‘Slower is Safer,’ and those are the slogans you will see on their yard signs. 

(KSL TV)

“We’re just trying to get the word out, start the conversation, and really see if we have tapped into something that people want,” said Taylor Anderson who is the co-founder of Sweet Streets. 

Specifically, Sweet Streets wants the default speed limit in residential neighborhoods lowered from 25 mph to 20 mph. 

“We’re just trying to bring the speeds down, make things more pleasant — more connected with your neighbors, more connected with the businesses down the street or your church,” said Anderson. 

They handed out signs and gathered signatures Wednesday for a petition in Liberty Heights. 

Anderson said safety was their number one concern. 

“Once you get above 20 miles an hour, things get much more dangerous,” he said, especially for pedestrians who may end up in the path of a car. 

A study from AAA showed that a pedestrian has a 10% chance of severe injury when hit by a car driving less than 20 mph, but that risk rises to 90% when a pedestrian is hit by a car traveling faster than 40 mph. 

“20 mph is much safer when we expect people to be in the street interacting where people are also driving cars,” said Anderson. 

The goal of Sweet Streets, he said, is to make transportation more convenient and connected for people who choose to walk, bike, or take public transportation. 

In his Liberty Wells neighborhood, Anderson said the speeds seem to go unchecked too often. 

“We’re crossing the street and people are going 30, 35, 40 mph on residential streets. It’s just dangerous. It feels unpleasant. It feels dangerous,” he said. “If I had kids, I wouldn’t want them playing in the street because I would be worried about what’s going to happen to them.” 

Henni Sundlin lives on 400 East and got some ‘Slow Down’ yard signs from her community council. 

“During the week, we get a pretty decent amount of traffic,” she said. “Right now, it’s not too bad, but definitely during rush hour, it gets pretty crazy.” 

Even with traffic-calming radar signs that display each car’s speed on her block, Sundlin said people rarely drive 25. 

“I’d say 30, 35,” she said. “I’ve seen people going what I think is probably 40, which I don’t like.”

Sundlin said she’s not sure a lower speed limit would slow people down. 

“I think we need more signage, more than anything, versus changing the speed limit,” she said. “I feel like people are going to go fast anyway.” 

She suggested that speed bumps might be a better way to slow people down. 

She could be right. City Transportation Director Jon Larsen said studies show that without changing the structure of the street, people rarely slow down when the speed limit is lowered. He said lowering the speed limit would certainly send a strong message to the community, and the city is open to the discussion. 

Speeding is one of the top two complaints his division gets, along with parking issues. 

It’s ultimately up to the City Council to decide. 

“Everybody wants slow speeds in front of their houses,” said Anderson. “Are you willing to do that in front of somebody else’s house? In front of the school? In front of the church? We’ll see.” 

The Sweet Streets organization hope to present a petition and their ideas to Salt Lake City Council sometime this summer. 

More information can be found on their website.

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Community Group Wants Speed Limit Lowered In SLC Residential Areas