San Jose Begins Lowering Speed Limits

Thanks to a state bill, California cities can reduce speed limits on city streets by 5 miles per hour to improve traffic safety.

July 6, 2022, 10:00 AM PDT

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction

20 miles per hour speed limit sign in school zone

Andriana Syvanych / 20 mph speed limit sign.

“In January, [California] Assembly Bill 43 went into effect giving local governments the authority to reduce speeds by 5 mph on smaller roads that have lower speed limits and car volumes. The bill creates a new road designation titled ‘business activity district’ for streets with speed limits 30 mph or under,” writes Jana Kadah in San Jose Spotlight. 

Now, the San Jose City Council approved speed reductions on some of the city’s streets. “The locations, which include Evergreen Village Square, portions of Almaden Avenue, Jackson, Post, Santa Clara and Willow streets, will require drivers to reduce speeds from 25 to 20 mph.”

According to the article, “Traffic fatalities reached record levels last year with 60 deaths, and this year is on track to exceed that. In the first three months of 2022, 24 people died — three times higher than the nine who died by the end of March 2021.” Reducing speed limits can help drivers avoid crashes and reduces the chance of pedestrian deaths. 

In addition to lower speed limits, “These roads must have street parking, traffic signals or stop signs every 600 feet, uncontrolled crosswalks and at least 50% of the adjacent property has retail and dining that opens directly onto the sidewalk,” according to Laura Wells, assistant director of the department of transportation, limiting which streets the city can select. “Wells said some of San Jose’s more dangerous corridors may also see speed reduction, but it won’t be for a while. AB 43 allows cities to change speed limits on roads with high injury rates and near vulnerable populations, but the criteria of that law is still being defined by Caltrans.”

Thursday, June 30, 2022 in San José Spotlight

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