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Default speed limit in Salt Lake City decreases to 20 miles per hour

Posted at 7:15 PM, May 11, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-11 21:15:28-04

SALT LAKE CITY — A significant change in Salt Lake City is on the horizon - the default speed limit will decrease to 20 miles per hour.

Currently, the default speed limit is 25 miles per hour in the city.

The city council voted the decrease in speed into law Tuesday night in an unanimous vote.

Many are praising the change and hope this helps decrease auto-pedestrian crashed in Salt Lake City.

Read - Utah leaders announce more safety measures following a wave of deadly accidents

“We were we were expecting this to take three to five years,” Benjamin Wood a Board Member with Sweet Streets Salt Lake City said. “As of last night the city started this process, and it's a win for anyone who lives next to a street, which is everyone.”

Sweet Streets Salt Lake City, a group that aims to change "land-use and transportation from auto-dependency to people-first," thanked the council for the decision but said there is still more work to be done to "address the bulk of traffic violence."

While they said the speed decrease will impact 75 percent of the city's streets, Sweet Streets said the roads that account for "the majority of traffic violence in Salt Lake" will not be impacted.

Wood tries to travel everywhere by bike, explaining, “when I moved to the city, I didn't have too much of an issue weaving in and out of cars and jumping through traffic.”

He said he had to get involved in trying to help make the streets safer for him and his family.

“It was when I tried to teach my son how to ride a bike and when I tried to get my family to go out on a bike, suddenly I realized how scary it was,” Wood said.

Statistics from the organization say that in the event of a crash, if you're below 30 miles per hour your odds of surviving a crash or just having minor injuries is way higher.

Brian Hutchinson is also welcoming the change. He’s been fighting as a resident and getting involved in his own neighborhood because of the issue of speeding.

“The science says slower cars means safer streets which means more livable neighborhoods.” Hutchinson said. “We've had our house for 30 years and there's been a tenfold increase of traffic.”

Hutchinson became the Chair of Capitol Hill Neighborhood Council transportation committee.

The Capitol Hill neighborhood just saw the same decrease from 25 to 20 miles per hour after some time of fighting and he says because of it people feel safer.

“It brings the community together” he said. “We're walking more, we're talking more. We don't have we don't have to yell over the loud, polluting racing vehicles that rip through the neighborhoods.”

The action comes one week after 24-year-old Libbie Isabel Allan was hit and killed by a suspected drunk driver on 1700 South near 900 East.

She was five months pregnant with her second child, and her 2-year-old daughter was critically injured.

That same week also saw a string of deadly crashes, with other pedestrians and cyclists being hit and killed by vehicles.

Lowering the speed limit can't bring back the lives that have been lost, but hopefully, this will protect the future.

“A measure of success is is that the safety of the streets for children,” Hutchinson said with Wood adding, “It has pushed this action along but there's no taking away the loss of life the trend the disruption to people's lives and families and friends.”