Arlington County is making a move that county leaders say will better protect children walking near schools: lowering the speed limit to 20 miles per hour.
Arlington County, Va., is making a move that county leaders say will better protect children walking near schools: lowering the speed limit to 20 miles per hour.
The Department of Environmental Science will modify bright yellow school zone signs to read “20 mph speed limit”. Starting next month, the slower speed limits will apply at all times of the day within 600 feet of schools and their designated crosswalks.
Arlington County Council unanimously passed the ordinance during a session on Saturday.
“This action is consistent with our Vision Zero initiatives, which is one of our most critical initiatives that has proven to deliver excellent results so far,” Vice President Christian Dorsey said of the update. the consent agenda which was adopted without discussion.
Nearly a quarter of crashes in Arlington involve speeding, and each year there are typically more than 10 crashes involving speeding within 600 feet of a school, according to a memo prepared for the county council ahead of Saturday’s vote.
Last year, the council approved lower speed limits around 13 schools as a pilot test of new pavement signs and markings, according to the memo. Following the decision, the county said an investigation showed county residents said they felt safer walking, biking and driving due to new slow areas at school.
County planners estimated it would cost about $150,000 to implement 20 mph slow zones around county schools.
Arlington County experienced fewer pedestrian-related crashes in 2022 than the previous year, in line with its Vision Zero goal of eliminating pedestrian fatalities by 2030.
The decision to lower speed limits also follows the council’s decision last year to install mobile speed cameras around school and work zones.
County Data Show that last year, 12 pedestrians were hit by cars – and two of them died.
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