L.A. Mayor Touts New Speed Limits on 146 Miles of City Streets as Part of Push to Reduce Traffic Fatalities

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti announced changes to posted speed limits throughout L.A. at a news conference Wednesday morning as a component of his effort to eliminate traffic deaths in the city.

L.A. County sheriff’s Deputy Elton Simmons aims his speed gun at a motorist in La Mirada in June 2012. (Credit: Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times)

Under state law, the city can’t issue tickets to drivers for speeding on streets that haven’t been surveyed by traffic engineers to find the average speed. Surveys on many streets expired more than a decade ago, but now they’ve been updated by the city Department of Transportation, the mayor’s office said in a news release.

The new surveys, which cover 825 miles of roadway, allow Los Angeles Police Department officers to use radar guns and laser technology on those streets to better enforce speed limits, Garcetti said during the news conference in the Arlington Heights neighborhood.

Forty-five streets over nearly 53 miles of roadway have been adjusted to a lower speed limit; 26 streets got an increased limit over more than 94 miles of pavement.

The changes mean that 68 percent of city streets now have enforceable speed limits, the mayor said.

Almost all the streets on the city’s “High Injury Network,” on which streets see more severe and fatal collisions,┬ánow have enforceable speed limits.

The change in speed limits is a priority under Garcetti’s Vision Zero initiative, which was created in 2015 and aims to eliminate all traffic-related deaths by 2025. That includes educating citizens about safety, implementing better engineering and increasing enforcement.

Pedestrian deaths climbed 80 percent in the first two years of Vision Zero, according to Los Angeles Times reporting. However, fatal traffic collisions dropped 6 percent from last year. That’s still short of the Vision Zero goal of a 20 percent decrease by 2017.

Garcetti blamed the uptick in pedestrian deaths in part on cellphone use by both people on foot and behind the wheel.

Mayor Eric Garcetti gives a press conference on speed limit changes in Los Angeles on Feb. 28, 2018. (Credit: KTLA)

Mayor Eric Garcetti gives a press conference on speed limit changes in Los Angeles on Feb. 28, 2018. (Credit: KTLA)

“When you are walking, when you are driving, even when you are cycling, put your phone away,” the mayor said. “It could be the difference between somebody in this city losing their life and not.”

At the news conference, Garcetti was flanked by children from Saint Paul Elementary School near West Washington Boulevard and South Bronson Ave, an area where multiple pedestrians have been killed by cars.

The City Council’s Transportation Committee will be hearing the Vision Zero action plan at a Wednesday afternoon meeting, Councilman Mike Bonin said.

Bonin called fatal traffic collisions in Los Angeles a “public health crisis.”

“This problem is so big it is a moral imperative to fix it,” Bonin said.

A map from the city of L.A. shows streets where speed limits have been updated in 2018.

A map from the city of L.A. shows streets where speed limits have been updated in 2018.