Imagine If People Really Drove the Speed Limit

It’s amazing how easy it is to be a radical when you talk about changing any aspect of car culture in the United States.

Take today’s featured post from the Streetsblog Network, from Newton Streets and Sidewalks. It is aptly titled "A Modest Proposal":

2656429501_a7e39ca21f_m.jpgPhoto by The Truth About via Flickr.

For the last year or so, when I drive, I have been consciously driving at the speed limit on Newton roads. Not at the assumed safe-from-a-speeding-ticket speed limit plus 10 mph, but right smack
dab at the speed limit. So far, it does not seem to have a meaningful effect on trip time within the city. And, when I go the speed limit, everyone else behind me goes the speed limit.…It would be a nice statement of support for our neighborhoods and recognition of the impact speeding traffic has if the mayor would institute and mayoral candidates would support a policy that all city-owned vehicles and all city-contracted vehicles (school buses, plows, &c.) are to be driven at the speed limit.

Not within a reasonable margin above, but right at or below.

It’s an idea that is staggering in its simplicity and power. Imagine taking it further: Imagine a city leader who would challenge all citizens of a municipality to drive at the speed limit. Imagine a city leader who would drive at the speed limit him or herself.

Radical, right? Especially when law enforcement officers in many jurisdictions don’t think that speeding is really speeding. And especially when you look at how dramatically fatalities go up when pedestrians are hit by drivers going over 25 mph.

Other goodness from around the network: Cap’n Transit looks at a new report about the high cost of urban highways; Matt Yglesias contemplates the rotten culture of state DOTs; and Portland Transport wonders if you can really feel good about riding an elecrtic bike.

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