Members of the Aurora City Council want to slow down traffic in the city.
The Transportation, Airports and Public Works Committee discussed the issue at its Jan. 26 meeting. The discussion sprung out of a presentation on “20 is Plenty,” a national initiative to lower speed limits on residential streets to 20 mph.
In Aurora, the speed limit on neighborhood roads is 25 mph. A presentation by city traffic manager Carlie Campuzano revealed that other cities that have implemented a 20 mph speed limit haven’t seen motorists slow down.
Denver and Boulder both lowered residential speed limits to 20. Boulder has collected data since the speed limit reduction. Speed limits actually spiked by a mile or two per hour. Portland, Ore. also lowered the speed limit but traffic has not slowed down there.
Campuzano said the primary goal of city planners is to reduce crashes, but most crashes don’t occur on residential roads, she said. Marcano said the city may want to look at lowering speed limits in business districts. He said it could be good for business.
Traffic calming measures considered
Campuzano emphasized that research shows best practices for slowing traffic. These include physical traffic calming measures, such as narrower lanes and roundabouts. “Drivers will go the speed they feel comfortable with,” Campuzano said.
She said average speeds on Kenton Street clock in at 27 mph. At 13th Avenue, the average is 33 mph. On Uvalda, a collector street, the average speed is 35 mph.
It would cost $1.6 million to switch out and enhance signage if Aurora were to make a speed limit change. Councilmember Angela Lawson commented it’s a lot of money to waste if drivers don’t slow down. But she agrees something must be done to slow traffic.
Campuzano said the city put three roundabouts out to bid recently. Once built, Aurora will collect data on whether those traffic elements slowed motorists down.
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