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Richmond to study lowering speed limits to 35 miles per hour

RICHMOND, Va. -- Richmond City Council voted to study a dozen streets identified as exceeding a posted 35 miles per hour speed limit.

Council members voted unanimously Monday night "to request that the Chief Administrative Officer cause to be conducted a citywide traffic engineering investigation to determine the impact of establishing a citywide maximum speed limit of 35 miles per hour."

Ninth-district Councilman Michael Jones proposed the resolution. A majority of the 12 streets identified in the resolution are located in his district.

"The reality is this: speeds above 35 miles per hour, if there’s a collision, the likelihood of property damage and personal injuries increases," Jones explained. "I don’t believe there’s anywhere in the city that we need to be above 35 miles per hour."

Councilman Michael Jones

The streets to be studied include:

  • Huguenot Rd – 45mph between Riverside Dr and Chesterfield line
  • Jeff Davis Highway – 40mph between Chesterfield line and Hopkins Rd
  • Carnation St – 40mph between German School Rd and Midlothian Tnpk
  • Warwick Rd corridor – 40mph between Belt Blvd and German School Rd
  • Commerce Rd – 45mph between Walmsley Blvd and Bellemeade Rd
  • Forest Hill Ave – 40mph between Chesterfield line and Sheila Lane
  • Broad Rock Blvd / Ironbridge Rd – 45mph between Chesterfield line and Plainfield Rd
  • Broad Rock Blvd – 40mph between Plainfield Rd and Belt Blvd
  • Belt Blvd – 40mph between Warwick Rd and Broad Rock BLvd
  • Walmsley Blvd – 40mph between CSX RR crossing and Hopkins Rd
  • 9th St (Manchester Bridge) – 40mph
  • Cowardin Ave (Lee Bridge) – 40mph
  • Chippenham Parkway – 45mph between Chesterfield County and Henrico County

The Chippenham Parkway is exempted from the study.

Brantley Tyndall, the Director of Outreach for Bike Walk RVA at Sportsbackers, supported the study.

"We are supportive in general of lower speed limit partially because of the safety elements," Tyndall explained. "The number one factor for whether a crash will be fatal or have a serious injury is speed."

Tyndall said all public streets, with the exception of interstates, should be considered safe places for pedestrians, cyclists and vehicles. He recalled being hit by vehicles while cycling a number of times.

"Our public streets are for everyone," Tyndall stated. "People have been accustomed to driving those speeds, but in order to make room for people we need to lower the speeds."

Tyndall said the one thing that makes roads inaccessible is speeding cars.

Jones projected engineering costs of the study at $15,000 while new signage would cost $45,000. However, funding has not yet been allocated.

"My words to the [Mayor Stoney] administration in a very polite manner, find the money. Let's do the right thing for the citizens of Richmond," Jones stated.

A spokesperson with Stoney's office said in a statement: "The mayor shares Councilman Jones’ concerns over traffic safety and excessive speed, and the administration is committed to working with council to uphold the goals of Vision Zero and make our streets safer for residents, pedestrians and motorists alike."

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