City Council unanimously votes to lower speed limits - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

City Council unanimously votes to lower speed limits

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City officials are planning to lower the speed limit on many streets in the scenic city.
The changes were considered in Tuesday night's city council meeting. Council members voted 9-0 in favor or passing the resolution on its first reading.

In recent weeks, members raised concerns over streets like Bonny Oaks Drive, Hixson Pike, and Cherokee Boulevard saying fast drivers are more likely to cause accidents.

The resolution asks city leaders to adopt a new general speed limit of 30 miles per hour for most residential and business districts across the city. 
Officials say some streets could see as low as 25 miles per hour depending on the level of traffic and the number of pedestrians crossing the road each day.

The city of Chattanooga saw more than 14,000 crashes in 2015 and 35 fatalities and the latest CPD crash study shows more than 1,800 crashes this year with 216 involving injuries.

"We had a lot of accidents involving people with bicycles and motorbikes," said councilman Moses Freeman, District 8.

Now city council members are considering a resolution to change or lower the speed limit across several city streets.
 
"We have a lot of neighborhood streets that have been deemed unsafe through a study that the city transportation department did," said councilman Chris Anderson, District 7.

Anderson voted to amend the resolution, including St. Elmo Ave from Ochs Highway to the state line. Hamill Street from Hixson Pike to Cassandra Smith road and Bonny Oaks Drive from New York Avenue to Parkway Drive are just a few high crash areas being considered for a speed limit reduction.

In a February, a study on Bonny Oaks Drive, out of more than 8,800 drivers total, CPD officers found more than 1,600  drivers driving 10 miles or more over the speed limit. That same month a head on collision claimed the life of 39-year-old Elizabeth Bodaly. 

A section of Tennessee Avenue could drop to as low as 25 miles per hour, if the resolution is passed on a second reading.

"Our goal is to make them safer by dropping the speed limit so it’s safer for kids and pedestrians," said Anderson.

Some council members question whether a 5 mile reduction in most areas will make a difference.

"I just wonder if we are chasing after windmills here," said councilman Larry Grohn, District 4. " I'm just wondering if we're doing something just to say that we're doing something for public safety."

If the resolution passes a second reading, the speed limit changes will go into effect within 3 weeks.

"Every study shows that a 5 mile decrease in speed saves lives and makes neighborhoods safer and it might only make you take 30 more seconds to get to work," said Anderson.

Officials say the city Department of Transportation has the money to cover changes within its budget. They say the signs are ready to be put out once the proposal is approved.

To see a full list of roads affected : 

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