Bainbridge Island, Wash., (March 2, 2023) – Some Bainbridge Island speed limits are changing to implement the recommendations of the Sustainable Transportation Plan, which was developed with significant input from a resident steering group, and for consistency along specific corridors and pedestrian safety. On Jan. 24, City Council held a public hearing on Ordinance 2023-03 to adjust speed limits. The ordinance passed at the end of the hearing. Some secondary arterials and collector roads reduce by 5 mph starting in March. Marked local access streets will change from 25 to 20 mph this summer. Unmarked local access streets have already changed from 25 to 20 mph effective Feb. 8 per the ordinance.
In the summer of 2021, the City of Bainbridge Island held a neighborhood traffic calming open house to hear from residents on how conditions on the road could be improved for people walking, biking, or rolling. Many residents voiced their desire for speed limits to be analyzed for consistency and lowering some limits in addition to exploring traffic calming facilities.
In late 2021, the City engaged a transportation planning and engineering firm, Transpo Group, to evaluate options for island-wide speed limits which were presented to City Council on Sep. 13. The purpose of the evaluation was to investigate the potential for developing a comprehensive set of speed limit changes that would lower overall speed limits while also supporting consistency and safety across the island and limit the need for case-by-case speed limit reviews. This speed limit study was particularly sensitive to all modes of transportation to better align with the Sustainable Transportation efforts that were simultaneously occurring. Speed limit revisions were ultimately recommended in the Sustainable Transportation Plan (p. 33), with other types of programs, adopted by Council in March 2022.
Lowering speed limits on local access streets from 25 to 20 mph is also consistent with the approach that many cities in the region and the country are taking to ensure safety for those walking and biking. Both Seattle and Tacoma have adopted similar policies recently regarding speed limits. The change to secondary arterial and collector roads was in large response due to the need for speed limit consistency across the island.
The City will be monitoring the impacts of changes in speed limits as part of our regular island-wide speed studies and as part of tracking police reports on speeding and collisions. The City’s public engagement plan included an island-wide mailer to better inform residents of the speed-limit change and to help drivers avoid monetary citations for speeding.
Additional information and speed limit maps can be found at: https://www.bainbridgewa.gov/1415/Islandwide-Speed-Limit-Study