The West University City Council unanimously approved the first of two readings on an ordinance that would reduce the prima facie speed limit from 30 mph down to 25 mph, with exceptions.
The proposal for speed limit reductions came from recommendations from a months-long citywide traffic study that analyzed traffic volume, speed and crash history of reported incidents at 64 strategic locations identified throughout the city.
“Based on the April 12 workshops from the council and the direction we received, and with the city attorney, we looked at the baseline speed and traffic volumes, crash data for pedestrian incidents, and at the end of it all, the engineer’s recommendation was to reduce the speed limit from 30 to 25 miles per hour for the majority of the streets,” Public Works Director Gerardo Barrera said.
Exceptions include Buffalo Speedway, between Bissonnet Street and West Holcombe Boulevard, which would remain at 30 mph, while the 4100-4200 blocks of Bissonnet Street would remain at 35 mph. Streets near city parks would also remain at 20 mph, as well as streets in school zones during designated times. All other neighborhood streets would be reduced from 30 mph to 25 mph.
West University residents spoke in favor and against the ordinance, citing a range of positions, from the improved safety the reduced speeds would provide to the confusion the new speed limits would have on commuters.
“The speed and volume on Weslayan [Street] is a concern for myself and a number of the West U residents that live on the busy road,” resident Regina Nolan said. “I recognize that changing the speed limit is not a silver bullet and I’ll ask the council to continue looking at alternative creative strategies.”
The city council approved the Citywide Speed and Safety Traffic Study in February 2020 for $70,000. Should the council approve the second reading of the ordinance, implementation would cost an estimated $75,000 for new signs and installation and be ready by no later than September 2021.