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The D.C. Council is considering a measure that would reduce speed on residential roads to 15 miles per hour—-arterial roads excepted. Councilmember Muriel Bowser says speeding cars are a deterrent to potential walkers and bikers.
I’m willing to bet that drivers—-especially those hard core D.C. drivers who don’t want to travel any other way—-aren’t going to take very kindly to this proposal. Some survey results I highlighted last month, I think, demonstrate that the city’s much-celebrated advocates of walkability still have a ways to go when it comes to converting large swathes of the population to their pedestrians-first view of urban life. Which means that any proposal to inconvenience cars, even a sensible one enacted in the name of safety, risks being caricatured as another elitist insider effort to harass old-school Washingtonians in the name of the strolling, bike-riding, snowball fighting twits who are gentrifying the place.
Either way, it’s not like the measure would make an enormous impact on time-pressed car commuters: The current 25 mph limit in residential neighborhoods doesn’t seem to be enforced particularly well by D.C. cops. At the home of a friend who lives in Petworth, we regularly sit on the porch and watch drivers slam into a speed bump because they’re going 10, 15, or 20 miles above the limit.
I suppose if the limit is dropped, then cars might actually start driving 25 miles per hour, though.
Photo by Tiffany Browne