Arlington considers lowering speed limits in downtown districts

Photo: Cstrife via Flickr

You may soon need to pack your patience before getting behind the wheel in Arlington. The county is considering lowering the speed limit from 30 mph to 25 mph in the downtown districts like Rosslyn, Courthouse, and Clarendon.

“Some drivers, they are very aggressive,” says Magali Laguerre of Arlington.

For Laguerre, arriving at her Clarendon bus stop means first conquering what she feels is a dangerous obstacle course.

“When I’m crossing from here [to] the light, sometimes people just try and run me over,” she says.

She says it’s time the speed limit takes a tumble.

“A couple years ago they didn’t have any of the things we have here now, so at that time you can have 30 mph, but now you have the traffic, people go to the store,” she says.

The county is considering dropping the speed limit to 25 mph for all arterial streets within Arlington’s downtown districts. The proposal is backed by one Arlington mom who cherishes walks with her 4 year old.

“I certainly think they’re going too fast to stop or brake in [the] case of somebody falling down or a pedestrian accident,” says Julia Torrey.

A map highlights the four stretches where new speed signs may go up: North Meade Street, Clarendon Boulevard, Wilson Boulevard, and North Sycamore Street.

A traffic engineering investigation studied speed, accident, and pedestrian and bicycle activity.

“I walk a lot so I notice a lot of cars speeding up and down,” says Devin Clinkscale. “They don’t really pay attention to the pedestrians at all so that’s probably a great move.”

But even she and others aren’t convinced a slower speed will keep drivers off the gas.

“Lowering five probably won’t do much,” Clinkscale says.

“Around here, I don’t think it’ll make a heck of a lot of difference unless they’re planning on putting out speed cameras and trying to catch people, but it will probably tick off the locals,” says Skip Keates.

The traffic study revealed the average speed in the downtown districts already hovers around 25 mph. Arlington is considering making it official. There will be a public hearing on July 15 so residents can weigh in.