WASHINGTON (7News) — DDOT has begun lowering speed limits to 25 mph on some major roads in the city.
It says it has lowered the limit to 25 mph on Connecticut Avenue from the Montgomery County line five miles south to the area of downtown.
DDOT has also begun lowering the limit to 25 mph on New York Avenue Northeast. 7News checked on Monday and for now, the limit has only dropped to 25 mph from North Capitol Street to a short distance past Florida Avenue. But DDOT said the plan is to make it 25 mph to the area near Interstate 295 and the Prince George’s County line by the end of 2022.
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As justification for its move, DDOT said it is trying to support the mayor’s Vision Zero plan to eliminate pedestrian traffic deaths. It also pointed to a AAA traffic study that found pedestrians have a far lesser chance of serious injury or death when they are hit by cars going close to 25 mph versus close to 30 mph.
However, DDOT did not provide specific justification for the roads it chose to lower limits on. In addition to Connecticut Avenue Northwest and New York Avenue Northeast, DDOT said it plans to lower the speed limit to 25 mph on North Capitol Street/Blair Road Northwest from Harewood Road to Van Buren Street Northwest, and Wheeler Road Southeast from Wahler Place Southeast to Southern Avenue Southeast.
Some drivers 7News spoke with questioned whether lowering the speed limit on New York Avenue Northeast to 25 mph would really increase safety, and they questioned whether the city has an ulterior motive since New York Avenue is already notorious for speed cameras that often give drivers tickets.
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DDOT said it hasn’t worked out yet whether drivers will get a grace period before the cameras are set to capture speeding at the lower 25 mph speed limit. Right now, much of the road is still 35 mph, but again, DDOT said that will change to 25 mph by the end of the year.