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Speed Reduction Proposal Goes Before Cville Council - NBC29 WVIR Charlottesville, VA News, Sports and Weather

Speed Reduction Proposal Goes Before Cville Council

Posted: Updated: April 15, 2013 11:02 PM EDT

A proposal in front of City Council would cut the speed limit on a dozen roads all around Charlottesville to 25 miles per hour.

The idea was pitched for just one stretch of Jefferson Park Avenue, but there's now talk of slowing drivers down to 25 mph on Fifth Street, Preston Avenue, Emmet Street and Monticello Avenue too.

Lowering the speed limit requires a traffic study, which city did for a mile-long stretch of JPA.

Monday night, council could order a citywide study to slow drivers down to 25 everywhere.

Justin Hicks walks, bikes, and drives through his Jefferson Park Avenue neighborhood, dodging drivers. He says speeders zoom along the JPA straightaway.

"We don't even park in our driveway, because it's so hard to get out. If we're trying to pull out, cars don't even bother to check if you're coming out of your driveway," Hicks said. 

Fry's Spring neighbors are requesting the city lower the 35 mph speed limit on the mile-long stretch from Cleveland Avenue to Fontaine.

Traffic engineers did a 48-hour speed study.

"The 85th percentile was 38, so they're not really speeding out there. And the 50th percentile is 32," said Donovan Branche, Charlottesville city traffic engineer.

The city recommends reducing the speed to 30 mph along JPA. But putting the brakes on drivers could lead to lower speeds on a dozen other streets - including Emmet Street from Ivy Road to Hydraulic Road and Preston Avenue from Tenth to Market Street.

"If that's something we're really serious about creating a balance with all types of travel, then I think that's a good thing to do," Branche said.

Branche says it would take time for drivers to get used to a 25 mph citywide speed limit.

"It would have to be a huge education campaign for the public, because we don't want to create speed traps for anybody," Branche said.

Hicks says a lower limit would make it safer for drivers and pedestrians.

If council gives the go-ahead, Branche says it would take about a year to study speeds on the dozen streets where the limit is 35 now.

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