Sep 21, 2022 - News

Leaders vote to reduce speed limit in downtown Raleigh

The downtown Raleigh skyline, with a red crane in the foreground on an uncompleted building.

Photo: Zachery Eanes/Axios

Start watching your speed — and more importantly pedestrians — in downtown Raleigh.

Driving the news: Raleigh City Council approved a plan yesterday to reduce the speed limit downtown from 35 miles per hour to 25.

  • The plan also removes dual turning movements and adds "leading pedestrian intervals", which give pedestrians a head start before a light changes, to intersections.
  • At a later date, the council will likely approve a recommendation to prohibit turns on red.

Why it matters: The change is part of an effort to improve pedestrian safety in the rapidly-growing area.

  • The changes were first proposed after Gov. Roy Cooper ordered a study of pedestrian safety in downtown, following the death of a state worker in 2019.

The changes are expected to be completed by the end of October.

  • The N.C. Department of Transportation secured $300,000 in federal funding for new signage related to the project.

What they're saying: “I am very excited for this work. It is pretty simple that pedestrian safety increases when car speed decreases," Raleigh Council member Jonathan Melton said at Tuesday’s meeting.

  • Council member Corey Branch added that the city should consider similar changes to other parts of the city, especially areas on the future Bus Rapid Transit corridors.

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