Talking points: Vision Zero & Speed Limit legislation

20-O-1239 // Transportation Committee // Atlanta City Council 

First Read // Wednesday, March 11, 10:30 a.m. // Committee Room #1 

Second Read // Wednesday, March 25, 9:30 a.m. // Facebook Live or Toll-Free

Final Adoption // Monday, April 20, 1:00 pm // TBD 

 

Chair // Andre Dickens 

Members // Jennifer Ide, Antonio Brown, Amir Farokhi, Marci Collier Overstreet, J.P. Matzigkeit, Matt Westmoreland

Emails // adickens@atlantaga.gov, jnide@atlantaga.gov, antoniobrown@atlantaga.govarfarokhi@atlantaga.gov, mcoverstreet@atlantaga.gov, jpmatzigkeit@atlantaga.gov, mwestmoreland@atlantaga.gov 

 

Overview of Legislation 

This legislation seeks to a) establish Atlanta as a Vision Zero city and b) to adopt a 25 miles per hour speed limit on all local roads for the purposes of “improving public health and safety.” The newly created Atlanta Department of Transportation will develop a comprehensive Vision Zero action plan to reduce crashes, eliminate traffic deaths and serious injuries. 

Atlanta Bicycle Coalition, PEDS, and other advocates have long lobbied the city to address the safety concerns of pedestrians, cyclists, transit riders, and especially children, the elderly, and those with disabilities. 

Key Elements of Legislation  (pending adoption of existing legislation and signature by the mayor)

  • Atlanta will become a Vision Zero city, joining cities like Charlotte, Los Angeles, and New York.
  • The legislation sets a 25 miles per hour speed limit as the default limit in Atlanta for neighborhood streets and downtown roads.
  • A local street can include a neighborhood street  (e.g., 8th Street) but not an arterial road (e.g., Cascade Road, DeKalb Avenue) or a collector road (e.g. Hosea Williams, Huff Road).
  • By expanding the legislation to include arterial and collector roads on the State List of Roadways Approved for use of Speed Detection Devices, the police could no longer issue speeding tickets on those roads. Based on the evidence from other cities, we believe the value of a reduced speed limit is greater than occasional enforcement on these streets.
  • The new, reduced speed limit will not apply to state roads. Any changes to state-owned roads fall under GDOT (e.g., Piedmont Road, University Avenue) and will be pursued separately.
  • Reducing the speed limit is an important step to making Atlanta safer for everyone. However, it must be coupled with speed camera enforcement and other measures (i.e., striped crosswalks, protected bike lanes, safer roadway design) to ensure we are comprehensively approaching public safety. 

Why 25 mph? 

  • Slower speeds save lives, making it safer for the driver, for other cars, and for everyone else in the area.
  • 9 out of 10 people will survive being hit by a car traveling 25 mph. 7 out of 10 people will survive if the car is traveling 35 mph. Only 4 out of 10 will survive if the driver is going 45 mph. The survival rate is even worse for those 70 or older. 
  • A 25 mph allows vehicles to travel at a more consistent pace with fewer stops and starts, smoothing traffic flow.

Talking Points (for speakers or emails to electeds and city staff) 

  • Thank the mayor’s office, Atlanta Department of Transportation, and the City Council for adopting Vision Zero. 
  • Applaud the 25 mph standard for city streets.
  • Remind those watching and listening that the 25 mph standard actually improves road safety and traffic flow for drivers.
  • Request that the city include all collectors (e.g. Atlanta Student Movement Blvd), Downtown/Midtown arterials (e.g. Piedmont Ave), and minor arterials (e.g., Cascade Road and DeKalb Ave) in the new speed limit standard. 
  • Request that the city work with GDOT to reduce speeds on the High Injury Network
  • For additional key points regarding a 25 mph speed limit, see our general talking points


Sample Script 1

My name is [name] and I live in [neighborhood]. I’m writing today in support of Atlanta adopting Vision Zero and a 25 mile-per-hour speed limit on local roads (20-O-1239). 

Last year alone, there were 73 traffic fatalities in Atlanta. This legislation is an important first step to making Atlanta streets safer for everyone. But I must also point out that it excludes a lot of the main streets people use to get from place to place – streets like Cascade Road and Piedmont Road. It shouldn’t matter what street I’m on in Atlanta, I should feel safe no matter my mode of transportation. 

Please vote yes on 20-O-1239 and implement a safe, equitable Vision Zero action plan for Atlanta. 

Thank you.  

Sample Script 2

My name is [name] and I live in [neighborhood]. I’m writing today to speak in support of 20-O-1239, the legislation before the transportation committee.

The city has been on a roll with good transportation policy and this is another important step to making Atlanta safe city for pedestrians, cyclists, kids, the elderly, those in wheelchairs and, yes, safe for drivers too. 

I’m in favor of the 25 mile-per-hour speed limit on local streets. But I think we need to go further and implement a 25 mile-per-hour speed limit on all Atlanta streets. 

This will help change driver behavior as a whole. Now we all know there will be some drivers who’ll go over the speed limit. 

That’s why camera enforcement must be a key part of making this speed limit change a success. No one’s life is worth risking just so you can shave a minute or two off of your commute. 

I’m asking you to pass this legislation and to put a plan in place to include more streets in the new speed limit standard. 

Thank you. 

 

Social Media 

Twitter

#1

@ATLCouncil, please pass 20-O-1239 leg to implement Vision Zero and reduce speed limits to 25 mph. Faster speeds are not worth the risk of life and limb. 

#2

Great to see @cityofatlanta + @ATLCouncil taking traffic fatalities seriously by adopting Vision Zero + 25 mph on local roads. First step to making Atlanta safer for all - kids, elderly, ped, bike, ped, cars.

Facebook 

#1

The @Atlanta City Council is planning to vote to adopt Vision Zero (an action plan to reduce traffic deaths to zero) and implement a 25 mph speed limit on local roads. 

Last year, 73 people died while simply trying to get from one place to the next. Someone’s mother, someone’s cousin, someone’s child. 

I think we can all agree it’s time for bold action to save lives and I’m glad to see Atlanta taking the serious steps necessary to keep everyone safe.

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