Fayette County

Speed limit will drop from 35 mph to 25 mph on some downtown Lexington streets in spring

The speed limit on more than a dozen downtown streets, including Third Street, will drop from 35 miles per hour to 25 mph in the spring. The Urban County Council voted unanimously Thursday to make the pedestrian-friendly change.
The speed limit on more than a dozen downtown streets, including Third Street, will drop from 35 miles per hour to 25 mph in the spring. The Urban County Council voted unanimously Thursday to make the pedestrian-friendly change. cbertram@herald-leader.com

Speed limits on many downtown Lexington streets will drop from 35 miles per hour to 25 mph in coming months in an effort to make downtown more pedestrian-friendly.

The Urban County Council voted unanimously Thursday night to pass a resolution making the change. The issue has been debated by the council for several months. A council committee voted unanimously in December to back the proposal and send it to the full council for a vote.

The recommendation to lower the speed limit on more than a dozen streets came out of a pedestrian safety work group that has been meeting since October 2014, when the city saw an increase in the number of pedestrians hit by vehicles downtown.

The streets where speed limits will drop include Jefferson, Second, Third, Fourth, Upper, Limestone, Waller, Cooper, Virginia and portions of High and Loudon.

In addition, the University of Kentucky already has agreed to lower speed limits on streets it controls, including University Drive and Hilltop Avenue.

Streets that also are state highways —such as Main, Vine and Broadway — will not change. The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet controls those roads and has not agreed to lower speed limits.

It will cost $5,900 to change 158 downtown speed-limit signs.

Susan Straub, a spokeswoman for the city, said the change to 25 mph will be rolled out in the spring in conjunction with a pedestrian safety campaign.

According to information provided by the Lexington Police Department, there were 164 accidents involving pedestrians and vehicles in 2014, down slightly from 174 in 2013. But the five-year average shows a gradual increase in the number of pedestrians hit by vehicles, city officials have said.

Louisville’s downtown speed limit is 25 — even on state-controlled roads. Louisville adopted the lower speed limit decades ago.

Staff writer Morgan Eads contributed to this article.

Beth Musgrave: 859-231-3205, @HLCityhall

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