ARIZONA NEWS

Here’s why Phoenix is reducing speed limits on multiple roadways

Dec 8, 2023, 10:36 AM

A stock image of a sign indicating a 40 mph speed limit....

The Phoenix City Council voted Wednesday, Dec. 6, 2023, to reduce the speed limits by 5 mph on multiple roadways. (Pexels Photo)

(Pexels Photo)

PHOENIX — The city of Phoenix is lowering the speed limit on 15 stretches of road, but you should tap the brakes on the idea that it’s being done so more tickets can be written.

Before unanimously approving the changes during Wednesday’s meeting, several City Council members said that speeding is a significant concern for their constituents.

However, the 5 mph reductions aren’t for the sake of increasing enforcement.

“This, I think, is somewhat different. This isn’t really about that,” Councilwoman Debra Stark said before the vote.

It’s more about the city’s traffic engineers “reviewing and analyzing and trying to correct some conditions on our roads with the appropriate speed limit,” she said.

Why isn’t speeding enforcement expected to rise in Phoenix?

Officials said the Phoenix Police Department has only 39 motor officers to patrol 5,000 miles of roads.

“The chances that you’re going to get a ticket in a speed trap in the city of Phoenix, you’re gonna have to work hard to do that,” Councilman Jim Waring said. “Really hard.”

The Phoenix Street Transportation Department reviews posted speed limits twice a year and recommends changes it deems necessary. The recommendations must be approved by the City Council before they become official.

Of the latest changes, 12 are related to road and traffic conditions and three are for record keeping where the posted limits didn’t match the current ordinance.

In response to citizens who might think the reductions are a way to issue more speeding tickets, Waring noted that current police staffing is already spread too thin to focus on any particular area.

“Some of the folks were sort of fixated with the idea that this is going to be some sort of boondoggle. … I think that’s unlikely that this is going to be a financial windfall for the city,” he said.

Where are speed limits being reduced in Phoenix?

Below is a breakdown of the new official speed limits, with the reasons for the adjustments as provided by the Phoenix Street Transportation Department.

From 35 mph to 30 mph:

  • Central Avenue from Liberty Lane to Chandler Boulevard: Based on Complete Streets Policy, context sensitive speed limit.
  • Hatcher Road from 19th Avenue to Central Avenue: Based on Complete Streets Policy, context sensitive speed limit.
  • Liberty Lane from 17th Avenue to Central Avenue: Based on Complete Streets Policy, context sensitive speed limit.
  • Osborn Road: Based on Complete Streets Policy, context sensitive speed limit.
  • 12th Street from Indian School Road to Mountain View Road: Based on Complete Streets Policy, context sensitive speed limit.
  • 24th Street from South Mountain Avenue to Baseline Road: Based on Complete Streets Policy, context sensitive speed limit.
  • 43rd Avenue from Olney Avenue to Dobbins Road: Based on Complete Streets Policy, context sensitive speed limit.
  • 71st Street from Kierland Boulevard to Sandra Terrace: To update ordinance to show currently posted speed limit.
  • 95th Avenue from McDowell Road to Encanto Boulevard: To update ordinance to show currently posted speed limit.

From 40 mph to 35 mph:

  • Kierland Boulevard from Greenway Parkway to Scottsdale Road: To update ordinance to show currently posted speed limit.

From 45 mph to 40 mph:

  • Lincoln Drive from 800 feet east of Ocotillo Road to 32nd Street: To create a consistent speed limit for the corridor.
  • 19th Avenue from Dobbins Road to Southern Avenue: To create a consistent speed limit for the corridor.
  • 24th Street from Montebello Avenue to Lincoln Drive: To create a consistent speed limit for the corridor.
  • 32nd Street from Arizona Canal to Lincoln Drive: To create a consistent speed limit for the corridor.

From 50 mph to 45 mph:

  • McDowell Road from 1,350 feet east of 52nd Street to 1,575 feet west of Galvin Parkway: To create a consistent speed limit for the corridor.

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Here’s why Phoenix is reducing speed limits on multiple roadways