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  • Writer's pictureCenter for Local Policy Analysis (CLPA)

Ordinance Spotlight: Reckless Driving Ordinance (Alexandria City Council)

This week the Alexandria City Council introduced Ordinance 22-0815 to authorize the City Manager to reduce its speed limits to less than 25 miles per hour, but not less than 15 miles per hour, on any city street located in a business or residence district.

Below is the discussion of the ordinance published by City Manager James Parajon.

Alexandria has always had the authority to decrease speed limits, so long as the City fulfilled the statutory requirements set by the Commonwealth. However, the City was restricted to a posted speed limit of no less than 25 miles per hour per the Code of Virginia. The attached ordinance enables the City to exercise the newly granted authority from the Commonwealth to reduce speed limits as low as 15 miles per hour in business or residential districts.

This legislation enables the City to begin piloting “slow zones” in Alexandria, which typically include a combination of lower speed limits and traffic calming treatments such as speed cushions, curb extensions, and signage. Alexandria has committed to making streets safer through its Vision Zero program, which identifies speeding as one of the most pressing community concerns related to safety.

With this ordinance, staff would continue to adhere to the requirements set forth in the City Code that speed limit changes be preceded by an engineering study by Transportation and Environmental Services (T&ES), a recommendation from the Traffic & Parking Board, approval by the City Manager, and the installation of clearly visible speed limit signs. Staff will not immediately consider individual requests outside of slow zone areas for speed limit reductions on neighborhood streets to less than 25mph. Should there be an eventual desire to reduce speed limits outside of slow zones, staff will develop a process for identifying which streets would qualify.

Amending City Code to allow the City Manager to reduce speed limits below 25 miles per hour is consistent with several adopted City plans and policies, including the Vision Zero Action Plan, Alexandria Mobility Plan, and Environmental Action Plan. As noted above, it is also consistent with prior City legislative packages.

At their February 28th meeting, the Traffic and Parking Board recommended that City Council approve the proposed ordinance. Staff recommends that the above changes be effective immediately. The proposed changes will not have any immediate impact on existing posted speed limits, but they will enable staff to move forward with associated traffic calming projects.

City Manager Parajon recommended that Council approve the proposed ordinance and schedule it for second reading, public hearing, and final passage on Saturday, March 12th. If you have any questions contact the City Manager's office.



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