Your View: Lower speed limits improve safety on Seminary Road and in town

Your View: Lower speed limits improve safety on Seminary Road and in town

By Michael Michaelis, Alexandria (File photo)

To the editor:
It takes less than a minute.

As a Seminary Road resident, I want to thank motorists on Seminary Road who have been driving at 25 mph since March 25. The difference has been amazing.

Most cars are following the lower speed limits, and our streets already feel safer. My family felt safer walking along Seminary Road and pulling out of our driveway. In addition, while working in the front yard on Saturday, we saw an increase in families walking along the street and even a family riding by on bicycles. Making our streets safe for families and people of all ages to walk, bike, drive or take the bus, was, after all, the city’s objective.

If you have driven here in the last week, have you noticed how much — or how little — extra time it took? Less than a minute. The difference in driving time on Seminary Road at 25 mph compared to 35 mph from I-395 to North Quaker Lane is less than one minute. It seems longer than that when driving, but that is probably because I am in a rush and every second seems so important when I am behind the wheel.

How important are lower vehicle speeds for safe streets? Driving more slowly provides greater time to react, for example, to avoid a person walking across the street, so the likelihood of a crash is reduced by driving at 25 mph compared to 35 mph. There is also less risk of serious injury or death if a crash were to occur.

According to the Brian C. Tefft of the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, the average risk of death for a pedestrian is 10 percent at an impact speed of 23 mph and 50 percent at 42 mph — a five-fold increase in risk of death. The city reported that the 85th percentile speed on Seminary Road was previously 42 mph.

Seminary Road and North Quaker Lane serve neighborhoods and neighborhood streets should be safe for all. Thanks for driving 25 mph on these streets to help achieve that objective. It takes less than an extra minute.