For Glendale residents, cars speeding through city streets are an all-too familiar sight. This issue has long vexed local residents and the Glendale Police Department. At their request, Assemblyman Mike Gatto has drafted a bill to give Glendale more say in setting local speed limits and keeping residents safe from harm’s way.
The bill is AB 529 and it covers how Glendale and other cities determine speed limits for local roads. Many municipal speed limits are pre-set by federal or state law, like the one capping speeds at 25 mph near schools or in residential neighborhoods. Others are governed by federal or state standards, which set the speed limit at the 85th percentile of the flow of traffic, as measured by regularly conducted engineering surveys.
Before 2004, cities could set speed limits within 5 mph of the 85th percentile, allowing locals to round speed limits down if they chose. That year, however, the California Traffic Control Devices Committee started requiring cities to round up. The speed limits increased on 44% of Glendale’s local streets. Glendale Police believe that many drivers ignore even the higher limits.
AB 529 tries to address speeding problems in Glendale with a two-pronged solution. First, the bill provides the city of Glendale with a special five-year pilot project that would allow the Glendale Police Department to set local speed limits. “My friends in the GPD approached me with a fair argument: They know best what constitute safe speeds on local roads,” said Assemblyman Gatto.
Secondly, AB 529 would reinstate local governments’ ability to round speed limits down to within 5 mph of the 85th percentile of speed on the road. “I agree with local police that forcing California cities to continually round up speed limits based on the speeders themselves is recipe for long-term disaster,” said Gatto.
The Glendale Police Department has been struggling with rising speeds, which are the primary factor in driving collisions in Glendale. “AB 529 will improve traffic and community safety by giving communities more flexibility in setting speed limits,” says Captain Carl Povilaitis of the Glendale Police Department, “That’s good for drivers, pedestrians, and bicyclists. This bill really should be a “win – win” for Glendale residents and people who care about public safety statewide.”