Madison’s lowered speed limits to begin with change on S. Park Monday

MADISON, Wis. – Madison’s plan to reduce traffic accidents and fatalities by lowering speed limits will continue Monday, when a two-mile portion of S. Park Street will have speeds reduced from 30 to 25 miles per hour.

The change is one of a number of reductions throughout the city, part of the city’s “Vision Zero” campaign – which aims to eliminate traffic fatalities by 2030.

With what we’ve been seeing in the last couple of years, it just gives you more of the sense of the importance of this,” said Renee Callaway, Madison’s Pedestrian Bicycle Administrator. “(Accidents are) not something people should just have to accept because they have to get from point A to point B.”

Earlier this year, city officials reduced speed limits on East Washington Street, following a stretch of four fatal accidents involving pedestrians.

Even a few miles per hour makes a big difference in the outcome in a crash for someone walking or biking,” Callaway said. “At 30 MPH, 40 percent of people who get hit walking or biking are going to have a serious or fatal crash. At 20MPH, it’s 13 percent. Even just a small difference in the decrease in speeds people are driving is going to make a big difference in our city.”

Not everyone is thrilled with the changes, however. One Park Street business owner says he’s concerned the reduced speeds will create even more problems with congestion during high-traffic times.

We have many clients that won’t come down here at 5 o clock anymore because of the congestion,” said Ben Gottlieb, who owns University Audio. “If we can move that congestion through, it actually will benefit local businesses.”

We’re not trying to make your lives more difficult,” Callaway said. “We’re just trying to ensure that you and everyone you care about get to where they need to be safely… What we’re trying to do is take a systematic look at all of the streets in the city that we know are sort of the high injury locations and look at what needs to change on those streets to make them safer.”

“There’s a lot more congestion, and a lot more traffic backup – so there’s more cars on the street, so they last longer,” Gottlieb said. “With more congestion and lower speeds, those traffic backups last for longer period of time. I feel with higher speeds, that congestion would move through quicker.”

The following roads will see reductions throughout September and October:

  • South Park Street from Regent Street to Badger Road (reduced to 25 mph from 30 mph)
  • Cottage Grove Road
    • Drexel to State Highway 51 (reduced to 25 mph from 30 mph)
    • State Highway 51 to Flora (reduced to 30 mph from 35 mph)
  • Whitney Way
    • Sheboygan Avenue to Mineral Point Road (reduced to 25 mph from 30 mph)
    • Mineral Point Road to Tokay Boulevard (reduced to 30 mph from 35 mph)
  • Mineral Point Road from Whitney Way to Science Drive (reduced to 35 mph from 40 mph)
  • Whitney Way from the Beltline to Raymond Road (reduced to 25 mph from 30 mph)
  • North Thompson Drive from Sycamore to State Highway 30 (reduced from 25 mph from 30 mph)