Reduced Speed Limits in Business Activity Districts

At the November 17, 2022 BPAC meeting, OakDOT Assistant Director, Megan Wier, provided an overview of OakDOT’s citywide analysis to identify eligible Business Activity Districts, OakDOT’s prioritization approach, and timeline for implementation.

Slowing Speeds in Business Activity Districts: Assembly Bill 43, Friedman: Traffic Safety (AB 43) was signed into law in late 2021 by California’s Governor. Under AB 43, local governments may, by ordinance, set a prima facie speed limit of 20 mph or 25 mph on streets contiguous to a “business activity district” (a new designation authorized by AB 43).

The ordinance amending Oakland Municipal Code Chapter 10.20 (Speed Limits) to establish 20 mile per hour (MPH) and 25 MPH speed limits in Business Activity Districts informed by this analysis was approved by City Council on November 1, 2022 and is scheduled for final passage at City Council on December 6, 2022.

An excerpt is below, followed by the full presentation.

Slower Speed Limits Reduce Speeding

  • Portland, OR: lowered speed limits to 20 mph and measured impact:
    • Modest decreases in speeds
    • Significant decrease in excessive speeding (over 30 MPH)
  • Seattle, WA: lowered speed limits from 30 to 25 mph and increased signage:
    • 22% reduction in crashes
    • 54% reduction in the most dangerous speeders

AB 43 (Friedman), Traffic Safety: Lowering Speed Limits to Save Lives

Business Activity Districts Strategy: Local governments may, by ordinance, set a prima facie speed limit of 20 mph or 25 mph on streets contiguous to a “business activity district” (Vehicle Code Section 22358.9).

AB 43: Incrementally increases local flexibility in speed limit setting for safety, as opposed to based on prevailing vehicle speeds (85th Percentile Rule)—which has been the standard required by state law.

AB 43 (Friedman): Criteria for Business Activity Districts

  1. These streets must have four or fewer traffic lanes.
    A BAD is defined as that portion of a street and the adjoining property contiguous thereto that includes central or neighborhood downtowns, urban villages, or zoning designations that prioritize commercial land uses at the downtown or neighborhood scale.
  2. And meets at least three of the following four requirements, inclusive:
    • a. No less than 50 percent of the adjoining property fronting the highway consists of retail or dining commercial uses, including outdoor dining, that open directly onto sidewalks adjacent to the highway.
    • b. Parking spaces located alongside the highway (including parallel, diagonal, or perpendicular spaces).
    • c. Traffic signals or stop signs located at least every 600 feet.
    • d. Marked crosswalks not controlled by a traffic control device.

OakDOT Implementation Schedule for AB 43

  • Signage for 10 BADs by Summer 2023, starting at the top of the list; funded
  • All identified BADs as feasible by the end of 2025, requesting funding in the 2023-25 City Budget

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