Bainbridge officials are once again looking at lowering speed limits across the island.
It’s not the first time the city has put its collective foot on the brakes.
The city council adopted a maximum 35 miles per hour speed limit on city streets in 2016, as well as a maximum 25 mph speed limit in downtown Winslow and areas on Bainbridge that are zoned as “town centers.”
Now, the city is looking at the speed limits on 14 arterial roadways, which by definition are the city’s busiest streets.
At this week’s council meeting, officials were given an overview of a recently completed traffic study by the consultant firm H.W. Lochner that suggests the lowering of speed limits on roadways across Bainbridge.
The report notes that while many of Bainbridge roadways are functioning as intended, 13 of the 14 speed limits examined can be changed.
The proposed changes are:
• Arrow Point Drive NE from NE Frey Avenue to 10750 Arrow Point Drive NE, 35 to 30 mph;
• Battle Point Drive NE from NE Beach Street to NE Frey Ave, 35 to 30 mph;
• Blakely Hill Road NE from NE Halls Hill Road to Old Mill Road NE, 35 to 25 mph;
• NE Day Road from North Madison Avenue NE to Sunrise Drive NE, 35 to 30 mph;
• NE Frey Avenue from Battle Point Drive NE to Arrow Point Drive NE, 35 to 30 mph;
• Ferncliff Avenue NE from High School Rd NE to NE Lofgren Road, 35 to 30 mph;
• Grand Avenue NE from Ferncliff Avenue NE to NE Yeomalt Point Drive NE, 35 to 30 mph;
• Moran Road NE/NE Lofgreen Road from North Madison Avenue to Ferncliff Avenue NE, 35 to 30 mph;
• McDonald Avenue NE from Old Mill Road NE to Eagle Harbor Drive NE, 35 to 30 mph;
• North Madison Avenue NE from NE Torvanger Road to Phelps Road NE, 35 mph, no change;
• Sunrise Drive NE from NE Valley Road to NE Day Road, 35 to 30 mph;
• NE Bucklin Hill Road from Blakely Avenue NE to Fletcher Bay Road NE, 35 to 30 mph;
• NE Valley Road from Madison Avenue NE to Sunrise Drive NE, 35 to 25 mph; and
• NE Winther Road from Madison Avenue NE to Sunrise Drive NE, 30 to 25 mph.
The proposed changes received a welcome response from city council members during their briefing this week.
Councilman Ron Peltier praised the proposed change on Sunrise Drive.
“I think that is going to be really well received by the neighborhood,” Peltier said, and he noted that some residents have put up their own speed limit signs of 25 mph.
Reductions on other streets that are used by cut-through traffic by people trying to avoid traffic on Highway 305 were also a good idea, he added.
Mayor Kol Medina noted that he had been the sole vote against reducing speed limits in the past, but said the new study justified the changes.
He cautioned his fellow council members about suggesting other reductions of speed limits on streets not examined in the study.
Medina said his gut reaction would not be to support council members who were “cherry picking things” and changing the recommended speed limits on other roadways.
“I’m just telling you where I’m coming from,” Medina said.
According to the Lochner traffic study, a benefit of changing certain speed limits could help to reduce driver confusion and increase driver compliance with speed limits.
Disadvantages, according to the study, include negative perceptions from the public on the changes, and a need for increase law enforcement.
Public comment on the proposed changes was not accepted at this week’s study session. The speed limit changes will come back for a council vote at the Aug. 28 council meeting.