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20 mph is not slow enough for our safety, air quality

Sedge Thomson
Wednesday June 05, 2002

To the Editor: 


A 20 mph limit? Outrageous! It should be 15 mph!  

Since many drivers exceed limits by 20 percent or more, a 15 mph limit means we might actually get 20 mph on our streets.  

Any police officer will tell a speeder that the limit is based on conditions: It is not a mandate to go even at the limit, if conditions merit slower driving. I believe the safety of our residential streets, the quality of our our air and quiet, and our walking and biking safety merit slower driving. 

Visionaries who understand that Berkeleyans value streets without the assault of cut-through speeders and commute traffic have supported diverters, speed limits, and other slowing devices over the years.  

Without these protections, the population of UC-B, which according to CalTrans is the largest generator of car traffic in the Bay Area, long ago would have destroyed the city it helped create. 

If the Legislature helped legalize barriers years ago to protect the liveability of our streets and the safety of our lives, I say bravo, and encore.  

If Berkeley needs to seek help from the Legislature for this speed limit change, then onward! Berkeley is only following the trend of cities around the world to deal sensibly and actively to keep our cities inhabitable, not just as speedways for drivers on their ways to elsewheres. 


Sedge Thomson