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Let’s consider a minus 15 mph speed limit

Tom Brown Berkeley
Thursday June 06, 2002

To the Editor: 

Sedge Thomson wrote a June 5 letter advocating a 15 mph speed limit. Outrageously generous! Berkeley's property owners deserve to slow interlopers to even lower speeds. I propose a citywide limit of negative 15 (yes, minus-fifteen) miles per hour. 

If Berkeley is going to be backward - squandering a generation's gains in pollution-reduction technology by forcing vehicles to crawl at mechanically inefficient, gas-wasting, pollution-intensive speeds - I say we should force all vehicles within our city walls to literally move backward. Bikes, skateboards, and pedestrians too! 

If that sounds absurd...well, so is the City Council's notion of a 20 mph limit. This would require us to blight neighborhood streets with a forest of only-in-Berkeley "20 mph" signs. For the same money, we could far better protect public safety and the city budget by hiring enough traffic police to really enforce the statewide 25 mph "basic speed law." Shouldn't we do that instead?