Starting next week, speed limits on portions of East Washington Avenue in Madison will be lowered by 5 to 10 mph to combat dangerous driving.
Drag racing, speeding and other erratic driving have become staples of the 3-mile thoroughfare this year. One driver was clocked at the “astronomically dangerous” speed of 110 mph, authorities said.
The city has received more than 100 complaints involving dangerous driving on the street through mid-August, according to Madison police. That compares to 50 in all of 2019.
The city cracked down on some of the behaviors last month with increased citations and signs. The speed limit changes were announced Friday.
On Monday, the speed limit in the section of East Washington from Pinckney Street to Baldwin Street will be lowered from 35 mph to 25 mph. From Baldwin Street to Marquette Avenue, the speed limit will be reduced from 35 mph to 30 mph. Temporary digital signs will be posted to notify drivers of the changes.
The city said the decreased speeds are necessary given the recent redevelopment of the East Washington corridor to include stores, entertainment venues, apartments and restaurants. People are walking, biking and using transit there more frequently.
From 2014 to 2019, two people were killed and 41 others seriously injured in traffic crashes on East Washington Avenue, the city said.
“Lowering the speed limit by even 5 mph significantly increases the chances of a person walking or biking surviving a crash and will reduce the severity of crashes involving people driving,” Tom Lynch, city transportation director, said in a statement.
The city’s Traffic Engineering Division also will update traffic signal timing, make crosswalks more visible and install bollards, a sturdy post for controlling traffic, along the median.
That’s in addition to the moves the city made in August to make East Washington safer, including message boards, lane closures, installing turn restrictions at strategic locations to disrupt racing patterns and observing behavior to identify potential signal operation changes. Madison police also have stepped up citations for speeding and hazardous driving.
Additional speed limit reductions will happen later this year on other streets:
- The section from Watts Road to Colony Drive will be lowered from 30 mph to 25 mph.
- The section from Stoughton Road to Thompson Drive will be lowered from 35 mph to 25 mph.
- The section from Raymond Road to Maple Grove Road will be lowered from 30 mph to 25 mph.
- The section from Raymond Road to Watts Road will be lowered from 35 mph to 30 mph.
Post Road: The section from Fish Hatchery Road to Irvington Way will be lowered from 30 mph to 25 mph. Photos: Madison’s most dangerous intersections, as seen from space
No. 10: Packers Avenue and International Lane
No. 9: Zeier Road and East Washington Avenue
No. 8: South Park Street and West Badger Road
No. 7: Thierer Road & East Washington Avenue
No. 6: North First Street and East Washington Avenue
No. 5: Buckeye Road and South Stoughton Road
No. 4: South Baldwin Street and East Washington Avenue
No. 3: North Stoughton Road and East Washington Avenue
No. 2: Watts Road and South Gammon Road
No. 1: Pleasant View Road and Mineral Point
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