The City Council passed a resolution last week to lower the city’s speed limit from 30 miles per hour to 25 on side streets, part of a traffic safety initiative that officials said would reduce speeding and improve the flow of traffic and overall safety for pedestrians and bicyclists.
The speed limit along all city streets north and south of Park Avenue, including Beech Street, will be 25 mph — the lowest permissible speed without state legislation — while Park, Broadway and Long Beach Boulevard will remain at 30. City officials likened the effort to New York City’s Vision Zero plan.
The city is also working with Nassau County to reconfigure the timing of traffic lights along Park Avenue, which Long Beach Police Commissioner Mike Tangney said would help motorists travel through town faster, albeit at a slower pace.
“The goal … is to move the traffic from the side streets onto Park Avenue, and move them through the Park Avenue corridor in less time ...,” Tangney said. “It’s also a disincentive to speeding because if you do go in excess of 30 miles per hour, you’ll just be hitting a red light. It’s a slow progression through town, but again, it will be much faster, and with fewer stops.”
Traffic safety has long been a concern of residents and officials, and last week’s measure follows the council’s vote two years ago to reduce the city speed limit from 35 to 30. That change created a uniform speed limit of 30 mph throughout town, with the exception of the 15-mph restrictions in the President streets, the Canals and the West End. Additionally, school zones have either 15- or 25-mph limits.
“Studies have shown, and our traffic study consultants recommend, that lowering the speed limit by five miles per hour can have a serious impact in reducing the number of traffic-related injuries and deaths,” City Manager Jack Schnirman said.