Safer Speed Limits Now In Place Across Campus

Speed limit signs on streets near campus have been updated with new reduced speed limits. Take your time out there.
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Speed limit signs on streets near campus have been updated with new reduced speed limits. Take your time out there.

The U of A has lowered posted speed limits on most campus streets effective January 2022. The speed limit reductions are part of a collaborative effort with the City of Fayetteville to calm streets and improve safety for drivers and pedestrians community-wide. Unless otherwise noted, campus streets will be signed at the city's newly adopted default speed limit of 20 miles per hour.

"Our plan is designed to ensure students, staff and visitors alike are safe on our streets, regardless of their choice of transportation," said Scott Turley, associate vice chancellor for Facilities Management. "All 25 mph signs in residential areas around campus will be replaced with 20 mph signs in the coming weeks."

Speed is a critical factor in the frequency and severity of crashes, as the risk of death in a pedestrian collision increases exponentially with speed. Speed limit signs are the most cost-effective method of reducing vehicle speeds.

Graphic showing likelihood of fatality at various speeds of cars
The likelihood of a fatality occurring when a motor vehicle hits a pedestrian rises sharply with motor vehicle speed. Download a PDF of the National Traffic Safety Board's report "Reducing Speeding-Related Crashes Involving Passenger Vehicles."

In February 2021, the Associated Student Government passed Senate Resolution No. 13, titled "A Resolution Supporting Safer Traffic Measures" demonstrating the student government's interest in improving community safety by reducing the likelihood and severity of crashes.

"Students deserve a safe and walkable campus," said Coleman Warren, student body president. "Slower speed limits and increased enforcement will certainly save lives for both pedestrians and motorists. We must be respectful to fellow pedestrians and motorists on our roadways. I'm excited to see how this change will affect the future of commuting at our university and am grateful for everyone who helped make this a reality."

The following October, the Fayetteville City Council unanimously approved an ordinance to establish a default speed limit of 20 miles per hour in residential and business districts. The ordinance went into effect in November and both the city and the university immediately began implementing a speed limit review process and sign replacement plan.

Once the signs are in place, U of A Police Department officers will be watching closely for violations, first to point out the change, and later to issue citations to violators.

"The reduction in speed is a positive step to enhance safety on campus," said Captain Crain, UAPD.

This initiative to reduce vehicular speeds is part of a citywide commitment to improve street safety with the goal of eliminating traffic fatalities and serious injuries through safer street design, speed management and other proven strategies.

"The faster that cars are traveling on our streets, the more likely they are to cause death and serious injury to pedestrians," said Dane Eifling, mobility coordinator for the City of Fayetteville. "The U of A's plan to reduce the default speed limit aligns with the City's move to 20 mile per hour default speed limits on residential streets and adjustments to speed limits community-wide. Appropriate speed limits are important for the safety of all users of any street for all types of users. Calmer traffic can also benefit business owners and improve the quality of life for our residents." 

Motorists on campus are also reminded that the speed limit in parking areas (garages and lots) has always been 10 miles per hour. This speed limit remains unchanged and is enforced as a matter of safety.

Matt Waller, dean of the Walton College of Business, who is a vocal advocate for active transportation and quality of life initiatives, said, "I applaud the city and university for taking the steps to improve safety as we prepare for the school year. The wellbeing of our community is a top priority."

About Facilities Management: Facilities Management oversees the design and construction of capital projects as well as renovations and maintenance of education and general purpose buildings on campus. Some services include general maintenance, custodial, recycling, outdoor space renovations, and more. Those needing to report a maintenance problem or wishing to begin a project should visit the Facilities Management website.

About the Office for Sustainability: The mission of the University of Arkansas Office for Sustainability (OFS) is to motivate, facilitate, and coordinate responsible practices through partnerships with students, faculty, and staff across all campus departments. The OFS uses the campus as a living laboratory by overseeing the implementation of the University of Arkansas environmental goals.

Contacts

Ammen Jordan, alternative transportation coordinator
Office for Sustainability
479-575-3715, aj077@uark.edu

Breanna Lacy, communications coordinator
Facilities Management
479-575-6044, bllacy@uark.edu

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