MEMPHIS, Tenn. – The City of Memphis has passed an ordinance to reduce the default speed limit in Memphis to 25 miles per hour.
The change in speed limit is in accordance with the “Rules of the Road” ordinance, which adjusts the speed limit of all roadways that don’t already have a speed limit sign.
The City of Memphis says the Division of Engineering recommended a reduction from 30 MPH to 25 MPH “to improve safety in areas with a higher percentage of pedestrians, bike riders, and other vulnerable users.”
“We feel that this adjustment in the default/statutory speed limit, combined with enforcement, will have a positive impact on improving safety throughout the city,” Traffic Engineering Administrator Randall Tatum said in a statement released Thursday.
Mike Baber lives downtown. He welcomes with the change but is hesitant about the impact.
“A reduced speed limit should help things downtown but more than that, we need to enforce the laws, stop people from drag racing,” Baber said.
Jerred Price, the president of the Downtown Neighborhood Association believes the financial consequences will be enough of an incentive to deter speeding.
“It means the fine goes up. You’re now doing an additional 5 over the speed limit which means when your fines go up, you’re less likely to speed,” Price said. “So, I think it’s a good thing.”
The recommendation narrowly passed through city council last month in a 7-6 vote. Councilman JB Smiley, Jr., voted against it.
“If we want to talk about how to address safety or increase the safe environment for those individuals who are seeking safety, let’s talk about and focus on the group intervention and violence intervention taskforce,” Smiley said.
The city says the change will primarily impact residential roadways and roadways in the downtown area. The new speed limit is set to go into effect around March 1.