Yakima speed limits could increase

Yakima speed limits could increase »Play Video
YAKIMA, Wash. -- Some of Yakima's busiest streets.

"People just drive crazy out there. It's like the Indy 500 out there, cars just whizzing by," said Paulene Dougherty.

Not everyone feels that way. And, it's one reason that Yakima is considering raising the speed limit on a few stretches.

"It needs to be faster, especially when I'm taking my son to school it's early morning and people are in a hurry, so yeah it needs to be increased," said R.J. Johnson.

Yakima's Streets and Traffic Operations Department is responding to your complaints and concerns from the police department. It prompted a study to see if some speed limits need to change. Workers set up traffic boxes in the spring to track how fast cars are going. The data will be analyzed to see what the typical speed is for 85% of the cars. That will be used to recommend what the limit should be.

"It's not so much to make them go faster, but it's actually more of a safety issue. You don't want vehicles traveling different speeds on the same road," said Yakima Streets and Traffic Operations Manager, Joe Rosenlund.

Joe Rosenlund says the nearby neighborhoods and how wide the streets are will also be considered. Sections of eight streets are being studied for a possible five mile an hour increase to the limit. Rosenlund says those most likely to see a change are Nob Hill Boulevard, Summitview Avenue, 64th Avenue and Ahtanum Road. Their limits now are 35 to 40 miles an hour.

Whether that should change depends on who you ask.

"I've just observed people driving way too fast," said Paulene Dougherty.

"Speed limit increase is a good thing. Everybody gets where they are going faster and safer," R.J. Johnson.

The city wrapped up its speed monitoring earlier this week. The Yakima Public Safety Committee will review the suggestions and make a recommendation. City Council will make a final decision on whether to raise the speed limits.