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Orange flag on a 45 mph speed limit sign.
An orange flag alerts drivers to a new speed limit change.

2021 Speed Assessment Projects

Speed limit reduction approved for Vashon Highway SW from beginning of 45 mph zone one-third of a mile south of SW Burton Drive to Inspiration Point

Update

June 30, 2021

The new 35 mph speed limit signs are in place on Vashon Highway SW for the existing 45 mph zone section 1700 feet south of SW Burton Drive to Inspiration Point. Traffic engineers approved dropping the speed limit here from 45 mph to 35 mph.

35 mph speed limit sign.
One of the 35 mph speed limit signs installed on Vashon Highway SW.

Here are the results

  • Location 1: Vashon Highway SW, just south of SW Burton Drive to midway along the waterfront northeast of 115th Avenue SW.
    • Proposed: Reduce speed limit from 45 mph to 25 mph.
      King County proposed to lower the speed limit from 45 mph to 25 mph at this location.
    • Result and action: Speed limit was reduced to 35 mph.
      Based on a second review of the area and public comment, King County will NOT lower the speed limit to 25 mph.
  • Location 2: Vashon Highway SW between 115th Avenue SW and Inspiration Point
    • Proposed: Reduce speed limit from 45 mph to 35 mph.
      King County proposed to lower the speed limit from 45 mph to 35 mph in this location. This area has limited sight distance and sub-standard shoulders.
    • Result and action: Speed limit has been reduced to 35 mph.
      The lower speed limit will be safer for pedestrians and bicyclists.

When did the new speed limits go into effect?

The new speed limit signs were installed on Vashon Highway SW in late June 2021.

Vashon speed revision map.
Vashon Speed Revision Map PDF 2MB

Background

King County received complaints about speeding on Vashon Highway SW just south of SW Burton Drive. Residents were concerned that the two-lane road does not safely accommodate the high volume of pedestrians and bicyclists who use the shoulder in close proximity to the roadway.

The County conducted a speed limit evaluation PDF 132KB to analyze the safety of pedestrians and bicyclists as they use the 1.4 mile section of roadway.

The speed limit evaluation suggested the existing posted speed limit of 45 mph should be revised in two locations. In the first location, the study suggested to extend the 25 mph speed zone in the area with higher pedestrian and bicycle activity, just south of SW Burton Drive to midway along the waterfront northeast of 115th Avenue SW. In the second location, from 115th Avenue SW to Inspiration Point, the study suggested to lower the posted speed limit from 45 mph to 35 mph.

After the speed limit evaluation was complete, King County conducted a public comment period to hear from residents and people who use the road. The speed limit assessment team reviewed all the public comments. The comments were almost exactly split on whether to reduce the speed to the proposed speed limits. King County adjusted the final speed limit reductions based on community feedback and additional studies.

How did King County review the area?

  • Traffic engineers reviewed the layout of the road, looked at curves, intersections, how wide the vehicle lanes and shoulders are. Engineers reviewed crash data, collected vehicle count data, and collected data on the number of walkers and bike riders.

What were the results?

  • The road has several sharp curves which can prevent vehicles, bicyclists and walkers from seeing each other with enough time to slow down or move over.
  • Road Services engineers also found that the highway shoulders are not wide as they could be for walkers and bike riders to use the road safely when vehicles also use the road at high speeds.

2020 Speed Assessment Projects

Speed limit reduction approved for Enumclaw Franklin Road SE

Update

King County Road Services revised the speed limit on Enumclaw Franklin Road between State Route 169 and SE Green River Gorge Road from 45 mph to 40 mph. The revision was completed by mid-January 2021. The public comment period for this speed limit reduction was October 30, 2020 through November 13, 2020.

Background

King County proposed reducing the speed limit on the 3.9-mile long section of Enumclaw Franklin Road SE between State Route 169 and SE Green River Gorge Road after receiving public comments about speeding, truck volumes and the curved alignment on Enumclaw Franklin Road. The County conduct a speed limit evaluation PDF 132KB to analyze the issue.

Based on engineering data obtained and evaluation of prevailing speeds, the number of intersecting streets and driveways, curved alignment, sight distance limitations, narrow roadway width, and collision data, the County determined the speed limit on Enumclaw Franklin Road SE should be reduced from 45 to 40 mph.

Enumclaw Franklin Road SE map.

Speed limit reduction approved for 1.2-mile segment of SE Middle Fork Road

Update

King County Road Services took public comment on this proposed speed revision from August 24 through September 11, 2020. More than 95% of comments supported the speed limit change. The speed limit revision took place in November 2020. Additionally, based on public comment, King County made several safety improvements as detailed in the map below.

Background

In August 2020, King County proposed to reduce the speed limit on a 1.2-mile segment of SE Middle Fork Road. After receiving public comments about speeding between the North Bend City Limits (near 468th Avenue SE) and the east end of the SE Lake Dorothy Road couplet, the County conducted a speed limit evaluation PDF 117KB to analyze the issue.

Based on the engineering data obtained and evaluation of prevailing speeds, number of intersecting streets and driveways, curved alignment, sight distance limitations, narrow roadway width, and collision data, the County determined the speed limit on SE Middle Fork Road - the lower couplet - should be reduced from 35 to 30 mph to match the speed limit east of the couplet. However, the speed limit from the city limit to the west end of the SE Lake Dorothy Road couplet should remain at the current 35 mph speed limit. The 30-mph zone is indicated in the map below by the red line. The new 30 mph speed limit matches the existing speed limit east of the SE Lake Dorothy Road couplet within the Middle Fork Snoqualmie Natural Area.

Middle Fork Map, Oct. 15, 2020


Speed limit reduction not approved for Issaquah Hobart Road SE

Update

In February 2020, King County proposed to reduce the speed limit on 3.2-mile of Issaquah Hobart Road SE. After receiving public comments about congestion and collisions between the Issaquah city limits (near SE 104th Street) and SE Mirrormont Boulevard, the County decided to conduct a speed limit evaluation PDF 137KB to analyze the issue. Based on the engineering data obtained and evaluation of prevailing speeds, number of intersecting streets and driveways, area congestion and collision data, the County explored reducing the speed limit from 45 to 40 mph. The intended 40 mph zone is indicated in the map below by the red line. However, based on national guidelines and state law when setting speed limits on county roads; including prevailing speeds close to the posted speed limit and collision rates below the average of similar arterial roadways and public comments received, the King County Traffic Engineer approved keeping the speed limit at 45 mph.


Map of Issaquah Hobart Road SE proposed speed reduction location.
Issaquah Hobart Road SE map - larger view JPG 331KB

2018-2019 Speed Assessment Projects

SE Petrovitsky Road

  • From SE 184th Street to SE Lake Youngs Way
    Public comments were solicited January 30 through February 13, 2019 and again November 8 through 22, 2019. The speed limit was changed from 50 to 45 mph in April of 2020.

84th Avenue S

  • From Renton city limits to Rainier Avenue S
    Public comments were solicited January 8 through January 22, 2019. The speed limit was changed from 35 to 30 mph in July of 2019.

SE 60th Street

  • From Bellevue city limits to 189th Avenue SE
    Public comments were solicited November 4 through November 27, 2018. The speed limit was changed from 35 to 30 mph in February of 2019.

244th Avenue NE

  • From Sammamish city limits to NE Redmond Fall City Road (State Route 202)
    Public comments were solicited September 25 through October 9, 2018. The speed limit was changed from 40 to 35 mph in October of 2018.

NE Novelty Hill Road

  • From Eastridge Drive NE to West Snoqualmie Valley Road
    Public comments were solicited November 28 through December 8, 2017. The speed limit was changed from 45 to 30 mph for trucks and from 45 to 35 mph for all other vehicles in October of 2018.

Patriot Way SE

  • From SE 128th Street to the 13200 block
    Public comments were solicited August 22 through September 5, 2018. The speed limit was changed from 30 to 25 mph in September of 2018 for the first 1,250 feet of Patriot Way SE south of SE 128th Street near Renton to match the speed limits to the south within the neighborhood.

SE May Valley Road

  • From State Route 900 to Issaquah Hobart Road SE
    Public comments were solicited November 28 through December 8, 2017. The speed limit was changed from 40 to 35 mph in May 7, 2018.

What is King County’s procedure for evaluating speed limits?

The King County speed limit evaluation procedure was developed using criteria based on the Washington State Model Traffic Ordinance (46.04; WAC 303-308), the King County Code and the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD). The MUTCD is a Federal Highway Administration document, which has been adopted by most public agencies and provides guidelines for traffic control devices and pavement markings.

In 2018, the King County Council adopted an update which, in Section 46.04.040 (RCW 46.61.415-1 amended) empowers the Director of the Department of Local Services to “revise speed limits on all streets and roads within this county as authorized by state law; provided, that such speed limit revisions shall not exceed ten miles per hour; provided further, that any determination of the property numerical value for a speed zone will be based upon the following engineering and traffic investigation factors:

  1. Road surface characteristics, shoulder conditions, grade, alignment and sight distance;
  2. The eighty five percentile speed and pace speed;
  3. Roadside development and culture, and roadside friction;
  4. Safe speed for curves or hazardous locations within the zone;
  5. Parking practices and pedestrian activity;
  6. Reported accident experience for a recent twelve month period.

Speed limits on segments less than 1.0 mile in length may be changed administratively if the posted speed limit of the road segment varies from posted speed limits at each end of the road segment. These situations commonly occur where a city has annexed a portion of the roadway and changed the speed limit within city limits, leaving a short segment in unincorporated King County with a higher speed limit. In such cases, the County may administratively make a speed limit change of no more than 5 mph. In these cases, no detailed review is conducted.

Once a preliminary review of the road segment is completed, public comment is solicited for a period of two to three weeks, except when an administrative change is implemented for a short segment as discussed in the paragraph above. Public comments are reviewed by the County Traffic Engineer and County Road Engineer prior to recommending the change to the Director of the Department of Local Services for approval and transmittal to the King County Council to enact into law.

Frequently-asked questions

The criteria King County uses to evaluate roads for a speed study can be found here. In general, our first priority is pedestrian and driver safety. We review crash and injury data. We track current speeds and compare that to the current posted speed limit. We review the geometry and characteristics of the road and parking practices, crosswalks and pedestrian and bike traffic. Once that review is complete, we determine if a change is needed then ask for feedback from local residents. The speed can be revised depending on the outcome of all these factors.
Call our maintenance office at 206-477-8100 or 1-800-KC-ROADS.
Drivers perceive a painted centerline as a barrier, and this makes them feel more comfortable passing oncoming vehicles at higher speeds. Without the perceived comfort that centerline striping provides, drivers tend to decrease their speed for oncoming vehicles and allow more space when passing non-motorized road users. We generally oppose centerline striping when traffic volumes are low.
Speed humps/bumps are generally not used in unincorporated King County. Speed humps hinder emergency vehicle response times, are expensive to install and maintain, interfere with snow plowing, and can cause damage to vehicles. Also, we found drivers tend to increase vehicle speeds between speed humps compared to speeds before the speed humps were installed.
State law prohibits the installation of traffic safety cameras that issue tickets at most road locations. These cameras may only be installed at signals, railroad crossings, and school zones in unincorporated areas of Washington State.
Street racing is considered reckless driving. Any reckless driving, which is driving with a wanton and willful disregard for the safety of people and property, is a gross misdemeanor and a serious criminal traffic offense. Street racing is illegal statewide.

Flagrant violators pose the greatest risk and are generally the focus of enforcement. Local residents are generally best at determining the time of day when most reckless driving occurs. You can report speeding and request enforcement by calling 911 and letting them know that it is a non-emergency issue or you can report it online.
Contact us

24/7 Road Helpline: 206-477-8100 or 1-800-527-6237

TTY Relay: 711

Twitter: @KCRoads