Madison’s 20 is Plenty program is an initiative that targets local, neighborhood roads, enforcing road safety for cyclists, drivers and pedestrians. Today, the first phase of the program was implemented in two Madison neighborhoods
The program, first introduced this past spring, is part of the City of Madison’s larger Vision Zero initiative, which is intended to eliminate traffic-related deaths by 2030.
In the Tenney-Lapham and Theresa-Hammersley neighborhoods, new speed limit signs were installed today. The signs have orange flags at the top to draw drivers’ attention to the altered speed limits.
The city’s Traffic Engineering Operations team spent the day swapping existing 25 mph signs for 20 mph signs in those two neighborhoods.
Jeremy Nash is an engineer with the City of Madison Traffic Engineering department. He says that the city considered a variety of criteria for phase one of the 20 is Plenty program, including crash data and street characteristics, to name a few. Some specific aspects they looked at are whether a neighborhood had sidewalks or designated bike paths.
The launch of the 20 is Plenty initiative was originally supposed to take place in June. However, Nash says the city wanted to be sure that they had enough time to plan before the program’s initial launch.
“So, we kinda wanted to make sure we had all the details covered ahead of time. We didn’t want to kind of rush it and push it through before it was ready; (a) before the sign is manufactured and the location is picked out, and how to, you know, add that to our mapping software afterward and everything, but (b) also kind of public outreach and making sure we had enough time to connect with people and kind of get the word out that this is something that’s happening,” says Nash.
Nash says that he’s had mixed feedback from residents on the program. He says that people seem to have a positive response to the program once they understand that it’s a safety-driven initiative.
Patrick Heck is an alder for District 2, which includes the Tenney-Lapham neighborhood.
He says that the feedback he’s received from residents has been primarily positive, but he has heard from people who are skeptical that the initiative will actually address unsafe road conditions, especially since there have been fatal accidents on East Washington Avenue even after speed limits were lowered there in 2020.
But, Heck says that he’s “extremely excited” about the 20 is Plenty program.
“The implementation of 20 is Plenty in other cities has been very positive and the fact that some people may not drive 20–they might still drive 25 or even higher, which is unfortunate–but on average data shows that speed does go down and as speed goes down, serious injuries and deaths also go down, and that’s nothing but a positive,” says Heck.
In the near future, the city hopes to implement lower speed limits across Madison.
But, for now, The City of Madison Traffic Engineering department will be evaluating the results of phase one until 2022. From there, they’ll decide how to move forward with phase two. Nash says that measuring the success of phase one will include continued speed analyses and seeing how people adjust to the lowered speed limit.
The City of Madison Traffic Engineering plans to send out a survey later in the year to gather feedback from residents in the neighborhoods where phase one has been implemented.
Reporting for WORT News, I’m Hailey Griffin.
Image Courtesy: Joshua Hoehne // Unsplash