|Washington Street is constantly busy, and 45% of drivers are traveling at speeds over the legal 45 mph.|
Earlier this year, we were curious as to what actual speeds on Washington Street Canyon are. We asked the City to do a speed test by putting those little speed tracks across the road. The results were eye-opening.
I’ve posted the detailed Washington Street speed data on line so you can print it out to see it, but here are a few highlights:
- 27,773 cars use the canyon on a daily basis in and out of our community. This was a staggering amount of vehicles.
- The posted speed limit is 45mph. The average speed was 55 mph.
- 740 cars traveled at speeds of 60-69 mph. This is equivalent of driving on the freeway!
- And 28 cars traveled at more than 70 mph!
- Surprisingly, it made no difference to speeds whether people traveled uphill or downhill.
- Travel during off-peak hours was much higher than expected; in fact the off-peak volumes were actually higher than regular travel times.
Clearly speeds on Washington Street are too high, making it extremely unsafe to walk, bike, or park on the road, especially when it is so busy. I have had so many friends tell me they have tried to walk it but turn around because they were too afraid. A car driving within a few feet of you at 70 mph would do that!
Even though there is a sign posted to only cross at the crosswalk, I have watched families park at the bottom of Washington and India, and then try to get across the north side of it it to go to a restaurant. They have to hop the median, which is fairly narrow at that point, but still, in flip-flops carrying a kid, it’s not easy. If more than 750 vehicles are traveling over 60 mph, it’s just a matter of time before someone else is injured or even killed.
I’ve been told that accidents are a regular occurrence at Washington and India as cars heading west and then south onto India are regularly hit by speeding cars heading east at that intersection. I’ve heard it happens every week.
If we had trees planted in the median, narrower lanes as proposed by SANDAG’s bike project, and grade elevated bike lane and pedestrian path, it would slow cars down, and the road would be a much better connector between the mesa at the top, and the area of Five Points at the bottom. More people would feel safe traveling it whether on foot, or by bike.