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City May Reduce Speed Limit On Rhode Island Ave in North College Park

At next week’s meeting, the City Council will discuss a proposal to reduce the speed limit on Rhode Island Avenue in north College Park.

The City has received feedback and complaints from residents regarding speeds and vehicle/pedestrian interactions along this road segment. Given the high pedestrian and bicycle activity level, high speeds along this corridor create safety concerns. They can often result in vehicles failing to yield to pedestrians within marked crosswalks.

In response to this issue, the City has installed several Rectangular Rapid Flashing Beacon (RRFB) devices along the corridor to enhance visibility and yielding rates of vehicles to pedestrians utilizing the crosswalks. In addition, the City has recently remarked on Rhode Island Avenue to refresh lane lines, narrow travel lanes, and provide bike lanes and signage throughout the corridor.

The project was completed in 2022, and after the improvements were completed, the City conducted a weeklong traffic count and speed study in October 2022 utilizing a road-tube counter. According to the study, some vehicles travel well above 40 MPH. In the northbound direction, 13,924 vehicles out of 53,430 total vehicles (26.1%) were traveling above the posted speed limit. Of the 13,924 northbound vehicles traveling above the limit, 2,309 vehicles (16.6%) were traveling above 40 MPH. In the southbound direction, even more, vehicles were traveling above the posted limit, with 16,764 of 43,820 total vehicles (38.3%) traveling above 35 MPH. Of the 16,764 vehicles traveling southbound above the limit, 3,501 vehicles (20.8%) were traveling above 40 MPH. In both directions, a non-negligible number of vehicles traveling above 45 MPH. As demonstrated by the outliers in the speed study, there does appear to be a need to slow vehicles down to ensure the safety of other transportation modalities.

With pedestrian and bicycle safety being a priority for the City of College Park, the City has implemented bike lanes and pedestrian crossings along this corridor over the past decade. Bike lanes are provided on both sides of Rhode Island Avenue, and many marked crosswalks are along the corridor. Additionally, the City has installed RRFB devices at four intersections along Rhode Island Avenue: Muskogee Street, Hollywood Road, Geronimo Street, and Cherokee Street. As part of this study, City’s consultant LTC deployed traffic cameras at these intersections to observe pedestrian and vehicle interactions at the RRFB locations over two days. LTC observed whether vehicles stopped pedestrians once the beacon was activated, and the observations are summarized in Table below.

Studies and data from local car and Motorcycle accident attorney firms have shown that lower speed limits lead to fewer crashes and injuries, particularly in areas with heavy pedestrian traffic. Reducing the posted speed, in conjunction with other traffic calming techniques, would likely have a positive benefit for more vulnerable road users and increase the yield rates at pedestrian crossings and the effectiveness of RRFB crossings.

The study recommends that a posted speed limit of 30 MPH be considered first if no other physical improvements are to be proposed. However, without other measures or enforcement, speed limit changes alone may not have the desired effect. If other traffic calming techniques are employed, such as installing raised crosswalks, chicanes, or speed humps, operating speeds would likely decrease enough to justify a 25 MPH speed limit. Regardless of what the City ultimately ends up adopting, the corridor should continue to be monitored after implementing any improvements to evaluate the impact the improvements may have had on operating speeds, pedestrian behavior, and its effects on safety for all modalities.


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  1. Harvey

    When will the protected barriers for the bike lanes be installed?

  2. Fazlul Kabir

    I checked the schedule. It says the construction is to start as early as this month.

  3. Donald Hays


    This is great article/summary of the issue! Unfortunately, the low stop rates are no surprised to me. A few months ago I saw an older woman nearly struck at the Muskogee Street RRFB because they pulled *around* a stopped car.

    I hope this gets passed and we see a lower speed limit. These kinds of changes are going to make us the envy of the area!

    Budget permitting, we should also consider speed tables at the RRFBs.

  4. MaryJoan Kashapata

    Raising the speed limit will NOT slow down speeders! If you are going 35 mph or less and paying attention, you should be able to see and stop for pedestrians who use the crosswalks (as well as many of those that cross at other spots).

    I would like to suggest we focus our resources on Vigorously and Visibly enforcing the Current laws at several points (perhaps near the crosswalks) to decrease the 26-38% of cars in the study (or more) are that exceeding the current 35mph speed limit!

    In addition, Strategic Visible law enforcement and/or cameras (like at Sunnyside) could also be used to catch and ticket crosswalk violators.

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