Mayor's Corner: Speed Limit To Change On Lake Avenue On June 3rd

As you may have heard, the City of Lakewood announced last week that we will be reducing the speed limit on Lake Avenue from 35 miles per hour (MPH) to 30 MPH on Monday, June 3rd. The City arrived at this change only after a comprehensive process of data collection, analysis, and interaction with residents and State of Ohio. After this thorough process, we believe that reducing the speed on Lake Avenue is warranted and fits into Lakewood’s overall commitment to enhancing safety for our residents and visitors.

The process to evaluate whether a speed reduction was justified was complex and years in the making. The addition of bike lanes on Lake in 2020 was seen as a key factor in considering the change. Following repaving and installation of those bike lanes, the City heard from residents asking for a reduction in speed to ensure cyclists and pedestrians were safe along this primarily residential street.

Although Lake Avenue is not a state route, the City still needed approval from the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) to make the change. Before applying to ODOT, the City spent years collecting and analyzing data at five different points along Lake Avenue. That data was gathered in both 2021 and 2023.

The City of Lakewood's Planning and Engineering departments worked together to gather information on Lake Avenue including vehicle speed data and an inventory of physical characteristics of the corridor (how many driveways, pedestrian counts, land use). Data was gathered continuously for a week at a time on multiple occasions. Interestingly, the data collected revealed that the average speed of cars was 30 MPH, which indicates that drivers were self-adjusting to the new conditions on Lake with the addition of the bike lanes.

The Lakewood Police Department was also involved in the process. Chief Fischer of LPD signed off on the application that was submitted to ODOT for review and approval. The City used a methodology required by ODOT to do its analysis. Earlier this year, ODOT ruled that the speed should be changed to 30MPH for the entire stretch of Lake Avenue in Lakewood.

As you can see, there were a number of departments that partnered to navigate a complex process to evaluate and now implement this change, including Lakewood public works, engineering, planning, and police departments. I appreciate the combined efforts taken by the professionals from each of these departments. Lakewood City Council was also important to this process and deserve recognition. Councilmembers provided a strong voice in favor of reviewing the speed limit on Lake Avenue. This is another great example of our branches of government working well together in Lakewood.

As we implement the new speed limit, giving advance notice is important to the City. We must be fair to drivers before we implement and enforce the new limit, and we also want to get the word out so people know and obey this new traffic law in Lakewood. With this in mind, we have placed very prominent signage on Lake Avenue to give an entire month of clear notice that this change is coming. We are also pushing the word out through local news outlets, social media, and the City website.

Once the new limit is in place, we hope it has a meaningful effect by decreasing risk for everyone who uses Lake Avenue, from walkers to cyclists to drivers and everyone in between. The City of Lakewood will continue to evaluate other opportunities to enhance safety in our city and on our streets.

Volume 20, Issue 9, Posted 2:53 PM, 05.08.2024