MILWAUKEE - Milwaukee is considering a cut to residential speed limits from 25 to 20 mph.
Police said they are committed to addressing reckless driving, and there's hope that the slight decrease will save lives.
Steve O'Connell can stand in his front yard and point to friends in just about every house – each one impacted by reckless driving.
"You don’t want to know how many neighbors have been in crashes," he said.
While the reckless driving would indicate some drivers don't pay attention to speed limit signs anyway, O'Connell is encouraged by the city's proposal.
Speed limit 25 miles per hour (MPH) sign
"This has to be a change in our mindset," he said.
O'Connell wants the rules of the road to be taught as early as fourth grade. Right now, though, he's focused on reducing the speed limit.
"We do know that higher speeds lead to more severe injury or death when a crash does occur," said Mike Amsden, the Milwaukee Department of Public Works' multi-modal transportation manager.
The Milwaukee DPW said the change is part of "Vision Zero" – a plan announced last week to eliminate all traffic deaths within 15 years. American Rescue Plan Act funds will pay for it.
"We also have a transportation firm looking at some of our busier streets – Capitol, Brady, Mitchell – to see what is the most appropriate speed on some of our busier streets," Amsden said.
Since it launched in February 2021, MPD's Traffic Safety Unit has issued more than 14,000 speeding tickets. O'Connell said that's good, but real change starts at home.
"We ourselves have to start policing our family members," he said.
Milwaukee Police Department (MPD) Traffic Safety Unit (TSU)
Milwaukee's DPW said the Common Council will still need to approve the speed restrictions. Leaders stress awareness is likely the biggest component of the campaign.
City leaders plan to run a marketing campaign to promote the change and analyze and recommend changes to speed limits on non-residential streets.
As the project requires technical expertise and assisting with potential legislative changes, a consultant team will consist of a transportation engineering, planning or policy firm and a marketing firm that can demonstrate strong familiarity with the Milwaukee market.