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‘20 is plenty’: Columbia leaders consider lowering neighborhood speed limits to 20 mph

The program will be piloted in four neighborhoods.

COLUMBIA, S.C. — Columbia city leaders are looking at ways to bump speed limits down in neighborhood streets to 20 mph.

Residents living in the Earlewood neighborhood like Rebecca Haynes said they are fed up with speeders .

"I have a three and a half year old. He desperately wants to bike around the neighborhood but we have to regulate that heavily because the things I've seen cars do, really make you feel like you’re at risk," said Haynes who has lived in Earlewood for 15 years.

She said the recent additions of speed humps and four-way stop signs aren't slowing down drivers.  

"We actually have very few speed limits posted in the neighborhood so sometimes it feels a little bit like a free for all," said Haynes.

Earlewood residents will soon see signs that read "20 is plenty." It's a program Mayor Daniel Rickenmann explained will lower neighborhood speed limits to 20 miles per hour.  

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"They want to walk, they want to walk their dog, their kids are out riding bikes and these are all great things for our community and we want to make them feel safe," said Rickenmann. 

According to Rickenmann, the program will be piloted in four neighborhoods-- one in each city council district. He said in addition to lowering speeds, the city is considering other traffic calming measures like bike lanes, speed feedback signs, and crosswalk markings. 

"If it’s the platform, if its planters, if its 3D painting, if it’s bump outs we're going to take the time to find out what best suits that neighborhood," said Rickenmann. 

Rickenmann adds each neighborhood will be studied for up to 12 months before rolling the program out citywide. 

One road that won't be lowered to 20 miles per hour is River Drive, which Haynes said doesn't address the root of the speeding issue in her neighborhood. 

“River Drive is kind of the center of the neighborhood and that’s a state highway and we have limitations there but that’s were we see the most egregious speeding," said Haynes. "But then when people come off river drive and onto these side streets, we have seen crazy driving”

According to the South Carolina Department of Public Safety, 92 pedestrians have been killed in 2022. In 2021, 214 were killed. 

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