The city of Galveston will lower the speed limit on one of the island’s busiest streets.
The city council voted Thursday to reduce the speed limit on Seawall Boulevard to 35 mph between 40th and 61st streets, down from 40 mph.
“It is a very congested area,” Councilwoman Terrilyn-Tarlton Shannon, of District 5, said. “There’s a lot going on.”
The council voted unanimously, 7-0, in favor of the reduction. The measure will bring the limit to 35 mph from Ferry Road west to 61st Street on Seawall Boulevard. The speed limit is already 35 mph between Ferry Road and 39th Street.
The city recommended a lowered speed limit in part to improve pedestrian and driver safety on Seawall Boulevard, City Manager Brian Maxwell said. Miles of parallel parking along the seawall, the spectacle of the beach and Gulf and crowds of pedestrians make the seawall a natural spot for accidents, he said.
“The seawall is just a center of distracted driving,” Maxwell said.
The Daily News on July 3 reported that auto-pedestrian fatalities have historically been higher on the beach-front street, according to state crash data.
Seven fatal auto-pedestrian accidents occurred over the past three years on FM 3005, which stretches along the entire island and includes Seawall Boulevard and Termini San Luis Pass Road.
The area west of 61st Street is controlled by the Texas Department of Transportation, and the city is seeking to work with the group to potentially lower the speed limit in its jurisdiction, Maxwell said.
violations of the speed limit needs to be taken seriously, Councilman Mike Doherty, of District 4, said.
“If we’re going to have it, we really need to enforce it,” Doherty said.
The city will start enforcing the new speed limit on a gradual basis, Maxwell said.
The decision to lower speed limits on Seawall Boulevard also comes after a series of efforts to make the beach-side street safer for pedestrians.
Crews on July 14 finished installing two new crosswalks near the San Luis Resort, Spa & Conference Center and the Holiday Inn Resort Galveston, between the 5000 and 5200 blocks of Seawall Boulevard.
The city this month also placed a series of bollards, or short light posts, between 19th and 29th streets on Seawall Boulevard.
“There’s a lot of other changes that are happening on the seawall,” Councilman Craig Brown, of District 2, said. “This is just one step forward in my mind.”