OLYMPIA — In a down-to-the-wire finish on April 17, the Washington State Senate passed the Neighborhood Safe Streets Bill (House Bill 1045) 45-2 in the very last minute before the 5 p.m. cutoff for considering policy bills from the opposite chamber.
The bill had received overwhelming bipartisan support in the House, passing 86-10 in the 2013 session and unanimously in the 2012 and 2011 sessions.
The bill will save cities and towns money and cut red tape when they choose to set speed limits at 20 miles an hour on residential and business non-arterial streets; the fiscal note estimates a savings of $1,000-$5,000 for each traffic study requirement eliminated. It improves government efficiency and allows cities and towns to spend money on actual safety improvements to reduce speeding, address cut-through traffic, and improve the safety of neighborhoods — especially for children and the elderly.
The Neighborhood Safe Streets Bill garnered support from numerous statewide organizations, boards, cities, and towns.
Earlier this year in the House of Representatives, the bill was voted out with a strong 86-10 vote. In the Senate Transportation Committee, it received a unanimous and bipartisan do-pass recommendation for passage, after a hearing that featured testimony from AARP, Association of Washington Cities, and Bicycle Alliance of Washington. It received no opposition by organizations in testimony or otherwise.
After a quick pull in the Senate Rules Committee, the bill was passed up for a vote over the past four days of floor votes before coming up in the last possible minute.