Drivers head north April 20 on Highway 99 through the Everett Mall Way intersection in Everett. The Everett City Council is pursuing lower speed limits along the two roads. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

Drivers head north April 20 on Highway 99 through the Everett Mall Way intersection in Everett. The Everett City Council is pursuing lower speed limits along the two roads. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

Lower speed limits move forward on dangerous stretch of Highway 99

The Everett City Council approved a resolution to slow speeds on Evergreen and Everett Mall ways.

EVERETT — Drivers are a step closer to seeing slower speed limits — with the goal of fewer pedestrian deaths — in south Everett.

On Wednesday the Everett City Council passed a resolution 6-0 to lower speeds on Evergreen and Everett Mall ways. Councilmember Paula Rhyne was absent because of exposure to COVID-19, but supported the resolution during public comment.

The changes will affect the roads that make up Highway 99 from Airport Road to Seventh Avenue SE.

Heading from Airport Road north to Everett Mall Way, the speed limit would drop from 50 to 40 mph.

North to Seventh Avenue SE, it would drop from 40 to 35 mph.

The change comes in the wake of several people who died after drivers hit them along Evergreen Way in recent months.

“This is a long time coming,” Councilmember Liz Vogeli said Wednesday. ”This will not solve that problem, but maybe it will help.”

Studies have found a correlation between impact speed and fatality rate when a driver hits a pedestrian. A National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimate says about 40% of people would die if hit by a vehicle traveling 30 mph; about 80% at 40 mph; and nearly 100% at over 50 mph. The number of people who would die at 20 mph plunges to around 5%.

As drivers head north into Everett on Highway 99, the speed limit is 50 mph. Businesses and residences line the road, which has sidewalks on both sides in the area. Crosswalks at intersections with signals are spread out, sometimes around a half-mile apart.

Everett traffic engineer Corey Hert conducted an engineering study of the road and concluded the current speed limits are “greater than is reasonable and safe.”

“These speed limits are fairly old and it’s time to update them to modern standards,” Hert said.

The 85th percentile speed, an engineering measurement of the speed most people drive, was 48 mph in the area. The average speed was 42 mph, Hert said.

The city expects to see some speed reduction, but not a “huge drop,” Hert said.

Everett’s city traffic engineer proposed reducing Highway 99 speed limits north from Airport Road to Seventh Avenue SE along Evergreen and Everett Mall ways. (Everett)

Everett’s city traffic engineer proposed reducing Highway 99 speed limits north from Airport Road to Seventh Avenue SE along Evergreen and Everett Mall ways. (Everett)

Luis Burbano, a south Everett resident, in an email asked the council to further lower speed limits on Evergreen and Everett Mall ways to 30 mph.

“Setting the speed limits at 35 and 40 mph, with traffic traveling at 45 and 50 mph accomplishes nothing in terms of safety,” Burbano wrote. “These speed limits provide zero chances of survival for a pedestrian.”

There are different approaches to achieve lower speeds and safer roads: lowering speed limits, re-engineering the road and enforcement.

Some pedestrian changes are coming to Everett Mall Way. But other engineering changes, such as center medians or reduced lanes that can cause lower driver speeds, aren’t planned.

The city is pursuing further traffic enforcement across the city, too, through red light cameras at Seventh Avenue SE and Everett Mall Way, as well as 112th Street SW and Evergreen Way. Those have not be installed yet as the city seeks a vendor.

The Washington State Department of Transportation must approve the lower speed limits. If it does, new signs could be installed within two weeks.

Ben Watanabe: bwatanabe@heraldnet.com; 425-339-3037; Twitter @benwatanabe.

Talk to us

More in Local News

Cars drive through the intersection of Highway 9 and South Lake Stevens Road on Thursday, Feb. 17, 2022 in Lake Stevens, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Highway 9 to close this weekend in south Lake Stevens

Detours take drivers around the closure between 20th Street SE and 32nd Street SE from Friday night to Monday morning.

Empty shelves in the baby formula section at a grocery store in Lynnwood, Washington. (Jacqueline Allison / The Herald)
Amid baby formula shortage, local moms scrambling to feed babies

Shelves are bare and prices are up. But there are resources for Snohomish County mothers in need.

Everett
$1 million bail for Everett ampm shooting suspect

The suspect, 36, is accused of shooting an acquaintance Monday, dumping the gun in a dumpster and fleeing from police.

Logo for news use featuring Snohomish County, Washington. 220118
Snohomish County seeks input on spending American Rescue Plan dollars

In-person events across the county will help guide more than $80 million in federal recovery money.

Mandy Jeffcott and Aaron King explore the area beneath a highway underpass while conducting a PIT count Tuesday, Feb. 22, 2022, in Everett, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Snohomish County homelessness rose to 10-year high, count shows

Data released Monday confirmed what advocates suspected: The local homeless population grew amid the pandemic.

Sam Bowles records the run off the water from a chalk drawing with friend and co-artist, Rhyanna Mercer, Tuesday afternoon in Everett, Washington on May 10, 2022.  (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
Jackson High’s global TikTok star is chalk full of ideas

Sam Bowles, 18, uses vibrant videos and social media fame to raise awareness of autism.

Dan Bates / The Herald
When Seattle Genetics founder, Clay Siegall lost his father while in college, he switched from studying for an MD to studying for a PhD., and a goal to treat cancer patients.  His efforts are paying off in lives.
Bothell biotech CEO resigns after domestic-violence allegation

Clay Siegall co-founded Seagen, which develops therapies for cancer patients. He’s accused of attacking his wife.

Everett
Nonprofit offers free mental wellness event for local teens

The Saturday gathering at EvCC, sponsored by Leadership Launch, is for teens in eighth grade through college.

Logo for news use featuring Snohomish County, Washington. 220118
3.6-magnitude earthquake jars awake Darrington residents

The quake and aftershocks did not cause any serious damage. They’re reminders of dozens of faults that lie below.

Most Read