Drivers, like those seen here April 10 near 100th Street SW, will soon need to drive slower on Highway 99 in south Everett. The Washington State Department of Transportation approved the city’s request to lower speed limits in that area. (Olivia Vanni / Herald file)

Drivers, like those seen here April 10 near 100th Street SW, will soon need to drive slower on Highway 99 in south Everett. The Washington State Department of Transportation approved the city’s request to lower speed limits in that area. (Olivia Vanni / Herald file)

State OKs lower Highway 99 speed limits in south Everett

Speed limits will drop 5 and 10 mph on two different stretches between Airport Road and Seventh Avenue SE.

EVERETT — Lower speed limits are on the horizon for Highway 99 in south Everett.

The Washington State Department of Transportation recently approved the change, as requested by the city.

City workers could replace speed limit signs in the next two weeks along the road, Everett traffic engineer Corey Hert told the city Transportation Advisory Committee last week.

Everett had to get the state’s approval because Highway 99, also called Evergreen Way north of 112th Street SW in Everett, is a state route.

Speed limits will drop from 50 to 40 mph between Airport Road and Everett Mall Way, and from 40 to 35 mph along Everett Mall Way from Evergreen to Seventh Avenue SE.

Everett spokesperson Kathleen Baxter said eight signs will be replaced, and three new signs will be installed. The city’s also removing two signs warning drivers of speed limit changes ahead.

Around 30,000 vehicles travel on Highway 99 in south Everett every day, according to WSDOT data.

High speeds, high traffic volume and a busy commercial corridor with sidewalk curb cuts make the road dangerous.

Since November, four men crossing that stretch of the highway died after being hit by drivers. The city had been evaluating speed limits there prior to the pandemic.

Last year there were 10 incidents of drivers hitting pedestrians on Highway 99 between Airport Road and Seventh Avenue SE, according to WSDOT data.

Most people drive 48 mph in the area, Hert told The Daily Herald in May.

Advocates have sought slower vehicle speeds to cut fatal collisions, especially in cities with a slogan of “20 is plenty.”

Pedestrians are more likely to die at higher speeds, according to some studies. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration cites one estimate that 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.

At 20 mph, the number of people who would die plunges to around 5%, according to the estimate.

New legislation that took effect in June gives broader authority to city and county governments for lowering speed limits to 20 mph.

Seattle and the state agreed to lower speed limits by 5 mph on some state routes last year.

Other cities, including New York, have used speed enforcement cameras to tamp down on motorists.

Everett is considering a speed camera along Casino Road near Horizon Elementary School as part of its automated traffic safety program. But it’s mostly for red light violations at six intersections:

• Broadway at 16th Street.

• 41st Street at Rucker Avenue.

• Evergreen Way at Casino Road.

• Evergreen Way at Fourth Avenue W.

• Seventh Avenue SE at Everett Mall Way.

• Evergreen Way at 112th Street SW.

City staff are aiming to have a camera enforcement vendor contract recommendation to the council in late August, Hert said.

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

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