As a firefighter in early March, James Curtis saw the writing on the wall: Spring was not the time for a door-to-door campaign.
“So we pushed it back thinking, OK, May or June. Now we’re in July/August, and our only option is to do online as best we can,” Curtis said.
The campaign in question was to move LaCrosse, an upper-Kennydale neighborhood, to a 20 mph speed limit. It’s an effort the LaCrosse Homeowners Association (HOA), of which Curtis is president, has worked on for years.
The neighborhood’s hope to become a 20 mph speed limit zone created discussion of a city-wide 20 mph speed limit last August, before city councilmembers decided to go forward with a neighborhood-by-neighborhood process.
Similar to requests for annexing into the city, the process created by the city for neighborhood 20 mph speed zone change requires a 10% petition, and then a 50% petition, as well as reviews by city staff. LaCrosse is working on the second petition for 50% or more of its 123 households.
Almost a year since council discussed the 20 mph zones, LaCrosse HOA has launched the petition online. Originally Curtis said they planned a whole door-to-door campaign for early March, but COVID-19 slowed those plans.
Because the online petition has not been reaching enough neighbors, he said members of the HOA will do some phone calls or door-to-door soon, with masks and social distancing in mind. Curtis said they’re confident in meeting the petition threshold and excited to bring the final product to the city.
When the neighborhood first noticed higher speeds, they asked the city to come out and do a traffic survey, which they did multiples of for a few years. What they found surprised Curtis and others— drivers who sped only went a few miles over the 25 mph speed limit. He said that’s when they started to question whether 25 was too fast for their neighborhood, with blind corners and no through streets, and conducted research on the “20 is Plenty” campaigns.
Curtis describes the neighborhood as mostly upper-middle class, and said they have an issue with speed of delivery drivers and visitors, more than residents. He credited Council President Ruth Pérez for helping bring the speed limit change to the city’s attention.
He said LaCrosse is appreciative of the city helping them get this far, and LaCrosse’s push to get 20 mph speed zones helped the city create a process where other neighborhoods in Renton can do the same.
The petition for LaCrosse residents is available at LaCrosseHOA.org/20mph.