City to consider reducing East Main Street speed limit

Councilmember brought idea to council, says will help with downtown plans



Councilmember Brandon Chapman brought the idea of reducing the speed limit at East Main Street to help with the plan to revitalize downtown Pullman.

HANNAH WELZBACKER, Evergreen reporter

Members of the Pullman City Council are considering a possible speed limit reduction on East Main Street in downtown Pullman from 25 to 20 mph.

Councilmember Brandon Chapman, who is also a member of the Downtown Pullman Association, said he brought this idea to the council to help with their overall goal of revitalizing downtown Pullman.

“There is a lot of data that shows that when car traffic moves from 25 even down to 20, then you have a safer environment,” Chapman said. “It is often referred to as the ‘20 is plenty’ model.”

Along with increased safety, he said this change would lower noise pollution and give drivers more time to find parking spots. This in turn would help to improve the economy in downtown and get businesses more attention.

Chapman said the speed limit change would only affect East Main Street between Grand Avenue and Spring Street.

Although Main Street is a state highway, Chapman said the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) is willing to work with the city of Pullman.

Chapman said changing the speed limit would require an engineering and traffic investigation that would need to be submitted to WSDOT.

To save costs on this project, Chapman said instead of paying a consultant approximately $12,000 to complete the traffic study, the council decided to wait until the master plan for downtown Pullman is complete.

The Pullman City Council already set aside a budget of $100,000 in 2019 to hire a consultant to complete the master plan, he said. The goal of the master plan is to focus on economic development, accessibility, art and the general appearance of downtown in the next 10 to 20 years.

Chapman said the city of Pullman selected three finalists for the job of creating a master plan. The city is currently evaluating these finalists and expects to make a decision soon.

Melanie Hodges, owner and manager of Lily Bee’s, which is located on East Main Street, said she believes the speed limit is not the biggest issue in downtown.

“Parking is the main problem,” Hodges said. “That’s where we really need to focus more than anything.”

He said downtown is not only a place for commerce but is also home to the annual Christmas tree lighting and Pullman ArtFest.

“I see value in slowing down a little bit and treating downtown as a place of congregation,” Chapman said.