Crash data mixed as Richfield joins cities reducing speed limit

In the name of safety, the City of Richfield reduced speed limits to 25 miles per hour on all residential roads that aren’t controlled by the county this week.

Not everyone loves it and crash data from other Minnesota cities that have done the same since the legislature cleared the way in 2019 are a mixed bag.

A lead foot is unwelcome on Richfield roads, even Lyndale Avenue, where the street opens up to four lanes on the south side of town.

"It's really easy to go 30," one driver told FOX 9. "And if you don't watch it, 35."

The city redesigned a lot of Lyndale four years ago, going from four lanes to two and adding bike lanes, roundabouts, and an esplanade.

And most drivers Thursday appreciated the new 25 mph speed limit.

"I think 25 is fine," said a man behind the wheel on Thursday afternoon

"It'd be safer," said a woman who's lived along Lyndale for 20 years.

"It should be (25) because there's a lot of traffic and a lot of kids," admitted the woman who said it was so easy to go 30 or 35.

(FOX 9)

"Some people complain, you know, saying they don't know how much good it will do," said Richfield City Council Member Sean Hayford Oleary. "Or they think they're such a good driver, they can drive faster and it should be allowed."

The city studied its drivers’ habits and crash data and determined drivers, bicyclists, and pedestrians would all be safer with the reduced speed limits.

The reviews online have been mixed and so are the results of similar changes in other cities.

Neighboring Edina started the speed limit reductions in 2021, but has seen the number of crashes rise since then.

Bloomington followed suit last year with similar results.

Only Minneapolis saw a reduction in crashes after reducing the citywide speed limit.

"This is based on what the risk factors are," said the council member. "We know for sure speed is a risk factor."

City engineers say most drivers were already going 25 in Richfield, so they’re not aiming for major behavioral changes.

But they think this can help police step in when driving is actually dangerous.

"What we're hoping to get is those people that are speeding more excessively, let's get their speeds down and make it safer for everybody on the road," said city engineer Joe Powers.

They’ll be monitoring the crash data in Richfield, too, but they probably won’t be convinced to raise the limit back to 30 mph.

They say, at 25, it only takes about an extra 30 seconds to get all the way through town.