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Thursday, Jun 21, 2018
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USF throttles down campus speed limits

TAMPA — Motorists on the University of South Florida’s Tampa campus will soon have to ease up on the gas pedal.

University trustees have approved a proposal to establish a campuswide roadway speed limit of 25 mph, down from 30 mph on some streets. The speed limit will be even lower in certain areas.

“The campus is growing, and congestion is a lot worse than it’s been in the past,” said Lt. Chris Daniel, public information officer for USF police. “Each year we increase capacity out here, and at some point the university asked for a study.”

That study was completed by USF’s Center for Urban Transportation Research, which provided a 153-page report about traffic flow on university roadways and recommended the 25 mph standard. The center said the average speed on campus was 24.57 mph, but noted that the standard deviation of the current speed limits was 6.05 mph, which “indicates that speed limits need to be adjusted to provide a uniform driving environment.”

Stretches of USF roadways including Alumni, Maple, Palm and Magnolia drives have a 30 mph limit.

Anyone who travels USF’s streets and slows for speed bump after speed bump might wonder how anyone could exceed that limit, but it happens. Campus police have written 308 speeding tickets this year, down from 775 last year, when Daniel said there was a stepped-up enforcement effort.

There have been 245 traffic accidents this year, on a pace to match last year’s 306 crashes.

People driving on campus should “adhere to the speed limits, realize you’re on a very populated and congested campus, and try to make the community safer,” Daniel said.

He couldn’t say when the changes would take place; university trustees approved the proposal earlier this month.

But heads up, drivers: The report recommends and police will develop an educational campaign about the changes before there is “an enforcement component.”

In addition to lowering the campus speed limit to 25 mph, the proposal slows traffic to 15 mph on Banyan Circle, USF Health Drive and Birch Drive, and 20 mph at the school zone portion of Bull Run Drive during periods with flashing beacons.

Speed limits remain 10 mph in parking lots and 5 mph in garages.

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