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Driving You Crazy: The two speed limit signs on Broadway near Yale

One says 20, the other says 35. What is it?
Broadway Speed Sign
Posted at 4:58 AM, Jun 25, 2024

Johanna from Englewood writes,“What’s driving you crazy? There is a sign on northbound Broadway near Yale that says the speed limit in Denver is 20 but 50 feet away there is another sign that says the speed limit is 35, so what is it?”

It is 35 mph, but the pair of signs means that the speed limit on specific roads, like S Broadway, can be different than the official Denver speed limit. The first sign you see that says, “Citywide speed limit 20 mph unless otherwise posted” means if you don’t see one or there isn’t a speed limit sign posted, then the speed limit is 20 mph. The second, regular speed limit sign about 50 feet away indicates that the speed limit on that section of S Broadway is 35 mph. That is why the citywide signs have the caveat, “unless otherwise posted.” I took a picture along 38th Ave. just east of Sheridan Boulevard and posted it to the top of this story to show a better example of the two different road signs being placed next to each other.

Denver posted those new citywide 20 mph signs around town to indicate that 20 mph is the new official speed limit in the city, except where otherwise posted. These new citywide signs are a result of the 2021 "20 is plenty" ordinance passed by Denver City Council. That ordinance lowered the speed limit on residential streets from 25 mph to 20 mph citywide. The city ordinance also reduced the maximum speed limit in city parks from 20 mph to 15 mph. The committee approved the lower speed limits by an 11-1 vote.

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The reason you are seeing more and more of these 20 mph citywide speed limit signs is that the city has been in full installation mode. The city is still in the process of changing and/or relocating the old neighborhood 25 mph signs to the new 20 mph limit ones, Mike King, Denver’s principal city planner said, as well as installing new 20 mph citywide signs. In some instances, a “0” sticker is being placed over the “5” on the old 25 mph signs. In other instances, the old signs are being moved to a place where self-driving systems can easily see them.

“From delivery vehicles to our city fleets, they use a camera to identify what the speed limit is on the streets, so we made sure that we put our signs as the entry point on any neighborhood street right off of our arterials and collectors so it is very clear when you enter a neighborhood,” King said.

The full citywide sign change of nearly 4,000 signs is still ongoing, but is nearly complete, King said. The majority of the signs have been changed at this point, but there are still more to go to complete the process, according to King. The city said it also plans to reduce the total number of speed limit signs across Denver but increase the number of signs on some corridors over a short distance. The city cited a study from Seattle saying that increasing the density of speed limit signs can help make drivers aware of the speed limit, and they tend to slow down.

One other viewer wrote to me asking about why one street, East Florida Avenue just east of Quebec Street, had a different speed limit on opposite sides of the street on the same stretch of road. It was due to the crews adjusting the speed limit on one side before working to correct the speed limit on the other side of that road. That discrepancy has since been resolved.

Driving You Crazy: The two speed limit signs on Broadway near Yale

Denver7 Traffic Expert Jayson Luber says he has been covering Denver-metro traffic since Ben-Hur was driving a chariot. (We believe the actual number is over 25 years.) He's obsessed with letting viewers know what's happening on their drive and the best way to avoid the problems that spring up. Follow him on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram or listen to his award winning Driving You Crazy podcast on any podcast app including iTunes, iHeartRadio, Spotify, Podbean, or YouTube.