Lafayette wants its drivers to slow down.

The city just launched its new program “Slow Down Lafayette,” which utilizes new high-tech equipment to make streets safer for people of all ages who walk, bike, roll and drive through the city.

Lafayette has had issues with pedestrian safety the past few years. In 2021, a bicyclist was killed by a motorist in the traffic roundabout at Pleasant Hill Road and Olympic Boulevard. Later that year, a school crossing guard was struck and killed in front of Stanley Middle School.

“Speed is the most critical factor that affects the severity of injuries.”

Police Chief Ben Alldritt

The city responded by beginning to implement Vision Zero, an ambitious plan to eliminate all transportation-related deaths and improve safety on city streets, while promoting healthy and equitable activities like bicycling and walking.

Zeroing in on Lafayette traffic

City officials have said Lafayette was originally designed with few sidewalks and bike lanes, which could make implementing Vision Zero a bigger task than in other cities.

Street designs may need altering, with parking and vehicle traffic lanes removed, which could become costly and impact traffic flow and the amount of public parking.

Police Chief Ben Alldritt said in a statement released by the city, “Speed is the most critical factor that affects the severity of injuries, and while enforcement is part of how we reduce speed, our increased focus will be on real-time awareness for drivers and community education.”

Traffic speed trailers, like this one in West Miami, Florida, will be used in the “Slow Down Lafayette” program to provide motorists with data about their speed while providing police and city traffic engineers with data that helps support other traffic calming efforts. (Phillip Pessar/Flickr, CC BY)

The city said the new program features several new portable speed display signs and trailers. In addition to providing passing motorists with data about their speed through the real-time dynamic message display, the equipment also provides police and city traffic engineers with traffic volume and speed information that helps support other traffic calming efforts.

Traffic speed and volume data will be used to identify high-risk locations and prioritize those areas for targeted speed education and enforcement, as well as possible roadway engineering to improve safety.

“Our goal is to decrease speeds and increase awareness, reducing the number of crashes on local streets,” Lafayette Mayor Carl Anduri said in a statement. “We’re all in this together, so we are asking everyone who drives through Lafayette to commit to driving at or below the posted speed limits.”

The city has launched a new website with information about the project.