Speed limit cut by half in Long Beach enclave

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Life has been slowed down in Long Beach's President Streets neighborhood.

The nine-block enclave in eastern Long Beach -- where some street names commemorate Calvin Coolidge, William Howard Taft and others -- has had its speed limit slashed from 30 mph to 15 mph by the City Council.

The change took effect Thursday after a unanimous vote by the council on Wednesday night.

Safety advocates -- some of whom are campaigning for the citywide speed limit to dip from 30 mph to 20 mph -- cheered the move.

Richard Boodman, one of the residents who wants a universal lower speed limit, said the President Streets area is a perilous place to speed, and the city should couple the lower limit with greater enforcement.

"This will make those very long, narrow streets much safer," Boodman said, adding that without enforcement "it's going to be a tough run."

The lower speed limit applies on Cleveland, Harding, Mitchell, Belmont, Pacific, Atlantic, Coolidge, Wilson and Taft avenues, according to a city ordinance.

Michele Reinbach, the chairwoman of the city's advisory public safety commission, is leading the campaign for a 20-mph citywide speed limit.

Exceptions would be made for two main thoroughfares -- Park Avenue and Long Beach Boulevard -- where the speed limit is 35 mph, and for neighborhoods where the speed limit has already been lowered to 15 mph.

Reinbach used Wednesday night's council meeting to reaffirm her call for a lower citywide limit.

She said she has collected more than 3,000 signatures in support of the lower limit.

City officials have said they would consider a formal proposal about a reduced citywide limit, but it would likely necessitate a traffic study.

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