Q: Why did the state lower the speed limit on state Route 7 in Spanaway? – Nancy P., Graham
A: First, the facts.
The state Department of Transportation has indeed lowered the speed limit on state Route 7, known by Spanawayans and other locals as the Mountain Highway, from 50 miles per hour to 40 mph on a one-mile stretch along the eastern edge of Joint Base Lewis-McChord.
The state said the new limits are in effect between mileposts 45.7 and 46.84, wherever that is.
Nancy told us that’s in the vicinity of 200th Street East, which gives us a bit of a better idea.
The change, which is permanent, went into effect at the end of April.
Nancy is displeased.
“I object to the fact that I didn’t get warned of this change in advance, and I need to question why this change was made, because most of the accidents have occurred beyond this place where the speed limit changed,” she wrote us. “The speed adjustment affects afternoon traffic negatively.”
Anyone who has driven the Mountain Highway knows it can be a negative experience as it is, especially on a nice summer day when returning with thousands of others from a trip to the actual Mountain.
Been there, done that. But we digress.
To get answers to Nancy’s query, we fired off a missive to Cara Mitchell at the Transportation Department.
Here’s what Ms. Mitchell had to say:
“According to the Olympic Region traffic office, the speed-limit reduction was put into place based on the level of current and future development in the area, and the level of traffic congestion in the area. There are new warning signs installed that alert drivers to the new speed limit.”
Mitchell attached a copy of an April 24 news release the department issued about the changes, which we here at Traffic Q&A headquarters apparently missed.
Oopsy. Sorry about that.
The release warns that “the adjusted speed boundaries are enforceable as soon as the signs are installed.”
Judging from Nancy’s missive, the signs are up, so it’s time to slow down, whether we like it or not.