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The Texas Department of Transportation sets the speed limit on Main Street. They will periodically conduct an engineering and traffic investigation, which typically involves a survey of actual motorist speeds during free-flow conditions. The survey provides the 85th percentile speed, which is the speed at or below which 85% of the motorists are traveling. The speed limit is typically then set within 5 mph of the 85th percentile speed. The speed limit can be adjusted slightly to account for sight distance restrictions, accident history, presence of driveways, and other factors. Setting the speed limit close to the 85th percentile speed ensures that the speed limit reflects the speed that the majority of drivers consider being reasonable and prudent based on the conditions.
Residents often request that speed limits be lowered with the expectation that this will lower traffic speeds. However, studies have shown that most people drive at the speed they are comfortable with for the given conditions regardless of the posted speed limit. There is little or no significant change in speeds following the posting of a revised speed limit. This is true whether the speed limit is increased or decreased. Also, safety is not improved by establishing unreasonably low-speed limits, since this only encourages more variation in vehicle speeds, leading to more conflicts.
The Texas Transportation Code states that "an operator may not drive at a speed greater than is reasonable and prudent under the circumstances then existing". Therefore, regardless of the posted speed limit, every driver has a duty to drive at a reasonable and safe speed for the conditions at that time.
All roadways in Texas have a default speed limit called the prima facie limit based on the type of roadway. This applies to residential streets (30 miles per hour (mph)), alleys (15 mph), interstates (70 mph), etc. For residential streets, state law does allow the Town Council to reduce the prima facie limit to 25 mph by Ordinance and then post the speed limit, making it effective. The Town Council has done this on the residential streets of Providence Village. State law does not allow the residential speed limit to be set lower than 25 mph, nor does it allow the speed limit to be set lower than 15 mph on alleys.