Boston, Nov. 30, 2016, — Mayor Martin J. Walsh today announced that the default speed limit on City of Boston streets will be reduced from 30 mph to 25 mph effective January 9, 2017. Thanks to the combined efforts of the Mayor, Boston City Council, Governor Baker, MassDOT and Massachusetts State Legislature this change will improve roadway safety for people walking, driving, and bicycling on city streets. State owned roadways located in the City of Boston will not be affected by this new law. Visit boston.gov/25mph to learn how to show your support and get engaged.
This summer, Governor Charlie Baker signed a law giving cities and towns across the Commonwealth the authority to reduce the default speed limit to 25 mph. Today, the Boston City Council took a final vote approving Mayor Walsh’s petition to reduce Boston’s speed limit based on the new state law.
“I am pleased that our hard work and commitment to creating safer roadways for all users by reducing the default speed limit to 25 mph will become a reality in January,” said Mayor Walsh. “This is an important milestone in our Vision Zero efforts of bringing the number of traffic-related deaths to zero, and with approval of this petition we are one step closer to achieving that goal. I would like to commend Governor Baker, Senator William Brownsberger, Representative Jay Livingstone, Representative Liz Malia, Representative Denise Provost, our Dorchester delegation and their colleagues in the state legislature, Boston City Council, MassDOT and all partners and stakeholders involved who recognize the positive implications that a reduced default speed limit will offer Boston.”
“By lowering the City’s speed limit, we are taking concrete steps to making our streets safer for pedestrians, drivers, and bicyclists,” said Senator Linda Dorcena Forry. “I want to thank the many residents of Boston who brought this issue forward and my colleagues in government for their collective work in making this important change a reality.”
“Traffic congestion and speeding cars are among the most common issues I hear about from constituents,” said Dorchester Representative Dan Hunt. “I was proud to sponsor this amendment because studies show that a car’s ability to stop is increased on small streets by minor reductions in speed. Taking this one action has the potential to greatly improve pedestrian safety in our neighborhoods and as we move to a true multimodal transportation city, this measure will prove to be invaluable.”
This is an important milestone in our Vision Zero efforts of bringing the number of traffic-related deaths to zero, and with approval of this petition we are one step closer to achieving that goal.
“The enforcement of this safety initiative will make our streets safer for drivers, pedestrians and bikers alike,” said District 3 Boston City Councilor Frank Baker. “I look forward to its implementation, as well as the creation of innovative traffic calming measures.”
“I’m thrilled that we’ve taken an important first step to improving pedestrian and traffic safety throughout the City of Boston,” said District 8 City Councilor Josh Zakim. “While there is more work to be done, we have now laid the groundwork for further creative solutions that enhance both safety and quality of life, especially in the downtown neighborhoods of District 8.”
As of January 9, unless otherwise posted, the speed limit on all City of Boston roadways will be 25 mph. Boston Transportation Department teams are auditing existing speed limit signs, and will fabricate new signs as necessary. 25 mph speed limit signs will be posted at entrance points and other strategic locations in the City.
“The City of Boston is committed to providing safe and functional streets for all users of our roadways, and reducing our default speed limit is one of many steps being taken to assist us in accomplishing this goal,” said Boston Transportation Commissioner Gina N. Fiandaca. “Drivers should continue to watch for posted signs that indicate a modification to the default speed limit, such as in School Zones where the speed limit may be lower than 25 mph.”
Although a significant number of improvements have been made to Boston’s streets in recent years, traffic related tragedies continue to persist. To date in 2016, at least 17 people have been killed in traffic crashes on City of Boston streets. Twelve of these people were killed while walking and five were killed while in a motor vehicle.
Slower speeds will help decrease these numbers, saving lives and preventing injuries. Studies show that there is a direct link between the speed that a vehicle is traveling when a crash occurs and the likelihood of a fatality or severe injury resulting from that crash. At 20 mph there is a 17% likelihood of a fatality or severe injury occurring, and that number jumps to 79% at 40 mph.
The City of Boston expects that reducing Boston’s default speed limit to 25 mph will help in the City’s effort to prioritize safety and reach the City of Boston’s Vision Zero goal to eliminate serious and fatal crashes on Boston’s streets by 2030.