Based on a bill signed by Governor Charlie Baker last summer, the City of Boston has adopted a new default speed limit of 25 mph starting January 9, 2017 on city streets.
The measure, supported by the legislature, including Senator Joe Boncore and Representative Aaron Michlewitz, gives cities and towns across the state the authority to reduce the default speed limit to 25 mph from 30 mph.
The Boston City Council, including Councilor Sal LaMattina, took a final vote approving Mayor Martin J. Walsh’s petition to reduce the city’s speed limit.
This change will reportedly improve roadway safety for people walking, driving and bicycling on city streets.
However, state owned roadways located in the city, will not be affected by the new law.
Mayor Walsh noted he was pleased with the “hard work and commitment to create safer roadways for all uses by reducing the default speed limit to 25 mph.”
Unless otherwise posted the 25 mph will go into effect on schedule. Boston Transportation Department (BTD) teams are currently auditing existing speed limit signs and will be posting them at entrance points and other strategic locations in the city.
Although a significant number of improvements have been made to Boston’s streets in recent years, according to the BTD, “Traffic related tragedies continue to persist.”
Reportedly (to date) in 2016 at least 17 people have been killed in traffic crashes on city streets. Twelve walkers and five drivers. At 20 mph, there is a 17% likelihood of a fatality or severe injury occurring, that number jumps to 79% at 40 mph.
Reducing the speed limit, the city expects to reach its goal of Boston’s Vision Zero to eliminate serious and fatal crashes on city streets by 2030.