Pump The Brakes: Boston Is Reducing Its Speed Limit

Traffic zooming by Boston's South Station. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)
Traffic zooming by Boston's South Station. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)

Get ready to slow down, drivers. The city of Boston is reducing the default speed limit from 30 mph to 25 mph starting next year, Mayor Marty Walsh announced.

This means that unless otherwise noted, the speed limit on Boston roadways will be 25 mph.

Walsh petitioned to reduce the speed limit and the Boston City Council took a final vote to approve the measure Wednesday. The move to reduce the speed limit in Boston comes after Gov. Charlie Baker signed into law the Municipal Modernization Bill this past summer. The law allows communities to set speed limits lower than what the state allows.

Walsh said the lower speed limit will improve roadway safety.

"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," Walsh said in a statement.

The city's Vision Zero initiative aims to eliminate traffic fatalities in Boston. As part of that effort, the city launched a mapping tool for people to report problem areas on Boston's streets earlier this year. The city has also moved to make other roadway changes and has adopted a broader plan to improve pedestrian safety.

State Rep. Dan Hunt, who represents Dorchester, said reducing Boston's speed limit would "greatly improve pedestrian safety" in the city's neighborhoods.

"Traffic congestion and speeding cars are among the most common issues I hear about from constituents," Hunt said in a statement. "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."

It is worth noting that even with the new 25 mph speed limit, there may be areas where the speed limit is even lower. However, state roads located in the city won't be affected by this law.

"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," Boston Transportation Commissioner Gina Fiandaca said in a statement.

The new speed limit goes into effect Jan. 9, 2017.


Zeninjor Enwemeka Senior Business Reporter
Zeninjor Enwemeka is a senior business reporter who covers business, tech and culture as part of WBUR's Bostonomix team, which focuses on the innovation economy.



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