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20 MPH Safety Zones in City Squares Aims to Reduce Serious Injuries & Fatalities

caution sign The information on this page may be outdated as it was published 6 years ago.

20 MPH Safety Zones

As part of its Vision Zero Action Plan unveiled earlier this month, 20 MPH Safety Zones will be implemented in the City's Squares as of March 1, 2018. This affects Central, Kendall, Inman, Harvard and Porter Squares. Lowering speeds is one of the most effective tools to protect vulnerable road users and is fundamental to achieving Vision Zero, as slower speeds result in fewer and less severe crashes. In December of 2016, the City lowered the default speed limit to 25 MPH. 

Vision Zero, adopted by the Cambridge City Council in 2016, is an initiative to reduce and ultimately eliminate transportation fatalities and serious injuries, while at the same time creating safe, healthy, and equitable mobility for all those who travel in Cambridge. The Action Plan serves as a blueprint for how Cambridge will achieve Vision Zero.

The Action Plan outlines specific short and long term goals that the City will undertake. These goals reflect the City’s commitment to:

• Design and Operate Safe Streets
• Improve Large Vehicle, Taxi/For-Hire Vehicles, and TNC Safety for all road users
• Ensure equity in Vision Zero efforts, paying particular attention to vulnerable and underserved populations
• Engage the public in Vision Zero initiatives
• Ensure that City employees and representatives lead by example in traffic safety matters
• Create new partnerships and foster existing partnerships with community organizations
• Use data to direct efforts and measure progress

“Effective communication, collaboration, and public process are critical to successful initiatives, and these will be central themes that will guide our approach for Vision Zero,” said City Manager Louis A. DePasquale. “By coming together as a community, we will continue making it safe and easy for people of all ages and abilities to travel between work, school, shops, and other destinations, whether they choose to walk, bicycle, drive, or take transit. I look forward to working with the City Council and the entire community to enhance the safety of our city.”

“We know that lower speeds help save lives, and that pedestrians and cyclists are much more likely to survive a crash with a motor vehicle when speeds are below 20 MPH,” said Joseph Barr, Director of Traffic, Parking, and Transportation. “Cambridge’s squares are the heart of our city, and we want to make sure that we support their economic vitality by making them safe for everyone who lives, works, and plays in Cambridge.”

The foundation for the Action Plan is data driven decision-making. The City will seek to identify the fundamental causes of traffic crashes, injuries, and fatalities to come up with creative and implementable solutions to prevent those incidents, and to evaluate its successes and remaining challenges. The Vision Zero commitment reinforces a community-based focus on safety and the actions that can be collectively taken to create the safest possible transportation system—and the safest possible city.

Preliminary 2017 crash data from the Cambridge Police Department shows:

• 3% reduction in crash calls for service – to the lowest level in nearly two decades.
• 4% reduction in crashes requiring police reports.
• 17% reduction in crashes involving bicyclists.
• 17% reduction in crashes resulting in ambulance transport of injured parties to a hospital – to the lowest since 2005, when comprehensive EMS disposition data was captured.

For more, visit CambridgeMA.GOV/VisionZero.

Page was posted on 2/28/2018 4:23 PM
Page was last modified on 7/24/2023 9:55 PM
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