City of Cambridge Announces 20 MPH Speed Limit on Most City-Owned Streets
The City of Cambridge will reduce the speed limit on most city-owned streets to 20 mph, starting in mid-November. The new speed limits will apply on smaller, primarily local-access streets. Larger, arterial roads will still have a speed limit of 25 mph, unless otherwise posted. By driving at or below 20 mph, people can help reduce the likelihood of a crash. Lowering speed limits is a key part of the city's Vision Zero strategy to eliminate all crashes that result in serious or fatal injuries. If a crash does happen, it is much less likely to cause serious injury or fatality. When in doubt, go 20 mph.
Data show that reducing speeds has a big impact on the outcome of crashes. A study from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety showed that people walking are almost half as likely to be killed or seriously injured if struck by a car traveling 25 mph as compared to a car traveling 30 mph.
“We’ve heard concerns about speeding from people throughout the Cambridge community,” said Joseph Barr, Director of the Traffic, Parking, and Transportation Department. “Reducing the speed limit is an important step towards addressing those concerns. This change will also inform the way that we design our streets and help support our ongoing traffic calming efforts.”
During implementation, approximately 660 “Safety Zone” signs will be installed. A contractor, managed by city staff, will complete the majority of the work. Installations will begin in mid-November and proceed for approximately three months. Work will start in East Cambridge and proceed across the city to the west. A map of streets with 20 mph speed limits and approximate sign locations is available at cambridgema.gov/20mph
. The map will be updated on an ongoing basis as new signs are installed.
Reducing the speed limit on most city-owned streets to 20 mph follows the reduction of the default speed limit from 30 mph to 25 mph in December of 2016. It also builds off work done in early 2018 to decrease speed limits to 20 mph in the city’s five squares. Both this and the previous speed limit changes were made possible by the State's 2016 Municipal Modernization Act. Chapter 90, Section 18B of the Massachusetts General Laws allows the Traffic, Parking, and Transportation Department Director to establish 20 mph safety zones in the interest of public safety.