Cambridge to Reduce Speed Limit to 20 MPH On Most City Streets

New speed limit signs will start going up around the city in mid-November.

Bicyclists on the Somerville Community Path cross Massachusetts Avenue in North Cambridge in May 2019.
Bicyclists on the Somerville Community Path cross Massachusetts Avenue in North Cambridge in May 2019.

This winter, the City of Cambridge will start installing new signs across the city to reduce the speed limit on most city-owned streets to 20 mph.

In a press release announcing the move, the City cited the new speed limits as a “key part” of it its Vision Zero strategy to eliminate crashes that cause serious or fatal injuries. Crash data from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety show that a person is more than twice as likely to die if they’re struck by a vehicle traveling 30 mph versus 20 mph.

The latest move will expand on 20 mph “slow zones” established on major streets in and around the city’s five major squares in 2018. Larger streets like Brattle Street and Cambridge Street and Department of Conservation and Recreation roadways like Fresh Pond Parkway and Memorial Drive will generally retain their current speed limits.

“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.”

The city plans to start installing new 20 mph speed limit signs in mid-November, and expects to take three months before the installations are complete. An interactive map that illustrates the project is available at cambridgema.gov/20mph.

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