I Can’t Drive … 25? Town Discussing Lowering Speed Limit On All Roads

Photo: 25 mph is the limit.

Belmont is moving towards following the lead of neighboring municipalities by reducing the speed limit on town roads to a uniform 25 mph.

Belmont’s Assistant Town Administrator Phyliss Marshall, Glen Clancy of the Office of Community Development and members of the Belmont Police Department have been discussing the possible changes in the past month, said David Kale, Town Administrator at Monday’s Board of Selectmen’s meeting.

“Conventional wisdom” would suggest lowering the speed limit would increase road safety, said Kale, who said a bylaw change to reduce the speed limit could be before Town Meeting in May.

Marshall told the Belmontonian on Wednesday, Feb. 8, that so far “all we have done is simply discuss the possibility. Nothing has been finalized.”

If the annual Town Meeting ratifies a blanket speed for town roads, Belmont will join Boston, Somerville, and Cambridge which lowered speeds on town roads to 25 mph. State roadways, such as the Belmont Street/Trapelo Road corridor and Route 60 (which includes Pleasant Street) would remain under Massachusetts Department of Transportation rules.

Cities and towns around the state have moved to drop the speed limit since the implementation of the Municipal Modernization Act signed in August 2016, which grants cities and towns the permission to decrease local speed limits to 25 in highly congested areas and create designated 20 mph safety zones.

The Metropolitan Area Planning Council and the Massachusetts Department of Public Health conducted a study of a 2012 bill found that lowering the default speed limits five miles per hour on local roads from 30 mph made neighborhood roads safer for pedestrians, cyclists, and children while promoting active transportation such as biking and exercise.

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  1. Kate Bowen says

    There is no down side to this. Looking back through years of traffic complaints, everyone wants slower speeds in their neighborhoods. Adopting the 25 mph standard is the first step in the right direction for making our roads safer for everyone. I imagine BPD will ticket at 40 mph quite easily and that’s a speed of great concern for local access roads.

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