Boston officials plan to drop the speed limit to 20 m.p.h. in small sections of Jamaica Plain and Dorchester - and to seek state permission to reduce the default citywide speed limit to 25 - as part of efforts to reduce the number of crash-related injuries and deaths in the city.
The "Neighborhood Slow Streets" proposals for the Stony Brook and Talbot-Triangle areas could then become blueprints for reducing bad crashes on neighborhood streets across Boston.
They're part of the city's Vision Zero program, which aims to reduce the current 20 pedestrian deaths and more than 200 serious pedestrian injures a year to zero.
Work on reducing speed limits and installing traffic-calming devices in the Stonybrook and Talbot-triangle areas could start in early 2016. Some side streets off Centre Street in Jamaica Plain already have speed humps aimed at forcing drivers to slow down. City planners are also looking at ways to reduce crashes in Codman Square in Dorchester and along Mass. Ave. from the Charles River to Melnea Cass Boulevard as part of the Vision Zero work.
Longer term, city officials are looking at a combination of slower legal speeds, redesigned intersections, traffic-calming systems such as speed humps, more bike paths and greater enforcement - which would include looking at ways to change "[legal] barriers around automated enforcement technologies to crack down on dangerous driving behaviors such as speeding, red light running, and failure to yield to pedestrians." Also possible: A large increase in the number of cameras "to anonymously count the movements of cars, bicycles, and pedestrians over time to inform planning decisions."
Vision Zero Boston prioritizes safety and takes a people-first approach to transportation and community building. Most trips in the City of Boston are made by people on foot, bike, or transit. Everyone, including drivers, benefits from a transportation system that's made safer for the most vulnerable road users.
In a statement, Mayor Walsh adds:
Driving, walking, or riding a bike on Boston's streets should not be a test of courage.
We know how to build safer streets. We know how to protect our most vulnerable road users, who are suffering disproportionately because of speeding traffic and distracted drivers.