City councilors said today they will work to craft a proposal that would let Boston drop the speed limit on most roads to 20 m.p.h. - just 15 m.p.h. in school zones.
The measure, which would require action by the state legislature, would overturn the current system, in which the city can only lower the default 30 m.p.h. limit on specific roads after undertaking lengthy, costly traffic studies on the road.
Councilor Frank Baker (Dorchester), who proposed the measure, said 30 m.p.h. is simply too fast on Boston roads with parking and bike lanes on both sides.
Councilors said today they get more calls about speeding drivers on Boston's narrow streets than anything else.
Councilor Josh Zakim (Back Bay, Fenway, Mission Hill, Beacon Hill) noted the recent drag-racing crash on Beacon Street.
Councilor Tim McCarthy supported the measure, even though "part of what hurts the most is it's our neighbors who are speeding."
But he also cited drivers of the MBTA's route-50 buses, who he said speed down Summer and Austin streets "like they're going to the IndyCar."
Councilors noted that similar home-rule requests to the state legislature have failed, but said they hope this one would pass because it is crafted to be just for Boston, not towns where it might not be needed, such as Ludlow, where a key legislator in the transportation area came from.
"If you go 20 m.p.h. anywhere in Ludlow, you probably wouldn't get out of Ludlow for a couple days," McCarthy mused.