Letter Supporting Speed Limit Reductions

June 27, 2016

The Honorable Stanley Rosenberg
Senate President
State House, Room 332
Boston, MA 02133

The Honorable Karen Spilka
Chair, Senate Committee on Ways and Means
State House, Room 212
Boston, MA 02133

The Honorable Thomas McGee
Senate Chair, Joint Committee on Transportation
State House, Room 109C
Boston, MA 02133

Re: Speed limit reductions in densely settled areas as part of municipal modernization bill (H4419)

Dear Senators Rosenberg, Spilka, and McGee:

As members of the Massachusetts Vision Zero Coalition, a diverse group of organizations working to advance a future with zero traffic fatalities and serious injuries, we write to you in support of measures that will give local communities the option to reduce prevailing speed limits on local roads in densely settled areas. H4419, the municipal modernization bill that recently passed the House, includes language (Sections 222 and 223) that gives municipalities this tool, consistent with other local opt-in clauses in the bill. As the Senate considers this legislation, we urge you to ensure that this critical MassDOT-endorsed language to enhance safety for all road users is included in the final version of the bill.

We know that reducing speed limits is one of the most important things we can do to advance our Vision Zero goals to eliminate all traffic fatalities and serious injuries, while increasing safe, healthy and equitable mobility for all. Fatalities from traffic crashes are directly related to speed: 90% of pedestrians hit by cars die when struck at 40 mph, compared to 10% at 20 mph. Simply put, Massachusetts’ prevailing speed limit of 30 mph (at which 40% of pedestrian crashes are fatal) is too fast for local roads in densely settled areas, which have high proportions of people walking and biking, as well as vulnerable road users like schoolchildren and the elderly.

Many other states have reduced their speed limits in dense urban areas below 30 mph to enhance safety. We stand ready to work with you to give communities all across our great Commonwealth the ability to do the same and we thank you for your consideration.


Massachusetts Vision Zero Coalition

Boston Cyclists Union 
LivableStreets Alliance 
Safe Roads Alliance