Safer Speeds Can Save Lives
It’s simple: Lower speed limits save lives. The faster you are driving, the more likely a crash involving a pedestrian could be fatal. In Cambridge, MA, a new Vision Zero commitment emphasizes that serious and fatal traffic crashes should and can be prevented.
WalkBoston and Livable Streets Alliance have advocated for decades for lower speed limits to make it safer and easier to walk in communities. Massachuset’s Municipal Modernization Bill was passed in November 2016 to allow communities to opt-in to lower the prevailing speed limit to 25 miles per hour. Cambridge signed on the next month and adopted this speed limit. Reducing the speed limit is not just about reducing risk; it also creates an opportunity to design a more livable and walkable community. The Complete Streets program envisions streets that are designed to enable safe access for everyone of all ages and abilities who walk, bike, take transit or drive.
Cambridge was one of the first communities to receive grant funding through the MassDOT Complete Streets Funding Program in September 2016 to help make multi-modal improvements. Residents and visitors get around in many ways. Sometimes it makes the most sense to use the MBTA, while other errands are much more convenient by foot, by bike or by car. Complete Streets help give people choices and make travel safer and more convenient for all of us. Every person walking down the street, riding a bicycle, or sitting on the 1 Bus is one less person contributing to car traffic.
There are many varieties of Complete Streets. With separated bike lanes, cyclists are safer and pedestrians don’t have as far to cross. Dedicated transit lanes increase bus ridership on some streets, where others have wider sidewalks and curb extensions that encourage more students to walk to school safely. While there is still much work to be done, communities across Massachusetts, like Cambridge, continue to work toward making their streets safer for everyone to get around.
So, engage with Vision Zero to help end traffic deaths and serious injuries, and help spread the word!
WalkBoston is a non-profit pedestrian organization dedicated to improving walking conditions in cities and towns across Massachusetts. LivableStreets Alliance advocates for innovative and equitable transportation solutions that create safe, affordable and convenient options for everyone in Metro Boston.