Effective May 1, 2018, Dedham's default speed limit is 25 MPH!
Section 193 of Chapter 218 of the Acts of 2016 added a new section to Chapter 90 of the Massachusetts General Laws (MGL). The new section, Section 17c, states that the Board of Selectmen (BOS) that accepts this section may in the interest of public safety and without further authority, establish a speed limit of 25 mph on any roadway inside a thickly settled or business district in the Town that is not a State Highway or is not otherwise posted pursuant to the issuance of special speed regulations. Without the creation of Section 17c allowing the BOS to reduce the default speed limit to 25 mph on any roadway inside a thickly settled or business district, the default speed limit would remain at 30 mph.
In 2017, the Town Manager, at the request of the BOS, submitted an article for the November 2017 Town Meeting seeking a vote by Town Meeting members to accept the provisions of Section 17c to allow the BOS to establish the 25 mph speed limit. That article was approved by Town Meeting members.
At their 2/1/17 meeting, the BOS voted in favor of opting into Section 17c on a Townwide basis.
WHY DEDHAM IS MAKING THE CHANGE
One of BOS's top priorities is to eliminate fatalities and serious injuries resulting from crashes involving driver's, bicyclists and pedestrians. Legislative efforts, like lowering the speed limit, combined with enhanced street design, education and enforcement policies work together to create a street system and the standard of behavior that dramatically reduces the consequences of everyday mistakes. Mistakes can and will happen, but they should not be deadly or lead to serious injury.
When drivers are traveling at 25 mph, drivers, bicyclists and pedestrians have more time to see each other and react. This small 5 mph decrease in mean speed means that many crashes can be avoided. If a crash does happen, it is less likely to cause death or serious injury.
The graphic below shows the likelihood of a pedestrain incurring severe injuries if struck by a driver traveling at various speeds.1
17% 30% 47%
The graphic below shows the likelihood of a pedestrian being fatally struck by a driver traveling at various speeds.1
7% 12% 20%Dedham's 25 mph default speed limit is on par with other communities in the Commonwealth that have made it a priority to reduce fatalities and serious injuries on their streets. Some of the other Towns and Cities include Boston, Braintree, Newton, Arlington, Scituate.
The new default speed limit will not have an impact on your ability to get around efficiently. Vehicle speed is primarily determined by factors like traffic congestion, parked vehicles, turning vehicles and traffic signals.
The lower default speed limit also will not impact speeds during the most congested times of the day. Many drivers are already traveling at speeds below 25 mph during these times.
WHAT DEDHAM IS DOING
As of May 1, 2018, the 25 mph default town-wide speed limit will take effect on all roadways where there is NO posted speed limit.
IF YOU DON'T SEE A POSTED SPEED LIMIT, THE SPEED LIMIT IS 25 MPH.
The Town is currently working to inform people of the new default speed limit through a widespread public outreach campaign. We will be placing flyers as inserts to the Dedham Times once in March and April, a copy of the flyer will be issued to the schools to be sent to parents, message boards will be placed at various locations throughout Town, getting word out on various social media outlets and signs will be installed at major jurisdictional boundaries.
The Town is also asking for your assistance in getting the word out. Below you can download the flyer that can be shared with friends and family. If you're a business owner, you can place the flyer in a store front window.
ROADWAYS THAT ARE NOT AFFECTED BY THE NEW DEFAULT SPEED LIMIT OF 25 MPH
PLEASE NOTE THAT THIS CHANGE ONLY AFFECTS TOWN OWNED PUBLIC WAYS and NOT State Highways or Public Ways that have existing posted speed limits. Motorists on these roadways must adhere to the posted speed limit or statutory speed limit.
Below is a list of roadways that are either State Highways or Public Ways that have an existing posted speed limit that will NOT be affected by the new default 25 mph speed limit.
POSTED PUBLIC WAY: STATE HIGHWAY:
- Ames Street (High St to Pleasant St) - Ames Street (Bridge St to Pleasant St)
- Bridge Street (Ames St to High St) - Bridge Street (Town Line to Ames St)
- Bussey Street (Entire) - Court Street (Weatherbee St to Washington St)
- Cedar Street (Entire) - Dedham Boulevard (Entire)
- Court Street (High St to Weatherbee St) - Elm Street (Washington St to 290' South of Rt. 1)
- Curve Street (Entire) - High Street (Town Line to 70' East of Deerpath Rd)
- East Street (Entire) - Lyons Street (Entire)
- Elm Street (Rustcraft Rd to 290' South of Rt. 1) - Washington Street (Town Line to Court St)
- Greenlodge Street (Sprague St to Fillmore Rd) - West Street (Newbridge Way to 620' East of Burgess Ln)
- High Street (Milton St to 70' East of Deerpath Rd) - Route 1 (Entire)
- Milton Street (Entire) - VFW Parkway (Entire)
- Mt. Vernon Street (High St to Adams St)
- Common Street (Entire)
- Needham Street (Entire)
- Pine Street (Entire)
- River Street (Entire)
- Rustcraft Road (Entire)
- Sprague Street (Entire)
- Vincent Road (East St to Fox Meadow Ln)
- Washington Street (Town Line to Court St)
- West Street (Town Line to 620' East of Burgess Ln)
FINES FOR SPEEDING
Compliance will be our main measure of success, and we hope that everyone chooses to drive at safe speeds. However, the Dedham Police Department is committed to compliance and will use enforcement to deter violations.
The penalty for violating the speed limit will not change. The fine for exceeding the speed limit in Massachusetts is $105. If you drive more than 10 mph over the speed limit, you have to also pay $10 for each mile per hour that you are over.
Drivers may get additional penalties depending on the severity of the ticket and the person's driving history. Drivers also get points on their license for speeding.
If you have any questions regarding the new default speed limit, please feel free to contact the Director of Engineering, Jason Mammone at 781-751-9350 or firstname.lastname@example.org.