July 23, 2017

Editorial: Safer, saner streets in Worcester

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Patrick Sargent/For Worcester Sun

Where Cross, East Central and Shamrock streets meet Shrewsbury -- cross at your own risk.

Streets that are as safe as they can be for drivers and pedestrians is an obvious and important goal for any community.

Not so obvious is how best to achieve this.

Reducing the citywide speed limit to 25 miles per hour — a measure the City Council mulled last week — is one way to proceed. But we question whether that would be a truly effective route toward better safety.

The idea is allowable under the broad Municipal Modernization Act, enacted last year. The legislation allows cities and towns in Massachusetts to establish a 25 mph speed limit on roads that are not state highways and that lie within thickly settled or business districts.

Municipalities may also, if they choose, designate “safety zones” on such roads, with a posted speed limit of 20 miles per hour.

At the suggestion of Councilor-at-large Kathleen M. Toomey, chairperson of the City Council’s Public Safety Committee, the council at its July 18 meeting asked the city administration to study lowering the citywide speed limit. The idea has already been adopted by Boston and several other municipalities. Springfield jumped on the 25-mph bandwagon last week.

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