Metro Public Works (MPW), in partnership with Mayor John Cooper, announced the roll-out of lower speed limits on neighborhood streets across Nashville at an event this week. The effort, called the Neighborhood Speed Limit Reduction, is a continuation of the city’s commitment to making streets safer for all users and enhancing the quality of life for neighborhood residents. The initiative will lower residential speed limits from 30 miles per hour to 25 miles per hour in the Urban Services District (USD) and help reestablish the baseline speed to make streets safer and more comfortable for pedestrians and cyclists.
“The most challenging year in Nashville’s history was also our worst year for pedestrian fatalities,” said Mayor Cooper. “We know that lower speeds save lives. And when drivers slow down, they are less likely to crash in the first place because they have more time to react. Metro’s Neighborhood Speed Limit Reduction initiative will make our roads safer while also improving the quality of life in our neighborhoods.”
The Neighborhood Speed Limit Reduction was included in Mayor Cooper’s campaign platform and was funded as part of the 2018-2019 Capital Spending Plan. It was approved with overwhelming support from both Metro Council as well as Metro’s Traffic & Parking Commission in early 2021, and received input from a steering committee of community stakeholders.
The changes are estimated to take 4-6 months to complete and around 2,500 street signs will be replaced based on a zone system. The speed limit reduction zones are the same as the USD portions of metro’s brush collection zones. Crews will methodically work through each and move sequentially to the next. Metro crews will begin sign installation in zones 5 and 10 in the northern and southern portions of the county. The sign replacement will cost around $85,000 to complete—a major cost savings from the original budgeted amount of $500,000.
“We know there’s a need for this change in our neighborhoods,” said Metro Public Works Assistant Director Jeff Hammond. “Our neighborhood traffic calming program is enormously popular with over 180 applicant neighborhoods, and residents have made it clear that they want slower streets. We hear them, and we agree.”
The department will be conducting robust outreach over the next several months to inform residents of the changes, and also educate them about the dangers of speeding as well as the benefits of lower speeds.
“Pedestrian deaths are preventable deaths. Just a few miles per hour can be the difference between life and death,” said Lindsey Ganson, director of Advocacy and Communications for Walk Bike Nashville. “A pedestrian’s risk of severe injury or death is cut in half when the impact speed drops from 33 mph to 25 mph.”
Residents can find out more about the changes, and can see if their street will change by visiting: <SpeedLimitReduction.nashville.gov>.