Over the next six months, Metro Public Works will swap out 2,500 speed limit signs across Nashville’s neighborhoods as the max speed falls from 30 mph to 25 mph to help address safety concerns.
Residential speeding is a major concern for residents. Jeff Hammond, with Metro Public Works, says more than 180 communities across the city have requested some type of traffic calming measure, like speed bumps or traffic circles.
Many neighborhoods don’t have sidewalks, forcing pedestrians into the road and making high speeds more dangerous.
Last year was the deadliest year for pedestrians. So city leaders hope that a slower speed limit might be part of improving conditions.
“When you drop it down even at a pretty marginal decrease, like 5 mph, you begin to see pretty dramatic shifts in survivability of crashes,” Hammond says.
City residents and advocates have called for a speed limit decrease for years, and local and national studies have shown it is an effective safety measure.
Metro Council finally approved the speed limit decrease at the start of last month.
But new signs won’t create instant change overnight, Hammond says.
“The engineering is important, that’s the part we’re involved in,” Hammond says, “but so is the education, so is the enforcement, and so is the evaluation of it.”
Even if there’s not increased enforcement from city police, he says the signs are a good first step towards safer streets.