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Boston City Council Votes To Lower Default Speed Limit To 25 MPH

BOSTON (CBS) --  The city's default speed limit is dropping to 25 miles per hour on January 1st, and could go lower in some places.

Boston's City Council passed an ordnance to reduce the speed limit on Wednesday.

Mayor Marty Walsh said the decision would improve safety on the city's roadways for those walking, driving, or biking, and would help save lives.

"This is an important milestone in our Vision Zero efforts of bringing the number of traffic-related deaths to zero, and with approval of this petition we are one step closer to achieving that goal," Mayor Walsh said in a statement.

City Councilor Josh Zakim told WBZ NewsRadio 1030's Lana Jones that he was surprised to learn the city has had the authority to cut speed limits as it sees fit for decades.

"Beginning in January, the default speed limit for the whole city will go to 25 from 30," he said. "These lower areas of 20 miles per hour is something that the transportation department can do before then."

He said the council will take a look at several problems areas--like Beacon Street--which have seen a number of accidents including fatalities.

"It's not just in the Back Bay, obviously--it's anywhere in the city where I think this can help save lives and keep people safer."

In a release, Mayor Walsh's office said 17 people had been killed in traffic accidents so far in 2016.

Zakim said the council will work with residents to enforce the new limits in places where speeding has been a problem.

"We're going to work with the transportation department and some of our residents in making sure that, where necessary, we're lowering the speed limit to 20 miles per hour," he said.

He says police and the traffic department have been stepping up enforcement, as well as signals and signage. He says the new lower speed limits are yet another tool to help increase safety.

WBZ NewsRadio 1030's Lana Jones reports

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