The following Frequently Asked Questions pertain to speed zones around the City of Worcester.
This is a common request from residents who are concerned about excessive vehicle speed in their neighborhood. They are concerned about the safety of their children and elder pedestrians.
Massachusetts Department of Transportation controls all speed limits on all public roadways in the Commonwealth. In Worcester, where the vast majority of local (neighborhood) roadways fall into the category of "thickly settled" zones, the prima facie speed limit is thirty (30) miles per hour. This speed limit is based on stopping distance and reaction time based on average driver response.
If there are unusual or complex conditions on your street, such as a sharp curve, it may be appropriate to request warning signs to alert drivers of the situation and suggest that their speed be appropriate for the conditions.
Schools typically have an abundance of pedestrian activities and vehicle drop-off and pick-up. Because of these conditions the State allows for reduced speed limits adjacent to the facilities when certain warrant are met.
MassDOT will approve a twenty (20) mile per hour zone for locations where the school property abuts the public street, and where the school has student in grades one (1) through nine (9).
The student population requirement is based on the following facts: preschool students rarely walk unattended to their school, and high school students should be mature enough to safely navigate the local streets.
When approved; the school zones are typically in effect during the morning entrance times, and afternoon exit times. A small sign, attached to the speed limit sign, notifies drivers of the times.
The warrants for School Zones are shown here, and can be viewed at: http://www.massdot.state.ma.us/Portals/8/docs/traffic/MassMUTCD20120409.pdf.