Pump the brakes – new speed limits in the Twin Cities

MSR News Online/MSR News Online

New plans announced by both St. Paul and Minneapolis will require drivers to slow their roll to ensure safer streets. The new speed limits for local residential streets in the Twin Cities will be 20 mph; 25 mph for larger, arterial city-owned streets; and 30-plus mph for a few city-owned streets.

Per Minnesota law, cities do not have the authority to change speed limits on county and MnDOT roads. So speed limits on these streets in Minneapolis and St. Paul will not change.

Staff from both cities will begin to install or change more than 1,000-speed limit signs on City-owned streets in the coming months. New, lower 25 mph speed limits on individual streets will go into effect as soon as they are signed.

Once the busier streets are signed, the cities will then install “gateway signs” at entry points in both cities, indicating the citywide speed limit is 20 mph unless otherwise posted. Once the gateway signs are installed, the 20 mph speed limit on local residential streets will be in effect. The cities will generally not be posting 20 mph signs on local residential streets. The cities expect the sign installation to be completed by this fall.

The speed limit changes follow technical studies done by the Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul Public Works departments, respectively, to determine appropriate local speed limits as required by state statute.

The lower speed limits are in line with national trends toward lower urban speed limits to support safety. Lower traffic speeds reduce the likelihood of a crash and make all types of crashes less likely to lead to death or a life-changing injury. A person hit at 35 mph is three times as likely to die as someone hit at 25 mph.

Reducing speed limits is one of the key strategies in the Minneapolis Vision Zero Action Plan, which outlines key steps for the next three years to advance the City’s goal of ending traffic deaths and injuries on City streets by 2027.

—Information provided by the Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul.