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Neighborhood Slow Streets

The City of Boston’s approach to lowering speeds and improving street safety on smaller, less-busy, residential neighborhood streets in the City.

Neighborhood Slow Streets focuses on improving street safety at the neighborhood scale.  We work alongside communities to understand safety issues. We then propose small scale improvements that have a long-lasting impact.

The neighborhood streets within each Neighborhood Slow Streets area will have a speed limit of 20 mph — instead of the citywide 25 mph. We're also building design changes that address the most serious safety issues at crossings and intersections that have the highest concentration of crashes. 

This program specifically focuses on solutions that are for smaller, residential streets.  View a map of all projects in the City that are slowing speeds and improving safety, including those on larger streets.

have questions? contact us!

Looking for updates about a specific Neighborhood Slow Streets zone? Visit our neighborhood specific pages!

Email Updates

Get email updates about Neighborhood Slow Streets, including notification when new zones will be added.

2021 Construction Season

We are focused on construction in 10 Neighborhood Slow Streets priority zones.

Our Neighborhood Slow Streets program makes lasting safety and quality of life improvements for our residents. Each zone's design includes reconstruction of several intersections. That's in addition to tools such as speed humps, pavement markings, and signs. Our engineering designs have been fully approved and are ready for construction for all 10 zones.

We finalized a construction contract in spring 2020. But, the COVID-19 pandemic created significant delays. We are glad to be building our safety improvements this year.

What can you expect?

When construction is scheduled, we will send an update to our email list for that zone. We will also send direct mail to addresses in our database. Construction crews will post "No Parking" signs at least 48 hours before any work that impacts parking.

Typically, speed humps are the first thing we build. Speed hump construction may take a few days. The speed humps will have temporary paint and signage. Signs and pavement markings for clear corners are also installed early in the process. Curb extensions, roundabouts, and crossing islands will be built next. This construction will take a few weeks. After a few days, the crews will return to add new pavement markings for new crosswalks and speed humps. All signs will be finalized by that time.

CONSTRUCTION IS COMPLETED IN:
  • Mt. Hope / Canterbury
  • Talbot-Norfolk Triangle
CONSTRUCTION IS UNDERWAY IN:
  • Dorchester United Neighborhood (DUN) East
  • Grove Hall / Quincy Corridor
  • Highland Park
  • Washington-Harvard-Norwell
CONSTRUCTION HAS NOT YET STARTED IN:
  • Chinatown
  • Dorchester United Neighborhood (DUN) West
  • Redefine Our Community (ROC)
  • West Selden Street and Vicinity
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Priority Areas

View a map of current Neighborhood Slow Streets priority areas
Show Map

About the program

Instead of planning and putting in place changes on one street at a time, Boston will address an entire “zone” within a neighborhood.

We will look at every street within the zone to find problems and design solutions. We'll do this while working with the community. We anticipate traffic-calming elements and safety improvements will be proposed for almost every street within the zone.

When each zone’s plan is put in place, streets will have visual and physical cues to slow drivers to 20 mph. This will make each street feel more inviting for people of all ages who are walking, playing, or bicycling. The Neighborhood Slow Streets program will emphasize long-lasting improvements for safety and quality life, with a focus on accessibility. Our common tools include:

  • Reconstructed intersections,
  • Speed humps,
  • Better crosswalks, and
  • Clear corners.

Street Safety Design Tools

Learn about common street design tools and how we use them to make streets safer in Neighborhood Slow Streets plans. 

View Design Toolkit

2020 Zones and Evaluation

We prioritized three new zones to join the Neighborhood Slow Streets program in 2020:

  • Hancock Street Triangle (Dorchester)
  • Lower South Street and Vicinity (Roslindale)
  • Moreland Street and Mount Pleasant Avenue (Roxbury)

Within the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, we temporarily changed our approach to prioritizing neighborhood zones. Rather than our typical nomination process, we decided to rescore all proposed zones from both previous rounds of applications.

2018 zones and evaluation

These five zones were selected through an objective evaluation process. We based this process on the pre-established criteria described on our web page and in application materials.

Read more about the 2018 evaluation process

Download the 2018 methodology (PDF, 9.41 mb)*

*Note: This document is not intended for printing. If you need to print any of the pages, use one of the documents provided in the "Print" section of the 2018 evaluation process page.

2017 zones and evaluation

Five communities joined the Neighborhood Slow Streets Program in 2017:

These five zones were prioritized through an objective evaluation process. We based this process on the pre-established criteria described on our web page and in application materials.

Read more about the 2017 evaluation process

Download the 2017 methodology (PDF, 18.9 mb)*

*Note: This document is not intended for printing. If you need to print any of the pages, use one of the documents provided in the "Print" section of the 2017 evaluation process page.

Common questions

Common questions

Neighborhood Slow Streets is a City initiative to slow traffic speeds and improve safety on residential streets within a specific area. When a neighborhood is part of the program, the speed limit on its residential streets will be 20 mph.

Work with your neighbors to submit nomination forms for your community. We hope to select new zones in late 2021.

No. Applications must be from a group of residents. This includes:

  • neighborhood associations
  • community groups
  • faith-based intuitions, and
  • other organized groups of neighbors.

We expect demand for the program will outpace the resources available each year. With an application process, we can objectively evaluate interested neighborhoods. 

You can email slowstreets@boston.gov or call 617-635-1347. If you are leaving a voicemail, be sure to leave your name and a callback number.

The Neighborhood Slow Streets program prioritizes areas with the most need. We will use objective evaluation criteria to select three to five communities that:

  • are home to higher percentages of youth, older adults, and people with disabilities
  • experience higher numbers of traffic crashes per mile that result in an EMS response
  • include, or border, community places like public libraries, community centers, schools, and parks
  • support existing and planned opportunities for walking, bicycling, and access to transit, and
  • are feasible for the City of Boston to put in place improvements.

We expect to begin working with three new communities after each application cycle. 

You must collect at least two full pages of signatures (24 signatures) from people who live in your proposed zone. This helps show a baseline of community support. But, we will not factor the total number of signatures into your score.

While your proposed area could include streets that are not owned by the City of Boston, we likely cannot make changes to those streets.

You can expect to see new signs, pavement markings, speed humps, and improvements to visibility at intersections. In some places, you could see additional changes. These include raised crosswalks, curb extensions, and neighborhood traffic circles.

Stop signs are used to control how traffic flows through an intersection. An engineering analysis must be conducted before a stop sign is installed. Among other things, engineers evaluate how many people drive, bike, and walk through an intersection. They also review the number and type of crashes that have happened.

Stop signs are not traffic-calming measures, but may be considered as part of the Neighborhood Slow Streets program if an intersection meets engineering standards. If you believe an intersection needs a stop sign, make the request through Boston 311.

No. Our snow plowing teams will be notified of locations with speed humps so drivers can know to expect them. Signs will be installed on streets to notify drivers of the location of speed humps.

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