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DC Will Lower Its Default Speed Limit to 20 MPH

Some streets, where more space is needed for social distancing, will be lowered to 15 MPH

Photo courtesy of iStock

As DC begins reopening today, Mayor Muriel Bowser announced that the city will lower the default speed limit on local roads to 20 MPH, down from 25. The change will go into effect on Monday, June 1.

“One thing that we have for sure learned with less traffic on the street is that people are driving faster, and we see it all over,” Bowser said in a press conference. “While it may seem like a small change, we know that surviving accidents is strongly correlated to speed, and lowering the speed limit will help us keep people safe.”

The District Department of Transportation is also launching an initiative called “Slow Streets” to identify areas, such as existing bikeways, where more space is needed for social distancing. Those roads will be restricted to 15 MPH with local traffic only. Last year, DC lowered the speed limit to 15 MPH near schools and recreation centers.

DC has seen 10 traffic fatalities so far this year.

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Jessica Sidman
Food Editor

Jessica Sidman covers the people and trends behind D.C.’s food and drink scene. Before joining Washingtonian in July 2016, she was Food Editor and Young & Hungry columnist at Washington City Paper. She is a Colorado native and University of Pennsylvania grad.