Officials are enforcing a new, lower speed limit on city streets and looking to replace a variety of faded signs.
By ADAM SWIFT
PEABODY — Slow down. The default speed limit on city streets has been lowered from 30 to 25 mph.
The change went into effect on May 1 after gaining City Council approval in February.
“We believe this change to our citywide speed limit will make everyone who lives, works or visits Peabody safer,” said Mayor Edward A. Bettencourt Jr. “Police Chief (Thomas) Griffin and I spent a good deal of time discussing and analyzing this issue and we believe it makes sense for the community.”
The new speed limit doesn’t apply on roads or sections of road that already have different speed limits posted. In those instances, the posted speed limits will continue to be valid and will not be affected by the new law.
“In terms of the new speed limit helping, if a vehicle is moving slower, I feel there will be fewer accidents,” Griffin said. “If there are accidents, we should have less property damage and fewer injuries if people are driving slower.”
Some of the biggest problem areas for speeding in the city include Bartholomew and Felton streets, the chief said.
While the new law looks to address speedy drivers, Griffin said the initial aim is to educate motorists, not necessarily to go on a ticket-writing binge.
“There’s going to be a learning curve and an educational process we will have to put in place,” he said. “We were not out on the first day writing big tickets.
“For now, it’s about more education, changing behavior and getting drivers to slow down.”
As part of the change, dozens of new speed limit signs will be posted on major thoroughfares and secondary roadways throughout the city. The highly visible signs include a fluorescent yellow stripe and will be prominent at all major access points to the city.
The new speed limit signs won’t be the only change residents can expect to see over the coming months. Bettencourt said the city is undertaking a new initiative to remove or replace faded or outdated road signs.
The mayor is encouraging resident to let city officials know the location of faded signs throughout Peabody. The initiative does not include street signs (Main Street, Pulaski Street, etc.) since those signs are replaced on a regular rotation.