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MGL Chapter 90, Section 17C

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Traffic Engineering

Speed Limits in Thickly Settled or Business Districts

Cities and towns have the option to opt-in to MGL c. 90 § 17C, reducing the statutory speed limit from 30 mph to 25 mph in thickly settled or business districts. MGL c. 90 § 17C defines a thickly settled or business district as "the territory contiguous to any way which is built up with structures devoted to business, or the territory contiguous to any way where dwelling houses are situated at such distances as will average less than two hundred feet between them for a distance of a quarter of a mile or over."

Please note that statutory speed limits only exist in the absence of special speed regulations. If a special speed regulation exists, that posted speed limit will always supersede a statutory speed limit within a thickly settled or business district.

MassDOT recommends that if a municipality opts-in to MGL c. 90 § 17C, that it does so on a city- or town-wide basis to avoid potential confusion for drivers. However, cities and towns do have the option to opt-in on a street-by-street basis.

Once a municipality has opted-in to MGL c. 90 § 17C, it is required to notify MassDOT. The following table lists all of the notifications MassDOT has received as of June 19, 2018.

Opt-In Date
Area(s) Covered
Arlington 5/1/2017 Townwide
Bedford 4/20/2018 Townwide
Belmont 10/11/2017 Townwide
Beverly 3/17/2017 Citywide
Billerica 8/23/2017 Alpine Street from Brick Kiln Road to Boston Road
Billerica 9/6/2017 Old Elm Street from Franklin Street to Lowell Street
Faulkner Street (entirety)
Letchworth Avenue (entirety)
Boston 1/9/2017 Citywide
Braintree 10/7/2017 Townwide
Brookline 4/18/2018 Townwide
Cambridge 11/7/2016 Citywide
Chelsea 1/4/2017 Citywide
Chicopee 10/10/2017 Citywide
Danvers 3/8/2018 Damon Street (entirety)
Chase Street (entirety)
Berry Street (entirety)
Alden Street (entirety)
Park Street from High Street to Lane Parkway
Hunt Street (entirety)
Porter Street (entirety)
Webb Street (entirety)
Bayview Avenue (entirety)
Riverside Avenue (entirety)
Dedham 2/16/2017 Townwide
Halifax 10/12/2017 Circuit Street (entirety)
Laurel Street (entirety)
Ipswich 6/12/2018 Townwide
Leominster 4/17/2017 Beth Avenue from Willard Street to Central Street
Lexington 5/12/2017 Townwide
Lynn 5/22/2017 Citywide
Malden 4/23/2018 Citywide
Medford 5/30/2017 Citywide
Melrose 6/21/2017 Citywide
Milton 4/5/2018 Townwide
Nantucket 6/21/2017 Townwide
Newton 3/13/2017 Citywide
Pittsfield 9/5/2017 Citywide
Randolph 3/27/2017 Townwide
Revere 6/1/2017 Citywide
Salem 3/22/2017 Citywide
Scituate 4/05/2017 Townwide
Somerville 10/25/2016 Citywide
Springfield 10/15/2017 Citywide
Stoneham 11/9/2017 Townwide
Swampscott 11/2/2017 Townwide

To notify MassDOT, please send a copy of the approved change to the municipal traffic code to:

Massachusetts Department of Transportation
Highway Division - Traffic & Safety Engineering
Attention: Regulations Engineer
10 Park Plaza, Room 7210
Boston, MA 02116

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