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Traffic Calming

What is traffic calming?

Traffic calming is a way to reduce motor vehicle speeds and improve the safety and livability of residential streets. Traffic calming can be achieved in a variety of ways but is usually done by making physical changes to the streetscape. These changes intentionally force drivers to slow down.

Why is traffic calming necessary?

Our streets should be designed to make it uncomfortable to drive faster than the speed limit, which is 25 mph unless otherwise posted. By implementing traffic calming treatments that help to achieve this goal, residents, cyclists, and pedestrians can all feel safer on Somerville's streets.

I think that cars drive too fast on my street. What can I do?

To have your street considered for traffic calming, fill out the petition form here and return it to the Traffic Commission Administrator. Your street will be put onto our traffic calming request list, and the city will begin to collect data on that street. Once this is complete, your street will be prioritized based on factors such as crash rates, adjacent land uses, and the extent of speeding. Streets at the top of the prioritization list will be more likely to receive funding and will be addressed first.

Which streets are currently being petitioned?

The City of Somerville is currently reviewing petitions for a number of streets throughout the City. As part of this process, the City performed a data study to identify the current speed and traffic conditions of these streets. You can see the results of this study in this PDF.

PDF preview links to Somerville Petition Streets


Speed (85th): a common measure used in transportation engineering that defines the speed that 85% of traffic is going slower than on a given street.

ADT: ADT refers to the Average Daily Traffic of a street, or the number of vehicles traveling on a street during an average weekday. If the volume of vehicles is too high or too low, the number of traffic calming interventions that could be implemented will be limited.

How can I learn more about traffic calming?

We welcome you to read our Traffic Calming Guide for more information.

Programs & Initiatives

Free rides to groceries and medical appointments for transit-dependent Somerville residents with limited incomes.
MWRA and the Cities of Cambridge and Somerville have implemented a system for rapid reporting of CSO discharges to the Alewife Brook.

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