Saint Paul and Minneapolis Announce New, Lower Speed Limits
On Thursday, March 12, 2020, city officials from both Saint Paul and Minneapolis, joined by several community advocates, gathered at Franklin Avenue and Emerald Street SE (a border street between Saint Paul and Minneapolis) to announce both cities will be lowering speeds on city-owned streets this year to support safer streets. Slower speeds on our streets make travel safer for everyone no matter how they get around. Lower traffic speeds also reduce the likelihood of a crash and make a crash less likely to lead to death or a life-changing injury. A person hit at 35 mph is three times as likely to die as someone hit at 25 mph.
New speed limits will be 20 mph for local residential streets; 25 mph for larger, arterial and collector city-owned streets; and 30-plus mph for a few city-owned streets. Per Minnesota law, cities do not have authority to change speed limits on county and MnDOT roads. Speed limits on these streets in Minneapolis and Saint Paul will not change.
Staff from both cities will begin to install or change more than 1,000 speed limit signs on city-owned streets in the coming months. New, lower 25 mph speed limits on individual streets will go into effect as soon as they are signed.
Once the busier streets are signed, the cities will then install “gateway signs” at entry points in both cities, indicating the citywide speed limit is 20 mph unless otherwise posted. Once the gateway signs are installed, the 20 mph speed limit on local residential streets will be in effect. The cities will generally not be posting 20 mph signs on local residential streets. The cities expect the sign installation to be completed by this fall.
Why is Saint Paul changing their speed limits now?
As of August 1, 2019, Minnesota cities have the authority to set speed limits on streets they own. Any speed limit change must be based on a safety, engineering and traffic analysis. County and state roads are not included in this authority.
In October 2019, the Saint Paul City Council passed an ordinance to allow the City Engineer to set speed limits on city-owned streets. The City of Minneapolis and Saint Paul Public Works departments collaborated to analyze appropriate speed limits on city-owned streets. The speed limit changes follow individual studies done by the Cities of Saint Paul and Minneapolis Public Works departments to determine appropriate local speed limits as required by state statute.
The lower speed limits are in line with national trends toward lower urban speed limits to support safety.
City of Saint Paul Department of Public Works has completed a technical evaluation to determine speed limits on city streets following new legislation enabling City governments to set the speed limits on roadways under their jurisdiction. The City's technical evaluation process achieves the following goals:
- To support the City’s traffic safety goal of zero traffic deaths and severe injuries
- To Improve safety and comfort for people of all abilities walking, bicycling, and taking transit
- To support the movement of people and goods
- To be consistent, understandable, reasonable, and appropriate for an urban context
This evaluation included an examination of local policies and plans, national guidance and peer city experiences, relevant safety studies and data, and existing speeds. The completed technical evaluation is summarized in the Saint Paul Speed Limit Evaluation.
Additional documents and resources
- Saint Paul Public Works completed a Speed Limit Evaluation Report with a memo from the City Engineer.
- Joint News Release from Saint Paul and Minneapolis 3-12-2020
- Frequently Asked Questions (coming soon)
- Overview Presentation
Community "Tool Kit" (Coming Soon)
Slower is safer! Saint Paul and Minneapolis have teamed up to create a library of materials residents and community groups can use to help education friends, neighbors and visitors about the new lower speed limits on city-owned streets. Coming this spring, there will be free "20 is Plenty" yard signs, stickers, flyers and a video. Check back soon.