NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Drivers could soon be required to slow down in more Nashville neighborhoods as Metro Council is set to vote on third reading of an ordinance that would reduce speed limits from 30 mph to 25 mph in most residential areas surrounding the Metro area.
The proposed ordinance, sponsored by Metro Councilman John Rutherford, follows a similar measure passed in 2021 which lowered most residential speed limits in the Urban Service District, or the Metro Nashville area, from 30 mph to 25 mph.
Rutherford told News 2 it’s helped reduce accidents and lower the overall speed of drivers.
According to a Nashville Department of Transportation study, speed was reduced by 3.5 mph in the neighborhoods where the speed limit was lowered to 25 mph, versus the neighborhoods where speed limits stayed at 30 mph.
Rutherford’s constituents in Southeast Nashville complained that speeding was still a problem in their neighborhoods, which were not included in the ordinance that lowered speed limits. The councilman tried to apply for traffic calming projects for his district, but Metro prioritized other roads.
“I thought, well, the next best alternative would be to lower the speed,” Rutherford said.
According to a federal study on pedestrian crashes, the risk of death or serious injury is cut in half when a driver goes 23 mph versus 31 mph. Rutherford told News 2 lowering the speed limit could save lives.
If passed, the speed limits in most residential areas in the General Services District, or the outskirts of Nashville that make up the rest of Davidson County, would be reduced to 25mph, similar to the neighborhoods in the Urban Services District, or the area that makes up Metro Nashville.
“There’s not really a big difference between a neighborhood in the Urban Services District and the General Services District; a neighborhood is a neighborhood, so if we can do that and it be successful in the USD, then why not our area as well?” Rutherford said. “Lowering the speed, it’s going to be helpful; it’s going to save lives and prevent accidents.”
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Officials will vote on third reading of the measure during Thursday’s Metro Council meeting. Rutherford expects it to pass overwhelmingly.