20 MPH Speed Limit


In late 2022, City Council approved a lower speed limit for most residential streets. Signs are scheduled to be installed by the end of 2023 to reduce many 25 miles per hour (mph) streets to 20 mph.

NBC Washington's Transportation Reporter, Adam Tuss, covered the upcoming change in a recent story:

In the map below, the yellow streets (Zone 3) will have the speed limit reduced:

Map of the City showing which streets will have the 20 miles per hour speed limit.

Street Selection

The speed limit will be reduced on most residential streets. In the map above, all City streets were categorized into four categories:

  • Zone 1: Streets that would need significant changes to support and encourage drivers to obey a lower speed limit. Strong police enforcement would also be needed. Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) approval may be required. Two streets are included in this zone: Washington Street and Broad Street.

  • Zone 2: Streets that would need narrowing and geometric changes for a lower speed limit. Strong police enforcement would also be needed. Some of the streets included in this zone are West Street, Great Falls Street, Park Avenue, and Maple Avenue.

  • Zone 3: Streets that would need little to no changes, no VDOT involvement, and little to no additional police enforcement. These are the streets that will have the speed limit lowered to 20 miles per hour. The majority of the streets in the City are in this zone.

About the Program

This effort is to support walkability within the City. A speed reduction from 25 mph to 20 mph has life-changing results for pedestrians. Crash data has shown there is a significant improvement in pedestrian survivability in the event of a crash when drivers are traveling at 20 mph as opposed to 25 mph.

A graphic showing the impact of speed on pedestrians.

(Source: Institute of Transportation Engineers.)

Also, traveling at higher speeds narrows your field of vision as you drive, making it more difficult to see and react to people in the roadway.

A graphic showing the lack of visibility at higher speeds.

(Source: Vision Zero Network.)


Over 100 speed limit signs will be replaced in neighborhoods starting in November 2023 and will take a few weeks to complete, depending on weather. The new 20 mph speed limits legally go into effect on each street when the existing speed limit signs are replaced.

Show Your Support with Yard Sign

Pick up a free yard sign to show your support of ‘20 is Plenty" and encourage safe driving in your neighborhood:

  • City Hall Permits Counter
  • East Wing, 1st Floor (turn right when you enter the lobby, go to the end of the lobby and down one flight)
  • Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Closed the last Wednesday of the month

When posting a yard sign, please note:

A yard sign to encourage drivers to keep to 20 miles per hour.
  • Signs should be placed on private property in your yard.
  • Please don’t place the sign on someone else’s property without their permission.
  • Make sure not to block driver visibility for pulling out of driveways, seeing pedestrians, etc.
  • Make sure the signs do not block walkways, bikeways, or drainage ways.
  • Do not place signs on traffic sign posts or utility poles.
  • Please promptly remove any broken or vandalized signs; replacements are free!
  • Unfortunately, local recyclers do not accept corrugated plastic yard signs. If you no longer want the sign in your yard, please let someone else use it, or return it to one of the pick-up locations.

Help us Share Information

Click here for a toolkit that can help you share this campaign with your neighbors. The kit includes social media graphics, wording for neighborhood newsletters, and a flyer.