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City is testing speed limits to protect children at 3 parks

If you're driving by a city park, you'd better slow down.

The speed limit for streets surrounding three city parks has dropped to 20 miles per hour, as city officials test whether doing so will make it safer for pedestrians, particularly the younger patrons of the playgrounds.

New signs alerting motorists of the changes have been put in place, and crosswalks are being repainted to make it clearer to pedestrians and motorists how best to reach the parks.

The pilot program was set up around Almont Park in Mattapan, Hobart Park in Brighton, and West Street Playground in Hyde Park in response to studies of speeding in the area conducted by the city's Transportation Department. The studies found that many motorists pass by at high rates of speed, posing a concern heightened by the youthful nature of the park's primary patrons.

Mayor Thomas M. Menino's administration has been lobbying for legislation to lower the speed limits throughout the city, which on most streets is 30 miles per hour, to 25 miles per hour, said Acting Boston Transportation Commissioner Thomas J. Tinlin , but it's been difficult to gain the needed support.

EMMA STICKGOLD

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