Slow 'er down!

Slow down in Roslindale

WalkUp Roslindale held a standout at Walter and South streets this morning to let drivers know they should ease up on the accelerator now that the default speed limit in Boston is down to 25 m.p.h.

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I repeat my previous comments

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Wouldn't it be better if the BTD put permanent signs up on Walter and South Streets alerting drivers to the new speed limits? From this photo, if I didn't know any better I'd swear these folk are advocating for a lower speed limit rather than informing drivers that 25 is in fact the speed limit.

On a related note, I was driving down Hyde Park Avenue over by the Bournedale section. There's a new speed limit sign along with one of those radar machines. The speed limit? 30 (which I think is reasonable for that section of road.)

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Okay, okay

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That signs makes a little more sense.

And to make this an omnibus reply, yes, Rob, one does not preclude the other, but we are banking a lot on the idea that most Boston (or even southern Boston) motorists will be driving by them on the right day at the right time. It just seems like permanent signs would help more. BTD should get their act together rather than depending on volunteers to stand out with signs.

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I don't think it's about

I don't think it's about trying to reach every driver in the southern part of the city in one morning. That's obviously ridiculous. But getting some people's attention including media like Adam helps spread awareness. And the same people of course advocate to the city for changes beyond just signs. These are not mutually exclusive things and I don't understand why people treat them as such.

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Not mutually exclusive

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Except that the other thing is not getting done.

Once again, BTD recently put up a new sign on Hyde Park Ave. a 30 MPH sign. I've see but one official sign noting the default speed limit in Boston. Yes, readers of Universal Hub are getting the story, just like we did when Adam wrote about it before, but your average resident, or visitor to our fair city for that matter, doesn't get their news from Mr. Gaffin.

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Unless otherwise posted

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The speed limit isn't 25 everywhere. It's 25 unless otherwise posted. So the new 30 MPH sigh is totally fine, because that's the speed for that road. Having everything 25 would be weird.

It's also why we shouldn't need signs. No song means the limit is 25.

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Tell that to the residents of the other 350 towns

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The default speed limit in built up areas in the Commonwealth is 30 MPH. How would a ticket given to someone from wherever Roadman is from stand up in court if they were going 30?

I do have to correct my earlier statement. I saw a second 25 MPH sign last night. Washington Street at the Parkway. That makes 2.

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The fact that this group

The fact that this group needs to stand on the street with signs to try to get people to slow down is evidence that supports what a lot of people (myself included) said on this issue several months ago. Simply lowering the speed limit is not going to change the way that people drive and is not a great solution if your end goal is to make the streets safer for pedestrians.

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Because we're lazy

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let's go ahead and extrapolate that ZAT was right that lowering speed limits won't slow autos down (at all) city-wide from a single photo in Rozzie before BTD has even put up the new speed limit signs (according to a poster upward).

Yeah, let's not use actual measurements of speed and take the 85th percentile. Let's not study this. We've got a photo, it's all we need!

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I'm not sure why you feel the

I'm not sure why you feel the need to be snarky. I did not say that a picture of people holding signs was all the evidence we need. I agree with you that they should take the 85th percentile to determine the speed limit. That isn't what was done here. The city decided to lower the speed limit stating that it would make the streets safer with no evidence to back up their claim.

People have done studies on the effects of a posted speed limit on how fast drivers drive. Here's one: https://www.ibiblio.org/rdu/sl-irrel.html

From that study: "Lowering speed limits by 5, 10, 15, or 20 mi/h (8, 16, 24, or 26 km/h) at the study sites had a minor effect on vehicle speeds. Posting lower speed limits does not decrease motorist's speeds."

Factors such as congestion and physical layout of the roads have a much greater impact on driving speeds than posted speed limits (which do not have much of an effect at all).

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Zach and tired - WRONG!

The city decided to lower the speed limit stating that it would make the streets safer with no evidence to back up their claim.

Wrong wrong wrong wrong wrong ^2. Once for each MPH that the FACTS say the speed limit should be and was changed to.

Read the data and the analysis - there are shit tons of data here that you are ignoring.

http://www.mapc.org/health-impact-assessment-reducing-speeds

If you reply within several hours, I will know that you didn't read it or cannot read it/can't understand it and are dismissing it. The reality is there. The evidence is there. The science is there. and the analysis is complete. The paradigm has changed to one of setting speed limits based on actual safety data rather than arbitrary percentiles based on a single metric that completely disregard the safety of all road users.

Did your mother or father or guardian ever tell you "Just because you CAN doesn't mean that you SHOULD!"? The new safety-based paradigm for setting speed limits is like that - just because you can drive that fast doesn't mean that you aren't unnecessarily risking the safety of yourself and others when you do so.

Furthermore, you clearly no nothing about how legal limits set street design criteria - if a street has a speed limit of 30 mph because a lot of boneheads slam down it at high speeds, a city cannot redesign the area for 25 mph when the impact assessments determine that it should be limited to 25 mph because the legal limit is 30 mph. In other words, 25 mph posted won't slow idiot drivers speeding through, but it will make it possible for the city to use physical traffic calming measures to make driving faster than the safe speed intolerable to motorists or impossible.

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I was going to respond to

I was going to respond to some of the points in your comment, but your condescension and generally dickishness make me not even want to engage with you.

Instead I'll just say that I hope you're right. Have a nice day.

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85th percentile?

That is NOT what this is about.

The speeds that motorists drive has NOTHING to do with the speed at which it is safe to drive. Just because you can drive a certain speed and people do drive that speed does not mean that speed is safe!

I suggest that you update your understanding of the issue by googling "MAPC Speed Limit Health Impact Assessment" - because THAT is how this safe speed limit has been determined - not through measuring the reckless behavior of existing road users and codifying that with an abstract and arbitrary percentile cut off that is totally disconnected with the multifactorial determinants of safety.

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Yes Swirly, the 85th

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Yes Swirly, the 85th-percentile speed DOES have a lot to do with how safe a road is to drive. It generally correlates pretty well with the road's design speed. If the road is designed to be driven at 30 mph, the 85th-percentile speed will generally be around 30 mph. This is because it's fairly easy to control speeds through roadway geometry - things like narrower lanes, street parking, trees, curb extensions, etc. slow traffic down, because drivers feel less comfortable driving at higher speeds. Theoretically, signs shouldn't even be needed at all, because drivers should be capable of determining how fast a speed they can comfortably drive.

Generally, if a speed feels comfortable to drive, it is a safe speed.

There will always be outliers - people are comfortable at different speeds on the same stretch of road. This is why we use the 85th-percentile speed - it discards the fastest 15% of drivers as going too fast. If 85% of people are comfortable driving 30 mph on a street, that street is probably safe for 30 mph.

It may surprise you to learn that even when the default limit was 30 instead of 25, there were plenty of streets in Boston with 85th-percentile speeds of less than 30 - these were the narrow, older neighborhood streets. The streets with 85th-percentile speeds higher than 30, which coincidentally are the ones the city is trying to slow drivers down on, tend to be the streets with excessively wide lanes, excellent sightlines, few obstructions, etc. - basically, streets that are overdesigned for their environment.

What I'm getting at here is that the city needs to be redesigning streets where applicable to slow down traffic, not just legislating a lower speed limit - which will likely only change the 85th-percentile speed by 1-2 mph.

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The MAPC study you linked

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The MAPC study you linked says that Cambridge's project to rebuild roads to be safer has reduced the number of crashes, and has also reduced 85th percentile speeds. (Then they conclude that slower speeds are the cause of the increased safety, but that's a matter of opinion.)

85th percentile speeds are not something made up by raging road demons. They're accepted engineering practice.

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Not until police start

Not until police start enforcing the speed limit and citing people who steadfastly refuse to change the way they drive.

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You're certainly right that

You're certainly right that what really changes the speed of drivers is changing the lay out of the streets and environment on which they are traveling. Everything else including police enforcement is just stop-gap and affects only the margins. At the same time, I think it's a positive the city lowered the speed limit to begin to send the message that it's serious about this finally. They are at least on board conceptually, which has not always been the case until very recently. Now we need money behind it. Activism is a process and without it we wouldn't even be at this still early stage. Kudos to these individuals.

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Changing the speed limit does

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Changing the speed limit does not show that they are "serious about this finally". In fact, it's the opposite.

It sends the message that they're going to take the cheap, easy, lazy way out, so they can say "look, we did something!" with the least amount of meaningful effort possible.

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So...

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...u think all the outta town (and state) transplants are behind this wicked dumb and lame movement? You wanna live in Boston? Drive like a Bostonian and shut up. HONK!

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Guaranteed the people holding

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Guaranteed the people holding the signs speed themselves. 1000 percent certain.

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Came here to say this

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These are the same folks who will get a ticket and go to court an cry about "whaaaaa i lived here 20 years i know how to drive that street whaaaa"
You got duped into supporting a policy that ups insurance company and city revenues through violations and higher premiums. Congratulations.
If they actually wanted to curb speeding they would put the humps everywhere like in the Cambridge and Somerville neighborhoods.
Oh also whoever makes the street signs should see a nice boost in revenue too. Maybe Boston can make some of it back selling the 35mph signs to a municipality with brains.

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Drive down there first

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It's a main road through the neighborhood. Neither BFD not the MBTA would allow speed humps on that street.

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You'd be surprised. I've had

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You'd be surprised. I've had people tell me the T would never allow speed bumps on a bus route, but my work experience has shown the contrary, as I've designed several.

As for BFD, sure, they might argue against it, as most fire departments do, but those trucks can take a speed bump at a pretty high speed with no issue, except for maybe a little discomfort in the cab. It's not going to significantly slow down response times.

Those complaints are common with a whole host of roadway design changes (roundabouts, chicanes, curb extensions, raised intersections, etc.), but once implemented, life goes on with no change. The issue has been raised and addressed countless times around the country and world. Boston isn't special.

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As someone with degenerative

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As someone with degenerative arthritis in my spinal cord, the roads are just as bumpy and buses are flying down Washington Street, it seems some days hitting every bump as a fast speed. If a speed bump or hump was put in, maybe the T would tell their drivers that they have to slow down because it's damaging the bottom of their new buses. I know the T drivers also are accountable if their bus is late, regardless of traffic or adverse weather, and this could cause them to speed things up to get back on schedule. But hitting every bump is not as much fun as it was on a school bus when I was 8 and we didn't have seat belts.

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A speed bump would be no

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A speed bump would be no worse than a pothole, of which there are plenty. In fact it'd likely be better, since instead of a jarring, uneven hole, you have a nice rounded bump. Plus it's much easier to see a speed bump ahead, and you'll always know it's there, whereas a pothole can appear overnight, so a bus is more likely to actually slow down for a speed bump than a pothole.

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Some cities, such as Cambridge, have permanent signs.

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Some cities, including Cambridge, already have permanent "Speed Limit 25 miles per hour" signs on a number of their streets. I've seen that for myself.

I think this new 25 mph speed limit policy is a good policy, since many people drive much too fast around here, generally.

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There's a bad need for WalkUp Wolcott Square

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in Hyde Park Readville. Talk about your psychotic drivers. Most appear to be snorting cocaine with their Dunkin Donuts coffee. Absolutely insane fucking neighborhood.

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That street is particularly bad

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BPD could make thousands and thousands of dollars ticking speeders further up Walter Street, where the speed limit actually drops to 20 MPH near the Arboretum. People routinely do 35-40 through there.

I have noticed increased BPD enforcement on Centre St by Holy Name, although most of what I've seen looks like red light running.

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I saw these people out on Saturday....

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.... Did you know that if you start driving the road from the Arboretum, the speed is actually 20mph so are they advocating for people to drive faster on that particular road. I could see how 25 mph is important on some roads and parts of roads but not all roads are 25mph. Some are still 30 based on the new signage that shows the speed limit and how fast you are going... such as on Hyde Park Ave.... Just saying.

But if they feel it will help the community, they have the right to hold up signs. It would make more sense to have the police cars that patrol the areas to actually pull people over for going above the speed limit.

And for that matter, shouldn't the police, if they are just patrolling the area and not actually doing crime stopping, be going 25 mph as well and use bluetooth technology for their own phones. I have friends who are police officers so I don't have anything against them but the technology is there for hands free phones for them as well.

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