Citizen complaint of the day: Stupid Massholes on Huntington Avenue

A concerned citizen grows weary of obnoxious drivers blaring horns at pedestrians crossing with the light at Belvedire and Huntington by the Pru:

Pedestrians have a walk sign at the same time vehicles have a green light (turning right from Huntington onto Belvedire). On countless occasions I've had motorists honk, gesture and curse at me for crossing while the walk sign is blinking. While I've certainly grown a thick skin, it's super frustrating and infuriating at the same time. I've often seen groups of pedestrians too scared to cross with the walk sign because a steady stream of cars come zipping around that corner at such a high rate of speed. That just isn't right. Given the location (right outside of a mall) and given the fact that school busses full of children and tour busses full of tourists love to park on Huntington, adjacent to the Christian Science Plaza - it would be prudent of you to add some clear signage at that corner.

The city replies:

Since the turning movements fall within the boston transportation department guidelines for concurrent pedestrian movements this location is designed to have concurrent pedestrian phasing. the boston transportation department recently adjusted the "flashing don't walk" to meet the new standards for timings under the manual on uniformed traffic control devices. pedestrian advocacy groups such as "walk boston" prefer the concurrent phasing.

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Comments

There are quite a few big

There are quite a few big intersections in Boston with some majorly effed-up traffic-light/walk-signal timings. I feel like at least 2 or 3 times a day, on my usual walking commute to/from work, I'll be waiting to cross, facing a Don't Walk signal, while the competing car traffic is also stopped at a red light... then they get a green light AT THE SAME TIME that the pedestrians crossing the street finally get a Walk signal--the total opposite of logical.

I've lived and walked in this city for a few years, so I've learned to use my own judgment instead of the Walk/Don't Walk signals, but unfortunately there are a lot of pedestrians who rely completely on the Walk/Don't Walk signals as the ultimate, overriding, unwavering truth and are more often than not failed, rather than served, by them.

Mass Ave @ Commonwealth

I used to work in the Back Bay, and sometimes walked to Kenmore to get the 57 bus home. I had to train myself to take Newbury to Mass Ave and cross there, rather than the pleasanter walk up Commonwealth to Mass Ave, because the light across Mass Ave at that intersection was impossible. Not only was the full white "WALK" light barely 3 seconds long (and the blinking orange not much longer than that), but traffic turning from Commonwealth onto Mass Ave shared the same green light.

Having grown up in NY, where

Having grown up in NY, where cars turning on green at the same time pedestrians have the "Walk" is the norm, I was surprised by the insistence at most intersections here that pedestrians have their own dedicated light phase.

Of course, especially in Manhattan, the average pedestrian crossing density at any given intersection is greater than here, and drivers expect there will be pedestrians crossing in their path as they're turning. (That doesn't stop some drivers from bullying their way through intersections and forcing the right of way onto pedestrians who are too timid to assert their right of way.)

Dazed pedestrians

Although I have no love for motorists blaring horns at pedestrians crossing with the light, I am contnually amazed (as a pedestrian myself), at the amount of pedestrians who cross busy streets against the light with no regard to traffic at all. And not just people glued to electronic devices. On a daily basis I see people justw alking right out into busy streets, seemingly in a daze, without heeding traffic at all. When I was a child I was taught "look both ways before you cross the street". I guess not everyone was told that. I am surprised that more people are not hit by cars, given that drivers, with their devices, don't seem to be paying much attention either.

When a car has a red light it

When a car has a red light it stops and when the red hand on the walk light people should stop, not the drivers. I should be able to run you down in the road I have the green light and you do not! If you do not know what red or green light mean MOVE OUT OF THE CITY. I am a proud "Mashole"

Masshole without reading comprehension

The situation under discussion is when the pedestrians have a walk AND cars have a green light.

So going with your "rules of the road", since I have the right of way, I should be allowed to send a sledgehammer through your windshield into your head when you blow through the crosswalk. Good to know.

Driver Privilege

Note that nobody was dispatched to write some tickets. Threatening pedestrians who have the legal right of way with death by heavy equipment is simply "the way things are" in Boston. Can't force the little pansies to wait their turn to turn or hand them tickets for bullying, now can we?

car horns

It would also be nice if Boston would enforce some noise / public nuisance laws and give people tickets for using their horns. I think NYC has done a decent job with this and people don't constantly blare their car horns like they do in Beantown.

Seriously, car horns lead to road rage!

NYC Cabs

NYC recently passed an ordinance or law forbidding cab drivers from using their horn in all but life threatening circumstances. As in your cabs breaks have failed and the accelerator is stuck on the floor. Or someone in your cab is about to shoot you in the face and you need to attract outside attention.

This needs to be enforced here, and not just on cabs.

Some observations after a recent trip to NYC

People don't seem to be honking their horns any less now than before. They're just honking them for shorter periods of time, more like a quick tap than the let's-see-how-long-the-horn-will-last effect I grew up with down there.

I only got cut off once in Manhattan - by somebody in an Audi with Massachusetts plates. Massholes are everywhere!

Pedestrians are amazing: If, as a driver, you make the mistake of letting one person walk in front of you when you have the green, you may as well get a book out - people waiting on either side of the curb will swarm into the intersection as if it's their last chance to cross there ever and you will have zero chance of getting through the intersection even though you have the light and the cop stationed there (there seemed to be a cop at every single intersection in midtown) will give you a look that says "shmuck!"

I cross that intersection a

I cross that intersection a couple times a day and 95% of the time, it's cabs. Apparently if you drive a cab in boston it's your god given right to fly through any red light to take a right on red without stopping.

If they are behind a car stopped at that light they lay on the horn until the car in front of them goes through the light so they can go. If the car doesn't move, they'll just fly around them in the middle lane and take the right onto belvidere. It's also weird how many of them have headphones on... I thought they weren't supposed to use phones with passengers. weird.

Red light running

Okay if you are in a cab that could kill someone.

Not okay if you are on a bike and it startles a pedestrian absorbed in his or her iPhone.

That stretch of Huntington is

That stretch of Huntington is 7 lanes wide plus a concrete median, and no parking on the westbound side. The streetscape is basically blank walls.

With such a car-oriented design, it's no surprise that there's high-speed traffic that cares little about pedestrians.

Not to mention that intersection is poorly designed

For pedestrians, that is. Belvedere St, a rather quiet side street, is five lanes wide at the intersection and the radius of that corner is pretty wide there, encouraging high speed right turns and roll-throughs at red lights. What it needs is a no turn on red sign for automobile traffic on Huntington (more for the benefit of pedstrians crossing Huntington, which conflict with right turners when they have the walk signal) and a bump-out into Belvedere to slow turning cars down. This is a high pedestrian traffic area, where more pededtrians probably pass through the intersection than autos, it shouldn't be designed like an on ramp to Route 128.

Blank walls

Basically blank walls... except one of the entrances to the Prudential Center Mall on one corner, the Reflecting pool & Church (massive tourist attraction) on another, and two hotels and an apartment building on the other side. Just a couple peds out there, every once in a while.

There are some pedestrians,

There are some pedestrians, and one entrance into each building. But the buildings are huge, with no street-level retail along their sides.

Compare this stretch of Huntington to a place like Mass Ave near Berklee. Which has more street life?

How about Commonwealth Ave,

How about Commonwealth Ave, by Charlesgate?

No pedestrian crossing signals, and the cars get a straight and right turn arrow at the same time. Legally, pedestrians are banned from walking down Comm Ave because a right turn arrow means the car has the right of way, and a pedestrian walking "against" traffic has to turn around to see the light....which says they cant ever go.