Along Harvard Avenue. Again.
For being the only journalist on Boston that appears to find this story worth reporting.
Not to mention the fact that the BPD seems to feel its perfectly okay to just let people figure their own way out through the traffic lightless intersections. Yesterday there was one cop at brighton and harvard directing traffic. Today, nothing.
Is that traffic seems to actually be moving fine and (somewhat) democratically. However, the guy behind me in the blue Nissan who blew his horn at me, as I am (expletive) legally obligated to do at the STOP SIGN that a malfunctioning signal serves as, is welcome to turn in his license and stick the horn up his (expletive.)
It is kind of funny that the traffic never seems to move better for both cars and pedestrians than when the power is out
Every time the power goes out there we get to see a kind of natural experiment in whether those traffic lights are actually useful.
I talk to some people and they get really worried without having the "law and order" of traffic lights... but the funny thing is that everything seems to work itself out anyway. There wasn't even any real back-up either, just a slow and steady movement. And people were getting across the street as they usually do -- without any help from the unreliable walk signals.
My hypothesis is that drivers go slower when they're uncertain, and having no lights causes a lot of uncertainty. It's well known that the certainty that traffic lights provide often leads to a lot of nasty accidents (T-bone wrecks) when the assumptions drivers made prove wrong. This is also why roundabouts tend to be safer than lights.
There's also some anecdotal evidence from towns that removed all signals and saw an improvement.
I don't know if it would work here, but it's intriguing.
When a normally functioning traffic light at a busy intersection goes out, I get the sense that yes, people sort of pull together through these difficult times and figure out how to get everyone through that intersection. Give it time and patterns/expectations get established just as strongly as when the light is working. Just like at a busy 4 way stop intersection -- people start rolling through behind the guy in front of them with the idea that "Hey, I already stopped when he did, so now I can go." It quickly becomes survival of the assholist over the vehicularly timid, as opposed to some sort of post 9-11 "let's pull together during the failure of our social institutions" that temporarily reigns at an out light.
So given that the average Boston driver is an asshole (present company included) I lean towards thinking that streetlights at really busy intersections are necessary things. On the other hand, I'm all for rotaries -- Darwin on a spin cycle!
I've posted an article from Who Taught You How to Drive on boston.com here about this before. There is no law saying that you need to stop at a traffic light that's out, just merely proceed with caution.
From the MA RMV Driver's Handbook, page 82:
Traffic Lights Not Working
If traffic signals are not working, they will simply flash red or yellow lights. When this happens, follow the rules for flashing lights. If signals are blacked out and not functioning, be cautious and proceed as though there is a stop sign in all directions. Go when it is safe.
You do see where it clearly states that you should treat a non-working traffic light as a stop sign in all directions? It's drivers like you that we all struggle with.
The Globe did post a story, even if kind of buried on a page not everybody knows about.
of needing to turn at Fordham and Brighton three times today. It was dangerous as hell, but surprisingly orderly.
Does anyone know what's going on? I saw NSTAR had the generators up and a lot of the businesses seemed to be semi-working.
I live a few blocks away from there, and we've been having horrible power surges and brownouts all summer. It was so bad at one point we couldn't use the microwave- there physically wasn't enough juice to power it. I hope they've solved the problem!
I'm a local, and these sort of things were happening there over 30 years ago. Particularly the area right at Chester street and Brighton Ave., which keeps having to be repaired on an emergency basis all the time.
Also - I got this from a couple of workers decades ago - Summit Hill leading down towards Harvard street is slumping, so they keep having repetitious outages there as well.
Hope that (partially) helps.
Still no power in my building - 15 north beacon - and Nstar couldn't give me a timetable for its return. Yesterday, the power was out for seven hours during the day and then we lost power again late last night, and it's been roughly 9 hours and counting today.