Pedestrian hit by car while crossing Memorial Drive

State Police report a woman suffered serious injuries trying to get across Memorial Drive near Micro Center around 5:15 p.m.

State Police say the woman, whose identity they are still trying to ascertain, was hit in an westbound lane by a motorist driving a 2009 BMW M5. The road was shut in both directions for an investigation.

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Right by the pedestrian overpass?

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The pedestrian overpass that was redone with very lengthy ramps, so that people (myself included) who don't want to add an extra 5 minutes of uphill-downhill TO SIMPLY CROSSING THE STREET, will sometimes try to cross the street directly?

That's a neighborhood right there, and the crazy street is cutting off the park and the waterfront from the people who live there. I'd put crosswalks with buttons and traffic lights every block along Mem. Drive. The service trucks, and the people who drive cars, will have to deal. If the misery makes some BMW drivers consider taking the T instead, all the better. If that bright orange Lamborghini is still joyride looping along both sides of the river, I hope having to stop every block makes him cry.

All along its length, Memorial Drive is pedestrian-hostile and neighborhood-hostile, threatening the safety of people, and stealing what should be pleasant waterfront park space, to provide a view for the automotive thru traffic.

(I hope that the pedestrian is OK, but the thought of a people eventually getting hit right there comes to mind every time I see that ridiculous pretend overpass.)

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Um, the purpose of the pedestrian overpass

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is to insure safety for both pedestrians and drivers, not threaten it. Why, because a separated crossing ELIMINATES the conflicts between drivers and pedestrians. If people are impatient enough to try to cross the street at grade, then that's on them for being idiots - and they should be found 100% at fault in such collisions.

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Overpass

Due to ADA requirements the overpass has long ramps on either side which is the same as of walking two extra blocks. It would have been helpful if they added stairs as well but I'm sure DCR didn't want to spend the money and/or engineering on that.

I agree -- it's in good shape and should be used. Still, there's no excuse for other other poorly maintained crossings and sidewalks in that area.

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overpass

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Want to know why people avoid the overpass? Because it turns a 50-foot road crossing into a nearly sixth-of-a-mile detour up and down ramps.

IMAGE(http://i.imgur.com/1qAcV1M.jpg)

For some fun perspective, the outbound Longfellow Bridge construction detour from Charles Circle to Kendall Square (going past the Museum of Science) just about triples the driving distance compared to the closed bridge segment.

The walking distance to take this overpass is close to 15 times the direct crossing distance.

Is it the smart move to take the overpass, given the propensity of drivers to completely ignore crosswalks even if it were a legal crosswalk? Absolutely.

Is it a signal to pedestrians that you are a subservient user of this public space? Absolutely.

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Thank you for the visual.

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Thank you for the visual. There is ample room on the west side of the bridge to add stairs. Poor decision making and penny-wise pound-foolish approach by DCR to have skipped such a simple addition as stairs.

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Should a jogger be deterred by a slightly longer distance?

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The crash victim was reported by FOX25 to be out for a run with her boyfriend. Is the extra distance required to accommodate disabled people such a hardship? Heck, the elevation probably provides a nice view and worth the trip, beyond the safety benefits. Sure, a set of stairs would ease the unbearable burden of safety, but that would leave less money for building more pedestrian bridges elsewhere.

If the walk is so hard, you could rent a Hubway bike right behind Microcenter, or really in a rush, drive to where you are going. Low income Hubway memberships are only $5/year and those horribly long ramps make biking them more possible than carrying a heavy bike up and down stairs.

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It's attitudes such as yours

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It's attitudes such as yours that pedestrians are merely pleasure users of the roadway whereas drivers are the only people actually using it for transportation to get somewhere that have given us roads such as Memorial Drive.

Ironic given that many of these roads were designed for the recreational Sunday motorist and not as the traffic sewers they have become.

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Where are the other bridges

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Where are the other bridges that were built because of the money saved by not including stairs?

Suggesting renting a Hubway to cross the road is such a ridiculous idea that I won't bother to explain why.

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The Real Problem

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DCR went through a phase where they hated pedestrians and wanted to turn all their roadways into MassPike-like highways.

We are still paying for that in the ways that many crossings were eliminated and traffic calming measures reduced on the river roads.

DCR got into it with MIT, which wanted crosswalks to the boathouses, but DCR didn't see why people shouldn't be forced to walk a mile in either direction to cross.

They also tried to turn a busy intersection in Newton into a ten-lane monstrosity without any pedestrian accommodations whatsoever, and got seriously slapped down since they were breaking several laws in the process.

I'm glad they got rid of the NATURE IS FOR DRIVING EVERYWHERE idiot who was leading them into this stupidity on a routine basis - or maybe he just died from heart failure from driving everywhere.

This was also the era when they had their cops attack cyclists who were LEGALLY using the Longfellow, which several earlier court opinions had smacked the DCR and MSP and ruled that biking there was LEGAL.

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++ A+ w/ extra credit for your note of levity ++

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I'm glad they got rid of the NATURE IS FOR DRIVING EVERYWHERE idiot who was leading them into this stupidity on a routine basis - or maybe he just died from heart failure from driving everywhere.

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So a person walking to the

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So a person walking to the park, which is mostly going to be for leisure is inconvenienced by an ADA compliant pedestrian bridge which extends their leisure walk while making it safer for them to cross the road?

Let's tear those ramps down and put up stairs again to save you some time.

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Walking to a park?

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Or walking from a grocery store, fully loaded, to access a bridge.

This isn't "a park" - this is also a well-used thoroughfare for people trying to get from point A to B ... point A being homes, businesses, etc. and Point B being workplaces, grocery stores, etc.

If you think it is "just a park" you have no clue about the area or anything that goes on around it.

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BU

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The BU campus? It's a pretty short walk across the BU Bridge.

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Are the ramps for wheelchair access?

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Which I assume is to comply with federal ADA requirements. They should have provided easier, straightforward access by stairs, but maybe they are afraid of liability if someone trips and falls down those stairs,too?

Some of what I wrote is tongue and cheek. I hope the poor woman survives it OK.

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She did not. She was a local

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She did not. She was a local high school English teacher and a wonderful person.

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--

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she's not okay, she died.

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Crossings

There's a designated crossing about a block on either side of the Microcenter. The eastern one is a newly rebuilt footbridge but the western one is a traffic light in which I've often see cars completely ignore and zoom through a red as if the light wasn't even there. This is common with nearly all the pedestrian lights on MDC/DCR roads.

It's particularly scary if you're a pedestrian on the northern sidewalk headed towards Microcenter and crossing Magazine St. -- cars make the turn onto that street quickly and without looking. Although I've been in the crosswalk I'll had to jump out of the way several times. (Not where this woman was hit, but still a sketchy area.)

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Couldn't agree more

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Crossing Memorial in that area is always sketchy unless you use that pedestrian overpass. Ever since they took the light out at Magazine, cars fly over the bridge that allows them to bypass the traffic circle. As a result, the drivers merging onto Memorial towards Magazine seem to think they have to speed up just to avoid getting plowed into. I usually turn on Magazine at that point, and I'm amazed I've never been rear-ended in the process, but it's been close several times.

I live nearby and walk my dog in that area periodically, and I'm careful even using the crosswalks at Pleasant and Magazine. I jaywalk all over the place on many of the side streets, but I wouldn't do it on Memorial if you paid me. Unfortunately, given that the police were focusing their investigation on the area right in front of the boathouse across from the Starbucks, that is highly likely to be what this lady was doing. It's not worth it, folks - just take the time and walk to the crossing.

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The light at Magazine got

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The light at Magazine got taken out because it was temporary, while they rebuilt the overpass.

I think they should have forgotten the overpass and kept the light.

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+1

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They installed one right where Edwin Land Boulevard becomes Memorial Drive up by the bridge, and EVERY SINGLE DAY I see people blow through the light. In part, it's because they invented a new light protocol: there's a flashing yellow, two flashing reds, or two solid reds. What do two solid vs. two flashing reds mean? I have no idea, and reading the MGL hasn't helped me. But I assume that any sort of blinking red light means, at the very least, "stop and make sure there's no one coming in the opposite direction," which very few people do (and which I get beeped at for doing).

Is the light by the Micro Center the same way, or it a more straightforward green/yellow/red setup?

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That's a HAWK, or High

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That's a HAWK, or High-Intensity Activated Crosswalk (the Hawk acronym is a stretch.)

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Here's how HAWK signals work:

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Here's how HAWK signals work:

Solid red: stop and wait.

Flashing red: stop, then proceed if no pedestrians are in the road.

Flashing yellow: proceed with caution as usual.

Flashing red is legally the same thing as a stop sign, steady red is, well, the same as on any other traffic signal.

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Find the Flaw

It's a good idea but fairly useless if drivers don't know what it means and/or consider it to be only a soft warning.

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See I realize that drivers

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See I realize that drivers don't seem to understand it, but I don't quite get why. I'm guessing it's just because "CHANGE IS BAD!!!!!!1!!1!"

Solid red is the same as any on other traffic signal.

Flashing red is commonly used nationwide to supplement stop signs.

Flashing yellow is commonly used nationwide to supplement any condition requiring the use of caution - such as the multitude of ped crossings in MA that have flashing yellow lights at them.

None of these things are new or unusual. The only new thing is putting them together.

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flashing reds

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Actually, one confusing thing is that the alternating flashing red is similar to a school bus, which drivers know means stop. Alternating flashing also happens at railroad crossings, where drivers cannot proceed.

I've always thought that a non-alternating red flash would have been more consistent with the "flashing means stop sign" interpretation, but that isn't how HAWK is.

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Why not just use a normal traffic light?

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Having a signal with a normal configuration of lights that goes flashing yellow --> yellow --> red --> flashing red seems like it would be more intuitive than some device that no one in Massachusetts has ever seen before. They put a HAWK at Binney and Sixth St as well, and people blow through it all the time (especially in the flashing red phase), even though it is literally one block away from police headquarters.

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Supposedly regular lights

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Supposedly regular lights that are activated only by pedestrians get ignored by drivers, since they're green most of the time.

I don't think a confusing light that people still frequently blow through is a solution to this problem.

Massachusetts had a solution -- the blinking green. It was used at various types of lights that changed infrequently -- ped buttons, firehouses, drawbridges, etc. But people from other states didn't understand it. And in Canada it means a protected left (the same as a green arrow here) -- you really don't want people misinterpreting a light to think they have right-of-way when they actually don't.

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HAWKS are actually intended

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HAWKS are actually intended to increase driver compliance by not requiring drivers to wait as long as they would have to at a traditional RYG signal.

The HAWK's solid red phase corresponds to the ped signal's WALK phase.

The HAWK's flashing red phase corresponds to the ped signal's FLASHING DON'T WALK phase.

Essentially the point of a HAWK is to allow drivers to proceed once the pedestrian(s) in question have finished crossing - even if the don't walk countdown has some time left. Due to the aging nature of our population, the 2009 MUTCD revised the walking speed used to calculate FDW phases down to 3.5 ft/sec (with a cross-check of 3.0 ft/sec including the WALK phase). However, this is intended to accommodate elderly and disabled pedestrians, and the majority of pedestrians walk faster than this. Many only take half as long to cross. So a HAWK signal can theoretically keep drivers stopped only half as long as a traditional RYG signal, while still allowing the same number of pedestrians to cross.

That's why not use a normal traffic light.

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I get how it works

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(or at least, is supposed to work). My point is, why not have the lights arranged like this:

IMAGE(http://www.rutherfordfire.org/images/stations/WestEnd/EastboundFireSignal.JPG)
(a configuration to which drivers are accustomed)

instead of this:

IMAGE(https://michigancompletestreets.files.wordpress.com/2013/11/mast-arm-hawk-signal.jpg)
(unintuitive and potentially confusing)

You could have the all the phases be the same. Have it default to flashing yellow (bottom), then solid yellow (middle) once a ped has pushed the button, then solid red (top) once the ped has the walk signal. Flashing red (top) during the flashing-hand ped phase. Each of those corresponds to existing light conditions that drivers might encounter at other traffic signals and should be expected to recognize.

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I don't know why the

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I don't know why the engineers who developed HAWKs arranged them like they did - the side by side reds did receive some criticism in the engineering community because of the similarity to railroad crossing signals (previously the only place you'd see alternating flashing reds).

I suspect it had to do with drawing as much attention as possible.

But yes, functionally you'd get the same effect from using a different shaped signal head.

I doubt drivers would have any different of a reaction though.

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Better idea

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Just make the impatient little darlings in cars wait their turn for the full cycle.

It won't kill them.

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It won't kill them, but it's

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It won't kill them, but it's also not necessary.

You could use that logic about any new anything.

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HAWK signal in North Andover

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Merrimack College installed one of these signals on Route 114 in North Andover.

There are signs on both sides of 114 at that signal, stating vehicles may proceed on the flashing red, when the crosswalk is clear.

Perhaps the signal in Cambridge needs the same signage on both sides of that roadway.

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Not sure what sign was used

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Not sure what sign was used in North Andover, but it is common to accompany HAWKs with signs, at least when they're still new.

Here's an example of what I consider good signage to accompany a HAWK:
IMAGE(https://www.cob.org/services/transportation/PublishingImages/hawk-signal.jpg)

The new ones in Quincy had a much longer, more verbose sign which might not even still be there.

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Might be helpful

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If this new thing in our space was part of an open-book exam covering all the new things that have come in the last five years, which you could pass on-line or at the registry as part of renewing your license.

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haha yeah

the only thing i've had to do to keep renewing my license since i was 16 was go in and pay $50 or whatever every so often

hell if i know whats changed since then. its cool that the commonwealth says im good to drive though

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Here's how they work: Badly.

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Here's how they work: Badly.

If a traffic light needs an electronic message sign to explain what it means, as Cambridge did on Binney Street, it says the light is seriously confusing and flawed.

Besides the confusion over alternating flashing reds, I have two other problems with HAWKs:
- Cars are allowed to proceed during the flashing hand. At a normal signalized crosswalk, cars still have a red during the flashing hand.
- The flashing yellow changes to solid yellow, using the same bulb. This is very difficult to distinguish in real time -- you have to notice that a light that was going off didn't go off this time. Even drivers who know how these lights work have WHOA CRAP PANIC STOP! reactions to this transition.

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- Cars are allowed to proceed

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- Cars are allowed to proceed during the flashing hand. At a normal signalized crosswalk, cars still have a red during the flashing hand.

That's the point. HAWKs recognize that most pedestrians don't take the full clearance interval to cross and allow drivers to proceed once the peds have finished.

- The flashing yellow changes to solid yellow, using the same bulb. This is very difficult to distinguish in real time -- you have to notice that a light that was going off didn't go off this time. Even drivers who know how these lights work have WHOA CRAP PANIC STOP! reactions to this transition.

While it is generally good practice to use a different signal head for the flashing vs steady indications (see flashing yellow arrow signals), something that HAWKs omit, arguably if you can't react in time to it changing, then you were driving too fast. You should never be driving so fast that a light changing causes you to have a "WHOA CRAP PANIC STOP!" moment - especially on a street like Binney St where you should only be going 30 mph max. I could see that argument having merit on a 55 mph road, but not on a street like Binney.

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It doesn't matter how slow

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It doesn't matter how slow you're going. If a solid yellow light doesn't register in your mind as a solid yellow, you're going to be startled by the red.

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Oh, one more problem: that

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Oh, one more problem: that the light is dark most of the time.

In some states, a dark light is legally a 4-way stop. Here it's an uncontrolled intersection, which means you have to slow way down to yield to anyone coming from the right. Some people don't know this, but in any case the correct reaction to a normal signal that's dark is to slow down to 5 mph. That's not at all what you want to do at a HAWK.

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The light at Pleasant Street

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The light at Pleasant Street isn't just for pedestrians -- it's a regular light for vehicles as well.

Agreed on the other points.

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Sad. I always worry a lot

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Sad. I always worry a lot about getting rear-ended by some impatient douche when turning into that shopping center and I'm in a CAR.

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somerville towards 93/sullivan is another one

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Cars fly up the on-ramp past assembly square and completely ignore the crosswalk. I've been honked at and nearly rear-ended for stopping to let peds cross.There's a flashing light, but it gets ignored.

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To be fair, putting a

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To be fair, putting a crosswalk on a freeway ramp is a terrible design decision. I get that the intent was to try and make Assembly less cut off from the rest of Somerville, but such an inhospitable crossing environment does not help.

That whole stretch of 93 needs a complete redesign to be both more convenient for drivers and more hospitable to the surrounding urban environment - including numerous safe pedestrian crossings. Perhaps trench the interstate and connect the East Somerville street grid into the Assembly street grid.

The Temple Rd and Shore Dr crossings are much better for pedestrians, but still somewhat inhospitable, since they involve crossing Mystic Ave and are dark, dank overpasses. I usually use Temple Rd the rare times I walk to Assembly (rare because it's not fun crossing Mystic Ave then the Fellsway). It's really a shame that it's so hard to get to Assembly from anywhere else in Somerville (e.g. no bus routes).

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Question for DTP

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Do you know about the walkway under Rt. 28??? I use that daily, even in winter. It isn't dank or dark in the least.

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I assume you're referring to

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I assume you're referring to the boardwalky thing under the bridge over the Mystic? Yeah, I used it once. It's inconveniently far out of the way coming from the Winter Hill area compared to just using the ped signal at Middlesex Ave.

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The light / crosswalk

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The light / crosswalk management at Shore is much better than Temple, definitely worth the extra block out of the way. Plus then you get to walk along the park. From Ten Hills the best way to Assembly is that pedestrian underpass, even if it's really not direct at all. Definitely inconvenient overall but way safer than walking through the snarl of onramps and nightmares

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It's built like a highway, so people treat it as one

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The road is designed to be driven fast. The BU Bridge/Brookline St overpass. The sweeping curves.

The crazy thing is that if cars drove 25 mph on that road instead of 40 mph (when there's no congestion), the total time difference might be 2 minutes. After all, it's not that long a stretch and it's the traffic lights that are going to control your time, not the lead in your foot.

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Driving faster lets you catch

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Driving faster lets you catch the green lights, which saves a lot more time than the speed itself.

If the lights were timed so you'd catch greens at slower speeds, this wouldn't happen.

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The MDC/DCR deliberatly times their lights

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to require frequent stops when traveling the posted speed limit. They even used to put up signs reading "SIGNALS TIMED TO REQUIRE FREQUENT STOPS" to remind drivers of this.

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They claim they do

And yet, when you travel 10-15 MPH *over* the speed limit, you hit all the greens. Funny, that.

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The ironic thing is, despite

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The ironic thing is, despite these lights claiming they're going to intentionally get on your nerves, I hardly ever have to stop for them.

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I hate when cars make left

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I hate when cars make left turns from Memorial to Micro Center. Just loop around in the rotary ahead. As for people crossing Memorial there is that walkway there for that purpose. I notice with the uptick in population a lot of folks don't look where they're going and assume that the cars will stop for them. As much as the legal responsibility is to the cars, it's the pedestrians which stand to lose the most. Please look before you cross, wait for the "Walk" light before you cross, and just be careful out there. I hope this lady will be ok.

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LOL

wait for the "Walk" light before you cross

Like that makes any difference. Thanks for a laff.

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I hate when cars make left

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I hate when cars make left turns from Memorial to Micro Center. Just loop around in the rotary ahead.

I'm surprised they haven't yet attempted to prohibit left turns entering the same way they have with traffic exiting the lot.

I learned quickly that the far better option is to avoid Memorial Drive entirely and just enter the lot from the back entrance on Magazine St.

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You clearly don't drive that

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You clearly don't drive that rotary anywhere near rush hour. Subjecting yourself to that rotary without needing to will add at least 15 minutes to anything you're doing.

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Maybe it's just me but,

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Maybe it's just me but, driving in a paved, marked road is legal and jaywalking is illegal. Am I right?

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