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Council approves measure to drop city speed limit to 20 m.p.h.

The City Council today unanimously approved a proposal to reduce the default city speed limit on most roads to 20 m.p.h. and 15 m.p.h. in school zones.

The measure, which councilors said should make Boston a safer city for motorists, bicyclists and pedestrians, now goes to the mayor. If he approves, it then goes to the state legislature for action.

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I hope this is more vigorously enforced than "no texting or Instagramming while driving" and "when the light is red you have to stop"

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my hope is that enough drivers who are stopped for this appeal their tickets on the basis that the new speed limit, by being totally arbitrary and having no basis in engineering study, is an unrealistic measure.

Hopefully this nonsense will never pass the Legislature for exactly that reason.

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The nonsense of saving innocent lives? If a pedestrian is hit at 20MPH they have a 95% chance of surviving. If they are hit at 30MPH they only have a 55% chance of not being brutally killed. That is the only study that matters because peoples lives are more important than drivers missing the first few minutes of an episode of The Big Bang Theory.

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if they're hit at 5mph, what's the survival rate? What about 1mph?

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I got hit at 5MPH. Meaning the driver was probably going a little faster, but was down to like 5MPH when he hit me. I walked away.

It's really nice not to have to care about who to blame or who to insult because the guy was kind enough to be driving a newly washed car and even my clothes came out okay from the collision.

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As long as we're reducing a useful conversation into a series of arguments ad absurdum, why stop there? What happens if you hit a pedestrian at NEGATIVE 10 miles an hour? Stands to reason they'd be even safer than at 1 MPH. Thus, the City Council should decree that we all drive our cars backwards at all times. (We'll have to change all the signs to say "Velocity Limit" instead of "Speed Limit," though, to account for vectors rather than scalars)

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That is a nice try at reductio ad absurdum but but it utterly fails. Do you really not think that it is a useful exercise to seek a balance between public safety and personal transportation needs?

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Try taking that argument to airline, rail, marine or any other safety area regulated by the federal government. You will find that there is no balance. Safety takes priority. End of story.

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in Boston involved vehicles traveling at or below 30 mph? How many of those crashes could have been prevented with better enforcement of EXISTING traffic laws? How much of that behavior could be discouraged in the future with appropriate punishments?

Well, we don't want to deal with those issues, do we. So we'll pass a law that sets an unrealistically low speed limit for all our streets instead.

But if you're so convinced this measure will magically eliminate all pedestrian accidents in the City Of Boston, then why don't we pass a law requiring that traffic signals be placed at every intersection in the City as well. Really show those evil drivers who's in charge. And I'm sure you wouldn't mind having to stop ever 100 feet or so for a red light.

This proposal is just more classic reactionary 'feel good' politics in play. And it's shameful that people are so willing to accept such ploys so readily.

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I'm clearly just howling into the abyss here since you don't intend on engaging with this in good faith, but:

I'm curious. How many of the recent pedestrian crashes in Boston involved vehicles traveling at or below 30 mph? How many of those crashes could have been prevented with better enforcement of EXISTING traffic laws? How much of that behavior could be discouraged in the future with appropriate punishments?

I dunno, man. Maybe you should go dig up some statistics, rather than shaking your fist angrily at the internet for not doing your research for you. Some folks in this (and the previous) thread have have helpfully provided the traffic studies that show that the fatality rate at 20MPH is around half of what it is at 30MPH That sounds pretty compelling to me, given that a non-zero number of pedestrians are run over and killed here every year.

But if you're so convinced this measure will magically eliminate all pedestrian accidents in the City Of Boston

Yes. We are convinced with absolute certainty. For any law ever passed must instantly reduce the incidence of a bad thing from 100% to 0%. To do anything else would be foolhardy, and we should let the perfect be the enemy of the good in all legislative matters.

Then why don't we pass a law requiring that traffic signals be placed at every intersection in the City as well. Really show those evil drivers who's in charge.

The legislature is in charge. So they might drop the speed limit. Because cars are not the sole occupants of roads, but are the ones creating 100% of the traffic fatalities on them. They can also install traffic lights at every intersection in town, if they want. On net, I'm not sure it would be an improvement, but if they think it will stop drivers from habitually acting like maniacs and killing people with multi-ton bludgeoning weapons, then they should go for it.

And I'm sure you wouldn't mind having to stop ever 100 feet or so for a red light.

It might make the drive a little longer, yeah. I drive to work most days, so I'd have to leave five minutes earlier. That would indeed be an inconvenience. However, I would probably stop short of pitching a fit about it on a public forum, because that would probably make most people think I was the sort of sociopath who thought the road was built only for him, and who values small amounts of his own time more than he does the lives of pedestrians, cyclists, and other drivers.

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The question asked was what percentage of actual existing fatalities were caused by drivers obeying the 30mph speed limit. NOT whether an accident at a magically-obeyed-by-everyone-at-all-times 20mph limit is more survivable than an accident at a magically-obeyed-by-everyone-at-all-times 30mph limit.

The other question that was asked and whizzed over you head was whether the enforcement mechanism for the 20mph limit will be such that actual vehicle speeds on the streets will be lowered or not. NOT whether 20mph is slower than 30mph.

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"Because cars are not the sole occupants of roads, but are the ones creating 100% of the traffic fatalities on them."

ummm....

Wow.

Well, yes - the physical characteristics that govern collisions once they've happened mean that cars >>>>>>>> bikes >>> pedestrians.

However, to say that cars (and, presumably, their drivers) create 100% of traffic fatalities - therefore implying errors, stupidity, and aggression by bicyclists and pedestrians create none is willful ignorance.

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I stopped at this comment because it best expressed my opinion.

WELL SAID AND SAY NO MORE

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was the top priority, then they should ban cars entirely. They are heavy and capable of going fast.

The fact that there are roads and cars allowed shows that there is a societal need for cars and speed (beyond catching episodes of a sitcom).

A functioning world requires some measure of danger. And while its obviously good to mitigate danger where possible, simply using the fact that a change reduces danger can't be the only justification, otherwise it invites slippery slope arguments. It has to be balanced by context.

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Now its simply arbitrary with no basis in engineering.

You also seem to think that there is enough volume of road users that would be ticketed for this violation and that would result in a high volume of appeals.

So which talking point is it?

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the City has done to justify establishing a city-wide 20 mph speed limit. I'm willing to bet they don't exist because they haven't been done. That makes the proposal arbitrary with no basis in engineering.

And any speed limit that has been set well below what drivers can safely travel the street or road at without the benefit of an engineering study is clearly arbitrary.

State law already makes provisions for cities and towns to set speed limits for specific locations, provided those speed limits can be justified based on engineering practices.

As for traffic tickets, the knee-jerk reaction of nearly everyone I've encountered who's gotten one is universally "how can I fight this?" Once word gets out that speed limits have been lowered not because an engineering study said it was the proper thing to do, but just some politicians could say "look, we're solving the safety problem", rest assured that many people who get those citations will be fighting them in court.

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JFGI.

Plenty of evidence out there. You are the one asserting that the people using that evidence to implement policy are all wrong.

Burden's on you, dude.

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you keep on this belief that this is about ticketing drivers.

this is based on the opposite of your tirades.

when the default speed limit is 30 mph, the city cannot design a road to engineering standards for 20 mph.

Once the default is 20 mph, they can design roads to engineering standards for 20 mph...

Nothing can ever change according to your view; if we followed that, we might still have people walking down the street in front of cars warning everyone they were coming.

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Says who? There are existing mechanisms for posting a speed limit lower than the default, when conditions warrant it.

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Where are the engineering studies justifying at 30 mph citywide speed limit? Are there any? My assumption has been that there aren't but I'd love to be proven wrong on this, and to look at the actual methodology justifying the status quo, other than the fact that that's how it's always been.

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Maybe the people you've encountered shouldn't be thinking about how to fight a ticket they deserved and should instead find a way to fight the urge to speed and drive dangerously.

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And I've seen people win appeals in court if the city is unable to provide a study in conformance with state/federal standards with speed limits and signage. I even thought that the actual signage for enforcement had a mi I mum or am I thinking of the current state law and not MUTCD?

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Per MGL Chapter 85, Section 2, any traffic control devices that a city or town installs must conform to the "department's (i.e. MassDOT Highway Division) current manual on uniform traffic control devices. MassDOT has adopted the Federal MUTCD with Massachusetts-specific amendments. With certain exceptions (principally speed limits and Heavy Commercial Vehicle - HCVE - exclusions), cities and towns do not require MassDOT approval to install traffic controls on their streets and roads.

With speed limits, posted regulatory (i.e. white on black) speed limit signs can only be installed in support of a special speed regulation (SSR) for that section of roadway. Such a regulation, which is jointly approved by MassDOT and the Registrar of Motor Vehicles, establishes the legal speed limit for the section of roadway in question. At present, regulatory signs cannot be posted in support of prima-facie speed limits.

AFAIK, there is currently no legal requirement in either the MUTCD or state law regarding the minimum number of signs to be provided within a posted speed zone. However, accepted practice is to post signs after each intersection and entrance ramp. Much of it comes back to "would a reasonable person be informed of the regulation in a manner that they could comply with it

While the MUTCD allows some discretion in placement of traffic control devices, there are requirements that must be met (usually stated as "shall" or "shall not" conditions). If a ticket was written for disobeying a traffic control device that was in violation of these conditions, or a traffic control device that was not discernible or properly functioning due to any one of several factors, then a person might have grounds for an appeal.

As for speed limits, typically a person might have grounds to appeal a ticket if a regulatory sign was put up without an accompanying SSR, or if the sign was not placed at the proper location denoting the start of the regulation.

Lastly, what Boston is attempting to do here is to get the Legislature to grant them a special prima-facie speed limit for the entire City. While there may or may not be merit to this idea, I have yet to see any hard evidence justifying that this change will be beneficial for ALL road users. However, I have serious problems with the idea of granting special "blanket' laws and exceptions to individual cites and towns that contradict similar laws within the rest of the state.

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If you must steer your car into a human being, the very least you could do is not kill us.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1127572/#__ffn_sectitle

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If I feel safe roaring down Beacon Street at 80 mph because I think I've got all the green (or at least "only been red for a few seconds") lights timed, who are some fancy scientists or fat-cat city councilors to tell me my judgement is wrong?

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Darn those scientists and their facts!

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is to get REALLY high (stoned) and drive on a particular road. Drive at a speed in which you feel safe, now look at the speedometer. Almost without fail you are going the posted speed limit.
This method is unofficial at this time, but try it out and you'll see I am correct.

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Yeah engineers are perfect and always worried about safety. Thats why so many 6 lane roads with 14 foot lanes built in the 1960s with all that engineering knowledge are so much safer than roads built 100 years earlier with 2 lanes at 9 feet each .

Oh wait.

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prepared by qualified engineers than a law crafted by politicians who still believe the old fable that "if you lower the speed limit without changing the nature of the roadway, drivers will automatically slow down."

Sadly, the City Council proposal smacks of the latter.

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I'd trust just about anyone more than I would the band of misfit toys we have as a City Council.

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Again, being a qualified engineer does not mean being an expert at safety in an urban environment.

For an engineer, there is nothing safer than a divided roadway with 14 foot lanes, 20 foot shoulders and clearance zones (aka no trees) in the surrounding area.

In an urban context, that is pure garbage.

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As an engineer, this is very far from the truth, and frankly insulting. We go to school for 4 or more years specifically studying road safety in all environments. Who, may I ask, do you think would be more qualified than someone with a degree and a professional license?

I said it when this proposal first came up and I'll say it again: lowering speed limits does nothing. If you want people to drive slower, change the roadway geometry. The first thing we're taught as engineers is not to rely on signs.

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A bunch of B level career politicians know WAY more than someone trained in this subject.

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Maybe politicians don't, but MDPH and MAPC do.

http://www.mdpi.com/1660-4601/11/10/10269

(note that the people who authored this went to school for a hell of a lot longer than you did)

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Lowering speed limits does nothing. If you want people to drive slower, change the roadway geometry.

As has been pointed out many times in previous UHub comment threads, drivers will go as fast as feels safe. For me personally, there are 20mph zones where I do 45 and 55mph zones where I go 35. If you want to improve pedestrian safety, add bump outs at corners, pedestrian refuges in the middle of wide roads, narrow the crossing distance at 4 way stops, and all the other calming techniques that DTP would know better than me. If you just plunk down a Speed Limit 20mph sign in the middle of Washington Street in West Roxbury, with wide lanes, long, straight sightlines, and a broad median, I and other drivers are just going to laugh and keep going 45mph. Make the roadway conditions fit the conditions of the neighborhood.

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You can't do this to a 20mph standard if the default limit is 30mph.

By lowering the default speed, you can make the design changes where appropriate.

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Heh, I found a great example of this in Portsmouth, RI last weekend:

https://goo.gl/jdztPY (It's a Google Street View link)

I'm sure there's at least one driver that occasionally actually goes 25 miles per hour on that road.

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Someone who's one ticket away from losing their license.

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Do you honestly think that going 30, 45 and 55 mph in such a densely populate urban area where, first of all, the roads and streets aren't cut out for those kinds of speeds, and secondly, one never knows when a pedestrian will cross the street, no matter what hour of the day or night, won't endanger pedestrians, and possibly your own life, if you lose control of your car and either hit another car, a light pole, or a pedestrian? You've got other work cut out for you, chaosjake! Here's recommending that you think again.

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Your response here is the most asinine thing I've ever heard on this subject, and it makes me seriously question your reading comprehension and familiarity with local geography. Before I respond, let me quote the phrase that I think you're reacting to with "Do you honestly think that going 30, 45 and 55 mph... won't endanger pedestrians?"

There are 20mph zones where I do 45 and 55mph zones where I go 35.

I think you must have interpreted that as me stating that I drive 35, 45, and 55mph in all 20mph zones.

Now, to the point. Not every street in Boston is Acorn Street on Beacon Hill or Rutland Street in the South End. On streets like Washington Street in West Roxbury (which is what I cited), many of the DCR freeways parkways, or roads like Morrissey, the streets absolutely ARE "cut out for those kind of speeds."

They're constructed like highways, with long, straight sightlines, broad lanes, and infrequent stops. Because they're built to support 45mph, that's how fast people drive, and adding a lower speed limit sign will do nothing to change that.

You have to construct safer streets by changing the geometry, like DTP stated. Narrowing lanes, adding raised crosswalks and bumpouts, and adding street trees all reduce the perceived safe speed on a street. When you make drivers feel like they should drive slower, they will, no matter what the signs say.

That being said, I don't think 20mph across the board is a good idea. It doesn't differentiate between neighborhood streets and arteries, and its just a big middle finger to all the taxpayers who live, work, and drive in this city.

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Who, may I ask, do you think would be more qualified than someone with a degree and a professional license?

Easy, someone who is actually able to look at the guidance with a critical mind and not do things because the book says to do things.

You acknowledge that you were taught that removing all trees and posts in the area surrounding the roadway is safer right?

Can you also see why that encourages faster speeds and thus is probably a really bad idea in an urban context?

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You acknowledge that you were taught that removing all trees and posts in the area surrounding the roadway is safer right?

Actually, no. Thinking back to my very first Highway Engineering class, yes, we were taught that trees close to the road present hazards. However, we were not taught that removing them was always the solution. We were taught that there are a variety of treatments that are suitable for various environments. On an interstate highway, yes, you need a clear zone. But on urban roads a curb or if necessary a guardrail does the job just fine.

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You don't want a "speed study", you just want the whole thing to go away. Calling for a "speed study" is just a disingenuous stalling tactic on your part.

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to acknowledge here is that there is a proper procedure in place to effect speed limit changes, that that procedure is in place for very good and rational reasons, and to simply follow that procedure. Instead, the City has decided to use political pull to short circuit the process because they find it to be too inconvenient. Why, because they are looking for quick popularity and are so ill-informed on the issue at hand that they believe myths like "You post a lower speed limit, and drivers will automatically slow down."

Following established rules and guidelines that have been in place in decades - largely because they've been proven to actually be effective - is hardly a "stalling tactic." Rather, it's just plain common sense. Don't like the rules, then demonstrate why the rules should be changed FOR EVERYONE affected by the rule (i.e. all cities and towns in the state, not just Boston). But demonstrate that with actual facts, and not just theoretical statistics.

And for the record, although I work in Boston, I hardly drive here. Actually, a good part of my daily commute involves walking. So, to you and others, please lose the "Roadman is automatically against anything that's anti-car" rants - as they're totally inaccurate.

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Health study. Not engineering study. Google it.

Facts don't just come from roadway engineers. They come from doctors, public health officials, planning agencies, etc.

Engineers have zero lock on reality. Engineering data is limited to the physical roadway. It does not address health.

That said, please show us the scientific and engineering studies used to set the 30 mile per hour default speed limits. We are waiting.

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public safety for everybody takes priority. That's why it's a good idea for the speed limit to be lowered to 20 mph. Boston, like all cities, is a very densely populated area, which is why the speed limit makes sense, as well as the way the streets and roads here are, as well.

Moreover, the vast majority of automobile crashes and pedestrian crashes, too, result from driving too at too great a speed (inotherwords, too fast.) for existing conditions.

I hope this does become a law which is really enforced, and I hope they really enforce the no-Texting law, too.

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Oh, wait - we're moving cars and trucks here.

People don't exist in your engineering universe.

Getting pretty sick of the "only metal boxes matter, count or exist" engineering studies. People matter and count more than mode.

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All people do is exist in your universe.

No one has to do things, no one has to get places.

The amazon delivery magically gets to your house the same day without any cars or trucks having to make the trip from point A to point B.

Food gets put on the table and the lights stay on without anyone having to travel for any reason by any motorized conveyance with any kind of deadline.

Everyone's livin' la dolce vida with not a care or concern.

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What ARE you babbling about?

p.s. it's "la dolce vita", or more properly, "la vita dolce".

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Now can we make cellphone usage illegal too? These two measures coupled together will greatly reduce dangerous and reckless driving, if the police choose to enforce it of course.

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While we're at it, let's making looking at those stupid GPS screens suction-cupped to windshields illegal as well. Watch the road and that's it!

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Since drivers cause untold thousands more deaths than police officers each year, they should be required to use dashboard cameras every time they operate their vehicles DRIVING IS A RIGHT NOT A PRIVILEGE

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Ban radios in cars, remove cupholders (fiddling with cupholders is just as distracting has texting!), and there should absolutely be soundproof plexiglass between the driver and all passengers.

Or, we could enforce current laws/speed limits, and penalize those that don't follow the rules or drive while distracted.

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Why even have a vote on something that will not be enforced at all? Does the council really think they will enforce this when they have not enforced the current speed limit? How much money are they going to waste on resigning all of the roads?

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How much money is spent on replacing signs that dangerous drivers plow into? Drivers on my road can't go a week without knocking down the Yeild To Pedestrians In Crosswalk sign. Its hit more often than Clay Bucholz.

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The signs will have salvage value, as any other municipality in Massachusetts will be willing to buy them at a slight discount...

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It is a great idea but I have two concerns: First, that suburban state legislators won't allow it because they care more about being able to drive fast everywhere they go than they care about the people who live in the city. And second is enforcement. I've never seen someone get a speeding ticket in Boston. West Bridgewater cracked down and gave tickets to over 100 people for texting while driving in just a 4 hour period. Where are these crackdowns on dangerous drivers in Boston?

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I was on Comm Ave between Harvard and Packard's Corner. It's a divided highway at that point with few driveways/streets, and I was in the left lane. I got pinged for 43 in a 30.

At 9:45am on a Sunday with nobody on the road, it didn't feel too fast. But, in hindsight, it was.

So I regret that I sped, I regret that I got a ticket, and I'm here to report that this ped/cyclist advocate screwed up behind the wheel and did, in fact, get a speeding ticket in Boston issued by a BPD officer who was spending his morning writing speeding tickets at that location.

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Wait till you feel the regret from your insurance increase for 5 years!! You'll regret not having thousands of dollars.

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Too fast for what?

Did you realize after you drove past that there were places a pedestrian could have stepped out from, where you wouldn't have been able to stop in time at that speed? Probably not, since it sounds like you were on the inner roadway between two medians.

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You know that this section of road has crosswalks and transit stops on it, right?

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There is one crosswalk, but since I turned from Harvard there is no way I was doing 30+ by the time I got to Fordham Road (extended). And while the Packard's Corner B Line stop is along the road, it's on the other side of a jersey barrier and 3+ lanes of traffic going the other direction, so I don't think that's a big factor either.

But, to answer the question, the problem with speeding there isn't a specific issue like a crosswalk or blind corner. The problem is general havoc. Cities are tight spaces, and folks do things which can be unexpected all the time. 43 mph is simply too fast to stop/swerve/avoid something unexpected in that area. Had I been doing 30 (for example), it would have taken me an additional 14.5 seconds to travel that stretch of road. I fart around on universal hub for a hell of a lot more time than that each day, so surely I could have afforded to invest the 14.5 seconds in increased safety for me and for others.

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Comm Ave is a wide open space. And if there isn't heavy traffic, there's not that much unexpected stuff to expect.

On a road like this, the time savings isn't the 14.5 seconds. It's the 65 seconds per red light, and the lights are often timed so you have to speed to avoid getting stuck at every red.

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This is unbelievable! I mean...seriously; Do lots of posters here care so little about and have so little regard for human lives that you're willing to speed through the city of Boston just to presumable avoid being stuck at "every single light"?

This is crazy!

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Boston cops loooove to camp out in certain locations and hand out the tickets on Sunday mornings. They can't be arsed to do it anytime when it might actually have a positive influence on public safety.

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Of course they do.

More people speed when the road is very empty, because it's safe to do so. (I'm talking about going 43 on Comm Ave, not 63.)

And it's easier to pull people over when you don't have to chase them through heavy traffic, and cause a major jam when you stop in a travel lane.

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" First, that suburban state legislators won't allow it because they care more about being able to drive fast everywhere they go than they care about the people who live in the city."

Can you back that up with anything, or do you just make stuff up about people?

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Old Colony Ave is a hotspot suburbanites cutting to South Shore bypassing 93. I have seen reckless drivers during rush hour almost hit people and not yield to pedestrians even in the clearly marked crosswalk.

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And hopefully Old Colony will be fixed soon. The city and state are both well aware of the problems with it, and are actively pursuing design solutions.

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The state police regularly set up a speed trap on Morrissey Blvd. at Malibu Beach. However, since it's a DCR road, that's the staties, not BPD.

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That's a regular setup so if anything I drive only slightly above the posted 35mph there. I saw a different setup there a few weeks ago though. I was on the inbound side and saw two staties standing in the right lane on the outbound side and one had a set of binoculars but there was no radar gun being used. I'm fairly sure that the one with binoculars was looking for people texting/using their phone and the other was a safety spotter for cars in the lane they were standing in.

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It's disheartening to see city councilors blatantly disregard the insight that experts on a subject have given them. This is asinine.

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Its disheartening to see so many Boston drivers blatantly disregard the safety of everyone else.

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You're right. Laws generally whip those people right into shape.

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The nice thing about speed limit laws is that if the person at the front of a platoon obeys the law, so does everyone behind them, by necessity. Does not apply to wider roads of course.

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Ever stop for a pedestrian in a crosswalk in Boston/Cambridge? Cabs tailgate, honk then dangerously swerve around you the first chance they get, nearly crashing into the pedestrians in the process. You must be new here... welcome.

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Yeah, works great, until some jackhole crosses into oncoming traffic to pass, or passes in a "right turn only" lane...

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That's fine if your goal is a pack of tailgating drivers. Do you have evidence to show this is a safe outcome?

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Yes, because rear end collisions are rarely fatal, especially at 20 mph, whereas a car striking a pedestrian at 30 mph is usually fatal.

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This only works on one-lane roads. And even then it encourages road rage.

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You have no right to demand that others disobey the law because you can't plan your time, or feel entitled to behave irresponsibly.

I suppose that you think that allowing women in public encourages rape.

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You have no right to demand that others disobey the law because you can't plan your time, or feel entitled to behave irresponsibly.

That is not at all what I said. What I said is that one slow driver encourages aggressive behavior from the drivers stuck behind them. Whether you feel this behavior is warranted or not, it does occur, and can create unsafe driving conditions. A car moving along freely at 45 mph is less likely to cause an accident than a car trying to aggressively pass someone at 30 mph.

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What I said is that one slow driver encourages aggressive behavior from the drivers stuck behind them.

You need to rephrase this in a way that puts the cause of and responsibility for aggressive driving behavior where it really belongs.

In other words, people obeying speed limits aren't what causes aggressive driving. People driving slowly don't cause aggressive driving. That's ridiculous.

People who get worked up over being denied their supposed right to drive fast at all times on all roads in all situations cause aggressive driving.

A fundamental lack of self-control and a firm belief in being too special to obey road rules causes aggressive driving.

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If the goal is more safety, human psychology, aforementioned firm belief in right-to-go-fast and all, must be accounted for rather than wished away.

If the goal is to flaunt your virtue without accomplishing anything positive, then by all means, lower ALL speed limits to 20 mph an all roads statewide and put bicycle sharrow markers down on all lanes of the Mass Pike from the New York line to Logan.

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If the goal is more safety, human psychology, aforementioned firm belief in right-to-go-fast and all, must be accounted for rather than wished away.

Exactly! It doesn't matter who is to blame, we need to acknowledge human psychology.

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This:

If the goal is more safety, human psychology, aforementioned firm belief in right-to-go-fast and all, must be accounted for rather than wished away.
If the goal is to flaunt your virtue without accomplishing anything positive, then by all means, lower ALL speed limits to 20 mph an all roads statewide and put bicycle sharrow markers down on all lanes of the Mass Pike from the New York line to Logan.

is absolutely ridiculous, Roman! Lowering the speed limit is the best thing to do, in order to save and protect lives, and, as some other posters here have suggested, one or two aggressive scofflaw drivers don't have the right to even try to encourage other drivers to do likewise. If you have to be, or want to be somewhere at a certain time, just make the effort to get an earlier start, instead of being so nasty about it.

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Driving way slower than you should to intentionally block the person behind you is also a form of aggressive driving.

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Driving way slower than the speed limit can be a form of aggressive driving. Driving the legal speed limit is not aggressive driving.

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It can be, if the speed limit is way lower than it should be.

I once decided to obey the waaaaay underposted 20 mph limit on an empty rural road somewhere up near Gloucester, even though a driver behind me clearly wanted to go faster. I made a point of not pulling over to let them by. I'd say I was guilty of aggressive driving.

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Driving at a 20 mph speed limit deliberately in a densely populated urban area i isn't aggressive driving at all. Driving above that posted limit is.

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because the idea of the driver in front of them driving the speed limit is too much for them to handle, then that person has a mental deficiency. The rage wasn't "encouraged" by the law abiding citizen (or autonomous vehicle). Saying that implies that the law abiding driver might be somehow at fault, or responsible for the rage.

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If someone is going way slower than the prevailing speed (even if that's the speed limit), and won't let someone else pass them when there's no reason not to do so, they have a social deficiency.

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You do know that driving in such a manner (refusing to yield, building a platoon behind you, blocking a shoulder, weaving) as to force other drivers to "drive safely" - even if you're conforming to a posted limit - is actually unsafe, aggressive, and in certain circumstances illegal?

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in what circumstances is driving the posted speed limit illegal? I'm a little shocked that anyone would consider that illegal or aggressive.

The comment was only about driving the speed limit, the comment said nothing about breaking laws by weaving, etc.

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Unless members of the platoon behind you have emergency lights and/or sirens on, it is decidedly not illegal to drive at the posted speed limit. It's also not unsafe. The jackhole who reacts in an aggressive manner is the one acting unsafe, not the person following the law in a predictable manner.

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MGL 1. D. 10T, "the law is whatever I say it is and fuck you."

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I'll spell out one example for you:

If you're on a multilane road, AND...
If you decide the left lane best suits your needs, AND...
If you decide your speed limit (could be the posted limit, could be higher), AND...
If there's traffic behind you that wants to go faster than your limit, AND...
If you become aware that they are aggressive and maybe even unsafe - they want to go faster than you and want to pass you (whether or not they first "politely" signal* for you to pull over to the right to let them by or they skip directly to tailgating, leaning on the horn, rude gestures, and passing on the right), AND...
If you don't get out of their way (when it's safe for you to do so) and let them be their aggressive, unsafe selves...

THEN - YES! YOU are being aggressive, too (even if it's "only" passive-aggressive), and unsafe - because YOU are compounding the situation!!

You might be driving at the default statutory speed. You might be driving at a safe speed for visibility and pavement conditions. But - Insisting on YOUR speed in "YOUR" lane regardless of traffic conditions around you (including the aggressive, unsafe jerks) is aggressive, territorial behavior and a dereliction of YOUR responsibilities as a driver.

(*with a blink of the headlights from a safe distance)

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Just like standing around under a tree with a mountain lion in it just because it's your right. It's not safe.

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In some states, it's illegal to block a platoon, even if you're going the speed limit. You have to pull over and let people pass.

In most states, including here, it's illegal to block faster traffic in the left lane of a multi-lane road, even if you're going the speed limit.

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What is the legal method of signaling that one wishes to break the law and therefore others should pull off to the shoulder to allow it? Turning on the "pull over to the side of the road because I wish to break the law" signal? Hitting the bumper of the car in front of you? Three shots fired in the air at short intervals?

What about aiding and abetting? Isn't it illegal to help people break the law?

This is fascinating stuff.

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He pulls up behind you and flashes his high beams, in the universal signal for "I wish to pass you." You're welcome.

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The states that have such a requirement word it very deliberately, to say that if there is a queue behind you of greater than X number of cars, you must pull over and let them pass at the next safe opportunity.

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You are not required to pull over if you are keeping to a minimum speed.

That minimum speed: usually 5 or 10 to the limit.

In no state are you ever required to pull over if you are doing the speed limit. Ever.

Remember kids: speed limits are MAXIMUM SPEEDS not MINIMUM.

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You're completely wrong.

http://jalopnik.com/5501615/left-lane-passing-laws-a-state-by-state-map

It's OK to be ignorant, but don't revel in it.

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I think DTP was talking about laws like Oregon has that require slow vehicles to use turnouts on two lane roadways.

Under Oregon law, if you have five or more vehicles behind you on a two-lane roadway, you are required to use a turnout. However, at no time are you required to use those turnouts if you are going the posted speed limit.

In other words, if you are on a two lane section of Highway 101 and a camper ahead of you is going the posted 45 or 50 mph speed limit, the driver does not have to pull over and let traffic pass. If going 40 in a 45, the driver does have to pull over once there are five cars behind.

That's what the poster was talking about. The four lane example is entirely different (and, yes, you'd have to pull into the right lane in that case).

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"As used in this section, a slow-moving vehicle is one that is proceeding at a rate of speed less than the normal flow of traffic at the particular time and place."

"Less than the normal flow of traffic", not "less than the posted speed limit".

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Yep, that's exactly what I was referencing. Thank you for the explanation, Swirly!

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I guess it's because it's important that people be allowed to break the law, drive unsafely, and endanger my life. If I don't let people drive unsafely, shame on me, I should be punished with a ticket. Maybe it's because by driving the posted speed limit, I am depriving the police of the opportunity to cite the people who want to break the law and endanger the lives of others.

Wouldn't it make more sense to give me a medal for saving lives by keeping traffic moving at a safe rate of speed?Oh I forgot! People get churned into a rage if someone in front of them drives the speed limit. Shame on the law abiding citizen for causing others to drive recklessly and aggressively tailgate.

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You're making some unfounded assumptions here:
1) That making other drivers go the speed limit improves safety
2) That letting people pass you endangers your life more than having them tailgate you
2) That it's illegal to drive any faster than the speed limit. (It's not. Going an unsafe speed is illegal, and going faster than the speed limit can be used as evidence that you were going at an unsafe speed. But going 1 mph over the limit in good conditions isn't illegal.)

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.. then hit the academy and get a badge. Otherwise you're just an arrogant ass.

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You do know that the poster you're responding to didn't suggest doing any of those things that you're saying? Weaving? Failing to yield right of way? So much for honest discourse.

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They were talking about holding a driver holding a platoon behind them to a speed limit (whether incidentally or deliberately) as a practice that increases safety.

If it was "incidentally", it's unsafe as a result of neglecting to remain aware of traffic around them.

If it was "deliberately", that's unsafe too.

The other things I mentioned were examples of other types of aggressive behavior by people "in the right" against people "in the wrong" that can actually make situations worse. I never claimed or implied that the poster was talking about all of the situations I cited.

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I can't drive 55!

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You need to get your tires rebalanced, then.

I know you were being facetious, but something like that actually happened to me. I had just had a couple of tires replaced or remounted. I soon encountered an interesting problem. Driving on a divided state highway at anywhere around the posted limit of 50 MPH, my car would start to shake violently. I had to gun it from a stable but unsafe (in that traffic) 35, through the turbulent zone, to a stable 60. Real pain, especially as the lights were synchronized at 53 MPH. It turned out the guy had screwed up balancing the tires, and the harmonics were brutal.

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I've seen exactly 1 speed trap. It's at the intersection of Centre Street & Weld Street on the W Rox/Roslindale border. You are hereby notified.

My point is, the police don't much care about speeding in Boston. I doubt a new unenforced law will change that.

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If they're not going to enforce it, they might as well drop it to 5mph, and 0mph in school zones.

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There is already a speed limit. It's not enforced, so it's not obeyed. Why on earth would the city council believe that a new, lower speed limit will be obeyed without any additional enforcement?

Yes, bike people, I get it, slower cars means fewer crashes and less-serious injuries, but speed limits don't slow drivers. Visible police and the substantiated fear of being ticketed do.

Seriously, this is like those kooks who think the "male" and "female" signs are magical barriers keeping trans people out of the restrooms of their choice.

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Yes, bike people, I get it, slower cars means fewer crashes and less-serious injuries, but speed limits don't slow drivers. Visible police and the substantiated fear of being ticketed do.

Maybe there should be more police out there enforcing the law(s).

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This will not be enforced. Even the current speed limit is not really enforced. Given that, I can't understand the protests. It feels as if a few car owners in Boston feel the need to tell us "look at me, I got a car". At rush hour, my bus #1 goes at the same speed with your 500-dollar-a-month center cost anyways, so you should know by now that the rest of us are not impressed. Why don't you buy a Ferrari if you must awe us. It will work better than wingeing anonymously on the web "look at me, I got a car ... in one of the worst places in America to have a car".

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Absolute nonsense. Of course, getting hit at a slower speed means you've got a better chance of surviving. But does that mean that lowering the speed limit is the most effective way of reducing pedestrian injury and death? Of course not! Distracted or impaired driving is the highest predictor of pedestrian injury, but no one wants to address that because it is a more complex issue that requires some real thought to resolve it, and it is less likely to increase revenue. As is all too typical in public policy in Boston, rather than really addressing the issue and targeting a solution, they impose a blanket solution.

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But does that mean that lowering the speed limit is the most effective way of reducing pedestrian injury and death? Of course not!

Many others have offered substantial research saying that lower speeds means fewer deaths and injuries.

Feel free to provide your own citations supporting your contention, for the sake of a proper discussion.

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Here's just one - http://www.popcenter.org/problems/pedestrian_injuries/

This clearly shows that while speed is a major contributor to pedestrian deaths, it is only a part. Moreover, it shows that speed is contained within other issues that a speed limit won't address.

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Lowering the speed limit does save lives, regardless of what you and many other posters here think.

In any case, there's no excuse for a driver being either distracted or impaired in some way or other, but that doesn't okay speeding through the city streets at 30, 40, of 50 miles per hour or more and really endangering pedestrians. At least if a distracted or impaired individual driving at a lower speed limit hits another car, s/he and other people in the car s/he hit will have a better chance off surviving.

Yet, most vehicular accidents, whether they're with other motor vehicles, or with pedestrians occur due to driving at too great a speed for existing conditions and therefore losing control of the car.

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20 mph makes sense on narrow residential streets. But most people already go about 20 on those streets. A few go faster, and they deserve tickets.

30 is fine on wide through roads.

I could deal with cruising along at 20 if it meant I'd hit all the green lights. But Boston's lights are so badly timed that often the only way to catch the next green is to speed.

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That's not true at all. Most of them are timed so that if you follow the speed limit, you won't be hitting all reds. And some are even timed that for full stretches of the road it should be entirely green if you're not over the speed limit.

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Ok, what roads are you thinking of?

During my recent trips on Comm Ave from BU to Charlesgate, the Greenway northbound from South Station to Charlestown, and the entire length of Mass Ave, I don't think I caught a single green.

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I support my B.P.D window stickers.

Stickers here!!!!!!!! get'm while their hot

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This city has so many cameras on street lights, why can't they use them (or new ones) and automate tickets for speeders and those who run red lights? I live in Back Bay on Beacon St. and especially in the hours before and after the work day, even if you have the pedestrian sign to walk, it's pretty dangerous to cross at many of the intersections. I bet if they did that there would be enough to wipe out the T's debt!

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Those cameras are very simple and only count if the space is filled or empty.

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1) Those cameras are completely different from any cameras capable of reading license plates and interfacing with a computer to generate a ticket. Completely different cameras designed for a completely different purpose.

2) Automated traffic enforcement is against Massachusetts state law.

3) Red light cameras have actually been shown to, on average, INCREASE the number of collisions at intersections where they are installed, because paranoid drivers will slam on the brakes the second the light turns yellow, resulting in a rear-end collision.

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You are technically right on #3, but what you're missing is that it does reduce the number of fatalities because rear end collisions are much less likely to be fatal than the t-boning and pedestrian fatalities that tend to happen when people run red lights.

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Red light camera companies justify the cameras by looking at several different categories of accidents at an intersection, and highlighting the one that happened to decrease after the cameras were installed.

If total crashes decrease, they're all set.
If they increase, like they usually do, they look at t-bone crashes.
If those increase, they look at left-turn-cross crashes.
If those increase, they look at pedestrian crashes.
If those increase, they look at crashes that cause injuries to car occupants, or major injuries, or property damage above $x, or,.. you get the point.

If you have enough data, there's going to be random fluctuations, and at least one category of accident will decrease even if the cameras make things worse or make no difference overall.

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If we're going by the only statistic that really matters (number of fatalities) it seems like red light cameras are indeed quite effective: http://www.iihs.org/iihs/news/desktopnews/camera-enforcement-in-14-large...

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If, on the other hand, a driver who ends up rear-ending the car of the driver in front of him or her is going at too great a speed, a rear-end collision, like any collision, can be fatal.

To put it another way, even a rear-end collision can be fatal if the speed at which the offender is driving is great enough, like upward of 30-40 miles an hour.

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I challenge you to dig up some statistics on this because I suspect this is among the least fatal types of crashes that occur between two cars.

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What a pathetic joke. This is done for 1 reason, and 1 reason only. REVENUES. They need to pay the ridiculous contracts they gave the police and fire unions. Cops set up speed traps aka cash registers, as it's an easy revenue producer that has ZERO effect on safety, meanwhile, the infractions that actually cause accidents and injury, Tailgating, Lane violations, texting and calling while driving, failure to signal are ignored because the lazy police have to actually do a little WORK to enforce those. Disgusting and pathetic

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Reminds me of an old Bloom County strip, except that was aware of the absurdity of the arguments here:
.Milo vs Opus
(Bloom County Meadow, candidates on stools before podiums. Sign which reads "toDay: Practice Debate")
Milo: I understand that my opponent supports the 55 M.P.H. speed limit.
Opus: Saves 500 lives a year! I fully support saving lives.
Milo: Then he'd support the saving of another 10,000 lives by lowering the limit to 40 M.P.H.
Opus: 40?
Milo: Or to 20 ... Saving 30,000 lives a year.
Opus: Gee... 20 is pretty slow.
Milo: Apparently my opponent would send 30,000 men, women, and children to fiery, mangled deaths just so he can zoom along to his manicurist at 55.
Opus: I DON'T HAVE A MANICURIST!
Milo: He probably doesn't. Most mass murderers don't. Hitler didn't.
Opus: stop it! Stop It! STOP IT! (bangs on podium)
Milo: Rebuttal?
Opus: (frazzled) What?
Milo: Give your rebuttal.
Opus: Uh... Bush is a wimp.
(Opus' washroom, opus in tub in technicolor rub-a-dub hair shield)
Narrator: The candidate retires to the tub...comforted in the knowledge that even "The Gipper" never really sounded totally sober without note cards, either.

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But this will cause a 30 pct increase in fuel consumption as cars will never get to their higher gears. What happened to all the concerns for the environment?
Now in 5 years we'll need a few million dollar studies to figure out why we all have lung cancer. Slow death, quick death hmmm. Noone thinks anything through.

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Your car is in a "higher gear" at 30 mph?

You need a new car.

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You use the top gear at 20? Or the same gear at 20 as at 30?

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that ALL roads in Boston will be 20mph. This will not be the case. While I believe that a 20mph limit is perfectly reasonable for Milk St., W. 5th St in Southie, ParkVale Ave. in Allston/Brighton or Liverpool St. in Eastie, the same may not be the case for portions of American Legion Highway, Cummins Highway, Washington Street, Haul Road, etc.

The bottom line is one size does not fit all. Some streets and highways (especially under DCR jurisdiction) will be signed at higher limits. Road design and density should be the main factors.

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Yeah, I'm sure Boston will drop everything and start raising limits above the default 20 on major roads all over the city. Complete with rigorous engineering studies, and well-designed, standards-compliant signs.

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And I think 20 is a perfectly reasonable limit on narrow residential streets.

But if you look at the data, most drivers don't go much faster than that. And the existing laws allow cops to ticket the ones who do.

Cambridge cares about transparency, and has posted the results of all of their speed studies: http://www.cambridgema.gov/traffic/engineeringplanning/speedstudies

Keep in mind that:
1) These are 85th percentile speeds, not averages. So most drivers are going slower than these speeds.
2) These speed studies were done in the places where residents complained about speeding.

Most narrow streets have 85th percentile speeds around 25 mph.

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Based on so many ridiculous comments, I'm not sure there's enough caring people, training, public awareness campaigns, or traffic calming measures to pull off vision zero goals.

Self driving cars could kill thousands of people a year in this country and it would still be a vast improvement over the carnage people have created.

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Am I missing something here…lowering speed limits while plans are underway for high speed Indy style racing in the city.

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when the streets still look like highways.

http://www.citylab.com/design/2015/11/some-20-mph-streets-are-safer-than...

Cars do need to be slowed down, but many streets will need to be redesigned.

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