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Get ready to go a bit slower on Boston roads

Boston's default speed limit drops to 25 m.p.h. on Jan. 9, Mayor Walsh's office announced today.

The reduction from 30 m.p.h. does not apply to state-owned roads, including parkways, highways and Gallivan Boulevard.

Walsh's announcement came not long after the City Council approved, for the second time, a measure allowed under a new state law to drop city speed limits from 30 m.p.h. to 25 m.p.h.

The council had approved the measure two weeks ago, but added an amendment seeking authority to reduce the speed limit to just 20 m.p.h. in certain zones, such as in front of schools. Walsh rejected the council action after learning the city already had the authority to do that and the council passed an unmodified measure today.

City officials say the lower speed limit will make local roads safer for motorists, pedestrians and bicyclists.

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"City officials say the lower speed limit will make local roads safer for motorists, pedestrians and bicyclists" and $2.25 will get you a cup of coffee if the police are as attentive to this as they are to red light running, texting while driving, hit-and-runs, and double parking.

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The cops aren't going to pull anyone over for going 30mph (sadly...) but when they catch the jackass going 50 the fine will be larger as it will be 25mph over the limit instead of 20.

Also, this will help with recovering damages if you can prove the person was going that much further over the limit.

This might not do much as the police won't enforce it but that alone isn't a reason not to change the law.

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because the people in charge are TOO LAZY to properly evaluate speed limits and decided to CIRCUMVENT logical procedures that were put in place to insure that posted speed limits are REASONABLE for everyone.

And once again, cyclists and pedestrians who can more quickly and easily control their actions than a person in a several thousand pound vehicle can are given preference in the guise of "safety."

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As a frequent cyclist and pedestrian, I don't consider unreasonable speed limits a preference.

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And once again, cyclists and pedestrians who can more quickly and easily control their actions than a person in a several thousand pound vehicle can are given preference in the guise of "safety."

Given your own admission that it's hard to stop a several thousand pound vehicle quickly, it only reinforces the rational behind the lower speed limits.

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Those procedures for evaluating such things as speed limits now include health impact assessment.

It is through HIA that the value of lower speed limits has been assessed.

For more information: http://www.pewtrusts.org/en/multimedia/data-visualizations/2015/hia-map/...

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Not quite.

The HIA you link evaluates the potential general health impact of the law change.

The existing procedures for evaluating speed limits on specific roads/locations does include safety, but is not the same thing as the HIA.

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State law. HIA in transportation. Look it up.

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If you are sitting down on a comfortable cushion with perfect 72 degree air blowing on your face, you should acquiesce to the people who are using their leg muscles to move their bodies forward while directly experiencing cold temps, wind and rain. It is common courtesy.

Those pedestrians and cyclists don't have the same ability to kill you with their bikes and their bodies that you have with your car - try switching places some time and see how many reckless, arrogant, self-centered drivers put your life in danger even in cross walks while you have the walk signal, just because they didn't feel like being the last car who didn't make it through the green light

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Blocking the damn box.

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Jaywalking

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Using mobile phones while driving.

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Lol "mobile phone"

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and suicidal, to boot!

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I'm waiting this one out to see if it actually makes a difference or not. I'm tending to believe that it's just a mechanism to write up more tickets to generate more cash.

I'm a believer of anything that is selective enforcement means it's not really enforceable therefore shouldn't be a law.

I would like to see some cyclist related improvements, such as being able to fine cyclist who don't obey sidewalk/street laws, street lights, etc. And some speed humps on bike paths as I have seen many a accidents/injuries caused by cyclists as well

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So you're in favor of speed bumps on all roads too? I have seen many a accident/injuries caused by drivers as well.

I'm a believer of anything that is selective enforcement means it's not really enforceable therefore shouldn't be a law.

But you think sidewalk/street laws, street lights, etc as they pertain to cyclists are enforceable? Law enforcement has bigger fish to fry (See: Cars/Trucks) so lets just throw out all the cycling related laws, yeah?

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I welcome speed bumps since i can get nice bunny hops outta it, while laughing at that failed speed control.

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So drivers shouldn't have speed limits because sometimes the cops don't enforce them. But we need tougher laws on cyclists even though you can't show me a single example of a cyclist killing someone in Boston? That makes no sense.

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And some speed humps on bike paths

How about if they just park a bunch of police cars and delivery trucks in the bike paths to "calm" traffic?

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And some speed humps on bike paths as I have seen many a accidents/injuries caused by cyclists as well

If you are going to make such assertions, you need to provide statistics to back it up.

Fine cyclist. Okay. I am a fine cyclist. Otherwise? Learn to pluralize, please.

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I would like to see some cyclist related improvements, such as being able to fine cyclist who don't obey sidewalk/street laws

Are you familiar with the laws of the Commonwealth? Bicyclists may use sidewalks except in main business districts. That's not illegal.

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How are these signs supposed to result in slower driving in Boston?

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Some people will obey. Those that speed will go 5 MPH slower.

If you've ever been on 128, you'll see the psychology of it all. The speed limit is 55, but by and large people go 65. Speeding yes, but few will ratchet it up to 70.

Personally, I'll be glad to go 25 on my street. 30 is kind of insane.

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Those that speed will go 5 MPH slower.

And how are you enjoying your visit to our fine planet?

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Countless studies have actually shown that people who speed do not speed X mph above the limit no matter what the limit is - they drive the speed they find comfortable. If the limit is 55 and everyone is driving 65, raising the limit to 65 will not result in everyone driving 75 - instead, the average speed will only increase to 67 or so.

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"but few will ratchet it up to 70."

Um...try 75 to 80 mph...I know I drive that when traffic conditions permit it. (South side of 128 between Braintree and Rte 1), and I am by far not the only one.

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The Globe put out an article today about the Cambridge PD writing 200 tickets in Inman Square this month to law breaking drivers. The Boston PD needs to do a crack down like this but do more than the measly $20 fine that Cambridge has. I've never seen or heard about anyone ever getting a speeding ticket in this city. If they are serious about saving lives and punishing dangerous drivers this needs to change.

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Cambridge PD also pulls over cyclists, especially in Central Sq.

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Indeed, I got ticketed by a Cambridge cop on Hampshire St for walking my bike across during a ped phase just this Spring.

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Did the ticket stand? (Did you bother to fight it?) If you're walking your bike (I'm assuming we're talking two feet on the ground with the bike to one side of you), aren't you a pedestrian?

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I did not bother to fight it. It was a $20 ticket and the nonrefundable filing fee to challenge it was $25, so even if I challenged it and won I'd still be worse off financially.

And feet on the ground yes, but I was still straddling it. It's kind of a grey area.

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Most tickets are going to be written on the few roads where it's perfectly safe to go 35 or 40. It's too much effort to enforce speed limits in residential or downtown areas, especially since most people won't be speeding.

Before this state law change, Boston already had the authority to lower speed limits to 25. But they had to prove to the state that the lower limit was justified.

Now they can slap up 25 signs anywhere they feel like, and places like Cambridge Street over the Pike (which had a speed study showing 40 was the safest limit) will be come big speed traps.

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However, a much bigger speed trap problem will occur in the less dense suburbs and semi-rural areas. Towns can now lower the thickly settled default limit to 25.

But thickly settled doesn't just mean a Main Street or walkable neighborhood with kids playing. It means anywhere with 6 houses in a half-mile, which is by far the loosest definition of thickly settled in any state.

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For starters, it isn't called "thickly settled" outside of Massachusetts or maybe New England.

Some states use "Congestion", which covers both built density and traffic conditions that have nothing to do with buildings.

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^This guy gets it

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35 to 40 miles per hour in a densely-populated residential area is much too great a speed, When there are densely-populated residential areas, be they suburban, rural, or urban, expect that kids will be out there either chasing a ball that went across the street, or who sometimes run across the street in front of cars, because too many young kids have absolutely no idea what a car can do, and even adolescent/adult pedestrians who are often oblivious and cross against a light or right in front of a car, as well as younger kids, must be protected from their own stupidity.

If one is driving 35 to 40 mph or over, and a young kid suddenly darts out into the street in pursuit of a ball, or an oblivious adolescent or adult suddenly runs across the street in front of an oncoming car, or crosses against a light, 35 to 40 miles per hour and up will not provide enough time to avoid hitting a pedestrian, regardless of the pedestrians' age(s), . One must always be prepared for the unexpected. and driving 35 to 40 mph and up in a densely populated residential area is reckless, irresponsible, and totally unprepared for the unexpected, as far as I'm concerned.

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Nevermind 35-40 mph which is extremely reckless on any city road pretty much. Driving 30 mph and hitting someone is deadly a majority of the time. For a child or senior, it's almost certainly deadly. No one wants anyone to speed on the street they live on, and yet everyone wants to speed everywhere else. Can't have it both ways, folks.

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If they are, then everyone who gets a ticket under this new extortion "safety" program should appeal it.

Here's what the signs should look like:

https://www.massdot.state.ma.us/highway/Departments/TrafficandSafetyEngi...

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im sure boston had some custom designed signs made up just for this

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I think it's particularly funny that MassDOT has engineering drawings for nonsensical only-in-MA signs, like this one:

https://www.massdot.state.ma.us/Portals/8/docs/traffic/Signs/MA-W30-8L.pdf

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The City doesn't enforce the 30 mph limit, what makes you think they'll enforce the 25 mph limit?

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Chapter 218 of the Session Laws of 2016 is a real gem.

More than 38,000 words, most of it boring details of town finance (as the title implies). But buried in the middle is this speed limit stuff, restrictions on double telephone poles, the authority for cops to write tickets electronically instead of on paper, and who knows what else.

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So does this mean the cops will actually DO something about the people that do 50+ down Mass Ave. through Newmarket to Everett Square? Something tells me nothing will change.

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Or change driving behavior.

Other cities adopt traffic calming measures in order to achieve similar results. Boston has had roundabout conversations re: implementing traffic calming since the early days of WalkBoston ~ 2001 was my first encounter with citywide meetings.

But there is never money in the budget, nor professional leadership to advance design/practice.

To the plethora of stop signs at obvious intersections (mostly placed to quell constituent harping about perceived traffic ills), we'll now add more roadside litter in the signage for 25 MPH.

http://www.ite.org/traffic/tcdevices.asp
http://www.pps.org/reference/livememtraffic/

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Aside from a few problem areas and the occasional flagrant violator (who won't be set straight with a 5mph speed limit adjustment), I just don't see speeding as a major problem in the city of Boston. On narrow residential streets it's hard to get up to 25mph sometimes, and on parts of Comm Ave in light traffic it flows smoothly (and safely) at higher speeds. One size fits all just doesn't make sense.

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I'm going to repeat what I've said previous times this has come up here, which is that changing numbers on a sign will do absolutely nothing to increase safety - all it will increase is revenue from speeding tickets.

What we really need to do is put more effort into redesigning streets to make it feel appropriate to go a slower speed where necessary. The first thing I learned in my first highway engineering class is that you never use signs to control motorist behavior - you always use roadway geometry. If people are driving 30+ mph on Boston's neighborhood streets, then the streets are designed poorly - if you add in enhancements like curb extensions, landscaping, bike facilities, raised crossings, it will make the streets safer for all users, and slow drivers down to speeds appropriate for the street.

HOWEVER, Boston has plenty of streets that these treatments would not be appropriate for, as they are through streets that should be expected to carry large amounts of vehicular traffic quickly (e.g. Melnea Cass, Trelumbus, Cambridge St, and most of the arterials in the suburban parts of the city). While these streets should not be treated as highways, it is poor planning to subject them to the same arbitrary limit as a residential street. It's all about balance.

Frankly this whole affair reeks of laziness - the city has always been able to lower (or raise) the limit on specific roads after conducting a speed study justifying it. They just don't want to do that because they know that a lower blanket speed limit won't actually change anything, but it will let them come back to voters saying "see, I did something about this!".

It's also a bit insulting to me as an engineer that the city thinks they know better than an entire educated, licensed profession.

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The difference in stopping distance between 25 and 30 mph? Or the difference needed in reaction time to make a needed correction? Seems like one of those things that sounds good for politicians but I'd be curious to know the actual impact.

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A pedestrian hit at 20MPH has a 95% chance of surviving. A pedestrian hit at 30MPH has only a 55% chance of surviving. That is the major benefit of lower speeds.

http://humantransport.org/sidewalks/SpeedKills.htm

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There's a set formula to calculate stopping sight distance, and after making a few assumptions:
SSD(30) = ~200 ft
SSD(25) = ~150 ft

This is assuming a generous 2.5 seconds to observe and react to a need to stop, wet pavement, etc.

If you assume only 1 second reaction time and dry pavement, it's actually 100 ft and 75 ft.

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Why not just get out and push whenever you're within the city limits?

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What's the down side?

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