Traffic to slow in Cambridge squares next month

The Crimson reports that after reducing the speed limit in city squares from 30 to 25 in 2016, Cambridge will lower the square speed again, to 20, as part of an effort to reduce traffic collisions and fatalities.

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Cambridge has unusually high traffic fatalities?

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Is the goal to bring traffic to a standstill? A better idea would to more severely punish car and truck drivers found guilty in court of causing accidents that injure or kill people. And all people need to PAY CLOSE ATTENTION TO THEIR SURROUNDINGS AND ENVIRONMENT. Maybe a good idea would be to put up eye catching signage reminding people to pay attention. Good idea to even do this in places where there's heavy pedestrian traffic, reminding people to keep to the right on sidewalks, and going up and down subway stairs.

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Voting is closed. 20

Hopefully this helps but

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Hopefully this helps but drivers ignore laws and the police don't enforce them.

Harvard Square should be a pedestrian only zone. If this were a European city they smartly would have never allowed cars in the first place. But no need to go that far for examples. Just go to Montreal where block after block is blissfully car free. It is the only certain way to stop drivers from killing people.

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Voting is closed. 29

Kinopio -

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Time to warp back to reality. Montreal is not Cambridge. And Cambridge is not a European city. Montreal is around 166 square feet in size and Cambridge...wait for it...is around 7. The folks up north have more land to work with, in general. Another apples and oranges comparison which signifies nothing.

Yes, it would be grand to have more pedestrian only zones but one has to taken into consideration..wait for it again...the car traffic.Montreal being larger has more opportunities to block areas free from cars. Cambridge does not.

I realize you probably think most car drivers are all potential murderers, ignore the laws, have the police always on their side of the story..yada yada yada, but you might want to take pause and loose the anger and begin to think of solutions that involve all modes of transportation.

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Voting is closed. 26

Whyaduck

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Time to join the 21st century. Cars and trucks do not belong in heavily traveled areas of the city built in the 17th century.

All car drivers are potential murderers if they have an attitude of entitlement like you do.

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Montreal is around 166 square

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Montreal is around 166 square feet in size and Cambridge...wait for it...is around 7. The folks up north have more land to work with, in general. Another apples and oranges comparison which signifies nothing.

What a weirdly nonsensical argument.

I mean Boston's metro is 4,500 sq mi while Montreal's metro is 1,644.14 sq mi, so by your argument, we have more land to work with and should have a ton of car-free zones!!

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Good point, but I think

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Good point, but I think Montreal is at least a *little* larger than my living room. (Check your units. :-P)

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Cars, bicycles, and pedestrians

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Pedestrians in Harvard Square universally ignore walk/don't walk signs and cross when they personally think it's ok to cross. This happens repeatedly every day.

Bicyclists in Harvard Square almost universally ignore stop signs and red lights and proceed when they think it's ok to proceed.

Drivers rarely ignore laws in Harvard Square. They almost always stop at red lights and usually at stop signs.

When will Kinopio and others accept the reality that pedestrians and bicyclists have some personal responsibility , not just drivers of vehicles? And from my observations as a frequent visitor of Harvard Square over the last 48 years is that pedestrians are absolutely the worst at ignoring laws, and drivers are the best at following the law.

Yeah I know that vehicles are big and dangerous, but that does not absolve pedestrians and bicyclists of all responsibility.

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Voting is closed. 20

Pedestrians in Harvard Square

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Pedestrians in Harvard Square universally ignore walk/don't walk signs and cross when they personally think it's ok to cross. This happens repeatedly every day.

Bicyclists in Harvard Square almost universally ignore stop signs and red lights and proceed when they think it's ok to proceed.

Drivers rarely ignore laws in Harvard Square. They almost always stop at red lights and usually at stop signs.

Source?

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Enforcement would work wonders

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People are still going to drive 45, go flying around people making turns or stopping for pedestrians, and use the bike lanes as a driving/double-parking/whacking-off lane. Why? Because everyone knows there's absolutely no consequence to doing so.

I like the idea of pedestrian-only in these areas, though that would realistically take years and involve a lot of traffic studies and input from people on neighboring currently-low-traffic streets. More immediately though, road diets would be great -- take roads down to one travel lane in each direction, a dedicated bus lane if there's room, and a protected bike lane between the sidewalk and the parking lane (if no parking lane, one of the various types of barriers that can't be driven across).

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"No Consequence"

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As I live in the area, I can tell you this is absolutely false in Central and Harvard Squares. Police stake out and pull cars over routinely for traffic infractions around Mass Ave and the penalties are not nominal.

Yeah, occasionally you're still gonna get some rando idiot flying through the intersection, but actuarial tables show that lowering speed limits reduce fatalities, and there's no reason that wouldn't apply here. It's not like Cambridge is some kind of anarchic special case.

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What are they pulled over for

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What are they pulled over for? My educated guess in Central is running the beginning of red lights, and making an illegal left at Mass Ave and Prospect.

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I think there's more low hanging fruit than that...

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Pedestrians in Harvard actually looking before crossing the street, and maybe bikers that actually respected any rules of the road.

Doubt this law will have much impact beyond worse gas mileage.

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Not when idiot truckers run over people on the sidewalk

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Like that guy who was dragged to death by a trucker who didn't notice that he 1) dragged his trailer across the sidewalk and, 2) had hit someone who was on the sidewalk waiting for the light and was dragging him to his death.

Time to limit the size of vehicles in the city. Need something bigger? Get a permit and an escort detail - you know, like the one that was supposedly required for that truck that the NJ trucker used to murder the doctor.

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I'm all for it - as long as

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I'm all for it - as long as there's an easy, uncongested away to get around it, and affordable parking on the outskirts of the square.

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The problem is that Harvard

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The problem is that Harvard Square is the town center for the area, and all roads feed into it.

Also, for whatever reason, car-free downtowns around here tend to suck. I'd much rather spend an afternoon in Harvard Square than Downtown Crossing.

Medford Square was pedestrianized in the 70s. It was a disaster, so they had to undo it. But the damage done by the ring roads and parking lots has yet to be undone.

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They should keep reducing it

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They should keep reducing it by 5 mph every other year. By 2026, that will be 0 mph, so all cars must be parked, and in 2028, -5 mph, must use reverse gear.

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Voting is closed. 13

Unless it's 4 in the Morning...

... I don't think I've ever driven faster than 20 in Harvard Square. And certainly not faster than 30 in Porter or Inman or Kendall.

Alas, I don't think this will do anything about the bozos who think they can go 40mph up Mass Ave in Central.

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Going 40mph in Central

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What are the penalties for going twice the speed limit?

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In the places where 20 is the

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In the places where 20 is the appropriate speed (JFK Street, Mass Ave through the core of Central, etc), the vast majority of drivers already go 20 or less. And police could ticket people going at an unsafe speed under the existing laws.

The devil's in the details. Will the 20 limit apply to places like the Cambridge Street underpass and the urban renewal dead zone on Main Street coming off the Longfellow, where 35 is perfectly safe?

Cambridge should time traffic lights so you get all greens if you go 20. That's the best way to incentivize the behavior. If lights are unsynchronized or anti-synchronized, people are going to hammer to catch the green, regardless of what it says on a sign.

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Voting is closed. 10

Perfect example of anti

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Perfect example of anti-synchronized lights: the mess they made at Broadway/Hampshire and Broadway/Portland.

Both lights used to turn green for Broadway at the same time. Now, heading west, you sit there at an endless red light at Hampshire, watching the green at Portland count down. Maybe the first car or two can catch the end of the Portland green if they hammer it. This is exactly what we don't want to encourage.

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Unfounded assumptions

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It's true that a pedestrian getting hit at 20 has a better chance of survival than one getting hit at 30.

However, there's no proof that changing a 5 to a 0 on a sign will change the speed of cars, or the number of people getting hit.

And I'd rather not get hit at any speed.

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Voting is closed. 13

Your assumptions are unfounded

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The major reason for this change isn't enforcement - it is design.

Cities with lower limits can design in or add features that restrict speeds to the speed limits. Higher speed limits mean less aggressive controls.

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Cambridge Squares, all Squares or Real Squares

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How is Cambridge defining Squares for this purpose? Are they sticking to real squares such as Harvard, Porter, Inman, Kendall and Central or will this also impact the "I'm a friend of a City Councillor so my family has a corner named after it"Squares?

If it's the former, we're fine. But if it's the ladder, we're all screwed because every other corner in the damn city is named after a butt-kissing friend or relative of a city councillor. Some corners have 2 or 3 "squares" dedicated to fine, outstanding (read: connected) Cantabrigians. Good Lord, we'll have to sail the Charles to get around!

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