Boston city councilors to consider traffic cameras, full-time traffic cops to reduce road mayhem

City Council President Andrea Campbell (Dorchester) and other councilors say they're fed up with death and destruction on Boston streets caused by texting Massholes and other bad drivers, and want to look at new methods to stop them.

Among the possibilities raised by Campbell: Cameras mounted at key intersections and along major roadways that could catch people barrelling through red lights and going way too fast and then generate traffic tickets. Also, it might be time to look at creating a BPD unit dedicated to full-time traffic enforcement, possibly staffed by officers in different uniforms than the cops who now deal with traffic miscreants only on down time from fighting other crimes.

The council agreed yesterday to let Campbell schedule a hearing with Boston police and transportation officials to go over more aggressive potential steps to reduce traffic-related fatalities and crashes.

In recent years, the city has taken several steps to try to calm traffic, including reducing the speed limit on most roads from 30 to 25 m.p.h., but without enforcement, "it's useless," she said. Bostonians should not have to be "in fear of your life when you're crossing the street driving down the street, riding your bike down the street," she said.

She added that, in conversations with officers in her Dorchester district, "many officers feel a little bit frustrated," because they want to do more traffic enforcement but are often pulled away by more pressing crime issues.

Campbell acknowledged that traffic cameras might require action by the state legislature. And she promised "a robust conversation" on issues related to increasing surveillance of public spaces and the impact on lower-income drivers. But, she continued, "people are dying, so this is urgent."

Providence, RI, issued nearly 40,000 traffic tickets - and brought in $1.8 million in new revenue - in the first five months of this year after turning on cameras aimed at catching speeders. It also created a political firestorm and sparked a federal lawsuit by motorists who said the cameras violated a state law requiring signs warning drivers of nearby cameras.

Councilor Matt O'Malley (Jamaica Plain, West Roxbury), whose district sports several streets with traffic-slowing "speed tables," welcomed Campbell's proposals, but said experience in Houston and Dallas after they installed intersection cameras showed they created a new problem: Drivers hitting their brakes after spotting a camera were getting rear ended by less attentive drivers behind them.

O'Malley suggested the city look at "virtual speed bumps" - markings at intersections that at first glance look like something in the road a motorist would want to go more slowly over.

Officials in Cambridge recently rejected the idea of painting intersections to make motorist think they were about to slam into long concrete blocks, saying it might make some drivers swerve off the road. London is experimenting with less radical optical illusions to slow drivers.

Councilor Lydia Edwards (Charlestown, East Boston, North End), said any sort of increased police presence would help. She said conditions at Sullivan Square have gotten a bit better simply by having a detail cop there. And she said it might be time to consider asking developers of large new projects in the city to chip in to help with the traffic problems their developments are contributing to.

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Comments

Here's an idea

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Require Uber/Lift/Ridshare services to have a commercial license in MA, and make them yankable if too many complaints/tickets.

Really tired of NH/RI and South Methol asshats trying to push through large groups of peds against their red lights.

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Send the bill to Uber and Lyft

If someone gets a ticket while driving for rideshare, bill the rideshare company 3x the fee for having unsafe drivers.

Give these companies an incentive to only retain safe drivers.

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Or increase their driver requirements

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Right now, Lyft allows up to three moving violations in the past three years. That's a pretty damn crappy driving record, even for people who drive full time.

I imagine though that even this policy might leave out good drivers who racked up multiple violations for one accident, or people who frequently get pulled over in small towns that don't like the way they look.

I wonder if they could use something more objective. Maybe those OBD devices that monitor rapid deceleration? Or have Lyft/Uber adopt a no-tolerance policy for things like letting people off in traffic, pulling over where prohibited, driving in bike lanes, running lights or making illegal turns. Send out unmarked cars with dashcams and ban drivers who do any of these things. If Uber or Lyft got to this first and rebranded themselves as the rideshare that follows laws, they could probably do really well.

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Those devices ...

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Are absolutely useless around here.

Rapid decelleration is defined in cornfield terms - you can be a good driver and not hit anything or get a ticket in 30 years, and those things will say that you are a bad driver because they are designed to monitor drivers in Bootsuck KY.

"If" someone gets a ticket

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You still need actual enforcement for that to happen, though. I've seen plenty of rideshare drivers blow through lights or stop illegally to pick up/drop off and not get ticketed, even when it happens in front of police.

Bikes aren't really a problem.

They might be annoying because you sometimes have to drive slower when they are in front of you, but that should be pretty rare and once they have space they move to the right 99% of the time.

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Thank you Pete!

Maybe the sarcasm wasn't that obvious despite my posting history but yes I agree, I was trying to beat the trolls that exclaim "but I saw a cyclist run a red light once, issuing licenses and plates will stop that just like it does for cars!"

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haha sorry...

I usually avoid the bike/ped/driver threads so I don't pay too much attention to who supports what.

But you do have Kinipio on your side so I might vote to ban bikes just because of him.

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haha no worries

I think I'll have to work a bit harder to get to Kinipio's level!

But I really appreciate hearing someone with knowledge of law enforcement state the obvious, bikes aren't the problem. Thank you!

But you have previously

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But you have previously admitted to running red lights, so maybe you are a PART or the problem?

OK Pete, or is it spin?

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OK Pete, or is it spin? Because my comment was in reply to spins post. You know, the cyclist who has admitted to running red lights. I bet spins mom is proud of you tho!

Yeah I do "ethically" run reds

As in, you won't find be blowing through on coming traffic and causing cars to swerve out of control. Its usually a slow rolling stop through pedestrian signals.

Heard any reports of cyclists killing anyone? Or jumping a curb and crashing into Martys?

Didn't think so.

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Not directed at you

There was another post about this guy in Dorchester who walked across the street with his head down and got hit by a car. I said I never would keep my head down because that is stupid no matter what and then the Victim blamer police (headed by this D-bag) came out.

Totally with you there

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I'm obviously a huge pedestrian/cyclist safety advocate; I walk and bike most places. But there's this faction where if you mention that pedestrians shouldn't walk out against the bigredhand™ when there are cars coming, they say you're victim-blaming. I really don't want anyone to get hurt, which is why I make such comments. Of course I would stop my car or bike if someone is doing this, but how about they also take a little responsibility for their safety and just don't do stupid reckless things while walking? It's a two-way street, so to speak. Yes, when we are driving two-ton killing machines, we need to be super vigilant and aware of this. But people who are walking and biking also need to not just walk out into traffic either. Yield to pedestrians doesn't mean "wander around in the road anywhere you feel like it and hope every driver is paying attention."

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Yup! Tell me why I should follow the law there?

Stole that from a fellow UHuber from a disucssion about ethically jaywalking. If I'm doing it and not getting in anyones way, cutting anyone off, buzzing anyone, etc, no harm no foul.

Holy crap you found the one story of a cyclist hitting and killing someone!? How hard to did you have to search for that. Meanwhile 100 Americans will die today because of cars. Get bent.

Wait! Are you saying

Wait! Are you saying everyone should follow the letter of the law and be punished for not doing so (as they should be) except YOU or does this pass apply to all cyclists? Shouldn't laws be applied to all people's evenly?

Whos gonna stop me?

The police don't do traffic enforcement here, again, why should I follow the law if there are no consequences? Now witness how this attitude is used by people behind the wheel of a car and tell me that you're still concerned about cyclists running reds.

The laws and roads we have are not designed around keeping cyclists and pedestrians safe, they were designed to keep cars moving as fast as possible. So sometimes breaking those shitty laws keeps us safer. The pass should apply to all vulnerable road users, we aren't the ones recklessly crashing into people and buildings.

This is a common talking point employed by car apologists, shouldn't all laws apply equally to everyone? No of course they shouldn't and they don't. You ignore that the laws are different for say, limited access highways. Bikes and horses and pedestrians can't use it, thats not a very equal law. Cyclists are not required to use turn signals, based on MGLs, if they need both hands to operate. Cars are not allowed to pass on the right, bikes are. Helmets are only required for riders 17 (I think) and under. Trucks are not allowed on certain roads that cars and bikes are on. Cars aren't supposed to travel or park in the bike lane, but they still do.

Thats just Massachusetts mind you, you'd be interseted to know the Idaho Stop Law allows bikes to treat stop signs differently than cars.

What a great idea

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Let's require registration for bicycles using any public way larger than a neighborhood street, licensing for cyclists operating on public ways, and make it illegal for anyone over the age of 16 to operate a bicycle on a sidewalk.

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I did, and ignored it

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That is to say...I was being dead serious. Cyclists need to behave on the roads before they go accusing anyone and everyone on two feet or behind the wheel of murder and mayhem...you know, the way they do now. And that means licensing, registration, and insurance.

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Careful with your back Roman

We can't have you hurting yourself with all this contorting of your spine. Well I mean, do you even have a spine to contort?

Lot of good licensing, registration, and insurance does. I mean, just look at the fine example set with how we apply that to automobiles.

Whats your solution for addressing road violence thats overwhelming the fault of motorists?

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Bicyclist's dictionary

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violence, noun: whenever a bicyclist maneuvers under under the wheels of a moving vehicle, while intentionally minimizing his visibility to the operator of said vehicle.

Like a broken record Roman

So the motorist that ran the stop sign and hit me wasn't at fault because of my own stupidity right?

Keep in mind, the motorist was cited for failure to yield. I'm actually genuinely curious how you can "spin" this. Get it?!

Anything else you’d like to

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Anything else you’d like to do to take out your irrational hatred of bikers /skirt the actual problem?

I spend about 90% of my work day driving a large van around greater Boston. I also commute by bike as I don’t own a personal vehicle. My personal experience is “cyclists running res lights” is a non issue. It’s a boogey man created by people who just don’t like cyclists sharing their precious road.

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You must drive on very

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You must drive on very special and enlightened roads.
Lately, I see about one cyclist in four run a red light, sometimes as many as one in three - and at least half of the time, that cyclist will run multiple red lights in the corridor they're traveling in.

Remind me

In these cases of one cyclist running multiple reds, how many children did you see them run over? Did they crash into any buildings?

Hey, so tell me this

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Next time you're driving on your non-special non-enlightened roads, keep a count of the number of motor vehicles you see running red lights/stop signs, and get back to us.

Expecting nothing but silence...

No problem!

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No problem!

Should I use the "It's only wrong/dangerous if they actually do hit someone/something while doing it" standard? That's what Spinny says matters. Good luck trying that defense if you get pulled over.

Now, if you're talking about actual risky behavior...
* pushing past yellow and into red after the end of green - car drivers do it at least as often as bicyclists.
* approaching an already-red signal with nobody else waiting from the same direction and rolling right through the intersection without stopping? Car drivers - hardly ever. If you needed a number I'd say less than 1 in 100. Bicyclists - 1 in 4 as I said before.
* approaching an already-red signal in the same direction as one or more lanes of vehicles fully stopped, passing them (in some sort of actual, legitimate lane for going that same direction), and rolling right through the intersection without stopping? Car drivers - rare, somewhere less frequently than 1 in 100. Bicyclists - 1 in 4 as I said before.

I'm not defending Massachusetts car drivers here - they've got a well-earned bad reputation.

I'm pointing out that bicyclists are as bad and in some ways worse. As several people have frequently pointed out (when talking about road/gas taxes) in these little tea-time chats, bicyclists are usually Massachusetts car-owners and car-drivers as well - so they're from that same set of crappy-skilled people. They don't magically become better drivers on a bike than behind the wheel of a car - in fact, there's a noticeable portion that become more aggressive/reckless because of the physical opportunities the size of a bike provides (weaving in and out of traffic, merging into ped traffic when convenient, driving wrong way, running red lights).

I'm speaking out against the absurd mindset that too many bike advocates (including some here) seem to have that any crash between car and bike is "fault of car driver", "cars kill", etc... because "massive, people-crushing cars", and "bikes don't do that damage"...
Yes - mass, speed, momentum, rigid bodies, lack of rigid bodies... determine the physical equation. However, operator decisions set up the circumstances of the physical equation. Operator decisions are the cause that leads to the effect. That the bicyclist & bicycle will almost always lose in a crash with a car is a physical result, not a cause. The cause might be bad driving by the car driver or just as easily bad driving by the bicyclist. So, the best that might be said of bicyclists like this is that they're more of danger to themselves than to others.

I'm speaking out against the absurd mindset that some bike advocates (including some here) seem to have that behavior isn't reckless or dangerous because they haven't (yet) seen it hurt anybody. Always a great feeling to be sharing the road with somebody who won't see the potential danger in their actions.

It's often safer

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People like to scream out their car windows and scream on here about "YOU RAN A RED LIGHT YOU CRIMINAL," but it's often safer, and it often benefits both the drivers and the cyclists. No, I'm not talking about blowing through a red, and if you do that, you're an idiot with a death wish. But it's often safer for cyclists to go when the light is about to change to green and the intersection is clear, or when the light is still red and the parallel crosswalk has a walk signal. That way, we get up and out of your way, and we're not in the intersection or entering the intersection at the same time as you. If I start up on a green light and I'm to the right of cars, they often don't see me and might right hook me or veer into my lane. If I take the whole lane, they usually get super mad and start screaming out their windows and honking, or a car behind them doesn't see why they're driving slowly and they illegally fly around them and almost take me out. We really need a law that cyclists can safely and carefully disobey signals.

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I'd sign

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To have that on the ballot. Particularly given the amount of money spent relating to cyclist infrastructure.

And the fact cyclist are ALL horrible people!

Three problems: bicycles, state law, mistimed lights

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Bicycles would be triggering red light cameras all the time unless the sensitivity could be dialed down.

State law doesn't allow for traffic infraction cameras.

Many intersections have too brief yellow time per standards and trigger lawsuits and much expense re-timing all the traffic lights.

Bikes are a non-issue. First

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Bikes are a non-issue. First of all, cameras wouldn't detect them. Second, fines would be automated based on license plates.

Red-light-running car detected -> run OCR on plate -> query RMV API for owner/address -> generate citation: RMV record and physical mailer.

I have an idea

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Stop making two lane roads into one to make room for bike lanes.

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Cars go faster.

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If bikes take up 1/5th the space but only go 1/5 as fast, it's break even.

Same deal for the bus. If the bus goes slower (and it does, because it has to make all the stops), then it's break even. Only makes sense in very dense and busy areas, otherwise not.

You think cars go faster in

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You think cars go faster in the city? Guess you're one of the people who honk at cyclists and then have them pass you back at the red light because I regularly see the exact same cars at stoplight after stoplight on my commute home on Comm Ave because traffic makes cars slowwwwwwww

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It would be terribly

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It would be terribly dangerous to bike in a pack that dense. One swerve or hard brake and it would be a giant pile of bike spaghetti.

Though the same could be said of the cars once they start moving. However, it would only be that many cars if they're all solo drivers. All 4-person carpools would mean just the first 15 cars. Not all cars are carpools, but not all buses are crammed full either.

I would not want to commute on an MBTA bus with 60 people on it. The 2+2 seating means more than about 5 standees start to block the aisle.

Why would that help?

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Wider roads just lead to higher speeds, which gets us the exact opposite in terms of safety, especially for pedestrians and cyclists.

Red light cameras need to be

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Red light cameras need to be restricted in a manner than doesn't allow cities & towns to reduce the duration of yellow lights below what standard traffic engineering practices require. There are several communities which became addicted to the camera revenue and kept reducing the duration of yellow lights to increase fines to the point the number of collisions increased from drivers slamming on their brakes abruptly to avoid fines.

Cameras either increase or decrease safety depending on if the city/town starts gaming the yellow light timing for added revenue. There's plenty of data on this and the law needs to make sure engineering standards aren't compromised, along with safety, to satisfy politicians' desires for more revenue.

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There's already plenty of

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There's already plenty of intersections without cameras (which state law doesn't allow for anyway) where the yellow timing is dangerously short.

This. Cities/towns should not

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This. Cities/towns should not be incentivized to shorten yellow lights... maybe revenues should go to the state which then will appropriate a certain % of funding for maintenance of each installed camera. I'm sure there's a process for something like that.

Increased Police Presence in the City

Will always affect people of color disproportionately. The traffic and safety problems are real, but city councilors would be wise to think about the impact it will have on people of color. We don't want to put people in serious debt or take away their ability to get work because they have been cited for moving violations that white folks don't typically get stopped for.

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Appeal it in court...

if you can show the officer pulls over a certain race/gender/ethnicity more than what the driving population should be where you get pulled over, you should get off.

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cool idea

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but how is an individual supposed to prove this in their case?

You would need to show bias...

There was a Northeastern Study on it.

If you can prove that the officers citation distribution does not represent the driving population, then you can show that there might be a bias. (The NU study has the exact numbers, like 1-2 standard deviations off the % or something that is a little over my head), Jack McDevitt was the one who would know.

So you would need the Officers citation history (It would help if he/she was white because the black officer could look you in the face and answer your question in more favorable terms to the judge I'm guessing), and where the tickets were written (if they were written in a black neighborhood, you would need to prove bias another way, although sometimes black neighborhoods have a lower percentage of actual drivers who are black and vice versa).

Not easy but it can be done (See MA vs. Lora)

This is good info, but

By on

we have to also factor in that it still puts people of color at a disadvantage. We're still comparing white people getting no ticket at all to Black people getting a ticket and having to spend time and probably money on a lawyer to end up in the same position as the white person.

Less racial bias

The cameras themselves won't be biased, but their placement can cause disparate effects. If the cameras are concentrated in Roxbury, for example, and very few in Southie, there will probably be a racial disparity.

I 100% support cameras but their placement and distribution needs to be done thoughtfully.

You're not wrong, but Andrea

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You're not wrong, but Andrea Campbell is a black woman who represents Dorchester, so I'm pretty sure this has occurred to her. I believe this is why the proposal involves creating a new department focused solely on traffic enforcement that even goes as far as wearing a different uniform.

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It's a reasonable concern,

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It's a reasonable concern, but considering that Andrea Campbell is the one pushing for this, I am sure there will be plenty of measures to avoid these kind of problems.

You can watch her TED talk from last month, and you will see that she doesn't take racial inequality lightly; it's probably her highest priority in fact.

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Yes!

Zak, this is your best, most cromulent post yet!

If the city wants to capture all of our data as we move about the city, they'd better explain how this won't be then handed over to 'Big Data' without our knowledge or consent.

They'll explain...

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They'll explain how it won't be handed over, but later they'll find out they were mistaken, or it will have been stolen, or the spokesperson was misinformed...You know the drill.

Fine

Let's put some laws on the books with real damages to be paid to people who's privacy is compromised by lax city managements of data then.

Oops, here's a check for $200k is better than oops, sorry but Marty Walsh's cousin and some ministers will form a commission to be sure this never happens again.

Too late, every car that

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Too late, every car that passes my house gets video recorded and uploaded to the cloud. And many of my neighbors do the same. Don't worry about the government doing it when the private sector is already. Privacy is an illusion.

Why?

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Why are you doing this?

Will

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They also PLEASE start ticketing cyclist around the financial distinct.

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To name a few reasons:

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To name a few reasons:
Running red lights
Running stop signs
Picking and choosing which set of rules they want to follow
Slowing down traffic.

Slowing down traffic?

By on

Guy who can't pluralize "cyclists" also can't see all the cars slowing down traffic.

Sense of proportion?

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If they did that, then they would have to start writing zillions of jaywalking tickets every time one of you steps out with your nose in your phone when one of us has a green light.

You can't bitch about cyclists running red lights when most 'OMG I WAS ALMOST HIT!!!!!" incidents result from pedestrians ignoring don't walk lights.

Meaningless "Don't walk" lights

Maybe there'd be a chance of people paying attention to "don't walk" lights if they actually meant something. Within 10 blocks of my house I can find at least a half dozen intersections where, for a long part of the cycle, the only cars that could possibly cross the crosswalk have red lights + "no turn on red" signs, but pedestrians have a "don't walk" light anyhow. Meaningless "don't walk" lights teach pedestrians to ignore "don't walk" lights.

This is true, and a big

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This is true, and a big problem in Boston and surrounding communities (looking at you, Somerville!), but is it really that hard to look up at the signals and around at cars to see whether it is actually clear to cross or not? There are plenty of times where it is perfectly safe and doesn't impact anyone else, but there are also plenty of times when it is obnoxious and dangerous.

I for one have absolutely no problem with pedestrians ignoring don't walk signals, so long as they make an effort not to cross in front of traffic that has a green light.

Sure

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They can start when those cyclists start actually injuring or killing people. Until then, I suggest they focus attention on dangerous motorists.

This would be wonderful

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The one little intersection I have to navigate to/from work could be a gold mine for the city if someone were there citing red light runners and texters, based on my (untrained, civilian-eyed) observations walking to the train. Easy money.

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What about

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a lot of the issues I see are from cars double parked on major traffic streets. What if anything can we do about that?

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ooh!

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Can we get some double parking cameras?

More Cameras :::))))))

More cameras are always a good idea, you never know when you are going to get just that perfect picture at just the perfect angle !

I think we should also have cameras in the City Councilor's office's, to insprire the youth of today to see how long hours and hard work are the keys to getting ahead! Who wouldn't tune in to a live feed of Ms. Garrison, Mr. O'Malley, Ms. Edwards, Mr. Murphy, or our next woman Mayor Wu negotiating those tough sunscreen contracts.

Plus, these tickets have been shown to target less well married folks, and who doesn't love a good regressive tax?

#timesup
#buyscratchies
#sportsbetting

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The devil is in the details

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More cops on their cellphones standing over manholes just what we need. I will give them credit for not letting one manhole getting stolen while they are on duty. Drive throughout the city an you will see Boston, MSP and Transit sitting in their cruisers while traffic backs up.

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Dedicated BPD traffic squad needed

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I'm not sure of the size of the BPD Gang Unit, Drug Unit or other specialty units but as I have written before, a dedicated traffic enforcement unit is needed, just as we need the Gang and Drug Units. Radio cars have little time between shagging both serious and ridiculous calls to set up radar or hide near a stop sign and take themselves "off the board" for radio calls. Even if an officer finds time for traffic, the officer in the next sector winds up covering two sectors and isn't happy, so officers just don't enforce violations unless something blatant happens in front of them.

With the massive city budget, I'm sure money can be found for a lieutenant, two sergeants and 10-20 patrolmen (some on days, some on evenings) that strictly do traffic enforcement in problem areas. The officers should be proven enforcers of "Chapter 90" (traffic laws) and encouraged to write fines, especially for repeat offenders. The driver's history is only a keystroke away with the on-board computers. I believe the city gets half the revenue on fines for moving violations, so it might pay for itself.

The State Police should also bring back the very effective 1970s-80s "55 Squad" (speeding) for state roads and parkways within the city. The MDC and RMV Police had a lot of traffic enforcement on Storrow, Jamaica Way, Morrissey Boulevard etc. but that went away after the merger with MSP in '92. Running one trooper on the desk and two or three on the road for a massive land area doesn't allow much time for consistent enforcement.

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And also

Let's make the traffic squad but also how about we just have our local PD patrol Jamaica Way, Morriseey, SW Corridor, etc...? Storrow is a different thing to me as it is very clearly separated from the main street grid of the city.

I've thought the same

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I don't think we need to become like some of the suburbs where they rake in revenue from ticketing perfectly safe driving by ticketing people for a couple mph over the speed limit or not coming to an absolute complete stop at a stop sign.

But Boston pretty much does no traffic enforcement. Especially as a cyclist, I see absolutely ridiculous unsafe driving, often right in front of a cop, and I can't recall the last time I saw someone being pulled over (other than when they suddenly turn the lights on in gridlock and go after someone whose plate they've clearly run). They could make so much money ticketing stuff like wrong way on one-way streets, driving like a complete maniac in residential areas, driving without lights on, driving in bike lanes, etc. Parking too -- I've sent the city helmet cam footage of cars parked in bike lanes, or stills taken while walking, and suggested to them that had they had one of their people cycling my route, they could have issued 45 tickets in that two-mile stretch.

The state law actually allows them to issue parking tickets based on photos, but AFAIK Boston isn't doing this. I couldn't get them to do anything even when I sent them a photo of a van that destroyed a flex post and then left itself parked in the bike lane with the post mangled in its wheel! They responded and said the van wasn't there any more when they went by the next day. They're ignoring tons of revenue just sitting there and a huge safety problem, but they don't care.

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Beware the planetary alignment

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O-FISH-L and I agree on something.

A traffic division would be great. One cop 2-4 hours a day at rush hour going between Atlantic and Essex and Atlantic and Summer could probably yield enough "block the box" tickets to justify her entire salary.

Blocking the box (hurr hurr)

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I had a cop doing a utility detail on Mass Ave yell at me to move up and block the intersection when I was sitting at a green light not proceeding because there wasn't room. I actually rolled down my window and was like, if I did that I'd block the intersection. Cop was like "Block what are you talking about? You go on a green light, lady."

More Traffic Cops

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I would LOVE to see more traffic cops on the streets. I lived in NY for 8 years, right by the Queensboro Bridge. Every morning during my commute (a walk to the subway) there were multiple traffic cops at major intersections to keep things moving. This made me feel safe as a pedestrian and it helped keep the intersections clear. I've wondered ever since moving here why Boston doesn't do that at any key choke points.

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I've wondered ever since

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I've wondered ever since moving here why Boston doesn't do that at any key choke points.

They do in a few places. I regularly see them at rush hour on Congress St in PO Square, and on 28 in front of the MoS.

Brookline too

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At Coolidge Corner and a few other spots, they routinely have a couple of cops manually handling traffic during rush hour so no one is blocking intersections. It's great. I had one day when I went through where the Fenway heads to Storrow, was stuck in the intersections near the fire department building for 30 minutes because people wouldn't stop blocking the intersection, then went through Coolidge Corner, same amount of heavy traffic, and made it right through because the cops were directing traffic.

Legal question

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I thought a hurdle to traffic cameras was that "you don't ticket the car, you ticket the operator". Meaning that you need to prove who was operating the vehicle when it committed the infraction, and issue a ticket to that vehicle operator, not the registered owner of the vehicle. Has this changed?

No it has not.

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No it has not.

Implementing traffic cameras would require changes to state law, which is why it is always shot down every time it's proposed.

All of the above

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As a Boston native, and someone who both regularly drives and walks and takes the T, I feel free license to say that we have the worst drivers in the world operating here in what is effectively a free fire zone. Opposition to these proposals typically amounts to a complaint that it would require everyone to actually obey the speed limit and other basic laws of driving courtesy. It’s time that people actually observe traffic laws as written or feel the bite of violating them. If you have to much road stress to do that, find a different mode of transportation.

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Florida

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As a Boston native, and someone who both regularly drives and walks and takes the T, I feel free license to say that we have the worst drivers in the world operating here in what is effectively a free fire zone.

At the risk of going off topic, I suggest you check out Florida, and in particular, Miami.

- MA native, Somerville/Medford/Boston living for +/- 24 years also regular pedestrian, driver (car + moto), T-taker

Personally, I'd like to see more traffic enforcement before we have cameras. And even raised crossings at intersections. And no concurrent signals. I believe vehicles should be stopped in all directions when pedestrian signals are on for walking.

And Miami has red light

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And Miami has red light cameras! Therefore cameras don't make for safe conditions for pedestrians.

(Technically, the City of Miami doesn't have cameras. They had them, but the city council recently decided they weren't doing much besides collecting money. But 16 other municipalities in the county still have them. And Miami wasn't a walker's paradise when the cameras existed.)

Bill Burr

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As Bill Burr has joked, "I don't mind the fact that Boston drivers are bad...because they're aggressively bad. You know they're going to be out of your way quickly."

Super! It's abhorrent how

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Super! It's abhorrent how dangerous it is to even try to cross the streets as a pedestrian here in Boston! Everything is geared toward making it easier and faster for cars and bikes to zip through our neighborhoods without paying attention to their fellow human beings who are walking. Slow down, STOP for pedestrians and wheelchair users who are crossing the streey, pay attention, stop texting and yapping on the phone and learn to SHARE the roads. If you are on wheels and you fail to heed the law then you should be fined till you learn to behave.

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Cameras, speed tables, more

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Cameras, speed tables, more police enforcement; do all of it! If these things were already in place a decade ago then they would have saved many lives by now. We have an epidemic of criminal drivers killing people and all those things are proven to reduce the death and destruction caused by lawless drivers.

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All of the above

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yes tables, and cameras but also can we have some enforcement.
Enforcement for pedestrians and cyclists as well.
walk the financial district and see cars blow red lights yes, but also pedestrians ignore no walk lights cross the middle of the street and some don't even look before stepping out. That goes for bicycles. Sit at tremont and boylston and count how many cyclist blow the light and how many pedestrians jaywalk. never in 25 years seen a cop there giving tickets or stopping anyone.

While you are counting

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Count how many people drivers kill versus those killed by cyclists and pedestrians.

i have seen a cyclist

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blow the red light and caused an accident between two cars as one swerved to avoid him.
This idea the cyclist don’t injure or kill people is wrong. It happened in Boston a few years back. Lets also remember that there are way more cars than bikes skewing the rate of deaths. I have seen a pedestrian get hit and seriously injured and a Bike courier killed at state and congress.
Everyone needs to obey the law and we need police presence to enforce the law.

Anecdata

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I'm sure you did - because in your head you wanted that to be the cyclist's fault.

But, really now: statistics or shut up. Pretending that one odd thing happening MUST be a serious safety problem when we KNOW that drivers are a safety problem is utterly silly.

False equivalencies are fun

There clearly is an epidemic of cars killing/injuring people and crashing into public and pricate property to exponentially highers levels of impact. Yeah sure everyone needs to obey the law but those laws are not enforced, our infrastructure is designed to move cars over the safety needs of vulnerable road users and there is a general lack of empathy for those of us that are at higher risk on the road because you saw a cyclist run a red once.

Pedestrians and bikes? Not so much, you had to go back years to find a single example of someone getting killed by a cyclist in Boston and you conveniently left out that fact that the cyclist was found not at fault there from what I recall. Hell it was such a minor blip on the radar I couldn't even find an article about it. Interestingly enough, my google search yielded this:

https://www.google.com/search?safe=active&rlz=1C1GGRV_enUS751US751&q=bos...

Zero instances of bikes or peds plowing multiple people over, crashing into buildings and causing property damage. But no lets play the whataboutism card.

false

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maybe because the force of getting hit by a bicycle does not translate to fatalities. that incident the Bike was traveling at a high rate of speed and the gentleman had pre existing conditions. Add in the sheer numbers and yes cars cause more damage.
Enforcement for all please....

Was the cyclist at fault? How fast were they going?

Come on show your work, back it up with facts. What does the gentleman pre-existing condition have to do with it? Its almost like you are saying that it was a contributing factor to his death aside from getting hit with a bike.

Also yup, the force of a cyclist doesn't translate to a fatality, it'll translate to a tumble and maybe some scratches/cuts/bruising. Also you do understand that the rider is at risk too? Like I'm not riding around look to take a tumble, I'm gonna enact some self preservation but a car gets to barrel along in their little protected metal box with zero consequences.

Nah, enforcement for the population thats murdering people, bikes aren't the problem.

J-walking

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It's not just the drivers, it the jay walking pedestrians.
They should up the penalty from $1 to what ever it is for running a red light. and then enforce it!

This law should probably be refined though

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I don't think we need to ticket people who cross against a light when it is totally clear. Tickets are to change behavior that detracts from public safety. I'd be in favor of ticketing people who endanger themselves and others by just walking out against the bigredhand™ when there's traffic or in the middle of a block when there's a crosswalk within 300 feet or whatever the law is.

None will happen

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Doubt anything will happen as proposed.

State law prohibits using technology to issue traffic citations. You must face/confront your accusers. Not sure the State Legislature has the stomach to change the law.

Police Unions will fight a new Traffic Enforcement Unit tooth and nail. Many extra traffic enforcement assignments are using fed dollars and detail pay/overtime pay. You think they will give up this money? Not without a helluva fight.

Please don't shoot the messenger.

Unions can't fight it.

If you budget the department with traffic units, it would be cops enforcing it (any other way you would also need to change the law, as Chapter 90 is pretty clear as to whom can enforce traffic laws)

This is a FANTASTIC idea.

If this camera-based automatic ticketing thing actually happens, I will never bad mouth the City Council again (at least not the councillors who support it).

If Providence can make it work, there's no reason we can't!

Sarcasm, right?

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Providence outsourced their cameras to a company that then started shorting lights and sending out errant tickets, etc.

Can we just spend this money

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Can we just spend this money on making our transit system a decent one instead of turning into a surveillance city? Robust transit and trains that don't catch on fire weekly will fix a lot of these traffic issues when fewer people drive like the Massholes they are.

Interesting you should mention that

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First, I doubt the money it would take to install cameras would substantially improve the T.

But that having been said, one of the other things the council agreed to do yesterday (and which I just ran out of time to write up) is to hold a hearing on the nearly $86 million Boston pays the T directly for the privilege of having T service.

Michelle Wu, who is one of those rare elected officials who has first-hand knowledge of T conditions (she often commutes from Roslindale to City Hall via the T from Roslindale and, along with McCarthy has led the so far unsuccessful effort to lower fares on commuter rail from West Roxbury, Roslindale and Readville), wants to publicly consider whether the city's getting its money's worth - especially since the Baker reforms after 2015 eliminated the say Boston and other communities in the T system used to have on major decisions.

You say this like the T is

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You say this like the T is some foreign entity abusing Boston.

But the T *is* Boston, since we're all the same people.

You need to look at how the T works

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The T is a large system that includes more than just Boston. The two are not equivalent - unlike, say, BPS or BPD, the T does not report to Marty Walsh.

Yes to red light cameras!

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Put them at every light at Wellington Circle in Medford. The state will get millions of dollars on day one...