This was definitely something not to be missed at the start of this week: On Monday, as StreetsblogMass reported, Mayor Wu and the Boston Transportation Department held a press conference in Mattapan to announce that they had laid the groundwork and were now ready to move forward with what they are dubbing a “Safety Surge” on 3 meaningful, citywide safety initiatives, starting more or less right away:
- Speed Humps. A new, comprehensive speed hump program that will roll out 500 new speed humps on residential streets throughout Boston based on analysis of crash day and vulnerable populations instead of the frankly take-it-slow, Hunger Games-like approach of the now-sunsetted Neighborhood Slow Streets program. NOTE: These are not car-frame/axle-jarring speed bumps but instead broader, more rounded humps in the street designed to be negotiated safely without incident as long as the motor vehicle operator is going not more than a safe-for-all-street-users 20 mph. Many (though not nearly enough) have been installed under the NSS program, including several in the Mt. Hope/Canterbury NSS area of Roslindale. We advocated for NSS districts in Roslindale and were fortunate to see some success in bringing the program here, but we have always agreed with Mayor Wu that, from the moment the NSS program was started and the mayor was just an at-large city councilor, it was woefully inadequate to meet the need, shouldn’t have been based on particular kinds of advocacy, and should have just gone citywide as a basic public health and safety measure like piping our sewer output and having lights on our street. We’ve said this before and are glad that this is finally the city’s real goal: Everyone deserves to live on a safe street. Everyone on every street in every neighborhood. As soon as possible. No exceptions.
- Safer Intersections. The goal here is to redesign and reconfigure 25-30 intersections across the city, again based on crash data and vulnerable population information, to prioritize safety. Most crashes happen at intersections, so this work is absolutely critical and we look forward to seeing major, highly dangerous intersections that today act like major obstacles (ahem, the American Legion/Cummins/Canterbury intersection being a big one around here) made safer and more inviting for everyone.
- Safer Signals. This is another in the long-time-coming category. The way signals and control of motor vehicles are undertaken at signalized intersections has been a depressing prospect in this city for as long as your correspondent has lived here. The last citywide policy redo, in 2018, was deeply insufficient to meet the moment and failed move us away from a car-first mindset. The new policy stands a chance of making the changes we need made, especially through leading pedestrian intervals at key signalized crossings, prohibiting right-on-red in more places, and setting an overall goal of safety over motor vehicle throughput.
So, a momentous set of changes and ones that we look forward to following and enjoying with all of our neighbors as they roll out. Stay tuned as that happens.