Initial Poplar Street speed humps are now IN!

Speed humps first appeared in our neighborhood with the Mount Hope-Canterbury Neighborhood Slow Streets installations a couple of years ago, and they have just been installed on the first couple of blocks of Poplar Street leading away from Roslindale Square/Washington Street toward Canterbury (we anticipate signs and more paint alerting drivers to the presence of the humps soon, as is typical). It seems this installation is both part of the Poplar Street safety improvements project for which we recently reaffirmed our support and also the Boston Transportation Department’s overall program of deploying 500 of these humble yet highly effective traffic calming devices citywide on an annual basis. It is worth noting that these are speed humps, not speed bumps – humps like these are much gentler on vehicle suspensions while still being highly effective and sized/placed to achieve the 25 mph citywide default speed limit on streets such as Poplar Street.

The folks at the National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO) have a useful explainer of the general concept behind speed humps here. We expect more speed humps soon in a nearby part of Roslindale with the imminent installation of the Lower South Street Neighborhood Slow Streets interventions, but we’d love to see them in many more places as quickly as they can be deployed. More of this please!

5 thoughts to “Initial Poplar Street speed humps are now IN!”

  1. Safety First! So, thanks to the BTD for the speed humps. I walk Poplar to the Square and it is reassuring to see cars slow down.
    However — we learned at the #WVNA meeting that the bike path now requires all parking be moved across the street from #RoslindaleHouse. The role of the Roslindale Coalition is to lift the voices of those most affected. This is what they say. The flipping of the parking to the other side of Poplar creates a higher chance for car-on-pedestrian and car-on-bicyclist accidents.

    • Elders, their families and caregivers who park or drop-off on Poplar St will have to cross the street to get to Roslindale House. Those with ADA needs will also be put into unsafe situations. (Recall that elders and those with disabilities are protected classes – so let’s protect them!).
    • The majority of residential driveways are on the side of the street the parking will move to. The curb cuts on Poplar are close together and residents exiting their driveways will need to pull out beyond the parked vehicles to see oncoming traffic. Limiting a driver’s sight line is dangerous and increases the likelihood of accidents.
    • There will be a loss of parking for those residences without driveways – including a 6-family building and multiple two and three family residences.

    Let’s listen to those who will have to live day-to-day with this change and go back to the original plan.

  2. It is great to hear that, on your walks to the Square, you have also noticed the significant and tangible slowing of the speed of vehicles along Poplar St. Likewise, cycling along Poplar also feels and is safer as well. We should both commend BTD for realizing this straightforward measure as described in their original Poplar St plan.

    It is well accepted and published on (eg Ref 1), throughout the US and across the globe, that high vehicle speeds are directly correlated with many of the safety issues on our cities’ streets. The reduction in speed of vehicles, always reduces the number of incidents between vehicle/vehicle, vehicle/pedestrian, vehicle/bicycle. Simply, reducing speeds provides a significantly greater reaction time to vehicle drivers allowing them to observe and take precautionary measures (such as braking). As speeds creep higher, these reaction times decrease, leaving no time for avoidance.

    So, your observation of the now reduced speeds on Poplar St is, in and of itself, the main part of the solution to all of your subsequent concerns.

    The safe results of slowing the speed of vehicles are independent to the side on which you find spaces of for vehicles to park. Why?
    – More time is provided for vehicles to observe and react to the presence pedestrians (eg crossing the road) and bicycles (eg just riding along).
    – More time is provided for vehicles to observe residents exiting their driveways/curb cuts. Likewise slower speeds of moving vehicles gives those residents more time to see the oncoming vehicles.

    Effective safety measures can be so simple to introduce to our streets: we look forward to the expansion of humps throughout the areas of Roslindale (and Boston) where excessive vehicle speed has become a problem.

    1) National Association of City Transportation Officials (NATCO), Speed Kills. At,trucks%20and%20other%20large%20vehicles

    1. Thanks, Adam. All of your points relating to reduced speeds are well-taken. But why limit safety measures to this alone? The people who exit, enter, and drive on Poplar Street every day are telling us the additional safety measures that are needed. Why not listen to them?

      As a frame of reference. When I first started at the bedside, physicians and nurses purported to know more than the patient. So, a patient asking for a pain med could be told that it was too early and that the professionals knew best when the patient was in pain. Just like in the movie “Terms of Endearment.” Really!! Thank goodness that we moved beyond that to more “patient-centered care.” With our improved care — and we are not all there yet — the person most affected is the person who is at the center of decision-making.

      We could use a bit of this in our local policies. The people most affected deserve to have their thoughts, positive appraisals, and concerns honored.


  3. Those aren’t humps. If you think they are, I dare you to drive 25mph over them with YOUR car. I dare you to even go 15mph.
    I’m all for deterring speeding cars… But 10mph speed bumps are just going to encourage people to use different streets to go where they want. I predict an increase in traffic flow by the mayor’s house as people circumnavigate those 2 blocks.
    While I’m here, I’d like to mention the terrible design of sidewalks on Sycamore Street. Not ada-friendly at all.

  4. A great start. Need soooo many more, along with squared off corners, curb extensions, everything in the tool bag. Very nice to walk that stretch and appreciate the calm relative to the Poplar Motor Speedway that currently exists in its smaller form from Sycamore to Canterbury (hopefully not for long).

    Reduce speed everywhere, everybody wins.

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