Roslindale Bulletin on 20 MPH City Speed Limit

City Speed Limit could Fall to 20mph
Roslindale Bulletin: City Speed Limit could Fall to 20mph
We appreciate how well the Roslindale Bulletin continues to cover WalkUP Roslindale’s core issues. Earlier this month, Christopher Roberson wrote this piece about the Boston City Council’s move to set the default Boston speed limit to 20 mph. This will save lives, as the survivability of a pedestrian-automobile crash is mainly a function of speed: 90% of
pedestrians hit by cars die when struck at 40 mph compared to 5% at 20 mph

Our own District 5 City Councilor Tim McCarthy had some nice quotes in the piece:

District 5 Councillor Timothy McCarthy said the last speed limit change was implemented by a transportation commissioner who was from Ludlow, where higher speed limits are more common.

“If you go 20 mph in Ludlow, you probably wouldn’t get out of Ludlow for a few days,” said McCarthy. “But in our area, 20 mph is plenty.”

He said that West Roxbury Police Sgt. Michael O’Hara has done demonstrations in the past to show the actual speed of a vehicle traveling 30 mph relative to a pedestrian. He said O’Hara would ask residents to stand on the side of the road while a he drove by at exactly 30 mph.

“If you’re standing on the edge of the road and a Crown Vic goes by at 30 mph, you might as well be at NASCAR, you’re not getting out of the way,” said McCarthy.

Kudos to Councilor McCarthy for helping push this walkability initiative.

See also this video of the City Council’s Government Operations committee hearing on the initiative from last week.

We should remember that setting a safer speed limit is only a starting point. Most drivers will follow road design more than posted limits, so the ultimate solution must involve safer road design including narrower car lanes and other traffic calming measures (all key aspects of Vision Zero). A recent letter to the editor in the Boston Globe makes this same point. But we need not let these broader infrastructure challenges get in the way of a common-sense first step.

Breaking news (4/27/16 afternoon): From City Councillor Michelle Wu‘s summary of today’s city council meeting:

Speed Limits: We voted unanimously to pass Councilor Baker’s home rule petition to lower the default unposted speed limit from 30mph to 20mph in thickly settled areas and business districts and from 20mph to 15mph in school zones, as well as giving the City the authority to post speed limits without state approval and the requirement for a traffic study. Councilors Baker and Flaherty noted that speeding is one of the top issues councilors hear from residents. The matter now goes to the Mayor for his signature and then the state legislature for approval.

Traffic Calming on American Legion Highway in the News

2016-02-24 Roslindale Bulletin Neighbors say comments needed to calm trafficKudos to the Mount Hope Mount Canterbury Neighborhood Association, Rick Yoder, Lisa Beatman, and the Roslindale Bulletin (especially Jeff Sullivan) for keeping the need for traffic calming in Eastern Roslindale, particularly along American Legion Highway, on the front burner. Check out the latest piece in the Bulletin, emphasizing the neighborhood group’s efforts to catalog pedestrian-safety issues and get “on the map” for Vision Zero.

Pedestrian Hit by Car at Hyde Park Ave

Site of the Crash at Hyde Park Ave and Arlington Street
Site of the Crash at Hyde Park Ave and Arlington Street (image courtesy Google Maps)

We learned with dismay of another recent serious pedestrian incident in our neighborhood, this one at the intersection of Hyde Park Ave and Arlington Street. As is frequently the case, it appears that poor street design was a contributing (perhaps primary) factor, and excessive speed resulted in more serious injuries. If the city gets serious about Vision Zero, we should see fewer and fewer of these tragedies.

Full text of the article from the Roslindale Bulletin below; props to the Bulletin for now posting the entire weekly paper online:

Pedestrian injured crossing Hyde Park Ave.

A pedestrian was hit by a car on Saturday, Jan. 19, at approximately 5:45 p.m.

Neighbors said when it happened they heard a smash and a scream. They said the ambulance and police showed up to the scene, as well as, the Boston Fire Department.

But such an accident is something that neighbors would say is not surprising, considering how fast the cars tend to speed through that intersection.

Nijha Middleton, who has been living on that intersection of Hyde Park Avenue and Arlington Street for three years, was home during the time of the accident that night.

When she looked out the window, she said she saw a woman lying in the middle of the street, and the girl who witnessed it screamed and called 911 standing on the sidewalk. Then she said she saw police and ambulances attend and family members running to the stricken woman.

“It looked really bad,” she said, explaining that the it took the EMTs awhile to put the victim in the ambulance.

According to the police report, the pedestrian has no lifethreatening injuries and the investigation is still ongoing.

Middleton said that such accidents is likely to happen at that intersection because of the speeding cars, lack of speed limit signs and lights, and having no crossing guard.

“People are such in a rush, they never really want to stop, so it makes it difficult to cross the street,” she said. She often walks on that intersection herself and said that almost every other morning she’s scared to cross the street.

“Maybe there needs to be a point that they have to put a stopping light, so everyone can stop rushing,” she said.

In light of this and other recent incidents in the neighborhood, WalkUP Roslindale member Alan Wright sent the following letter to the editor, which may appear in an upcoming edition of the paper. Thanks to Alan for highlighting the underlying factors and mentioning WalkUP’s efforts to push for change:

Dear Editor,

Thank you for reporting on the injury of a pedestrian who was crossing Hyde Park Avenue.  This is the 3rd such incident in the past two weeks with two pedestrians killed when struck by dangerous drivers – one in Roslindale and another in Dorchester.  It is important to note that these were not accidents, as was reported, for the pedestrians were not accidentally in the cross walks, but crashes in which drivers drove their vehicles recklessly. While the City of Boston has begun an important effort to improve pedestrian safety with the Vision Zero project much work needs to be done.  In Roslindale an effort is underway by the citizen group WalkUP Rozzie to get the City to make changes now.  For too long our streets have been designed for the benefit of motorists.  Simple changes such as speed humps and sidewalk extensions can slow traffic and provide more protection to pedestrians and bicyclists.

Alan Wright

East Roslindale Greenbelt Issues in the News

We enthusiastically support the Rozzie Urban Wild protection campaign, an effort spearheaded by WalkUP members and East Roslindale/Mt. Hope-Canterbury neighborhood residents Lisa Beatman and Rick Yoder. Back in November, the West Roxbury/Roslindale Bulletin highlighted the systemic disregard for Greenbelt protection along American Legion Highway. More recently, the Bulletin ran another piece, detailing the potential for the area to be turned into a vibrant greenspace. Check out both stories, and kudos to Lisa and Rick for keeping the spotlight on this important initiative!

100 Weld Street Rendering

WalkUP Roslindale in the News – 100 Weld Street Approved

100 Weld Street RenderingWe’ve posted multiple times about the proposed development at 100 Weld Street, which recently won approval from the Boston Redevelopment Authority. The project could have been better–we would have especially liked to see more mixed use (i.e. retail) and a more progressive approach to parking–but on balance we supported the proposal because it should revitalize vacant space, benefit the business district, and help with the housing crisis. Earlier this month, the Roslindale Bulletin ran a feature on the BRA approval, quoting our own Matt Lawlor. The full article is reproduced below.

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West Roxbury/Roslindale Bulletin Coverage of WalkUP Roslindale Efforts

Roslindale Bulletin BannerIn case you missed it on the (free) newstand, the West Roxbury/Roslindale Bulletin has run a couple of features on WalkUP Rozzie so far. The first appeared in late August as a general overview of this new organization; the second ran last week, covering the recent City Council hearing on the Rozzie Urban Wild vision. Check out both articles below: