A Streetsblog Reader Wins Traffic Calming Improvements

Here is a contribution from Sean Roche, a Streetsblog reader in Newton, Massachusetts, a suburb just west of Boston.

newton_calming.jpg

I wanted to share my own small traffic calming victory with you. The other night the City of Newton Facilities/Public Safety Committee authorized and funded a redesign of the intersection at the end of my road. In the attached picture, the view is looking westbound from Jackson Street to Daniel Street. Currently, westbound traffic barely slows, making my street a bit of a race track. The picture shows a sandbag trial of the new curb. It is clear that it will dramatically slow traffic. They are going to turn the sandbags into granite curbing in the spring building season.

A small, but important step.

I thought you would like the picture. It is incredibly satisfying to me that the city owns and deploys a sign that advertises a traffic calming trial. It speaks volumes. And, I wanted you to know that Streetsblog, despite its New York City focus, has an impact beyond. I have a much broader set of analytical tools to bring to bear to my small problem and the larger bike and pedestrian issues that I am beginning to become involved with.

Very cool. Thanks Sean. I would love to see more of these fast, cheap, ad hoc street design experiments here in New York City. Clearly, we have something to learn from Newton.

  • If you say “traffic calming; slow” isn’t that a bad experiment? Shouldn’t you just put in the road flow change and see if it slows people down?

  • P

    Hmm… Maybe I’ll stage an ‘experiment’ in my neighborhood.

  • Yeah, are there any DIY kits available?

  • AD

    Sean, Congrats. This is great. Thanks for sharing with us.

  • jtg

    Newton has got to be one of the best working cities in America. It actually the 3rd largest in Massachusetts despite being a suburb. It’s incredibly well served by public transportation (5 or six T stops), and has a really unique layout. The city has 13 “villages”; basically little downtown commercial districts, many with their own subway stop. Because of all this (and a huge stock of beautiful Victorian homes) it’s one of the most expensive places to live in the Boston area. I know all this ’cause I grew up there by the way…

  • Sean

    Ian,

    Part of the point of the experiment is setting up a low-risk introduction to the coming changes. There are lots of people used to bombing down the street. Notwithstanding what I think of their impact on my neighborhood, I do think it’s fair to give them some warning to change their behavior. So, a “slow” warning is not completely inappropriate.

ALSO ON STREETSBLOG

Effective Traffic Calming Device: The Frisbee

|
From Sean Roche at the Newton Streets and Sidewalks blog: Want to slow traffic? Throw a frisbee across the street. That’s what six-year-old son of NS&S and I learned on Sunday. Please note that we did not throw the frisbee in front of traffic. We stopped throwing as soon as any car approached. But, our […]

Eyes on the Street: No Parking in the Low Post

|
Streetsblog reader Susan Donovan, a.k.a. Futurebird, posted this pic on Instagram yesterday. It’s a DIY basketball court on Walton Avenue near Joyce Kilmer Park, a few blocks from Yankee Stadium. Writes Donovan: Creative traffic calming in the Bronx! My neighbors have painted a basketball shooting zone on the street near the bike lane and hydrant […]

Signs of Progress for Downtown Brooklyn Safety Fixes

|
After a wait that lasted years longer than expected, construction crews are breaking ground on a slate of pedestrian safety improvements for Downtown Brooklyn’s traffic-plagued streets. Reader Todd Seidel sent in this photo of a sidewalk extension in mid-construction on Third Avenue and 11th Street, and DOT confirms that Phase I of the long-sought Downtown […]

Lentol Wants 20 MPH Speed Limits on Big, Dangerous Brooklyn Streets

|
This afternoon, Assembly Member Joseph Lentol announced that he’s sent a letter to Transportation Commissioner Polly Trottenberg asking for 20 mph speed limits on the busiest, deadliest roads in his district. “There are three main streets within my district that are notorious for speeders – McGuinness Boulevard, Kent Avenue, and Park Avenue,” Lentol wrote in […]
STREETFILMS

Moving Beyond the Automobile: Traffic Calming

|
What’s the most effective way to make city streets safer? As Chicago Alderman Mary Ann Smith told Streetfilms, “Signs don’t do the job, even having police officers on the corner does not do the job.” To prevent traffic injuries and deaths, you need to change how the street functions and make it feel slower for […]

Naparstek Steps Down as Editor-in-Chief of Streetsblog

|
Aaron Naparstek in his Livable Streets Power Broker pose. This will be difficult news for those of you who are already reeling from Oprah’s retirement, Simon Cowell’s abandonment of "American Idol" and Sewell Chan‘s departure from City Room, but here it is: I am leaving my job as editor-in-chief of Streetsblog. For all of the […]