Friday, May 11, 2007

Speed tables coming to Woodland

The city is going to fund the speed tables on Woodland Road out of its discretionary budget, so there's no need to gain the approval of the Board of Alderman.

Made for an interesting dynamic at the Public Facilities committee meeting as the aldermen asked questions and weighed in on something they don't control.

Expect construction of the speed tables between late May and late August.

A few other thoughts from the Public Facilities meeting after the jump.

Tip of the bike helmet to Mayor Cohen, Commissioner Rooney, the Ward 4 Aldermen (Sangiolo, Harney, and Gentile), and Traffic Planner David Koses for getting this done. There will be others -- like the city engineers -- who play important roles in the design and execution, but this crew got the deal done. Apologies to those whose roles were less visible.

The city's going to do its part to manage the car/pedestrian conflict on Woodward. Now, Lasell has to do its part. Over and over again people commented that students cross all over Woodward (though David Koses was clear that the overwhelming majority cross where the speed tables will be built). Lasell needs to build walls and other mechanisms to funnel students to the new crossings.

There is a great deal of skepticism about using vertical deflection (speed bumps, speed tables, &c.) for traffic calming. With some, the skepticism amounts to outright hostility.

Much of the skepticism about vertical deflection concerned emergency services. It's an appropriate concern. But somebody's got to get Fire Chief LaCroix (and the Mayor) to stake out a clear position on traffic calming. Alderman Salvucci says the chief hates speed bumps. But, David Koses reports that the chief has yet to respond to requests to participate in the city's traffic calming scorecard. Chief LaCroix shouldn't be able to have it both ways.

NS&S hereby installs it's first aldermanic nickname: Alderman Salvatore "Cadillac Sal" Salvucci. Alderman Salvucci's hostility to the speed tables (good-naturedly expressed) creates an image in the mind of him behind the wheel of his Cadillac, fuming as he has to slow and endure the discomfort of the speed table.

Choice Cadillac Sal quote: "They're a problem for me. I just don't like them. Period. End."

There was nothing for the Public Facilities committee to do on the item, so they NAN'd it (no action necessary). I would have liked to see what the vote would have been on a motion to express support for the plan. Ben Wiesbuch and Cheryl Lappin made clear statements in favor. Only Cadillac Sal was vocal in opposition. (He was so upset, he wouldn't even participate in the unanimous NAN vote!)

Previously: Woodland Road on the docket


jo said...

As a resident of Auburndale and a frequent user of Woodland Rd., I can confirm that students are always crossing the road wherever they please as well as walking 4 - 5 abreast with three on the sidewalk and two off (in the road) so they can carry on a conversation. You also get the occasional cell phone talker who can't walk, talk and look both ways before crossing. I drive the road slowly anyway since it is in such crap shape from being dug and patched several times for the college's various expansion projects.
I think designated crossing spots and fences to funnel them to the crossing spots would be far more effective than a speed table.

Anonymous said...

It's not like Woodland will be the only street that has speed bumps. Several streets come to mind in Newton Centre, Harrick Rd., Tyler Terrace, and both of those roads, like Woodland, share a proximity to schools and or playgrounds. It's not a big deal for emergency services. In my opinion, the marginal increase in response time is an acceptable result if it improves pedestrian safety.