Monday, May 11, 2009

A modest proposal

For the last year or so, when I drive, I have been consciously driving at the speed limit on Newton roads. Not at the assumed safe-from-a-speeding-ticket speed limit plus 10 mph, but right smack dab at the speed limit. So far, it does not seem to have a meaningful effect on trip time within the city. And, when I go the speed limit, everyone else behind me goes the speed limit.

There isn't any epidemic of speeding by Newton city vehicles, that I'm aware of anyway, but I have noticed that most don't seem to abide by the same careful attention to posted limits that I've adopted. It would be a nice statement of support for our neighborhoods and recognition of the impact speeding traffic has if the mayor would institute and mayoral candidates would support a policy that all city-owned vehicles and all city-contracted vehicles (school buses, plows, &c.) are to be driven at the speed limit.

Not within a reasonable margin above, but right at or below.


Eeeks said...

There's no law that requires driving at (or above) the posted limit. One could, for example, drive at 25mph in a 30mph zone.

Anonymous said...

Good idea. But why limit the policy to the speed limit? We should have a blanket policy for all city employees that says, simply, "All laws shall be obeyed".

But wait! Why limit it to city employees? We should have a policy for all people that says "obey the law." The Board could pass this for the City, and the Legislature for the State, and the Congress for the country...and then peave and harmony will reign.

Steve Runge said...

I've been doing the same for the past few months, esp. on Walnut, much of which is now posted at 25.

I drive slower than posted on Center: how about that 35 mph sign, heading north from Highlands? Gotta speed up to hit the pedestrians crossing for the T stop? said...

I don't think people realize that inside a city, your average speed stays relatively the same even if your top speed drops a bit. For instance, on my bicycle I often average just under the average speed of our car for the same trips, even when the trips are up hills or whatever. You can complete trips in nearly the same time even if your top speed is more like 10-12 mph (depending on the exact trip, of course), because if you go faster, you just end up waiting longer at lights or whatever.

Fancy that - we could potentially even have better traffic flow if we all drove 15 instead of 35 - or at least if we just drove at a more constant slower speed rather than up to 35, down to 0, up to 35, down to 0. Not to mention we'd get better fuel efficiency, be less likely to hit other road users, less likely to harm other road users if we hit them, we'd be calmer, in less of a hurry, and get less frustrated sitting at stops.