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Tag: automated enforcement

WalkBoston testimony on traffic calming in Somerville

WalkBoston testimony on traffic calming in Somerville

Below is a written version of WalkBoston’s comments on traffic calming in Somerville, which Adi Nochur delivered verbally at the Council hearing on Wednesday, April 3.

April 3, 2019
Somerville City Council
City Hall
93 Highland Ave
Somerville, MA 02143

RE: WalkBoston comments on traffic calming in Somerville

To the Somerville City Council,

My name is Adi Nochur and I am testifying before you as an East Somerville resident and a member of Somerville’s Vision Zero Task Force. I am also commenting as a Project Manager at WalkBoston, a statewide pedestrian advocacy organization. WalkBoston is a signatory to the traffic calming petition that spurred today’s Council hearing.

I want to briefly comment on three issues, as follows:

  1. Speed Limits: WalkBoston supports efforts to reduce speed limits on residential streets in Somerville to 20 miles per hour. Achieving this goal is a fundamental issue of roadway design. WalkBoston also supports state legislative efforts to align speed limits on MassDOT and DCR roadways with local speed limits (H.3092/S.2042). As an illustrative example, we know high traffic speeds are an ongoing concern on Route 16/Alewife Brook Parkway.
  2. Equitable Enforcement: Data gathering is critical to ensure equity in traffic enforcement. Concerns over racial profiling are front and center in the current state legislative debate over hands-free/distracted driving legislation and local enforcement efforts also need to demonstrate sensitivity to these issues. State legislation that would enable automated enforcement (S.1376) can be part of a potential solution here.
  3. Concurrent Signalization: WalkBoston supports concurrent pedestrian signalization with a leading pedestrian interval at most signalized intersections. Our stance on this issue is further detailed in a letter we submitted to Mayor Curtatone on March 29, which is included as an attachment to these comments.

Thank you for your consideration of these issues. WalkBoston looks forward to continuing to work with the City Council to help Somerville achieve its Vision Zero goals.

Sincerely,
Adi Nochur
Project Manager

Cc: Mayor Joe Curtatone
Brad Rawson, Director of Transportation and Infrastructure

Great Day of Action for Road Safety on Beacon Hill

Great Day of Action for Road Safety on Beacon Hill

Thank you so much to everyone who joined us at the Statehouse for the Massachusetts Vision Zero Coalition’s Road Safety Day of Action! Thank you to Governor Baker & Lt. Governor Polito for also filing legislation focused on road safety and getting the conversation started.

A packed room heard from Governor Baker, Text Less Live More, Children’s Hospital, AAA, SADD, and co-sponsors of three important bills:

  1. The Hands-Free Bill(s)

    • Chairman Wagner & Representative Donato are sponsoring HD1534
    • Chairman Straus is sponsoring HD1420
    • Representative Provost is sponsoring HD1346
    • Senator Montigny is sponsoring SD1383
    • Senators Creem & Brownsberger are sponsoring SD897
  2. Automated Enforcement Bill

    • Senator William Brownsberger is sponsoring SD1461
  3. An Act to Reduce Traffic Fatalities

    • Senator William Brownsberger is sponsoring SD847
    • Representative Hecht and Representative Rogers are sponsoring HD1653
WalkBoston Executive Director Wendy Landman explains an aspect of the bill.

The morning was organized by the Massachusetts Vision Zero Coalition (WalkBoston, Safe Roads Alliance, MassBike, LivableStreets Alliance, Boston Cyclists Union, Transportation for Massachusetts & more) & Text Less Live More. After info packets were distributed, people were off to meet with their legislators and talk about why these efforts would make MA roads safer in their own communities. Thank you to everyone who came together today to work towards safer streets, and thank you to all of the legislators and staff that attended and listened throughout the day!


Were you unable to make it to Beacon Hill, but want to get involved with WalkBoston’s efforts?

Automated enforcement?

Automated enforcement?

Our streets are experiencing a rise of serious injuries
and fatalities. As the Boston Globe recently reported, all
traffic deaths in 2017 are up 46% over the same period
of 2013
. This unacceptable trend affects people walking,
biking, and driving. Drivers who are distracted by texting
and apps are a major cause of crashes.

An Act to reduce traffic fatalities (Senate Bill 1905 /
House Bill 2877) is intended to make our roads safer in
the face of troubling trends. Drafted with broad input,
it has 85 cosponsors led by Senator Will Brownsberger
and Representatives Jon Hecht and David Rogers.

Recognizing that cities and towns need tools to enforce
traffic rules, the legislation allows use of automated road
safety cameras to enforce speeding, red-light, and school
bus stop sign violations. While Massachusetts does not
currently enable this, 29 states have some form of camera
enforcement and it is common in other countries.

Research shows automated cameras are effective. In Montgomery County, Maryland, streets with speed
cameras experienced a 39% reduction in fatal and
serious injuries. A University of North Carolina
Highway Research Center study found installation of red-light cameras can
contribute to a slight rise in rear-end crashes, but almost always leads to
significant reductions in typically more severe side-impact crashes. The
National Transportation Safety Board has endorsed automated enforcement
as an effective way to reduce speed and crashes.

With the right regulations, automated enforcement can be a highly effective
safety tool, and one that doesn’t increase traffic stops—a concern by many in a
time of increased racial profiling, and immigration issues. The language In this
bill is designed to ensure the best system of enforcement:


• Location of cameras would be based on safety benefits, not targeting any
population or neighborhood.
Cameras would be at high-crash locations
where other interventions such as road redesign are not feasible.

• It would not be a money grab.
The best cameras act as deterrents and
not to trick people into fines—few violations are a sign of success. The
bill directs the majority of revenues into road improvements, not general
funds. Cameras would be well-marked. Revenue-sharing with private
camera installation or operating companies would be prohibited, avoiding
inappropriate incentives.

• Photographs would be of rear license plates, no faces or identifying
information, and only if a violation has occurred.
Photos would be
permanently deleted after ruling. Fines, assessed to the owner of the
vehicle, would not exceed $50, won’t increase with additional violations,
nor add to insurance points. Law enforcement would need a court-approved
warrant to access photos for purposes beyond traffic enforcement.

• There would be state oversight, an appeals process, and common-sense
emergency exemptions.

Charlie Ticotsky is the policy director of Transportation for Massachusetts (T4MA). Sign up for their email list & follow T4MASS on Twitter.
This article was featured in WalkBoston’s October 2017 newsletter.

————————————————————————————————
Join WalkBoston’s Mailing List to keep up to date on advocacy issues.

Like our work? Support WalkBoston – Donate Now!
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October 2017 Newsletter

October 2017 Newsletter

Our newsletter is out and hitting mailboxes of supporters! Thank you to all the contributors & volunteer newsletter committee who helped make it happen.

A note from the Executive Director
By Wendy Landman/Executive Director, WalkBoston
Automated Enforcement?
By Charlie Ticotsky/Policy Director, T4MA
Town of Lenox on the move
By Gwen Miller/Land Use Dir. & Town Planner, Lenox
Rural walking in Massachusetts
By Stacey Beuttell/Program Director, WalkBoston

Download the October 2017 Newsletter PDF

Automated Enforcement?

Automated Enforcement?

By Charlie Ticotsky/Policy Director, T4MA 

Our streets are experiencing a rise of serious injuries and fatalities. As the Boston Globe recently reported, all traffic deaths in 2017 are up 46% over the same period of 2013. This unacceptable trend affects people walking, biking, and driving. Drivers who are distracted by texting and apps are a major cause of crashes.

An Act to reduce traffic fatalities (Senate Bill 1905 / House Bill 2877) is intended to make our roads safer in the face of troubling trends. Drafted with broad input, it has 85 cosponsors led by Senator Will Brownsberger and Representatives Jon Hecht and David Rogers.

Recognizing that cities and towns need tools to enforce traffic rules, the legislation allows use of automated road safety cameras to enforce speeding, red-light, and school bus stop sign violations. While Massachusetts does not currently enable this, 29 states have some form of camera enforcement and it is common in other countries.

Research shows automated cameras are effective. In Montgomery County, Maryland, streets with speed cameras experienced a 39% reduction in fatal and serious injuries. A University of North Carolina Highway Research Center study found installation of red-light cameras can contribute to a slight rise in rear-end crashes, but almost always leads to significant reductions in typically more severe side-impact crashes. The National Transportation Safety Board has endorsed automated enforcement as an effective way to reduce speed and crashes.

With the right regulations, automated enforcement can be a highly effective safety tool, and one that doesn’t increase traffic stops—a concern by many in a time of increased racial profiling, and immigration issues. The language In this bill is designed to ensure the best system of enforcement:

  • Location of cameras would be based on safety benefits, not targeting any population or neighborhood. Cameras would be at high-crash locations where other interventions such as road redesign are not feasible.
  • It would not be a money grab. The best cameras act as deterrents and not to trick people into fines—few violations are a sign of success. The bill directs the majority of revenues into road improvements, not general funds. Cameras would be well-marked. Revenue-sharing with private camera installation or operating companies would be prohibited, avoiding inappropriate incentives.
  • Photographs would be of rear license plates, no faces or identifying information, and only if a violation has occurred. Photos would be permanently deleted after ruling. Fines, assessed to the owner of the vehicle, would not exceed $50, won’t increase with additional violations, nor add to insurance points. Law enforcement would need a court-approved warrant to access photos for purposes beyond traffic enforcement.
  • There would be state oversight, an appeals process, and common-sense emergency exemptions.

This article was featured in WalkBoston’s October 2017 newsletter.

————————————————————————————————
Join WalkBoston’s Mailing List to keep up to date on advocacy issues.
Like our work? Support WalkBoston – Donate Now!
Connect with us on Twitter and Facebook