By John Lynds
At last week’s Harbor View Neighborhood Association (HVNA), member Halle Auerbach gave a presentation on how the HVNA could possibly take part in the city’s new ‘Slow Streets’ program.
Neighborhood Slow Streets is Boston’s new approach to traffic calming requests in the City, with a focus on street designs that self-enforce slower speeds and safer behaviors. Through this program officials aim to reduce the number and severity of crashes on residential streets, lessen the impacts of cut-through traffic, and add to the quality of life in our neighborhoods.
The city opened the application process for 2017 and the applications are due March 24. The city is looking for 501c3 organizations to help facilitate the process in neighborhoods so community groups like HVNA as well as the Jeffries Point Neighborhood Association have jumped at the chance.
During her presentation to HVNA members, Auerbach said she identified several places that Slow Streets’ calming treatment, like signage and raised intersections could improve safety for children, families, the elderly and residents.
Where Harmony, Moore, Byron and Wordsworth Streets intersect the busy Bennington Street, Auerbach suggested the Slow Streets approach of placing a Slow Streets ‘Gateway’ sign. The sign is a signal to drivers that they have entered a Slow Streets zone.
Auerbach also suggested raised intersection at Horace and Moore Streets and raised crosswalks on Byron Street between the Edward Brooke Charter School and Salesian Boys & Girls Club.
Other suggestions included adding ‘speed humps’ on Byron, Moore and Coleridge Streets to slow the speed of traffic in certain key areas as well as adding additional stop signs and better crosswalk and pavement markings.
According to the city, residents, neighborhood associations, and other community-based organizations are invited to apply for traffic calming in a specific neighborhood. If Jeffries Point is selected residents will work with the BTD and Public Works Department to plan and implement their Slow Streets project.
The city piloted this program with the Stonybrook neighborhood in Jamaica Plain and Talbot-Norfolk Triangle neighborhood in Dorchester. The goal was to improve safety for people who are walking, biking, and driving in these neighborhoods.
Designs proposed by residents during the pilot program included visual and physical cues to slow drivers to 20 MPH—making each street feel safer and more comfortable for people who live, walk, bike, or play in the neighborhood.
The city also began posting signs to alert people that they are entering a ‘Neighborhood Slow Streets’ area with a speed limit of 20 mph.
Other tools were pavement markings to help organize the streets and indicate traffic calming devices as well as speed humps to self-enforce driver speeds on each route through the neighborhood. Speed humps are typically 4” at their highest point and 12 to 14 feet long. People in cars and on bikes can comfortably travel over them at safe speeds, and they do not impact parking or drainage.
Raised crosswalks to were also used to help emphasize pedestrians crossing the street.
These are just some of the ideas and different improvements that may be implemented here in Eastie