Speed bumps punish the innocent for the sins of the guilty.
Most people do not speed down Blackstone Boulevard. I know. I’ve been behind many of them in my time. People who obey the law are the ones who suffer unjustly when a city enforces the law by making things difficult for everyone rather than by, say, ticketing lawbreakers.
Speed bumps and other tools of “traffic calming” have been proposed for Blackstone Boulevard, the long parkway between the Pawtucket line and the eastern precincts of College Hill. Twenty-four speed bumps and 19 raised crosswalks (wider speed bumps), 43 obstructions in all, are planned.
This is a bad idea. Speed bumps amount to state-sanctioned potholes. It’s a good example of nonexistent municipal expenditure seeking a nonexistent problem. The East Siders who are pushing this plan, when so many real problems bedevil the city, should be ashamed of themselves. They are expressing the hubris of activism.
An informational meeting is scheduled for this evening at 6:30 in the auditorium at the Nathan Bishop Middle School. “Battle Over Blackstone Boulevard Speed Bump Plan Heats Up” is Kate Nagle’s comprehensive report, with city illustrative maps, about the traffic-calming proposal.
If they put speed bumps on Blackstone Boulevard, many drivers, myself included, will take to the side streets. To block the bumps I would swallow all the other types of traffic calming, such as sidewalk bumpouts (which are also tedious but not as bad, and merely serve to reduce parking).
I would even accept a reduction in traffic lanes.
But wait a minute! Traffic calming was instituted on Blackstone seven years ago when its lanes were indeed cut in half, with the lost lanes given over to bike and parking lanes. I guess traffic calming didn’t work then, did it? So let’s rattle the cages of the innocent again, that’s the ticket!
[8:25 p.m.] About 200 people showed up at Nathan Bishop. To my surprise they were overwhelmingly against the city’s proposal. And they were angry about it. At the end of a shockingly unpersuasive presentation by the city and questions from the audience, a show of hands revealed that fewer than 10 people supported the plan as described.
Figures cited above from GoLocalProv.com about how many speed bumps there will be are more extreme than the figures cited by the city official. He said there would be a total of 25, not 43, “lumps” or “raised crosswalks.” The city’s numbers did not mollify the neighborhood, however. It now seems, if the city is serious about paying attention to public input, very likely to be abandoned.