Tue 26 Jan 2010
Recent traffic accidents on North Street prompted an article in the Hometown Weekly. Based on quotes mentioned in the article, it appears that residents and the police chief are advocating measures that will make speeding safer on North Street. The prevailing opinion is that the road is the problem, not the people driving on it. I find this interesting. I know the location quite well. There is a 30mph speed limit, and most people drive faster there, many significantly faster, and some too fast. Because it is not safe to go faster than 30mph in this curve shown on the picture, even in good weather, we are going to spend money on redesigning the road, so that speeding is safe again.
It seems that Medfield officials believe that the majority of the Medfield electorate are members of a secret club – the notorious “I insist on my right to drive 50mph in a 30mph zone and I will vote you out of office if you take this right away” club. I have no other explanation for the reluctance among town officials to do anything that could upset drivers.
Interestingly enough, every other driver I talk to about this issue, neighbors and other parents, is as upset as I am about the relative lawlessness on Medfield streets. Is there possibly a disconnect?
I believe that most people who speed in town, like the Wheelock elementary teacher who races down South Street in a Jeep Cherokee every morning after getting coffee at Lord’s, do it out of habit, not because they want to do something illegal and dangerous. Over time, habits create a sense of entitlement. This is the real danger, and it is not confined to North Street or any other singular spot.
Dover installed speed bumps on Centre Street last year. They are safe and very effective. If we want to reduce the number of accidents, and especially the number of fatalities, we should be looking into how to slow traffic down, as opposed to how to speed it up. Simply by forcing people to break with their habits. Speed bumps are one way of doing that. Fines are another.