Monday, April 25, 2011

City of Somerville Tests Radar Feedback Signs to Reduce Speeding

The City began a traffic calming pilot program in Wards 2 and 5 last week, using radar speed feedback signs to determine and display the speed of passing cars on some major roadways. Radar speed feedback signs were placed on Lowell Street (southbound) prior to the railroad bridge, as well as on Beacon Street (southbound) prior to the intersection of Oxford Street. As cars pass, the signs measure their speed and display it. The City is testing if the signs reduce speeding. If proven effective, the pilot program may be expanded to other areas throughout Somerville. The program is being undertaken as part of the City’s ongoing efforts to increase pedestrian and bicycle safety, and to make Somerville more walkable, pedestrian- and bike-friendly community. This program was jointly announced last week by Mayor Joseph A. Curtatone, Ward 2 Alderman Maryann Heuston, Ward 5 Alderman Sean O’Donovan and the Somerville Traffic and Parking Department.

What do you think about this? Do these types of signs slow you down if you are driving too fast? Do you have other streets to suggest that could use traffic slowing measures? 


  1. It's great to see the city trying to tackle the pervasive problem of dangerous driving. I would like to see infrastructure fixes such as raised crosswalks, curb extensions and traffic diverters. Short-term, low-cost fixes could include things like planters and bollards.

  2. Our only option is a calming table because attempting to lower the speed limit on the bridge and putting a crosswalk by the VNA are not feasible according to the traffic engineer. I would also like to see some speed traps on the south side as it would eliminate the constants who disobeye the signage.

    On a side note, this story is a perfect example of an issue, brought up at a ResiStat meeting, and traveling through the city process to execution.

    It started as a concern for numerous constituents, became board order #190419, was added to a Public Health and Safety Committee agenda, and is now being included in a pilot radar program.

    At the least, I hope this prompts residents to attend ResiStat meetings or express their concerns through the survey used to compile the agenda.

  3. Thanks for the comment, Jeremy. I forwarded it to our Director of Transportation, Mike Lambert; our Director of Traffic and Parking, Matt Dias; and our Director of Engineering at the DPW, Rob King.

    And thanks for the support, Courtney. Look forward to seeing you at the ResiStat Ward 5 Neighborhood Meeting on June 6.

  4. Jeremy,

    You bring up some great ideas. I'm sorry if my post made it seem as though I was disregarding them.


  5. I drive past one of those signs measuring my speed near my house, on Broadway. The trouble is that it tells me how fast I'm going -- 27 or 29 or whatever -- but I have no idea what the speed limit is on that stretch, and there's no speed limit sign between me and my house a few blocks ahead. So now I know how fast I'm driving, but I can't compare that to how fast I'm allowed to drive. A speed limit sign would help the process work better.

  6. Anonymous, I just forwarded your suggestion to the head of Traffic & Parking. But could you also please tell me which stretch of Broadway you are referring to so that I can pass that along as well?


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