Archives - Kevin Cox Comments on Traffic Calming on Park Street
February 2001
Letters to the Editor: Kevin Cox Comments on Traffic Calming on Park Street
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The traffic calming experiment on Park Street is a failure. The street has been turned into an ugly slalom for all drivers in order to control speeders. It’s not just speeders that are affected by the aptly named chokers. Every driver that goes down Park Street has to deal with the new unnecessary hazards, including those who drive school buses, fire trucks, and ambulances. Turning off and on Park Street from the neighborhood streets is more dangerous than ever. Not surprisingly, the police report that speeding continues and reckless driving is actually increasing.

Our city government, according to Mayor Caravati and Councilor Richards, is “forcing people to change their behaviors” by “disturbing” them and creating even more traffic “inconveni-ence” than we already have. I think we have enough traffic hassles already. Apparently city officials disagree. There are plans for similar projects on Alderman Road, Locust Avenue, and Monticello Avenue as well as other city streets. Eventually everyone who drives in the city will be effected. The technique is indiscriminate and unfair and creates problems and annoyances for everyone, whether they are safe drivers or not.

It’s a policy that makes no sense, especially since there is already a tried and true way to stop speeders. The police could aggressively turn a hidden radar gun on those drivers that do speed and change their behavior by making the costs of speeding so high that they give up and slow down. The threats of more fines and higher insurance costs do make people slow down. But instead of maximizing the effectiveness of radar the police undermine their own efforts by advertising the location of radar speed traps in the newspaper and on the radio!

If someone gets a speeding ticket on Park Street they are going to slow down everywhere rather than risk additional fines and higher insurance costs. The chokers may persuade a few speeders to slow down on Park Street. Unfortunately, because traffic calming comes without real penalties the speeders will continue to drive recklessly and endanger everyone else whenever they think they can get away with it.

Kevin Cox (electronic mail, February 19, 2001)

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