By Andy Wood
In my opinion, you are addressing the wrong problem. The biggest problem in town is not speeding, it is heavy traffic congestion which is getting worse and gradually shrinking the amount of time each day when one can actually drive around Bedford somewhat unimpeded.
Think of the road system as water pipes. The most water will flow through the pipes when the faucets are wide open – like the speed on a highway. As soon as you reduce the speed limit the amount of cars which can pass a point during a period of time is reduced. Thus, reducing the speed limits in town will cause the road’s efficiency and thru-put to drop making congestion even worse than it is. Also, I believe you will find that changing the speed limit signs will have little effect on driver behavior, and the consequences of that might be you will push the police to give more speeding tickets, which will create more congestion and upset a lot of residents. All negative outcomes.
Going back to the water pipe analogy, what I think you should be doing is figuring out how you can increase the thru put of the road system by better managing the light control systems and redoing choke points. Examples are: The stop lights at the two (2) major shopping centers on the Great Road should not be allowed to stop Great Road traffic 20 seconds or less after one of the shopping center traffic sensors is tripped. The shoppers should wait at least a full minute or maybe 90 seconds. Why are the traffic lights on the Great Road not synchronized during rush hours to improve flow? The RT 62 – Old Billerica Road intersection is basically non-functional as it causes major back-ups all over the east end of Bedford and can even affect the Great Road on an especially bad day. Why not fix it?
I am sure there are several other examples around town where improved light control management and removal or improved flow at choke points would be a much better investment of time and money vs. reducing speed limits, which would have a negative effect all around.
Thank you for your time.