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George_Apley

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I'm guessing he means highway expansion. Given that many low-info people beat the "add more lanes" drum, he's likely combating that.
 

HelloBostonHi

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Tbh, it's probably a lot more difficult to sequence traffic lights in a city like Boston compared to say a planned gridded city.

That being said, its situations like the one the city is currently in that I'm glad Boston did not win the Olympic bid. Imagine hosting that on top of the clusterfuck we currently have.
Even if you're not doing full signal coordination, signal sensors are still super easy. There is no reason cars have to pile up at an empty traffic light at 10pm waiting for no one. Even my little surburbia town in NC understood that and had every signal in the city outfitted with sensors that adjust the timing in real time with the waiting traffic. So if no one is going or waiting to go, the light moves on to the people who are waiting. Not much help at peak hours but every time in between its great, and certainly helps with things like buses.
 

stick n move

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Those sensors should be mandatory at every light in the state. Drives me crazy when sitting at a long light with nobody whatsoever travelling in either direction.
 

dhawkins

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Waiting at traffic light does make for suspenseful scenes in a couple of movies though! On another note, when traveling Commonwealth, you can't help but think there is a traffic algorithm in use that utilizes every one of the pedestrian crossings as a traffic calming device.
 

Arlington

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Those sensors should be mandatory at every light in the state. Drives me crazy when sitting at a long light with nobody whatsoever travelling in either direction.
I find this happens most often where a 2-lane road meets a 2-lane road. Let's question why these were given lights instead of 4-way stops in the first place?

For any intersection with low enough volumes and few-enough lanes, an All-way Stop works really well: Drivers looking at each other is a pretty good setup of sensor, algorithm, and on-demand prioritization.

Once it is something like a 4+ lane, yes, let's do occupancy sensors and on-demand resceduling.

This still isn't a solition for downtown, where managing "always full" intersections more complex than either (isn't it?)
 

HelloBostonHi

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Is that a good reason ?
Also because four way stops are the devil's child? Maybe because I was first licensed in the UK before driving in America but four way stops are the most non-sensical thing you guys have. Everyone pulls up and stares at each other for a few seconds until two people go at the same time and then everyone stops and trys again. I'm a big roundabout advocate personally but those have to be well designed to ensure pedestrian safety. But well designed roundabouts slow drivers down, prevent uneccessary stopping (and associated brake wear, driver frustration and emissions) and mean that a pedestrian only has to look in one direction for each crossing instead of the triple threat of turns at a four way stop.
 

North Shore

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Also because four way stops are the devil's child? Maybe because I was first licensed in the UK before driving in America but four way stops are the most non-sensical thing you guys have. Everyone pulls up and stares at each other for a few seconds until two people go at the same time and then everyone stops and trys again. I'm a big roundabout advocate personally but those have to be well designed to ensure pedestrian safety. But well designed roundabouts slow drivers down, prevent uneccessary stopping (and associated brake wear, driver frustration and emissions) and mean that a pedestrian only has to look in one direction for each crossing instead of the triple threat of turns at a four way stop.
One of the things MassDOT is doing nowadays when redesigning intersections is having designers do a feasibility study of a roundabout as a design alternative to a signalized intersection. The project I'm currently designing does not have sufficient right-of-way and would have significant adverse impacts on abutting properties, so a new signal it is in this case.
 

Equilibria

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Also because four way stops are the devil's child? Maybe because I was first licensed in the UK before driving in America but four way stops are the most non-sensical thing you guys have. Everyone pulls up and stares at each other for a few seconds until two people go at the same time and then everyone stops and trys again. I'm a big roundabout advocate personally but those have to be well designed to ensure pedestrian safety. But well designed roundabouts slow drivers down, prevent uneccessary stopping (and associated brake wear, driver frustration and emissions) and mean that a pedestrian only has to look in one direction for each crossing instead of the triple threat of turns at a four way stop.
That logic doesn't fly in Cambridge, though, where there isn't room for roundabouts. FWIW, that's one big downside of roundabouts - they discourage density by taking up a lot of space.
 

HelloBostonHi

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That logic doesn't fly in Cambridge, though, where there isn't room for roundabouts. FWIW, that's one big downside of roundabouts - they discourage density by taking up a lot of space.
Correction: there's no room for American roundabouts. A British mini roundabout can fit in the smallest of British town squares all they involve is painting a circle on the road and some yield signs. Of course they have their own fair share of problems so I'm not advocating for them either.
20191204_004508.jpg


And of course that leads to the uniquely British double mini-roundabout near where I used to live:
Screenshot_20191204-004447_Maps.jpg


Absolutely would not recommend that. Which only spreads to this hellhole:


However I am glad to see MassDOT does consider roundabouts for small intersections now. Implemented correctly they can be both traffic/speed calming and congestion improving.
 

HenryAlan

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Also because four way stops are the devil's child? Maybe because I was first licensed in the UK before driving in America but four way stops are the most non-sensical thing you guys have. Everyone pulls up and stares at each other for a few seconds until two people go at the same time and then everyone stops and trys again. I'm a big roundabout advocate personally but those have to be well designed to ensure pedestrian safety. But well designed roundabouts slow drivers down, prevent uneccessary stopping (and associated brake wear, driver frustration and emissions) and mean that a pedestrian only has to look in one direction for each crossing instead of the triple threat of turns at a four way stop.
People in Massachusetts do not have any idea how four way stops work. I don't remember seeing them here until the past 5 years or so, but they are common in California, where I learned to drive. You need to understand the rules for them to pass the written test. When the rules are followed, they work quite well, but I agree that they are a mess around here.
 

jass

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People in Massachusetts do not have any idea how four way stops work. I don't remember seeing them here until the past 5 years or so, but they are common in California, where I learned to drive. You need to understand the rules for them to pass the written test. When the rules are followed, they work quite well, but I agree that they are a mess around here.
Yup, in California they work well because everyone knows what to do.

On the east coast its like nobody has a license.
 

Lrfox

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People in Massachusetts do not have any idea how four way stops work. I don't remember seeing them here until the past 5 years or so, but they are common in California, where I learned to drive. You need to understand the rules for them to pass the written test. When the rules are followed, they work quite well, but I agree that they are a mess around here.
I haven't had many issues with 4-way stops. They're all over Somerville and generally seem to work OK unless a crossing guard stops all traffic for kids walking to school and people somehow forget which order they arrived in. That said, I'd be all for more roundabouts in the area. I think the Winthrop Square example in Medford is a good example of a small local roundabout in relatively tight quarters.
 

whittle

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Correction: there's no room for American roundabouts. A British mini roundabout can fit in the smallest of British town squares all they involve is painting a circle on the road and some yield signs. Of course they have their own fair share of problems so I'm not advocating for them either. View attachment 1598

And of course that leads to the uniquely British double mini-roundabout near where I used to live:
View attachment 1599

Absolutely would not recommend that. Which only spreads to this hellhole:


However I am glad to see MassDOT does consider roundabouts for small intersections now. Implemented correctly they can be both traffic/speed calming and congestion improving.
Those look like pedestrian hell. And it's worth noting that the UK is on a trend of tearing up roundabouts out of concern for bike and pedestrian safety.
 

sm89

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statler

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Probably well known among railfans but new to me!

Futility Closet said:

In 1873, Captain J.V. Meigs patented a surprisingly advanced steam-powered monorail that he hoped could serve Boston. It followed a pair of rails set one above the other, thus requiring only a single line of supports, and it burned anthracite, to reduce smoke in city streets.


Each cylindrical car, shaped to reduce wind resistance, contained 52 revolving seats and was completely upholstered. Engineer Francis Galloupe wrote, “If it were ever desirable, one would become more easily reconciled to rolling down an embankment in one of these cars than in that of any other known form, for the entire absence of sharp corners and salient points is noticeable.”


A 227-foot demonstration line in East Cambridge carried thousands of curious riders 14 feet above Bridge Street at up to 20 mph, but in 1887 a fire, possibly started by a competing streetcar business, destroyed most of Meigs’ car shed. He wrote, “‘the most magnificent car ever built’ was melted down by the furnace into which it was thrust. Its metal plates were melted down and the little wood and upholstering burned out.” He fought on for a few more years, ran out of money, and quit.


Here’s his 1887 description of the project.

Link
 
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Arlington

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It is the definitive legal justification. If the data collected doesn't meet at least one of the warrants, a signal is not justified.
Is legal justification the same as practical necessity?

Do (did) municipalities install lights at thresholds below MUTCD levels?

Can municipalities "just say no"?
 

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