Turning now to the infrastructure crisis, please read this hilarious -- and totally accurate -- column written by Monique Spencer. She writes about the "traffic calming" measures installed on Beacon Street in her home town of Brookline, MA. An excerpt:
You put a red light on every block. You get rid of parking in order to kill the retailers. You make new pedestrian crossings appear overnight, in between the red lights. Special bike lanes appear on one block, then disappear, with nanny signs that say "Share the Road." Meander the side streets and you'll find giant mounds in the road that are supposed to make you slow down. The traffic engineers call these "vertical deflections." Their real function is to eject the newcomer. At night, he does not see the mound, because it is not lit. He hits the takeoff ramp at 30 miles per hour, and by the time his car touches ground again he is in the next town.
I do not feel calmed.
In a more serious vein, part of the reconfiguration was to remove one lane of traffic to create a protected area for on-street parkers along the median island of Beacon Street -- accompanied by a "bulb-out" or "neckdown" at each intersection (see picture above). Let's please recall that the Brookline section of Beacon Street is one of the evacuation routes from downtown Boston in the event of civil emergency or natural disaster. Now that three outgoing lanes have been transformed into two, it seems that we have a 50% reduction in traffic capacity. Were the emergency preparedness people from Boston notified before this happened?