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|Craig Kelley for Cambridge City Council in 2015|
|Because Neighborhoods Count|
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. . . [O]ur busy streets are deadly for pedestrians and the Cambridge Police Department, the City Manager and the City Council all need to work much harder to make them safe . . .
Cambridge needs a traffic plan
The tragic death of a 78-year old Cambridge grandmother at the end of 2003, killed by a tow truck while crossing Hunting Street in a crosswalk, is an awful illustration of a basic fact of Cambridge life: our busy streets are deadly for pedestrians and the Cambridge Police Department, the City Manager and the City Council all need to work much harder to make them safe.
Unfortunately, the City has a laissez-faire attitude towards vehicular enforcement. For example, the Police Department issues only about 70 moving vehicle citations a day, less than one for every four sworn officers, hardly a deterring statistic for the tens of thousands of motorists using our streets. The CPD homepage does not even mention the words "traffic" or "vehicle". Try to obtain statistics on vehicle enforcement and get your checkbook ready, because the enforcement numbers, poor as they are, are available only when you're willing to pay for them. In short, there are few signs that the Police Department particularly cares about enforcing the motor vehicle laws that would help make our streets safer.
The City Council now should do what it should have done years ago: direct Commissioner Watson, in conjunction with the City Manager, to develop and implement a comprehensive plan to make all of our crosswalks safe within the next six months. This is not a simple problem to be solved with knee-jerk Council Orders and overtime police details. It requires solid planning, measurable goals, genuine commitment by City officials and, above all, a fundamental and long-term shift in police tactics. Motorists must understand that, in Cambridge, they follow the law or get ticketed. If Commissioner Watson and City Manager Healy can't accomplish this important task, the City Council should replace them both.
It really is a matter of life and death.
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