Craig Kelley #1 Craig Kelley for Cambridge City Council in 2015I want to vote for Craig
Because Neighborhoods Count 

. . . Given Commissioner Watson's long-term inability to view traffic enforcement as an important issue, it is time for the City to replace him with a professional who understands the important role our Police Department must play in keeping us all safe on Cambridge's dangerous streets . . .

Cambridge Police Department still needs a traffic management plan

Last fall, a 78-year old grandmother was struck by a car and killed in a crosswalk on East Cambridge's Hunting Street. At the time I called for the City, and the Cambridge Police Department, to "develop and implement a comprehensive plan to make all of our crosswalks safe." In February, after a particularly harrowing experience crossing a Mass Ave crosswalk with my four-year old son, I attempted to contact CPD Commissioner Ronnie Watson, asking him to please "direct me to CPD's traffic safety plan and/or to someone who can explain the plan in detail." Three weeks and a reminder later, Commissioner Watson replied that he did "not fully understand what it is [I was] asking" and directed me to a Lt. Albert who would attempt to answer my question.

I did contact Lt. Albert, who forwarded to me the City's "Points 4 Safety Campaign" information. While that was a start, as I told Lt. Albert, the Points 4 Safety Campaign lacked the specific goals, staffing requirements, budget needs and pretty much anything else concrete and measurable that, in general, makes a plan something more than a slogan. Was this Campaign really all there is to CPD's traffic enforcement plan? At least five messages and as many months later, I'm still waiting for an answer. Similarly, my offers to help design a traffic safety plan have also been met with a stony silence.

My experiences with CPD could be just one more tale of am activist Cambridge citizen getting the bureaucratic run-around if it didn't continue to have such tragic consequences. This summer, a cyclist was maimed by a motorist opening a car door and just last week the Chronicle ran a story on a pedestrian getting killed in a crosswalk near MIT. My wife, with children in tow, has frequently had to dodge scofflaw motorists and a good friend has been repeatedly assaulted by drivers intentionally running into him. The list of traffic horror stories is endless.

Despite this terrifying level of mayhem on our streets, CPD's response seems to be, "change nothing." The word "vehicle" does not appear on CPD's homepage at all and "traffic" is only mentioned in the context of internet activity. Incredibly, CPD's homepage seems to have absolutely no discussion of the Department's responsibility to enforce vehicular laws and make our streets safer.

None of this is news to Commissioner Watson. He knows, and has known for years, how treacherous our streets are and he still refuses to consider the issue of vehicular safety to be a core task of his, and our, Police Department. At this point, it is clear he won't, or can't, change his mind on this issue.

Given Commissioner Watson's long-term inability to view traffic enforcement as an important issue, it is time for the City to replace him with a professional who understands the important role our Police Department must play in keeping us all safe on Cambridge's dangerous streets.

Fall 2004