Improve Safety for Pedestrians

Committee: Transportation, Streets, and Sidewalks

Cost: $400,000

Location: Public schools, hospitals, senior living facilities.

Short Description: Improve safety for people who use the side walk to get to schools, hospitals, and senior living facilities. This project will install raised crosswalks, interactive speed limit signs, and flashing crosswalk signs to assist with safe travel.

Long Description: Many of our schools, hospitals and senior living facilities are located on busy streets. This project will enable the city to install comprehensive Complete Streets treatments at one or more intersections around these facilities to improve pedestrian safety in Cambridge. Recommended solutions include adding raised crosswalks, speed feedback signs, and pedestrian-controlled rectangular rapid flashing lights.

Interactive Speed Limits: Despite the citywide 25 MPH speed designation and the widespread 20 MPH Safety Zone program, driving speeds at some locations are still excessive for Cambridge streets.  Excessive speed has been shown to increase the chance of injury for pedestrians and other vulnerable road users. This proposal aims to remedy this problem with the construction of more speed feedback signs throughout Cambridge, educating motorists in real-time of the high speeds they travel at. Cambridge has already installed some of these driver feedback speed monitoring signs; funding this project will provide more of these driver feedback signs on busy streets.

Raised crosswalks: Unlike speed bumps, these are wider raised sections of the street that span the entire width of the roadway. They are often placed at midblock crossing locations. The crosswalk is marked with paint and/or special paving materials. These crosswalks act as traffic-calming measures that allow the pedestrian to cross at grade with the sidewalk.

Rectangular Rapid-Flashing Beacons (RRFBs): Pedestrian-activated and improve safety at uncontrolled, marked crosswalks when used in combination with pedestrian crossing warning signs. Research indicates that RRFBs can result in motorist yielding rates as high as 98% at marked crosswalks and reduce pedestrian crashes up to 47%. RRFBs have already been installed in a number of locations throughout Cambridge, and there is demand for more. 


From left to right: A Rectangular Rapid Flashing Beacon (RRFB), an interactive speed limit sign, a raised crosswalk.