Sunday, April 25, 2010

Joseph Madrid - Chokers, Westbourne Terrace, Brookline

     The purpose of a choker is to narrows both sides of a street.  These parallel curb extensions effectively reduce road widths, which in turn reduce vehicle speeds and make motorists aware of pedestrian activity.  Westbourne Terrace is a street that passes by a school.  The chokers, in this situation is meant to make the drivers aware of school children crossing the road and slow down.  Although, the chokers placed on Wesbourne Terrace have some flaws.
     Westbourne Terrace is a one-way residential street that located in Brookline.   Westbourne Terrace is a local street for Driscoll Elementary School. Driscoll Elementary is a public school serving grades 1st through 8th grade.  Along this street there are houses and apartment buildings along the opposite side of the school.  Westbourne Terrace currently has three chokers spaced 100 feet apart between the school and the residential housing.  Therefore it is important to provide a safe crosswalk for students and residents along this one way street

         As you can see from the first picture this choker has white school crosswalk markings and two yellow walking signs, representing a crosswalk for children and adults, on both sides of the crosswalk.  The signs also have an additional sign below that is stripped yellow and black.   The final touch to this first choker is the monitor that lets the driver know what the speed is at the time of day.  The speed limit when I visited this site was 20 mph.
     After this choker there are two more chokers spaced 100 feet down the street.  The second choker, as you can see in the picture, has all the same features but the monitor.  The bright signs definitely get the attention of the drivers.  The last choker is not a crosswalk it is strictly meant to slow traffic down.  This choker has “stop sign ahead” signs as you can see I the picture.  Overall the chokers are placed in specific locations and meant to calm and slow traffic during school hours.  The overall effectiveness is poor in terms of slowing the traffic down because the choker only narrows the road to about 20 feet.  This leaves plenty of room for a car to drive through at a higher speed.  Although the chokers do not force the drivers to slow down it does benefit people crossing the road.  The choker helped the student and residents greatly.  Now the drivers will know if someone is going to use the crosswalk and can slow down to a stop to let them cross.

This is very important due to the high concentration of children when school starts or ends.  A main concern for parents and staff is the safety of their children and students.  With these improvements to Westbourne Terrace, cross-walkers can feel and be safer knowing they can be seen.  One adjustment that can be made is to narrow the road more because Westbourne Terrace is only a one way street and cars only need 10 feet of space to drive through.  This will in-turn shorten the crossing distance and effectively slow cars down.

1 comment:

  1. These comments offer no observations about motorists' behavior (did they drive slow?) or pedestrians' behavior (do they use the shortened crossing, with apparent benefit?). That makes it hard to judge effectiveness.