Posted by Diego De Moya
Pearl and Granite Street are both one way streets located near Hastings Square in Cambridge. Granite Street serves as a cut through street from Memorial Drive into Hastings Square. Granite Street also serves as a local street for The Morse School which is a public school with around 440 students. Student grade levels range from kindergarten to the eighth grade. Pearl Street serves as a local street for a residential area. In this street there are several small apartment buildings as well as houses all around.
Granite Street includes a raised intersection in the corner of both Magazine and Pearl Street. The importance of having an effective raised intersection is that it forces motorists to reduce speed. As we go into Granite Street, there is a raised intersection about 200 feet from the main entrance to the school. One of the schools playgrounds in located to the right side of the street. The first raised intersection in Granite Street also includes a speed limit sign with flashing lights. When school is in session, the monitor will display a specific speed limit for the drivers.
As can be seen from the first image, this raised intersection is not very high but due to its school speed limit sign it is effective. Personally when I was driving to the intersection, taking the Mass Avenue exit into Magazine Street and then taking a right into Granite Street, I was going at a very fast speed. The raised intersection in this corner came as a surprise to me as a driver. This forced me to slow down and realize I was entering a local street.
After the first raised intersection in Granite Street we can appreciate the large school sign on the street. This immediately alerts drivers that they are in a school zone and that they have to reduce speed. Typically drivers who were entering Granite Street through Magazine Street apparently were familiar with the area because they were entering at low speeds.
The raised intersection in the corner of Granite and Pearl Street is highly effective but not necessarily needed. Before the driver reaches the intersection there is a sign that alerts the driver of the raised intersection that lies ahead.
As can be appreciated from the images, the intersection has two stop signs one on the left and one on the right. This immediately forces the driver to stop before entering the intersection.I am not sure whether the raised intersection was built before or after the stop signs were put in. If the raised intersection was put before the stop signs then the city probably wanted to slow down driver going through this street without necessarily having to stop. One possibility is that after the school was built, having a raised intersection would not be safe enough for the children that needed to cross the street. This in turn might have forced the city to put the stop signs. Destroying the raised intersection after putting the stop singns is not really necessary as it is more cost to the city without really affection motorist delay since they have to stop anyway. On the other hand, if the stop signs and the raised intersection where put in at the same time, then the city made a big mistake. The raised intersection is not needed because cars are stopping anyway.
All of the cars that I saw stopped before going into the intersection. This includes all of the cars that were driving east bound through in Granite Street as well as the cars that were driving south bound on Pearl Street.
The main goal of having the raised intersection in the corner of Granite and Pearl Street is to force drivers to slow down when driving through the school zone. I believe the raised intersection between Granite and Pearl Street is effective because of the raised intersection that lies before the corner of Granite and Pearl. The raised intersection between Granite and Magazine is crucial in order to get drivers to slow down and realize they are in a school zone. I believe the main aspects that are key to the intersections effectiveness are both the high quality of street signs along Granite and Pearl Street as well as the raised intersection between Granite and Magazine Street.
The intersection is clearly completing its goal as cars are going slow through the residential and street area and parents are letting their children ride their bicycles as well as play on the street. Although I am not aware when the raised intersections where put in, having both the raised intersection and stop signs in the corner of Granite and Pearl street is completely unnecesary. Since cars are already forced to stop before going into the intersection, spending money on the construction of such intersection is a waste. If the stop signs were put in after the school was built, then destroying the raised intersection and just leaving the stop sings would be the appropriate thing to do but it would also be a waste of money to destroy the raised intersection that was already built.