With fewer vehicles on the roads than ever, and the combination of warmer weather and a largely stir crazy population (especially children who have been out of school for 8 weeks now!), we are seeing a surge of people out walking, jogging, and biking. For some, these trips are for exercise or recreation (even sanity), but for others these are mandatory trips for essential services or jobs. Whatever the reason, it can largely be said that on many streets across the Commonwealth, and certainly here in Winthrop, there are more people out moving about than there are cars. And yet we recently learned the disturbing statistic from MassDOT that while the number of cars on major highways have dropped about 50% (even more in certain areas)- and traffic congestion has virtually vanished- more people died in car crashes (28) this April than in April 2019. This is because with no traffic to slow drivers down, vehicles speeds have increased significantly (see ‘Fatal Crashes Are Up in Massachusetts, Even as Driving is Way Down” in the Boston Globe, 5/3/20)
So while the importance of driving with caution rings true at all times, especially in densely populated neighborhoods like we have here in Winthrop, it is particularly critical right now that drivers SLOW DOWN and “scan the street for wheels and feet”, many of whom need that space on our streets to pass other people while maintaining safe physical distance.
Please drive safely!
Chair, Winthrop Transportation Advisory Committee (TAC)