Featured Post

Part 1: Mark Baumer Reflection: Impounding Vehicles & Immigrant Rights

This is part of a multi-part reflection I've been doing following the death of my friend, Mark Baumer . There's nothing graphic i...

Post Your #SlowSnowPVD Videos

There's not a lot of captivating action going on in this video, which is how it should be. Although, the driving here should be captivating, because it shows that a little bit of snow post-plowing is an aid to safety. 

When there's just a bit of snow on the ground, drivers follow the speed limit. Around 0:06 in this video, this driver comes to Camp Street at a full stop. S/he gets to my house, about 1000 feet up the hill by 0:35. That's right in that 15-20 mph range, which is what drivers should do everyday. The usual speed on my street is above 30 mph. I have clocked people going 40 mph.


My street is a hill. I'm not committed yet to whether salt makes sense on hills or not. I watched a fire truck and an ambulance come right up the street with no problem during last week's "Blizzard of 2015", and before salting had taken effect. I also have seen several RIPTA buses come up and down my street in the current conditions. Nonetheless, the potential for a freeze/thaw cycle makes me open-minded to limited salting on these high grade hills.

But streets that have less of a grade than mine should not get salted at all. A little bit of snow helps pedestrian safety. What would be truly interesting would be a pattern where crosswalks were meticulously shoveled and salted, but not the stretches of street in between them. The current situation is that crosswalks are often blocked by overzealous clearing of the roads.

You can take your own videos of people minding their manners during the snowfall. What would be really interesting would be a follow-up where people took videos of the same stretches of street post-salting, to show that people are less considerate when the design signals (i.e., bare asphalt) send them a message of safety. Hashtag: #SlowSnowPVD.


Two short videos I shot show mixed results. Most of the drivers are speeding, but some are not. All drivers are going faster than they did in snowier conditions.

You might say, well duh. But the question that is raised by this is whether we're safer when drivers feel the need to slow down from a small amount of snowpack, versus getting a green light to speed up without.



1 comment:

  1. Decent hypothesis, but I'd want to see more evidence before advocating. Sure, the cars are slower when there's snow, but they also have less control. They have less stopping distance, and are more likely to fishtail into a pedestrian.