It’s been said that walking is one of the best ways to get healthy and I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t do it enough.
It doesn’t mean I’m not trying, especially at work.
I now make the short walk from North TV to the North Attleboro Post Office whenever something needs to be mailed. One of those trips was Tuesday when I mailed a DVD of the recent Century Game.
The three-minute walk requires two crossings of busy South Washington Street, which isn’t always easy.
Last week was a perfect example. I was on my way back to the office when I entered the crosswalk in front of the Community School. There were no cars coming from the downtown area and only a couple of vehicles were approaching from the south.
I always make sure to step off the curb when I’m ready to cross because I’ve heard motorists are not required to stop for pedestrians unless they are standing in the crosswalk.
A small school bus approached from the left. I can’t say that I was surprised that the driver was exceeding the 20 mph limit in front of the school, few people do. I was stunned, however, when she sailed by me without slowing down.
The car behind the bus also buzzed by as I attempted to cross. They were driving a car with Rhode Island license plates, so I wasn’t shocked.
Family and friends know that I am far from being a perfect driver. In fact, the city of Providence has bagged me two times since I moved my game to Triggs Memorial Golf Course a couple of years ago.
The first was in 2019.
Pattie called me one afternoon to tell me we had received a citation in the mail for failing to stop at a red light. “That can’t be,” I answered in reply.
It was, a traffic camera mounted on a telephone poll on Smith Street snapped multiple photos of my silver SVU. The first showed the signal light as red with my car just short of reaching the stop line. Another photo showed me advancing through the intersection and a third was a tight shot of my license plate.
I mailed the check for $75.
A second notice arrived in the mail last month. This time the infraction was for exceeding the speed limit in a school zone on Chalkstone Avenue. I was cited for going 31 mph when the limit was 20.
The fact I was going 31 was because I thought the speed limit was 30, as it is on most of the busy street.
Once again, there was no denying it was my car, but I couldn’t remember passing a school.
A search on Google Earth quickly revealed that the Nathanael Greene Middle School is on the left a short distance past the Roger Williams Medical Center.
I even clicked on street view to find if the area is marked a school zone. I soon found a 20 mph sign after the road curves right just before it leads down a down a hill.
A photo of the location could be listed in the dictionary next to the words “speed trap.”
Ignorance is not a legitimate defense, so I paid the $50 fine.
The good news is that the infractions did not result in points assessed and higher insurance costs for years to come.
I researched some more and found out that the entire area is loaded with traffic cameras due to its proximity to a number of schools (Mt. Pleasant High School, LaSalle Academy and Rhode Island College are also nearby) and a state law allowing cameras within a quarter-mile of any type of school.
Providence issued 63,000 such violations two years ago.
In spite of the $125 I’ve had to pay, I’m a big fan of the traffic cameras and believe that they have made me a better driver, not only on my way to and from Triggs, but everywhere.
It’s time for Massachusetts to do the same.
Think of how much money local communities would collect because of our proximately to Rhode Island and their drivers, especially for failing to signal when turning.