Opinion: Recent “speed bumps” at UMass Dartmouth
Oct 12, 2023
As a 1986 graduate of UMass Dartmouth (then “SMU”), I returned to the campus in retirement for frequent power walking, beginning in the Spring of 2020. I twice reported the outlandish speeding on the campus to the Campus Police then and again in 2021, while explaining who I was and how such flagrant violations of posted speed limits never would have flown during my years there. By “fragrant violations” I’m referring to vehicles accelerating at or near full throttle and running “Ring Road” at 50 to 70 MPH on a routine basis, in addition to driving through STOP signs as though they weren't there.
I knew it was just a matter of time before someone was killed, and sure enough it sadly happened on September 13th of this year. My sincere condolences to the family and friends of the student victim.
The school’s delayed “response" was just as misguided as the lack of enforcement, with massive speed bumps since being installed every 100 or so yards around “Ring Road” in its entirety. My intent here isn’t to directly blame anyone, given that staffing issues as dictated “from above” were likely primarily responsible for all of it. Nevertheless, the end result is that EVERYONE must now pay the high price by driving over these clearly outrageous speed bumps, which are also very hard on vehicle suspensions and brakes. Notably, energy is wasted anytime a vehicle brakes for these speed bumps and must then again accelerate. These speed bumps will also result in delays of emergency responding vehicle response times.
This entire fiasco is clearly the result of gross mismanagement and the “political correctness” that’s the now typical end result. The speed bumps need to be removed, as is also the case for the concrete “safety barriers” that now occupy many sections of “Ring Road.” I’ll no longer visit my alma mater until this nanny state insanity is resolved and have also stopped my annual contributions to the school as a result. Proper management addresses issues before they become an issue rather than responding in “fire drill” fashion after the fact.
Solution: Double the number of vehicles on patrol in the form of traffic radar and erect speed cameras that automatically photograph vehicles (including license plates) traveling at an undisclosed pre-determined set point (e.g., 32 MPH). Any student who receives more than two violations per semester would lose his/her privilege of driving on campus for the following semester, plus pay a $250 fine.
I’ll add that I’m a driving enthusiast, mechanical engineer and that my now deceased dad (Robert F.) was a Massachusetts State Police Trooper.
Robert J. Angeli
Editor’s note: The fatal accident at UMass Dartmouth occurred in April. The driver was cited for the incident in September.