Quad Speed Bumps Stymie Speeders

Cover your coffee and fasten your seatbelt: the ride from the Quad is now bumpy.

Three temporary speed bumps on the Quad’s main roadway were installed last week to slow speeding traffic to five to 10 mph and two more speed bumps will be installed later this week.

“We know it’s a pain for people on packed shuttle buses with open coffee, but we [prefer] spilled coffee to any pedestrian getting hit by a speeder,” said Elizabeth Randall, Faculty of Arts and Sciences capital project manager.

Randall said the purpose of the temporary speed bumps is to deter drivers from using the roadway as a “cut-through” to other streets and to protect pedestrians using the road.

The speed bumps will only remain until the summer, when the Quad roadway will undergo major design and aesthetic renovations.

The renovations began last summer, with underground utility work.

The smooth asphalt patch poured over the roadway after the completion of the utility work “made the roadway look even more like a roadway,” said Gene Ketelhohn, area manager of the three Quad houses.

As a result, Ketelhohn said he and Harvard police were observing an increasing number of taxis and trucks speeding through the Quad.

In the past, Randall said, the ruts in the roadway, eliminated over the summer, served as substitutes for speed bumps because they sufficiently slowed the traffic.

James H. Ware, Cabot House Co-Master, said cabs and delivery vehicles were traveling as fast as 40 mph on the roadway.

Since the speed bumps’ installations, Ketelhohn said he has observed that taxis are traveling at slower speeds on the Quad roadway.

Although Randall and House Masters in the Quad said they don’t remember a pedestrian being hit on the road, “These renovations have been needed for a long time,” said William A. Graham, Currier House Master. “We’re looking forward to having it all happen and be done.”

Halvorson Company, which designed Post Office Square in downtown Boston, is designing the renovated Quad roadway with a technique commonly used in Europe: sections of the short road will be graded to different heights and painted various colors to slow down drivers.

“They’ve designed a new approach to the roadway called ‘traffic calming,’ which provides table top areas, making you drive up onto a plaza and back down again,” Randall said.

Planting trees and adding new lighting, Randall said, will also serve to “clean up the roadway and make it more pedestrian-friendly.”

Randall said renovation additional plans for the road include widening the entrance at its Shepard St. intersection to prevent shuttles from climbing onto the curb and narrowing the road everywhere else to make it feel “more like a pedestrian way than a city street.”

Randall said she is not sure of the total cost of the renovations.