A cloudy but not too cold day. We had six stalwarts (see photo below, one of our number had to leave a couple minutes earlier) and note that the Dynamic Duo of Guptill and Tedrow kept their perfect record intact. Being out at this location, which was the subject of a Vision Zero Rapid Response installation after Silvia Acosta’s death last year, reminded us that we need to follow up, repair the broken/missing flexposts, and move toward making the installation permanent. And so on we go!
2/13/17 storm update: note changed location to 20 Belgrade Avenue!
On Monday, February 13, 2017, at 6:30 pm at 20 Belgrade Avenue, Unit 7 (2nd Floor)
the Roslindale Community Center (Washington St & Cummins Hwy), WalkUP Roslindale will host a community organizing and informational workshop on the Boston Transportation Department’s new program on Neighborhood Slow Streets and how our neighbors throughout Roslindale can come together and go about preparing for and applying to become part of the program.
Learn more about the program here: https://www.boston.gov/transporta…/neighborhood-slow-streets
Take 5 minutes to:
- Read this article in the Herald: Battle for safer streets: Nine pedestrians hit in Boston in 1 day.
- View this local TV news piece from WCVB: Steps being taken in Boston to curb pedestrian crashes.
Here’s the upshot: Policy and aspirations in this city around walking and cycling and safer streets for all are not being met with resources. When the Herald takes note and publishes a front page article on the 9 pedestrian crashes that occurred on a single day last week and then local tv devotes as much time as they just have to the same issue, it begins to feel like the time may finally have come to really do what needs to be done to make our streets safer and better for all users. The municipal fiscal year starts every July 1. The FY2018 budget will be developed and approved in the next handful of months. The Vision Zero line item in the current FY2017 budget is $3.1 Million for a city of about 670,000 people. As the TV piece indicates, that’s woefully inadequate. On a per capita basis, it’s on the order of a third of NYC’s vision zero budget and 1/25th of San Francisco’s. Let that sink in. More to come on this.
On this World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims (according to the World Health Organization, 1.2 million people killed every year by traffic violence and 50 million injured), we are dismayed to report another serious pedestrian crash in our neighborhood. On Friday, a nine-year old boy was hit by a car shortly after stepping off his school bus at the intersection of Metropolitan Ave and Kittredge Street. The most informative media report comes from WCVB: Boy recovering after being hit by car in Roslindale. We extend our sympathy to the boy and his family, and wish him the speediest possible recovery.
Although it looks like the child will recover, we must remember it is predictable and indeed certain that crashes like this will happen again and again until and unless we do more than pay lip service to Vision Zero Boston. A quick look at the intersection, which is in the middle of a slope just past a peak limiting line-of-sight visibility, reveals a stark absence of critical infrastructure to protect people on foot: no crosswalk, no traffic calming, no curb bump-outs, not even a stop sign on the main street in a densely settled area with chronic speeding problems. There are dozens (perhaps hundreds) of intersections like this in Roslindale alone, and the fact that people keep getting hit and occasionally killed by cars in them is a reminder that these incidents are crashes, not accidents.
It’s time to demand more. We can’t just wait for someone to be seriously or fatally injured on a one-off basis to take a look at specific street crossings, and then spend a year patching up that one spot. Sign the Vision Zero Petition, speak to your neighbors, and tell your elected leaders and appointed bureaucrats at every possible opportunity that it’s time to proactively address road safety across the entire city. There are plenty of successful examples to follow, but at the rate we’re going now it will be a century or more before we realize the core Vision Zero principle: No loss of life is acceptable.
I wasn’t able to take pictures, but I did verify this morning that the flashing pedestrian beacon has finally been installed at the reconfigured crosswalk at Washington and Blue Ledge. In addition, the lane striping that had been torn up by recent utility work has also been restored. While I have, at times, expressed frustration with the pace of the response to the tragedy at this location, the end result here is definitely a substantial improvement from a pedestrian safety perspective.
Thanks again to the city’s transportation and public works departments, and their consultants and contractors, for developing a plan, taking on this installation, and getting it done.
We can only hope that we don’t have to do any more rapid responses in Roslindale and elsewhere in the city. Instead, it would be great to step up the effort to turn Vision Zero from policy to reality — to take the lessons learned about planning and process here and apply them to all of the many, many places around our neighborhood where we know dangerous pedestrian and bicycle conditions exist.
We are happy to report that flex posts have gone in the ground at Washington & Blue Ledge. Our sincerest thanks to BTD and PWD for moving the Vision Zero crash response here to this milestone. All that remains is the installation of the pedestrian crossing beacon. A couple of photos taken early on Saturday morning.
WalkUP Roslindale is joining with all of its allies in the Vision Zero Coalition to encourage everyone to turn out for a major Rally for Safer Streets. We will gather at City Hall Plaza on September 29, 2016, from 6pm-7pm to demand meaningful steps toward the Vision Zero goal of truly safe streets. Recent crashes and fatalities in Roslindale illustrate that progress has been much too slow and it’s time to turbocharge the movement. Facebook RSVP here, more details below. Spread the word!
I understand from a conversation I had late yesterday with Charlotte Fleetwood, BTD’s Vision Zero Coordinator, that the expectation is that the full set of safety improvements for Washington @ Blue Ledge will be installed by the middle of July. To be completely clear, Charlotte did not guarantee installation by July 15, but I’m going to use that date as the target.
So, 30 days and counting down, or 155 days and counting up.
We posted here last week about our continued frustration over the lack of action at the intersection of Washington and Blue Ledge where Roslindale resident Silvia Acosta was killed by a hit-and-run driver while crossing the street in a crosswalk this past January. We’re now at Day 154 since the fatal crash occurred. And to date, the city’s Vision Zero rapid response has still provided nothing other than a speed board…