WalkBoston recently sounded the alarm that serious (and fatal) pedestrian incidents are fast becoming a near-weekly occurrence in Boston. The latest such event occurred last night in Roxbury, where a mother and her baby were struck by a car at the intersection of Humboldt Ave and Humboldt Court. Our local CBS affiliate reports on two sisters coming to a quick rescue and performing CPR on the 5-month-old victim. We have scant information on details of the crash and the fate of the pedestrians remains unknown. We can only hope they both survive and make a full recovery. Update 6pm: we were devastated to learn via the Boston Globe that the baby has died.
That said, we would urge the media not just to cover the “human-interest” aspect of these tragic incidents, but also highlight potential root causes so that we don’t have to keep re-living the same sad story. Poor infrastructure and bad design decisions in particular are recurring themes–for far too long, Boston’s professional traffic engineers have prioritized fast and unimpeded traffic flow over other needs, including the very real risks to human lives of car-centric streets. Again, we don’t know the details of this incident, but a quick look at the intersection where the crash occurred shows (1) a long stretch of street with no crosswalks [despite a bus stop across the street]; (2) extremely wide travel lanes; (3) in a densely-settled area, a certain recipe for predictable harm to pedestrians. Once ago, it’s time to move into action on Vision Zero.
Further update: The Boston Globe article also suggests speed was a factor, again this is not surprising given the wide lanes:
Residents on Friday said the car that allegedly hit the woman and her child was speeding: one woman who declined to give her name said she heard it whipping down the street before she heard the crash.